Following my post about the benefits of reading to babies I thought I would share some of the books I am most excited to share with my niece when she arrives. These books are all available in Hillingdon Libraries.
‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’ by Eric Carle* – A classic children’s story of a very greedy caterpillar (my mum had to read this to me every night when I was small). There are lots of versions out there including board book versions that will suit little hands and even a puppet version with a simple count up of fruit rather than the full story. I would however steer clear of the pop-up version which, although beautiful, is a bit too delicate for little fingers.
‘How to Catch a Star’ by Oliver Jeffers – This is a very sweet story with beautiful illustrations about a small boy who wants to play with the stars. This is a lovely soothing story for both parent and baby.
Any of the ‘That’s not my…’ series from Usborne by Fiona Watts and Rachel Wells. There is a huge range of these touchy-feely books. The simple illustrations are perfect for little ones while the different textures in each image encourage babies to explore the page.
I’m also keen to try the range of black and white board books that are becoming increasingly popular. These books provide high contrast images designed for a baby’s developing eyes, so that they will start to recognise and associate the images with the words.
All of these books are available in Hillingdon Libraries. It is free to join and children can order books between branches for free, so if we can’t find it for you at your local branch we can order it from somewhere else.
*Please note that not all versions of the hungry caterpillar, such as the pop-up version, are available from the libraries.
by Rosie Marchant (Oak Farm Library)
With the surprising new statistics that over 80% of Young Adult books are bought and read by Adults – you’re never too old to start reading ‘Young Adult’ (YA) fiction and we have the best guide for you to dive straight in!
All of Hillingdon libraries team who are YA readers have been on the task with finding you the very best books in the genre to start you off on the right foot as you begin your YA journey; or possibly just want something different to read. Some of them you probably would’ve heard of already in different genres but a general definition of YA Fiction is a book containing an adolescent protagonist, who will probably face significant difficulties and crises, and grow and develop to some degree – and these all fit in that that description.
So I’ve compiled a list of the Top Ten YA Books to start with and reasons for all.
- His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
I am being a bit naughty here as this isn’t just a stand alone book it’s a trilogy, but what a fantastic trilogy! These books are sometimes put in with children’s fiction but there are some very adult and arguably young adult, themes, complex plots and magical characters that make this so enjoyable. Start with Lyra’s alternate Oxford in Northern Lights where people’s inner-selves are physical represented as Daemons and children are mysteriously disappearing..
2. Sabriel by Garth Nix
If you love Game of Thrones, read this. It has as many disturbing themes, and also, it’s better. The main character is an 18-year-old necromancer on a quest to rescue her father from the other realm. And Nix has recently come out with a new book in the series, so there’s no better time.
3. Harry Potter by J.K Rowling
Seriously…you haven’t read this? Read it. You won’t regret it.
4. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
No doubt you would have seen all the film hype about this, especially with ‘Mockingjay Part 2’ just coming out and even if you have seen some of the films the books genuinely are just so much better. Follow Katniss Everdeen as she volunteers as the tribute for District 12 in an annual fight to the death between children from every District in Panem. Some powerful and bittersweet themes run through this and it’s one of those books you won’t be able to put down.
5. Witch Child by Celia Rees
A beautifully written book narrated by the protagonist, Mary, who has just seen her Grandmother die after being tried as a witch and is desperate to escape the same fate. It’s a fast-paced story that hits the ground running and makes the reader wonder how much of the world is shaped on whispers and suspicion.
6. Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness
A wonderfully written Science-Fiction Trilogy that is a wonderful stepping stone into Sci-Fi or YA for the reader who has never tried these before.
Imagine being able to hear everyone’s thoughts all the time, shouting, screaming, whispering, never stopping….then finding the one person whose thoughts you can’t hear at all.
7. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
If you’re a paranormal romance fan then this series is for you. Originally written for adults but having teenage protagonists this got put into YA at the height of vampires, werewolves and other super naturals when the popularity for them was at fever pitch – but this series has carried on and remained popular where a lot of other similar ones haven’t. City of Bones is about a fifteen-year old girl named Clary Fray, whose search for her missing mother leads her into an alternate New York called Downworld, filled with mysterious faeries, hard-partying warlocks, not-what-they-seem vampires, an army of werewolves, and the demons who want to destroy it all.
8. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Written from Death’s POV this highly engrossing novel follows Liesel and her trials throughout the Second World War. Adopted on the brink of adolescence and forced to face trials no person should every go through. The book describes emotions and situations with brutal honesty and a disturbing beauty.
9. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
I adored this book when it first came out and then read it again after watching the film when it came out at the cinema. You follow Daisy, a neurotic American Teenager who comes to spend the summer with her eccentric British family when a nuclear bomb goes off in London that changes everything.
10. The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig
We’ll finish off with a recent YA publication. This YA fantasy sweeps from modern-day New York City, to nineteenth-century Hawaii, to places of myth and legend. Sixteen-year-old Nix has sailed across the globe and through centuries aboard her time-traveling father’s ship. But when he gambles with her very existence, it all may be about to end.
Really hoped you enjoyed this blog post!
By Lara – Harefield Library
Within the library service we are used to hearing and using the phrase ‘Babies Love Books’, there is even a lovely picture book with this title by Catherine & Laurence Anholt. And it’s true, babies do love books, there are many testimonies from parents on various forums and sites, including this lovely summary from a parent on booktrust’s site; http://www.bookstart.org.uk/news/blog/49.
There is a wide range of research into the benefits of reading to children from just a few days old. Summarising Dorothy Butler, Julia Eccleshare states, ‘…by sharing books with babies from the earliest moment you are teaching them a lot about the looking and listening that underpins the later-acquired skill of reading’. Reading with babies is a fantastic way to reinforce routine, to calm and sooth before bed or naptime and to develop their language skills. Babies love books because it is an activity that allows them to be close to a parent, and to interact with and begin to understand the world around them.
As a very excited Aunty-to-be I was horrified to hear my brother-in-law say ‘what’s the point in getting my baby books’. After a swift telling off I vowed to shower the baby with as many books as I could; which I realise was probably his plan all along. In the library service we work closely with Booktrust to promote the Bookstart Programme of Baby Bags for, well, babies and Treasure Gifts for 3 year olds. There is a great range of packs for children with additional needs and support for families where english is a second language. The Booktrust offer supports parents and provides information on the importance of reading and literacy in children. If you’ve yet to receive a pack for your child just come into your local library and ask a member of staff for details.
For more information about benefits of reading to babies visit the bookstart website, http://www.bookstart.org.uk/ where you will also find lots of hints and tips and activities to do together, as well as a brilliant bookfinder. I also found this lovely article on the guardian http://www.theguardian.com/books/2014/may/05/book-doctor-books-for-babies which has some other suggestions of books for babies.
By Rosie Marchant (Oak Farm Library)
Yiewsley Library was transformed last month for our ‘Halloween Spooktacular’ event, organised as part of the Culture Bite festival. On October 31 visitors enjoyed an evening of spooky stories and other ghoulish activities! All to set your spine tingling…with excitement of course!
All the children did a fantastic job of designing and decorating their own jam jar lanterns to take home at the end of the evening. Thanks to everyone that came along and contributed to the success of this event.
By Sarah (Yiewsley Library)