Happy Sunday Bibliofriends!
A new month brings a new bookish prompt in Six for Sunday world.
For those who don’t already know, Six for Sunday is a weekly list-based meme created by Steph @ALittleButALot and has a different weekly prompt based on a monthly theme. April is all about children’s literature and as a primary school teacher I am definitely ready for ‘Kids Lit Represent’!
This Sunday, we are discussing children’s books we love. This was quite a difficult topic in many ways; not because I can’t think of any books I loved…but because as a child, I would always have my nose in a book. Many of them have a place in my heart for multiple reasons that I could probably write a Sixty for Sunday instead. I also feel that the meanings of books, or the reasons why you fell in love with them changes as you get older and the morals and messages translated within them also take on new life as society changes and adapts to our modern world. To me, this is why children’s literature is so fascinating; you could read it at different times or stages of your life and still take away something new.
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
Now… yes, I talk about this series a lot; yes, it features in nearly, but not every, list I write about books; yes, I am positive this comes under the umbrella of children’s books which is why it’s here!
Not only did this book keep my love for reading alive, even through those teenage years when “reading wasn’t cool unless you were reading Cosmo or one of your Nan’s Mills & Boon novels” (you can’t see me air-quoting and eye-rolling but believe me, I am…), it has also inspired so many children I have taught to actually pick up a book by choice rather than their Xbox or Nintendo and start to enjoy reading. That’s just one reason why I love it and why it’s here.
- Wizziwig the Witch by Geraldine McCaughrean
When I was at primary school, my Mum was doing a course which involved going to the library a lot to use the computers; this was the 90s after all and we didn’t have one at home yet. When I went with her after-school, I would have the entire run of the Kids’ section, which was huge to a 7 year old. It was filled with squashy beanbags in reading nooks and was decorated with brightly painted animals on the walls. It really was a special place. Whilst there I read so many books, but one set that stood out was a set all about Wizziwig the Witch by Geraldine McCaughrean. I’ve mentioned them in a previous post but I never see these books anymore so they’re probably out of print. I’d hire them out of the library multiple times just to reread them. There was one with a crazy cooker, a singing car, a sweet machine and I’m sure there was another one with either a washing machine…or it could have been a time machine! Either way, I loved these books so much that I wanted to grow up and BE Wizziwig!
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
This was my first ever Roald Dahl book and it was a prize won from cereal tokens. I remember collecting the tokens, sending them off, then sitting on the stairs every morning waiting for my book to come in the post. When it did…😍Roald Dahl really is a staple in any children’s literature list; his storytelling is amazing and his books just seem to have an edge that others didn’t. Perhaps it was because he made up words such as ‘snozzcumber’, or perhaps it was because he created a plethora of amazing characters which were either talking animals, dream-eating giants or witches who hated children. I could have included any of his books here, but the whole pretense of waiting for a book to arrive in the post – let’s face it, this was my first ever book mail – and then finding out it’s all about a boy who inherits a chocolate factory…what kid wouldn’t love that!
- Heckedy Peg by Audrey Wood
As a child this book scared me slightly, however I used to know the words off by heart as it had lines which were repeated at certain points throughout the story and the plot was so cleverly constructed. Heckedy Peg is a witch who lures away a Mother’s children whilst she is out at the market. She turns them into items of food and their Mother, after she has tracked down Heckedy Peg, has to guess which of her children is which to break the spell and get them back. For children it’s a pretty frightening story which shows you what can happen if you disobey your parents and let strangers into your house. The illustrations were fantastic and highly detailed too.
- The Red Herring Mystery by Paul Adshead
Part story, part activity book I loved trying to solve the mystery of who stole the ruby red herring. You had to use the text and the pictures to solve the clues and work out who the thief was. In true crime novel style, all of the characters had a hidden motive and backstory which attempted to catch you out. All of the pictures in the book also had a number of hidden fish and you had to try and find them all. It kept me entertained for ages and is still on my bookshelves today.
Although this is a picture book it is one of my all-time favourites. It was the winner of the Caldecott Medal in 2007. I only discovered it a few years ago when I went on some English training for school. The two ladies who lead the course showed us how you could plan an entire curriculum topic just from that one book. It’s really changed my attitude to teaching through texts in the classroom. The illustrations are stunning and the story takes a few twists and turns that you don’t expect. I’d strongly recommend any teacher, or anyone who loves picture books to pick Flotsam up.
Looking back on this now, I can see why I tend to read so many fantasy stories. They’re all about witches or magic on some way, shape or form. Others that didn’t quite make my list are:
- Anything from Usbourne where you had to try and fins the duck hidden in the illustrations
- Where’s Wally– can you tell I like finding things in pictures…?
- Care of Henry by Anne Fine– A cute dog story where the cover had Henry’s name fit really snuggly onto his collar.
- Scribbleboy by Philip Ridley– I read this in secondary school and bought a copy for myself a few years back.
- The Queen’s Knickers by Nicholas Allan– another great one for the classroom!
- The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt(illustrations by Oliver Jeffers) – another great teaching resource
What would make your top list of children’s books you love? Have you read any of the ones on my list? As always, drop me a comment to chat!
Enjoy your Sunday Bibliofriends!