I’m writing this as a parent and a book lover. My mother tells me she used to read under the bedcovers. I certainly used to read in the dark in the car by the headlights of the car behind. I have lost more sleep to reading than I care to think about. And as the mother of two young children, I read out aloud every day.
Reading books aloud with someone, and reading them alone in your head are quite different experiences. But the striking feature about reading a book to a child is that you never do it once. You do it hundreds of times. And the rhythm that didn’t quite work the first time you read it either smooths out or gets a lot worse by the twentieth reading. And when your children start using the language of the stories in their games and in their fights, you start to appreciate which books you really want in your house.
I grew up in the UK but now live in the USA. While there’s plenty of overlap in the books available for children, there are differences. I have been delighted to introduce friends here to Pip and Posy, and take Mo Willems’ books home to friends in England. Some of the books in this blog will be old friends to some and new friends for others.
So, this blog is for anyone who wants to share books and reading with a child in their life. In this blog I usually refer to ‘your child’: the child you care about, the child you want to share books with. You might be a family member, a friend, a teacher, another caregiver; you might read with them every day or want to send a book to them overseas. When we share books, we share a part of ourselves, our own imagination too.
I believe strongly in giving my children free rein to explore the world of literature themselves, but I hope to provide them with, at minimum, a map, an idea of some places they might like to visit, and the ability to read the road signs. But of course I haven’t been everywhere either, so if you know of great books I’ve missed or topics I should cover, please do get in touch. I always love to learn about exciting new books to share with my children – whether they are new or just new to us.
By the by, no one has paid me for any of these books, or given them to me so that I would write about them, or asked me to write about them. If they do, I’ll tell you.
A Note about Diversity in Children’s Literature
There’s plenty of research to show that children’s literature needs to represent children better. Too many children do not see themselves or their families in the pages of books. That was my husband’s experience (see his post), and we’re trying not to make it our children’s experience, so we’re always on the look out for books that reflect the fullness of the world our children are growing up in. But books that reflect diversity are not just socially important, they are wonderful literature in their own right. So while Grace Lin’s A Big Mooncake for Little Star can be listed for people looking to diversify their bookshelves, it’s a gorgeous, sweet, gently funny book that’s perfect for bedtime with luminous illustrations. My daughter likes to pretend to eat bites of the Mooncake too; we pick them off the page and I have to finish with an amended line: ‘Yes, Mama, ‘ Little Star said, nodding, ‘Lydia and I ate the Big Mooncake.’ So I file it under bedtime favourites.
If you want diverse books, you will find many in these pages – we look for books when we travel, books in dual languages, books we can read while poring over a world map rug on the bedroom floor. Books for the global citizens that we’re trying to raise.
Have a look too at:
Read in Color from the Little Free Library (starting in the US, but Little Free Libraries are in many countries)
We Need Diverse Books (US based and focused, as far as I can tell)
and reviews of kids’ books on Read in Colour (UK spelling but prices in dollars)
If you know of other blogs reviewing diverse books or other great books to read I would love to hear from you!
Let’s read something together.
About external links
I add links to other websites, but I can’t control what’s on those websites. So while I try to make sure the links are right, I’m not responsible for the content of other sites.
About the images on the site
I use photos of book covers on this site. The covers are most usually copyright work. I use them as Fair Use for the purpose of criticism and comment. If you have any concerns, please contact me.
Original art used on this site is with the permission of the artist.