3 Reasons I Love Children's Books
St Andrews in Fife is one of my favourite places for so many reasons - gorgeous beach walks, a better chance of sunshine than most places in Scotland plus fantastic restaurants, cafes and ice cream shops. Attractive as all of these options are, one of the things I look forward to most when I visit this lovely old university town is getting to spend time in the best bookshop I know. Topping & Company Booksellers is a magical place with floor to ceiling bookshelves, nooks and crannies to explore plus comfy chairs if you need a seat whilst you browse.
Tucked away at the back of the shop is the children’s area complete with leather sofa for parents and children to snuggle up in as they select which book they’d like to take home. Picture books, pop-up books, fiction and non-fiction; books about monsters or magic or mice; books that reflect everyday experiences, take the reader back in time or are filled with the most exquisite illustrations. Spending some time in this wonderful shop today reminded me of why I love children’s books and here are my top 3 reasons why:
Sharing books with very young children is about so much more than listening to stories. It’s about helping the child to connect the black squiggly patterns they see on the page with the words they hear the adult say. Words which capture their imagination, make them laugh and help them understand the world around them.
We want children to be motivated to read for themselves and associating it with positive emotional experiences is one of the best ways to do this. Introducing them to the joy of books and reading from the earliest possible age whets their appetite for reading and gives them the confidence to have a go for themselves.
Books create wonderful opportunities for adult/child conversations. The quality of illustrations in many picture books is superb and can include situations children are familiar with, objects they recognise or details that even an adult might not have noticed on first reading. Talking about the pictures in a book as well as discussing events and characters in a story encourages “to and fro” conversations which influence the development of children’s linguistic skills.
So it doesn’t really matter whether it’s by reading at home, visiting the library or supporting a local bookshop, what we want is for children to catch the reading “bug” and to see reading as important, informative and - very importantly - fun!