Kids ‘n’ books

Reading to and with Amelia has always been a top priority around here. Big-P used to think I was a bit mad to bother reading to her when she was barely big enough to even smile, but of course at that age it’s all about love and sounds and connection as well as language and story telling. He soon got it. He gets it even more now when we see her (as most kids do) fall over herself to choose bedtime stories and then snuggle in to our bed ready to be read to. We have recently moved her book case to the family room, and in tidying it all up she has rediscovered many old favourites and spends quite a lot of time quietly going through the books on her own (on her own is something she doesn’t do a lot of at the moment: preschool = seperation anxiety, but that’s a tale for another day).
It has got me thinking about us and kids and books. I know Mem Fox (author of the quintessential aussie kid’s book, Possum Magic) has been heavily involved in a campaign for literacy and advocates the idea that we should be reading to our children every day for at least ten minutes. I found her web site and it has lots of interesting stuff about reading aloud – including a guide on how to read aloud effectively (Mem style) and her 10 Commandments for reading aloud. She also has a list of Must Have Classics for kids aged 0 to 4 which is a great collection of books to choose the daily three from.

Speaking of lists of books for kids, I was pleased to find this blog just now; Read Alert, a blog about youth literature – from our own State Library. It includes an interesting collection of lists of 10 books children should read before they leave school. I like Ben Okri’s version.

Other links that I have been enjoying on Read Alert are:
Shirley Hughes on the aging of literary characters

Visions of a Little Girl’s Utopia (which has helped me see why Amelia is really fond of the Milly-Molly-Mandy books at the moment)

The Famous Five in their own words.

And OMG — “Beginning in September, Drawn & Quarterly will publish the initial book of a five-volume series of Moomin: the Complete Tove Jansson Comic Strip, the first North American English translation of the late Finnish cartoonist’s internationally acclaimed comics strip” I didn’t know this but D&Q do Moomins? I am so thrilled!….

… actually, there is so much good stuff on Read Alert, there’s no point listing them all. I have just spent the evening reading all the archives and feel like it was an evening well spent (and how often do you actually feel that after browsing the web for hours on end?).

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24 Responses

  1. says:

    That’s wonderful news about D&Q and the Moomins!I’ve been a huge Tove Jansson fan for quite some time, and have longed to read the comics. Thanks for the heads up! I love, love, love all of your work as well…you are such an inspiration. 🙂

  2. these are great resources! thanks so much! i agree so much about the reading to the wee little ones even before they have a clue of what is going on! we are in the process of adopting our first child, and the children’s books are slowly starting to line the shelves. I cannot wait until they are all full of future adventures and dreamy journeys!thanks so much!

  3. says:

    What a timely posting because today I dug out my copy of May Gibbs “Snugglepot and Cuddlepie” which I was given as a Christmas present from an aunt when I was five. I sat down with my five year old and we started to read it again together. We haven’t got to the scarey parts yet … But yes, reading, one of the simple and best pleasures in life. Or as Lola would say, MY fAvOuRiTE aND mY BeST. We are into Lauren Child in a big way at the moment and of course, Mem is great too. “The Magic Hat” is the one that the whole family chimes in on at the moment. Well worth finding.

  4. Our local library have a story teller there once a day over the school holidays. My two boys will sit and listen for hours. They are so annoyed when she closes the book. Loud cries of “what, your finished?” come from the audience.

  5. says:

    Just read Mems must haves list we are missing 7 from our collection – heading out to A&R now! Though there are only 2 I haven’t read, borowed from the libary or grown up with.So fun to be reminded of books they maybe ready for. I’m always excited about reading to my girls, it so nice to see it being talked about and Mems site is fantastic. No Alison Lester on her list!?!? Do we read something in to that?

  6. says:

    Having a background in early childhood education, I cannot stress enough the importance of encouraging early literacy. Mem Fox’s site is indeed a fantastic resource – well done for promoting it! My little girl is only just sixteen months and leaps at the chance to sit with absoluely anyone who offers to read a book to her. Her obvious enjoyment is written all over her face with every story and already she has her absolute favourites! Literacy is such an important life skill and it’s never too late to start enjoying books with your children.

  7. one of my classes at uni this semester is Literacy and it’s such an interesting class, from where it comes from, where we go as teachers, what the forms of literacy are, how to nuture it. i really look forward to looking through mem fox’s site. thanks for the links. perfect timing :]

  8. I’ve read nearly all the Moomins books and am working on Moominpapa…taking it slow at to relish it. Jansson, to me, is one of the best children’s books writers/illustrators. She combines nature with curiosity and love in a Zen-like perfection. Very interesting and exciting about Drawn! Thank you for posting that.

  9. Thanks for the links. I love reading to Caleb, we’ve read to him since the day he was born. I especially love Pat the Bunny, and watching him pat the bunny and play peek-a-boo with Paul (and he is only 10 months old!).

  10. says:

    Ooooh, The Elephant and the Bad Baby were # 19 on Mem’s list!!!
    Now off to rumpeta, rumpeta rumpeta down the street.

  11. I can’t wait till I have time to go back and read the links you’ve put in this post.
    I kept nearly all my books from when I was a kid and my son absolutely loves being read to so hopefully he picks up the reading addiction from me like I did from my mum.

  12. says:

    The other day master 4 and miss 2 were playing loudly outside while I did housework. I went looking for them when there was silence..and I found them both sitting in their cubby with a pile of books reading. They had taken them down there themselves. That was one of my proudest moments as a parent yet!!

  13. Ah, my little guy (26 months) has been going through quite a period of separation anxiety — so, I know how wearing it can be! Thanks so much for taking the time to post all of the information on children’s books — it is quite a resource. And, I look forward to researching the ones I haven’t heard of.

  14. It’s amazing what kids get, even when it seems like they aren’t playing attention. I started reading C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia out loud to my daughter when she was just more than 2 (and she miraculously sat and listened for hours on end). I didn’t think she could possibly be getting the story, but I would catch her naming her toys Lucy and Susan, calling for Aslan. Now I have two boys in addition to her. They play blocks and trains while I read, rather noisily too, but they still get the story. It makes me feel so good when my kids tell others that we aren’t a TV house, we are a reading house!

  15. Thankyou for the link to Mem. I think you are never to young (or to old) to have a story read to you. It’s a special time.

  16. And think about how we, as adults, still have favorite books that we remember from *our* childhood – and how they still evoke such strong feelings in us. Such love and loyalty….
    The Moomins, for me, are one of those – so I was so delighted to follow your link to D&Q! thanks!

  17. I agree, Ben Okri’s list is the one that struck me the most. I’ve found reading to my young son wonderful. Now that he’s started school and brings home daily readers meant to help him learn to read, it can be difficult to maintain the magic of reading for fun. But, oh so important! Read for fun, the learning will come…

  18. Thanks for your information on Mem Fox’s website, which is wonderful. I’m a librarian and do a library blog, trying to point out interesting stuff to our patrons. I’ve featured her site in today’s post.

  19. Very valuable collection of resources. Thanks, Claire.

  20. says:

    and thank you for the links about reading to children. i am excited to check those out.

    but i had to share the moomin glee first!

  21. Our neighborhood is just past the middle point of our first ever March of Books, an event that benefits the library at our local elementary school. People have been extremely generous by donating really thoughtful, wonderful books. We were at about 64 books ( which is double our “book a day” goal for the month of March ) until a neighbor just brought over two shopping bags full of picture books. I’m eager to assess what worked about our book drive and to start thinking about next year’s. ( Plus, I have to say that Loobylu inspired our little logo. )

  22. I am a kindy teacher – read her wombat stew and do funny voices with it….I love it and my kindy kids love it too!!

  23. Ben Okri is so right on. It is so nice to find others that love reading to their kids. My son LOVES our reading time together… part of our nightly ritual.

  24. Thank you Claire, there is a wealth of information on this post. We’ve read to Emma since she could barely open her eyes, and now at 7 reading is a breeze for her and a very enjoyable activity. Books are so important at any age.