I love reading to my children at bedtime. From quite an early age I have been reading full length children’s books to them. Sometimes it might take a couple of months to finish a book, as my wife and I normally alternate reading between us, but the children are exposed to both Czech and English literature. I also think it helps to improve their memory and attention span, as they have to remember quite long, and sometimes complicated stories.

We started with some classics, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was the first. Then we read some Roald Dahl and recently we have been reading David Walliams. And I have to say I am a big fan. As with Dahl, sometimes his stories can be rude, with a typically British type of humour. For example, don’t be too surprised by the occasional fart joke.

But there is much more to his books than that, they can have a serious side too and often convey important messages. This book, Gangsta Grannie, is about a boy and his relationship with his Grandmother. It is a lovely story about how the boy, who originally thinks his Granny is boring, grows to love here. And it is especially important that he did get to know her, as nobody lives forever.

As you can imagine, there is an uncomfortable moment when you are reading a book to your children which involves death. But, I have to say, it is handled in a very delicate manner and is not dwelt upon. It just happens, people are sad but life goes on. My son, who is older, felt sad that Granny had died but enjoyed the book a great deal. And, maybe, he now understands that it is important to spend time with the people that love him, as they won’t be there forever. Thanks to David Walliams both my children have learnt a little more about life, both the good and the bad. 

© Neil Hayes and neilsworldofenglish

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