Tony Ross - Michael Foreman - Ruth Brown - Emma Chichester Clark - David McKee - Lindsay Camp - Sandy Nightingale - Jeanne Willis - Hiawyn Oram - Frederic Joos - Susan Varley - Mary Rees - Ella Burfoot - Ken Brown
Now here's the depressing part. I stood at the box reading them one by one (must have been there for 20 minutes). On a busy wet Saturday morning there were people everywhere. There were grandmothers, young mothers, some with children and one with a pram, and there were kids on the prowl. And yet, not one person picked up one of the books. While many came to the box and rummaged through the pile, all zoomed in on colouring in books, paint with water books and various picture books from television series. The children didn't even pick one up. I even tried spreading out some interesting titles just within reach of some of the children - but they wouldn't take the bate. Several mothers picked up a 'Playschool' book (based on an Australian Children's show) but no one touched one of the books in the literature series.
There were many wonderful titles. Some of my favourites were:
'Cat on the Hill' by Michael Foreman
'Why' by Lindsay Camp & illustrated by Tony Ross
'Throwaway Bear' by Sandy Nightingale
'I Want a Cat' by Tony Ross
'Can't Catch Me' by Michael Foreman
'Our Puppy's Holiday' by Ruth Brown
|Well-known author/illustrator Michael Foreman|
I've used a variety of links on the titles above to show that the books are widely available in varied forms. Note that at some places they are 4-5 times more expensive than the ALDI deal I found in Australia. I even found some people selling these books on eBay with a 'Buy it Now' price of $9.95. If you don't find them at ALDI the next best prices for the same books would seem to be 'Learning Discovery' in Australia (all their books are $5.95 and postage is free in Australia), Amazon in the UK (titles are 2.50 in UK pounds) and the USA (some titles from $4.50US).
The experience in the store suggested a few things to me:
- Children need help choosing books to read and enjoy (see my previous post on this here).
- We need to give a priority to reading books to children. I suspect that none of the parents I witnessed this morning were readers of many books to their children. Drawing, sticker books and paint with water books are fun and have a place, but don't offer the joy of a pile of good books read with and to children (see previous post on this here).
- We have a very limited view of what a good children's book is. There are thousands of books and authors that go unnoticed because the books haven't won the latest Schools and libraries still need to be the champions of books.
- Parents need help to find books and to be able to judge a good book. Teachers have a great responsibility here.
- Cheap books are still available if you look hard enough.