The Best Graphic Novels for Eight Year Olds, selected by Helen

“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.

Favourite Kids’ Books, recommended by Klaus Flugge

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.

The best books on Grandparents and Grandchildren, recommended by Joseph Coelho

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.

Best Football Books for Kids and Young Adults, recommended by Dave Cousins

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.

The Best Science-based Novels for Children, recommended by Alom Shaha

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.

Fierce Girls in Tween Fiction, recommended by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

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.

Cressida Cowell on Magical Stories for Kids

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.

Best Environmental Books for Kids, selected by Georgina Stevens

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.

Books about the Weather for Kids, recommended by Tim Hopgood

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.

The best books on Elves, recommended by Igreth the Elf

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 recommends the best Novels Set in Wild Places

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.

Children’s Books About Relationships, recommended by Jean Webb

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.’

Books Drawn From Myth and Fairy Tale, recommended by Alan Lee

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.

Marina Warner on Fairy Tales

‘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’

Gill Lewis on Children’s Books About the Refugee Crisis

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

Best Books About Dads, recommended by Paul Howard

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.

Jon Burgerman on the best Playful Books for Children

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.

Funny Books for Kids, recommended by Elys Dolan

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.

The best books on Teenage Mental Health, recommended by Rae Earl

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.

Best Series for 10 Year Olds, recommended by Izzy

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.

The best books on Fairy Tales, recommended by Jack Zipes

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.