National Storytelling week is celebrated annually by all ages who enjoy the likes of folktales, fairy tales, and more to entertain and teach each other new ideas.
Usually celebrated in schools, hospitals and care homes across the country, this year the week will be celebrated closer to home with parents being encouraged to read with their children as often as possible.
Every child should have access to books and no parent should have to struggle to provide it for them, which is why book shops such as Lilliput Books are so important during this difficult time. They focus on sourcing new and pre-loved books for children of all ages at pocket money prices.
Anna Robinson from Lilliput Books stresses the importance of the ‘underrated fairy tale’, a holiday which can be found within the pages when what we need more than anything is the ability to go somewhere else.
“Fairy tales have oft been confined to the shelves of the nursery by those who have been lulled into remembering the way that fairy tales were told to them, instead of the content of the tales themselves. While cradled in loving arms, as the story was told, you remember not that the witches and wolves ate children, but the safety of a warm hug and the concept of good outwitting bad.”
Anna adds that stories separated by age is not something she adheres to: “As tempting though it is to shield my daughter from the terrors of the world’s giants, witches and wolves, I know that it would be far more dangerous to send her out unaware and unprepared for these metaphorical threats.
“I would rather gently introduce the concepts of darkness, morality, the threads of good and evil within humanity and fear, within my loving arms in a way that is safe, underwhelming and fun.
“All that life is, can be found within the simple and direct language of a fairy tale, and fairy tales strongest take away, is that we can overcome adversity, find acceptance in who we are, and know that love and kindness are things we should aspire to.”
While she argued that fairy tales are one of the most underrated and powerful stories to read with a child, or indeed on your own, she disregards the idea that there is such a thing as a “bad book” for children.
“Every book has a lesson within it”, she explains. “I believe every book read deepens the inner thought and capacity for empathy, imagination and intellect within humanity.
“A love for books will develop at its own pace, but in my view, you can never go wrong with opening with ‘Once Upon A Time’. As the great Albert Einstein once said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
For February, Lilliput recommends Neil Gaimon’s adaptation of the Brother’s Grimm classic, Hansel and Gretal, and Julia Donaldson’s Songbirds which teaches learning to read with phonics.
Lilliput’s top tips when reading to your child:
- If your child is fed, washed and loved, you’re already doing a great job
- Make sure you have a selection of books that YOU enjoy reading
- Let your child pick the book that they want to read – give them a choice and ownership
- Pause to ask questions such as “Is the dragon happy or sad?” point to pictures in the book, ask the child to tell you what they see.
- DO THE VOICES. Make yourself laugh pretending to be the Queen or making the Gruffalo sound like Sean Connery.
Lilliput emphasises that reading isn’t just for children. If you struggle with reading as an adult, there is help to be found here.
Until they’re able to resume their stall in Sneinton Market, you can top up your children’s bookshelf through their website where they offer next day delivery for Nottingham city residents, and a generous 10% discount with the code FairyTalesRock.