Books, books, books and their wonderful pages! You can turn, flip, or swipe them, but no matter your preference it’s the content that introduces us to interesting people and fascinating places. Books have the unique ability to enrich our understanding and transform our thinking, while fostering language mastery in each of us.
A 2017 Study “A Matter of Principle: Applying Language Science to the Classroom and Beyond,” Translational Issues in Psychological Science, Vol 3, No 1, March 2017. found language mastery to be the best predictor for children’s later academic success. The Study also found language to be a key factor for developing children’s literacy, social skills, mathematics, and executive function skills. It’s safe to say, that language-rich environments filled with books and parent-child interactions can foster a child’s language skills and even remediate a language gap.
I spoke with James Minter, a former IT specialist turned author about his meaningful book series “The Billy Books” and their positive influence on children and literacy. The series, he explained, not only caters to children in their primary years and appeals to the inner child in each of us, but it is perfect for shared-reading experiences between parents and children.
Minter prepares young readers for their life journey with illustrations at the beginning of each chapter and fills the pages with the adventures of Billy Field, the main character, and a rich community of other relatable characters. Themes such as bullying, jealousy amongst friends, the consequences of telling a lie or stealing, and the burden of keeping secrets promotes discussion between children and adults and encourages children to adopt positive values. “In addition, there are elements of light humor that both parents and children can relate to,” Minter explains. And, while Billy and his friends are fictitious, Billy’s dog, Jacko, is actually based on Minter’s own family pet, Malibu, who brought tremendous joy to his children, as they were growing up, through his good-natured ability to cause havoc and mayhem.
Each story also comes with a learning pamphlet for parent-child discussions, and an activity book chock-full of crossword and word-search puzzles, coloring activities, mazes and cryptograms that reiterate those important lessons while promoting literacy.
And, like the lessons SUNKISSSED FAMLIES™ contributors foster, “The Billy Books” also promote the importance of establishing and achieving goals, expressing compassion for others, establishing and maintaining positive relationships, and forming and maintaining a healthy self-identity and social identity, which can leave children feeling socially and emotionally secure. When children feel socially and emotionally secure they are more likely to consider what is possible instead of what isn’t possible.
A wonderful case in point: In “Billy Saves the Day” (Vol. 6) Billy has an opportunity to act in the school play, but has convinced himself that he doesn’t have the skills to learn all of the lines. Instead of trying out for the play he signs up to be a stage crewmember. However, an accident befalls the lead actor, which compromises the production. Through encouragement and his own determination Billy overcomes his lack of self-esteem to help save the play.
I encourage you to explore Minter’s series and share with your child, which includes Billy Has a Birthday: bullying; Billy is Nasty to Ant: jealousy; Billy and Ant Lie: Lying; Billy Wants it All: money; Billy Knows a Secret: secrets; Billy and Ant Fall Out: pride; Billy Helps Max: stealing; Billy Saves the Day: self-belief; Billy’s Tenth Birthday: life-lessons; and The Billy Books Collection with four books in one volume. For more information visit The Billy Books Website.
James Minter is from Oxfordshire, UK and the father of two grown children and stepfather to three more. Before becoming an author in 2009 Minter was a college lecturer and worked in the IT industry for 35 years. Minter is also the author of “The Hole Trilogy” and “The Unexpected Consequences of Iron Overload,” which helps raise awareness of Haemochromatosis, a genetic condition which greatly affected his family.