When it comes to selecting books for Aria, we try to pay attention to a few things.

books with photos or realistic drawings

Example of a book with a photo of an elephant vs a book with an unrealistic illustration of an elephant
Example of a book with a photo of an elephant vs a book with an unrealistic illustration of an elephant

If you think about it from a child’s perspective, a book with realistic images already requires a lot of understanding from a child:

  • A book contains 2D representations of objects in our 3D world. For example, a photo of a cat represents a real cat.
  • The cat in the picture will not look exactly like the cats Aria sees in real life. The photo of the cat represents many different cats.
  • She will also learn that there is a word connected to the object in the book. In our case, two words, in Dutch and Spanish. 

Why would you add the complexity of unrealistic drawings? That would mean that the translation from an image to a real-life object becomes even more complicated. On top of that, it doesn’t teach her anything about the object itself.

books with free animals

When you look for books about animals, it is shocking to me how difficult it is to find books that aren’t about animals in captivity. So many books are either about farm animals, zoo animals, pets or circus animals. 🤔 Really? Is that what we want for children as first impressions of animals? I think it shows perfectly how perverted we are as a society in our relationship with the animals on this planet. And I’m guilty of this too; I had a lot of books like this for Matteo.

books that don’t contain fantasy

It’s not because I don’t like fantasy (Harry Potter fan for life 🧙🏻‍♀️) or because I’m no fun 😬. Aria’s brain can not distinguish fantasy from reality right now. As she is in full world-discovering modus, I don’t want to confuse her with fantasy. Instead, I want to help her discover the real world. And one day, when her brain can handle it, she can have all the fantasy she wants. 

This is what we currently pay attention to, for the types of books Aria is looking at right now. There are, of course, many other factors like inclusivity, respect, not confirming the typical gender roles, etc… 

we try to buy second-hand

If possible, I try to find books second-hand. I love that bol.com also offers second-hand books, and I also look for them on Vinted. If I really want a book, and I can’t find it second-hand, I sometimes buy it new. As we rotate the books, we also don’t need a lot of books. I would love to go to the library with her, but with the covid measures, that’s just too complicated for now.

aria’s favourite books

It can be overwhelming to pick books for your child as there is so much choice out there. These are some of Aria’s favourite books at the moment.


Books with realistic images for babies and toddlers
Aria’s favourite books