I’ve got a long weekend off for my birthday (Monday 7th), so naturally my bladder woke me up at 6.45am, an opportunity to write this post that I’ve been mulling over this week.
Recent events have got me thinking a lot about children’s books (World Book Day aside!), the books I enjoyed growing up, and the complete access and freedom to books that I want my children to have, and passion for reading that I want my children to adopt as they go through life.
Event one: Went to the wonderful new Waterstones on Tottenham Court Road to browse while waiting for a friend, and felt much nostalgia over the books I saw there, from my own childhood.
Event two: A kind colleague brought in loads of his son’s unwanted books – most of them were duplicate gifts of books he already had, so are pristine – I’m chuffed with the haul!
Event three: Louise Rennison, author of Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging, died. This is very sad, as she was a true comic genius and wrote in such a way that touched young adult readers and this book, and the others that followed in the series were extremely memorable. RIP Louise.
This week, I’ve been browsing Amazon and creating a wishlist specifically for children’s books, based on my memories as a child and books I’ve seen since that I want our children to have.
In no particular order, some particular favourites:
Anything by Enid Blyton – her books are of a certain time, but they were jolly marvellous tales, often of boarding school, tuck shops and midnight feasts, fantastical creatures living up a tree, toys that came to life. Utterly innocent fun.I’ll be hunting down old copies in charity shops, I prefer to older style covers.
Ros Asquith – I remember poring over the Teenage Worrier’s Guide to Life, reading and rereading the rude bits. A very funny guide to negotiating the teenage years from Asquith’s character, Lettie Chubb.
Goodnight Mr Tom, Michelle Magorian – this book is such a wonderful story of an abused little boy evacuated to live with a gruff, lonely old man in the country during World War II. Slowly and surely they build an unbreakable bond, it’s a really emotional read. I implore you to read it if you didn’t get the chance at school
Again, for the pre-pubescent and teenagers, Judy Blume captured the struggles of growing up so very well.
The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery, I didn’t read this til Year 13, when we read it in my French A-Level class. Wonderful, charming, philosopical. There’s a bilingual edition if you want to start the language-learning early!
Dr Xargle’s Book of Earthlets, finally moving back towards the younger kids reads after going off on one there with the young adult reads – sorry – this picture book is hilarious, both in it’s wording and illustration, explaining the concept of babies from the perspective of an alien teacher. It has me hysterical every time.
Ganesh’s Sweet Tooth is one I spied in Gosh Comics who have an extensive range of beautifully illustrated books for kids. This one stuck out for me because of the bold colours, a great way for your kids to learn about other cultures from a young age too.
Gosh also has a large selection of Little Golden Books, including this Sesame Street one – I love Sesame Street/The Muppets/Jim Henson so this one really appealed to me in particular, but the Little Golden Book range has a whole host of titles from Star Wars to Disney, to Richard Scarry, and they cost very little too, making books an affordable treat.
Speaking of Richard Scarry, I recently bought a vintage edition of his Best Storybook Ever from a charity shop in Canterbury for £1.99. Steal! Love these old-fashioned illustrations.
We’re lucky to live close to our town centre, so could be in Waterstones within 10 minutes of leaving the house (or maybe 20 minutes now that I am 30 weeks pregnant, with a trip to the loo en route too). We also have a public library a further 5 minute walk away and I aim to ensure that regular trips to the library become part of my family’s routine as soon as feasibly possible. That way, the children will have access to a range of books without us necessarily having to fork out for every title, and they also learn to look after items that don’t belong to them (remind me I said this as I hand over a dribble covered board book to the librarian with a fiver and a shamed face).
I’d love to hear about your children’s favourite books, or your own favourites from growing up…let me know!
Side note, I’ve joined BlogLovin’