The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
What’s braver than facing up to a ferocious Bengal tiger? Take your kiddies on a journey into the dense forests of India to meet Mowgli, Bagheera and Baloo, as they face up to the fearsome Sheer Khan. Rudyard Kipling’s collection of short stories are the perfect escape for young minds during this time of uncertainty. You can read the Disney version, but we recommend Kipling’s original short stories. Get yourself and the kids a copy online from Exclusive Books.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
Another story of great bravery, Roald Dahl’s Matilda encourages children to stretch their imaginations. In a world where the adults are the enemy (besides the delightful Miss Honey, of course), Matilda teaches children to trust in their cleverness and their ability to tell good from evil. Dahl is a master storyteller, using witty poetics and rhyme to keep young minds entranced. You may want to invest in his entire collection of works, as we are sure that your little ones will be hooked in no time.
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol
The world may seem a little topsy-turvy to children right now. So, why not let them dive into Lewis Carrol’s upside down, mad hatter land in Alice in Wonderland? With a new obstacle at every turn, Alice’s journey into Wonderland offers children an epic adventure filled with weird and wacky characters. Alice’s bravery and smarts may also be an inspiration for young ones, as they navigate their way through this period of confusion and isolation. Make reading this classic a super fun family activity by encouraging the kids to dress up as their favourite character and to join you for a mad hatters picnic in the garden.
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis
Children may be looking for guidance and wisdom as they struggle to come to terms with COVID-19 and its impact on their lives. Who better to look to for sage advice than C.S Lewis’ great lion, Aslan, out of The Chronicles of Narnia? Set during WWII, this classic children’s fantasy series follows the four Pevensie children as they travel through an old wardrobe into the magical and mystical world of Narnia. The Pevensie children’s courage and determination against great odds should be excellent motivation for little ones during this challenging time. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is the second novel of the series, but can be read as a stand-alone as well.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
Neil Gaiman is a master craftsman, painting vivid worlds in which dark magic lurks. To a child’s mind, COVID-19 may seem like a dark, mysterious force, as it isolates them from friends and other childhood whims. Gaiman’s Coraline is the perfect antidote to fear and anxiety over things that lurk in the dark. While this book often scares adults, children approach the story with wonder and engagement, as they follow the daring Coraline into the ‘Other World’. This is likely to become a book that you and the kids read over and over again, each time discovering some new flicker of Gaiman’s genius.
Not sure you can pull off all the creepy, crawly voices to convey the atmosphere of Gaiman’s writing? Why not let the author himself read to them? Visit Neil Gaiman’s website for more information about his stories for children and for a full reading of Coraline and other books.
Audiobooks For Little Listeners
We understand that you may not always have time to sit down with the little ones to read them a story. That’s where Audible.com comes in handy! Offering free streaming on a range of children’s audio books until schools re-open, Audible.com is an invaluable resource to keep handy during this time, as well as on long journeys and before bedtime. Covering titles for little readers, primary school kiddies, tweens, teens and adults, Audible will have you and the kids listening, learning and imagining for hours on end.
Running low on books to keep the little ones entertained? There are a number of wonderful children’s book stores located around Johannesburg.
Do your kids have any favourite books? Let us know about them in the comments section below!