Just the other week I had a random chat with Paula about how hard it is to find good children’s books in this side of the world. And by “good children’s books” I mean ones that have great illustration, age-appropriate storytelling, preferably not based on popular cartoon characters, content that sparks creativity and opens a child’s eyes to the world, and stories that parents will enjoy themselves. ;)
We do have a few Peppa Pig and My Little Pony books lying around the house but only because these character books can’t be avoided in local bookstores. Every now and then I give in to the girls’ requests for a Peppa Pig activity book or that “My Little Pony Busy Book, Mommy, just one promise!”
But oh how I long for a wider selection of children’s books here in the Philippines! I know I wouldn’t mind splurging on children’s books more than I would spend on toys.
Our twins, at 5 years old, love it when we read to them and with them, and that’s something I will never take for granted. I always look forward to reading time because I know we achieve a couple of things just by sitting down together to read: It develops reading and comprehension skills, it widens their creative imagination, it deepens their vocabulary, it develops their appreciation for the arts and the written word, and it’s also an opportunity for parents and children to bond in a different level.
On a personal note, I do get inspired reading children’s books myself. The very nature of children’s books—that they’re simple enough for kids to understand, and creative enough to capture attention and encourage imagination—makes them a great source of inspiration for adults too.
I find myself having profound realizations whenever I read children’s books, especially as they allow us to see the world in the eyes of a child. It takes us back to our younger years, even for a moment, where everything is simple and magical and possible. It inspires us to dream big, not for ourselves anymore but for our children and the future generations.
And these are the reasons why I consider children’s books an investment. The ROI is beyond measure.
Our children’s book haul from Big Bad Wolf, Manila
When the Big Bad Wolf Book Sale came to Manila last February, we specifically went for the children’s books. Normally I would check out the Christian literature section or maybe business/self-help books, but there weren’t a lot of those at the Big Bad Wolf. What they do have PLENTY of are children’s books! (YAS!)
We spent not more than 5,000 Php for everything. Not bad at all! I mean, if you see other people’s hauls, ours is very conservative in comparison! :D
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Bible-based Board Books
We got a few bible-based titles— My First Bible Words by Sarah Vince (this is a good supplement to children’s Bible as it shows illustrations of individual names and elements of popular bible stories); The Plans I Have for You by Amy Parker, and God is Watching Over You by P.J. Lyons.
We got these easy-to-read board books that Dawn loves taking out with her because they come with plastic handles— The Story of Jesus, My Very First Prayers, and All Things Bright and Beautiful, which is Dawn’s absolute favorite! The words on the last book are exactly as on the hymn, so we taught her how to sing it and she loves it! She calls it her Bible song book. (Can’t find reference for the first two.)
These adorable board books from the My Little World series are literally everywhere you go at the Big Bad Wolf. They’re along the isles, on random piles, by the counters, you name it. These were easy picks by Dawn and Rain themselves, who are just starting to learn to read on their own. There were more titles from this series but we got these three: Love, I Love Mummy & I Love Daddy.
Reference Books / Activity Books
I was happy to come across some of these familiar covers (I see them a lot on trending lists, Instagram accounts, and blogs). Inside Out New York by Josh Cochran is a seek-and-find book that spreads into a wall poster. Rain is currently into seek-and-find books so I got this one for her. Hello London by Marion Billet is a cute board book for younger kids, but I got it anyway because it’s.. cute. And London, of course. Dawn loves this!
Picture Books (Fiction)
I also picked up these fiction books that have adorable illustrations! Stanley the Sock Monster Goes to the Moon by Jedda Roboard, Whisper by Joe Fitzpatrick, and Rocket Writes a Story by Tad Hills. Although the girls are not yet into reading these types of books, they do love looking at the pictures. I know in a year or so they will appreciate them more. Their Mommy enjoys reading them, though. :D
The Crayon Box, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
My personal favorite (and by “favorite” I mean I was jumping up and down and screaming at my husband’s ears when I found it)… is the Crayon Box, written by Drew Daywelt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. I’ve read reviews about these books, and it wouldn’t be best-sellers for nothing. I have Oliver Jeffers titles in my Book Depository wishlist forever so I’m very happy I snagged them at a discounted price!
These crayon books speak to both kids and adults, and my husband and I had a good laugh with these two! (Like, hysterical laugh.) So maybe the twins don’t appreciate the humor yet, but I’ll be happy to keep these books until they do. In the meantime, they’re mine. The girls can borrow if they want. LOL.
Not in the pictures are a couple of activity books (writing and math) that we can use for their homeschooling. There are many general reference books and arts and crafts books too, and I can’t wait for Big Bad Wolf to come back, they say, in July.
Something for the parents
Children’s books aside, my husband and I got ONE item each from the sale. We would have bought more if we found something we really really like for ourselves. I chanced upon a single copy of Jeff Goin’s Wrecked, so I picked it up without a doubt.
And my husband got himself a Juggling set haha. He’s obviously inspired by Patrick Demsey and Harry Styles’s juggling abilities, so okay babe, you can get that one.
And there you go, our Big Bad Wolf book haul that’s made up of children’s books mostly.
Did you go to the Big Bad Wolf book sale too? What are your most favorite finds? And don’t you wish we have more Children’s book selections in our local bookstores too?
Discovering the Book Depository
Finding a place to hoard books is a treasure, especially here in the Philippines. One time, a friend of mine who’s in the book business, told me about the Book Depository. It’s a UK-based online book seller founded by a former Amazon employee, and was eventually bought by Amazon.
If you’re a book lover in the Philippines, y’all know how unreasonably expensive it is to buy books from Amazon because of the shipping costs. And isn’t that the deal breaker when shopping books online?
But what if I tell you that Book Depository does FREE SHIPPING ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD? (Sorry for the caps guys, but yes, consider me screaming when you read that one.)
You’ll notice that their items have higher price points but, FREE SHIPPING? Anywhere? That’s quite the deal. So next time you’re dying to get your hands on book titles that have not yet reached our islands, the definitive answer is Book Depository. You’re welcome. ;)
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