This blog is borne of my passion for children’s books. I collect vicariously, buying myself children’s books in the guise of buying them for my children – I unashamedly declare that re-discovering children’s books is one of the best things about becoming a parent. My children’s book-shelves are groaning with glorious finds both old and new – some are from my own childhood, there are classics and contemporaries, mistakes and delightful discoveries.
Our books come from all over; the library, small independent booksellers like the fabulous Children’s Bookshop in Wellington, big commercial retailers, second-hand stores and on-line. I’m the one under the book-stall trestle table at the school fair, scrabbling in the dusty boxes. I’ve made crazy Ebay purchases of titles withdrawn from a U.S. Mid-Western library for a buck and paid ten times that in air-freight. I give judiciously and receive with joy. I’m constantly asked to recommend titles and there’s nothing I enjoy more than having a good think about the age, reading ability and interests of the child and coming up with a potential hit.
I’m delighted that the challenge of finding books for my own little readers constantly changes – not only as they grow in maturity and reading ability, but also as their interests and personalities develop. To read with my children is a time for closeness and sharing, to see them curl up and read alone for the first (and second and third..) time is a gratifying rush. And their choices aren’t always what I consider “good” books. In the end – it’s about finding delight and solace in books. I want my children to enjoy reading. Anything. Yes we all know that reading and writing go hand in hand and the many and varied positive impacts that reading has on children from an educational perspective. But more than that, books are reliable companions throughout life’s ups and downs. We all remember the great books of our childhoods. Sometimes we carry a part of them with us for life. Whether a comic, an e-book, a picture book, an audio book, a series – a book is a place to learn, a place to hide, a part of the ancient human tradition of storytelling; a drum, a shell, a bonfire on a hill-top.
I’ve been wondering how best to approach this blog. I thought of categories by age groups, gender, reading challenges and setbacks, new books, old books. But I think I like the feel of something more random – just where my head’s at, what’s piqued my interest or provoked thought. So bear with this blog newbie and be rewarded with insightful reviews, musings, recommendations and conversation about all things kid-lit. I can’t promise it won’t be a little New Zealand-centric. I’m so proud of our writers and publishers who champion stories for children – particularly the fabulous Gecko Press who consistently treat us to “curiously good books from around the world.”
Gah – this is starting to sound like advertorial. So enough blather and onto the books.