Books of Love – For Kids

How will you be celebrating this Saturday February 14th?  Some see it as a chance to demonstrate the most romantic of gestures, showering their special ones with gifts of affection. Others only need to show an act of kindness to prove they care. Either way, whether it’s Valentine’s Day, International Book Giving Day or Library Lovers’ Day for you, this Saturday marks a day of appreciation for those we adore (including our love for books).
Here are some heartwarming stories that beautifully incorporate tenderness, charity, compassion, friendship and giving.  

514TikhmbnL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Hooray for Hat!, Brian Won (author / illus.), Koala Books, 2014.

Hooray for Hat! is an entertaining story that explores feelings, generosity and friendship. Depicted with a black scribble above his head and a wrinkled brow, Elephant woke up feeling grumpy. But an unexpected present at the door soon changes his mood. A marvellous multi-tiered hat immediately cheers up Elephant. Here, the book makes full use of the double page spread by turning Elephant on his side and includes large, colourful text, ”HOORAY FOR HAT!” Eager to show Zebra, Elephant discovers that he, too is grumpy. ”Go Away! I’m Grumpy!” As the story continues, Elephant carries on spreading the cheer by gifting each animal with a magnificent hat, bringing them out of their terrible mood. Showing concern for Lion’s friend, Giraffe, the group plan a spectacular surprise; a very grand, loving gesture.
With gorgeously strong and colourful illustrations, repetition and boldness of the text, Hooray for Hat! is a fun read-aloud book about friendship and compassion that young children will love.  

AllMyKissesAll My Kisses, Kerry Brown (author), Jedda Robaard (illus.), ABC Books, 2014.  

Another book about inspiring generosity is this story of a loveable piglet in All My Kisses. Abby is very kissable. She receives lots of kisses at bedtime, and likes to collect them in a special bucket. Abby is over-protective, claiming the kisses are too precious to share around. The overflowing bucket of kisses eventually turn into bleak, grey pebbles, so she discards of them in the playground. Soon Abby discovers that her pebbles are more than just that; they are a source of joy and delight for other children, with magical glowing properties at night. Abby eventually realises that sharing her kisses makes them much more valuable than keeping them to herself.
The message of spreading warmth and togetherness flows across the pages, depicted by the soft and gently painted pig characters. All My Kisses is a tender story about encouraging affection. It is a beautiful bedtime story for toddler to preschool aged children.  

61VkdeZCUsL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_The Scarecrows’ Wedding, Julia Donaldson (author), Axel Scheffler (illus.), Scholastic UK, 2014.
From the dynamic duo that brought us The Gruffalo is Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s, The Scarecrows’ Wedding. A story of love between two scarecrows, Betty O’Barley and Harry O’Hay.
In beautiful, sophisticated rhyme, the verses tell of their journey as they plan their big wedding day. Hunting around the farm for the necessary items, the animals are more than charitable in offering to help with the dress, music, jewellery and flowers. But when Harry goes astray on his quest, the farmer replaces him with an obnoxious, greedy scarecrow called Reginald Rake. Luckily, Harry returns to save his future wife from deadly peril, Reginald abandons the scene, and the lovebirds enjoy the best wedding yet.
Scheffler’s characteristically enticing and bright illustrations, and Donaldson’s delightfully rhythmic and humorous text, proves The Scarecrows’ Wedding to be both a fun and heartwarming read that kids and adults will love to share many times over.  

517Hb7bBBAL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Spots: One bird’s search for the perfect plumage, Helen Ward (author / illus.), The Five Mile Press, 2014.

We love this story of a guinea fowl who just wants to fit in. It is a book about learning to love yourself, and spreading warmth around with something so simple… a smile.
This particular guinea fowl is missing his spots. So he orders a delivery, only to discover the spots were all wrong. As more spots arrive, he finds they are too small, too invisible, and too bright. Join-the-dots spots are not quite right, and neither are splats, dots from i’s, freckles, leopard or ladybird spots. The spots that he finally wears are certainly unique and unashamedly eccentric, and this acceptance of himself assures his happiness.
Beautifully simple text in rhyming prose, with the elements of humour and ingenuity. The illustrations are equally whimsical and expressive, and include interesting texture; both seen in the paintings and felt on the paper.
Spots is an endearing book about giving, receiving and appreciating what you’ve got, and is perfectly suited to preschool-aged children.  

the+swapThe Swap, Jan Ormerod (author), Andrew Joyner (illus.), Little Hare, 2013.

From the late Jan Ormerod and Andrew Joyner is a story of sibling love (in disguise); the award-winning The Swap. Here we have a classic case of a mother ogling over her precious baby, and an older sibling feeling the jealousy curse. Caroline Crocodile is tired of hearing how gorgeous her baby brother is, and how he takes up the room on her Mama’s lap. She just wants some smacky-smoochy love for herself. When Mama Crocodile asks Caroline to look after her brother for a little while, it is what happens next that really hooks us in. Caroline decides to take her dribbly baby into the Baby Shop, and it is one of those laugh-out-loud moments when in a surprising twist, the shopkeeper agrees to swap him for other animal babies. With all good intentions, Caroline trials one at a time, only to discover that none of them quite match the brief. With a ‘gorgeous’ ending, Caroline understands why her brother is special and accepts him just the way he is, dribbles, smells and all. She also gets the reward from Mama that she always longed for.
The warm, humorous text matches perfectly with Joyner’s illustrations, including terrific character expression, plenty of fun and interesting details in every scene, and the soft pastel colour tones and patterns that reflect a bit of a groovy, retro vibe.
Classy look, classy tale, The Swap is a true all-round classic that is irresistibly lovely for children and adults, alike.  

So which beautiful books will you be sharing with your loved ones this Saturday?  


On Monday, we looked at Alison Reynolds and Serena Geddes’ new book, Why I love my mum. Today at Kid’s Book Capers we feature their companion book, Why I love my grandma.

Alison talks about how her grandma inspired this book.

I never knew my father’s parents, but I was lucky enough to grow up with my mum’s parents. Granny said you should never ask a lady her age, so I’ll just say she was born in the 1890s on a farm in Victoria.

She was a teacher in country Victoria, and rode to school on a horse. She used to read on the way, and if the horse stopped suddenly, Granny flew over its head. She must have been a popular teacher as she once declared a school holiday so she could attend the local races, and another time when my grandfather, her fiancé, arrived back from WW1.

Granny was a keen golfer. She practised her golf swing at home and one time she whacked a poor hen. Confronted with a decidedly sick fowl, Granny promptly wrung its neck and served it up for dinner. She didn’t like waste.

Granny was always creative. She painted, beaded and crocheted. I still use the beautiful crocheted tablecloth she gave my mother for a wedding present.

When I was little our family had lots of fun times in Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast where my grandparents had a flat. This was before all the high-rises and Burleigh was a very sleepy town. I can’t remember my grandmother swimming or even venturing on the beach, but she always made us devilled fish paste toast when we came back dripping. Every day she had a spoonful of molasses and as she lived to 91 with no big health problems I always think I should do that. But have you tasted molasses?

My granny loved me and even thinking of her now makes me smile. Once when I was ill and off work, Granny arrived in a taxi to look after me. She lay beside me on my bed and the two of us talked and took in turns to get the cup of tea.

Another time we were looking at display homes and Granny rushed up to the husband and me and said, “We have to get out. Now.” In the car Granny explained that she was caught short and unfortunately the plumbing hadn’t been connected.

Whenever Granny went out, she came home and went to bed. She always claimed nothing made her more tired than being nice. My children tease me that I’m a bit the same. I have been known to take off the jewellery, make-up and put on the nightie within five minutes of walking in the front door.

A close friend recently told me that I was resilient and I can cope with anything. I’ve been thinking about that and wonder if that’s one way I take after my grandmother. Granny lost her thirteen year old son, and even though every single day of her life she felt a gaping Jack-shaped hole, she was still full of joy and love. She kept walking forward.

I was lucky to have Granny as such a huge part of my life. When she died my husband and I had a huge gap every Saturday. Granny was an artist and sold quite a few paintings. It’s strange but nice to think that other people have a little bit of her hanging on their walls. I feel the same way about my books. I feel privileged that other people want to share some of my creations.

Ps. If anyone has a B.M. Dickinson on their walls, I would love to hear from them.


I had a grandmother who gave up snow skiing at 86 so I could really relate to the energetic granny in Alison and Serena’s new book, Why I love my grandma.

This sword wielding, bike riding, face painting grandma is full of fun and not at all stereotypical. She’s the kind of grandma who does lots of special things with you and doesn’t worry too much about convention, which is why she will appeal to the modern reader and their parents.

Once again, Serena Geddes humorous illustrations add to the charm of this book. It’s also one that readers can personalise by adding their cover pic and lists at the end of the book of the special things they do with grandma and which of those activities are their favourites.

It’s a fun way for kids to contribute to their Mother’s/Grandmother’s day present.

Why I love my grandma and Why I love my Mum are published by The Five Mile Press.




Mother’s Day is next Sunday, so this week at Kids’ Book Capers we’re looking at books that would make great Mother’s or Grandmother’s Day presents.

Today’s featured picture book is Why I love my mum, written  by  Alison Reynold and illustrated by Serena Geddes.

Alison has generously agreed to share her experiences of the woman who inspired this book – her Mum. The author has also shared this gorgeous picture of herself at kindergarten.

My mum was born in Box Hill Hospital, centuries ago she tells me. Her father was a headmaster so she lived all over Victoria growing up.

She was always fascinated by rocks, so Mum studied Geology at Melbourne Uni during WW2. She claims that we’re lucky to have her because she thinks she was approached by Edward Leonski, the US soldier and murderer. Mum was living in college and all female students were instructed not to go out after nightfall. My impatient mum decided she needed to go to the library and on the way a US soldier emerged from the shadows and offered her a cigarette. Mum ran away, but she was terrified. It may well have been him as all the soldiers had been instructed not to approach lady students and curfews were in place.

When Mum married she had to resign as government departments wouldn’t employ married women, but she started teaching once I began kinder.  She had the teacher voice down pat at home.

Mum is very practical. An ant trail? Mum nuked the area with DDT. Have a flood in the laundry? Mum cut a hole in the floor to drain out the water. Find out what sex a kitten is? Mum dangled a needle over the kitten’s head. She was infallible until we received a phone call that Timmy had just had five kittens.

Mum always says how she doesn’t know how I can make things up. I don’t understand how, even now, with dementia she is still a whizz at arithmetic. Mum always believed woman deserved the same rights as men. Her great-grandmother was caught in the Eureka Stockade, and harboured miners in her tent and rescued Peter Lalor by rolling him down a hill. I can imagine Mum doing this, but she probably would have amputated Peter Lalor’s arm herself as she’s always considered herself to be a bit of a doctor and then told him that he should be home with his wife.

I inherited my love of the water from Mum. My dad was the strictly minding the clothes type while Mum would be jumping among the waves. When the water splashed on her perm, she soon looked like a poodle with her tight curls. .

Mum has been a wonderful grandmother to my children, and even now her memory is fast fading she always remembers them. Recently, she told me that as long as I remember you, the two kids and the tubby, short bloke (my husband is slim and tall, but that’s Mum being funny), it doesn’t matter what else I forget. And I’ll never forget my mum.


Why I love my mum is a heartwarming picture book that looks at what makes a mum special.

The mum in this book is good at mowing lawns, but cutting hair is not her talent. She can’t bake a cake but she can build a cubby house.

There are so many fun things this mum can do that it really doesn’t matter about the things she can’t. What I enjoyed most about Why I love my mum is that it showed mum’s are human. Just like kids, they are not perfect – there are the things they are good at and the things they aren’t.

None of that really matters because what’s really important is that mums are individual and special and that they love their children and are loved in return.

Serena Geddes beautiful illustrations clearly express the fun of Why I love my mum and the unconditional love that flows between mother and child.

Readers can personalise their book by slipping a picture of their own mum inside the front cover. They can also personalise the pages at the end and attach their favourite photo or drawing for mum.

Why I love my mum is published by The Five Mile Press.

On Wednesday at Kid’s Book Capers, we’re featuring Why I love my grandma – the companion book to Why I love my mum. Hope you can join us then.