We hope you enjoyed Children’s book week as much as we did. We were working on fun collaborations and projects, including some that involved selecting some of our favourite book picks. And we’re sharing them with you!
Hula Lullaby, Erin Eitter Conno
This is a favourite at our storytimes. It’s repetitive and rhythmic structure allows the reader to almost sing along as they read. During our sessions, I’d get the parents to rock their babies and clap along as I read the book. By the end of it, both the parents and their babies were relaxed and smiling. It’s beautifully illustrated and features the sights of Hawaii.
Peekaboo Morning, by Rachel Isadora
This classic illustrated book by Rachel Isadora is perfect for babies newborn and up. The illustrations are lovely, and the narrative arc is simple: A little kid (it could be a girl or a boy, s/he is gender neutral enough for it not to matter) goes around his/her home identifying members of their family, friends and things in the garden. Your children will love it and so will you. It’s also a perfect opportunity to play peekaboo – a universal favourite – with your children long after you’ve finished reading the book! This is a perfect first book.
Anansi The Spider, by Gerald McDermott
This popular character has roots in Ghana – from the Akan tradition to be exact. Different versions of the character and his trickster stories can be found in different parts of the African Diaspora – Jamaica famously has it’s own version of the character. This version by Gerald McDermott is one of our favourites. The syntax can be a little clunky; I’m not sure if it’s because McDermott tried to write a direct translation from an oral retelling of the story by a Twi language speaker, of if he wanted to make it sound ‘authentic’, so to speak, but either way, the story about Anansi and how the moon ended up in the sky is great for small children. It may be a little long for very young kids, but once your little one hits 15 months, try it. The images alone will intrigue them. The illustrations are bright and bold; the contrasting colours have mesmerised the babies we’ve read this to, and the toddlers love the illustrations and the adventure. Plus, McDermott throws in a few facts about Ashanti culture to boot!
Frida, written by Jonah Winter, illustrated by Ana Juan
In this book, Jonah Winter charts the life of Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo. We see her as a child who was different, brilliant and fearless. Winter’s text is simple, yet descriptive — it can feel a little awkward at times, while still feeling poetic and gentle. The illustrations by Ana Juan are beautiful and vivid enough to engross children and adults alike.
Although this book is said to be aimed at children aged 4 years plus, I’ve read this to babies and young toddlers, who have all been charmed and fascinated by the bright colours and surrealistic images of celestial and fantastical creatures. It’s a big book, but the story isn’t long, so I’d recommend reading this to kids aged 1 and up.
The subject matter (near fatal accidents, illness, hospital) may seem a little too bleak and intimidating for children, at first, but fear not — the overriding message of hope and power isn’t lost on the little ones. Trust me, I know. I read it to my daughter before she turned one. She’s nearly three and still asks me to read this book.
Big Box for Ben, written by Deborah Bruss, illustrated by Tomek Bogacki
All the children we’ve read this to love this book. We get to see our sweet protagonist Ben use the power of his imagination to turn his box in to all kinds of things, from a plane, to a mountain and much more. It’s a lovely quick read, so it’s perfect for bedtime, and perfect to read to small babies. It’ll give your kid (and maybe even you) a few ideas about what to do with the box that is taking up so much space in your room. I also love the fact that it reminds us that playtime isn’t about pressing a button or looking at a screen. It’s also a reminder that you can create your own fun right at home on those days you just can’t leave the house.
Red Is A Dragon: A Book of Colors, written by Roseanne Thong; Illustrated by Grace Lin
Is a colors book. Our young girl protagonist introduces us to various colours that she encounters in her day to day life, from dumplings, melons, lychees and incense sticks. The vivid illustrations are more compelling than the rhyme in some places, so you can definitely flick through the pages with very young babies, and start to read the book to them as they get older.
Handa’s Hen by Eileen Brown
This is a counting book about a young girl from the Kenyan Luo tribe who has to look for her grandmother’s hen after it goes missing. On her travels she she and her friend come across a few animals and we get to look for the animals with her! The publisher says that it’s for children aged 3-7 years – and I can see an older child reading this on their own. This also works as a book for younger children, because parents can count for, or along with, their kids. You’ll also discover new animals along the way.