Last week it was Children’s Book Week in Australia. Each year The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) together with schools, libraries, booksellors, authors & illustrators help children & students celebrate Australian Children’s Literature. As I’ve seen many posts on Facebook this week of children dressed up for Book Week this year, I have reflected on the importance of reading & some of the books my children enjoyed reading.
Many schools have a book week parade during the week where children come dressed as their favourite book character. My son’s school, a Pre-Prep – 12 school, celebrates book week with a whole school parade. Apparently there are many who dress up in the junior school but not so many by the time you get to senior school. I only have a few photos of my children from Book Weeks from the early years of their schooling. (A couple are above). I’m sure my daughter did get dressed up for Book Week when she was in Middle or Senior school.
However reading was a huge part of their life before school. We read bedtime stories to both children from when they were babies. Starting with little chunky board books before moving onto picture books when they were toddlers. “Stop said the man in blue. He is a policeman.” is a page that we can still recite from one of the very first board books we owned. Some of the picture books have been taped back together as they were loved so much. We have kept many of the favourite picture books, though we often borrowed from the local library.
We continued reading with our children until they were in upper primary school. Even though they could well & truly read by then it was fun to read chapter books together or read harder books with them. Here is a link to one of many articles on the benefits of reading to older children. I remember my daughter’s grade 2 teacher who had children ranging from about 5-17 years of age said that she was still reading with her 17 year old. When my son was in grade 7 I do recall reading to him when he had a scratched eye so couldn’t do anything because he needed to lie with his eyes shut.
So what were some of the books that were enjoyed in our house:
- We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxbury (board book but can get it in a paper paged book as well)
- Fuzzy Yellow Ducklings by Matthew Van Fleet (a touch book for toddlers)
- There’s a Hippopotomas on Our Roof Eating Cake by Hazel Edwards, illustrated by Deborah Niland
- Bananas in Pyjamas: Fancy Dress Party – When my daughter was about 3 this was taken to bed with every night for a while, it had to be taped up. (Well remembered page is pictured.)
- Mr Smarty Loves to Party by Janine Scott, illustrated by Christine Ross – It’s about a bear who goes to different parties dressed-up for the event and you can imagine what he wears to a birthday party!
- Pooh and the Dragon (a Little Golden Book)
- Lullabyhullaballoo! by Mick Inkpen
- The King and the Cuddly by Majorie Newman, illustrated by Peter Bowman
- Love You Forever by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Anthony Lewis
- Hop on Pop by Dr Seuss – This copy was my own from my childhood
- Nursery Rhyme Books
- Fairy Tale Books
- Other books with a compilation of stories
- Set of Beatrix Potter books
- The Jolly Postman or Other People’s Letters by Janet & Allen Ahlberg
- Spot What books (a whole series with a themed picture on each page with a list of things to find)
- The Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
- The Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
- Harry Potter Series – my son started reading these when he was about 8 so I read them at the same time as him. My daughter didn’t get into them until she was about 13.
- Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
- God Smuggler’s by Brother Andrew
- Skulduggery Pleasant Series by Derek Landy
- My Birthday, Jesus Birthday by Holly Davis, illustrated by Nancy Munger
- With Love at Christmas by Mem Fox, illustrated by Fay Plamka
- Jotham’s Journey; Bartholomew’s Passage; Tabitha’s Travels and Ishtar’s Odyssey a series by Arnold Ytreeide – with a chapter for each day of advent leading up to the birth of Jesus; all told from the perspective of the main character and meets the characters from the other books along the way. We have been reading 1 of these for about 12 Advent seasons now so great for children of all ages. See more in my fuller post about the series.
- The Night Before Christmas (pop-up book) – A beautiful illustrated, pop-up version of the famous poem first published in 1823. A book that Dad reads once a year on Christmas Eve before bedtime.
- An Aussie Night Before Christmas (pop-up book) – An Australian version of the poem in a beautiful illustrated pop-up book. This was added to the annual Christmas Eve book before bed routine a few years ago.
There would be many other books that we could add to this list but I’m just going from memory and what we still had.
My favourite picture book (at the moment):
- Not A Box – My friend sent me this when my kids were older but I was still supply teaching. I have used this book with lots of Prep & Grade 1 classes. There are not many words but so much to talk about as you read the book. I love how it encourages imagination.
What are some of your favourite children’s books?