We don’t need studies to tell us that reading is good for you. On average, readers have better empathy, physical health, and mental health. Reading for as little as six minutes can reduce 60% of stress, slow your heartbeat, ease muscle tension, and improve your state of mind. It works better than listening to music, drinking a cup of tea, going for a walk or playing video games. What’s best is that you can do it anywhere, anytime! If you still can’t tell – yes, I am a book lover.
I always try to read in bed before I go to sleep, but I can never get to the bottom of the second page before I fall asleep. If you are one of those people who find it hard to finish a book, you’re in the right place. Despite the fact that I’m a grown-up, I enjoy reading picture books more than my students do. (Did you know that they have an MPhil program studying Children’s Literature here in Cambridge?) I love that there aren’t many words; I love the illustrations; I love the interaction between text and image; and, most of all, I love reading them with kids and seeing them fall in love with reading. Picture books aren’t as simple as they seem. They are poetry, adventure, imagination, memories and so much more. They are books for everybody: all ages, all generations, all races.
Here are some picture book recommendations for a lighthearted and heartwarming six minute break:
For book lovers – A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers and It’s a Book by Lane Smith. Jeffers’ books are all beautiful. The former is about the rewards of reading and the power of stories. The play with typography is clever and stunning. The latter features a tech savvy jackass and a book-loving monkey; a playful and lighthearted look at the role of books in our digital age.
For fairytale lovers – Beware of the Storybook Wolves and Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book?, both by Lauren Child. These books play with the traditional fairytale characters and typography. Find out what happens to Herb when he meets the big bad wolf and the wicked stepmother.
For feminist warriors – The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch and Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole. If, to you, princess is the synonym of damsel in distress, it’s time for you to come out of the cave. Princesses can be strong, smart, and sassy! And they don’t need a prince.
For frustrated parents – Go the F**k to Sleep by Adam Mansbach. You wouldn’t understand the frustration of putting a child to bed if you’re never in that position. A brilliant bedtime book for parents.
Last but not least, my all time favourite bedtime story – Guess How Much I love You by Sam McBratney. I don’t remember how many times I’ve read this. A simple timeless story, also a popular present choice for newborn baby, weddings, Valentine’s Day and other special occasions.