Reading story books out loud is daily routine for me. Many many times a day actually.
From baby picture books naming colours and animals… to adventure stories on superheroes, Lego characters and Star Wars.
I always aim to put my heart into each reading. Even if it’s simply a book about naming colours or animal sounds.
But if it’s a book for slightly older children, I really like to get right into the story. Especially if it’s a good one.
Here are four favourite children’s books of mine which I especially love. I often get a lump in my throat as I read them…. sometimes it even gets my tears going (if I happen to be feeling particularly emotional or wistful that day).
Jonathan and Martha
by Petr Horáček
I’ll give it to you straight. This is actually a love story. And an incredibly sweet one at that. It’s about two lonely worms named Jonathan and Martha who inadvertently met one day through their love of eating and eventually fell in love. Nathan enjoyed the story too as we read it countless times and even extended it into our play.
Herman and Rosie
by Gus Gordon
This is another love story. I am quite a sucker for those as you can see. The words in the story flow so delightfully and smoothly. Like music. Which is likely the case because this story is about two music lovers and how they lost themselves… and found themselves again… and each other. I never tire of reading this story to the children.
The Heart and the Bottle
by Oliver Jeffers
I’m a huge fan of Oliver Jeffers and all his books. I just love the whimsical style of his stories and writing. I came across this book at the library one day and seeing that it was another Oliver Jeffers book I added it to our pile of books to borrow. It turned out to be quite a different sort of children’s story than I had expected. In a good way. It’s probably a story written more for adults. Anyone who has gone through grief or loss would definitely relate to the metaphor of hiding your heart away in a bottle to keep it safe.
Love You Forever
by Robert Munsch
This one is no doubt the mother of all classic tear-jerker children’s books. The message of love, death and the circle of life might seem heavy for young children to understand. But I think we should not underestimate children’s abilities to grasp difficult concepts and truths, if it’s framed in a way they can digest. And this story does it well I think. I have to confess that my tears were pouring out like nobody’s business the very first time I read this story out loud to Nathan. Even more so because I read the sad story behind the writing of this book.
[Some people have asked me how I manage reading these longer stories for older children with toddlers and babies around in my family day care setting. It’s likely that the younger children will lose focus, get distracted or try to pull the pages of the book down as you try to read it to everyone. My tip is this: I focus on reading the short board books for group story time with everyone. Then during morning or afternoon tea while all the children are munching on their fruit and snacks, I sit down with the children and read out the longer stories for the benefit of the older children. And the younger children are actually listening to the story too and absorbing it all in at the same time.]
What are some of your favourite children’s books recommendations?
I’d love to hear them!