Since I had kids, reading a story as part of our bedtime routine is something I always enjoyed doing. It is such a lovely and relaxing way to bond with your kids at the end of the day, and also introduce a love of reading and books. Personally, I was never a big reader myself (but maybe that is because grown up books do not have pictures 😄. But now I am an avid reader…of children’s books!
Over the years, we have amassed quite a collection and probably read 99% of what we have, several of them have been read hundreds of times, so it is no surprise that I can start to rattle some of them without even opening them!
Anyway, I want to share with you my top 10 favourite children’s books (spoiler alert) and you may notice we are big fans of Julia Donaldson Books. This is not in any particular order of preference; they are all favourites.
I think the message in the book is just brilliant, especially in an age where social media heavily influences what children perceive to be an accepted way to be. This story follows Gerald, a giraffe who due to his natural God given features (hint: being tall) he is a bit clumsy and hence is not able to dance as gracefully as the lions and baboons. However, when he is inspired by a cricket with a violin (true story!) to dance to a different tune, he realises that, it is all about finding something you love to inspire you to get better at something you thought you were not be so good at. It is a great message for kids, that we can all succeed in different ways, by doing things differently the way that works for us.
I recently discovered Dr. Seuss books through a school mum friend, and I am so glad I did. His fun way of writing and use of rhyme and simple words makes it accessible even for early readers. I get various messages from this book. Phrases from this book, I have read, are favourites to be quoted at university graduations, and is about being equipped with the tools (brains and feet) to make decisions in life and the different paths you can take and to quote Robert Frost “how way leads on to way” discovering the paths that your decisions take you. It also touches on how sometimes things are good, and other times not so much, sometimes you will have to wait, and other times you will have to move on from waiting.
The first of our Julia Donaldson books on the list and a very good life lesson to go with it. Simply put this book teaches you to appreciate what you have, because you don’t know what you have got till it is gone. Julia’s talent to write with rhyme (or is it rhythm?) and also subtly get very important messages across is something I really admire. She inspired me to add writing a children’s book to my long list of things to do in life…so watch this space!
Another Julia Donaldson book. This is one of my favourites because it teaches about love and loss, and how things we love and have lost can be immortalised in our memories. It does this whilst highlighting a lovely relationship between mother and daughter. This is one of my favourite books to read to my daughter. We love it so much our elf on the shelf created some paper dolls for us last Christmas :).
This is on the list because it was one of the first books I started to read with my daughter. It was one of the first books I could recite cover to cover (not sure I still can though!). The focus of this book is actually about a little monkey trying to find his mum, but in a fun (and slightly frustrating for the little monkey) way, we discover that the butterfly has babies that does not look like it, but along the way we get to discover a whole bunch of other animals and their features. In the end, the little monkey is reunited with his Mum (and Dad) and who doesn’t love a happy ending. This one is also by Julia Donaldson.
Yet another Julia Donaldson book. This one is about a witch, who despite having very little room on her broom, still manages to accommodate a number of homeless animals along on her travels. In the end all the animals she has helped along the way save her when she is in most need of help. The message here is that, it pays to be kind (with no expectations of repayment).
And yet another one by Julia Donaldson, the last on the list. This is a fun story about a couple of not so smart thieves who make a not so cunning plan to steal a prize cow. And in a twist on events, the quietest of all the animals, the ladybird, is the one who comes up with the plan to stop the thieves. The message I got from it is that, sometimes the quiet ones are the ones with the good ideas! Kids can also have fun finding the glittery ladybird hidden on each page.
This is just fun story, with a fun rhythm and told from the point of view of a little girl whose Dad is losing it because they are so poor and his car broke down. Anyway, it goes on a crazy journey finding all sorts of wacky wonderful things down the back of the chair, and maybe an answer to their troubles, but you will have to read it to find out!
Another one by Dr. Seuss, again an easy read and lots of rhymes. But ultimately this is one my favourites because the lesson in the story is that you are your best self being who you are than trying to be anything (or anyone) else.