We all know how important it is to read with our kids.
The younger you start this the better, so with so many years ahead of reading together, it's always a bonus to find books you can both enjoy- even if the kids don't always know why you are giggling!
There are countless studies that show the benefits of reading with your kids and encourage reading with older children too. Not only is reading together a wonderful way to bond, but that feeling of closeness can also turn into a life long love of books, as the two become linked- how amazing is that?
Children LOVE repetition, so although it can get a little tiresome for us, this really is a super important way for them to learn and absorb information. In fact, reading the same book many times can actually create a greater increase in vocabulary in children than reading lots of different books only once or twice. If you think of it like learning a new language, which in effect little kids are, this makes perfect sense. It is also important to read with your kids even after they can read on their own, it can help with comprehension and pronunciation, and still remains a wonderful way to spend time together, no matter their age. Reading aloud also helps children to grasp the phonetics of words and letters, and by giving them the chance to focus on the pictures while you read the words, they can begin to form links between the words and the images that represent them.
As well as considering the age of your child when choosing books, it is also essential that we show our kids a diverse range of themes and characters from the moment we help them to discover the joy of books and reading. We have selected 15 of the best books, old and new, that are perfect for reading together, and we guarantee you will enjoy them just as much as the kids.
Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
There is very little text in this book, which allows the beautiful illustrations to tell the story and is great for young readers. Julián opens up to his Nana in the sweetest way; this book is about being accepted by those we love and celebrating individuality on the path the following your dreams. A great way to welcome conversations about style and identity and how they can intertwine.
Grobblechops by Elizabeth Laird
This book is based on an ancient tale by poet and scholar Rumi (highly quotable). Amir is afraid of the monster under his bed, and what about if it's mum and dad arrive too? Amir's dad reassures him in a lively and energetic way, that even though he and mum will do all they can to fight them off, there are other ways to settle disagreements, like chatting, having a coffee, and eating some biscuits together! With amazing illustrations too, this book will definitely become a favourite.
Olivia by Ian Falconer
Olivia is confident, intelligent and just a little bit cheeky. This book goes through a day in the life of Olivia, with some amazing pieces of artwork thrown in, haven't we all heard someone say 'I could do that!' when looking at a Jackson Pollock? Well, find out what happens when Olivia has a try at home...
I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen
The first in a series of wonderfully deadpan tales from author Jon Klassen, this story is seemingly very innocently told but will definitely have you giggling. A bear has lost his hat, everyone he asks says they haven't seen it... but can you spot who is telling fibs? This book is perfect to have out on display too, with its trendy muted colour scheme and cool illustrations.
Little Wizard by Kazuno Kohara
Poor Little Wizard is desperate to fly, but he just can't seem to learn how. This book is all about finding friendship and learning to believe in yourself. You will find yourself 'reading' this without even looking, very memorable with some lovely phrases your kids will soon be joining in with and relating to.
My Art Book of Happiness by Shana Gozansky
Does exactly what it says on the tin, there is so much joy to be had by looking through this book! With a wonderful piece of fine art on each page, and short captions all about happiness, this is a book you can enjoy together time and time again, and whenever you might need cheering up. Not to judge, but with a cover this bold this is definitely a kid-friendly coffee table book. Suitable for all ages, from tiny babies who will love the bright colours, to great grandparents who can enjoy a spot of culture with the kids.
Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
A truly classic book, this was first published in 1963. Max is a very relatable child, he has been misbehaving, reprimanded and now is in a strop! Max ventures to the land of the Wild Things and so begins his adventure. There are many double meanings and lots of clever wording throughout as well as beautiful, now vintage, illustrations. Ultimately this is a story about imagination, the intense emotions you feel when you're a child and finding your way back to those who love you. An excellent choice for young readers!
The Book With No Pictures by BJ Novak
The 'rule' of this book, is that whoever is doing the reading, has to read every single word on the page out loud and trust us when we say the words get VERY silly. This book is bound to get requested again and again so it's a good thing that it is hilarious; even the youngest reader will barely notice the lack of pictures, the text is colourful and engaging and styled cleverly across the pages.
The Proudest Blue: A Story of Hijab and Family by Ibtihaj Muhammad
This book by Olympic medallist and social justice activist Ibtihaj Muhammad is a New York Times bestseller- and it's easy to see why. The Proudest Blue explores how to navigate new experiences and tricky interactions with others, whilst ultimately teaching us how important it is to be proud of who you are. A perfect book for kids of all ages and backgrounds, and a great one to read together.
Little People Big Dreams Series by Isabel Sanchez Vegara
This incredible series of books tells the stories of well-known dreamers, people from all walks of life who have pursued their passion, especially when faced with adversity. There are over 40 books in the series so far, with more on the way, all illustrated by a different artist. These also look great on your bookshelf; a great book for your child on their birthdays to build up the whole collection. Our favourites so far are, Frida Khalo, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Josephine Baker.
Wonder by R.J Palacio
This book is a great one for opening up a dialogue about so many things, but namely how our differences add value and are something to be celebrated. The chapters are very short, so easy to read in bite-size pieces for the more reluctant reader, and each is told from the perspective of a different character. 'Wonder' is about a 10-year-old boy, Auggie, who has Treacher-Collins syndrome, causing his face to look quite drastically different from other kids his age. This story covers many aspects of human behaviour, acceptance, friendship and how to navigate a new environment. Suitable for age 10 and up, this beautiful book will stay with you and undoubtedly be passed on and re-read many times.
Star Girl by Jerry Spinelli
One for the tweens/teens, this book is beautifully written, worth a read for the descriptions alone, so definitely a good one for encouraging creative writing! Jerry Spinelli looks at what it means to be proud of your individuality, and how to navigate feeling different from your peers in tricky environments like high school, where being well-liked is so important. A great first look into some of life's more philosophical questions, with some very affirming quotes that will stay with you no matter your age.
Noughts and Crosses Series by Malorie Blackman
The first of a 4 book collection, Noughts and Crosses brings us into the dystopian world of Noughts (white people) and Crosses (black people), and the dynamics that play out when everything that happened in our real-life history is flipped. This book and the others in the series are completely gripping, and although originally published in 2006, the lessons presented here are as relevant as ever. A gripping read for older children and adults, this book is sure to start some interesting and important discussions around race, relationships, and identity.
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