Whilst reading Robert his bedtime stories tonight, I chanced across a new book which we’d not read before. As Sara often gets books out from our local library, we try to mix the newly-lent books in with our more regular favourites – if for no other reason than to avoid the tedium!
Tonight’s book was one called “The Littlest Dinosaur and the Naughty Rock“, and – if you haven’t figured it out from the title – it concerns a little dinosaur who gets sent to the dinosaur equivalent of the naughty step. I won’t spoil the ending for you all, but needless to say he learns a valuable lesson while there…
It’s actually the second book we’ve read which concerns discipline – the other is “We are wearing out the naughty step“, and I have to be honest and say it’s not as good as tonight’s read.
All this comparing lead me to the idea of this evening’s post. As you will all doubtless know, there are books for every lesson or moral going – dozens for each in fact. Whilst it’s great that there are so many books out there to help you deal with tricky issues, it’s also clear that they’re not all as good as each other. For instance, we thought “Pirate Pete’s Potty” was absolutely excellent during the potty training stage, and easily beat several other books we tried at the time. But it would have been nice if I could have saved us some time by finding the best one in the first place…
So, what I want to do is compile a list of books – as chosen by other parents – for a number of different occasions and issues. I could probably have a crack at doing it by myself, but this is the age of social media and crowd sourcing, so I want to go one better!
I’ve compiled a list of lessons/occasions that I’d ideally like to recommend some books for, so I’d like you, dear readers, to suggest any books you know of and like which would be suitable for each category. You can do it in a number of ways:
- Leave me a note in the comments below this post
- Tweet me via my Twitter account, or through Facebook
- Drop me an email with your suggestions, to henweb at gmail dot com
Feel free to also suggest any categories I’ve missed at the same time. Here’s the ones I’ve got so far:
Potty training time
The arrival of a new baby in the house
Cleaning teeth / hygiene
Starting school or pre-school
Divorce or parents splitting
Death of a loved-one or pet
Being picked on by other children
Going on holiday or travelling somewhere
Going to the doctors / hospital etc
Safety when out and about / on the road
The basics of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’
Discipline / Respecting authority
Healthy eating / exercise
Dealing with fear (darkness, monsters etc)
So there’s the list as it current stands – now it’s your turn…!
5 thoughts on “Fatherhood²: A Children’s Book for Every Life Lesson”
Hi Henry. Hope all’s good with you and the family. Loving the blog – definitely sounds like fatherhood is treating you well, as it is me. Nine months down and loved every minute. I’m sure I’ve learnt a lot, but the only noticeable thing is the improvement in my photography skills! Saying that, Ella’s a very happy little soul, so we must be doing something right.
So far we haven’t had to use books to deal with any particular issue (obviously, Ella’s only 9 months – although she does love books), but there are a couple we’ve got in reserve if and when the right time comes along. Given the history of depression Ella has on both sides of the family (at pretty young ages as well), it would seem likely that one day this issue is going to rear its head, no matter how hard we try to protect her and how well balanced she is. Should this happen, Laura bought this beautiful book that truly expresses how those dark days feel and how there is still hope at the end. I think it’s been mentioned before in one of your earlier blogs – it’s called The Red Tree by Shaun Tan. I suppose it’s not exclusively a children’s book – adults seem to appreciate it just as much as children – but its very nature of extremely descriptive illustrations and minimal text make it ideal for kids in a bit of a low ebb. If parents’ don’t think it’s appropriate for their kids, it could well be right for them when the sleepless nights start getting too much!
The other one is Harry and Hopper by Margaret Wild, which is ideal for dealing with the loss of a pet (or any loved one really, doesn’t just have to apply to animals). Again, beautifully illustrated and very touching – I’m even thinking of giving a copy to my dad when the painfully inevitable time comes when Freddie the Schnauzer dies (frankly, it’s going to be tough for all the family – I’m pretty sure he’s the favourite member of the Higley clan!)
For dealing with the dark our favourite is Don’t Worry William by Christine Morton. It’s just a little lady bird book. However, just looked it up on amazon and a new copy is £64!!!!!!! My Mum got it in a charity shop!! So maybe not the best suggestion!
We’ve got quite a few Miffy books that deal with some of the issues on the list, although not in a lot of depth (Miffy in Hospital, Miffy at School, Miffy and the New Baby, Goodbye Grandma Bunny etc). A nice one we were given for someone nervous about starting school is Billy and the Big New School by Catherine and Laurence Anholt. Also Goodbye Mog by Judith Kerr is good for dealing with the loss of a pet (although I seem to remember that the message at the end was basically “get a new one!”)
I don’t much like books that try to teach children a lesson, but two that we have that deal with discipline in rather different ways are Rude Mule by Pamela Duncan Edwards (“if you don’t stop doing that you won’t get the nice treat I’ve lined up for you”), and Little Rabbit Foo Foo by Michael Rosen and Arthur Robbins (“if you don’t stop doing that I’ll do something quite nasty to you”) – so you can choose based on your own approach!
Totally agree that The Red Tree is a great book. I haven’t tried it on our kids yet – but maybe William would like it! If I can read it aloud without getting tearful :-D And the Moomin books, particularly the middle ones like Moominland Midwinter, are good at examining the values of family, individualism vs community, and other areas.