The magic effect – why children need books

Nor and Bec reading



Children can be read to from the moment they are born, if not earlier. Preferably earlier!

One of my favourite picture book authors and passionate advocate for reading to children is Mem Fox. I own, and have given as gifts, many of her wonderful books. I have attended her seminars and been mesmerised by her reading from her selection of stories. “Read more!” the adults beg. There are no children at these literacy seminars. This time it is a treat for only us: parents and teachers, literacy educators all.

Currently Prince William, Kate and baby Prince George are visiting Australia. I was delighted to hear that they were given a gift of books by Australian authors, including some by Mem Fox. Over the years I have given many of Mem’s books as gifts; and kept just as many for myself!

 Reading magic

One that I have given to many new or expectant parents, as I consider it a “must read”, is Mem’s book “Reading Magic – Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives Forever”.

I would love to quote the entire book for you, but it is better you read it for yourself. I will provide you with this quote from the foreword as a taster for the richness to be found inside.

“It stands to reason that if we’re able to raise happier, brighter children by reading aloud to them, the well-being of the entire country will ramp up a notch. Children who realize in their first few weeks and months of life that listening to stories is the purest heaven; who understand that books are filled with delights, facts, fun, and food for thought; who fall in love with their parents, and their parents with them, while stores are being shared; and who are read aloud to for ten minutes a day in their first five years, usually learn to read quickly, happily and easily. And a whole lot of goodness follows for the entire community.”

Mem's website


Mem’s website, too, is a treasure trove just waiting to be explored by writers, teachers, parents, children and children-at-heart.

You can listen to Mem read from her selection of books on the Current Read Aloud page. She reads three different books each month. Currently the books are Possum Magic, Harriet, You’ll Drive Me Wild! and Goodnight, Sleep Tight. Be quick to listen to these, though, as they will change at the end of the month. But never mind, there’ll be another three to enjoy next month!

Mem even gives a read-aloud lesson! Now there’s no excuse! As she says,

“. . . let’s get on and change the world, one page at a time.”

Yes, Mem, let’s!


What are your favourite read-aloud books? What did you enjoy as a child? What do you enjoy now?

14 thoughts on “The magic effect – why children need books

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  2. stuckinscared

    Hi, Norah *waves*… I clicked through (out of interest) after reading your latest post. I’m glad I did 🙂

    I’ve always loved to read aloud, before and after having children, the joy since having children increased by the way their eyes light up.

    I love the idea of giving books to expectant/new Mums, and I’m surprised that (given my own love of childrens stories, and the joy I experience when reading to my kids; and other peoples) that this is something I’ve never thought of before.

    Thank you for sharing. Kimmie x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks Kimmie. I appreciate your following the link and reading and commenting on this earlier post. I’m pleased to hear we both share a joy of reading aloud. I give books for every occasion. I become rather predictable. I just gave my son two for his birthday, and have three for his son on his birthday later this week! Fortunately the love of books is one we all share. 🙂


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  5. Sally

    Hi Norah, Thanks so much for giving me Reading Magic before Ruby was born! I’m still reading it now (suddenly I’m finding it a little difficult to get any reading done – oh how I miss the hours on end that I used to lounge around reading my favourite books!) and it really reinforces the importance of reading to your children (and babies!). My sister gave Ruby a bunch of books from Julia Donaldson like The Gruffalo and Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book and I’ve been reading them to Ruby since she was born. I can’t wait until she’s a little older and can engage more with the stories. Thanks again! Sally x


    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Sally, Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts. I’m so pleased that you have found inspiration in “Reading Magic”. Ruby will thank you for it in ways you, and she, may never know. She is a lucky little girl! You are right, though, not much time for lounging around with a new baby in the house; but think of all those wonderful picture books you can read and now need find no excuse for doing so. Julia Donaldson’s books are absolutely delightful. Her language is so rhythmical making the books a pleasure to read aloud. Enjoy the time with your little one. This idea may surprise you now but, believe me, they grow up all too fast!


  6. Nanny Shecando

    Giving books to expectant parents is such a thoughtful gift. Often times I think they get so caught up in the preparations of new children and over look simple things like this. I’ve also been a big fan of reading to kids, especially the little ones. I find it is one of the best ways to settle them down and have some quiet time and self reflection.


    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Books play such an important role in our lives that sometimes we take their benefits for granted e.g. to settle the children down. How lucky we are to have such an array of books available for us to read.


      1. Nanny Shecando

        We are very lucky indeed. I hate to imagine a time in where there are no longer books available to us and I’m saddened to think that there are so many children living at the moment with little access to these great resources.


  7. Diane

    I loved reading Robert Munsch books to my nephews. The way he put words together made them sound so funny when you read them out loud. Hearing my nephews giggle made me feel so good inside, when they said “Read it again!” I had no problem obliging. And some of the messages within the books (Love You Forever and The Paperbag Princess) were worth reading out loud again (and again). Thanks for bringing back some fond memories.


    1. Norah Post author

      I agree with you about Robert Munsch’s books. “Love you Forever” is one of my favourites, though I rarely complete the reading without tears (mine). It is so touching. I have a copy of “The Paper Bag Princess” but I must confess that I haven’t read it yet. I bought it because it had been recommended so many times. Now I really must read it! Thanks for the reminder.



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