Dear son, you are seven today.

It is now officially an annual ritual – my open/public letter to my son on his birthday. I wrote the first one when he turned 4. I followed it up with one when he turned 5. Then one for his sixth birthday. Without much ado, here is my annual birthday letter to you, boy_who_will_always_be_my_little_one.

Dear little guy
Let us get this out of the way first and foremost. You are never too old to be kissed on your cheeks by your dad or mom. In public too. You have not protested. Yet. But I see the signs. You dare not. Not now. Not ever.

Now onto the main letter.

This past year was pretty eventful. A whole bunch of key milestones. Your first trip to the Principal’s office happened. Taking after Dad in that department, I must say. At one point, I considered maintaining an extra set of pens and notebooks in the Principal’s office. There is a teeny weeny bit of pride in seeing you follow my footsteps. But I dare not say that in public, ever again.

You lost your first couple of teeth last year. Your mom chides me that your tooth fairy is too generous. Here is what I told her. I didn’t have one. Mine was the maid in our house who gave me a cup of water and some sugar for the blood. I wanted your memories to be less colorful and more memory worthy. And so you had a rich tooth fairy who decided to be generous with you.

You inherited the one gene your mom and I didn’t want you to inherit- wearing glasses at a fairly early age. You hated the prospect of it but have surprisingly adapted quickly and I am thankful for that. With your penchant for math and science and now the glasses, you do risk the prospect of getting the “Nerd” tag. I really hope you figure out a way to deal with it at school. By the way, the glasses make you look much more like me than ever, or so they say. Your mother disagrees, of course.

Your imagination is a joy to behold, if only you have the patience to put pen on paper. We are all waiting in anticipation for the day you realize the pleasure in writing and enthrall us with your words. It will come someday. Soon, I hope. Basket!

 

Basketball seems to be a thing for you now. And that is pretty awesome. Hope this doesn’t go the way of soccer. And maybe, just maybe, you’ll have better luck than me with the height gene.

For the longest time in your life now (12 months and counting), you have aspired to be a marine biologist. I really hope we take good care of the environment for you until you are ready to take care of it. I think you will do a smashing job if you choose to do it.

Your mother and I are old fashioned when it comes to reading and learning. We would prefer that you learn to read paper books (yes, I know, I know) and write with pen and paper. As much as our house is littered with laptops and tablets, we strongly believe that the right way to learn is through books and human interaction. So, if we do not allow you to have any more tablet time than the school work demands, forgive us. We think that is what is right for you and we are not willing to change our minds on this one. You will thank us later.

Then there is your music. As much as I love your willingness to sing everyday, in the car, in your bed, in the kitchen, on the phone to your grandparents, at our friends, at concerts, and yes, very much so in the bathroom, there is something I love even more. And that is your interest in listening to good Carnatic music. For your vocal chords may or may not be your friend, but the ability to listen and enjoy music is a habit that will take you far and wide in your life. It is the biggest gift my parents gave me and if there is one thing I ever hope to pass on, this would be it. So listen on!

Last but not the least, with every passing year, your mother and I are holding on to the threads of your childhood, not wanting to let them fly away from us. You have a wonderful life ahead of you. And we cannot wait to see you show the world what you are capable of. But to us, you will always be the little guy who snuggles up on weekend mornings and is willing to, in private of course, indulge us with as many kisses we want to give and receive from you. 

As the clock ticks twelve and you are officially seven years old, I wish you everything you desire and much much more. You zoom on. We are with you, always.

Happy Birthday!

Appa

P.S: More than half of your best friends (as of this evening, subject to change tomorrow morning) are girls. Yet another good gene, my boy. Yet another good gene.

P.P.S: If T.M.Krishna is reading this, I hope he will soon make a trip to the Bay Area for a concert. I promised my little guy that I will take him to his concert and convince him to sing “Manavyalakin” and “Mamava Pattabhi”.

Dear son, you are six today.

It is now officially an annual ritual – my open/public letter to my son on his birthday. I wrote the first one when he turned 4. I followed it up with one when he turned 5. Today, the 29th of March, my medium guy turns 6. Here is my letter to you, my little man.

Dearest dude

So you are a year older and a bit wiser. Maybe a little too much for our convenience but we will let that pass. You are starting to ask too many questions. Some of them quite complicated and a few of them uncomfortably so. Give us some time and we will catch up. Until then, let the dictionaries and encyclopedias be your friend.

Reading books

I love that you are hooked on math and science. Attaboy! I say. As much as your mother wanted you to be a creative type completely unlike the two of us, your DNA refuses to cooperate. The older you grow, the more obvious it gets that you are going to be into math and science. Like everyone else in the family. Now that we understand that part, would you be so kind enough to consider thinking about building the next great thing. I am not looking for a $19 billion buyout. Something in the millions would be fine too. If you agree, I am willing to start saving towards your rent in SFO. You will most likely need that.

Last year, we had talked about girls. Yes, the same girls. You now have your doppelgänger who happens to be a girl. We are thrilled about it. Not so much about you following her instructions to a T and getting into trouble, but all the other parts including your newfound appreciation (as you clearly put it, not love) for pink and peach. The perspective is all good. Just one note of caution. As much as you like your friend, never, never ever call her your most favorite girl in the world. Not in front of your mom. Rule No 0: The mother is always the favorite girl, lady, women in the world. Never changes. Until you get married and then, the “if…then” clause kicks in. 

V art

We have kept technology away from you as much as possible. Sometimes we wish there could be a balance but not as yet. This birthday, we got you a Chromebook so you have all the right tools at the right time. It is a great device to learn cool things. And the occasional Angry Birds.

Your continued love for music is fantastic. I love the fact that we can listen to good Carnatic music together. While you continue to love Balamurali Krishna’s singing, your newfound admiration for Abhishek Raghuram (and his Viribhoni) is admirable. As is your liking for the Sikkil Gurucharan and Anil Srinivasan combo. I hope to get you to meet one or all of them someday. Remember, these guys put in a lot of effort to get where they are. It is not just talent. So, there is no point in expecting music to come to you naturally. You have to put in the effort. Yes, I am talking about your complaints over repeated practice. Gotta do it. No way around it.

I love, love the fact that you run to hug me when I drop you off at school. In front of your BFF, no less. I know this is a fleeting experience that will soon disappear. Until then, I will cherish every one of those tight hugs.

The Medium Guy

Your mother and I so desperately wish to freeze things in time. As much as we would love for you to eat your food yourself without taking the entire day and clean yourself up properly, we oh so desperately miss the little guy who was knee high and wobbling around in his diapers, and babbling incessantly. We miss that little one so much and as you grow older, even more so.

We love it when you speak in Tamizh. But it is starting to get rarer and rarer. Please, please speak the language a little more like you used to. For our sake. It feels like honey in our ears when we hear it. No hyperbole whatsoever.

I am thrilled that you are not scared of lizards in the garden. I am not gung-ho about you wanting to go and touch them. But not being scared is nice. If only your mother saw our side of things. 

Finally, to me, the greatest part of my day is when I put you to bed and watch you go to sleep. Nothing, absolutely nothing feels purer and awesomer than that. In that moment, the Universe just feels right.

Happy birthday, my would-be paleontologist who also happens to be a would-be geologist.

Signed,

Appa.

P.S: Too early to be asking questions about the reproductive system from your encyclopedia. End of conversation. Finito.

Presenting my first book – Mahabharata for Kids

I am incredibly proud to announce to the world, my first book – “Mahabharata for Kids“. The book has been in the works for the last few months and was formally released at a function in my high school during my recent trip to India. The print version is now available to ship worldwide. Details on how to request your copy are here. The iOS version is available on the iBookStore. The Kindle version is available on the Amazon Kindle Store.

About the Book

The book was borne out of a simple desire- to introduce the great Indian epic, Mahabharata to my five year old. I searched all over the place to find a version that would be clean, simple and easy to read. No luck. So I thought of creating a one off book for him. I would write it, print it on my computer and staple it together. After a few drafts, I realized there was something here that could be used not just by my son but by so many other parents and their kids. My father, a prolific writer, who has published over 25 books on Hinduism was a good source to tap into and explore the viability of the project.

Mahabharata for kids
Mahabharata for kids

One thing was still missing. With young kids, plain text never works. I needed good art. And I didn’t want to be treading on copyright issues. Thankfully my father had a solution. He suggested that we use the wonderful artist who had illustrated much of my father’s books to do exclusive art for my book. Once the artist Murugesan agreed and started doing his magic, things started coming together pretty quickly. The book rolled out of the press the day after I landed in India and we launched it the next week. Since then, we have already sold over 500 copies of the book.

The Causes

All proceeds from the sale of this book will be sent to my dad’s charity, Sri Ranganatha Charities which will use it to support very many good causes ranging from kids education to supporting food, clothing, and education expenses for handicapped schools to providing eye surgery for blind kids. Through my dad’s 25+ publications, the charity has collected and disbursed over Rs.20 lakhs ($30,000) in the last 15 years. This book will further that effort.

I request you, the reader of the post to consider buying the book for yourself, friends, and family and also to spread the word about it on social networks. Every single dollar goes towards charity. I decided to bear the entire publishing cost so that the charity gets all proceeds from sales of the book.

Who should buy?

The book is ideal for kids from 5-8. Most of the words in the book are simple to read. The only areas where early readers will need help from the parent is when they get to read and pronounce the long Indian names in the book which was unavoidable.

The print version features grayscale line art which can also be used as coloring pages by kids. Alternately, the line art is available for download on the official website. Parents can download individual drawings, print and use them for coloring.

The digital version of the book will contain colored versions of the line drawings. The iOS version of the book is being reviewed by Apple as I type and will hopefully be available in the next day or two. The Kindle version is in works and I am hoping to launch that in a week or so.

The book makes for a great gift to the budding reader and also for return gifts for birthday parties and such. Every single dollar goes to charity. So please spread the word on the book.

Connecting and Interacting

One of the challenges with a complex epic like Mahabharata is to interpret the story in a way that children understand and enjoy. To that effect, I have created a Facebook page for parents to engage in conversations related to the book, the story and other topics. Please Like the page so you can get updates for new posts and such.

I am also blogging my experiences with creating, publishing and spreading the word on the book on the official website for the book.

Your support for this project and the underlying causes are most appreciated.

Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth: Great book for kids

Our family is a big fan of the work of Pixar artist, Sanjay Patel. I wrote about his work in an earlier blog post where I strongly recommended his two books, Hindu Deities and Ramayana: Divine Loophole. In addition to these two books, he has also created a journal composed of his art and a wonderful art poster book with gorgeous large size illustrations of Indian Gods and Goddesses. His latest book titled Ganesha’s Sweet Tooth was announced in Spring when I promptly preordered it. The book shipped last week and I am happy to say, it lived up to all our expectations. Read on for a full review of the book.

Ganesha's sweet tooth

Ganesha’s Sweet tooth is a very loosely based origin story of how Ganesha came to be the scribe for Mahabharata. For this effort, Sanjay Patel has partnered with Emily Haynes. If you have experienced Sanjay’s art through any of his previous works, you will find yourself happy to see that he continues to be at the top of his game. To me, every page was a standout but the two I would like to point out are one of Ganesha playing cricket and the other of a two page layout of Mahabharata- no words, just a  cornucopia of images from different parts of the epic. They convey at once the grandiosity of the epic and the talent of the artist who managed to cram all that mattered in two pages. It has to be experienced to be believed.

Jawbreaker

The story itself is simple and imaginative. It ties two stories from Indian mythology pretty neatly. But it is the style and the art that really matters. One standout element in this book given that it is an original story is the way it makes kids relate. This is pretty important if the author is interested in making a connection with the reader or the one the story is being read to. When I read the story to my son who only knew of Ganesha, his love for laddoos and hi mouse, there was so much he could relate to or identify with. And that is when the author wins. And as a parent, I wanted that connection established to ensure that my son will want to read the book over and over again. It would also someday serve as my segue to the far more complex and challenging Mahabharata.

Ganesha's sweet tooth

I am a happy customer and more importantly a happy father. And when a book with an Indian storyline without blood and action and with dollops of love and humor arrive in a colorful eye-popping package, what more can I ask for?

You can order the book in printed form or Kindle version here.

 

Facebook for kids- Exciting or scary?

As you probably are aware, rumor mills are speculating that Facebook is preparing to open up its service to kids under 13. There was an excellent bit on this on NPR on Sunday <link not easily searchable> and I am sharing some things I heard in that news piece and my thoughts on the matter.

Facebook

Background

Under Children Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), Facebook and such online services are significantly restricted if not fully banned for kids under 13. There is an interesting book on the topic called Talking Back to Facebookthat was featured on NPR a week ago. It brings up interesting questions on the impact of Facebook on our lives with a specific focus on its impact on kids.

What it means to Facebook

Facebook (of the much maligned IPO fame) is working hard to identify new revenue streams to propel its growth to justify its high valuation. While its subscriber base continues to grow, it is slowing down because much of America is on Facebook already. It is turning to a segment that has not yet been officially mined – kids under 13. Under COPPA, Facebook is not technically available for kids under 13. It makes excellent business sense for Facebook and could become potentially lucrative and well-received if done right. But it is not without significant risks and attention. But the reward definitely outweighs the risks. If Facebook can execute on a good plan to deliver the service officially to kids under 13, they could unlock a potential goldmine that will give them great subscriber growth for years to come.

The risks

Why is it challenging for Facebook to deliver such a service to under 13 kids?. To put it simply, display ads, subscriptions and stalking. The bulk of Facebook’s revenue comes from targeted ads you see on the right side corner of your Facebook page. These ads are tailored based on the user’s friends lists, pages they visit in and out of Facebook (tracked via the OpenGraph system), their Likes and so on. These ads are algorithm driven solutions that will generate ads based on the aforementioned variables. Some or many of these ads may and will not be suitable for kids. So Facebook has to implement a sophisticated system that prevents such ads from getting displayed on the pages and feeds of under 13 kids. In addition, ads need to be categorized based on target audience to allow for Facebook to then manage what gets delivered to kids and what doesn’t.

Kids should also be prevented from subscribing to feeds that can potentially contain objectionable content. This is easier said that done. What is traditionally a safe feed could be polluted by one non kid-friendly post that will cause the whole pack of cards to collapse. Managing subscriptions on a post by post basis is a huge task, if at all possible.

Finally, online social networks are huge magnets for sexual predators and pedophiles. If Facebook opens up its service to under 13 kids, securing kids from such people will be a massive challenge. While parents will have to play a very strong role in managing who their kids friend and subscribe to, unwanted people will manage to fall through the safety net. All it takes is one bad episode and things will get extremely political and nasty for Facebook.

Parental Role

One of the interesting tidbits from the NPR news article was that parents of kids under 13 are active in setting up accounts for their kids. They see value in their kids having a social network of their own. They also think they can manage their friend circle effectively. This is something of a revelation given how paranoid parents are with the security of their young kids. So Facebook might only be making what is already happening unofficially, official. But therein lies the problem. Making it official only makes it open to lawsuits if things were to go wrong. But with things staying unofficial, Facebook is not responsible for parents taking the onus and setting up their kids accounts.

For now, Facebook is content having a page describing all that it does to ensure your privacy as a Facebook user, and specifically as a parent interested in the privacy of his or her children.

There may be real value in kids having an online social network. The question for parents to answer is if it is worth the risk?.

 

 

Dear son, you are four today.

I am still in denial.

You were but a little baby, just about an arms length when I first saw you. You have grown since then. Quite a bit. You sit next to me at the table and have a conversation these days. And I thought you werent going to be doing that until, well, ever.

4

I remember the nights when I would pace the bedroom with you in my arms, slowly coaxing, cajoling and soon praying that you’d go to sleep. Sometimes you did, only to wake up when I put you in the bed. Yes, I remember those nights vividly. My tshirts bear testimony to it. And now, I cant lift you for more than 5 minutes without starting to feel my back hurting. You have come a long way.

There was a time when your babbles were music to my ears. Now, I wish you would occasionally pause to let your dad and mom talk. Then again, I was no different and that gives me an odd thrill. The seed does not fall far from the tree afterall.

You can be a pain some mornings. Scratch that. Most mornings really. I never thought brushing one’s teeth was such a massive chore. I never thought it would take any human over 2 minutes to wear their socks and shoes. You proved me wrong alright. I never believed our biological clocks treat weekdays and weekends any differently especially while waking up. Apparently not. Somehow you have got them mixed up. If only I could change that.

They started teaching you to read and write at school. Never imagined the toll that it would take on me. I mean, how hard is it to write a lower case “e”. Really. Really?. Just as I am about to tear the few remaining hairs on my head, you blow me away with your incredible smile. As your mom always says, “Sucker!”.

I never thought I would see you fall for a girl until you hit elementary school. Apparently you have a thing for quite a few of them in your day care already. And for thin and charming well dressed women, much much older than you. But hey, the seed doesnt really fall far from the tree.

For all this, you are incredibly tuned to your our emotions so much so that your mom and I long for your hugs and kisses, all the time. I know that when you run out of things to tell me while you are in bed and not really feeling sleepy, the only thing left in your arsenal is “I love you appa”, it still blows my mind. Everytime.

I could go on and on. But I will stop here. I never thought life would be so much complicated and challenging after a child. You have showed me and how. But with every word you speak and every hug you give your mom and me, I can only wish this phase lasted forever. We already miss you as a baby, an infant and will soon miss you, the toddler. Life has indeed become quite different from what it was 4 years ago.

All the more awesomer. Happy birthday, medium guy.

The Bay Area Indian Parent – Part 2

When I wrote the first post on this topic, I received some interesting feedback. Some found it amusing. Others found it true. Some found it insulting. Obviously, I need to do a better message of keeping it amusing and true and not tread on the insulting part. So here goes.

Bay Area Parent
Bay Area Parent

Continuing from right where I left off in my previous post on the topic,

  • Unshackled from constant parental advice, the kid’s parents are ready to socialize. And the real decisions start. The typical Bay Area parent spends 6 hours working, 6 hours sleeping and 12 hours figuring out if they are doing the right thing for their kid.
  • When its time to pick a daycare, the big M question has to be answered. Should my child go to a Montessori or a regular daycare?. After hours of googling about the Montessori method and visiting every Montessori in South Bay, the decision is made. Remember we all believe our kids are preordained by Perumal to be Sergey Brin, Larry Page or Jeff Bezos.
  • At daycare, the mother furtively glances at the doodle from the other “Asian” kid to make sure her kids is better. Never mind the child is 2 years old and is literally scratching with a crayon.
  • Is my kid eating all his/her lunch. Should I pack some rice instead of the soup and salad at school?. Is my kid eating meat from the next plate? Shiva, Shiva.
  • Is the daycare teacher qualified to teach my 2 year old how to doodle?. Is the teacher for the 3 year class ready to teach my kid how to read and write? In the evening, the 3 year old is asked what he/she learnt in school. Did they teach you the phonics yet?. At the weekend party, her friend’s 3-year old kid can write her own name. Why can’t mine do it?. That night, sleep is an elusive commodity.
  • The third birthday arrives. After the festivities at Pump it Up, it is time for business. Should we move the child to Stafford or Challenger where they get real education?. Or will it be the daycare until 5?
  • If a house hasn’t already been purchased, house hunt starts at right earnest. Do I go where the flock is- Fremont, Sunnyvale or San Jose?. Should I really go into the desi bastions- why not the “American” neighborhoods of Redwood City or Palo Alto?. Or maybe my kid is meant for great things and we need to get into Cupertino somehow. Of course, the school district is the driver. The school api’s website is promptly bookmarked.
  • Brain Quest books are bought en masse at Costco. Crayons fill the kids room. Toys make way for the easel and the writing board.
  • Education alone isn’t enough these days- or so goes the talk at the kid’s school. So a checklist is made- martial arts, musical instrument, art and soccer. Swimming is assumed as a default requirement.
  • Oops, time for the next kid.
  • Rinse, lather, repeat.
The kids turn out OK. Life turns out OK. Bay Area turns out OK. What if….

 

Read Across America and Dr.Seuss

I wanted to get a short post out on this cool thing going on in schools this week – Read Across America. Most parents with older kids are probably aware of this. Their official blog tells us that this is the 15th year of RAA. This year the theme is green and kids are being asked to “read for the trees”. This maps well with the upcoming Dr.Seuss movie, The Lorax which is an excellent tale on environmental awareness for kids. Sounds corny and one from the treehuggers?. Sure. But I love it. I love the fact that there are Dr.Seuss books all over my sons pre-K classroom. I love that they are reading and learning about trees. I love that they are reading, period.

Read Across America

There is also a nice partnership with We Give Books that allows parents and educators to read books to kids and in turn allow the organization to provide books for more kids, keeping the circle alive and serving kids who may not otherwise be able to afford these books.

 And then there is Dr.Seuss (Theodore Geisel). With every passing day, my appreciation for this writer grows manifold. What he has done in my household and in millions on others the world over is one whose value cannot be measured in hours or dollars. The books trigger a sense of fascination and joy in kids and adults alike. For once, imagination is allowed to roam, here, there and everywhere. Kids are exhorted to think out of the box, something most of sadly lost in the deluge of formal education. Since RAA coincides with Dr.Seuss’s birthday, the two events are coupled together nicely to offer kids the opportunity to read Dr.Seuss’s books all week. Isnt that awesome?

So, lets all celebrate the joy of Dr.Seuss books with our kids this week and help them learn to read cool Dr.Seuss books and develop a sense of appreciation and respect for the environment. And yes, I am one of those tree huggers and proudly so.

Random observations of a parent at the Children’s Museum

I just got back from a trip to the San Jose Children’s Discovery Museum. We like the place. It’s a fun way to kill 3 hours with a kid. While this is inferior to the one in Houston, which absolutely rocks, it aint any bad. Anyway, as I was watching my toddler do stuff and interact with other kids older and younger, I observed some things worth sharing here.

Most kids that end up playing together, almost never hit it off from the start. There is the gentle touch and feel time prior to really hitting it off.

At the museum

My 3 yr old has a thing for well dressed girls. More importantly those with well groomed hair. The hair is a critical gating factor in his approval process. Once approved,  these young ladies are nothing short of worshipped. Dear daughter-in-law from the future, you would be well served to pay good attention to your hair.

San Jose Children's Discovery Museum
So there are all these parents watching their kids play with toys and more importantly other kids. When there are these arguments between kids,  are we supposed to interfere. Should we let our kids learn the hard way?. Should we let him a bully or the bullied or should we jump in? Is it part of the learning process that the child learn how to operate with peers or do we use this opportunity to teach?.  In a dog eat dog world, is teaching to share or to be a go-better the right approach?
I find that the art sections and project areas are thinly populated by boys. Is this a gender thing? I remember enjoying to paint. If I expect my son to want to like a particular activity and do it a particular way, is it unfair on my son or just a dad being a dad?
Children’s museums are a feel good place for any parent. You see other parents getting angry, frustrated and tired at the tantrums of their respective little ones. You realise that you are so not alone. With every screaming kid in the hallway, you smile to yourself in contentment. The world is fair after all. And when the worlds of two misbehaving  kids collide, there is an all-knowing nod between their parents. Yes, I understand.

At work, we tend to set or be set exacting standards but when the child does even the smallest activity in the museum better than one other, there is an overwhelming sense of pride. Like your kid just won the super bowl MVP. And we are quick to tell it to the kid. Does it help them in confidence when we reinforce even the smallest of achievements or are we just setting them up to think they are truly exceptional when they might not be?

Finally, when normal people have kids, do they end up growing to be hyperconscious, paranoid, over-analyzing someone-from-outer-space like me?

 

Introducing the reading habit to children

Reading with grandpa

My son is well into 3 now and I was starting to think of how to make reading appealing to him. He enjoys looking at and being read stories from books which is a relief given how much my wife and I love reading. It would be a good thing if the little guy takes up to reading as a hobby, activity and a learning tool to enrich his life. And just as I was wondering how and when to introduce the reading habit, I came across a great article by famed author James Patterson on kid reading habits. The author makes some excellent points. Some of them that stand out to me are how boys and girls approach reading and how to tweak one’s (parent) plan appropriately. The other point of letting kids read what they want instead of making them read what you (the adult) wants is also very important.

Growing up, I don’t ever remember my dad censoring my books. I happened upon a lot of authors much earlier than my peers but I was not told to keep pace with the rest or read suitable content for the ages. I was allowed to read what I wanted when I wanted. While the framework of age appropriate content is most important, not all kids consume text at the same pace and parents will have to be always on top of the reading process to make sure there is enough to meaningfully stimulate the kid’s requirements. I was fortunate in that aspect that I had access to wonderful libraries that gave me a wide choice of material to read. Much of what I am today is directly due to my reading habits and I would want my son to head down the same path.

The Patterson article made me hunt for some good reading resources and here are some I found to have some value. There are also recommendations for age-appropriate material for kids from 0-8 years.

http://dropeverythingandread.com/

http://www.guysread.com/

http://www.oprah.com/packages/kid-reading-list.html

http://www.readkiddoread.com/great-illustrated-books

Unlike a lot of other hobbies and sports where the kid chooses to pick it up or not, I believe that the reading habit is imperative for a child to develop a broad sense of knowledge and understanding of the world around us. As parents or teachers, if you have more resources or ideas to share, please do so.