- Why Barracudas?
The snow has finally stopped just in time for the rain to arrive. So why not settle down with the family for a quiet read with our selection of exciting kids’ books?
There’s something to suit all ages, from pre-school books to young adult novels. And while some are classics, there might be some you've never heard of.
Remember all books are educational for kids, however they're reading them (paperback/hardback/tablet/e-reader) and even if they're not exactly to your taste.
Why not take a trip to the library and see if you can better our choice of the best kids’ books we’ve picked up in the past 12 months?
Here are our top picks:
Zog – Julia Donaldson
Zog’s an accident-prone dragon who wants to be the best dragon in dragon school. Princess Pearl is a royal who wants to be a doctor. This unlikely pair are at the centre of an inspiring poem from the former Children’s Laureate.
Following in the footsteps of their classic The Gruffalo, Donaldson’s amusing rhyme and Axel Scheffler’s colourful illustrations go down a storm with young children.
It’s tender, funny and has a strong female character. As preschool books go, they don’t come much better. You’ll all love it.
The Fantastic Mr Fox – Roald Dahl
You couldn’t have a list of children’s books without Roald Dahl, perhaps the greatest of children’s authors, and this one has all the elements you’d want in one of his novels.
There’s the outlandish central character: this time a fox who acts like a human. There’s the ridiculous villains: Boggis, Bunce and Bean. And there’s the imminent threat: they want rid of Mr Fox because he steals their animals to feed his family.
You could read it as a hilarious tale about a quick, sly fox outwitting three dimwits in a series of hilarious slapstick skits. Or you could marvel at how Dahl, writing in 1974, showed up the stupidity of humanity’s attitude to its environment.
Be prepared for belly-laughs and big questions from readers aged six and up lucky enough to read one of the best kids’ books ever written.
The Nowhere Emporium – Ross MacKenzie
This Harry Potter-meets-Doctor Who adventure story won the Blue Peter Best Story award in 2016, establishing the Scot as one of the up-and-coming voices in kids’ books.
Orphan Daniel Holmes accidentally stumbles into the mysterious Mr Silver’s Nowhere Emporium, a shop filled with magic and enchantment.
But things take a curious turn when he visits for a second time. Because no one is meant to be able to do that.
Recruited as Mr Silver’s apprentice, he learns the secret of the myriad magical rooms hidden behind the shop’s curtains and embarks on a time-travelling, world-spanning adventure filled with outlandish imagination and wonderful description.
For ages eight to 12:
Howl’s Moving Castle – Diana Wynne Jones
Moving up an age-group here, this is a young adult novel that was turned into a sensational animated movie by Studio Ghibli.
Teenager Sophie Hatter is cursed by the Witch of the Wastes and turned into a crone. She’s then taken in by the wizard Howl, whose castle’s door opens on to four different locations.
What follows is a romp involving fire demons, rescue missions, laugh-out-loud humour, tender confessions and a love that is lost ... and then found.
Sophie’s the kind of strong, resourceful, empowered young woman to inspire daughters and grab sons’ attention. And if they’re hooked, the children’s author wrote a series of Howl books that follows.
Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls – Francesca Cavallo and Elena Favilli
Who said adventures had to be imaginary?
Cavallo and Favilli’s beautifully illustrated book tells the tales of women and girls who changed the world, one per page.
There are stories about amazing women such as Michelle Obama, Marie Curie and Malala Yousafzai.
There’s an equally empowering sequel. And author Ben Brooks has cottoned on to the trend with his compendium Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different, featuring the likes of Nelson Mandela, Lionel Messi and artist Grayson Perry.
Readers of any age will be enthralled and inspired by these educational books for kids.
If they're hungry for more, why not take a look at these top children's books from 2017?