Buying a book for your child is like giving them a key to the kingdom of creativity, imagination, fun and information. It’s a passport to fascinating fictional places and experiences. However, if you are anything like me then finding the right book for your child may feel like a daunting task. Here are a few questions I ask myself before I decide to purchase a book:

Can it spark my child’s curiosity:

Curiosity is the fuel that propels learning in children. ‘Why is the sky up?’ ‘Do fish go to sleep at night?’, ‘How much water is there in the river?’, ‘Why can’t Penguins fly?’ The questions never cease, the curiosity never subsides. I recommend choosing books that fulfill their curiosity as well as incite more questions. Books like “Why Is The Sea Salty?”, “National Geographic Little Kids Big Book of WHY” Or “Why do Zebras Have Stripes” are good choices.

Does it have a memorable character:

Children have a rich imagination. And characters often become children’s virtual best friends. So I prefer selecting books that can populate their imaginary world with a varied range of characters. Cat in the Hat, Winnie the Pooh, Mowgli, the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland are some of the most memorable characters.

Remember, what Gabbar Singh is to us, characters from books and other media are to our children. Let’s ensure they are good ones.

What emotion does it address:

Books come in many shapes and sizes and address a lot of different issues. Ask yourself this: where is my child in his or her developmental stage and what does she need. Is your child getting ready to be potty trained? Is he/she going to become an older sibling and will have to grapple with not being the centre of attention anymore. Is it their first day of school or first visit to the dentist. There’s a book out there waiting for everyone. All we need to do is invest a little time and look for it.

How is the Art:

Art is an important part of children’s books. Kids love looking at the pictures while you read to them. I have always been fascinated by the illustrations in books by Oliver Jeffers. Check out ‘How to Catch a Star’ or ‘Lost and Found’ – the illustrations are breathtaking. Remember a picture speaks a thousand words!

A Little Irreverence:

A little irreverence, a little breaking of the rules goes a long way in raising confident kids who choose to behave well. ‘Cat in the Hat’, ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’, ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and the Harry Potter series are great reads with the right blend of adventure and fun. It lets the children know that it’s okay to challenge the norms, as well as encourages them to think for themselves. And needless to say it’s loads of fun!

The Test of Time:

A children’s book may be very simple, but it may have the trait of being adorable or fun or creative which makes your child make you read it again and again and again. Roald Dahl, Enid Blyton, A. A. Milne and more are authors whose books have stood the test of time. So if you are short of time or still ambivalent about which book to buy, I say, go for the legends.

Books bring perspective to life. They delight, surprise, inform, question, approve and amaze all from the confines of a few inches and a few pages. They are the building blocks of the next generation, the investment for a better future. So what say, let’s go buy some children’s books!

Happy Buying!

About the Author:

Mausam Pandya is an ideator, writer, poet and a mother who loves to put ideas into words.

This post was originally published on BabyChakra – India’s leading parenting app