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Favourite Children's Books Part 3: Anthologies, Talking Books and More...

Winnie the

Favourite children’s books are made through memories: anthologies, talking books and more

By Hana Whaanga

To celebrate Children’s Book Day coming up on April 2nd , we are sharing our favourite children’s books through a small series, told in parts. These are books that may be from our own childhoods, our kid’s childhoods or more recent publications and some may still be in print and even in our libraries! Some may be more recent publications that have become classics as well. Either way, enjoy taking this trip down memory lane and please do share with us, your favourites on our Facebook page.

In compiling my own list, I found that books I was recalling had a memory attached to them.
Do you have a treasured memory of a children’s book from your childhood? Did you have an olfactory recollection of a book read to you as a child?

Today we share recollections of favourite children’s anthologies, audio books, things that don’t fit into a neat category from some of our staff:

Cheryl says, “I pretty much loved anything with talking animals! I was a big fan of The House at Pooh Corner and had a set of paper dolls with all the characters, which I would spend hours playing with. I think my all-time favourite was this one though, Animal Bedtime Stories by Lucy Kincaid. I won a writing competition when I was about 8, and used my bookshop token to buy this. The story about Willie Mole going jogging with a group of ducks was a favourite which I would reenact around my house to make my mum laugh.”

 Anthologies 1

Elizabeth says, “My vast reading brought me into contact with tales from all over the world and all kinds of people who were different to me. My upbringing was very practical, and fundamental Christian, so reading opened a whole world up to me, of fairy tales, fantasy, languages, ways of life in distant lands, and the spiritual traditions of other religions (e.g. Krishna the Well Beloved; Maori creation stories, Kipling’s tales of Suleiman bin Daoud etc.) I think this gave me a healthy balance, and formed the basis of my curiosity and open minded attitude to learning. Books I read until they fell apart, then fixed and read to my children, and that I still revisit:

A Golden Land, edited by James Reeves: This is an anthology that I was given for my 8th birthday. The stories, poems and songs were at different levels, so it kept my interest over the years.  They were from many different cultures, writers famous or new, and in every imaginable genre and style.  My children loved many stories out of this book too, especially The Baker’s Daughter, The Flying Postman, and Foo the Potter.

Shining Hours by Nila Banton Smith, Hazel C Hart, Clara Belle Baker was another anthology. This was an American flavoured book, but it included stories from many cultures, and extracts from other books such as Little House on the Prairie which spurred me to read them too. It had sections of stories about history and inventions which fascinated me, and my children also loved the story of 'The Floogles’ Photograph', 'The Popcorn That Wouldn’t Pop', and 'The Angel Chimes'.

Another Lucky Dip by Ruth Ainsworth. This was an anthology of her stories – some with a pair of 4 year old main characters (again very British) as well as some wonderful fantasy stories that made me feel anything was possible. Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling. I loved his style of writing, the exciting vocabulary, exotic ideas, and that my Dad would read these to me when he was home from sea. 

Talking books 1

Elizabeth says, “The other thing I have to mention is audio stories, which always make me think of happy social times. Listening to the Stories on Sunday on the radio with my brother, and then talking about them at school was a way to connect with other children. My brother and I also had one precious 45 rpm record story/book each, which I still know by heart, as we listened to them over and over. Favourites include Heidi by Johanna Spyri and Peter and the Wolf – musical composition written by Sergei Prokofiev. Our neighbour had a WHOLE 33 rpm record of stories, and we would plead to go to her house and listen to them. It included The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde, extracts from Black Beauty by Anna Sewell, and a wonderful fantasy story that I’ve never been able to find again called Schnoply and the Magic Button.”

Emma says, “We had Noddy and Benji the Dog and Dangermouse books on tape for long car rides. We lost the books but still enjoyed the ‘ding’ that meant ‘turn the page’. I treasured an old 1917 copy of Six Little New Zealanders by Esther Glen that my Mum had restored and gifted to me. It was a prize my great grandmother received from her primary school. I also treasured my book of Frances Hodgson Burnett stories: Little Lord Fauntleroy, The Secret Garden and The Little Princess. It was the biggest book I owned and I loved getting lost in those stories.”


Where's Wally? by Martin Handford: Jennie says, “I remember this when is first came out. I was in primary school and everyone wanted it. There was always such a rush to get one from the library - you had to be super-fast!”

Story Teller: a collection of the world’s best children’s stories: Jennie says, “Oh man I loved these books so much, I would spend HOURS listening while following along with the book to them. My parents weren’t much for sitting down and reading to me as a child but when Mum gave me this series of books and they came with cassette tapes reading the stories to you I thought it was the best thing in the world. 26 books in all released every fortnight covering a wide range of fairy tales and short stories. These can now be found on YouTube and via the Storyteller website:

All library staff have so many more recommendations, and could talk for hours about books. Please feel free
to come see us anytime if you need a suggestion; we love to help!

While you’re here, why not try our Pick’n’Mix service? Just tell us your child’s interests and what they’ve enjoyed.
Let your favourite library staff members take the hassle out of searching- it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

24 March 2022

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