Seven of the best kids books from smalls to teen
Marilyn Brocklehurst of Norfolk Children's Book Centre gives us her top reads for the kids this Christmas.
The Norfolk Children’s Book Centre is a magical discovery. I was told about it by a friend a few years ago and look forward to taking the youngest there again when lockdown ends. It’s a world of children’s books (50,000 to be precise) and is off the beaten track in Alby. In recent pre-pandemic times, you could lounge on the comfy sofas drinking coffee while reading to the kids from the wonderfully curated range, so it’s well worth a visit (see if you recognise the famous authors scrawls and drawings on the wall). In the meantime you can order via their website. NCBC supplies schools with books as well as the general public.
‘There are so many wonderful books to suggest for Christmas this year, it’s difficult to know where to stop. Here are a few unmissable treats.’
AGE THREE – FIVE
One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller is a gorgeous picture book which will entertain the youngest in your family. It’a book that’s perfect for sharing, with bold and beautiful pictures, a nice bit of tension and with a satisfying and perfectly realised ending.
AGE FIVE – EIGHT
A Thing Called Snow by Yuval Zommer introduces Hare and Arctic Fox who have never seen snow, and make it their business to find out what everyone’s talking about. It’s a great book to read aloud, and the illustrations are utterly lovely – in fact all Yuval’s books are really special.
POETRY ALL AGES
Everybody has fallen for Tiger, Tiger Burning Bright, one of the most beautiful books to be published this Autumn. Published in conjunction with the National Trust, it has a natural history poem for every day of the year selected by Fiona Waters, and features the most exquisite illustrations provided by Britta Teckentrup. It’s one of those books that will be handed down from generation to generation – an absolute delight.
AGE NINE UPWARDS
Children from 9 and up will thoroughly enjoy Sophie Anderson’s The Castle of Tangled Magic. This prize winning author introduces Olia, the courageous and charismatic heroine who bravely negotiates the twists and turns of the cleverly constructed plot. Sophie has created an entertaining, twisted fairytale with added spark and with roots in ancient mythology.
The Book of Hopes, (words and pictures to comfort, inspire and entertain) edited by Katherine Rundell is just the sort of book needed right at this moment. Bite size thoughts, poems, doodles, funny stories, jokes, entertaining illustrations, happy stories, true stories, this is a book to be swept away by, to be comforted with in these difficult times, to dip into or to read in one sitting, to read aloud, or have someone read to you. Everyone’s favourite authors are to be found in these pages – there is something for children of all ages within. Proceeds from the sale go to The NHS, to whom the book is dedicated.
The Enigma Game is a meticulously researched and highly readable thriller set in North East Scotland during the second world war. It has a cast of intriguing characters, and is packed with fascinating historical information, undercover plots and astonishing bravery. It’s a perfect choice for bored teenagers to curl up with on a winter’s day.
AGE NINE – TWELVE
Our favourite reference book this year has got to be The All New Children’s Encyclopedia. Every child from nine to twelve would benefit from owning this browsable and fascinating tome – it has 424 pages of stuff you didn’t know you didn’t know. The pages are packed with interesting facts and informative illustrations about mummies, the brain, space, philosophy, history and so much else. It’s written by experts, and edited by the genius that is Christopher Lloyd. It would make a great family Christmas present.