Ya Mama’s Book Club: Books to enjoy and pass down

By Bessma Bader

The one thing I put no limit on buying for my children is books! They inherit them from one another and then somehow spread them between cousins and friends when they have grown out of them. That is if they have not fallen apart from repeated reading. You can never go wrong buying a book! And here are some of the ones I love the most for my children. 

0-1 years

Baby Faces, published by DK
This is an excellent book for babies. They’re fascinated by facial expressions, and it depicts a series of baby faces showing a range of different demeanours. It’s a great way to grow their emotional intelligence and build their vocabulary for their feelings.


Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell / Pan Macmillan

1-3 years

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell, published by Pan Macmillan
Lift the flap books are always fabulous, assuming you can keep your child from tearing off the flap! You work your way through all the different animals the zoo sends to a little child until they finally get it right by sending a puppy. 

3-5 years

The Book With No Pictures by CJ Novak, published by Penguin Random House
This book has the word Butt in it. Which I usually wouldn’t allow, but in this case it’s worth it. This book proves to children that books without pictures can be just as fun as those with them. But it makes you, the reader, sound absolutely ridiculous. So if you are ready to make the most hilarious sounds and have your children in fits of giggles, this book is an absolute must.



The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein / Harper Collins

5-7 years

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein published by HarperCollins
Yes I know, two books by the same author. You follow the life of a tree and a little boy as he grows into a man. It’s about unconditional love, sacrifices and appreciation. I cannot to this day get through it without feeling a tear or two in my eyes. 

7-9 years

The one and only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, published by HarperCollins
If you watched the movie, read the book. The film is an extremely watered-down version of the book and misses so many of its nuances. It’s a bit of a sad book, but it was important for me to open the conversation of animal cruelty and animal rights with my children. 



Wonder by RJ Palacio / Penguin Random House Children's UK

10-12 years

Wonder by RJ Palacio published by Penguin Random House Children
I cannot recommend this book enough. Also an enjoyable movie, this book follows August (Auggie) Pullman who is born with severe facial differences. He is starting school for the first time in 5th grade. It’s a story about how a community deals with differences and leaves us wondering about the true nature of empathy and acceptance. 

13+ years

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs published by Quirk Books
The story follows 16-year-old Jacob, who discovers the ruins of a home for children and explores its rooms and hallways. He finds the children may have been more than peculiar, and in fact may still be alive and hidden! 



Ya Mama’s Book Club: Classic stories to fall in love with
Ya Mama’s favourite books to get your kids reading

About the author…

Bessma bint Bader is an avid blogger and qualified parenting coach with a passionate interest in child development and education. She began her popular blog, Ya Mamma, in 2010 where she shares pertinent insights into the trials and tribulations of parenting, inspired by her five young children. 

Since 2010, Bessma has been on the board of Saut as its treasurer – a charitable organization that promotes the welfare of people with Downs Syndrome. She is also on the board of the King Khaled Foundation, which is dedicated to improving the social and economic conditions for thousands of Saudi citizens.

Bessma is also the co-founder and owner of The Playroom – a play center in Riyadh, built around the belief that child-led play fosters creativity, encourages divergent thinking and builds good social skills.


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