If you’re bookish or live in Edinburgh you probably know that the Edinburgh International Book Festival runs in August and is a pretty big deal for authors, illustrators and book lovers alike. It’s an amazing opportunity to attend talks and events by hundreds of people within the industry.
This year I sadly didn’t see any of the big names as I just wasn’t organised enough. I did pop along and soak up the atmosphere though and made a few purchases from the on site bookshop.
I also had a bit of a brain wave whilst I was browsing the children’s books… As a child I read obsessively, devouring every book put in front of me. My large collection was well-loved with many books being read time and time again. A love of reading is something I really want to pass on to Luisa so she can get the same satisfaction from it that I have over the years. I also worked in the publishing industry prior to going on maternity leave and am passionate about literacy amongst children. I’ve seen first had the work that charities and publishing houses alike do to instill a love of reading within young children and can’t stress how important I think that is.
Back to my brain wave. My plan is to buy Luisa a special book every month to build her a varied collection over the years. I’m going to write a message inside each saying where I got it and why. How amazing will it be to look at her bookshelf 3, 5, 10, 30 years down the line and see a lifetime of stories before you!? What an amazing opportunity it is to help select the books that she will come to love, cry over, be inspired by.
So, buzzing with excitement at the prospect of building a glorious collection for my little love I shared my idea with Matt and we picked the first book right there at the book festival and ‘Books for Baby’ was born.
Please Mr Panda is a really fun story with a sweet moral message that will bring a smile to your face. It’s not a preachy fable type story, the message is delicately put – in such a way that the child can feel as though they’ve drawn the conclusion themselves. The Illustrations are kooky and interesting – I’m actually hoping to get a print to use as part of the decor in her new bedroom. Please Mr Panda is published by Hodder and available in hardback and paperback. I don’t want to ruin the story by saying much more so if you’re intrigued then head over to Steve Antony’s website
Politely and patiently, Mr Panda asks animals he comes across if they would like a doughnut. Is anyone worthy of Mr Panda’s doughnuts?
Matt was first drawn to the book because Luisa is obsessed with her panda toy from Lamaze. I think this is a book that we’ll read to and with her for years. Obviously she hasn’t the faintest idea what it’s all about at the minute but it’s clear to see that the high contrast images really appeal to her and what baby doesn’t love their parent’s crazy story telling voices?!
I’m going to be running this Books for Baby series monthly where I’ll keep sharing with you the titles we’ve chosen for Luisas collection and the reasons why. I’d love to know what books you recommend for babies and children of all ages so please let me know in the comments or on Twitter.