Good reads for young bookworms
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Good reads for young bookworms

Baby’s first years

You blink and all of sudden your baby is a teenager. Where has your little cherub gone? This is where babies’ albums come in. It is important to cherish the exciting moments of a baby’s first year, because they are incredibly special. There are many lovely baby albums to choose from but Merlin Publishers wanted to make a special one for Maltese parents.

They have just launched their first baby album in Maltese for new parents to record their baby’s milestones. Beautifully illustrated in hardback with a side ribbon tie, L-album tal-ewwel sena tiegħi includes two envelopes inside to store the baby’s keepsakes, perhaps the baby’s birth tag or a curly lock.

The album is the perfect place to stick the photos of that first smile, the first wave of the hand, the first crawl and the first step.

It guides parents step-by-step through each significant moment: the coming home from hospital, baptism, meeting the grandparents and all the joys of the first year. To make it easier for parents recording the twinkling occasions, L-album tal-ewwel sena tiegħi gently guides with prompting questions so that it’s easier to log in the information.

Moreover, the album comes in two separate editions: one for girls and one for boys.

L-album tal-ewwel sena tiegħi is produced in collaboration with DeAgostini, the prestigious Italian publishing house. The Maltese text is by Sherise Zammit, who is the author of the popular Ġanni jżur Londra/Pariġi series. This album proved to be an instant hit and within a couple of weeks of publication, it broke the sales records of merlinpublishers.com, becoming the fastest-selling new title in Merlin’s online history.

L-album tal-ewwel sena tiegħi will be a treasured keepsake and the whole family will be able to treasure the magical moments.

Treasured dragon

Ġojjell is a little dragon. But he is not the same colour as the other dragons; his scales are blue. This does not go down well within a community of dragons whose colour scale is based on red hues. As a result Ġojjell is picked on and bullied at school. “I don’t want to go to school ever again,” he told his mother one day, sobbing his heart out.

His mother comforts him but insists that school is important. “My darling, you have to go because at school you will learn the two most important skills in a dragon’s life: flying and breathing fire”.

And indeed Ġojjell learns how to fly, and is the best in class. But when it comes to breathing fire – there is a slight snag. No fire comes out of Ġojjell’s throat – instead, every time he blows out, a flood of water pours out. All the other dragons gasp in shock and horror and little Ġojjell is banished from the dragon town.

Heartbroken, he sets out on a new adventure where he will make new friends and learn that it is possible to be loved just as you are.

Written by French authors Laurent and Olivier Souillé and illustrated by Jérémie Fleury, the book has been adapted to Maltese by award-winning author Clare Azzopardi. The storyline raises the perfect awareness for embracing diversity. In fact, the underlying theme of the book is that children should not feel threatened by others who are different and the original French title is dedicated to all sufferers of Williams’ Syndrome, a developmental genetic disorder.

Ġojjell id-Dragun li Jonfoħ l-Ilma has no fixed target age. It is ideal both for reading to children when these are still very young, and eventually for reading by children themselves when they are slightly older. All children are fascinated by dragons and apart from being an emotional story which tugs at the heartstrings, it is perfect to nurture a love of reading from an early age.

Ġojjell id-Dragun li Jonfoħ l-Ilma is available from all leading bookshops or directly online from http://merlinpublishers.com

What day is it?

Little children often do not grasp the idea that a day has a beginning and an end, or that an activity in a day, has to end to make way for the next.

This is because the concept of time is alien to many at a tender age. This can lead to them worrying they will be at school forever, for example. In fact, the not knowing what is going to happen, makes many kindergartners extremely anxious.

The aim of X’Ġurnata hi? is to help children understand that a week is not merely one long day. Instead, it is comprised of seven separate days, each with a morning, afternoon and evening and on some days they go to school and on some others, they don’t.

Knowing the days of the week helps children make reasonable predictions about what is going to happen on a particular day and avoid being constantly surprised. Three-year-olds and four-year-olds feel secure when they follow the same time schedules and develop a sense of order through repeated routines.

In X’ġurnata hi? the author, Marisa Ben Hadj Khalifa, who is also a kindergarten teacher takes us through the week of two siblings, a boy and a girl, and shows how one by one, the days of the week roll by. Monday is football day, Tuesday is ballet day and Wednesday is halfway day and, therefore, play day. Thursday is music day, Friday is study day. When Saturday and Sunday finally come, it’s time for little ones and the adults who love them to play, share and have fun... Saturday is swimming day and Sunday is picnic time.

In its simple, rhyming text X’ġurnata hi? complements its sister book, last year’s surprise hit X’ħin hu? which tackles the concept of time for the very young.

Cheekily illustrated by Nicole Diacono, the book can be read to children in the classroom or at home. It helps children grasp the concepts easily and also allows parents to talk to their children about their own activities and weekly plans.  

All three books are availabe for sale from bookshops or directly online from www.merlinpublishers.com.

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