Friday, 9 December 2016

The Magic of Books

I still remember that my sister and I were read to every night before bed. In our room we had shelves filled with books by Roald Dahl, C S Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, The Wizard of Oz books (there were 15 in total) and Lewis Carroll’s Alice books. We would have a few pages read to us each night. I seem to remember my Dad saying that if he was going to be spending all the time reading to us he wanted to read books he enjoyed too.

I don’t really remember watching much TV when I was small, but I remember books being everywhere. My family were (and still are) big readers and for a while I rebelled against it refusing to read myself, but it was inevitable that at some point I would give in. When I was a confident (and happy) reader one of my favourite books was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott.

It’s really important for me that my girls love books too. It is so easy in this world of tablets and e-readers to not have physical books around. My children often can’t tell if I’m reading a book or on Facebook, but we have lots of children’s books in the house. I think it's only through holding physical books in your hands that you can really fall in love with them.

My eldest had lots of books from birth. They ended up with chewed corners and eventually thrown away, but at a really early age I was proud that she could hold a board book and would turn the pages over one by one in the right direction. She was read to at bedtime and still spends hours looking at the pictures trying to remember the original story or making up her own.

In the last few months something even more magical has happened: my eldest daughter is learning to read. She has known all the letters for sometime, but it’s only with the first term of school she has found the interest and concentration to blend the letters together and start reading words herself. This is such an exciting time. I don’t think she realises just how much being able to read will change her life, but sitting next to her as she works out how to turn the individual letters into a word she recognises fills me with warm cosy feelings.

M’s little sister hasn’t had the same literary opportunities so far. It’s only recently with the prompt from Penguin books that I realised how few books she has. The parts of her big sister’s board books which weren’t eaten have been thrown away (or recycled) and she doesn’t get to play with the paper books for fear she will rip them. 

While Little had a library card at just a few weeks old I haven’t spent as much time reading to her as I would like. Reading formed part of her big sister’s bedtime routine early on, but everything has become much more hectic trying to get 2 girls to bed. This week I was motivated to change this and I have managed to get both girls cuddled up into my bed and read them a story on 3 occasions. This has been really special. It’s not just about the sounds, the stories or the pictures, but taking the time out to cuddle up and share some magic together.

For Christmas I have written a list of some classic first books and some great new ones. I have looked for the stories they produce as board books and Little’s Great Nana has purchased a collection for her. These books will belong to my baby so we can read to her, but just as importantly so she can play with them, look at them and, yes, eat them too. 

As part of the Britmums and Penguin Round House Children’s Books Christmas Present Challenge I received 3 books and I was challenged to share who I would be wrapping them up for. 
I received: 
The Little Elephant Who Wants To Fall Asleep by Carl-Johan Foreseen Ehrlin and Illustrated by Sydney Hanson.
The Dinosaur that Pooped Christmas by Tom Fletcher & Dougie Poynter Illustrated by Garry Parsons
Max and Bird by Ed Vere

These are a lovely selection of books and I must admit to giving each one a quick read (very carefully so they don’t look like they have been opened). I have heard of The Rabbit Who Wants To Fall Asleep when it was recommended to me as a way to try and help my eldest go to sleep. The elephant book is a new version following the same idea so this book will be wrapped up and given to M for Christmas. I love the idea that through the gentle repetition and story it can help people to fall asleep.

The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas is written in rhyme. While i’m not a fan of talking about poo, it does seem to be something which children find funny. My baby is too young to understand the words, but she will enjoy the pictures and the sing song pattern of the words so this book will be wrapped for her.

Finally Max and Bird is a story about a bird and a kitten which become friends, it could all end badly (but •spoiler alert• it doesn’t). This book will be going to my nephew to enjoy.


I hope they enjoy the books and I wonder whether they will be one of the stories they remember when they have grown up.
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3 comments

  1. I'm a big book lover and so is my 4yo but like you I've struggled with Baby. I still have a good number of board books but don't seem to have the time to read them with him. Must get better at that. Well done to Little on learning to read, there's nothing lovelier than seeing your child lost in a book!

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    1. Just realised I said Little when I meant M - can you tell I'm tired?!

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    2. Ha, I knew what you meant. I struggle to call them the right thing half the time and I named them x

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