Reading aloud is an essential step on a child's journey to independent reading and can help foster a life-long love of books. This special section includes a selection of books which we think are perfect for reading aloud to children, with lively storylines or interesting facts, and with inspiring illustrations to help your child learn to love reading.
Well, here’s a book that ticks some absolute favourite first reader boxes: Vikings – tick; bare bottoms – tick; knickers – tick; a bouncy rhyming text just right for reading aloud – tick; lively, action-packed illustrations – tick, tick, tick! The plot concerns some chilly Vikings and their quest to obtain yeti hair with which to knit cosy new knickers, and while it all builds to a tremendous and satisfying climax, most readers will be totally won over on page one, with the lines: “Well, they’d got into a fight, had their undies set alight,/ Now their pants were all in pieces and their bums were turning blue!” Just great fun!
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month September 2018 | As befits its subtitle ‘A Children’s Book of Mindfulness’, Happy is a sensitive and calming introduction for young readers on how to engage with the beauty of the world to help them to deal with the big emotions of life. Through its poetic text matched with warmly domestic illustrations it takes readers on a journey from ‘Mindfulness’ to ‘Happiness’ allowing space to reflex on topics such as ‘Listening’, ‘Relaxing, ‘Feeling’, ‘Loving’ and ‘Smelling’
‘Down in the forest as Bear had a doze/ A small stripy bug came and sat on his nose’, and so Bear’s troubles begin. He really doesn’t want to become home to this troublesome, if extremely cheerful and friendly bug. In one lovely spread the other animals look on askance as Bear vigorously tries to shake Bug off. Eventually Owl comes to the rescue, sensibly suggesting a welcoming alternative home for Bug. It’s an original and very funny story, told in accomplished, jolly rhyme, and Carmen Saldana’s bold, vibrant illustrations give a real sense of scale and unfolding drama.
By the always-current Sophy Henn this new series for children just starting to read on their own is to be celebrated. Jeanie, aged 7 ¾, has a special relationship with her grandma, known to the family as Bad Nana. She doesn’t mind her name, in fact, Jeanie says, ‘I think she quite likes it’. Bad Nana isn’t really bad, and if she’s often up-to-no-good, completely embarrassing or a little bit cheeky, she’s always good fun. There’s certainly lots of fun to be had in the different stories Jeanie shares with us. Children are fascinated by the way old people have a license to misbehave, and they will be delighted by Bad Nana’s exploits which break all the rules of good behaviour. The illustrations, also by Sophy Henn, are stylish and distinctive, but children will immediately recognise themselves in Jeanie. This lovely, hugely appealing book is one to recommend to fans of Lauren Child and her Clarice Bean stories in particular.
Who better to enjoy the delights of the seaside and the high seas than Winnie the Witch and her longsuffering cat Wilbur? There are three different stories in this bumper edition and the two enjoy some typically exuberant and surprising adventures at the beach, as pirates, and in some magical deep sea diving. Korky Paul’s quirky, detailed illustrations make the most of Valerie Thomas’ ever-inventive texts and there are new things to spot on each separate reading - no wonder Winnie and Wilbur are so well-loved by young readers and their families. ~ Andrea Reece
May 2018 Book of the Month | Wonderful rhyme carries you through this rollicking ride through the wild west and a town they called Fear, whose scary inhabitants wear rattlesnake socks, chew rocks and and soon leave newcomer, the colourful and jolly Bingo B. Brown without his cheerful grin. Bingo soon discovers that as scary as the cowboys in town are, the wildest, scariest cowboy of all comes calling after dark. Frightened by the tales he hears of this terrible stranger, Bingo and his dog decide to leave town. They soon discover that you can't run away from the things that scare you as they come face to face with the fear spreading cowboy. Bingo soon finds his courage though and before long this baddie goes from spiteful to delightful. This is an absolute joy to read and is packed full of fun and colourful illustrations that complement the story perfectly. ~ Shelley Fallows - You can also find Shelley here.
April 2018 Debut of the Month Sarah Jacoby’s beautiful book is proof that picture books can cover the most profound subjects in ways that speak to readers of all ages. Nothing less than the passage of time is the subject of Forever or a Day, how it can go at different speeds, and what’s important for us all to understand. The story is delivered through the eyes of a young child, short, lyrical lines of text beneath elegant watercolour illustrations of family life, first in the city, then in the countryside on a trip to see the grandparents. Images of the daily commute, and holiday train journeys illustrate time’s different speeds, alongside beautiful scenes of sunrises, sunsets and night skies. Time can be a drum beat, a whisker twitch, lost or found, and the answer to the question ‘Can we stay longer?’ is ‘I love the time I have with you.’ A rich, moving meditation on an eternally absorbing question, this is a book to keep forever.
March 2018 Book of the Month | Myth Match is more than a wonderful guide to mythical creatures, because there are different ways to read this handsomely illustrated book. You can carefully flip up the divided pages to study the array of fantastic beasts presented: a dragon, the aboriginal Goorialla, the Manx Arkan Sonney, all are depicted in fascinating full-colour detail and in close-up. But flip the pages again – left hand and right hand sides – to create your own army of extraordinary creatures: the half page format allows you to mix the creatures together, e.g. giving heads that breathe fire chicken’s feet and the tail of a squirrel. The mind-boggling permutations are almost endless. Each new creation is guaranteed to look strange but beautiful thanks to the gorgeous artwork. A great way to learn about mythical creatures, from all cultures, and fun too. ~ Andrea Reece
Steve Smallman is a master of the poo-filled plotline, no mean boast when you consider just how much children love the smelly brown stuff (in books anyway). We’re happily knee-deep in poo in this adventure – cows, horses, chickens, they’re all producing it and as for the sheep – they ‘pop pellets out rat-a-tat-a-tat’! Famer Jill points out it’s good for the land, but is less happy when someone plops on the top of her new hairdo. Amongst the manure, Smallman tells a proper story when the rooster ingeniously and comically foils a fox attack on the henhouse, and Florence Weisner’s illustrations give the farm animals real character. Good smelly fun! ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: eye-catching, attention-grabbing comic adventure for young readers With a cast of characters as colourful as the day-glo pinks and greens of its illustrations, and a plot that’s just as bright, Fabio the World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective is going to wow young readers. Guests and staff are stunned when a talented hippo disappears right in the middle of her performance in the Hotel Royale’s talent competition. Fortunately Fabio is on hand to solve the mystery, and a couple of others in the process. Children who enjoy detective stories will love following the clues with Fabio, and children and adults alike will delight in the lush setting and in the comedy provided by Fabio’s co-stars, including hapless assistant Gilbert the Giraffe. For another quirky, satisfying animal detective series see Alex T Smith’s new Mr Penguin books. ~ Andrea Reece Laura James said ‘I am tickled pink to continue working with Bloomsbury and can’t wait for Fabio to spread his wings and share his adventures with my readers. I’m a huge fan of Emily’s work and I can’t wait to see her take on the world’s greatest flamingo detective.’
In a nutshell: fast-moving, funny, highly-illustrated story with a very unusual central character Harriet is best friends with Horace – though at first they wouldn’t seem to have much in common. He’s a statue, and was a naval commander in the late 1700s, and she’s a seven (and a half) year old. Nonetheless they get on really well, even when they have different priorities, as in this adventure. Harriet is busy with her new holiday job dog-walking, while Horace is keen to find any kind of job at all, eventually landing one at the local newspaper. When one of the dogs in her care goes missing, Harriet appeals to Horace for help – will he come to the rescue? It’s a wonderfully daft adventure full of zany situations but rooted in the very real friendship that exists between the two central characters, and is thoroughly charming. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: bumper fun with some of the best-loved characters in children’s books There are no less than twelve different Winnie and Wilbur stories to enjoy in this collection, each one just the right length for bedtime or storytime and guaranteed to leave everyone smiling. Winnie squeezes the most fun possible from any activity, whether she’s cheering up a giant, learning to play the bagpipes or tossing pancakes, and Wilbur is the perfect companion – calm (mostly), and always ready to be supportive or to help Winnie out. Winnie’s wonderful use of language is another of the many joys of these stories, and of course, each one of Korky Paul’s illustrations is a miniature story in itself. ~ Andrea Reece
Reading stories aloud will help your child develop key literacy skills, recognise letters and understand how a story develops.
It is also a lovely nurturing time when you can spend time with young children without the distractions of modern life.
If you would like to find out a bit more about the benefits of reading aloud you can visit www.booktrust.org.uk which also has top tips from Early Reading specialist, Emily Guille-Marrett.
You might also be interested in our Dyslexia Friendly Picture book selection for Parents and Children to share - click here.