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Our Favourite Books to Read with Children

Storytelling has been an important tool throughout the years. Used as a mechanism to pass lessons, ideas and history from generation to generation, learning how to tell a story is a vital skill not only as a child but as an adult as well


Stories can be told in many ways; Oral tales, images found on the walls of caves, old wives tales passed down from generations, those committed to paper and bound between the pages of classic books, and the ones we make up.

Books for children to read

This week we've teamed up with The Children's Bookshop in London * to bring you their favourite books to read with kids. They've come up with a list that includes something for everyone!

Where you read, and how you tell the stories...

Before we let you in on their choices, it's important to think about the space you read stories in and how you tell them.

  • Choose somewhere comfortable and free of other distractions
  • Try to get close as to the child's level as you can, eye contact is important when telling a story
  • Make sure everyone can see the pictures
  • Read with emotion and intonation, you're voice and facial expressions are what brings the story to life
  • When they're old enough, try to involve your child in the story, pause and let them finish a line or have them take on the roles of different characters, on even use puppets for extra interaction

Recommended books for children

The Children's Bookshop recommends these books for children to read:

Picture books (Under 6)

This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen (hb/£11.99)
From the author of I Want My Hat Back, this boldly illustrated picture book is another droll story about a missing piece of headgear. Hilarious!

I Love You, Blue Kangaroo by Emma Chichester-Clark (pb/£6.99)
Blue Kangaroo falls asleep in Lily's arms every night. But what happens when new toys start arriving? A heart-warming story of friendship.

Traction Man Is Here by Mini Grey (pb/£5.99)
Traction Man has an outfit for every occasion, from rescuing damsels to guarding toast. But will he be up to his biggest challenge yet? An instant classic featuring action adventures in a richly detailed domestic setting.

Early readers (6-8)

The Man Who Wore All His Clothes by Allan Ahlberg (pb/£5.99)
Mr Gaskitt puts on all his clothes and heads off to work. What happens after that? What has the car radio got to say on the subject? And who eats the pizza? A funny, action packed day in the life of the Gaskitts that will delight new readers.

The Smallest Girl Ever by Sally Gardner (pb/£5.99)
One day, Ruby gets smaller, and smaller, and smaller... But although she can fit in a handbag, she can still be big enough and brave enough to find the people who love her. An imaginative touch of magic realism for younger readers.

Middle fiction (8-11)

How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell (pb/£5.99)
The first book of ten in the wildly popular Hiccup series see Hiccup having to choose his very own dragon to train. This is the saga of the greatest Viking Hero that ever lived.

The Secret Hen House Theatre by Helen Peters (pb/£6.99)
Hannah has written a play, but to put it on (and save her poverty-stricken family farm in the process) she must turn the rickety old hen house at the edge of her farm into a theatre - without Dad finding out. A warm, thoughtful family story that mums will enjoy as much as their children.

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd (pb/£5.99)
Ted and Kat watch their cousin Salim get in a pod on the London Eye. When the pod comes back to earth, Salim is gone. It's up to Ted and Kat to solve the mystery. Great fun and thought-provoking insight into life with (what we assume is) Aspergers.

Teen fiction (11+)

The Declaration by Gemma Malley (pb/£6.99)
Fans of The Hunger Games will love this world where, by taking a tablet called Longevity, you can live forever. But Anna Covey should never have been born... Gripping.

Half Brother by Kenneth Oppel (pb/£6.99)
For thirteen years, Ben Tomlin was an only child. But all that changes when his mother adopts an eight-day-old chimpanzee. How will he cope? A fascinating look at identity and family.

Children's Bookshop

* The Children's Bookshop in Muswell Hill is an independent family-owned children's bookshop based in North London. Stocking a huge range of fiction and non-fiction our staff are always on hand to offer specialist advice on choosing books for children. We also offer a comprehensive service to schools, colleges and teachers, including school book fairs, author visits and open evenings

The Children's Bookshop, 29 Fortis Green Rd, Muswell Hill. Follow us on Twitter @childrensbkshop


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