This week (Saturday 16 August to Friday 22 August) is Children’s Book Week in Australia, and I love its theme of ‘Connect to Reading – Reading to Connect’. Some of my most cherished moments are of connecting to my children through fabulous books. But I also remember with fondness the nightly routine of my parents reading to me.
So for my ‘Five Faves’ this month, I’ve selected a few of my favourite picture books for younger readers. They aren’t current releases and haven’t necessarily won any awards (but you can find out the winners of this year’s CBCA awards here.) Rather, they’re those you’d label ‘an oldie but a goodie’ – ones my children and/or I returned to again and again, and whose characters and words lingered long after we placed the book back on the shelf.
Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge, written by Mem Fox, illustrated by Julie Vivas
A champion of Australian children’s literature paired with one of my favourite illustrators. How could you go wrong ? And what better than a book about the significance of inter-generational connections to tie in with this year’s theme of Book Week?
Window by Jeannie Baker
The title comes from the window that frames each page, and says a great deal, even though the book has no text. Jeannie Baker uses detailed collage to evoke the passing of time and changes to the surrounding environment. Worth checking out, even if its just to see the exquisite artwork.
Ferdinand is a Spanish bull who prefers to sit and smell the flowers rather than participate in the popular bull fights. But when he accidentally sits on a bumble bee, he is mistaken for a champion fighter and his quiet life is turned upside down. This is such an old story (first published in 1937) that the copy on my shelf was my father’s before me. But I had to include it here because it continues to evoke childhood memories of Mum and Dad reading to me.
In a town where citizens are awarded stars for being pretty or talented, and dots for falling short, Punchinello longs for a star but receives only dots. That is until he meets Lucia, who wears neither stars nor dots, and dares to ask how this is possible. A delightful story about identity and acceptance.
Tough Boris written by Mem Fox, illustrated by Kathryn Brown and Pirate Jam by Jo Brown
Okay, so this is two books, but they are both about pirates. And what child doesn’t like pirates? Tough Boris and Pirate Jam challenge the tough, swashbuckling stereotype and encourage us to embrace our uniqueness. Besides, these books are just plain good fun to read aloud – again and again.
So that’s my Five Faves for this month, although there are so many more books I could have added to the list. It doesn’t include any of the wonderful picture books available for older readers either – but perhaps that is a subject for another post.
What picture books have become favourites in your home? Are there any that conjure up fond childhood memories?