I love World Book Day!! Not just because I am an author but because as a parent of 3 children I have seen first-hand the important role that books have played and continue to play in all their lives…
For 18 months I read the whole of the Harry Potter series (with my then 8 and 10 year old) – every night we would devour another chapter and I got to fall in love with that amazing book series again (having first read it some 20 years ago!)
I have passed on my favourite books from my childhood to my children; including the whole of the famous five collection and my daughter is currently obsessed with the Malory towers and St. Claire’s series and is learning so much from the stories about loyalty, friendship and growing up into a strong young woman!
My 2 year old loves choosing his books after bath time and snuggling up to Winnie the Pooh, The Gruffalo amongst other favourites and some not so well known (including his encyclopedia of dinosaurs!!) And the time we spend together at the end of the day is precious; I leave my phone downstairs and put the craziness of the day aside for a second, before I have to dash off to collect the older ones from clubs, make tea, answer emails and prepare for the following day and all the other million and one things that a mum needs to do every evening. And for 20 minutes we have quiet, cuddly story time and it is good for both of us!
The value of books and stories for children cannot be underestimated and in the increasing digital world should be encouraged more than ever. What my children have learnt about empathy, relationships, human behaviours, historic events, dealing with emotions and life and becoming good citizens of the world from the stories they have read is so critical to their wellbeing and development. And not to mention the academic and educational benefits.
So I thought I would give our best recommendations for less obvious books to read with your children; the unsung heroes of children’s books if you like!! Because we all know (and love!) Harry Potter and Julia Donaldson and Roald Dahl of course – but then everyone knows about these. And this year I wanted to inspire people to try some different books that will really have an impact on you and your children. Because the popular ones are on everyone else’s list so as much as they belong on ‘best of lists’ its good to get recommendations for lesser known children’s books.
Taking time out to read is really such a valueable and enjoyable thing for both of you. And it won’t be long before they don’t want you to read with you anymore, so take the snuggles and the togetherness while you can!!!
Happy reading….and being together………
Books you must read for under 3’s…
1/ Winnie the Pooh (Disney version):
Ok the most classic children’s story of all time arguably doesn’t belong on a list of less obvious children’s books you should read! Except this version does as I have not seen them anywhere since and they have literally had hundreds of hours of read time in our house! I bought this entire set of 20 Winnie-the Pooh books at a charity shop for £3 10 years ago when my eldest was one – such a bargain! And it has literally been the most favourite set of books in our house for all the children. The stories are long enough to have a good moral and tale to learn from but have made the traditional Winnie the pooh language more simple and accessible for younger readers. If you can find the set I would highly recommend them!
2/ Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type:
This is as random as it sounds but a delightfully random story! Short and funny and it come swift an audio CD read by Rich Mayall.
3/ The Magic Sky – Lucy Richards:
A colourful board book about polar bears and the love of a mummy and daddy!
4/ Richard Scarry’s Funniest Storybook ever:
Richard Scarry also created ‘Busy Town’ and a range of other similar books that were popular in the 70s and 80’s but don’t seem as well known in the UK of late. The illustrations, the vignettes and the scenes have children poring over them for hours.
Books for you must read for 4-8 year olds…….
5/ Dogger – Shirley Hughes :
Used to be a classic but not seen as much nowadays but the story is so relatable for all kids about looking after a beloved toy. Good for developing emotional intelligence in children.
6/ The Little Engine that Could – Watty Piper:
This is like the original motivational text for children! It teaches them so much about keeping going through adversity and is just a lovely, lovely story!
7/ The Magic Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton
An absolute must read for every child under 8 I believe – every child should have the opportunity to imagine and dream about a magical world at the top of a huge tree which has a slide going down the centre and the most incredible biscuits which fizz and pop in your mouth!
8/ Green Eggs and Ham – Dr Seuss
As much as the author is well known, and ‘The Cat in the Hat’ is his most famous, but I think ‘Green Eggs and Ham’ is amazing not only for the rhymes and prose but because its simple message encourages children to try new things! Simple…and successful!
9/ Mr PinkWhistle – Enid Blyton:
I believe these are out of print and they are lesser known works of Enid Blyton but are really worth tracking down and reading with younger kids. They have timeless morals in their stories (if a bit repetitive!) and children love the funny little man and the fact that he ‘puts wrong things right’. It shows them that they can make a difference to things that are not right!
10/ Wonderslide World – Helen Nurse
Who wouldn’t want to discover a magical world at the bottom of a magical slide underneath the stage in their school and meet a load of amazing circus performers and talking squirrels?! Wonderslide World introduces the Wonderstar characters, who are skilled youngsters who all have a different talent and which encourages children to think what Wonderstar they would be, because everyone is good at something!
Books for you must read for 9+ year olds…….
11/Running Wild – Michael Morpurgo:
All Michael Morpurgo books are amazing. Mostly he takes a real event from history and creates a fictional, human story that happened in the real event. So its a great way of teaching children and young people about real historical events and bringing a human story often with hardship and challenges to overcome. Running Wild is about a boy and an elephant who survive the Tsunami in Indonesia and is an incredible story, that not only children should read but adults too!
12/ Five Find Outers Mystery series – Enid Blyton:
Everyone has heard of The Famous Five of course and The Five Find Outers is a lesser known version of the Famous Five but in a lot of ways funnier and better mysteries! My kids love both but The Five Find Outers wins out!
13/ Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls:
there are different versions of this now, including one for rebel boys, but this is the original and my 9 year old daughter loves the book. It is a compilation of short, real life stories about real life inspiring women and what they achieved. Each one is short and bite sized so easy to read and so, so inspiring! There is also a podcast of the series here
14/ Wonder – P.J Palacio:
This is a wonderfully written story about a boy with a sever facial disfigurement and really raises a lot of important issues for children and young people to consider. Written from the boys point of view it is extremely insightful and I think every young person should read this and would change the way they look at someone with a disability or who seems different to them as a result.
So these are our recommendations for lesser known children’s books that are amazing in our view! Please tell us what you think…and have an amazing World Book Day 2019 whatever book you choose to celebrate!
And if you want some ideas for 36 World Book day costume ideas go here …..