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Favourite Children's Books by Nurturing Nannies - Adelaide, South Australia

From a young age, I have always enjoyed reading.

There is something magical about books, whether it’s their ability to help us unwind, remind us to slow down and relax, humour us and even evoke memories. My love of reading developed early, most likely from growing up in a large family. There was often a need to escape the crowded house and find solitude amongst the pages of a favourite book. Perhaps it was also the parental enforced ban on TV during the week that further aided the attractiveness of reading. Whatever the reason, reading provided a great source of entertainment and relaxation, encouraging imagination and learning.

I have fond memories of our family bedtime routine: bath, teeth and book. We children could each choose one book to either read alone in our rooms, or elect to have mum read it to us. I usually opted for the latter as my fondness for quiet reading didn’t develop as soon as other family members. On occasion, mum could be heard laughing uncontrollably from the room next door as she read aloud to one of the siblings. I, who should have been asleep by now, would often sneak into said room to have ‘just five more minutes’ of listening, desperate to stay awake to hear the last few pages. Over the years, my mother’s enthusiasm and energy when reading to us unquestionably awakened my own love for reading.

The benefits of reading are limitless. It can help settle children down, aid reading development and encourage children’s eagerness for reading. There are some wonderfully humerous, entertaining, insightful and quirky children’s books available, and the key is to choose books that appeal to your child’s interests. Ask them what they like, what they enjoy doing, what they are passionate about. When you start looking, you’ll soon find the variety of books immeasurable. Look hard enough and you’re bound to find one that reflects even the most obscure of interests!

Not sure where to start? Check out your local library, book stores, second hand shops or even online. Reading to children, having them read to you or letting them read alone are all fundamentals of childhood. Who knows, you may just inspire them to write their own book one day.

Needing a little book inspiration? Look no further than my top 10 favourite children’s books. This list includes both old and new books, all of which are suitable for ages 3-12 years old, and many are equally enjoyable for both adult and child. So grab a book, gather the progeny and get whisked away for a couple of minutes (or hours). Happy reading!

1. Each Peach Pear Plum – Janet Ahlberg (For ages 3-8 years old)

I always loved strong rhyming books, and this one is no exception. The author uses fairy tale characters including Robin Hood, Tom Thumb and Cinderella to delve into mystery and a big game of ‘find the hidden characters’. A treasure to read or listen to, you and your little one are sure to love it.

2. Jennings series – Anthony Buckeridge (For ages 9-12 years old)

Set in an all-boys English boarding school, this book series from the 1950s is still as humerous as ever. The books follow the adventures of the enthusiastic and daring J.C.T Jennings (one of the boarders) and his often apprehensive but honourable friend Darbishire. Filled with classic English wit and humour, Jennings is perfect for older children and equally enjoyable for adults.

3. Ruby Red Shoes goes to Paris – Kate Knapp (For ages 4-8 years old)

Watercolour illustrations, Paris and sweet little animals, what more could you want in a children’s book. Tells the story of Ruby and her grandmother Babushka as they embark on a Parisian holiday. Bon voyage!

4. Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy – Lynley Dodd (For ages 3-6 years old)

Here is another classic rhyming story, perfect for any dog-loving little ones. Join Hairy Maclary, Bitzer Maloney, Muffin McLay and other canine friends as they scamper about the village causing mischief.

5. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury (For ages 4-6 years old)

The beautiful illustrations and adventure laden story is a delightful read for younger children. Although a short story, the bear hunt creates plenty of excitement. Coupled with the ever-changing landscapes and quick paced theme, it’s no wonder it’s still a favourite today.

6. Mr McGee – Pamela Allen (For ages 4-6 years old)

Mr McGee who lived under a tree. The title itself is intriguing enough to capture little ones attention. Enjoy this Pamela Allen classic with the funny, lively story and quirky characters.

7. The Very Hungry caterpillar – Eric Carle (For ages 2-5 years old)

A lovely introduction to foods, shapes and numbers, the Very Hungry Caterpillar is a delight to read and explore. The numerous lift flaps throughout the book help keep young children engaged in the storyline of the changing caterpillar.

8. Possum Magic - Mem Fox (For ages 4-7 years old)

This Australian classic is sure to delight the younger readers and listeners. Follow the escapades of Hush and Grandma Poss as they embark on an Australian adventure full of danger, laughter and even a little possum magic.

9. The Dot – Peter H. Reynolds (For ages 4-6 years old)

Vashti is a little girl who believers she cannot draw at all. With the encouragement of her teacher, however, she soon learns that everyone has their own unique style. My favourite quote is said by the teacher in the beginning: “Just make a mark, and see where it takes you”.

10. Rose meets Mr Wintergarten – Bob Graham (For ages 5-6 years old)

Bob Graham is no stranger to writing children’s books, but this one was always a standout. Rose is a quiet but courageous little girl who moves with her eccentric family to a new neighbourhood. Mr Wintergarten is the grumpy next door neighbour who is far from welcoming. What happens when the two meet? The story is a lovely narration of not judging a book by its cover.