I’m a big believer in getting kids to start reading as soon as they can start to recognise the alphabet – whether it’s by using The Colour Purple method (writing the names of objects on pieces of paper and sticking it on to them to help the child read them, e.g table, chair, maybe not dog *cough*), or showing them the backs of cereal packets or the names of cars parked in the street; this is how we taught No 1 Son to read, and by the time he started primary school he was already reading books aloud to us. He also knew the difference between a Karmann Ghia and a Mini Metro.
Of course, books can be expensive and if your local library is anything like ours it will only have one or two copies of the most popular books, so if you’re looking for cheap books for kids (or indeed, yourself) then it’s definitely worth checking out the selection at The Works, because they have a brilliant range of classics for younger readers – everything from the Mr Men to Roald Dahl – and young adults, including Jacqueline Wilson and C.S Lewis. I’ve been having a look at their children’s classics and I’ve chosen five of my favourite books for kids – the ones I’ve chosen all have a movie link, so they’re guaranteed to entice even the most reluctant reader:
*Paddington’s London Treasury
I grew up reading Paddington Bear books by Michael Bond as well as watching the adorable animation that used to be on right before the news; I even had one of those original bears from Hamley’s. So I was delighted when the new movie came out – a whole generation discovering the adventures of the little bear from darkest Peru. This treasury includes all the London classics – Paddington at the Zoo, Paddington at the Palace, Paddington and the Marmalade Maze, and Paddington and the Grand Tour. Magic.
*The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Oh there is lots of good fun to be had that is funny; Dr. Seuss books are fantastic for getting kids to embrace language and discover the joy of reading, and of course this one features the craziest, coolest cat.
*Disney’s Frozen Storybook
The only one on my list that came after the film – but actually, the story of Elsa and Anna and how the Kingdom of Arendelle becomes trapped in an eternal winter is still worth reading – and if you have a child (or several) obsessed with the movie, this is a great way of encouraging them away from the screen for a little while.
*War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
I find it very difficult to even think about War Horse without sobbing, but No. 1 Son absolutely adores War Horse, the book, the movie and the play. It’s a brilliant story for kids learning about the First World War – it follows the fortunes of Joey, a young farm horse, who in 1914 is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front, where his courage touches the soldiers around him *sobs again*. This edition features wonderful illustrations by Rae Smith, the designer of the National Theatre production.
*The Lord of the Rings
As you know from my post about World Book Day, No 1 Son wanted to be Legolas when he was younger, even though we are not even remotely elfish, because of the movies and action figures; but as soon as he was able to grasp the language in Tolkien’s classic novels we gave him the books to read, and he’s read them many times since. This brilliant collection features the books in paperback – seven volumes, so that should keep them quiet for a while
Which books do your kids love most – and what are your tips for encouraging them to read? I’d love to know.