Tuva Kahrs, Children's Editor

Tuva is children’s editor of Five Books. Originally from Norway, she is now based in Scotland. She graduated from Oxford University where she specialised in classical Japanese poetry, and has a Master’s from the London School of Economics. She worked in international relations in Beijing and at energy research institute in Seoul before turning her attention to something much more important: children’s books. As well as interviews with authors and experts, she keeps an eye on new books coming out to bring you carefully compiled lists: the best kids’ books of 2023 and the best teen books of 2023. Her other editor’s picks can be found here.

Interviews by Tuva Kahrs

The Best Historical Fiction for 8-12 Year Olds, recommended by Catherine Johnson

There is some fabulous historical fiction out there for 8-12 year olds, some of it old, some of it new. British novelist Catherine Johnson, author of a number of historical novels for kids and young adults, recommends some of the best—from short stories to epics and from straight historical novels to those with a strong dose of fantasy and magic.

Best Science Books for Children: the 2022 Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize, recommended by Alan Wilson

The Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize celebrates books that stimulate children’s curiosity and enthusiasm to explore, innovate and debate. Alan Wilson, Chair of this year’s judging panel, talks us through the six outstanding science books for kids that made the 2022 shortlist.

The Best Finance Books for Teens and Young Adults, recommended by Darren Collins

Financial literacy is an essential life skill, but it is not routinely taught at school and not everybody has good role models to look to for financial behaviour. Reading can certainly help. Finance teacher Darren Collins recommends his top books for teens and young adults to learn the fundamentals for making sound personal finance decisions in life.

The Scariest Books for Kids, recommended by Jack Meggitt-Phillips

Scary children's books give kids the pleasure of immersing themselves in an exciting page-turner, and are an excellent way to get reluctant readers to read novels. As long as you pay attention to individual children's sensibilities, it shouldn't be hard to find books that give them thrills rather than nightmares. Children's author Jack Meggitt-Phillips talks us through his favourite scary books for kids.

Best Science Books for Children: the 2021 Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize, recommended by Katharine Cashman

In selecting the best science books for children, the judges of the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize identify books that are scientifically accurate as well as accessible and engaging. Katharine Cashman, Professor of Volcanology at Bristol University and Chair of this year’s judging panel, talks us through the six wonderful books that made the 2021 shortlist.

Best West African Fantasy Books for Teenagers, recommended by Efua Traoré

Fantasy inspired by West Africa is taking the literary scene for teens and young adults by storm. These books have strong world-building and all the usual fantasy ingredients. At the same time, drawing on rich seams of mythology and magical traditions such as juju, they bring something entirely fresh to the genre. Author Efua Traoré talks us through her pick of West African fantasy novels for teenagers.

Best Books for Preschool Kids, recommended by Janice Stewart-Yates

With travel restricted in much of the world due to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, it is more important than ever to open children’s minds through books. Janice Stewart-Yates, a passionate Montessori educator, shares her recommendations for books that bring the world to children. These are some of her favourite picks for preschool classroom story time, as well as for reading with her own daughter.

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library – Inspiring a Lifelong Love of Reading, recommended by Marion Gillooly

Dolly Parton is an iconic singer and songwriter, but many children around the world know her as their librarian. Through the Imagination Library she nurtures a love of books in young children. Marion Gillooly, Executive Director, The Dollywood Foundation UK, talks us through the background of Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library and highlights five of her favourite books in the catalogue (which she admits was really hard: “all the books are my favourites”).