Sharing your childhood through books
Sharing your childhood through books
Scott Dunlop
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Hello, magnificent parents,

Did you ever read Richard Scarry’s books when you were growing up? The beloved children’s book author wrote in one of his own books, "There are all kinds of writers. The best writers write children's books." That quote captures his playful humour rather well. He’s one of those authors who helped define my childhood, and he’s right, of course: the best writers can change lives, and authors writing children’s books are in a unique position to do that.

Not everyone enjoys the same books, but there are books that will appeal to all sorts of people. I used to run a book shop, and it would be wonderful to see reading families come in to explore. I’d get a kick out of recommending some authors to parents, knowing that the child would be about to embark on a possibly life-changing experience.

Or not.

Not every book teaches a serious lesson about life, and that’s good for kids to know, too. 

Silly books are fun. They reach into a child’s brain and help to form a sense of humour. The ability to laugh at yourself is a special thing that could save you lots of heartache later on. As grownups, we can take ourselves way too seriously, and then we can take our children too seriously, too.

If you think life is feeling a bit too heavy, I can recommend sitting down with your kids and reading a silly book. One with funny characters doing ridiculous things. You’ll find the stress ebb and the sensation of happy family time returning.

Roald Dahl can be deliciously dark, but he’s also a master at creating characters we can relate to because they’re a bit like us. And there, in the midst of the challenges facing his characters, he finds ways to make us laugh.

Even if your children are older, they’ll still love a Dr Seuss session, because the mad rhymes and mystical beasts are echoes of our own chaotic minds.

It’s easy to find funny videos on YouTube- we often do that as a family, too, but a book is more intimate. A book takes place inside your head, so you’re engaging with it on a different level to something playing out on a screen.

Of course, every family has their own favourite authors, and I wonder which are yours. Which books changed your life as a child, and which ones would you seek out to share with your children?

You don’t have to go to the bookshop or spend lots online; you can still enjoy your local library. Many libraries have reading mornings or events which will get your kids engaged with those written worlds. Enjoy the adventure that stories have to offer.

Tell us your favourite authors or books at chatback@parent24.com, and you could be featured on Parent24.

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