3 of my fave picture books to inspire imaginative play, and how they do it

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Imaginative play is a vital learning tool for kids. One of the great ways to inspire and encourage imaginative play is to read books that incorporate it. As a mum of a voracious book-devouring 4-year-old, I’ve met quite a few picture books. And here are three of my favourites for inspiring the imagination. They each do it in unique ways, that align with how children are learning about play at different ages.

The first two came out in the 80’s, which just proves that great literature stands the test of time! So, what do these books do that I find so wonderful, and that keeps my daughter asking for them time and again?

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Finding what you’re not looking for

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What sort of book gets named a ‘Notable Book’ by the Children’s Book Council of Australia in their Book of the Year Awards? Well, the awesome ‘Cloudwish’ for one. And here’s another – ‘A Small Madness’ by Dianne Touchell.

So, what does Touchell offer that makes this book so notable? Here’s what I found out. And if you haven’t read the book, be warned. Because I’m here to discover why and how a book worked, and little spoilers escape everywhere when I put my thoughts down.

The Basics – write well about things people want to read about

This book is beautifully written, simply written, intricately written. It involves themes that are important to Young Adults, indeed all society. Sure, having the main two characters going all the way on Page 1 is one heck of an engaging start. Most people agree your first page has to jump out and grab the reader… but you still need to deliver.

And this book does.

It hauls you in because from the very start you dread what you fear you think you know will happen. And then it turns out worse. Continue reading

I wish for… WAYRBA, with a side of coriander

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I love West Australian Young Readers’ Book Award time! I simply waltz into my local library, look at their WAYRBA display and pick a few. I’m never disappointed. This year I’m off to a great start because my fingers closed around a stunner – ‘Cloudwish‘ by Fiona Wood.

This book for older readers has multiple subplots that kept me hooked. Thank goodness for a stormy day that meant the garden wasn’t calling me outside! Vân Ước Phan is an addictive main character, intricate and strong. I loved her growth through the novel, her intelligence and spirit. Hiding away inside, waiting for life to start after school, disconnected from family and school friends, she is an amazingly complex character who had me cheering her journey. Continue reading