Childhood. Books. What do the two words taken together conjure up in your mind? Yes, I know – books that we read as children. Books that we read to your children. Books that say very loudly to us – innocence, love, joy, and freedom to be.Why gift books, you ask? We are gifting them
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Here are five such books/book sets/authors that are fun to explore / gift a child on Children’s Day, 14th November. Books without which my childhood, and my daughter’s childhood would have been incomplete. Books that we still go to over and over again when we want to capture a whiff of that time.
The best books to gift a child on Children’s Day
These introduced me to the joys of reading, and a holiday wasn’t complete without one. Even though our Indian childhoods had nothing of the English countryside and adventures without the encumbrance of adult supervision. Even if we had no idea then what ginger beer, or potted meat, or anchovy paste tasted like. Even if most of us had never ridden a horse or seen the inside of a boarding school. Enid Blyton’s books spoke to us like no other books did, and there were books suitable for toddlers as well as teenagers.
Wacky illustrations, fun text, often in verse form. Dr Seuss books just have to be part of a childhood. Books that reinforce the idea that reading just for pleasure is OK, even though many of his books have layers of political satire and a message – these can be discovered in repeat readings when older. For younger children, just the wackiness and the joy of reading or hearing the fun words is enough.
Children love these books, even though the humour in these, bordering on the nonsensical, can often get dark. They appeal to the child’s sense of the craziness of things. Dahl often roots for the underdog, and his children can often feel vindicated through the escapades of his characters.
Ensuring a quick read, I remember smuggling these to and from school, and reading them when I was supposed to be studying! I do not recommend that children do this, but comics, or graphic novels, in all forms, have to be part of children’s reading. Indian comics like Suppandi, Shikari Shambhu, and the ubiquitous Amar Chitra Katha made up a lot of my childhood reading. Then there are non-Indian comic strips like Calvin and Hobbes, or complete novels like Tintin, Asterix, Phantom, Marvel comics, or Archie.
Here are some wonderful activity ideas for a classroom. Love superheroes? Here and here are some great activities. You can also try dressing up as your favourite comic book character – a sure success at a fancy dress, or at Halloween!
But of course, childhood today, cannot be complete without a reading of these books, which do not require any introduction. At a time when the reading of books was falling off, this series made reading cool again!
Check this site for loads and loads of craft and art inspired by Harry Potter. There are also, of course, the Harry Potter theme parties which can be very satisfying for an art and craft aficionado – suitable decor, dress code and activities can add to the fun. A few years back, my daughter had a birthday party in which I had got plain black T-shirts for all guests, on which they painted whatever they wanted from the stories – lightning scar, sorting hat, wands, etc.
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