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Cracking Reads for Children

“Reading contributes to children's well-being, and improves vocabulary and literacy skills, which will help them to break down barriers in adulthood.”

My love of reading was inspired by my father, a great storyteller in his own right, who helped me discover the magic of both fiction and non-fiction books as a child. It led to a career in children’s publishing, and the recent launch of the Children’s Book Club, a subscription box service to help little ones find joy in reading for themselves.

Research has shown that reading helps children better understand their own identity and encourages empathy. It also contributes to their well-being, and improves vocabulary and literacy skills, which will help them to break down barriers in adulthood.

To help make reading a habit – and a pleasure – for the kids in your life, I’ve selected some of the best children’s and young adult books around; perfect as stocking fillers or gifts for kids to curl up with this winter.

To find out more about the Children’s Book Club subscription box service, please visit or follow us at

Counting on Katherine

Helaine Becker and Dow Phumiruk

Counting on Katherine depicts groundbreaking African American mathematician, Katherine Johnson, who worked for NASA for 35 years. Katherine’s role was critical to the success of crewed missions, including the historic moon landing and the safe return of ill-fated Apollo 13. An empowering picture book that will inspire young readers to reach for the stars.

Lights on Cotton Rock

David Litchfield

Perfectly pitched for children aged 4-7, bestselling author David Litchfield is back with an out-of-this-world picture-book about Heather, a little girl with big dreams. Following an early outer space encounter, this lyrical read takes your little one along for the ride as Heather discovers there is magic closer to home.

The Extremely Inconvenient Adventures of Bronte Mettlestone

Jaclyn Moriarty

When 10-year-old Bronte’s parents are killed by pirates, they bequeath her an unusual request in their will. To save her home, she must deliver gifts to every single one of her ten aunts. This intriguing tale of magical kingdoms will enthrall your tween as they accompany Bronte on her quest for the truth.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance

Tomi Adeyemi

This powerful YA fantasy novel is set in the mythical land of Orïsha, where Zélie is fighting for Amari’s right for the throne, and to ultimately save the kingdom. Adeyemi’s stunning sequel to the New York Times bestseller Children of Blood and Bone, this read is perfect for Game of Thrones and Black Panther fans.

My First Book of Comparisons

Clive Gifford and Ana Seixas

Did you know that a cheetah can accelerate faster than a car, or that Earth is three times bigger than Mercury? This treasure trove of facts is aimed at young readers with curious minds. It cleverly compares animals and objects in a captivating way to improve your child’s knowledge of the world around them.

Knight Sir Louis and The Dreadful Damsel

The Brothers McLeod

Arise Knight Sir Louis, the bravest hero and champion knight of Castle Sideways! Your child will love delving into the completely bonkers world of Louis as he takes on his arch-nemesis, the Dreadful Damsel. A beautifully illustrated read that will appeal to fans of Tom Gates.

Wilder Girls

Rory Power

Though this pacey young adult read is set in a dystopian world, it’s eerily apt given how 2020 has unfolded. As a virus takes hold at Raxter School for Girls, forcing them into quarantine, this tale sees protagonist Hetty dig deep to save her best friend as she uncovers some terrifying truths.

Old Enough to Save the Planet

Loll Kirby and Adelina Lirius

A must-have non-fiction title from small independent publishers, Magic Cat, Old Enough to Save the Planet is an essential read for children aged 6+. Focusing on the inspirational voices of young climate change activists, it’s a powerful and engaging read, which highlights how children can play a crucial role in helping to save the planet.

High-Rise Mystery

Sharna Jackson

Following a murder at high-rise block ‘The Tri’, super sleuths Nik and Norva set out to solve the crime. Aimed at children aged 9-12, this fast-paced read from inclusive children’s fiction publisher, Knights Of, will hook your young reader in right from the start as they join the duo on the hunt for suspects.


Charles Dickens ewjcz7
Fri 1 Dec 2023

Charles Dickens has been credited with ‘inventing’ Christmas as we know it today or – perhaps more accurately – ‘re-inventing’ the festivity, thanks to the immediate and enduring popularity of his 1843 classic, A Christmas Carol.

Love island Will cb37go
Wed 1 Nov 2023

Dubbed ‘The Steve Irwin of Farm Animals’, Farmer Will (aka Will Young) won us over way before he appeared on last winter’s Love Island, with his adorable TikTok videos showing the ups and downs of life at the farm.

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Wed 1 Nov 2023

Oxfordshire-based author Eve Smith describes her books as speculative thrillers, but they should come with a caveat: DO NOT READ AT BEDTIME.

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Wed 1 Nov 2023

The wonderful Kim Harvey, owner of The Mad Hatter Bookshop in Burford (and Creative Director of The Burford Literary Festival) shares her reading suggestions on this month’s theme.