“And what is the use of a book,” thought Alice, “without pictures or conversation?” Eight-year-old Helen feels the same. Here she tells us why reading graphic novels is fun, relaxing and definitely not for babies – and recommends her current five favourites.
Since founding Andersen Press in 1976, Klaus Flugge has published some of the most well-known and best-loved names in the world of children’s books– he has launched the careers of some of our best-loved picture book illustrators, from Quentin Blake and Chris Riddell to David McKee, Tony Ross, Michael Foreman and Emma Chichester Clark. Here he expounds on his favourite books and why laughter is his favourite subject.
Acclaimed poet, Joseph Coelho, recommends five of the best kids’ books that celebrate the magical bonds between grandparents and their grandchildren. Positive intergenerational relationships have very real health benefits for the whole family! So get yourself settled on a comfy chair with a grandchild and take some time to enjoy sharing these delightful stories.
As World Cup fever builds to irresistible levels, there is no better time to get kids reading by presenting them with a few books about ‘the beautiful game.’ Award-winning children’s author and self-confessed football fanatic, Dave Cousins, recommends five fantastic football books for kids and young adults.
Not all kids want to read about magic and fairytales and many have an unquenchable thirst for reading about reality. Geraldine McCaughrean talks us through five of her own books that were inspired by true events.
Fairy tales and stories of courage and survival can help children understand that although there are injustices in the world there are ways in which they can make a difference – however small. The award-winning author Beverley Naidoo recommends five great books in which kindness triumphs over adversity.
There are umpteen science textbooks out there to help kids with their science homework. But what about the broader picture, the creativity, the advantages of becoming a scientifically literate individual? Alom Shaha, teacher, filmmaker and science communicator, recommends five great novels to inspire your kids with the wonder of science.
Books like Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls popularise the many different ways women and girls can be strong, and as strong as they need to be. Award-winning children’s author, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, talks us through some of her favourite strong female characters in children’s fiction.
From wizards to alchemy and fairies to folklore, Cressida Cowell reveals the magical stories that were most important to her as a child (and which she now delights in sharing with her own children), and her own inspirations for writing about magic and magical worlds today.
Have you heard that music is good for children but don’t know where to begin? Musicians Meurig and Rachel Bowen recommend the best music books for children.
What is happiness? Why does happiness matter? Vanessa King, lead psychologist at the charity/non-profit Action for Happiness, discusses how developing ours and our children’s happiness skills can have benefits for our own lives and for society as a whole.
What are the best books to engage and educate young kids about the environment? Environmentalist and author Georgina Stevens has some ideas. She recommends her favourite environment books for kids, as well as a few websites that will help teach them (and their families) how to make a difference.
Children have almost universal responses to different kinds of weather: kicking fallen leaves in autumn, splashing in puddles in the rain, catching snowflakes on tongues when it snows. We talk to author and illustrator Tim Hopgood about the weather as an inspiration for children’s books.
Looking for a lovely set of books to give to a child who is just learning to read? Five Books children’s editor, Zoe Greaves, picks five of the best published this year.
Elves are often misunderstood or misrepresented over the Christmas period – Christmas cracker jokes have never been kind to these tiny heroes of the festive season. Here Igreth the Elf, great-great-great-grandson of Ilbereth the Elf, sets the record straight and introduces five children’s books that celebrate the extraordinary contribution these diminutive creatures make to Christmas itself.
Rachel Hickman, co-founder of Chicken House Publishing and author of One Silver Summer selects books with wild settings that have appeal to older children. She discusses how a strong use of nature adds drama and meaning to a narrative, and the way that setting can become another character in a story entirely.
How does someone with synaesthesia see the world? How does it contribute to creativity and expression? Author Lydia Ruffles recommends books and suggests an intriguing list of artists who may have been synaesthetes.
Children often feel that, for one reason or another, they don’t quite fit in. Fortunately, there are many books exploring that very theme. Author Sarah Franklin introduces five wonderful books about ‘outsiders.’
Children’s literature research is one of the most dynamic fields of literary criticism today, says Jean Webb, professor of international children’s literature at the University of Worcester. She picks five books from around the world that shed light on ‘childhood and relationships.’
Award-winning author Philip Reeve talks us through the science fiction and fantasy books that shaped him and his work in profound ways; among indubitable classics are vibrant lesser-known works awaiting our discovery.
Alan Lee, illustrator of such classics as The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, talks to Five Books about his favourite stories drawn from myth and fairy tale, what they mean to him, and how important it is for young readers today to experience these ancient stories.
‘It’s a long time since ogres have seemed so absolutely real,’ says Marina Warner, author and long-time scholar of fairy tales. Which makes now as good a time as any to immerse ourselves in the twisted truths of the fairy tale realm, with Warner’s selection of the best books of, or about, other-worldly tales of mischief and subversion, dreams and laughter, ‘hope against hope’
How can parents even begin to explain the refugee crisis to children and young adults? Here, award-winning children’s author Gill Lewis shares her selection of vital primers – from simple picture books to challenging graphic novels – and discusses the role of ‘informed storytelling’ in describing this fraught and fragile human experience
Depictions of fathers in children’s books have leapt forward in recent years, says illustrator Paul Howard. He talks us through his favourite visions of modern dads in books, from the ultimate macho man to fathers at their most vulnerable.
Korky Paul, the illustrator of the hugely popular Winnie the Witch series (among others), talks to Five Books about the pictures and books that have most inspired him.
Whatever your age, play is how we test ideas, define rules and see if they hold. New York-based artist and author Jon Burgerman talks to Five Books about his favourite titles that encourage kids to have fun and be playful, without worry or fear of failure, and simply enjoy the limitless possibilities of imagination.
Author M G Leonard talks about the importance of getting our children engaged with the natural world. She recommends her favourite nature books for kids.
Elys Dolan, author of Mr Bunny’s Chocolate Factory and rising star of the picture book world, on the funniest illustrated books for reading at bedtime—and why children’s characters needn’t always set good moral examples.
Every generation has its own minefield to negotiate in order to reach adulthood. Author Rae Earl discusses five books that explore a range of mental health issues that some teenagers may face, and many adults have faced, while on this difficult journey.
Are you trying to get your son or daughter into reading more history? Here Alex, a 10-year old boy living in Oxfordshire in the UK, shares some of his favourites.
What is fairness? What does it mean to be brave? Can you step in the same river twice? It is not only adults who can discuss philosophical issues. Peter Worley picks the best philosophy books for children
Everyone wants to get their kids reading, and a really gripping series is a great way of developing their inner bookworm. Izzy, a 10-year-old girl living in the UK, talks us through her favourite series for kids.
Children learn in many different ways and the best science books for young people reflect that, says science writer Alice Bell. She recommends some of her favourite science books for kids.
The best-selling children’s author, Michael Morpurgo, says books for children need to do more than amuse their readers. He picks his own favourite books written for young people.
Great books can introduce kids to economics at a young age, says Rutgers University economics professor Yana van der Meulen Rodgers. Here she picks some lovely story books for 5-10 year olds and explains the key economic concepts they illustrate.
Melvin Burgess, author of Junk and Doing It tells us about the books that first inspired him and he picks the best thriller writing for young adults – along the way explaining why young people make the most demanding readers
Economics need not be dry or didactic. Here’s a suggested reading list of novels with economic themes to appeal to young teenagers
Robert Muchamore, bestselling kids’ author, names five titles he thinks will appeal to his “core audience”—“boys of a certain age who’ve grown beyond the Harry Potter thing”
Shelve your cynicism – Santa Claus does exist, and he took the time out to tell us his five favourite Christmas-time books. He’s more of a pictures than a words kind of guy, and he’s been to Las Vegas
Fairy tales are as relevant today as ever, says Jack Zipes, a means of communicating about serious problems such as the abandonment of children or the self-sacrifice traditionally expected of women. He picks the best books to help us reflect on the meaning and significance of fairy tales.
The award-winning novelist talks about coming-of-age tales, highlights the wonder of the moment when adolescents find the world suddenly leaping into focus
Goalkeepers Are Different
by Brian Glanville
The Illustrated History of Football
by David Squires
The Kingfisher Football Encyclopedia
by Clive Gifford
Kane (Ultimate Football Heroes)
by Matt & Tom Oldfield
Football School Season 1: Where Football Explains the World
by Alex Bellos, Ben Lyttleton & Spike Gerrell
There are a lot of books about football for sale in bookshops these days, but which ones are any good? 11-year-old Alexander, who loves football as well as reading, shares his choices of the best football books for kids as part of our ‘By Children for Children‘ series.