Yay! It’s World Book Day!
As we grow older and new generations emerge, like it or not, all of us become teachers and leaders to these new little personalities. I have always enjoyed children’s literature, and the magic it offers to young minds.
The purpose of children’s books are often viewed as a means to learn language, especially for parents who are trying to nurture a second or third mother tongue for their child. Of course, through books they will undoubtedly learn new vocabulary, understand common sense on how things work, the beauty and fun of language and rhyme, of colours and pictures, and exercise their imagination with no restraint of what their minds can absorb.
The scale of large sized books where they can almost literally get lost in, the illustrations and style of writing and images that combine into creating living stories… There is something extremely comforting in a familiar phrase, a memorised line, the picture on the cover of a hardback book. It’s like going home.
Books offer new things outside of a child’s playpen, a window into life outside of their own… as they do for us as adults, too.
A short list of recommended readings to expand the mind, warm the heart, and nurture one’s love of language (in this particular case, the English language).
Zero by Kathryn Otoshi.
A simple number book with a deep philosophy of self-worth.
Zero feels empty inside. How can Zero have value?
The Magic Paintbrush, a traditional Chinese tale.
My favourite version is a Ladybird book, adapted by Fran Hunia.
The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch,
also available as an entertaining audiobook.
A story of a resourceful princess and a useless prince,
turning the fairytale genre on its head.
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson.
A musically rhythmic rhyming story about a mouse and a monster.
Joseph Had A Little Overcoat by Simms Taback.
Promoting the idea of reusing and recycling,
whilst having a very clever ending. Moral of the story?
You can always make something out of nothing.
Of course the list goes on! But in essence, if you have a child or are looking for a good present for a little one, why not check these out? I have no affiliations with any booksellers or authors, only the desire to share the best seeds for growing minds.
My own influences of Dr Seuss, Roald Dahl, The Berenstain Bears, Spike Milligan and Shel Silverstein’s poems have prepared me for a moment of randomness, to appreciate absurdity, to throw social ‘boxes’ out of the window and remember that happy moments can be created from our imagination when life gets too serious…
In moving pictures, Studio Ghibli’s Totoro is a childhood favourite*. I also was absorbed in the early Dragonball comics when I visited my grandparents’ house (of course, they were my cousin’s not my grandparents’). And who else grew up with Snoopy, or religiously followed the Calvin and Hobbes comics in the Sunday paper for those moments of new perspective, self-reflection, dramatic irony, or just for a simple chuckle?
Some things ring true for children and adults alike, and truly, there’s nothing better than immersing into a good story.
Feel free to share your own suggestions of iconic children’s literature!
An additional note…
If you like going to old bookshops, have a love of books, and enjoy a little bit of light drama/sleuth stories, I highly recommend Antiquarian Bookshop Biblia’s Case Files, a Japanese television series available on Crunchyroll.com. It’s free to watch, or if you become a member, the videos are ad-free. They also contribute a direct ratio of the membership fee directly to the production houses/shows, which is great! Even if it’s $1, it goes straight to the artist and all artists are grateful for every little bit of help – to allow them to continue what they love to do, which is to entertain you 🙂
*Though I watched the Chinese dubbed version of Totoro on television (the only version accessible at the time), when it comes to animation I will always root for the original soundtrack. There is much more meaning within the culture and intonation of the original language that cannot be directly translated, and more often than not I have seen English dubbed versions misrepresent the original meaning through their voice performance.