Picking what books you want your children to have access to at home is a really big deal. The stories, morals, beliefs and interactions that are woven in those pages contributes to what children are exposed to, what they process, what they think about. Maybe most importantly when parents read bed time stories, children learn a lot about what is acceptable and expectations they might face.
I found myself in the “my first book” section in Waterstones today which lead to me spending HOURS looking for and researching children books aimed at the earliest of audiences. At first I found some great books that help infants learn numbers, letters, colours, words and even pair them with textures! Wow kids books have come a long way. There is so much exciting variation down to the TYPE of book; board books, paper books, bath books .. PUPPET books! – You name it and some clever marketing company has thought of it. There is also a massive variety in the content of books. Picking “That’s Not My Train” over “That’s Not My Lamb” actually seemed like a really big deal, and that’s just what words and concepts to expose and associate first. I personally got really excited about the animal and nature books with my mind spiralling into “then we can go for field trips in the woods and find the real ones!” Just to make that experience all the more magical.
As children develop so do the types of books appropriate for their age range. I started to see a move from basic word association books towards coherent stories in the age 3-5 range. And then comes the big question.. What kinds of stories do I want to read to my children? What kinds of stories do I want my children to learn to read to me? .. What kind of stories do I want my children to learn to read to themselves? While I’m sure that the individual child will have a big influence in these types of decisions because if they don’t like trucks – they ain’t-guna read bout ‘um!
Taking this really seriously, I set out today to research and find some books aimed at a young audience that help teach supportive morals about friendship, life, emotions and diversity.. Books that subtly help to set the foundations of some of the difficult challenges that our young people have to explore for the first time. I want my future children to know that being unique and different is not just okay – but it’s GREAT and something to celebrate and not feel afraid of differences or diversity. While this is a task that goes way beyond books, stories that can help set that foundation, that can connect to children on their level of fantasy, imagination and creativity would be a great medium to facilitate that.
My search is still in it’s preliminary stage so any suggestions or thoughts about children books are welcome!