Books can be a great escape, transporting us to limitless realms where anything is possible. They can stretch our imaginations, challenge our beliefs, rattle our fears, unlock our ambitions and open our eyes.
They can also teach us, not just facts and theories, but offer us new perspectives and challenge our beliefs.
We also know that regular reading with our children helps develop and broaden their vocabulary. It also encourages children to be creative in using their imagination to visualise a stories setting, understand the characters, and anticipate how the story might unfold.
A story can be a great way to help a child explore, express and understand their emotions, or to cope with challenges and big changes in their lives like starting school, a new sibling or even a tragic loss in the family.
Stories can also be useful in helping children understand anti social or dangerous behaviours like biting or hitting and offer them strategies to managed their frustrations or help get to the cause behind the behaviour.
Here are some of our favourite stories to help little people understand and manage big change or challenges:
UNDERSTANDING & MANAGING EMOTIONS
The Colour Monster: A Story about Emotions by Anna Llenas
This is really lovely story about a poor little colour monster is a little bit mixed up. He is red, green, yellow, blue and black, all at the same time. It's making him very confused and he doesn't know why.
With the help of his friend the little monster is able to see that the colours are his feelings, and he can sort them out by identifying each one separately and understanding how it makes him feel.
This simple tale about friendship also helps children to identify and explore feelings of happiness, anger, sadness, calm and fear.
In my Heart - a Book of Feelings by Jo Witek
This lovely die-cut heart book explains what an emotion feels like, physically, inside. For example: "When I get really angry, my heart feels like it's going to explode! Don't come near me! My heart is yelling, hot and loud. This is when my heart is mad." Toddlers will be able to practice identifying and verbalising their own emotions.
UNDERSTANDING DIFFERENCES, EMPATHY & SELF ACCEPTANCE
Goliath: The Boy Who Was Different by Ximo Abadia
Goliath worries about how different he is to everyone else, he’s convinced he doesn’t fit in and he searches far and wide for answers. On his journey he discovers that it is our uniqueness that makes us special. This is a story about strength, courage and self-belief.
Neon Leon by Jane Clarke
This a tale about a little chameleon who is worried about fitting and goes on a journey through loneliness, learning about himself & finding his place in the world.
The story teaches children empathy by involving them in helping Leon on his journey - by counting his steps, encouraging him to get some rest, and giving him lots of reassurance when he's feeling down.
Max and Bird by Ed Vere
Max is a kitten & kittens chase birds – don’t they? This lovely little tale challenges ingrained beliefs and how a friendship can’t be built no matter who (or what) you are. It teaches children that what is really important is who a person is on the inside.
Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers
This is a beautifully written, simple tale about a boy and a penguin and their growing friendship. Oliver Jeffers has a brilliant way of getting into a child’s mind and thinks out each scenario as a child would, cleverly engaging children who instantly relate to the little boy.
The Journey Trilogy by Aaron Becker
These three beautifully illustrated wordless books provides children with an amazing canvas to create their own story as they follow a lonely girl & her magic crayon which unlocks a magical work of adventure. Themes of loneliness, self-discovery, courage, trust and friendship can all be explored through these beautiful books.
Reading wordless picture books is also the first step in your child learning to read, building key skills in critical thinking, understanding, prediction and storytelling. Find out more about reading wordless books with your children here: http://bit.ly/2TqNGMf
STARTING SCHOOL - MANAGING TRANSITION
Starting School by Janet Ahlberg
One of the first books to be recommend to parents when they have a child getting ready to transition to school. This enchanting picture book gently reassures children by taking them through what they can expect when they first start school through simple text and lovely colourful illustrations.
Harry & the Dinosaurs go to School by Ian Whybrow
The Harry & the Dinosaur series is much loved by boy & girls alike, and for children, seeing one of their much loved characters move onto school helps to give them the confidence that they can do it too.
The story beautifully addresses the topic of being nervous about this big change, and that they’re not alone in this feeling, while showing children what they can expect and how much fun school can really be!
MANAGING BIG FAMILY CHANGE
Always Forever by Alan Durant
Bereavement is a very difficult topic for young children to understand and as it generally only arise at a time of grief, this makes it even harder to help explain what is happening. This lovely story of Mole, Hare, and Otter who are overcome with grief after their friend Fox dies, helps to explain the sadness of the people around them and helps children realise that their loved ones can live on in their hearts and their memories.
There’s a House Inside my Mummy by Giles Andreae & Vanessa Cabban
This is a truly delightful read to help little ones get ready for the arrival of a new sibling. The story is told through the eyes of the soon to be big brother.
It's wonderfully illustrated and simple to read but yet answers all those unanswered questions that your little one might be anxious about "sometimes me and mummy like to cuddle on our own, and I tell him that I love him through her tummy telephone.
I bought this for my son who was 17 months old when his new sister arrived and he loved it.
Happy reading 😀