Draw the curtains and get cosy – award-winning illustrator and children’s author Catherine Rayner tells us about her favourite sleepy reads for kids at bedtime.
All parents know how difficult it can be to coax children into dreamland. Catherine Rayner is an award-winning illustrator and writer of children's picture books, and here she lists her personal favourites, with a little help from her 5-year-old son.
Growing up, I was lucky enough to always be surrounded by books, and I began writing and illustrating little stories for myself from a very young age. They were always about animals, mainly my own pets. I grew up daydreaming about having a job where I got to write and illustrate books for a living but, like most daydreams, I didn’t think it would actually happen.
Combining art and words to make a book that children will want to read again and again is such a privilege, and I hope I get to keep doing it for as long as possible. Children’s books are special because they are the perfect introduction to the wonderful world of literature and art. A good book can foster a love of reading which is not only a positive educational tool, but also a tool for life. Escaping into a book is a gift for our mental wellbeing, especially in this modern digital age.
Reading to little ones at bedtime (or at any time) is a perfect opportunity for both adults and children to take a quiet moment outside the stress of busy lives. As well as improving language and communication skills, it is so important to carve out a space to just be together, without rushing – it’s a perfect bonding activity that you can do anywhere. It also helps to relax children before sleep and take the pressure off the bed-and-bath-time rush.