Books to Recommend to Children
I began reading at a very early age. I remember starting a new school with no friends but not feeling alone as all I wanted to do at break times was catch up with Aslan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis.
My parents were avid readers too and would switch off the TV and tell us to read our books in silence for a full hour. Initially we’d groan but always, by the end of the hour we’d be so engrossed we wouldn’t want to turn the TV back on again.
Thirteen years ago my first son was born, I never expected reading to be a problem as I always assumed he’d just learn in line with everyone else. Yet by the age of seven he couldn’t read a word. Teachers had given up and he was often asked to tidy the classroom as others enjoyed library time, it really did break my heart.
A series of circumstances lead us to move far away and for him to start a new school. The school had experience of learning difficulties and took my son back to basics, straight back to his ABC.
Within a week he was reading, within a month he was reading extracts from factual books. Within six months he had passed the reading age of his class! We’ve recently discovered that he has autism along with dyslexia which should have been recognised at his first school in Hunmanby.
Once he started he couldn’t stop, he devoured every book he could get his hands on. With a world of information at his fingertips he seemed to make a promise to himself that he’d never lack knowledge again. So if a teacher set homework, he’d take books from the library and research thoroughly, teaching himself at home.
By the age of eleven we began sharing books, there is no better feeling than passing on childhood books to your child to read. Knowing they will experience the enjoyment and wonder that you did as a child is one of the greatest gifts you can give.
I took him on my own journey, from CS Lewis to Terry Pratchett while he introduced me to The Hunger Games, Harry Potter and the more recent Delirium Trilogy.
Meanwhile my daughter began to read. She progressed in line with “school expectations” and became quite the avid reader around the same time as my son, despite the four years difference. This allowed them both to trade books and for me to introduce more girly titles such as Black Beauty and the Worst Witch.
Poppy is now 9 and a huge fan of Enid Blyton, it seems these books are timeless as she’s yet to discover how long ago they were written. She’s almost read them all, so it was with pleasure that we recently discovered a new upcoming author. The Befana Drama by Gianna Hartwright is a story of a witch, presents and lots of stardust. A cross between The Wishing Chair and The Polar Express, it’s a fun read for both adults and children.
Percy, my 3 year old is devouring books like they’re about to be burned in a revolution. Poppy didn’t like to be read to, she would snatch the book and have a tantrum (she’d also rip up pop up books), Mitch loved stories but we used to make them up as we fell asleep together, such is the joy of an insomniac child while single parenting! Percy snuggles into my chest and listens attentively to every word and the time we spend reading is the highlight of every day for me. I’ve since filled her room with so many paperbacks and picture books that we have to keep building new shelves. I love finding new books for her and look forward to finding out what’s on the pages inside.
Our current favourites are Each Peach Pear Plum, Winnie the Witch, A Sister More Like Me (we haven’t escaped the Frozen frenzy) and a Tiger Who Came to Tea.
We’re always looking for new recommendations either for the kindle or in paperback, nothing quite beats the smell of a freshly printed page!
I’ve also started a project where I’m turning our second staircase (very narrow, wooden stairs that lead to an attic like area, aka the children’s snug) into a pile of books by painting every step with a different spine of a book the children like.