Books

Little Kulture’s e-Book: 20 Unmissable Books For Kids – Grades 1 to 4

Little Kulture is delighted to present its first ebook – 20 Unmissable Books for Grade 1 to 4. It’s completely free and all you have to do to get a copy is to subscribe to our newsletter, also free. 

This ebook has been a few months in the making, with much fist clenching and head scratching involved. The foreword I wrote for the book was deemed ‘too long’ by the editor. I have shared it here in its entirety.

Reading is intellectual digestion. I know, it sounds gross, doesn’t it? Reading is excellent for the brain and prepares children for the rigours of adulthood. As adults, we have to read and process enormous amounts of information and make sense of it. We use it to make decisions. Of course, reading is mostly considered recreational. All the reading of picture books, novels and more help us in doing this. I’m kidding. It does more. Much, much more. It helps children build their creativity, it arms them with tools to think and do, it makes them laugh out loud and makes them INDEPENDENT.

Just as a runner trains by running, a dancer by dancing, a reader, and writer flexes their mind muscle by reading. Reading opens worlds hitherto unknown. Reading is the only known source of time travel. Reading celebrates the thoughts and art of thinkers and artists.

When in doubt, Google. If you want to know more find books on the subject. We cannot afford to be purists when it comes to reading. There is no caste system in reading. A paper book is better than an e-reader, which in turn is better than a mobile – are comparisons we can no longer afford. Children reading though is important. If they devour books on the go through e-readers -awesome! They love reading Alice in Wonderland on their dad’s mobile-perfect!

A child engaged in reading is a delight. It opens the eyes of a child to possibilities, methods of thought, people to quote and support statements; Reading is the door to critical and analytical thinking skills, which  children need now more than ever to function in a fast changing world.

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Most children read for fun, as a mechanism of releasing stress after a long day at school. They chuckle at Captain Haddock’s maritime dialogues and are amazed by Charlotte the spider’s thoughts. This relaxed absorption of words and thoughts make their minds stronger than ever.

They want to read ‘The Wimpy Kid’, you want them to read ‘Wonder’. Struggles ensue. Have hope. Leave the books lying  around; make weekly trips to the library; above all be caught reading yourself, many times. Children who observe their parents reading are most likely to pick up the reading habit themselves. If you spot an eager reader who doesn’t have access to books, please lend or gift.

Sooner, rather than later children will read these books. Their reading appetites will grow, they will want to vault to higher heights.Discuss books, encourage interpretations, squabble over who gets to read first – a common sight in most reading households. Reading calms and fortifies like little else.

As a result of running Little Kulture, I jumpstarted my old love of reading; I ended up reading several books for children and some I loved. I read many of these books for the first time as an adult; comics being my childhood staple.

This list is by no means definitive – there are simply too many brilliant books that have not been covered. All books are in English, by itself an impediment; books from China, India, Japan, Italy, Sri Lanka, Norway, Finland, Belgium, Iraq, Algeria, Greece, Syria do not feature in this list. Plenty of unearthing of great reading still awaits me.

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I did enjoy this list of books very much; I have also received feedback from my two children, currently aged 11 and 7; I have noticed the excitement in children who have read these books; I’ve been lucky to have friends who pointed me to some of them; ‘Wonder’ is one such.

Rediscovering reading has saved my family. We await books as we would dear friends; we make lasting friendships with some of the best minds in the world. E.B.White spoke from the pages of his book, reminding us to treasure the beauty and fragilities of our everyday.

I also fell back on Roald Dahl, the master of wisdom and straight talk while picking a book for the list.

Books shouldn’t be daunting, they should be funny, exciting and wonderful; and learning to be a reader gives a terrific advantage.

The best writers espouse kindness, sharing, integrity, acceptance of self, courage and a deep sense of who we are. Reading helps children cultivate a rich and varied inner life, that will comfort them, even through their hardest times.

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