All children should grow up reading or hearing their parents read aloud to them.
Children learn best through warm interactions with those closest to them. The time spent together fosters one-on-one communication between parent and child. This intimate experience of reading can yield important lessons about behaviour and feelings. As parents you can ignite their imaginations whilst encouraging their interest in reading, directly developing their cognitive ability. Let them hear the sounds, the rhythm of the language and set the tone for their life, as reading brings families together! Watch or read our top ten list of children’s books below.
1. How the Grinch Stole Christmas!- Dr. Seuss
One of the most popular children’s authors of all time is Dr.Seuss. The adventures are endless, with over 50 different books to choose from; filled with rhyming phrases, made-up words, and quirky illustrations filled with colour. From animals in objects: A Fox in Socks, The Cat in the Hat, to Green Eggs and Ham and of course the naughty green Grinch. Dr. Seuss creates unusual and memorable writing you will have pleasantly stuck in your head (in and amongst all the Christmas songs of course!) The books also provide great life lessons for children.
Dr. Seuss’s books empower young readers, with his underlying message that “the more that you read, the more things you will know; the more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
If you are wanting a book that speaks to the true meaning of Christmas then look no further. The Grinch is a solitary, grumpy creature who tries to put an end to Christmas on Christmas Eve. He disguises himself as Father Christmas and steals decorations and presents from the nearby town, Whoville. However, on his meeting with the character Cindy, he comes to the realisation that Christmas is not just about presents and money. His heart grows three times bigger and he joins Whoville’s Christmas feast and thus becomes part of the community. He heals from his past resentment and realises the joy of Christmas. The underlying message is that Christmas is not about materialism but rather sharing, generosity, and kindness.
2. The Gruffalo/ Die Goorgomgaai- Julia Donaldson
A book published in English and Afrikaans tells the story of a mouse taking a walk in the woods. The mouse uses clever tricks to evade dangerous encounters with several animals of prey. Just because the mouse is small it does not mean he is weak! In a battle between good and evil, the mouse scares the animals of prey off by saying that he is friends with the Gruffalo! A made-up creature with horns and sharp teeth, but….. what if the Gruffalo was real? Read this well-illustrated book to find out.
3. The Snail and the Whale- Julia Donaldson & Alex Scheffler
Julia Donaldson, the author of the Gruffalo, joins forces with author Axel Scheffler is a wonderful book about the adventures of two unlikely friends, a snail, and a whale! The snail rides on the whale’s back as the two travel together to far-off lands- a dream come true for the snail, who has never left home before. The book is a tribute to friendship and a love for adventure and travel. With many families not being able to travel this festive period, families can engage in the adventures on the brightly illustrated landscapes, encouraging curiosity about the natural world.
4. The Smartest Giant in Town- Julia Donaldson & Alex Scheffler
Last but not least from the Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler partnership is The Smartest Giant in Town. My personal favourite, as the book carries a strong message for the festive period sharing what we have with those in our community. This book tells a story of a giant who gives away all his new clothes to the various characters he meets on his journey. It’s a story about being kind and generous to others, that speaks to friendship and sharing. The book is innovative and fun as it sparks the imagination through unique uses of different clothing- watch your socks this holiday.
5. Wanda- Sihle Nontshokweni and Mathabo Tlali
A proudly South African book about accepting and loving yourself – a book to not only educate children but also their parents. I encourage moms and dads to read this with their daughters, and even their sons!
The proudly South African authors hope for the book is to provide a story of acceptance; for children to accept their most authentic selves, depicted by Wanda’s journey to gaining the freedom to wear her natural hair. The book creates a platform that hopes to encourage parents to instill cultural pride and provide a lens for their children in which to see the world. Body positivity is one of the most important messages we can instill in young children, this book is a tribute to this.
Explore the book on its very own website: https://www.thebooktree.co.za/bookreviews/wanda/6
6. The Storm Whale- Benji Davies
I encourage moms to read the book, Wanda, to their daughters, as much as I encourage dads to read The Storm Whale to their sons. A book inspired by growing a bond between father and son. From a house on the beach, the son watches his father go to work at sea every day. The son is a lonely boy. One day a whale is beached in front of the house. The boy has someone to talk to… the whale is a very good listener, but the whale needs to go back to sea. As the father and son rescue the whale, the father learns that his son is lonely. Watch how together the father and son rescue the whale and return the whale to sea, but more importantly, read how together they learn that the father is just as a good listener as the rescued whale. A beautiful story about how working together creates strong bonds between father and son.
7. The Very Hungry Caterpillar- Eric Carle
A classic! A simple book that teaches children the life cycle– from a small egg to a giant caterpillar (that ate his way to size) and then, the final transformation into a beautiful healthy butterfly! Teaching days of the week, numbers, and food groups, the book is not only simply fun but educational too.
8. The Most Magnificent Thing- Ashley Spires
A book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. The book tells the story of these best friends’ adventures in making the most MAGNIFICENT thing! The unnamed girl believes this is an easy task, BUT…..there are some challenges along the way. The story follows the girl’s journey through trying and failing – will she get so mad and frustrated that she quits? Or will she continue, with a new-found enthusiasm? The book offers a perfect example of the rewards of perseverance and creativity. A great book of innovation is likely to fire up the imaginations of youngsters eager to create their own inventions this holiday.
9. Giraffes Can’t Dance- Giles Andreae
Number One bestseller Giraffes Can’t Dance from author Giles Andreae has been delighting children for over 15 years. Gerald the tall giraffe would love to join in with the other animals at the Jungle Dance, but everyone knows that giraffes can’t dance. . . or can they? Read this humorous book and found out how Gerald finds his own tune to dance to. This book inspires children to be confident and believe in their unique abilities. Reminding us all that we are born to stand out and be proud of who we are.
10. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs- Jon Scieszka & Lane Smith
There are two sides to every story. This book tells a new version of the well-known children’s book, The Three Little Pigs. This book gives the wolf’s own version of what really happened in the story of the three little pigs. You thought you knew this story? You thought wrong! A hysterical and clever take on the well-known children’s book leaves readers with a plot twist and a new perspective. Which story will you believe? This book teaches children the valuable lesson that there are always two sides to every story !
Bond with your children through books! They are timeless educational and imaginative tools that create long-lasting memories.