Time for the annual Christmas round-up of children’s books. I’ve done a lot fewer school, nursery and bookshop visits this year, but luckily these beauties weren’t hiding away…
Educational Psychologist and Daddy to Tabitha & Marlow
The Barnabus Project
Laughs, suspense, monster-tech, toy marketing and a wait-for-the-sequel ending: it’s all in here! With now feeling illustrations.
One of a Kind
Works both as a shared child-adult experience and as a maze of pictures for both older and younger children to explore for themselves.
While you were Sleeping
…and you should really be asleep already, but OK one more book.
Coming to England
Disclosure: I am old enough to remember Floella Benjamin on Play School (or Playaway? Or both?). It’s topical and relevant without that getting in the way of it being written just right to read out loud.
Best new children’s book I’ve seen this year. One of those rare all-pictures-no-words books where you don’t miss the words. Unashamedly activist and spooky (“creepy”, the twins would say) beneath the playful meaning with nature’s oceanic splendour. Bet Greta has a copy.
Sofia Valdez, Future Prez
I am a proud local government employee (stop reading now if you like). Not aware of any other children’s book bagging up the wholesomeness of local govermnent (OK, maybe ‘Library Lion’). My interests therefore disclosed, I can recommend this as the best in the series so far.
Solomon and Mortimer
Partners in crime.
A History of Pictures
Ok, so this is undeniably a picture book but it assumes a level of both vocabulary and drawing nouse that makes it a 9, 10, 11, 12 year old book for me. What it does best is explain the gradual technical development of human art in a way that makes sense to a to a young person wanting to make next steps with their own drawing (you can’t beat practical advice from historical sources mediated by, well, Hockney on fugitive art).
The Somerset Tsunami
Creepy…in a good way.
Black and British
Many people’s favourite TV historian (or mine anyway) writing relevant child-accessible history. The publisher is saying 12 plus, but many KS2 kids will be hooked on these short and surprising stories.
Earthsea, The First Four Books
For those reading addicts who’ve already read everything the kindly bookshop/library folks have suggested and can get through a new David Williams in way less than a weekend, check this out: nearly 1,000 pages of the missing link between Narnia and Star Wars, with some mind-bendingly arcane language to match (but you’re still hooked). I read most of this as a child (not sure I ever got as deep into those 900+ pages as one of ours has).
Christmas Classics, Old And New
Early years classic seasonalised! Gift within a gift!
The Three Wishes
A plausible creation myth for both believers and non-believers (we have both).
The Night Before Christmas
So old skool it’s old school if you please.
*Thank you to Aligators’ Mouth Richmond and Daunt Book Holland Park whose copies I flicked through*