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Best Books: The best books for kids to start reading

Posted 28 April 2022
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Looking for back to school book recommendations? Whether you’re settling down and reading to your little one before bed, or you’re looking for a great book for your kids to start reading on their own, there’s all sorts of great stories out there to get into.
There’s hilarious tales, lovable characters, and uplifting morals, so there’s something for even the most reluctant of readers! From old classics that you’ll remember with fond memories, to new books to discover together, we’ve got a list of the best books for kids of all ages.

Ages 1 - 4 | Ages 5 - 7 | Ages 8 - 12

Ages 1 - 4

It’s never too early to get your little ones loving reading time! Whether it’s reading a book before bed time or sitting down together to flick through the pages, these are some of the best books recommended by real parents for toddlers.

  1. Dinosaur that pooped a…
    By Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter
    Parents might know him for his role in McFly, but that's not all he's good at. Meet Dino and Danny, a duo of a little boy and his prehistoric friend, and together they go on plenty of adventures, from outer space missions to discovering the colours of the rainbow, buy the first one in the series, and there’s 6 more after that!

  2. Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy
    By Lynley Dodd
    An oldie but goodie! meet Hairy Maclary, a terrier-type dog who enjoys all sorts of adventures with his band of canine companions. Start off with the first one, but there’s a whole book series following his doggy antics for you to get into, you could even get your very own mini library too

  3. The Gruffalo 
    By Julia Donaldson
    No list of the best kids books would be complete without a mention of Julia Donaldson! The Gruffalo is possibly one of the most well known ones, and you can even get your very own Gruffalo library.

  4. The Lion Inside
    By Rachel Bright, illustrated by Jim Field
    Fall in love with an adorable little mouse who’s just trying to get his voice heard in The Lion Inside, a lovely rhyming book that's packed with amazing illustrations. If you’ve ever read and enjoyed the classic Giraffes Can’t Dance, this is another great feel good story that’s perfect for bedtime. 

  5. The Tiger Who Came To Tea 
    By Judith Kerr 
    Now over 50 years old, The Tiger Who Came To Tea is a real classic that we all remember from our own childhoods. Still as popular today, why not continue the tradition, by adding this terrific tea party adventure to your book collection.

  6. Monkey and Me 
    By Emily Gravett 
    Get ready to read Monkey and Me over and over again - the lovely illustrations themselves will be enough to keep you coming back. One for all the little animal lovers out there, you’ll both love guessing which animal comes next...

  7. Meet the planets
    By Caryl Hart 
    Head off on a star-studded adventure with Meet The Planets and discover all of the solar system! Complete with rhymes and smiley faced planets to spot in the pages, this is a must have on your bookcase for any budding astronauts.

    a little girl looking at some books

    Ages 5 - 7 

    Now they’re in school, your kids might be starting to pick up books and read a few pages by themselves, but with a bit of help still! From classic kids stories, to some new series to get into, we’ve got some of the best books for your kids recommended by real parents. 

    1. Mr Gum 
      By Andy Stanton 
      If you’re looking for a hilarious series to get stuck into, you’ve come to the right place. Mr Gum, a man who absolutely hates kids, cute animals, and anything fun, goes on all sorts of adventures across 8 books, and we’re sure you’ll be laughing your socks off at these. Get your copy of the first one, and we’re sure you’ll love it and come back for the second book too!

    2. The 13-Storey Treehouse
      By Andy Griffith and Terry Denton
      Have you ever wanted to live in the best ever treehouse? Andy and Terry do, complete with a giant catapult, a marshmallow machine, and even a secret laboratory for science experiments, and it keeps getting better! With 9 books in the series, why not get a book set

    3. Fantastic Mr Fox
      By Roald Dahl 
      Of course, we couldn’t do a list of some of the best kids books and not include a Roald Dahl! Kids (and any parent reading this) will fall in love with Fantastic Mr Fox as this cunning fox outwits some of the meanest farmers around, if you loved reading the book together, don’t forget to give the film a go too!

    4. Billy and the Mini Monsters series
      By Zanna Davidson, illustrated by Melanie Williamson 
      Join Billy and his not-very-scary band of mini monsters on a series of funny, everyday adventures. The Mini Monsters join Billy on holiday, school trips and even move house with him, plus there’s 10 in the series, so if they love the first book, there’s plenty for your little monsters to enjoy. 

    5. Unipiggle 
      By Hannah Shaw
      Go on an adventure with Princess Pea, the princess who loves breaking the rules and her Royal Unicorn, the pig, in Unipiggle. This bright, colourful and wildly imaginative series is a great pick if you’re looking for a magical story, and there’s even some interactive elements too. 

    6. The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark 
      By Jill Tomlinson 
      Plop, the adorable little baby Barn Owl who, unlike other owls, is afraid of the dark! Perfect for a bedtime read, The Owl Who Was Afraid Of the Dark is a lovely little story that would be great for anyone who might be a bit like Plop and think the dark is scary too.

      a little girl looking at some books

    7. Dog Man series
      By Dav Pikey
      There’s a new hero in town, part human, part dog, it’s none other than Dog Man! This hilarious and fun book series will have you laughing your socks off, plus there’s all sorts of great illustrations along the way. If you loved these books, don’t forget to check out the Captain Underpants books too, also by Dav Pikey.

    Ages 8 - 12

    Get sucked into these great kids books, perfect for slightly older readers. From Greek mythology to fairy-tale style stories, and of course books from some of the world's most well-known kids authors, these are some of the best books recommended by parents right now.

    1.  Percy Jackson and the Olympians series
      By Rick Riodran 
      Join Percy Jackson and the Olympians and set off on an epic quest in this fantastic and much loved series. Packed full of monsters, gods, and even Greek mythology, this adventure series is perfect for any young reader, and just between us, it’s great for any older reader too! 

    2. Skullduggery Pleasant 
      By Derek Landy
      Meet Skullduggery Pleasant, the detective and powerful magician, but there’s one problem...he’s dead. Accompanied by his sidekick, 12-year-old Stephanie, the two go up against all sorts of evil plans in this great series with 13 books to discover. 

    3. The Brilliant World of Tom Gates 
      By Liz Pichon 
      Another fantastic series for kids, step into the exercise book of Tom Gates. Full of doodles and pictures, and of course comments from his not-so-impressed teacher Mr Fullerton, Tom Gates is a master at excuses for late homework after all! 

    4. The Magic Faraway Tree 
      By Enid Blyton
      Written by one of the best known kids' authors, get ready to be transported into a magical world full of fairies, pixies and talking creatures in The Magic Faraway Tree. With not one, but three wonderful stories, this bumper book is a must have for any kid with a wild imagination.

    5. Kid Norma
      By Greg James and Chris Smith and illustrated by Erica Saldeco 
      Meet Murph Cooper, a totally normal kid living in a not-so-normal world. All of his new classmates all seem to have a special super power, but any superhero book wouldn’t be complete without the supervillian lurking with an evil plan! There’s a few books in this series, and the second one is just as funny as the first!

    6. The Ickabog
      By J.K Rowling
      J.K Rowling is probably best known for the Harry Potter books, but The Ickabog should definitely be on any list of her best books. This wonderful fairy-tale adventure book is packed full of all of the things any adventure story needs: a mythical monster, a kingdom in danger, and of course, a brave and courageous kid here to save the day.

    7. The Butterfly Lion 
      By Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Christian Birmingham
      Michael Morpurgo is a well known and loved kids author, and has a huge selection of kids books to pick from. The Butterfly Lion is a touching story of a little boy and a white lion cub, and it’s definitely one for any young animal lover out there. 

    Enjoyed these book suggestions? Check out some of our other blogs for more great ideas: 

    Best Subscription Boxes | Cool things to do with LEGO | Indoor Activities | Crafts for toddlers

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