The gift of sharing a story is treasured throughout someone’s life. I have the fondest memories of sitting on my grandfather’s lap as he read to me The Wind in the Willows, all of the Beatrix Potter books (we still have them all!) and Just William. I would like to think that these early stories and the love that he put into telling them prompted me to start a career in children’s publishing. I know those same books still wait patiently on the shelf for the day that they can be shared again.
Although children’s picture books have changed quite a lot over the years, there is as much love for the old classics as there is for the modern more quirky texts. With the fast paced world, the word count has gone down and the images have become busier, but in essence the picture book is still that magical doorway into another world, which has been created to be shared. As children get older they learn to read by themselves, so picture books are one of the first steps on a child’s reading journey.
Some people think that with television and computer games, children are losing interest in books but I think that it is adults that must take the responsibility to make sure they take the time to share books with children. Given the option, children love to be read to and enjoy the social interaction that comes with it. Paperback books are made to be shared and luckily in children’s publishing the physical book is still preferred with more value now that everything else is on a screen.
But with so much to offer in the market it is difficult to choose the right books, especially if it is to be given as a gift. You can’t go far wrong with the legacy titles, such as The Hungry Caterpillar, The Tiger That Came to Tea and the Gruffalo, however many children already have these on their book shelves, so you are faced with the dilemma of looking for something new. The main advice I would give is to choose something that calls to you, because a child will enjoy something if you enjoy reading it to them.
So the next time you are looking for a present for a young child, don’t just buy them the book, take the time to sit down with them, share it, and create a treasured memory for you both, which could last lifetime.
Editor at Maverick Arts Publishing