I grew up being read to every day. As soon I could read I devoured books, throwing myself head (and heart) first into book after book and there I have stayed… completely immersed in the words and tales of others, for most of my life. One of the greatest treats of parenthood has been discovering children’s books that are not just lovely and magical but spectacular literary masterpieces. There is this Oliver Wilde quote I’m often reminded of when I read to Bo, ‘if one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all,’ and I feel it’s never more true than when reading with children. We read books a thousand times over, so it’s essential that the book is nothing short of wonderful.
Bo and I spend at least a few hours a day telling wild and wonderful stories, reading books, talking about characters, and tracing our fingers over the beautiful illustrations of the books we love most.
With a gift giving season almost upon us, I thought I would share with you some of our favourite childrens books – whilst we absolutely adore the classic Aussie tales of Mem Fox and the more gorey of the traditional nursery rhymes – beautiful new books are being published by exciting new authors and illustrators all the time. Books that perhaps you haven’t heard of or had the pleasure of discovering just yet. And whilst I’ve never been much for gift lists and recommendations – books are always something worth buying and delighting in and giving to the ones we love.
Because nothing keeps on giving quite like a good book.
Bo got given this book for her second birthday by her Aunty, my big sister. This book is all about Amazing Babes – cover to cover portraits of some of the most influential women in social change and positive transformation in modern history – from Malala Yousafzai to Frida Khalo. It’s a book that celebrates women who had the ingenuity, steely determination and creativity to initiate great change in the world – giving everyone the opportunity to learn more about their stories and honour their incredible achievements.
‘I want to never lose the EXCITEMENT of possibility,
Like Gloria Steinem.
I want to be inspired,
A wonderful little celebratory dive into history for girls and boys, big and small.
I have one of those kids who just needs to know how everything works and I am one of those people who actually doesn’t know. Which is where books like this little beauty comes into play – teaching both of us about the world around us, through amazing facts, gorgeous pictures and just enough information to help answer some of those ominous toddler ‘whys’ that stump me on a daily basis.
‘Right now there are more microbes living on your skin than there are people on Earth, and there are ten or even a hundred times as many as that in your stomach.
(Don’t worry! Although some microbes make you sick, the ones that live in you and on you all the times help keep you well)’
Great analogies, gorgeous illustrations, easy to understand science and enough depth and interest to feel like you are actually learning something (because… you are).
For any of us who have ever needed the inspiration to trust and nurture our own creativity and ideas (even when no one else seems to believe in them) – this is a book that will do just that. It’s a lovely little story about a child who has an idea, and as the child’s confidence grows and develops, so does the idea. It’s a beautiful way to explore the concept of ideas and thoughts with little people too and the illustrations are really very special.
‘But then I realised, what do they really know? This is MY idea, I thought. No one knows it like I do. It’s ok if it’s different, and weird, and maybe a little crazy.
I decided to protect it, to care for it…’
The perfect book for anyone who has ever had an idea.
Cute, funny and just the right kind of off the wall, is the best way to describe this sweet little book. Teaching quite a complex lesson – the fact that none of us can truly every own another living thing; not matter how much we may want to – in the quirkiest way of all.
‘He hadn’t always owned a moose.
The moose came to him a while
ago and he knew, just KNEW
that it was meant to be his.
He thought he would call him Marcel.’
We love Oliver Jeffers books; perfectly balanced with words, gorgeous pictures and always the most delightful surprises – This Moose Belongs to Me became a fast favourite in this house!
To call this book magical would be perhaps the greatest understatement I could make. This book is the most wonderful book I’ve read this year. It’s perfectly poignant, it shows the value of working hard, it helps to remind us that we are connected to each other and to all living things around us and it has the most intricate beautiful illustrations – in short, it’s an absolute work of art.
‘This is the garden now.
And this is it’s gardner.
He doesn’t look like much.
But he means everything to his garden.’
It is the most beautiful gift to give to anyone. Every family should own a copy.