-by Emma Bilsborough
We've been running a brilliant 3 for 2 offer on all Children's books on our website, which ends today (so if you haven't taken advantage already, make sure you do!), and it's got us thinking about the importance of Children's literature.
Finding a love of reading at a young age can truly change the direction of your life. To quote everyone's favourite bookseller, Kathleen Kelly, "When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your life does".
I remember so vividly the first book I learned to read on my own. It was a Ladybird edition of The Three Billy Goat's Gruff. I remember how it felt, to know what these words were and how they came together to create a story that I read cover to cover, over and over. These ladybird books are something truly special, many a bookworm who comes through our doors will share with us how they discovered their love for books among the pages of a ladybird classic.
I'm a little biased when it comes to Children's books, as they're my absolute favourite. I think them something truly magical and wonderful to behold, but I also see the power that they have. I see the way these books help Children and Young People to grow and to shape their ideas about the world. I see the sparks of creativity and passion in their eyes, the same look that I know I had in my own eyes with each new book I devoured as a child. Even now, to see a copy of Noel Streatfeild's Ballet Shoes, I feel a tug on my heartstrings that no book I've read as an adult can incite. Side note - the very first copy of Ballet Shoes that I ever owned, I found on a shelf at Bookbarn when visiting with my parents as a child.
Now more than ever I think Children's books are important. These current circumstances are like nothing we have been through in living memory. The change to our everyday lives, not just work but also family and friends, is astronomical, and we're all struggling to find ways to cope. We've said it before and we'll say it again - books will pull us through. Books have a strength that allows them to survive through thick and thin. We've got books on the shelves in our Darwin room that have literally lived through world wars and that are older than the United States of America. It's quite humbling to think this, and it encourages us to lean on books in these tough times. Specifically, in my opinion, Children's books. There are moments in Children's literature that are so full of wisdom, which is wonderful, but these books are also just a lot of fun. Take a minute to read a book that you loved as a child, whether it be Pippi Longstocking, the heartwrenching Charlotte's Web, or something fantastical like the Chronicles of Narnia.
That's not to say that it's just the classics that are worth reading as an adult. Find the brightest, boldest, sweetest, silliest looking Children's book possible, and dive in. Read it out loud, do the funny voices, enjoy the story as you did when you were a child. It's a truly cheering experience, and guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Children's literature not only teaches you, but also makes you laugh, makes you cry and gives you a story you want to devour, page by page.