Thursday, 2 February 2012

The Art of Living - Lost in a book

From The Incredible book eating boy - by Oliver Jeffers. 

This week Sophia has been celebrating reading week at school; there has been a school assembly, a book swap and tomorrow a dressing up day where all the children dress up as their favourite characters from literature.

It got me thinking about all the books we have enjoyed over the last (almost) 6 years. The stories I have read and reread, the ones I still know off by heart and the ones we revisited from my own childhood.
I started to feel a little nostalgic in remembering our early bedtime reads, the books that Sophia devoured, sometimes quite literally, the books that helped to give her a voice and the books she now reads to her little sisters Oona.
There are books on our shelves that are worn and tattered through their lives lived in ours and so many that almost feel alive, as though the words are still heard without being opened.

We're going on a bear hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

Some books seem to me like a right of passage, a milestone in a child's life, memories made and adventures enjoyed together. Here are some of the books I would recommend for any bookshelf. Books that may begin the love of reading, books with great imaginings but more importantly books that can be enjoyed by everyone, everywhere, every day.
Though I've given a rough age guide for the books it is only a rough guide and only you know your child, so follow your own instinct - it'll always prove you right.
First books
Guess how much I love you - by Sam McBratney, Peepo! - by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, Each peach pear plum - by Janet and Allan Ahlberg and The very hungry caterpillar - by Eric Carle I would recommend all of the books by Janet and Allan Ahlberg and also those by Eric Carle; The illustrations are always wonderful and the stories focus on the simplicity of everyday and more often the humour and pattern found in it. They are reassuring, wholesome whimsical stories told with clarity and satisfying sounds.

Great books for 2 year olds

ABC - by Brian Wildsmith, Goodnight moon - by Margaret Wise Brown, Rosie's walk - by Pat Hutchins  and The Gruffalo - by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler The images in Brian Wildsmith's book are so incredible that when I discovered a second copy in a charity shop I decided to create a framed picture with them all for the girls room. They are images we could never tire looking at. We have loved goodnight moon and we could spend so much time looking at each individual page and their cosy intimate illustrations. I think this book will stay by our bedside forever!

Wonderful books for 2 year olds
Brown bear, brown bear, what do you hear? - by Eric Carle, Lost and Found - by Oliver Jeffers, The Shirley Hughes Collection - by Shirley Hughes and The tiger who came to tea - by Judith Kerr. Its funny how some children's books almost become theme tunes to the day, We'll often be bobbing along through our day reenacting these stories and almost singing their words. All of these books have great rhythm to them and are great for helping with children's language. 

Great books for 3 year olds
The Incredible book eating boy - by Oliver Jeffers, Where the wild things are - by Maurice Sendak, The heart and the bottle - by Oliver Jeffers and The enormous Crocodile - by Roald Dahl I'm a huge fan of all the books by Oliver Jeffers and of course no childhood could go by without a dose or rather a huge dollop of Roald Dahl. 

books for 4 year olds
The Giving Tree - by Shel Silverstein, Leon and the place between - by Graham Baker Smith, The Little prince  - by Antoine De Saint Exupery and Charlie and the chocolate factory - by Roald Dahl  The giving tree is a story of the relationship between a tree and a boy and is perhaps the first book that brought tears to Sophia's eyes. It started a long conversation about love, selfishness and sacrifice and remains a firm favourite. Leon and the place between is a book who's story leaps off the page through its words and illustrations with such effect it is almost overwhelming. It was an instant hit!

books for 5 year olds
Alice's adventures in wonderland - by Lewis Carroll, The Lion the witch and the wardrobe - by C. S. Lewis, The magic faraway tree - by Enid Blyton and The sheep pig - by dick King-Smith I don't think I could count the number of times we have read Alice's adventures in wonderland. We have dozens of copies this way, that way and the other way all over the house and it has inspired birthday parties and our own made up stories and pictures too. Discovering Narnia with Sophia has been amazing and now hiding in wardrobes and cupboards in games of hide and seek has taken on a new meaning!

There are so many books I am looking forward to reading with the girls as they get older, these are (for us) the ones whose stories remain silent, whose adventures have not yet been told. They are our part of our future adventures together.

books for 6 years and up

Reading is without doubt the best free thing to do with children. The words we read have the magic to create worlds, people, creatures, legends, they feed our imaginations and help voice our own lives. With local libraries supplying us with row upon row of free adventures be it knights fighting dragons, Big friendly giants, a wardrobe that acts as a portal to another world or a caterpillar who spends an entire week feasting before his metamorphosis as a bright butterfly, there's a whole universe of words and pictures to discover. So, hop along to your local library, grab an armful of books and give them a go.

"By words we learn thoughts, and by thoughts we learn life"
- Jean Baptiste Girrad

So its the perfect time to become a member of your local library!
I know there a thousands and thousands of books that could/should/would be on the list.... tells us your favourite books too.....

This is part of the Art of Living series of posts that bring you all the things we are passionate about and the things we discover in our lives as mamas.

In our Wednesday Woo blog post series we present a selection of things from the Sisters Guild Boutique.

We also have a Monday Makery with ideas for things to make yourself.

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