Category Archives: Reading Corner
Reading to children has been shown to have many benefits for the child and their parents alike. Children who are read to have been shown to do better in school and ultimately have higher rates of academic and fiscal success in life. As a result, many people encourage parents to read to their children and encourage them to read books on their own. Doing so is a great way to help children understand their world and engage in useful flights of fantasy.
Finding the right books for children can be a daunting task. There are literally millions of children’s books for sale. Parents can also find children’s books to read in local libraries. The children’s book genre is very popular. Many children’s books are published every single year. Sorting though such books can be a little intimidating. Fortunately for parents everywhere, a few simple tips can make this process far easier.
The first thing to consider is age of the child in question. Many young children like to simply look at books. They want to copy what their parents and siblings are doing. In that case, it is often a good idea to find children’s books that have large pictures that the child can see as the parent reads. Look for picture books that have large illustrations. Many young children respond to bright colors and shapes. Look for books that have an element that the child can touch. Books with textures such as fabric work well for this age group. If possible, look for children’s books that have other features such as sound when a button is pressed.
Older children also love to read. They also like when a parents reads to them. When looking for books for older children, such as those of preschool age, the parent should look for books that appeal to the child’s interests. For example, if your child likes trains, look for books that feature stories about trains.
If possible, use a mixture of both fiction and non-fiction books. Fiction has many uses. It allows a child to use their imagination and expand their ability to engage in creative play. Fiction also helps children think about the world in new ways. A well told fictional story is one that many children find engaging. A child may sit for a long time listening to a parent expand the details of a well told story.
Non-fiction is also an excellent genre for children. Many children love learning as much as possible about the world they live in. A good non-fiction book for children is one that often sticks to a single topic such as geography or flowers. This helps the child concentrate on a specific topic.
Books labelled children’s fantasy are not just for children. There is much in them for adults to enjoy as well. J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series is one of the best known and beloved, but a number of other books have qualities that appeal to all ages as well.
The Hunger Games
This popular series by Suzanne Collins is set in a future dystopia where young people are forced to fight to the death for the entertainment of the populace. It is a thoughtful and sophisticated look at the politics of revolution and the ways in which ordinary people get caught up in larger events. Katniss is a believable and nuanced character to whom both children and adults can relate.
The Moomintroll Books
Tove Jansson’s Moomintroll books have been a beloved fantasy series internationally for decades. Set in the forests of Finland, these gentle tales about imaginary creatures including the Snork Maiden, Snufkin, Little My and Moomintroll himself have enchanted children and adults alike. The tales are deceptively simple and in fact are well-written with a sense of melancholy running through many of them.
The Northern Lights
Fantasy books for adults often do not grapple with questions as complex as Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights series. Pullman’s fantasy world resembles our own but includes armoured bears, witches and magic as a part of every day life. Quantum physics and questions about the nature of God never slow down the rollicking adventure but will keep adults as intrigued as the children for whom the books are meant.
Neil Gaiman is a hugely popular writer for adults, and his books for children such as Coraline and The Graveyard Book will appeal to that same audience. In Coraline, a lonely little girl finds a mysterious door that opens into another world where different, kinder versions of her parents live, yet they have black buttons for eyes and grow increasingly sinister. The Graveyard Book tells the tale of a young boy named Nobody growing up in a graveyard and the ghosts who care for him there.
Most people know about classics for all ages such as The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland; others include C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Ursula K. Le Guin’s Earthsea trilogy. All of these are exceptionally well-written books that have stood the test of time and contain enough depth to appeal to adult audiences as well as children.
Other Good Choices
Adults can browse other good books to read in the children’s section including Tamora Pierce’s novels of adventure featuring teenage girls as protagonists, Robin McKinley’s skilful retellings of fairy tales and Lemony Snicket’s clever Series of Unfortunate Events. While books for children are often seen as simplistic and lacking the sophistication of novels written for adults, the best can hold their own against adult novels. Quality writing and characterisation and lively, interesting plots that appeal to all ages make fantasy books for children as engaging for adults as for their original audiences.