Best bedtime books for little ones

Caroline McBride of Golding Homes reads The Curious Tale of the Dod with children from Swalecliffe Community Primary School, Joy Lane Primary School and Reculver CEP School.

What’s your favourite memory of being read to as a young child? Tell the KM Charity Team – and you could win a prize.

They are asking children and adults to tell them about their favourite books for the #BeABookLover campaign – and tickets to attractions across the south east are up for grabs for the best responses.

And this week they are focusing particularly on books for toddlers and young children – because it seems the bedtime story, which for many of us is our first experience of reading, is a bit of an endangered tradition. The Guardian reported last month that just 51 per cent of pre-school children were read to every day last year, compared with 69 per cent five years ago.

While the books returned to again and again are usually those read as adults or older children, there’s something very special about the first experience of the wonder of the written word, listening intently as Mum or Dad read a bedtime story and bring the printed page to life.

Parents cited not knowing what to choose, not feeling comfortable in bookshops, not having the energy and their children not being interested as factors for not reading – so, says KM Charity Team literacy co-ordinator Kathy Beel, we want to help.

“It’s part of the reason why we started this campaign. We know anecdotally that lots of parents find it hard to read to their children for various reasons, and some children don’t come across books until they start school,” Kathy explained.

“I was really lucky – my dad used to read to us all at bedtime and make up different stories too – and we’d get involved in the stories! It was great and I have such happy memories of the fun we had.

“I read to my son now and that’s the best thing about it – not just the fun of helping him to discover new sounds and words and stories, but spending that time together.

“If you don’t know where to start, there’s so much help out there – we’ve given some of our favourite stories below, many of which have stood the test of time and are still popular now.”

The #BeABookLover campaign is part of the KM Charity Team’s reading reward scheme Buster’s Book Club, which more than 100 schools in Kent and Sussex are now taking part in to further their pupils’ love of reading.

To take part, just tell @kmcharityteam on Facebook or Twitter about your favourite book and why you love it, using the hashtag #BeABookLover to be in with a chance of winning. If you don’t have social media, you can email your entry to

The KM Charity Team’s literacy work is supported by Orbit, Golding Vision (part of Golding Homes), Leeds Castle, Kent County Council, Medway Council, Three R’s Teacher Recruitment, Whitefriars, Specsavers, Eurostar, Little Cheyne Court, Kent Community Foundation, Planet Ice, Diggerland, Hornby, Wildwood, Sussex Newspapers, Sea Life Brighton, Summerfields Leisure, Kreston Reeves, 3D Recruit Education, and Marit and Hans Rausing Fund in partnership with Sussex Community Foundation.

For more information visit

Our favourite first books

Sarah Linney, reporter

I loved Postman Pat, the Mr Men books and a Disney book called Beaver Valley – I think I wanted to be a beaver and build a lovely cosy lodge on a lake.

My dad used to make up amazing stories too, often about me and my brother and our fictional adventures. He just made them up off the top of his head as he went along. My brother was always the one who would get us into scrapes in the stories and I was the one who would get us out – roles which have been oddly reversed in our adult lives.

Victoria Dowling, education project co-ordinator

I used to love Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. The illustrations were amazing – it conjures up so much in your imagination, with the idea of a jungle growing in your bedroom. My daughter cried at the end when she watched the film! Her favourite book is a rhyming book called “Oi, Frog!” – you have to read it in a Ray Winstone accent – or anything by Julia Donaldson [famous for The Gruffalo].

Liz Nicholls, reporter

My son loves Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book and Tyrannosaurus Drip, both by Julia Donaldson, and Meg and Mog – particularly Meg’s Eggs, because it has a dinosaur in and he loves dinosaurs. And he likes saying ‘egg’ – so he likes Green Eggs and Ham, too, by Dr Seuss. I used to love Meg and Mog when I was little – and The Worst Witch [a series of books about a girl at a school for witches] – the old Harry Potter!

Debbie Possee, senior administrator

My daughters used to like Little Rabbit Foo Foo by Michael Rosen – it’s a rhyming book and it’s funny – and The Large Family books about a family of elephants. I used to have to do the different voices. [The Large Family series is by Jill Murphy – who also wrote The Worst Witch.]

About the Author