What We're Reading...the start of a series!

We're not going to go all technical and cite the millions of studies out there that tell you how important it is to read to your child and the benefit of reading during the formative early years - you've heard it all before and you know it well. (But if you really must know, then check out this article and maybe this one and the thousands of other references you can find online.)

What we ARE going to do instead is make sure we share with you, whether every few weeks or every few months but often enough to warrant a trip to the bookstore every now and then - the list of our favourite books that we're reading to our own children right now. It's always a struggle to find the right sort of book that will engage your child, but also interest you as the parent who has to read it over and over (and over!) again. We're always on the hunt for the beautiful books out there, the ones illustrated with gorgeous, gripping talent; the ones with a beautiful, flowing message; the right books to grab a child's attention and provide moments of pure perfection when you're cuddled together under a warm blanket, lost in the words and pictures on the page.

So consider this the first of our series! Here's a look at a few of our favourite books right now, on regular rotation around our home. I read to my daughter Alana, a voracious two-and-a-half year old, all day every day, and here’s what I’ve been picking up:

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1. Anything and EVERYTHING by Julia Donaldson. Her books are brilliant - she's the award-winning author of The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child and my daughter is in love with both of the books. Currently, we're obsessed with reading Room on the Broom which features a fun, little witch - always an interesting character for a little girl who gets to see witches in a whole

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different light from the Disney interpretation! Over Christmas, we must have read Stick Man something like a hundred times! Donaldson has a gift for connecting with children, and here's a bonus: she's part of this year's edition of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature!! That's right, the festival's Children's Programme features TWO sessions with the great Donaldson, so we're celebrating by making her books a big part of our reading material these days.

2. Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? by the incredible duo Bill Martin Jr

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and Eric Carle. We have several of the Martin & Carle books at home and I love them just as much as my little girl does. This one in particular (as well as Brown Bear, Brown Bear and of course Polar Bear, Polar Bear) we like to sing to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star then rush through the end up into a crescendo. We love to examine the illustrations and his books are such a great way to teach colour (same goes for The Hungry Caterpillar!).

(PS....what did YOU do to teach your child colour?? In one of the earlier Happy Box editions, long before I joined the Happy team, there was a beautiful book called The Rainbow Book by Kate Ohrt that I credit for helping me teach Alana her colours at

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such a young age. The book is incredible, linking colours to feelings, and I just loved that. So did the kiddo, apparently, because an understanding of her colours sunk in overnight!)