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.