This One's for the ChildrenNovember 25, 2014

On December 14, 1954, the United Nations' General Assembly recommended all countries to observe Universal Children's Day. The organisation designated November 20 for the event. This doesn't mean recalling the Declaration of the Rights of the Child, which was drafted by Eglantyne Jebb in 1923. It's also not a hint for you to join the Save the Children, which Jebb was the founder. It's about their welfare.

Playing with children is the best option, as nothing beats fun. Reading can be another activity to consider. In fact, it's the best thing to do on a weeknight. Children must be given the means for normal development, which books provide. A hungry child must also be fed, and in that regard, reading offers a different kind of nourishment. It can be more satisfying in the long run, which the tykes won't realise at first. A child must be the first to receive relief at times of distress. A good book sometimes provide it. A child must be protected from every form of exploitation. Knowledge (from reading) gives them ideas. Last but not the least, children must know that their talents be put to good use someday.

What books to recommend on this occasion? Here are five titles:

"The Cat in the Hat" (1957) by Dr. Seuss. The lives of Sally and her (unnamed) brother will never be the same after a tall cat in red and white-striped hat and red bow tie comes to their house, uninvited. He turns the household into a total wreck, and just when the sibling are resigned to their being scolded by their mother, the cat cleans it up with a snap of the fingers. It's a riot, and there's nothing more to ask for.

"Harriet the Spy" (1964) by Louise Fitzhugh. It's about a precocious girl who aspires to be a secret agent. Kids can learn many things from her, but this isn't the reason why millions of young readers love the book.

"The Kane Chronicles" (2010-2012) by Rick Riordan. Fans of Percy Jackson overlook this series, arguably Riordan's best. It's about the zany deities of ancient Egypt.

"The Secret Garden" (1911) by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Children are familiar with the story, but here's the thing. Mary Lennox, rude and surly, softens up when she becomes accustomed to the verdant surrounding. It's the genteel lawn with colorful flowers, which reeks of good vibes. (Positive thinking!)

"Where the Wild Things Are" (1963) by Maurice Sendak. The book is only 338 words long, but it's the images that would rouse young readers. It's about Max who set foot in a mysterious isle inhabited by malicious beasts. He becomes their king. This happens after receiving a scolding by his mother due to mess in the household. He's only dons his wolf costume. It's up to the children to figure out the details.

Do you have other titles in mind? Add your favourites to this short list.

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