Children’s Book Tuesday :: Books to Travel With

Children's Books to Travel With

Here’s a thing. Once upon a time, we lived among a thousand children’s books. There were piles next to the bed, next to the daybed, in the day bed, and bursting from every bookcase and box we could find. There was always a new unread book to pick up, and read for the first time. There was always a book to read, which we hadn’t read in a long time.

But then you plan to move your family to the other side of the world for a year. A thousand kids’ books can’t come with you, as nice as that would be. But how then do you choose? We like variety. We love reading something new or forgotten. How could we choose books to sustain us for a whole year?

Here’s a few ideas:

Something small, but full of goodness

There are several beautiful small books, which are long, and juicy enough to the fill bedtime reading hour, but short enough to fit in your luggage. The key is finding well written books that you can read over and over again, like:

Violet Mackerel
Beatrix Potter
Lola’s Toy Box
The Cleo Stories

Something classic

I don’t really like re-reading adult novels,  but re-reading children’s classics never gets tiring. And if you can find the classic in small print, with a paperback cover, even better.

Books we brought with us include:

Alice Through the Looking Glass
Harry Potter
Pippi Longstocking
The Wizard of Oz
Charlie & The Chocolate Factory

Something that satisfies more than one age group

If you have more than one kid, bringing books that kill two birds, so to speak, will weigh less in your luggage. Both our three-year-old and our six-year-old daughter love:

Pippi Longstocking
Violet Mackerel
The Cleo Stories

and all picture books. Well, any book with illustration.

Something to listen to

I have always sworn by audio books. My daughter chewed through Charlie & The Chocolate Factory several times over when I used to have to take her baby sister to sleep. Audio books are great for plane rides and long trips. I either download them through iBooks on my phone or, if I have an internet connection, put them on YouTube without the visuals.

Audio books my eldest has listened to on this trip include:

James & The Giant Peach (YouTube)
Gangster Granny (iBooks)

and I have listened to The Fault In Our Stars (iBooks) and Artemis Fowl (iBooks). (Great for running too!)

Something to borrow

Of course, you don’t have to bring every book with you, in your luggage. There are lots of free libraries around the Netherlands. Mini ones, in front of people’s houses! But also public libraries. Our friend took out a membership for us, and every week or two, we select new picture books to read at night to keep life interesting.

And Dutch friends have very generously leant Dutch books to the girls while we are here.

Something to swap

I haven’t done this yet, but I like this idea…

If you meet other families on your travels, swap books with them! I don’t think I can bring myself to re-read some of our picture books again, having read them so often on this trip. Maybe I can find a bookish family to swap some books with, when we are camping.

Something local

My kids are learning Dutch. So buying or borrowing Dutch books while we are here is a great thing to do. Not only do I get to stagger through the books, while the kids patiently listen, I get to learn a little bit of Dutch too. Also, children’s books are a great little insight into the culture of the place you visit.

Books that are very synonymous with Dutch culture are:

Jip & Janneke
Pippi Longstocking
Ronia The Robber’s Daughter

Something good

Whatever you do, choose wisely! These books will be your companion on your travels, however long that may be. So they need to be good.

Personally, I hear anything by Zanni Louise is worth lugging around the world 😉

How do you choose books to take with you when you travel? Any other ideas?

Join me for Children’s Book Tuesday here by sharing your children’s book post in the link below. Or follow along on social media #ChildrensBookTuesday.

Children’s Book Tuesdays :: Strong Girls

Hi! Welcome to the first of the Children’s Book Tuesdays link up {first Tuesday of every month}. Hopefully this becomes a thing!

What children’s books have you been reading/writing/loving/quoting?

We’ve been reading lots of books by, or about strong girls. And I think of it because I have two daughters, and although {or maybe regardless of the fact that} they have a penchant for tutus and princess dresses, they are both very strong.

One is physically strong, with a deep voice. She has the will of a… something that has a strong will. She is so determined and powerful. Suffice to say, she dresses up as Pippi Longstocking every day she’s not being a princess.

The other is strong in mind and character. She too will usually get her way using sheer negotiation skills alone. Strong, wilful daughters are wonderful things.

Incidentally, or maybe it’s completely intentional, but we’ve come across lots of strong female characters lately.

When Tara Moss launched her book Speaking Out recently, she flagged the fact there are still significantly more male than female protagonists in books.

But there are of course lots of strong female protagonists. A few we’ve been reading…

Pippi Longstocking


Pippi has to be our all time favourite girl or anything character. She is so unique, and funny, and independent… and strong! Pippi lives alone in Villa Villekulla. She is the daughter of an angel, and a sea captain, who was blown to sea by the wind. Pippi returned to Villa Villekulla with a bag of gold, a horse and a monkey. Pippi’s neighbours, Tommy and Annika, think Pippi is the best thing that’s ever happened to them.

Apart from being able to lift a horse, cook a hundred cookies and throw bullies into trees, Pippi is strong in herself. She visits her neighbours for a coffee party, and while the ladies talk of their maids, Pippi chips in with her own ludicrous stories, undeterred by polite murmurs to behave herself. Pippi goes to school, but entirely on her own terms. And when it doesn’t suit her, she leaves. Pippi could be a nightmare of a child from a parent’s point of view. Luckily, Pippi doesn’t have parents. So she gets to be the sweetest and coolest friend Tommy and Annika could ever have.

I am secretly glad my three-year-old has finally ditched Elsa as her role model, and is pursuing Pippi dreams…

Princess Sue

the worst princess

We came across the funniest picture book in our local Dutch library recently, called The Worst Princess, by Anna Kemp and Sara Ogilivie.

Princess Sue {in a tower near you} is hanging out for her prince. She’s read the books, she knows the score, she’s grown her plaits down to the floor. She really needs to get some air, to see the world and cut her hair.

The prince turns out to be a twit, who locks her in his tower. Sue combats the boring and dreary life of a princess, by befriending a dragon to blow down the tower and set the princely shorts alight.

We have this one memorised…


how i live now

Daisy from How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff is a fifteen year old from Manhattan, who is sent to live with cousins she has never met in England. Daisy falls in love with a new life {and a person}, and feels happiness and belonging she’s never experienced before. That is until the war breaks out…

Daisy is courageous in a way you can’t imagine is possible for a fifteen year old. But maybe war would do that to a person. She’s brittle, witty, and passionate. And so brave.

This book is for older kids. YA.

Hazel Edwards


Hazel Edwards is the narrator and protagonist of The Fault In Our Stars, a romantic YA tragedy by genius John Green.

Hazel has terminal cancer. But that’s not a spoiler. In the first scene is in support group, and meets Augustus. Together, Hazel and Augustus have the quip and the wit to outsmart cancer.

Knowing you are dying must be the hardest battle. Hazel has all the resources to face it head on.

I have The Hunger Games too sitting in my to-be-read stack. I am sure Katniss would be perfect for this list.

What strong female protagonists have you been reading?

Link up your children’s book blog posts here, or join us on social media #ChildrensBookTuesdays

Children’s Book Tuesdays

children's book Tuesdays

This week, England left the EU. Last week, they announced that the Guardian Children’s Books would no longer run. What is the world coming to? Sad face.

I often come across blog posts and social media posts about children’s books, and thought I’d start a little monthly link up here – first Tuesday of every month Children’s Book Tuesdays. A celebration for all that is glorious in the world of children’s books!

If you have a post about children’s books you are reading, or children’s books you are writing, or maybe about how a children’s book inspires you, come and link it here. {Link will open 6.30am EST.} If you aren’t a blogger, you might like to tag on social media: #ChildrensBookTuesday

We’ll miss the Guardian Children’s Books, as it was so good. But maybe we can use this little space to nurture our passion for children’s books?

Look forward to seeing you next week!

Zanni xx


Children’s books we love :: 2015

I was going to write a blog post about my favourite children’s books for the year {Christmas present recommendations!}, and then I thought I might do a little video to save time. Then dear little Elka, my five-year-old, thought she might do a little video about her favourite books for the year. And her video is much better than mine. So here it is. Our favourite books from the year. {Not all were published this year, but these were the books we particularly loved reading.}

If you would like to purchase books for Christmas, support your local book stores! Or if buying online, I think you can still order through The Kids’ Bookshop or The Little Bookroom to arrive before Christmas.

Children’s Books We Love :: October

On the last day of October, we did something I’ve never done before – trick or treat! It was actually really fun dressing up with the kids, and roaming the child-friendly suburbs in the late afternoon. There was a sense of nervous anticipation, knocking on strangers’ doors. I half expected to have our heads bitten off {not in the zombie like way – more the cranky neighbour type way}, but fortunately there was none of that. If people weren’t into it, they shut their blinds. And if they were, there were plenty of indications, like the hollowed out pumpkin on the doorstep, or the cobwebbed hedge.

One thing I liked about it, was that it was a night of drawing random people together. You bumped into and talked to people you wouldn’t otherwise interact with, and because it was all in the name of childish fun, people were open and playful. I liked that a lot.

The point of all that is that it is the end of October! And the beginning of the new month. And when not roaming the streets of Lennox Heads with my kids, dressed as a zombie bride, I was snuggled on the couch, reading a lot of good books. Here are some we liked. Click on the images to purchase.

the 5 misfits The 5 Misfits by Beatrice Alemagna

We loved this slightly weird and kooky story of five misfits, who are on the fringes of society. One day, their oddness is challenged by The Perfect One, who came from who knows where, and has the most sublime head of hair. The Perfect One finds fault in the misfits, but it helps them see what makes them special. Alemagna’s illustrations are so striking, and gorgeous, and distinctive. I love the smattering of fluro pink, and the almost 70s Golden Book quality. Watch this very cute animation.

the wonder garden

The Wonder Garden by Kristjana S Williams and Jenny Broom

I have been thinking lately I’d like to have a good encyclopaedia, so we can look up animals and information when my daughter asks questions, rather than looking at the iPad. Then this exquisite book fell into my hands. It’s hard to capture its beauty in a simple digital scan, but if you see this book in the flesh, you will understand its attraction. It is large, and gold shimmers on its cover. The pages are full of luscious colourful depictions of five of the most beautiful, amazing places on earth, with all their wonderful secrets. The book is knowledge, but it is also so much more.

Perfect by danny parker and freya blackwood

Perfect by Danny Parker and Freya Blackwood

I ‘met’ this lovely book months ago, when it was still in its conception. The finished book arrived this month, and is so so lovely. Freya’s illustrations and Danny’s story take me on a trip through a childhood day, not dissimilar to my own. It’s the sort of ‘perfect’ day we hope for our children – a day without technology, a day for drawing, and for playing and for picnics. I already had a copy of this book. Then my mum bought another one for my daughter for her birthday. So now we have two perfect books. Some come with a print!

Cleo Stories a friend and a pet

The Cleo Stories: A Friend and A Pet by Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood

Speaking of Freya Blackwood, there are more Cleo Stories available! In ‘A Friend’ and ‘A Pet’, Cleo needs to use her ingenuity, and her lovely creative mind to overcome typical little people problems – namely, a boring rainy day in, and an unfulfilled desire for a pet. This is a lovely follow up to the first book of stories, which won CBCA Book of the Year for Young Readers 2015.

the river and the book

The River and the Book by Alison Croggon

To be honest, I read this book for me, rather than for the kids. It’s quite a small novel, and I wanted to ease myself back into reading longer things, having not read for a long time. This is a fable, almost, of Simbala, who is Keeper of the Book. She lives a simple village life. But the prophecy of the book is that change is coming. River life starts to change, as developers greedily suck from its resources further upstream. And a western visitor soon turns Simbala’s world upside down. It was a change she couldn’t have predicted.

Imaginary Fred

Imaginary Fred by Eoin Colfer and Oliver Jeffers

It’s somehow comforting that everything with an Oliver Jeffers’ touch is excellent. This Irish collaboration between one of my favourite illustrators, and the Irish Children’s Laureate Eoin Colfer, is such a beautiful, tender and funny story about Imaginary Fred, and a lonely boy called Sam. Fred and Sam form a friendship. Imaginary Fred is waiting for the flick – he knows his time is up. It always is. But maybe Imaginary Fred can have a different place in Sam’s life and heart.

Have you come across any great  children’s books this month?