When Esther and William were born I bought them each a book. Because they are twins I wanted the books to be by the same author and so I chose Oliver Jeffers. I wanted each baby to have a story chosen especially for them, that could mean something to them all of their lives. I also wanted them to have a story to share. The three books that I chose are: The Way Back Home; Lost and Found and How to Catch a Star.
Lost and Found was William’s book. It was first read to him on the day that he was born by his Daddy. David and I sat by his incubator and shared this story with our newborn son, who weighed in at just 2lb 11ozs and could not open his eyes or breathe without assistance. We read to our little boy lost hoping that he would find his way, that we would find a way to be together as a family. Lost and Found is about a little boy who finds a penguin. Penguins (along with giraffes!) are my favourite animals and I want to pass that on to my children, to share it with them. The little boy thinks that the penguin wants to go home and the boy does all he can to help him find his way but then he realises that the penguin was not lost at all but was lonely, he didn’t want to go home, he wanted to find a friend. It is a very touching story about friendship, told very simply with beautiful illustrations. It explores loss and loneliness which seemed very apt for our William who was all alone in a plastic box when he should have been in our arms with his sister. It tells how two people can find comfort in one another and help each other along the way. it is a story of the journey of friendship, through words and pictures it shows the strength and determination of one little boy to help another. We dedicated this to our Mr Strong, our braveheart, our William. This is a wonderful first story for a little boy. For our little boy.
Our daughter’s first ever story How to Catch A Star. I chose this for Esther because one meaning of her name is ‘Star’. I read her this book for the very first time on the day she was born. I sat beside her blue lit incubator and read it to my 2lb 4oz baby, who I had known just hours but already loved with all my heart. This was the prefect choice of story for Esther. It is about a boy who loves stars and tries everything that he can to find one. This is a story with the message of never giving up, of doing all you can to achieve your dreams, of fighting for what you believe in, of striving for your goals, of being strong and reaching for the stars. This was the perfect message for my tiny, fragile daughter fighting for her life in an incubator rather than celebrating the start of her life in my arms. I read this story with broken voice and eyes full of tears. My little star was going to need all the strength she would muster and all of our strength too. This book is so beautifully illustrated I just know that it will be treasured for always for its message and devoured time and time again for its lovely language and exquisite illustrations. Thank you Oliver Jeffers for helping us give our children such a lovely start to life and the world of literature.
The final book , I bought for the twins to share. It is called The Way Back Home. Inside the front cover I wrote:
Dear Esther and William
We can’t wait to show you the way home to our house, your house, your home. We love you now and always.
Mummy and Daddy
This Oliver Jeffers book is about finding your way home. This was all we wanted for our two babies, to find a way to bring them home. This story is about a young boy who gets stuck on the moon with an alien and together they must find a way to get each other home. It is a tale of friendship and what can be achieved when friends work together. I hope that Esther and William will be life long friends as well as twin brother and sister and whenevr they fight or fall out I am going to remind them of this book, the first time we shared it and how far they have come.
Oliver Jeffers is a brilliant writer and illustrator of unique and exciting books for children that can be enjoyed by all the family over and over again.
Simple stories with complex messages and meanings, filled with heartfelt love and warmth.
Please, if you have not yet discovered these books and enjoyed them with your children, please do, I am certain that you will not be disappointed.
Thank you Oliver Jeffers! Keep writing please!