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Holidays have changed in recent times, with cities having fewer open spaces for kids to run amok and have fun. Reading books, at such times, are one of the enjoyable activities to do indoors.
With the holidays coming up, kids get a long break from school. Unfortunately, October is either rainy or unbearably hot in a city like Mumbai, and kids can’t spend as much time outdoors as they may like. Also, in cities like Mumbai few outdoor spaces are available to the kids. Most of the city-run parks are closed between the hours of 11:00 and 17:00.
Another fun thing to do during holidays is travel, but nowadays with high pressure jobs and limited leave, travel is usually cut short to a few days at most. Visiting relatives and ancestral family homes for an extended stay has also become less common.
But there is another age old way to travel, meet new people, experience excitement, or visit familiar haunts and old friends. This pleasant way to spend vacations has stood the test of time. It is not affected by climate change, fast-paced-lifestyles, or changing family structures.
In fact it has become more accessible over the years. I am talking about books and reading.
Today books are relatively cheap, easily available, and the perfect way for children (and grown ups too) to spend hot vacation afternoons cooling off in fantastic worlds. Add a popsicle to suck on, or a glass or ice cold lemonade, and you might as well be in heaven, or perhaps in an Enid Blyton story, which for some people (me included) is the same.
So I asked some of my daughter’s friends and their parents, as well as some of my blogger friends with kids, to name some books the little ones love, or are looking forward to reading this summer, and here is the list I compiled. I threw in a few of my own favorites too. Obviously I couldn’t resist.
When the kids suggested an entire series, I asked the parents to let me know which book from the series was their child’s favourite, and that’s the one that is recommended, so you can start with that one, unless it is important in the series to begin with the first one.
I have included the reading ages mentioned on the Amazon purchase page wherever available.
Large or full page illustration with story text.
Dora the explorer series. Particular book recommended: Dora goes to school For ages 3 to 7 years.
The Disney Cars series and The Planes Series. Particular books recommended: Fire And Rescue For ages 2 to 5 years.
The Peppa Pig Series. Particular book recommended: Peppa’s Pumpkin Party For ages 2 to 4 years.
Where The Wild Things Are For ages 4 to 8 years.
The Wizard Of Oz For ages 5 to 8 years.
Mambi And The Forest Fire For ages 5 to 8 years.
You can read my detailed review of Mambi And The Forest Fire.
These books are read by people of all ages!
The Marvel Comic books and novels, especially Avengers and Spiderman
DC comics like Superman and Batman. What’s your superpower?
Asterix comics: Develop a taste for history and a penchant for word play. Particular book recommended: Asterix and Cleopatra
Tintin: Quench your thirst for adventure. Particular book recommended: Tintin In America
Get a taste for quirky Indian characters and Indian mythology
Amar Chitra Katha has comic book versions of well known Indian tales like The Stories Of Birbal as well as Indian mythological epics like the Mahabharata. Here is a 9 year old boy’s review of the Mahabharata collection by Amar Chitra Katha.
Amar Chitra Katha also published the Tinkle digests.
Tenali Raman Stories are suitable for ages 5 to 8 years.
Chacha Chaudhari in English And Hindi for kids over the age of 6.
Make the transition to long form reading with these intermediate length books with a few beautiful illustrations and significantly more text than picture books.
The Wonderful Wizard Of Oz for ages 10 to 12 years.
Charlotte’s Web for ages 7+ years. Here is my detailed review of Charlotte’s Web.
Shahjahan And the Ruby Robber from the History Mystery Series by Natasha Sharma, for ages 5 to 10 years. You can check out my detailed review of Shahjahan And The Ruby Robber here.
The Princess In Black Series for ages 5 to 8 years. Particular book recommended: The Perfect Princess Party.
Cars 2: The Book Of The Film. Amazon does not specify ages but a 7 year old loves the book.
Roald Dahl’s shorter stories are excellent chapter books for younger kids. For example, The Enormous Crocodile and The Giraffe And Pelly And Me, are suitable for kids of ages 5 to 7 years.
The Tree House Series suitable for 7 to 11 year old kids includes chapter books with lots illustrations. Particular book recommended: The 65-Storey Treehouse. The following images are obtained from the amazon sales pages of the books. The image on the right is from the inside of The 104-Storey Tree House
The Velveteen Rabbit for ages 4 to 8 years. This book has lovely illustrations so you may want to buy the print version, but since it is out of copyright you can first check out the electronic version to see if your child enjoys it. Download the EPUB format for IPAD and Android Devices. Download in kindle format. Check it out on your computer or phone.
Short stories are perfect for passing time while traveling. Many of them end with a bang and can be very satisfying. Kids learning to read feel a sense of achievement when they complete a story and short stories are the perfect place to start to boost their confidence.
Spinning Top Stories by Nitya Satyani for ages 5 to 8 (as told to me by a parent. The age range is not specified on the amazon page)
Amelia Jane Series A series of collections of short stories about a mischievous doll named Amelia Jane and her interactions with other toys in the nurser. Particular book recommended: Naughty Amelia Jane. For ages 12+ years (that’s what the amazon page says). I read it to my 4 year old and in my opinion many 6 to 8 year old kids will enjoy reading it by themselves.
200 Bedtime Stories by Yoyo books. Age range not specified on amazon but it was suggested by the mother of a 7 year old who enjoys it.
Disney 100 Stories For Boys has some nice small color illustrations but mostly text. For ages 10 to 14 years as per the amazon page but a 7 year old thoroughly enjoys them. Here is picture of the inside of the book.
Princess tales, a collection of timeless princess stories for kids of ages 6 to 12 years. The amazon page has very limited information so here is a picture of the inside of the book.
Once you start reading novels, you can start making fictional friends and visiting fantastic worlds and there is absolutely no limits to where you go after that. The laws of nature themselves can no longer restrain you.
Roald Dahl’s novels like Matilda and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory are suitable for kids of ages 7 to 9 years.
The Gory Story Of Genghis Khan is the perfect introduction to History and a saucy account of a bossy man. You can never imagine that history could be boring after reading this one. You can find my detailed review of the Gory Story Of Genghis Khan here.
The Five Find-Outers Mystery Series by Enid Blyton. Particular book recommended: The Mystery Of The Spiteful Letters. This one is the fourth in the series. While there is some continuity over this series, you can read the books in any order and still enjoy them all just as much.
The Malory Towers Boarding School Series by Enid Blyton. The story evolves over the books and they are connected so we recommend that you start at the beginning and go on in order.
The Geronimo Stilton series for ages 8 and above. Particular book recommended: The Journey through Time
But free books? Now that’s a different story!
For those of us who love books, we simply can’t get enough of them. But they can get a little heavy on the pocket. Children’s books in particular, are quite expensive because of the paper quality or color prints.
Sometimes books don’t end up being about what we expected from a synopsis and a quick glance. Sometimes, classics as timeless as they may be, do not cater to our personal taste. It’s nice to have access to some free ebooks, so we can check out the content before we buy it.
Public domain books: These are classics and they are free. So check them out with your child on Project Gutenberg before you decide which ones to buy. The Velveteen Rabbit I mentioned before is one of these. So is Pollyanna, Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland and loads of Beatrix Potter.
The William books by Richmal Crompton, are another gem I discovered here. They are collections of short stories involving the antics of an imaginative and mischievous young boy named William.
Contemporary children’s literature: Is it possible to get some of that free too? Some authors like me make make the electronic versions of our books free. It costs us nothing, but brings smiles and joy to so many children across the world.
Free Kids Books is a great platform to find free books for children by contemporary authors. They cater to children of all ages from toddlers to young adults and boast of a varied collection including picture books, short stories, chapter books, non-fiction and novels. Danielle, who runs Free Kids Books, is committed to the cause of spreading children’s literacy and facilitates it through this vast collection of easily accessibly, free, quality children’s books.
Loads of free contemporary children’s ebooks can also be found on smashwords.
Wishing you all a fun and exciting holidays. Happy Reading!
A version of this was first published here.
Image source: shutterstock
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Kanika G, a physicist by training and a mother of 2 girls, started writing to
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