I think most parents want their kids to develop a great ‘love’ of something. For example, some parents want their kids to love the outdoors, playing sports or making music. As a mum, I want my kids to have a love of reading.
Is the art of reading dead??
In the digital age, reading has taken a bit of a beating. First came the Kindle (and other e-readers) thereby negating our need to buy actual books. Our newspapers are slowly becoming digitised and we no longer ‘read’ the paper like we once did. We scan the articles or substitute legitimate news for an often biased or one-sided take on the facts that pop up in our Facebook feed (that we have also scanned).
Personally, I still love the feel of a real book in my hands. I now consider reading as one of my guilty pleasures. For many years I told myself I was ‘too busy’ to read books and it’s only when I started again that I realised how much I love it.
Earlier in the year, I launched Readin’ & Watchin’ where I share a short review of the books I read with my blog readers. In the same way you sign up with a girlfriend for a block of personal training sessions, the accountability of posting the reviews keeps me reading on a regular basis. Click here to catch up on my ‘reads’ thus far.
I am genuinely concerned about my kids and how I can encourage them to love reading when online information is king. In primary school, I still remember when a solitary Commodore 64* was dropped off to the classroom (in a bread crate). These days, a number of schools have BYOD (bring your own device) program from the early primary years for standard curriculum content. Give it a few more years and ‘readers’ may disappear altogether.
Plenty of experts say the best way to encourage kids to love reading is to expose them to books from birth. I am very sentimental about some of my own favourite childhood books and I kept them deliberately in order to pass them onto my kids. However, given some of them are 35+ years old, they are known as ‘Mummy’s special books’ and the kids know to handle them with extreme care. Who knows, I might be able to pass them onto my grandkids some day!
My eldest daughter Giuliana is very much a digi-kid. She never specifically asks for new books but she loves being read to. I often have to suppress a groan every night when she asks for the same handful of stories in rotation. I’m talking The Paper Bag Princess, Giraffes Can’t Dance and Green Eggs and Ham. They say kids like repetition, but what about the poor parents.
On a recent coffee date, I was talking to a friend who was due to attend a baby shower but for the mum’s second child. I got hit up for present ideas and I suggested ‘books’. I have always loved the kids getting books as gifts. They don’t take up a lot of space, pages do tear and new material maintains the sanity of parents who have read Hairy Maclary a few too many times!
The response I got was “Yeah…..but they already have lots of books. I don’t want to be giving them another copy of Dear Zoo”. As a fan of children’s fiction, I quickly rattled off a few of my lesser known favourite kids’ books. My girlfriend hadn’t heard of any of them. Out came her phone and she ordered a couple while we were still sitting in the café. Don’t just love #actiontakers ??
I’m a massive ‘sharer’ so below are the lesser known kids’ books that I recommended.
Apple Pigs is one of ‘Mummy’s special books’ and I still love it to bits. Stories that rhyme are lovely to read and kids can remember the words very quickly. A young girl gives some love to an old apple tree and come springtime, the tree is bursting with fruit. She tries to stash the apples all over the house to no avail. The solution – hold a great apple feast….and invite man, bird and woolly beast! It’s a very special read.
Four million wasps have settled in the town of Itching Down and are causing the villagers all sorts of strife. Their plan; make a giant jam sandwich to trap them. The Giant Jam Sandwich is another wonderful rhyming story that is lots of fun. I highly recommend it.
My sister introduced us to Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast. Set in your fridge, Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast are both determined to reach the last drop of maple syrup first. However, they are pipped at the post by the villainous Baron Von Waffle (spoiler alert!!). This book is action packed and is a great way to introduce your kids to all kids of different foods.
I can’t remember who gave us our copy of I Want My Hat Back but it’s a great book for both adults and kids. It’s a story where you can be expressive with your voice, particularly when the bear eats the rabbit for stealing his hat (spoiler alert!!). Don’t worry, the rabbit’s demise will go completely unnoticed by little ones. This is the kind of book written with the parent in mind. Love it!
Caps For Sale was first published in 1940…..so it’s an oldie but a goodie. A peddler is happily wandering the countryside selling caps, but when he stops for a nap, some cheeky monkeys have stolen them. It’s another great story to be expressive as the peddler gets increasingly frustrated with the monkeys who refuse to give him back his caps.
Have you read any of these books?? What is your favourite kid’s book (either classic or lesser known)??
*Who remembers ‘Granny’s Garden’?? I just remember it was THE game to play on the classroom computer….and something about toadstools 😉 #gettingold
Note: this post contains affiliate links