Children’s Encyclopedias… And Why Every Home Should Have One
If I write the word ‘encyclopedia’ what is your first thought? Does the word evoke the image of a dust gathering leather bound collection of books that would make a good door stop? So, let me let you into a secret. If you asked me this question a few months ago the answer would have been ‘yes’, but it is no longer.
I run a little family run pop-up book shop and a few months ago people started ordering copies of Children’s encyclopedias from me. I have to confess I was slightly bemused by this because I thought people just looked for information on the internet (I am very embarrassed to have made that confession now publicly). When the encyclopedias arrived I thought I would sneak a peek and that is when I had my encyclopedia Eureka! moment. I understood why people were buying them. I sat there, opened the book at no place in particular and started reading. I first read about looking at the night sky, then I read about Victorian times and then how the world was getting warmer. After being mesmerised for a while I realised why people bought encyclopedias for their children; the way you can dip in and dip out, not looking for anything in particular but learning something new, unexpectedly, and of course the wonderful facts and illustrations that you absorb.
The internet for research can be a wonderful thing. But generally you or your child will go in search of a particular subject. The beauty of an encyclopedia is how it will provide a child with information that he or she was not necessarily searching for and open up a brand new topic and fascination for them.
Now the Children’s encyclopedia we have is not a reference book that gathers dust on the shelf, it is our bedtime reading book, it is read by my 10 year old and my 5 year old loves to look through the beautiful pictures and illustrations on his own and remembers what we read or asks questions about new topics.
Additionally, not all children love fiction. Some much prefer learning and absorbing facts. Encyclopedias as I remembered them as hard back, dark and dusty volumes are not the norm anymore for children. There are some incredible eye-catching versions, even pocket size, and they are very affordable.
So next time you are book browsing for your children (or even yourself) please pick up a Children’s Encyclopedia and see if you and your children also have that Eureka! encyclopedia moment.
Further Information: Recommended Reading
Listed below (in no particular order) are some great ones to look out for:
Knowledge Encyclopedia by DK (Dorling Kindersley)
Children’s Encyclopedia (with QR links*) by Usborne Books
Book of Knowledge (with QR links*) by Usborne Books
* QR codes provide instant access via a mobile phone or tablet to 150 video clips of animals, space, places round the world and more, which enhance the information in the book. An additional 650 internet links via the Usborne Quicklinks website take children to websites with online activities, games and further information
Last updated: Thursday 11th June, 2015
* I own a pop-up book shop and I appear at schools, kindergartens, clubs and libraries throughout Europe, but especially Luxembourg. I am half English and half French, grew up in Spain and have lived in all these countries and Germany. I now live in Luxembourg. I have 2 children who are bilingual aged 10 and 5. I previously worked for a number of big corporations but fortunately I decided to start my own business selling children’s books and it is absolutely the best job I have ever had.