My son has loved books ever since he’s been old enough to focus. I’m an avid reader myself, and – I have to admit – one of the things I was really looking forward to the most about having children was the world of kids’ books. Library books, children’s bookshops, online perusing, bedtime stories, stupid-o’clock-in-the-morning-in-Mummy-and-Daddy’s-bed-stories, stashing them for presents, tucking them away for when they’re age-appropriate, even thinking of kids books I could write myself that I know my son would love. Am I alone here?!
And of course, one of the things we like the best is throwing down a blanket outdoors and having a read while the sun warms our backs.
There are so many fantastic children’s books out there – I especially enjoy the ones with super clever adult humour woven into the tapestry. I mean, we’re the ones who have to read the thing aloud 57,000 times, right?!
Being an Outdoorsy mama, I also keep a close eye out for books with nature-based themes. Here’s a few of our favourites:
PICTURE BOOK: Slowly, Slowly, Slowly, said the Sloth by Eric Carle
This is a book I will always cherish, and I think can be enjoyed by children of all ages. Eric Carle is probably best known for his book The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Slowly, Slowly, Slowly has similarly beautiful illustrations, but is a lot more ‘deep and meaningful’. This book has a South American theme with animals like the Coati, Peccary, and Double-Crested Basilisk to search for on each page. Never heard of them? Neither had I! But my two-year-old can now Quetzal with the best of them 😉 The subtext is all about slowing down and being yourself – just like the sloth. There’s a heart-warming foreword by Jane Goodall (of chimpanzee fame) and I think the book is very well summed up here:
NON FICTION: In the Bush – explore and discover New Zealand’s native forests by Ned Barraud & Gillian Candler
I think it is really important to encourage curiosity in children. Whenever we’re out for a ramble I love to ask my little one what he can see, hear, feel, touch, and smell around him – and there’s no better place for this than in the forest. I think that kids from anywhere in the world would be fascinated by this richly visual book, which is packed full of kid-friendly explanations about native trees, plants, birds and animals, and poses questions about the dangers they face and the importance of looking after them. Gorgeous and thought-provoking.
FICTION: Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome
“Oh, no, I’m not interested in going on an adventure,” said no kid in the world, ever.
And this little novel (the first in a series) is a quintessential one, centred around six children on an adventurous holiday at the lake. There’s sailing, camping, mystery, battles, and yes, pirates. Of a sort. All the best books have hand-drawn maps or charts in the front (think The Hobbit, Winnie-the-Pooh etc) and if your children loved The Lion, The Witch, & the Wardrobe then this one will be a winner. Fabulous for reading aloud a chapter before bedtime each night.
What are your favourite children’s books?
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