We all know that books are brilliant and that there’s a wealth of talented writers and illustrators in the world of children’s literature. So how do you make your choice? “I think parents are much more aware of the benefit of books, thanks to initiatives like Bookstart, which gives parents free books for their babies” says Rebecca Wilkie of the Booktrust’s children’s website
Although most children’s books are given a suggested age range, this is not always very helpful, as children’s interests and abilities can vary so much. “Giving a suggested age range can be rather restrictive,” says Rebecca. “Plus a lot of brilliant books are ageless and timeless. Children of different ages get different things from the same book. For example, a young toddler will enjoy poking her finger in the holes of The Very Hungry Caterpillar, while a preschooler will enjoy counting all the things the caterpillar eats, and an older child will be learning about the life cycle of a butterfly.”
As a rule, there are certain things that will appeal at different ages. Chunky board or cloth books with simple images and tactile textures are great for very young babies. From the vast array of brilliant picture books, choose a subject matter that will engage your child – animals, colours, dinosaurs, cars, cars, and yet more cars. From around 18 months, you can introduce stories with a short narrative. It’s always a good idea to encourage your child to select his own books from an early age. “Some parents seem to choose more sophisticated books that appeal to them, rather than their child,” says Rebecca. “It pays to remember exactly who the book is for, and that young children usually start with simple tastes.” The answer, then, is to let your child select her own books too, with a visit to the library or bookshop where she can browse then make her own selection.
We have curated a selection of fantastic children's books, including new release roundups, and lots of interviews with favourite authors and illustrators, alongside our Junior Design Award recommended reads.
Read all about it, from our Children's Books homepage
This article previously appeared in Junior magazine as a print article