The greatest gift you will ever give your child is the gift of reading and the earlier you start the better. Santa just loves when girls and boys ask for books. They are by far the most important presents the elves make each year. I started reading to James when he was just a few weeks old and as he grew we had great fun with books that had texture and colour. It’s also a great way to immerse them in the sounds and rhythm of speech, which is really important for language development.
My house is covered in books, it’s where I go to learn, laugh, escape and immerse myself in a world of imagination. Story time each night with James is such a special time for both of us because it’s our time together with no distractions just each others presence where we head off and enter a world where anything is possible.
Here’s my top picks for Christmas 2015:
For new babies upwards I would highly recommend the Usborne series of ‘That’s not my… ” series. There is a whole collection of this series to choose from. These books have wonderful textures and colours and as your baby grows they will be encouraged to touch and feel these books. (That’s not my Meercat €8.49 Mothercare) I used to sit James on my lap and point to colours, animals and shapes from a few months. It doesn’t matter that they can’t interact yet so many studies have shown that it helps with their speech and words later on and its fun!! BUY HERE
We are huge fans of Julia Donaldson’s books here but my personal all time favourite just has to be The Gruffalo. (€9.79 mothercare.ie) It’s the story about a little brown mouse in the deep dark woods and Julia’s illustration partner Alex Scheffler is incredible. Watch out for the cartoon this Christmas too. Other great books from this duo include The Snail and The Whale and The Smartest giant in Town. BUY HERE
Mr Men are a timeless favourite with characters like Mr Tickle, Mr bump and Mr Strong getting into all sorts of bother but what I really love it that these stories help kids to figure out their different emotions and different character traits that people have like Mr Nosey! Mr Men The Christmas Party is €4.75 in EASONS BUY HERE
The Benji Bennett books are a series of books that Benji wrote in memory of their son Adam who is now an angel. They are filled with love and laughter and they feature all of Adams siblings harry, Robbie and Moly as they head off on different adventures. Adams greatest inventions (€9.99)is a wonderful story where the kids go back in time to find the best inventors through history and I have to be honest I learnt a thing or two from this! The illustrations from Roxanne Burchartz are fantastic and you could easily spend a half an hour on each page investigating everything that’s happening. People who buy sets of Benji Bennett’s hugely popular children’s books on ADAMS CLOUD this Christmas will receive a free book and €10 will go to to charities which help parents and children deal with serious illnesses and loss.
Five Minutes Peace by Jill Murphy is celebrating 30 years this year and it is more of a fantasy book for new parents because lets face it who wouldn’t cherish five minutes on their own most days! It’s a funny book because it’s true. Its about an elephant family and mummy elephant it just trying to get some peace but no matter where she goes the kids are not far behind and they even hopped into her bubble bath where she was enjoying her peace with a cup of tea. €8.50 EASONS BUY HERE
Giraffes Can’t Dance from author Giles Andreae has been a bestseller for over 15 years and for good reason it tells the story of a giraffe who starts off as an outsider but who finds acceptance on his owns terms. There’s a very powerful message in there about daring to be different and accepting others too. €5.99 Eason’s BUY HERE
Usborne’s Look inside your body is a brilliant book to introduce kids to our amazing bodies. If you have an enquiring mind at home this should do the trick. They will be amazed at how we breathe and what happens in our brains. €13.99 MOTHERCARE BUY HERE
Calm Down Boris by Sam Lloyd is a hand puppet book, which kids absolutely love, and it gives parents a real chance to show off their acting skills!! (Your kids will think you rock anyway). Boris is orange, hairy and a little over- enthusiastic. Boris means well, but always ends up getting carried away and spoiling things, which actually reminds me of my own childhood, as I was pretty excitable
Kids are asked to help Boris brush his hair ready for his trip to the park and in return they get smothered in grateful kisses. The same happens when they feed him, and when he gets to the park none of the other little monsters want to play with him because he’s so loud and boisterous. But he ends up saving the day by scaring a big dog away with his big friendly kisses. €13.99 MOTHERCARE BUY HERE
David William’s books are great for kids between 7-11. His first book The Boy in the Dress is about a boy who felt different and kids fall in love with these books in the first few pages. There are brilliant lessons about life like in his book Billionaire Boy about Joe who has everything but despite having everything he could ever want he was lonely and wanted a friend. Visit WORLD OF DAVID WALLIAMS to see the entire collection
The Dr Suess books are great and they cater from birth up till nine years of age. One of my favourites is Did I Ever Tell You How lucky you Are (0-4 years €8.99) because it teaches us that there will always be people worse off than ourselves which is a really valuable lesson to learn so early. Oh The Places You’ll go, is for older kids entering their teens and it explains that mishaps happen to the best of us and encourages us not to take life too seriously €9.50 EASONS BUY HERE
Daisy and the trouble with.. Are a series of books by Kes Gray that are all about Daisy and the trouble she gets herself into. In her book Daisy and the trouble with life she does something so bad that she gets grounded and is barely allowed out of her room but what did she do that warrants such a punishment??? €9.50 EASONS BUY HERE
Author Orla Kelly has written a series of children’s books available on amazon or from www.orlakellybooks.com that aim to teach children values, morals, life skills and how to be a good citizen. The short stories about animals reinforces everything positive for children to help them with growing up but the books also teach children that there will be challenges to overcome but overall the books are very positive and uplifting. We are reading all about Owly at the moment and James loves them and simply can’t wait to see what happens to all the forest animals each night. Magical, enchanted and imaginative! The Kindle price is €3.65 and print book on Amazon is €7.99.
And Finally to celebrate its 70th anniversary of the first publication of the Famous Five books, you can get the first three Famous Five adventures in one volume. – The Famous five Collection. Five On A Treasure Island, Five Go Adventuring Again and Five Run Away Together. All the adventures happen on Kirrin Island where the famous five have to solve mysteries. These books bring back very special memories and friends of mine said their kids are still enjoying them today! A beautiful Christmas present to cherish and pass on forever. €14.20 EASONS BUY HERE
These books are just the tip of the iceberg but there are many more great authors like Niamh Sharkey and my firm favourite Roald Dahl. There are books to suit every interest and imagination.
Feed your mind and open it and your kids will follow.