Choosing a new book to read at bedtime

The new book dilemma…

You have bought a new book to read at bedtime with your child.

It’s won all sorts of awards for being fun and engaging and at the same time teaching children something important about life.

You ignored that warning message in your head saying that you’d better check that your daughter will like it before your bought it.

“I love the pictures and the story is AMAZING! Of course she’s going to love it! I love it, so she will as well…”

It’s bed time and your beloved is snuggled under the duvet, in the crook of your arm.

You’re secretly excited about reading this new book, certain that she’ll love it.

You tell her “I have this new book I know you’re going to love!”

“I don’t like it.” She says, turning away from you as she pushes the book back.

“What do you mean you don’t like it!? We haven’t even read it yet!”

“I want the Princess and the Pea.”

“But we’ve read it a thousand times! Come on; let’s give this one a go. We’ll read The Princess and the Pea another night”


Is that little scene as familiar to you as it is to me?

How come stories that appeal to adults don’t always have the same appeal to kids?

Why is it that a spur-of-the-moment story I made up to get my daughter to put on her shoes is a hit and a beautifully crafted (and expensive) book is not?


Familiar is Comfortable

Young children love familiar things.

They’re safe with familiar things and people and stories.

The world in the story is not going to change if they look away or go to sleep.

Repetition (like breathing) is comforting.


Exploring the world

Humans love to explore and see things from different views.

Repetition allows a child to explore different aspects of the story.

It allows the child to learn about an emotion or experience that they have not had yet.


Learning to read

As they get older, “reading” a familiar story allows the child to start trying to read the text instead of having to focus on the story.

Next time: How to make the most of reading a story again… and again.

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