I've loved reading since I was a little girl; and thankfully, my love for books has manifested itself in my daughter. Some of our most fun mother-daughter bonding moments have occurred at bookshops as I introduce her to books from my childhood and we discover some that have become a big part of hers. From a long, long list, leaving out many equally deserving books (sigh!), here are the 5 that I believe have had the most significant impact on her life. And mine!
1. George's Secret Key To The Universe by Lucy and Stephen Hawking
A New York Times bestseller, this is a must-read for every 9-year-old. The book's the first in a 3-part series about the space adventures of a boy called George through the world's most powerful computer-Cosmos-that can draw windows and doors to allow people to look and travel into space. The best thing is that the facts are woven so seamlessly into fiction that your child will learn about space while being deeply engrossed in the narrative.
2. Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carol
By the time your daughter is 9, chances are she'll have already read some version of Alice in Wonderland. But, don't skip the unabridged form. It is one of the most powerful books she will read (I still read it from time to time). If possible, read parts of this with her and dramatise Alice's escape into the fantastical, dream-like world, where she finds herself as she chases the white rabbit into the hole in the ground. There are many interpretations of this timeless classic, so let you daughter come to an understanding on her own. By all means bring in the dramatics, just leave out the analysis.
3. Does My Goldfish Know Who I Am? And Hundreds More Big Questions From Little People Answered by Experts by Gemma Elwin Harris
We've often been stumped by a question that our child has asked. Or, may have known the answer but found it hard to explain. I know I've been! For instance, do you know which is faster-a Velociraptor or a cheetah? Do you even know what a Velociraptor is (or was; it was a kind of dinosaur, for those who didn't know)? See what I mean? Or, can you explain to a child why we can't simply print more money when there is a recession? Or, why our fingers get all wrinkly when we are in water? Full of basic, yet extremely interesting questions, this book is something your daughter would want to carry around to flaunt her knowledge. (Mine took it to school and went around asking people if they know whether monkeys that are alive today will eventually turn into humans!)
4. Amelia Jane by Enid Blyton
You can't go wrong with Enid Blyton. Ever. Choosing to write about one of her books, however, is like saying you love one parent more than the other. Nevertheless, keeping the age in mind, I recommend the Amelia Jane series as the essential ones to have for your daughter. Amelia Jane is a naughty little doll who is always up to mischief, terrorising the other toys in the cupboard and earning their ire. They try and reform her, but their efforts are in vain. Girls simply love reading of her impish ways, even if they cannot relate to the delight she takes in snipping off a pink rabbit's tail!
5. Do You Know Pippi Longstocking? by Astrid Lindgren
Originally created for her daughter, who, one day was sick and demanded a story from her mother, Lindgren produced one of the most memorable characters for girls worldwide. Pippi is a delightful, if a bit wilful, character. She is fiercely independent and lives with a horse and a monkey, and without any adults. She does exactly as she pleases, when she pleases, and does not like to be told what to do (every child's fantasy!).
9 is the wonderful (read: trying) age when kids assert their independence and Pippi, in that sense, is the poster-child who signifies freedom and a world without any grown-up rules.
Fun fact: Pippi was named by the author's daughter who was also 9 at the time.
Each one of us has books that we can't imagine childhood without-whether it was our own or our kids'! What are the books you simply can't do without?