Loving books with kids

I love reading. I don’t get to do it as much, but I still love the feel of a book. Every now and then I still find books that, once picked up, cannot be put down. Books that have you sitting, during the witching hour, repeating the mantra, “one more chapter and then I sleep, one more chapter and then I sleep.”

This probably comes from living in a home where the garage was converted into a study just to house my father’s books, covering a myriad of subjects. I would spend hours in there, looking for something to read. I went through phases, hanging out in the school library reading everything from Agatha Christie to Louis L’amour.

While I have always bought books, it is only in the last couple of years that I have been able to start to build a decent library. So, you can imagine my hope when it comes to Kweku, my son. I started doing the alphabet with him at two weeks and still do nearly every night. Same thing with counting, which he can comfortably do up to 10 and is working on 11 to 20.

I also started reading to him very early. The usual stories for his age group are short and, to be honest, boring (I have to read them) so I very quickly picked up a copy of bedtime stories that cover stories from different cultures across the world. I have also started looking for the fairytales that I grew up on and have since discovered how scary they are. There always seems to be someone who died and tragedy. For Cinderella to have a step-mother, her real mother had to die.

“London Bridge is falling down” is about destruction, Jack loses his head falling down a hill, Hansel & Gretel nearly become cuisine for a witch and the snoring old man bumps his head on the edge of the bed and can’t get up in the morning. Some of these have as much destruction as an action movie. I was becoming paralysed, not quite sure what I can read to my son beyond the cute little books with lots of pictures.

So, I decided to just read. He also seems to love books and will spend a good 10 to 20 minutes flipping through a magazine or newspaper so now we are going through Kahlil Gibran’s The Alchemist at bedtime, for the second time. Next up, it is Anansi The Spider, fables from Ghana. I also read him poetry sometimes and stories of Winnie The Pooh (a favourite for all of us). What do you read your children?

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Author

Kojo Baffoe

Kojo Baffoe

Kojo Baffoe , editor of DESTINY Man magazine, a father, a son, a brother, a husband, a friend, a poet, a writer on a quest to make sense of this reality, with words. Visit his website.

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4 Responses

  1. I recently stumbled across The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton and have started reading “Just one chapter” a night to my kids.

    I am absolutely loving that it takes me back to my own childhood, when I remember my Mom reading the exact same stories about Moonface and Mr Whatzhisname and Dame Washalot. The stories are so simple, and yet so full of fun and imagination. There are no pictures, however the stories are so well written that the children don’t need more than their own imagination.

    Inevitably I don’t ever stop at ‘just one chapter’ and (I must admit) it’s not always because the kids beg me to go on. I’m really enjoying the stories too! Only 37 chapters to go…

  2. I really relate to your article. I was also brought up with lots of books and exposed to literature, african folk tales at a very young age and reading novels and story books was a favourite pastime of mine. I was exposed to a lot of African literature through our schools curriculum and have found myself now as a mother trying to instill into my son (18 months now) the appreciation of books. We are still on picture books which he loves and hopefully at 2 years i can start reading books to him when he is more able to understand what im saying. But yes books seem to be an art thats disappearing in this digital media world of ours and i feel that books will go a long way in developing our youngsters communication and thinking skills

  3. I absolutely love books and was also brought up with a ‘library’ in the house and now have my own. 2 favourites for my kids-twin girls of 9 and a son of 17 – Treasures of the snow by Patricia St John and Narnia.will think of some more, but there is such a wealth of good stuff out there-cant keep up!

  4. please have a listen to the audio book podcast at teeandtim.co.za it is downloadable – recorded in Egypt and South Africa (if you loved Blyton, the Hardy Boys, The Three Investigators – then you’ll love this one

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