We moved houses recently, exactly a week before the pandemic brought life to a standstill in India. Almost 50 days down the line, we have pretty much settled into this new life. One question that a lot of people ask me – “Is Angel bored? She’s in a new place with no friends, hows she coping?”
Being the only child, this is not uncommon. Kids are restricted to their homes and I was worried initially about how would she cope with this? She loved going to school, had friends in our old apartment, went to the park every other day where she played merrily on the slides and swings and weekends were meant for movies and eating out. She had limited screen time and never seemed to mind. But with this sudden change in lifestyle, would this mean she would be glued to the i pad or get irritated, gloomy?
These worries were put to rest when I saw her perched on the sofa, a story book in hand as her eyes lit up, her lips turned into a smile that spread across her face and she laughed in glee. I knew this wasn’t going to be bad, we had gifted her a friend for life.
I fondly recall the time I was pregnant and on maternity leave- I was restless and couldn’t wait for the baby to come out, at the same time I had little to do as I had stopped going to work in the last few weeks and I wasn’t taking the risk of going out. I picked up Jodi Picoult and immersed myself in the book, it was a long time since I had read something which left me with a lasting emotion. And then, Angel was born.
From the time she was a baby, Mom and I read to her, we told her stories and I bought picture books, she flipped the pages in glee as I narrated a story. With time, her interest grew and now at 5, she has her own book shelf which is getting fuller by the day, I doubt it will be able to accommodate her ever growing collection. But this one thing, I would never say “No” to.
Today Angel lists her favorite books, the series she loves, and those she is never tired to read time and again:
- Spot Series: This is about the adventures of an adorable little dog Spot, big sized books which are very colorful, ‘lift the flap’ ones which children love. Some of them come with really simple language that kids can use when they are learning to read independently.
- Julia Donaldson’s Children Books: This was one that I picked up at Angel’s school on a whim when I was blown away by the attractive cover and I discovered a fantastic author. The stories are very innovative, rhyming at times, with some fantastic illustrations. There is a story about a little girl who got “Dragon pox” and that of a singing mermaid who joined the circus but regretted her decision soon , a girl who painted things with a magic paintbrush and they came to life. Angel’s favorites are right here in the pic! These wont disappoint.
- Oliver Jeffers: Ever heard of the crayons of a little boy who decided to go on strike cos they were unhappy, each one having a different complaint? Or that uncanny friendship between a boy and a penguin? Oliver Jeffers books are a gem , it got me thinking about why dint we have these kind of books when we grew up? We had to contend with the fairy tales which did more harm in reinforcing stereotypical beliefs. This is a tale for another day, go and get these books and you are sure to love them.
- Kimmie Aunty Says: Follow 3 kids Vidya, her sister Sargam and their friend Max as they learn to smile more and not wail, to follow rules to stay safe, safeguard Mother Earth, learn table manners. The stories are easy to read, as the characters are Indian kids, they are more relatable and they leave you with some important lessons.
- Katie’s Adventures: Want to learn about a new city/ country, its most iconic spots , in a fun way so that it stays with you? Join Katie, her little brother Jack and their grandma as they travel through Scotland with Nessie- The Lochness Monster who shows them around OR take a tour of an art gallery with Mona Lisa and Katie as you visit various famous paintings and meet the characters who come to life.
- Amelia Jane: I must thank my blogger friend Kanika for this one, I personally found it difficult to like a doll who can be so naughty to the other toys and get them in trouble but Angel absolutely adores Amelia Jane and her antics, This is one of the books that makes her guffaw and roll till her stomach hurts. I guess I have to make peace with Amelia Jane someday.
- Daniel Tiger: Tigers need not always be ferocious, they can also be gentle and kind, they can have sleepovers and go to school and miss their Daddy. This is a totally adorable series of a little tiger boy which will melt your heart.
- The Tania Series: The adventures of a little girl living in Bombay as she turns into a spy, loses her favorite doll , goes on a safari adventure and has to make difficult choices – the added bonus is the author Kanika G is a good friend whom I met as a blogger.
- The Charlie and Lola series: Lola is a little girl who is fussy, she never ever feels sleepy, she doesn’t want to eat a tomato, she’s too young for school and her brother Charlie is at his wits end to make things happen. The illustrations are eye catchy and you can’t help laughing at the creative ideas Lola comes up with to have her way. We have just 2 but look forward to buying more in this series.
- Roald Dahl: To be honest these are meant for older kids as the books have very few pictures and are quite long, I am left with a hoarse throat very often when we read these but she quite enjoys the stories. We loved “Esio Trot”, “The Magic Finger”, “The Enormous Crocodile” and “The Giraffe , The Pelly and Me. The stories are creative and its good to develop longer attention span.
There are many more such awesome books for kids, I am so glad that its no longer the stereotypical ones that we read as kids – about a Tall dark Handsome Prince rescuing a damsel a distress and they live happily ever after- stories these days promote gender agnostic characters, they talk more about the joys, fears , challenges of growing up, dreams, misadventures.
So cuddle up with your favourite book and enter an enchanted world, do share with us your reading list. Nothing beats that feeling of buying a new book and lapping up page after page, does it?
And here is Angel talking about her love for books-