I work as a primary school teacher and my favourite time of any day is story time. I love to read, and all children love good stories. Over the past few years, whilst training and teaching, I have acquired a box full of my favourite books, which have captured the attention of all the children I have read them to.
Miki by Stephen Mackey.
This book is just beautiful. It's about a girl, Miki, who wants to find a star for a tree and goes on a magical underwater adventure in Antarctica. The language is just as descriptive and lovely as the pictures. I've found that all children tend to love stories set in wild and exotic places. This one has the right balance between being sweet and being too soppy.
This picture book is part Romeo & Juliet, part gang warfare, but all told through cats. The black cats and ginger cats are separate gangs that hate each other, and must figure out what to do when a black cat and a ginger cat fall in love. Told simply without being patronising, it's a story that leads to a really good discussion. Gangs are very common where I teach, and all the children have strong views on them.
This book is just adorable. A boy wakes up one day to find a penguin waiting for him. Thinking he is lost, the boy goes to great lengths to help in back to Antarctica. But on his way home alone, he realises that perhaps the penguin was just lonely...
I'm a great believer that children know more than we let on, and that we shouldn't patronise them. Michael Rosen wrote this book after the death of his son, and it is one of the most touching books I have ever read. All children respond to it and I've had some really positive things come out of sharing this book.
I love Anthony Browne books. The pictures in them are amazing, there are always hidden parts and clues, and the books deal with big issues while still being picture books. In this retelling of the fairy tale, the parents kick out Hansel and Gretel because they simply don't care about them and would rather spend their money on cigarettes. It's a lovely story of friendship.
Click, Clack Moo by Doreen Cronin
This book is simply hilarious. The cows get fed up with their working conditions and decide to send a ransom note to the farmer. This leads to a lot of other animals wanting in on the act too....
Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears by Emily Gravett
Everyone is scared of something, although not everyone wants to admit it. I love this story about the mouse who is scared of everything. Children love the pull out parts and old fashioned style, and it leads to lots of great discussion about fears and why we have them.