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Parents Panel: What one book should every child own?

Tigers coming for tea, Gruffalos in deep dark woods, and wizards in flying cars.

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AS PART OF TheJournal.ie’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way. 

This week, we’re talking reading, childhood classics and bedtime stories and asking: What one book should every child own?

Here’s what our panel had to say…

Parents Panel All 7

Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly

Toddlers

Never Tickle The Tiger by Pamela Butchart
Tymek’s favourites change weekly but this and Gigantosaurus by Jonny Duddle are winning right now. He has plenty of books in Polish too, and I love any books by Swedish authors (though Poland ha a better selection of these than Ireland…)

- Marta Lisiecka

Any lift-the-flap books
Board books or peekaboo-type books are just great for Charlie’s little fingers to grab and turn the page. He actually sits in the corner and turns pages by himself sometimes which is priceless. His favourite at the moment is Where Are The Bears?

- Kait Quinn

20180122_211917_001 Tymek's multi-lingual book selection. Source: Marta Lisiecka

The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr
I usually avoid old fashioned and gender stereotyped books but my two and three year old both absolutely love this classic. My personal favourite is Ten Little Fingers And Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox and Helen Oxenbury, a great book to explain and celebrate differences in people. In general, I avoid fairytales with men rescuing women by marrying them.

- Denise

Before You Sleep by Benji Bennett
Ed (nearly four) loves the Adam’s Cloud books, in particular Before You Sleep which he calls the ‘Adam Sleepy’ book. He adores being read to and will often sit in his chair and ‘read’ the book to his stuffed toys. It’s lovely to hear him making up the stories himself when he’s looking at the pictures.

- Olly Keegan

dav Ed's reading nook. Source: Olly Keegan

Anything that involves stickers…
Ellie Mae (nearly three) had a book collection even before she was born. She loves anything with bright colour or recognisable TV characters like Peppa Pig or Scooby Doo. Sticker books are the biggest hit, though. She will sit for ages peeling and re-sticking the stickers from each page.

- Denise Cumiskey

Age 4+

The Gruffalo (or anything by Julia Donaldson)
Malachi and Brendan (four and two) really love Julia’s books. The Gruffalo and Stick Man are the two most frequently requested ones. We all have library cards and our local library is really well stocked, which is great for homeschooling material too.

- Susannah O’Brien

dav The perfect bedtime reading spot Source: Olly Keegan

A Child’s Guide to Anarchy by Jana Christy and John Seven
Both of my sons started speaking earlier than average, and I credit this completely to the fact that they were frequently read to from early on. A Child’s Guide To Anarchy is a current favourite and it gives them a giggle every time.

- Suzie Kelly

Young adults and teens

Jeff Kinney’s Diary Of A Wimpy Kid books
Mia (eight) is into anything by David Walliams or Michael Morpurgo, plus the Ottoline and Goth Girl series by Chris Riddell, and the Diary Of A Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney. Roald Dahl is covered at school, but she’s not a great fan!

- Ross Boxshall

image5 Mia's top picks. Source: Ross Boxshall

Lemony Snicket’s A Series Of Unfortunate Events
At the moment Rhiannon (10) is hooked on this series, and she is also re-reading The Twits by Roald Dahl. Rosie, a year younger, is very interested in ghosts and supernatural stuff – she’s reading a library book about ghosts and ESP.

- Susannah O’Brien

JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series
Nathan and Daniel (12 and 13) have always been avid readers. When they were younger they binged their way through Harry Potter and have re-read the books a bunch of times. The problem we are faced with now, though, is that books tend to take a back seat to computers. Every so often they have a screen free day with books or toys only, which I think is extremely important.

- Ken Hyland

More Parents Panel: What’s one item you’re glad you spent money on as a parent?

More Parents Panel: How do you manage to fit in quality time with your kids?

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