With so many digital distractions in the world, books are taking a backseat in kids’ lives. And that’s a shame. Many children are learning how to write a text message before reading their first novel. And for many parents, that’s the wrong way around. Surely Dostoyevsky is more captivating than Facebook dross.
The good news, though, is that parents can fight back. By introducing your kids to the right kinds of books, you can introduce them to the world of literature and turn them into avid readers.
The trick is choosing the right books.
Ideally, the reading material you choose should have certain characteristics. Firstly, it should be age-appropriate. Handing a two-year-old War and Peace is probably a waste of time.
Secondly, it should be able to help them get to grips with phonics and phonemics. What is phonemic awareness? Essentially, it is the ability to recognize the smallest utterable sound units in words and then recombine them to read new words the child hasn’t seen before.
Thirdly, the story should be inspiring for them on some level. For instance, if you know that they love animals, getting them books about creatures can be a great idea. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl is a great example.
So which books out there will turn your kids into avid readers. Take a look at the following.
Redwall by Brian Jacques
Redwall is a novel by deceased Canadian wordsmith Brian Jacques. During the nineties, he created the Redwall set of books that follow the adventures of a mouse dynasty and the various struggles they face. The stories center around Mattimeo, Matthias, and Martin the warrior. The books are engaging because they deal with serious issues while, at the same time, introducing children to plots, epic characterizations, and the narrative arc.
Redwall readers are quite advanced. These books are best for kids aged seven and up, though you could start your children earlier if they can already read fluently.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl had an ability to craft books that appealed to children more than practically any other author. Somehow his words glued kids’ heads to the page.
Part of his success was his ability to step into children’s psychological landscapes and deal with some of the darker situations they found themselves in. Matilda is a case in point. This story is about a girl who isn’t loved by her parents (who are obsessed with themselves and money) who makes a life for herself.
The story eventually ends with Matilda finding a valuable parent figure in the form of her school teacher, but not before a few plot twists and turns along the way. For kids, Matilda feels like a story of hope and reconciliation, even if the actual subject matter is dark.
The Cat in The Hat By Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss is famous all over the world for his stories. And none more so than the epic tale of the Cat in the Hat. Even though the book was written in 1957, it is still engaging today and contains some important themes that educate children about the world.
The main plot centers on a tall, anthropomorphic cat who wears a red-striped hat and matching bow tie. The cat is an eccentric stranger who visits two children, Sally and Sam, who find themselves bored on a dull day while their mother is out. The story then goes on to detail the cat’s tricks and mischievousness.
A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
Most children have heard of Paddington bear thanks to the movies. But the tale of this little adventurer began many years ago with the books of Michael Bond. Paddington has inspired generations of children with his antics and unique take on life in London. If nothing else, the novels are a great way to introduce children to the Old World, complete with some of the strange cultural quirks you find on the other side of the pond.
Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne
Winnie-the-Pooh is another cute bear who’s been fascinating children for generations. The slow-moving sweetheart is a little dumb, but that’s what makes him so enjoyable to read. Combine him with characters like Eeyore and Piglet, and you have yourself the making of a magical world where kids can lose themselves for hours.
The Tale Of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
When children are growing up, it is critical that they learn how to incorporate all aspects of their personality into their characters, including their rebelliousness. Peter Rabbit, the creation of British 19th-century author Beatrix Potter is a case in point. While all his brothers and sisters are well-behaved (and have similar-sounding names), Peter stands astride from the rest of the clan, getting into lots of trouble, but somehow making it through the day.
The stories are scary yet appealing to children because Peter Rabbit embodies many of their own predicaments. He is small and helpless in a giant, scary world. And he has the same impulses as kids themselves, including winding-up farmers.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is one of the first books that many children read. It’s all about – you guessed it – a caterpillar who can’t stop eating.
The story, though, is interesting for children though, on a couple of levels. First, it helps them process their own hunger – one of the earliest sensations that matter in life. Hunger, they learn, has a function – it’s what helps them grow.
The second interesting aspect of the book is that it introduces kids to some seemingly magical aspects of nature. The caterpillar has to keep eating because eventually, it will turn into a beautiful butterfly, going through a full-blown metamorphosis.
The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
The Little Engine That Could is a fable that teaches children about the virtues of perseverance. The train in the story faces some struggles. But eventually, persistence pays off and it gets to its destination. The mantra of the story is “I think, therefore, I can.”
Do you have any other book suggestions? If so, tell us in the comments below!