There are many advantages and benefits when it comes to reading, especially for children. It helps them gain knowledge and provides new pieces of information. The more knowledge children have, the better-equipped they are to face challenges in life. Moreover, it helps with mental stimulation, which can slow down the progress or possibly prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia when they get older. This is because reading keeps the brain active and engaged. Vocabulary expansion is also a benefit for young readers as they will learn new words with each book.
Parents can encourage their children to read from an early age by reading to them before they go to bed and buying books that fit their children’s likings and interests.
Here are some book recommendations for children according to their age range!
0 - 5 years old
“Where's Spot?” by Author Eric Hill
This is one of the best lift-the-flap books for children who are in preschool. This adorable story is the first in the series about the endearing dog name Spot. This book introduces young readers to Spot’s world, where they will find many familiar objects, situations and environments, all playfully represented in Hill’s lively and in an appealing style. Children will love the hunting experience to find Spot by using the lift-the-flop format, even when they know exactly where he is! This is an undoubted winner with preschool children.
“The Tiger Who Came to Tea” by Author Judith Kerr
This book is a delightful picture book with its vibrant, colourful illustrations and simple yet charming story that makes this book enjoyable for young children to read together. This story talks about a young girl named Sophie, having tea with her mommy in the kitchen when in walks a hungry tiger who also asks to stay for tea. After eating everything, the tiger moves onto Sophie’s daddy’s supper and also clears out the fridge and drinks. When Sophie’s daddy comes home, he decided they should all have supper out and the next day, Sophie and her mommy made sure to buy an extra big tin of tiger food - just in case the tiger comes back!
6 - 8 years old
“That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown” by Author Cressida Cowell, Illustrated by Neal Layton
This incredible picture book was a deserving wonder of the 2006 Nestle Gold Award, with its quirky, humorous text by Cressida Cowell and lively illustrations by Neal Layton. A real visual treat, especially appealing to any child who has a much-loved toy of their own. This story introduces a young girl named Emily and her toy rabbit, Stanley, who both love to go on adventures together. One day when they are attempting to launch themselves into space from the kitchen, one of the Queen’s footmen knocks at the door and demands Emily to give Stanley to his mistress in exchange for a brand-new teddy bear. Of course, Emily refuses but the Queen is persistent as she constantly sends her minions to bargain with Emily. In the end, the naughty Queen orders for Stanley to be stolen away from Emily but soon discovers that you can’t make someone else’s toy your own. Emily rescues Stanley but not before she suggests the Queen has some adventures with a brand-new teddy bear to make him into a ‘real toy of her own’.
“A Bear Called Paddington” by Author Michael Bond, Illustrated by Peggy Fortnum
First published in 1958, this book is truly a British classic as each chapter forms a stand-alone story, perfect for newly confident young readers, with a blend of humour, theatricality and clear prose style. This adorable story introduces Paddington, the brown bear from darkest Peru, founded by the Brown family on Paddington Station with his hat, duffle coat and marmalade sandwiches. Paddington is a decidedly loveable eccentric and his various sticky scrapes will strike chords of recognition with any child. Whilst his intentions are always honourable, his over-literal interpretation of situations means that 'things' inevitably happen, whether at birthday parties or on visits to the theatre or seaside.
9 - 11 years old
“Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone” by Author J. K. Rowling
Does the author and book title look familiar to you? Yes, J. K. Rowling has written fiction since she was a child, and she always wanted to be an author. This brilliantly inventive, award-winning adventure story is the first in the phenomenally successful Harry Potter series as this contemporary classic of children's literature is beloved by children and adults alike. After the misery of life with his ghastly aunt and uncle, Harry Potter is delighted to have the chance to embark on an exciting new life at the Hogwarts School of Wizardry and Witchcraft. Learning about magic and making new friends, he has the chance to use his new-found wizarding skills to unravel some of the mysteries of his own past - and to uncover some shocking secrets about his teachers.
“Ballet Shoes” by Author Noel Streatfeild
First published in the 1930s, this incredible classic story of three very different girls who worked very hard to master their talents, has captivated many children’s imaginations - particularly among girls’ - for decades. Pauline, Petrova and Posy are brilliantly characterised and always believable: young readers will love following the ups and downs of this warm-hearted family tale. The story introduces Pauline, Petrova and Posy who are orphans, who were adopted by an eccentric fossil collector and explorer Gum (‘Great Uncle Matthew’). Leaving them in the care of his niece Sylvia, and Nana, her old nurse, at his London home as Gum goes off to continue his exploring and he will only be back in five years' time. However, after five years, there was no sign of Gum and Sylvia’s money begins to run out. When the family takes in an engaging collection of lodgers to help make ends meet, one of them suggests that the three girls attend Madame Fidolia's Children's Academy of Dancing and Stage Training, so that they can learn to support themselves and earn money on the stage. After some excitement, intense competition, occasional disappointments and some hard lessons, Posy proves herself a gifted ballet dancer and Pauline discovers a talent for acting, but Petrova - who loathes dancing and acting - remains true to her passion for mechanics and her dream to become a pilot.
12 - 14 years old
“The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” by Author John Boyne
Suitable for readers older than the book's nine-year-old protagonist, the story serves as a compelling and shocking symbol of the futility and horror of the holocaust. This incredible story introduces a boy named Bruno. Bruno has a happy life in Berlin, so is shocked when he learns his family are moving to 'Out-With'. One day Bruno is out exploring the bleak surroundings of his new home and befriends a boy of his own age: Shmuel, who lives on the other side of a fence which surrounds a large camp in the grounds. Shmuel and the other inmates of the camp are all under-nourished and wear a uniform of striped pyjamas. Bruno is not sure why they are there or why he is forbidden to mix with them but the boy's friendship grows. Their friendship sustains them both but ultimately ends in tragedy when Bruno crawls underneath the fence to help Shmuel search for his missing father.
“The Ruby in the Smoke” by Author Philip Pullman
Inspired by the tradition of the Victorian melodrama, Philip Pullman's first Sally Lockhart story is a cracking adventure. Cleverly-plotted, bristling with excitement and brilliantly gripping, it also provides an intriguing insight into the injustice and inequality of Victorian society, making it rich and fascinating reading for older children, teenagers and adults. After the sudden death of her father, Sally Lockhart is forced to go to live in London with an obnoxious cousin. There, she receives an anonymous letter containing a warning so dire that it makes a man die of fear at her feet. Determined to discover the truth about what happened to her father, Sally is soon plunged into a dangerous and terrifying adventure that takes her to the dark heart of Victorian London.
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