It doesn’t matter how tough a day I’ve had: there is nothing I look forward to more when I get in the door than kicking off my heels, grabbing a blanket from the basket, and building a big sofa nest where my daughter and I can immerse in strange lands, quirky characters, and unforgettable stories.
Reading with your child brings untold benefits, and it always amazes me that more mums and dads don’t do it!
Reading together brings your little one comfort, confidence, reassurance, happiness, security.
Giving them the time and attention they desire from you in such a creative and fun way will often be the highlight of their day.
Furthermore, reading with your child builds their vocabulary, feeds their imagination, and can even improve their sleep!
There are few activities so simple and effortless that bring such huge rewards to both you and your child.
And if you’re looking for some stories to start you off, well—here are 5 that my own daughter simply loves me to read to her!
1. Donnie by Lisa Maschhaupt and Saša Ostoja
Our protagonist Donnie likes wearing dresses, but the other kids don’t understand.
In a bold and exciting story, we follow Donnie into his mum’s wardrobe where he finds a wondrous world of acceptance and adventure.
My daughter adores Donnie, and the book exemplifies why children’s books are so integral to a healthy upbringing—because they influence the way little ones see the world around them.
Too often society creates a standard and expectation of how we should look and behave, marginalising others in the process.
While my daughter just can’t get enough of Donnie and his two mums, I do think there’s something just a little odd about the illustrations… but let me know what you think!
2. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
In a big green room, a little bunny is tucked in safe and tight, ready to say goodnight to all the things in his room, one by one.
Then the rabbit looks out the window, and realises there’s a whole world out there—both down below, and up above.
Goodnight Moon is an utter gem of a book. I cried the first time I read it. Not because it’s a sad story, but because of the simple elegance with which it conveys joy.
With its comforting rhythm and warm illustrations of a tired little rabbit being looked after by an older lady rabbit, this gentle bedtime story has been lulling children to sleep for generations.
And with a two-read minimum, I can now quote this little book in the dark (although this is strictly prohibited in my household!).
3. The Noisy Book by Soledad Bravi
This one’s a guaranteed pleaser—and it’s best shared loudly!
The wolf howls. The owl hoots. The monkey goes ooh-ooh-ooh.
With over 100 pages of bright, bold illustrations accompanying real sounds emanating from the book itself, this story brings me back time and again to read aloud, my daughter giggling, woofing, and roaring right there beside me.
Unpredictable, epic, and raucous, The Noisy Book catalogues over 50 animals and objects in a whistle-stop tour of every location and environment you can imagine!
4) Where’s Nessie? by Liz and Garry Thorburn
This book radiates the vivid colours of the Highlands, as together my daughter and I lift the flaps to see if we can find Scotland’s most famous resident.
Flip through the pages and, with a touch of magic, you too might happen upon the tooth-free little monster.
This joyous wee Scottish story is the perfect reminder of the ancestry for those of us who may have physically left Scotland beehind, but whose hearts will never leave Caledonia behind.
5. Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
In this timeless classic abounding in clean and uncluttered pages, a child writes to the zoo asking for a pet.
The zoo obligingly sends out a few candidates, one after the other… but as each is revealed beneath a flap on a crate or packing case, we see they’re all just hopelessly unsuitable for a small family home.
That is, until we see the last animal the zoo’s sent… which we decide will make an excellent pet!
I have to admit, I get a little nervous every time I read this one—the perfect pet happens to be one that won’t be joining the McCallum household anytime soon.
Luckily my sweet toddler ripped the finale out of the book quite a few months ago, and doesn’t remember a thing about the original ending!
Click here to buy Dear Zoo