Considering The Children (and Their Books)

At this time of year, more childrens books are purchased than any other. And people want this best for their kids; books that really suit them; books that entertain them and encourage them; books that mean something to their lives. When choosing a book for that wonderful child(ren) in your life, what you pick matters. And it's a time for your local childrens' book specialist to think fast on their feet when helping you, because we have a lot of people to help. That's what we're there for and that's what I love about the job. Nothing means more to me than to help you put the right book in the hands of a child. I believe books really make a difference. Helping someone find that right book is no simple task. I don't want to just hand over something that's popular or new. I want to be sure it is right for the child; that it will address them and make that difference. Children do actually live in a different space, a different culture than the adult world and that needs to be addressed. When picking the right book, it is important to consider the children and match the book to the child.

As adults who love childrens books, whether you are a parent, grandparent, teacher, writer, illustrator, a bookseller, a childrens' book expert or scholar, you know these things. Every so often, a resource creeps into view that will help you address the needs of the children in your life, whether it is to locate that special book or help them with some issue or problem, or to help them in their questions about the world. Well, I have a couple of resources for you.
The first is a beautiful new book that offers "An A-Z of Books to Keep Kids Happy, Healthy and Wise". The Story Cure by Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin, two expert bibliotherapists take us through a wide range of situations and the hundreds of books that could help your child cope. From tantrums, bedtime routines, toilet training , picky eaters, bullying, feeling different through to first love, teenage mood swings, coping with mental illness or world situations....or even the child of any age who simply doesn't know what to read next; The Story Cure offers many options. Hundreds of books, from picture books to YA novels are found within these pages. Recommendations exist as creative solutions for nearly any circumstance conceivable. Books can offer a different kind of healing, because they are personal to the reader. The Story Cure can help you find the right book at the right time. (Also written by Berthoud and Elderkin, The Novel Cure:An A-Z of Literary Cures...for grown-ups)
Another book that I have previously recommended for the grown-ups is still my favourite. Feeling
Like A Kid: Childhood and Childrens' Literature by Jerry Griswold is a remarkable book that fully expresses the unique qualities that thrive in childrens' lives and how these are reflected, time and again, in childrens' books. Feeling Like A Kid addresses the way children think and feel in an honest, forthright manner with no sentimentality or idealised view. It then demonstrates how these are reflected in both classic and popular childrens' literature. It asserts and demonstrates that the best, most treasured childrens' authors were/are so incredibly successful because they have not forgotten what it's like to genuinely feel like a kid, to see the world from a real childs' point of view and to completely engage with childrens' culture. It does so in a way that is easy to read, offering insight and research in a user-friendly manner. Additionally, it is physically a beautiful book. It's design, illustrations, endpapers, type face....there isn't a thing about this book that isn't joyful and lovely.If you love childrens' books, have children in your life and want to encourage a love of reading, I think this is one of the most important books you could ever read.


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