From ancient fables to mesmerising illustrations, here are 10 children’s books that will help your kid develop a passion for the written word. By Jayeeta Mazumder
There’s more to children’s literature than the Harry Potter and Narnia books. And while your kid may exult upon possessing the latest, glossiest, limited edition collection of Marvel comics, don’t deprive her of the good ol’ books you have grown up with; those that have tales from the days of yore, with values that are relevant to this day, and can mould your child into a better person. And there are some books that should be passed from
one generation to the next because no what matter what the time, they always remain relevant.
Here’s a list of our all-time favourite reads:
A little orphaned girl, her loyal friends, a dangerous quest, a good witch and a bad one—it’s got all the makings of a thrilling story that could keep a child riveted till the last page. If you overlook the dark undertones at the core of the plot, you’ll love the little messages sprinkled about. It has magic, great characters, endearing humour, and the essential lesson that good deeds and kindness are always rewarded. And it never lets you forget that there is no place like home. If you want to subtly instil some noble characteristics in your child, this is the book to turn to.
The essence of this beautiful novella is palpable as you flip through the pages—after all, adults were children once. And all children are born with an incredible power of imagination. Written by French aristocrat, writer and poet Antoine de Saint-Exupery, the novella remains to this day the most widely read book in the French language. Translated into more than 250 languages and dialects, it is one of the bestselling books ever published. The lucidity of the language makes the book a wonderful read for children and yet the undertone of each episode, as the prince travels from one planet to another, is profound. The simplicity of the text and the watercolour illustrations lure readers, regardless of their age. As the author rightly points out, “There are a few stories, which in some way, in some degree, change the world forever for their readers. This is one.”
Eric Carle’s creative illustrations and dramatic storytelling familiarise you with the tale of a caterpillar, tracing
its journey from its birth when it was an egg to its metamorphosis into a gorgeous butterfly. The heartwarming
plot, the colourful illustrations and in-depth attention to detail make this an all-time favourite children’s book. It
promotes a deep understanding of nature and love for the environment.
How many times have you stayed awake on Christmas Eve waiting for Santa Claus to sneak in a gift under the Christmas tree? The glee on your face upon receiving the gifts the next morning just says it all. This is the story of a young boy and his struggle with believing in Santa Claus. This story is about how Santa and Christmas become a reality, for the boy and the reader. A moving story about believing in something larger than life.
Shel tells the story of a boy and a tree as an ode to sacrificial love. The tree becomes his means of survival and joy— he climbs up its branches as a child, while the tree offers its fruit and even allows itself to be cut for him to earn a livelihood. It’s only in the end that the boy understands this— when he is an old man and the tree is nothing but a stump. Parents must remember to point out the selfish demand the boy in the book placed for their children to relate to the tree’s kindness. Only then can the child feel a sense of gratitude.
What better way to introduce your children to moral science than by presenting them with a collection of age-old, endearing fables! The fables’ origins are doubtful, although Greek historian Herodotus mentioned that Aesop was a slave, who had a knack for storytelling and lived in ancient Greece. Interestingly, Aesop’s Fables and the Buddhist Jataka Tales and the Hindu Panchatantra have several tales in common. Through the animal world in these tales, many valuable virtues are imparted—those that can be learned, taught and passed on
Saying goodnight has never been this entertaining. The book helps familiarise your kid with inanimate objects, while the rhyming verse makes it easy to memorise. A family favourite, this book makes children comprehend the meaning of saying goodnight to loved ones at the end of a busy day.
Theodor Geisel, better known as Seuss, had to write a story out of 348 words every six-year-old must know. He not only managed to successfully write a 1,629-word tale using most of the words, but also etched a popular character and an entertaining plot. This is a classic that parents must read out aloud for their children to internalise and pass it on when they grow up.
When Heidi, an orphaned little girl, comes to live with her grumpy grandpa in a rustic village, he isn’t too happy. But slowly Heidi manages to shatter her grandfather’s tough exterior, and the two form a bond too deep to be broken by distance.
This is a wonderful collection to have at home. The works were collected by various authors, translators and scholars across western, central, southern Asia and north Africa. The tales can be traced to ancient and medieval Arabic, Persian, Indian, Egyptian and Mesopotamian folklore and literature. It’s a treat to read Aladdin’s Wonderful Lamp, Ali Baba And The Forty Thieves and The Seven Voyages Of Sinbad The Sailor.