Children's books have many different purposes, from soothing to entertaining, and in a lot of cases, they form part of the way we teach life's lessons.
Even before they can explain complex relationships, children understand them. As our resident childcare guru, Kristen Harding, says:
'Growing up, my little brother couldn't say my name. He found the sounds difficult to put together so he called me Deedee (absolutely nothing to do with 'Kristen'). It wasn't until later that we realised Deedee was the name of the Mouse's sister in his favourite book - he'd made an association of his own.'
The thing to look out for is finding books that fit with your moral compass that contain messages you want your child to interact with - and if you find an author you like, stick with them!
In honour of World Book Day on March 4th, we thought we'd share a few of our favourites...
Sometimes we come across an author that just seems to get how children feel. In this particular story, Lily is adapting to her new role as Big Sister - and she's not convinced the change is good. Often children's books depict the happy family with the arrival of a baby, but the author captures the difficult emotions children feel in this witty and insightful tale. Kevin has written many other children's books and we highly recommend them!
'The Berenstain Bears' series has hundreds of titles, all relating to lessons for children - from going to the dentist to understanding kindness, these books cover it all! A family-run franchise, the books were developed into videos and their website boasts several interactive challenges for children.
The use of simple language has some parents doubting, but we guarantee children will love them. They'll be reading them to you in no time. The adventures, or misadventures, of brother and sister bear will help your children with many decisions in the years to come!
David McKee captures the idea that it's ok to be different in this story about Elmer the Elephant. Originally produced in English, this story has become popular the world over as children identify with the lessons Elmer learns. The original story has now morphed into a series, which sees Elmer make new friends and visit new places.
'The Rainbow Fish' is a tale of a very vain fish that is also very lonely. Through the story he learns that by sharing, not only does he start to make friends, but he also discovers what happiness is. The beautiful illustrations which grace the pages make it a lovely story for all ages.
Some parents have raised concerns that the book advocates "buying friends", but others feel it is more about sharing and starting a further conversation with your children.
With a general lack of diversity in children's books, it's refreshing to read Mary Hoffman's 'Amazing Grace'. When a young black girl is cast as Peter Pan in a school play the reactions of her fellow students are mixed - offering the reader a chance to challenge their perceptions and open their minds a world of different possibilities.
With his lyrical style, Dr. Seuss books are often a favourite, but there is something extra special about 'The Lorax'. In this whimsical tale children learn about the importance of the natural world and dangers that go along with destroying it. Written over 40 years ago, this book is still relevant today as it tells a tale of clear cutting forest and the damaging effect of pollution, but in typical Seuss style - there is a happy ending!
A more recent addition to our favourites, 'The Man with the Violin' is based on a true story and follows a little boy and his mum through a New York subway. The small boy wants to listen to the musician, but mum is far too busy getting where she's going. The moral of the story is one for children, and adults alike: slow down, take a moment to pay attention, and enjoy living in the moment.
Whether your child is fascinated with nature, or has no interest whatsoever, 'The Salamander Room' hits home.
Teaching lessons about the natural world and encouraging children to open their hearts and minds to other creatures on the planet, this book looks at different habitats and environments through beautiful depictions.