Two of my strongest childhood memories are:
1. Our home ‘library’ and
2. Seeing my dad read... All.The.Time.
While I didn’t particularly love reading when I was young (as in, full books. Now, you can't hardly see me without a book in my hand!) - and I wonder if that had somehow to do with my parents not reading to/with me when growing up - I spent my childhood going to the bedroom where most of the books were kept.
I loved smelling the books.
I would also open encyclopaedias in random places and I would read things I couldn’t understand.
That was my way of getting ‘lost’ in another world.
* enriched language exposure,
* the development of listening skills,
* positive attitudes toward reading.
* reading comprehension
But not only that!
It was found that being surrounded by lots and lots of books helps children:
* build rich vocabulary,
* raises awareness
* increases comprehension, and
* broadens children's minds
What's more, there’s a correlation between homes full of books and
* the ability to use mathematical concepts in everyday life and
* the ability to use digital technology to communicate with others.
The following list of 9 books was chosen by my kids (now 6 and 9) and myself (and we are not affiliated with any of the authors).
These books have stood the test of time and age-transitions. We’ve had them for years, and they both still like to read them, often.
"A spill. A smear. A smudge. A tear. When you think you have made a mistake, think of it as an opportunity to make something beautiful!"
"Helps tell a story of big dreams and unexpected discoveries". We have it in Spanish.
"We all have worries now and then, but sometimes worries can feel like they're getting bigger and bigger, like you can't control them any more. What do you do then? What's worrying you? is a book all about helping children understand their worries, and what to do when they feel overwhelmed by their thoughts and feelings."
"George wished he wasn't the scruffiest giant in town. So when he sees a new shop selling giant-sized clothes, he decides it's time for a new look: smart trousers, smart shirt, stripy tie, shiny shoes. Now he's the smartest giant in town... until he bumps into some animals who desperately need his help â and his clothes!"
It can get a little bit long so maybe read it when you are not tired! But it's beautiful representation of friendship, helping others, giving back and kindness.
"Franklin is every child's friend. Children instantly connect with the young turtle's sense of adventure and enjoy watching him work through familiar problems (such as having a bad day, going to hospital, forgiving a sibling, not wanting to clean a messy bedroom etc) and solve them in his own way."
I find this book series a great way to explore different day-to-day situations in a respectful way (except for the one about Franklin's sister - though we don't have all of them).
"Boys will be boys and girls will be girls - or so the meaningless saying goes. Because what if you're a girl and you like cage fighting? Or you're a boy and you love ballet?
And what if you've always dreamed of being a scientist but you can't see anyone who looks or sounds like you? This is the book for children who want to know about the lives of those who have led the way, changing the world for the better as they go."
Yes, there are some stories that are a bit on the dark/ violent side but you can read them before reading them to your kids. Still, I find it is important for kids to learn about some of the not-so-great things about our societal-history, in a child-friendly way.
This is probably more for older kids (it's my 9 year old fave book at the moment but my 6 year old likes it very much too).
Good night stories for rebel girls is also fab - for boys and girls.
"Two little men called Brockles help Bobby to see how to get along with his family and friends by expressing his feelings and working out compromises."
"This collection of stories is based upon tales told by the Buddha to his monks 2500 years ago. Isabel Wyatt's enchanting retelling conjures up a rich world of eastern legend, ruled by courtly kings and wise men, and populated by brave princes, faithful elephants and cunning monkeys. The stories tell of great adventures and heroes, of danger and courage, and most importantly of how wisdom and thoughtfulness always triumph over selfishness and greed."
This is our all-time-favourite! While the anthology was compiled with children around the age of eight in mind ("children who are embarking on more and more adventures in their own lives, and themselves learning to become clever and brave") the short stories are written so beautifully. We each have our favourite ones. That's the book that always 'wins' when we can't decide which one to read that we all like! :) Only a few illustrations but the imagination in kids' (and adults'!) minds is RICH.
9. PERSONAS Y LUGARES ('People and Places')
This is a book I found in an 'obscure' bookshop in the middle of Mexico City! And it can't be found online. I saw it, flipped through it, read it and loved the illustrations. A gem of a book.
Which takes me to....
TIPS TO CHOOSE BOOKS
Here are great tips to choose books for children in general.
My only other suggestion would be for you, the parent, to read books before reading them to a child.
Children are very suggestible during the first years of life and we want to make sure that what's going ‘in’, is aligned with an empowering ‘conditioning’.
"Children between the ages of 0 – 2 produce slow brainwave patterns, which means they function in a realm of delta. These are brainwave patterns that occur in meditation or the deepest stages of sleep. This is why infants only stay awake for short periods of time.
Between the ages of 2 – 6, children’s brainwave patterns move into theta, which is a very hypnotic and suggestible state. Due to these delta and theta brainwaves, and the fact that they have not yet developed the analytical mind, in the first six years of a child’s life they are very programmable. Thus, because the editing function of the mind has not yet formed, information goes right into the subconscious mind. Comments like—big boys don’t cry, little girls should be seen and not heard, you’re not very good at math, money is the root of all evil, you’re like me – you have a short temper—these are all negative suggestions that begin to subconsciously program a child. If we can negatively influence a child at these early ages with such reinforcements, it makes sense that we can program a child in the opposite way."