I opened a book and in I strode
Now nobody can find me.
I’ve left my chair, my house, my road,
My town and my world behind me.
I’m wearing the cloak, I’ve slipped on the ring,
I’ve swallowed the magic potion.
I’ve fought with a dragon, dined with a king
And dived in a bottomless ocean.
I opened a book and made some friends.
I shared their tears and laughter
And followed their road with its bumps and bends
To the happily ever after.
I finished my book and out I came.
The cloak can no longer hide me.
My chair and my house are just the same,
But I have a book inside me.
— Julia Donaldson
I love Donaldson’s final lines – “My chair and my house are just the same,/ But I have a book inside me.” If we know that experience for ourselves, we know how magical it is. Not wanting the book to end. So as half term approaches and the long summer break, let’s make sure we’ve got some books ready not only for ourselves but for our children. Perhaps a trip to the library or a browse in a charity shop is in order. If you are looking for ideas, here are some that my daughter (11) and son (10) have recently enjoyed. There are lots more on the blog, so do have a browse.
Children’s Book Recommendations 5-12
20 Children’s Books 9+
Over 20 Children’s Fiction 8+
Tudor Books 8+
WWII Historical Fiction 6+
Rainforest Literature for Kids
Those who write for children are trying to arm them for the life ahead with everything we can find that is true. And perhaps, also, secretly, to arm adults against those necessary compromises and necessary heartbreaks that life involves: to remind them that there are and always will be great, sustaining truths to which we can return.
— Katherine Rundell, Why You Should Read Children’s Books, Even Though You Are So Old and Wise
Rundell’s words are ringing in my ears. Continue reading
…the most startling thing about this wonderful tree was that hundreds of tapers glittered like stars in its dark branches, and the tree itself, shining with an inner light, invited the children to pick its blossoms and fruits.
– The Nutcracker, E.T.A. Hoffman
In the midst of the chaos of 2020 and all that it has brought us, Christmas is still coming. There is true light in the darkness. What joy! So let’s get preparing….
Education is the most powerful weapon we can use to change the world.
— Nelson Mandela
South Africa is a country dear to our hearts. My husband and I lived in Cape Town for the first three years of our marriage and so I have always been keen to introduce something of the place and people to our children. (A visit one day hopefully.) Continue reading
The children should have the joy of living in far lands, in other persons, in other times—a delightful double existence; and this joy they will find, for the most part, in their story-books”
— Charlotte Mason (Vol. 1, p. 153)
So it looks like holidays are off the cards this summer for most of us but in Charlotte Mason’s words we can still “have the joy of living in far lands, in other persons, in other times…” So at a time when we can’t travel and see people so easily, books are a magical way of doing just that both for us adults and our children. So let’s help our children travel this summer and choose books to take them places. They may even make some friends along the way. Continue reading
It’s all about the Tudors this term in our house. There’s nothing like well-written historical fiction to bring history alive for young ones, alongside visiting museums and relevant places of interest. Continue reading
In a squeaky voice he piped in the man’s ear: “Senhor, a ruined rain forest means ruined lives … many ruined lives. You will leave many of us homeless if you chop down this great Kapok tree.”
— Lynne Cherry, The Great Kapok Tree
Lynne Cherry writes beautifully about the plight of the rainforest through an engaging story, lively illustrations Continue reading
I will defend the importance of bedtime stories to my last gasp.
— J.K. Rowling
Rowling talks of bedtime stories, and of course there is something special about children all ready for bed being read aloud a story about a faraway land before they drift off to the Land of Nod. Continue reading
The mathematician’s patterns, like the painter’s or the poet’s must be beautiful; the ideas, like the colours or the words must fit together in a harmonious way. Beauty is the first test: there is no permanent place in the world for ugly mathematics.
— G.H. Hardy
In a world that thinks of education through a post-Enlightenment lens, we need to hear Hardy’s words more than ever. Maths is beautiful. Continue reading
Write what should never be forgotten.
— Isabel Allende
Understanding the past is fundamental to who we are in the present and the kind of society we seek to build into the future. Historical fiction is one way we can help our children to inhabit the past, Continue reading