In no particular order I would like to share with you some of my favourite children’s books, the one I loved as a child, have reread as an adult and cannot wait to read again now that I have children of my own.
The Silver Sword by Ian Serrailler
This is a book that has stayed with me all my life, I have blogged about it before.
The Silver Sword is set during the second world war and is a story based upon true fact. It is an extraordinarily moving account of life as it was for so many children during and after the second world war. A story of tremendous courage, hope and determination in a terrible situation. The story of four children’s struggle to stay alive throughout the years of Nazi occupation. They travel across Europe to be together again with their parents. Their journey is an inspiration.
Peter Pan by JM Barrie
A classic story with so many wonderful parts. Do you believe in fairies? How can you not after learning in what beautiful way they came about? I love the shadow scene, when Wendy and Peter ‘thimble’! There are some strange underlying currents for adults in this story but for children it is just magical. The narrative is wonderful at times taking you right to the centre of the action, to the heart of the story, hiding you in the long grass of Never Land as all the characters walk by. An adventure like no other.
I Am David by Anne Holm
Wow! What a great book! I have such vivid memories of my teacher, Mrs Foster, reading this to our class when I was in the last year of primary school. She was a wonderful reader and because of her I know and love such books as this and The Silver Sword, Carries War and When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. This is an amazing, compassionate, powerful and moving story, full of hope and tenderness. Set in Europe the young boy David escapes from a prison camp and makes his way across Europe to freedom. My heart is in my mouth all the way through this book knowing that any moment David might get caught. A wonderful way to share with children what life was like for young jews in the time of Nazi Germany.
TattyBogle by Sandra Horn
This is not a book from my childhood but from my student days when I was training to be a teacher. Published in 1995 TattyBogle is a story of nature and the seasons, of how good things can come out of bad.
TattyBogle is a scarecrow who is never sad even when all of him is blown away by the ‘wolfwind’. The scarecrow is no more but his heart (the stick) goes on and becomes a tree. This story illustrates many messages that are important for children to know in their lives including that when we die, a part of us always lives on.
Danny The Champion of the World by Roald Dahl
This is another story that I remember because of Mrs Foster. What a wonderful teacher she was! I loved it when we read it in class in 1987 and I still love it now. It is a real adventure story and illustrates a beautiful father and son relationship. It is also funny. A winning combination for me. As a teacher I loved using this book to get my boys writing – they would write instructions for going poaching and they loved it.
Children on the Oregon Trail by A. Rutgers Van Der Loeff
Another Mrs Foster introduction. This book is one that I love with all my heart. A story with such vivid imagery that tugs at your heart. I had never owned a copy of this book until just a year or so ago. I bought it second hand. When I first met David and went to his house I was browsing his Mum’s books and she had a copy. The only other person I have known to have it. To have heard of it even. It is an old book, published in 1961. This is an inspirational ‘true life tale of courageous pioneering children in the days when the Far West was a desolate wilderness full of perils’. You can find out more about the Trail Kids and the perils they encountered here. I cannot wait to share this book with my children as it had such a long lasting effect on me.
Five Children and It by E.Nesbit
This was one of my favourite books as a child. One of the best things about being a parent (and a teacher actually) is reliving your childhood through the books that you share and read and reread and read again! This is a magical fantasy adventure where the children find a sand fairy who grants them a wish a day. The story follows the children through each of their wishes as things go right and things go wrong.
Looking back to childhood books has got me thinking. Our house is a mine of children’s literature and so I am going to write a regular feature about books I read as a child that I am going to share with my own children. I am also going to look through some of the books that I have used as a teacher. Once a month I am going to share a book, why I like it, why I want my children to read it and what we will do alongside reading the book such as visits or craft activities or reading other stories. I am going to build a literary resource ready and waiting for when my children are ready to explore these wonderful, fictional worlds.
I hope you will join me as I explore ‘Books I Want My Children To Read’!