Our Recommended Reads for Children series continues with the next choice from Marianne, which is Mem Fox’s Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge, a classic and charming picture book for children aged 3 and upwards (as well as those who are older) to enjoy.
As it’s Independent Booksellers Week this week, we’d like to give a mention to Munro Books in Canada, where our Recommending Reader for Children Marianne currently works, which has an amazing selection of children’s books. If you’re a bit too far away from Canada then don’t fear, as you can check out their website.
This charming picture book immediately made me feel nostalgic for the times I spent reading poetry to the residents of care homes on Merseyside during my time as a project worker at The Reader Organisation. Each week we would share poems and talk about whatever memories were ignited by the words. I discovered much about their lives, the people they were, the wonderful experiences they had and what truly mattered to them.
This is why I was so drawn to Mem Fox’s story about a young boy who lives next door to a care home of elderly residents. Each of these individuals have something to offer Wilfrid. There is Mr. Tippett who is crazy about cricket or Mr. Hosking’s who tells him scary stories but there is one special lady – one who has four names just like himself – that has a special place in Wilfrid’s heart: Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper.
When Wilfrid overhears his parents talking about Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper’s memory, Wilfrid sets out to find out what a memory is. Each resident gives him a different definition of the word, ‘memory’. Mrs Jordon describes a memory as ‘something warm’ for Mr Drysdale a memory is as ‘precious as gold’. Wilfrid then sets out to put together a memory collection for his friend containing all sorts of items such as a war medal that reminds her of her brother, an egg that makes her remember a time she found a bird nest and a football that makes her think of the day she met Wilfred and they became friends. Nancy is overjoyed at having these memories.
I have experienced such joy on the faces of the wonderful people I read with when they were sharing their memories with me and know that many of them would love to hear this story. Children will love this book, for it gives them room to discuss the things that mean the most to them. Fun can be had finding an object that reminds them of a certain event or person or they may even have a sacred memento already that they would like to share with you.
This book would work great in any reading group as a natural ladder to books such as Mitch Albom’s Tuesday’s with Morrie or any books or short stories that celebrate multigenerational interactions. Please feel free to add your recommendations to this post it would be great to hear your suggestions and also what your definition of a memory would be!
You can buy Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge through The Reader Organisation’s Amazon Bookshop link or visit your local independent bookshop: you can search through The Bookseller’s Association website to find your nearest, where there will be lots of great reads available for children throughout Independent Booksellers Week and beyond.