Make Sure Your Child Reads These 10 Wonderful Books

While I got my reading habit from my mother, it was my father who bought me my first sets of books when I was not even two. Yes, they were picture books. Then came the mythological books with pictures, which he who read only technical books, would read out to me. I remember once when I was about 5 or maybe 6, at Delhi airport, I saw an Archie comic. I knew they were fun to read, I had seen my friends read them. I asked for one but my father said it’s too expensive and refused. Instead he bought me my first Noddy. Funny thing is that the Archie and the Noddy both cost Rs 20. I was a little upset – why did he buy something I didn’t want when what I wanted cost the same? This episode kept bothering me – still does, though now for a different reason. A technical man who never read fiction, knew that a child needs to read quality books while growing up and that is why what could have been my first Archie, ended up being my first Noddy.

Today is World Children’s Book Day and I couldn’t help but write about children’s books without recounting this incident. Almost all urban parents these days wish that their children read. But do they all know what the children should read? What everyone is reading isn’t necessarily what your child should be reading. Bringing up a child requires you to be responsible. One of the responsibilities is ensuring that they read what is right for them. In an attempt to help the tiny-tots and their parents decide whom & what to read, here are a few suggestions from me:

Hans Christian Andersen

Andersen was born on April 2 and is the author of practically most of the fairy tales we have grown up reading. His stories are in English but translations are also available. So if you are looking forward to reading bedtime stories to your little ones pick Andersen’s stories right away and take your child to the land of fairy tales.

Panchatantra

This is a very ancient collection of Indian animal fables. There are original Indian as well as Persian and Arabic versions of the collection. The collection is made up of five sets of books however; the stories are also available in individual books. Since these stories are available with illustrations, they can be read out to your children even when they cannot read themselves. As has happened in generations before, these stories will remain with your children, all through their lives.

Ruskin Bond

A favourite amongst all age groups, this Indian author of British descent writes the most amazing stories for children. The Angry River, The Blue Umbrella, etc are just a few names in his large collection. Bond’s stories will transport your child to another world altogether and what is even better, tickle their own imagination for use at other times!

Roald Dahl

A British novelist, Dahl has written some amazing stories for children of which Matilda of course tops the list. Written from the child’s point of view, in his books the villains were always adults who hated children. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, Fantastic Mr Fox, The Gremlins, The Enormous Crocodile – oh the list can go on but that would just waste your time. So next time you are book shopping for a child, be sure to include a Dahl for sure.

The Secret Garden

This is the book which (apart from Oliver Twist) had taught me an important lesson – that no two people are same – especially financially. A novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, this is a story of a selfish, unloved child who by the twist of fate lands up at a house where she is neglected yet again. Here she finds herself in a secret garden and makes new friends. The story will help sensitize your child and also show them how to love. I strongly recommend this book.

Charlotte’s Web

Before you show your children the movies made on the book, hand them the book itself. A children’s novel by E B White, it is a story of friendship between a pig named Wilbur and a spider named Charlotte. A classic, this book can be enjoyed by children and adults alike so if you haven’t read it yet, do so with your child.

Enid Blyton

Blyton needs no introduction to most people who’ll be reading this, I guess. We have grown up reading her and a lot of us like me, still do. I cannot imagine a life where I haven’t read her – her books are so much a part of who I am. Like my father had, ease your child into her books with Noddy and move on to The Wishing Chair, bed time tales and the o’clock tales. As your children grow, introduce them to Malory Towers, Famous Five, Secret Seven, etc. Here is one author who can take your children into the land of adventure, mystery as well as fantasy.

Sudha Murthy

How I Taught My Grandmother To Read and Grandma’s Bag of Stories need no introduction, neither does their author. While Murthy writes for children and grownups alike, her language and story line are particularly interesting to the kids.

Natasha Sharma

From being a brand manager of a food chain to an author of children’s books, Sharma has made reading interesting. While a lot of children these days have a problem focusing, what with so many distractions around, Sharma’s books are written and presented in a way that even adults get glued to them. She has also made life easier for you if you are looking at teaching your children the basics of English grammar. Some of her books I would recommend are – Squiggle Takes a Walk – All About Punctuation, Rooster Raga, Anaya’s Thumb and What Should I Wear Today?

Anushka Ravishankar

A systems analyst turned editor, Ravishankar’s first book was Tiger on a Tree and it had a lot of illustrations which made the entire reading experience very interesting. Her books are much loved by children and I strongly recommend you to introduce your children to them.

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