25.Mar.2010 What? Another blog?

I might be mad but I’ve decided to give yet another blog a go. This time I’m going to try talking about some of the books I’ve been reading to my children.

As a family we’ve read some great books but increasingly I’ve become frustrated by the lack of decent fiction to read as the children grow up. I’m not naive enough to think that ‘it used to be better in the old days’ – but do think that as book publishing has become cheaper, the market has become saturated and it is more difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff.

I’d like to think the the Web has made it easier to find the good stuff – as it has for so many other forms of media – but there’s something tactile and essential about flicking through a children’s book in a bookshop that isn’t yet replicated on the Web.

In fact, I’d expect that children’s books are undergoing an evolutionary leap as the iPad, the Kindle and other tablet devices take over. Children’s books will become ‘interactive’ by default – not just the experiments of a few like Penguin NZ.

It’ll be a while before I start writing about those though.

For now, I’m going through the shelves here at home and picking out a few favourites.

I hope you enjoy the selections.

(Oh, and the title image comes from the spines of some of my Ruth Manning-Sanders collections of fairy tales from the 1970s. I used to love the fairy tales from around the globe that they contained but on re-reading them to my own children I’ve been struck by how dated some of them feel.)

  • chantalK

    excellent seb! can’t wait to see what you post. although i have to disagree with the with you on the choices…… i think there is a wonderful wealth of great books for kids, both picture books and novels. but, you are right that it is hard to distinguish the good from the bad.

    i have found, that discovering a good book shop (especially one that is run by the owner), and talking to them can open ones eyes to great new discoveries, i’ve been pointed in the direction of some real gems. and regular trips to the library (and talks to the librarians) can also be helpful.
    also, find an author you like, and hunt down their other books, otherwise it just takes time, and lots of it. i try to go without the kids sometimes, and browse through without distractions.

    our 4yr/o (who has just started to read) basically has a favourite book for the week, which must always be read first, and then it’s my pick after that. i like ones that are fun for me to read (obviously) with a bit of tongue and cheek, that way, it is easier to engage with your kid. and picking books with characters that are somewhat similar to your kids personalities, can also make the process a bit more of a tickle.

    our 8yr/o is PASSIONATE about books, and spends most of her time with her nose stuck in one, she reads far above her class/age reading level and the main problem we have, is finding her books that satisfy her reading level, yet are appropriate for her age/maturity level. we mostly stick to fantasy.

    what i have learnt through talking to teachers, and being involved in the classroom, is that all books are good, as long as your child is engaged with it and (more importantly) you, and vice versa.

    anyway, that’s my rant…… maybe i should start a blog too? ; )

  • Bim

    Hey Seb, if you haven’t already found this blog, you may like it.


    Lots of memories (for me at least) of books my parents read me, plus lots else beside.


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