Three Hong Kong authors pick their favourite children's books
Matthew Cooper, Theadora Whittington and Ellen Leou, Hong Kong-based writers of children's books in English, tell us their favourite books for youngsters.
Shopping With Dad, by Matt Harvey, illustrated by Miriam Latimer. I love this book because the rhymes are so original and varied. When things go awry on the shopping trip, the dad is described as "20 to proud and a quarter past sad". That's just such good writing.
Some Dogs Do, by Jez Alborough. This is such an uplifting tale (literally, it's about a dog who finds out he can fly) that it always puts me in a good mood, especially as both my kids love reading along.
Owl Babies, by Martin Waddell, illustrated by Patrick Benson. A tale about separation anxiety from the point of view of baby owls, it teaches children that separation is only temporary. Both my children were obsessed with this story at a certain age and often asked to read it for reassurance when one of us parents was away.
Wolves, written and illustrated by Emily Gravett. The narrative is absorbing and thrilling. It is a horror story for children about a rabbit who finds out a little too much about wolves, although it doesn't end horribly. The illustrations are bold, fluent and direct.
Cockatoos, written and illustrated by Quentin Blake. This is a lovely, lively portrait of the eccentric Professor Dupont who is distraught one morning when he wakes up and he can't find his collection of cockatoos. The birds are a mischievous lot. I read this story over and over again to my children when they were small - it struck a real chord.
The Gruffalo, by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler. This book is highly acclaimed and it thoroughly deserves it. I love the interaction between the cunning mouse and the animals who are bigger and more powerful than he is, and I like the unexpected meeting with the real Gruffalo. What is especially clever is the rhythm - stories don't always need to rhyme, although the text of The Gruffalo does rhyme - but a good rhythm is important.
Ellen W.Y. Leou
Fairy Tales, by Hans Christian Andersen. When I discovered Hans Christian Andersen it was at that moment that I fell in love with children's books and their gorgeous illustrations.
The Journey to the West, by Wu Cheng'en. This Chinese classic novel about the escapades of the delightfully naughty Monkey King and his companions is filled with imaginative and magical fun. It is also the only bedtime story my father ever read to me.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll. Sometimes I feel like everything leads back to this tale of Alice and her journey down the rabbit hole. Who can resist being inspired by this amazingly creative story?