Our Favourite Children's Books - What's on Philly's Bookshelf? (Part 1)

“Books aren’t just made of words, they are also filled with places to visit and people to meet”
- Anonymous

Here at the Philly & Friends HQ, we love reading books and buying children's books is one of our all-time favourite things to do and reading them make me[us] so happy. We love reading so much that we have embarked on a 200 Books in 2020 Reading Challenge #Phillys200Books.

Reading is a fantastic activity to encourage learning and growth in children. We encourage you to read to your child as early as possible to develop a love for reading and an appetite for learning. Philly has developed a healthy appetite for learning; she'll pick up a book and say, "Mummy, I want you to teach me."

Children rely on the stories we tell them to learn about the world and all that's in it. Therefore, we believe the books they read should reflect the diversity the world has to offers. Over the last two years, we have built a robust collection of diverse children's books from a wide range of authors - some of the very the best children's books.

We truly believe that diverse books are for everyone. They teach love, tolerance and acceptance; they make the world a better place.' We love all types of stories, stories featuring animals, children, adults, adventures, objects, activities and much more. A variety of options help our children experience a world outside of their immediate environment and in turn, they develop a broader general knowledge.

Looking for inspiration? In no particular order, below is a list of some of Philly's favourite children's books:


1. Little Leaders by Vashti Harrison: This book features 40 extraordinary African American women whose stories will inspire your little ones to be brave, strong and resilient. The beautifully illustrated characters will capture your children's attention. Philly loves this book and will often refer to one of the women as her grandma; she wears glasses, and so does grandma.

2. Hair Love by Matthew Cherry: Hair love shares the most beautiful story of the relationship between a little girl and her father. He takes on the challenge of getting her gorgeous, thick and glorious hair 'party' ready. We love this book because it helps demystify afro hair. Also, Philly is such a daddy's girl, and so this book has a special place in her heart.

3. Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls: This book is for the older reader, but I like to read Philly stories from this beautiful book. It's a collection of 100 stories of extraordinary, brave women who refused to take NO for an answer. I'm working to build resilience in her from the word go.

4. The Wonderful Things You Will Be by Emily Winfield Martin: This is one of the sweetest books we have on our bookshelf. It starts to introduce the idea of a world of many possibilities to the mind of little ones. As a parent/carer/guardian, it fills you with so much hope and excitement thinking of the wonderful future ahead of your child. The end is beautiful; it reminds the child that (s)he will always find love in the arms of her loved ones regardless of who (s)he chooses to be.

5. Dear Zoo by Rod Cambell: This is such a fun book to read to the little ones. It is filled with suspense and excitement. The roars, the hisses and snaps fill the room with so much laughter. Lifting each flap to discover what animal the zoo sent this time brings so much joy to our bedtime routine. We love this simple book. It teaches the younger ones to identify animals and their associated sounds. It also shows them how to use adjectives appropriately.

6. When I Pray for You by Matthew Paul Turner: This book is beautiful. It's filled with so much hope and love. It shows the heart of a parent towards his/her child in the most precious and simple way. It would make the perfect bedtime read for your little ones. Recounting each moment, each thought and each pray said by a parent for his/her child. Every parent will relate to this book and more importantly, it lets our little ones know how much we love and care for them.

7. The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson: This is such a fun story to read with the little ones, you can make sounds, act out scenes and have a great time during storytime. Warning, you will hear the words "again" several times at the end of the book. Philly loves it so much, it's definitely one of her favourites.

8. The Tiger who came to Tea by Judith Kerr: This is a funny story about an unexpected guest who happens to be a tiger. He interrupts Sophie's afternoon tea with her mother and finishes all their food. He leaves once he's done and satisfied. We love this book mainly because of all the pretend eating and drinking we do while we read it. It’s a cute little unusual story.

9. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle: This book introduces the concept of the butterfly. We love how the caterpillar eats through so many yummy treats to grow. It helps with teaching the concept of counting, and I love the overall lesson behind the making of a butterfly, it teaches patience.

10. Who Do I See in the Mirror? by Vese Aghoghovbia-Aladewolu: We absolutely love this book, not that we are biased or anything :). It helps with learning parts of the body. It builds vocabulary and introduces the concept of simile in the most fun and child-friendly way. It teaches our little ones to love themselves in a gentle and non-intrusive way. We love the peekaboo, the beautiful illustrations and saying out loud, "I am much more". Acting out each scene, we scrub our bodies, wriggle our noses, stamp our feet, pretend to eat and have lots of fun identifying and loving each part of our bodies.

What’s your favourite children’s book? Do you still remember the name of the book or just the story? Do you still love reading? Share with us your favourite kid’s book and if you didn’t have one growing up, what’s your child’s (niece/nephew/godchild) favourite book? You can find us on social media at @phillynfriends.

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