“What an astonishing thing a book is. It’s a flat object made from a tree with flexible parts on which are imprinted lots of funny dark squiggles.
But one glance at it and you’re inside the mind of another person, maybe somebody dead for thousands of years. Across the millennia, an author is speaking clearly and silently inside your head, directly to you.
Writing is perhaps the greatest of human inventions, binding together people who never knew each other, citizens of distant epochs. Books break the shackles of time.
A book is proof that humans are capable of working magic.” ~ Carl Sagan
If there is one lesson to be learnt from 2020, it's that we all need magic more than ever before, especially kids.
If growing up amidst a pandemic, stuck at home, away from friends (and worse, surrounded by family and screens 24x7), wasn't tedious enough, nowadays they are also expected to 'change the world by creating apps' even before they hit puberty.
Maybe learning how to code has its benefits. But looking at the way it's being marketed by certain ed-tech companies to kids and more importantly, their parents, as a ticket to Silicon Valley and million-dollar salaries, the whole spiel seems rather off-putting.
I don't know how to code, neither do I have a kid. But for all the parents who have the willingness to invest in their child's future, I do offer a simple suggestion based upon my own childhood experience...
Introduce your child to reading, especially for pleasure!
Read to them, with them!! Surround them with story books of all kinds! Get them hooked to the magical feeling of being lost within the pages of a goodread for hours!! Feed their hunger to read more by buying them more books for their ever-expanding library!!!
Building a reading habit might not lead to kids becoming teenage tech millionaires, but it shall definitely help them develop a mind of their own, practice empathy, travel through space and time, and perhaps even be inspired to change the world later in life.
In this post, you will find over a hundred reading recommendations for kids, consisting of cherished classics from my own early childhood memories, along with newer titles and boxsets. Top picks are mentioned as well for each set of recommendations - arranged in order of reading level and organized author-wise, whenever possible.
Speaking from experience, books make for the best gifts ever. So even if you don't have one of your own, make some kid's birthday /Christmas /Monday /lockdown special by treating them to a few from this long list of goodreads. They shall thank you, indeed :)
Please note - this post contains affiliate links. For every purchase you make by clicking on them, this independent creator will earn a small commission which will go towards keeping Project Bibliotherapy sustainable in its mission to nudge kids of all ages to read more. Thank you in advance for your support :)
Wonder House Books has an impressive selection of colourful, affordable selection of boxsets of basic board-books for toddlers, including a English-Hindi and English-Espanol learning library.
Add wonder house to library --> my first library 1 (10-in-1) | my first library 2 (10-in-1) | 20-in-1 boxset (horizontal) [top pick] | 20-in-1 boxset (Vertical) | english-hindi (10-in-1) | english-espanol (10-in-1)
Seek inspiration from these superwomen and read aloud the works of the legendary Dr Seuss to your kids - full of memorable characters, catchy rhymes and brilliant illustrations.
add dr seuss to library --> The Cat in the Hat | Oh the Places You'll Go | Green Eggs and Ham | How the Grinch Stole Christmas | Fox in Socks | Dr Seuss's ABC | Dr Seuss's Sleep Book | a Classic Treasury (5-in-1) [Top pick] | A Classic Case of Dr Seuss (20-in-1 boxset)
Ladybird Books helped me read quite a bit as a kid three decades ago. These two boxsets make for fantastic presents to curious minds, especially the classic Key Words Collection with Peter and Jane. The Read-it-Yourself set includes a mix of timeless tales simplified for younger ones, along with popular characters like Peppa Pig.
Add ladybird books to library --> read it yourself (50-in-1) | key words with peter and jane (36-in-1) [top pick]
Now more than ever, the Supreme Law of India deserves a place on your kid's bookshelf...
After penning a children's history of India, Subhadra Sen Gupta explores the most important document of Independent India in her latest offering. Also, Leila Seth, former Chief Justice, makes the preamble understandable to the youngest of readers in her book.
Add to library --> leila seth's we the children of india || subhadra sen gupta's the constitution of india for children [top pick] | a children's history of india
Swipe sideways below for glimpses from a forgotten era of kid literature...
Reviving Dunno has been one of my favourite experiments with Bibliotherapy so far this year. Physical copies of the mind-blowing creations of Nikolai Nosov are pretty much non-existent but you can...
add the digitized version of dunno to library -->
Mr Nosov's contemporary, who introduced this bibliophile to reading, needs no introduction...
Enid Blyton is probably responsible for converting the maximum number of children in India into readers. One can pick any book from her vast bibliography and not be disappointed. Find a few of my personal favourites below.
"It was, of course, my mother who'd started me off on the bad habit to begin with. When I was still in diapers she would read to me from the Noddy books of Enid Blyton, stories about a nodding wooden doll and his friends in Toyland.
My mother jokes that she read them so badly I couldn't wait to grab the books from her myself; by the time I was 3, I was reading Noddy, and soon moving on to other stories by Blyton, easily the world's most prolific children's author, whose prodigious output (more than 200 books) could take you through an entire childhood..." ~ Shashi Tharoor, ('A Child's Reading in India' - The Washington Post, 1991)
add enid blyton to library --> noddy goes to toyland | The wishing chair [top pick] | the magic faraway tree [top pick] | Chair + tree combo 6-in-1 | brer rabbit | animal stories | fireworks in fairyland | easter stories | summer adventure stories | tales of tricks and treats | christmas tales | stories of rotten rascals
"When I outgrew Noddy there were Enid Blyton fairy tales, nursery fantasies and retold legends; by 7 I started on her thrilling mysteries of The Five-Find-Outers (and Dog); by 8 I discovered her tales of British boarding-school life, midnight feasts and all; by 9 I was launched on the adventures of the "Famous Five'..." ~ Shashi Tharoor, ('A child's reading in India' - The Washington Post, 1991)
add more enid blyton to library --> five on a treasure island | famous five 3-in-1 [top pick] | the famous five boxset 1 (21-in-1) | boxset 2 (21-in-1) | secret seven 3-in-1 | secret seven boxset 1 (17-in-1) | boxset 2 (17-in-1) | the find-outers - the mystery of the missing necklace | find-outers boxset (15-in-1) | cherry tree farm | the naughtiest girl boxset (10-in-1) | jolly good food - allegra mcevedy | five go feasting: famously good recipes - josh sutton [top pick]
Bonus mouth-watering read by Diya Kohli-
"Writing, for me, is the simplest and greatest pleasure in the world.
And there's only one way to become a writer, that's to be a reader. If you look at the lives of all writers who are successful, you'd find that when they were boys or girls, they were readers and bookworms. It's from a love of reading that you come to a love of writing." ~ Ruskin Bond
Read what one of India's most prolific children's authors has to say about the art of writing...
Add ruskin bond to library --> best-selling children story books collection (4-in-1) [top pick] | the blue umbrella | from the cradle of nature | Tales from the Childhood | stories of wisdom | How to be a Writer | Great Stories for Children | The Whistling School Boy and other stories of School Life | The Essential Collection for young readers | The Room on the Roof
Also, satiate mountain cravings during lockdown by picking up Mr Bond's latest read...
"Find tales of snow leopards and mountain ghouls, bagpiping girls and itchy herbs, and stories even as old as 500 years!
See the beautiful state of Uttarakhand, resplendent in its colourful customs and traditional costumes, taste the sweet-sour wild berries, feel the chilly autumn wind on your skin and smell the musky pine forests, in seventeen stories, courtesy Priyanka Pradhan"
Add to library --> tales from the himalayas - priyanka pradhan
"My advice to parents is that nothing widens a child’s horizons like reading and travel. Luckily we have so much to see and do in India. So before planning elaborate foreign trips, it’s a great idea to expose them to India’s diversity.
While travelling, doing a little research on the place before you go there, and sharing it with the kids, is bound to enrich their experience. Showing them the books before the trip will help them recognize monuments and places – and also give them a context to all that they see." ~ Sonia Mehta
While traveling without fear might not be on the cards for a while, your kids can vicariously explore India through the massive 30-in-1 boxset in the meantime. Her other collections, especially the Feelings one, would also serve well upon your children's lockdown bookshelves.
add sonia mehta to library --> discover india state by state 30-in-1 boxset | mumbai here we come | dealing with feelings 6-in-1 [top pick] | my values collection 6-in-1 book-set 1 | book-set 2 | econuts mystery series 5-in-1 | fun with english 6-in-1
Travel back to 1940s India via R.K. Narayan's famous trilogy set in a fictitious town in South India. For an extra nudge to revisit the simpler times of Malgudi, all episodes of the TV adaptation are streaming for free below...
Add rk narayan to library --> malgudi schooldays | Malgudi Days [top pick] | Swami and Friends | Malgudi adventures
In the same era as Mr Narayan, halfway across the world, the French author and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote a bedazzling tale for kids and grown-ups alike. Swipe sideways on the below post for a selection of the choicest bits of wisdom from the Little Prince.
add to library --> the little prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
After reading the book, let your kids treat themselves by streaming the adaptation on Netflix here...
...Although it's highly recommended (as much as possible) to follow Roald Dahl's sage advice in a world with too many screens at hand all the time.
The Phizz-Whizzing 15-in-1 boxset is an especially appealing replacement for that TV set on the wall.
add roald dahl to library --> Charlie and the Chocolate Factory [top pick] | Matilda | The BFG | | George's Marvellous Medicine | boy & Going Solo - the autobiography | Phizz-Whizzing Slipcase 15-in-1 | Scrumdiddlyumptious Story Collection 6-in-1
It also inspired Ben Brooks to come up with 'Stories for Boys who Dare to be Different'...
...and Aparna Jain to create 'Like a Girl' and 'Boys will be Boys' comprising of tales of iconic Indian role models.
Anu Kumar throws light on the Wonder Years of icons from different walks of life in her book 'Wonder Kids'...
Personally, any gem from the following ten would make for a most thoughtful End-of-2020 gift to a young one.
add to library --> Francesca Cavallo & Elena Favili's good night stories for rebel girls volume 1 | volume 2 | volume 3: 100 immigrant women who changed the world || ben brooks's stories for boys who dare to be different volume one | volume two | stories for kids who dare to be different || aparna jain's like a girl | boys will be boys || wonder kids: 100 children who grew up to be champions of change - anu kumar || 31 fantastic adventures in science: woman scientists of india - nandita jayaraj & aashima freidog
"Don't put your dreams in your child's mind, because every child is born with his or her own aspirations. Don't transfer your own aspirations to your child...
When your children have birthdays and all... my parents did that to me... never give anything else other than books. Let them choose their own books from a list. Spend time with children in a constructive conversation about the book what they liked, the characters, etc.
Make the effort!" ~ Sudha Murty
Here is a selection of her offerings to help you make the effort...
add sudha murty to library --> how i taught my grandmother to read | grandma's bag of stories | the magic drum | the sudha murty children's treasury (3-in-1) [top pick] | the bird with the golden wings | the serpent's revenge | the man from the egg | the daughter from a wishing tree | the gopi diaries | three thousand stitches: ordinary people, extraordinary lives
“The simplest way to make sure that we raise literate children is to teach them to read, and to show them that reading is a pleasurable activity. And that means, at its simplest, finding books that they enjoy, giving them access to those books, and letting them read them.
I don’t think there is such a thing as a bad book for children.” ~ Neil Gaiman, The Guardian (2013)
A must-read plea from a renowned master of storytelling for kids of all ages...
Here's a sample of his creations for Juniors...
add neil gaiman to library --> art matters | pirate stew | neil gaiman and chris riddell boxset (3-in-1) [top pick] | coraline | fortunately the milk | the graveyard book | the graveyard book graphic novel - part 1 | part 2
"We had a large library at home and I had nothing else to do, so my reading as a child was completely age-indiscriminate and genre-indiscriminate... I’d move from Blyton to Sheldon to Lee like an insect literally chewing through those books. I had no idea what children’s books were as a child, and I continue to read them with great pleasure." ~ Samit Basu
If you have the 2020 equivalent of a library membership, i.e. a Kindle Unlimited subscription, your kids can read the trilogy of Stoob's adventures for free. And once they are hooked to the written word, she/he can explore the wide world of literature by themselves as well.
Add samit basu to library --> the adventures of stoob: testing times | a difficult stage | mismatch mayhem
It's been a long scroll from the top till here. To refresh your memory, swipe sideways below to revisit Carl Sagan's words, Zen Pencils style...
Gavin Aung Than has been enhancing words of wisdom from across space and time with his amazing graphics for our reading pleasure. Also, he's the creator of Super Sidekicks (No Adults Allowed - so I don't know much about them). But I can vouch for his books deserving a place on bookshelves of kids worldwide from zero to 99+ years of age.
Add zen pencils to library --> volume one [top pick] | volume two - dream the impossible dream | inspirational quotes for kids | super sidekicks #1 - no adults allowed
Thank you for reading. I do hope this list nudged you to nudge your Junior to read more.
For personalized suggestions and further goodreads for both yourself and your kids, sign up below to become a Bibliotherapy Library member...
Cheers and happy reading!!