We are avid users of library services. We visit the local library weekly, have materials delivered (for free!), enjoy the children-friendly events. I’ve taken a habit of loaning dvds for our movie nights and we regularly borrow boardgames as well. So when I heard about the Little Helmet Reading Challenge, I thought, this is definitely for us!
The list includes 25 books and I will write five posts throughout the year with our selection of children’s books. Our family reads in Finnish and Italian language, but some of our picks are in English and I translate on the fly. Beside the link to the HelMet (our library network) archive, whenever possible I’ll include the link to the same books in other languages to make sure you can enjoy them as well. If you’ll find my recommendations valuable, let me know in the comments below.
#1: A book where someone moves to a new place
HelMet (ITA)| ITA | ENG
Drums rolling… We chose the Italian story “The call of the swamp” which, incidentally, is a book about adoption! The plot has a positive ending, but can be a little dark. To me this was a plus, since many adoption books tend to swipe under the carpet any negative feeling. Adoption is never mentioned explicitly, so you can read it without going into detail. It’s a book about the meaning of family and finding your own identity. It was a casual and great find!
#2: A book of poetry from your country
HelMet (ITA) | ITA
“Il libro dei perché” was published before I was born and it’s still popular. Gianni Rodari was one of my childhood’s authors and never gets old. We have few of his books in our personal collection and this poem book is one of them. The title means “The book of whys” and replies in rhymes to all the questions kids can make. “Why there is day and night?”, “Why the car goes forward?”, “Why grown-ups are always right?”. Rodari has a unique way to write from the child’s perspective. This book of his was not translated, but many others were and in several languages, so you may want to do a search.
#3: A book that starts a series
HelMet (ENG) | ENG | ESP | FR | ITA
“The princess in black” came highly recommended and, believe me, you cannot be disappointed. The series includes several books and we plan to read all of them. The main character is the perfect princess Magnolia, who hides the secret identity of princess in black, heroic monster fighter. It’s an empowering, light, and funny story. The book is too long for R (almost five), but we read few chapters every night, and it worked great. There’s an illustration in every page, so even E (two years old) could keep his focus.
#4: The book title has a place in it
HelMet (ITA) | ITA
I don’t know how it’s possible that these books never got translated from Italian language. Pimpa is an Italian character which was created before I was born. The Pimpa books are simply great for small kids. The stories are very imaginative and cover several contexts. We use these books to foster Italian language and love the drawings. We chose “Pimpa nell’antica Roma“, where Pimpa visits the city of Rome. A great way to introduce kids to the wonders of the capital of our birth country!
#5: Read an ebook or listen to an audiobook
HelMet (ITA) | ITA
As weird as it may sound, I regarded this as the hardest of this batch. I’ve borrowed several audiobooks in the past and my kids couldn’t care less. So, I thought, no way they’ll listen to this. Well, they surprised me and asked to listen to “Cappuccetto Rosso” twice. I’ll be honest, I don’t understand why. It’s a fine audiobook but I cannot see how it’s any different from the ones I have borrowed earlier. In any case, I was happy to introduce them to this new way of healthy entertainment. If they start to like audiobooks, we’ll be able to enjoy them on long car trips.
Here’s my first batch of books for our reading challenge. We are enthusiastic readers already, but I love the idea of pushing myself to find new exciting books to enjoy with my children.