What books for kids will be under your tree this Christmas?
Are We There Yet? From David Walliams to Rebel Girls, these are your favourites
What books will be under the tree for children this Christmas?
I’m not the best at conjuring up those golden moments of early parenting, those times in the midst of the madness, when you realised how very lucky you were. A cute photograph I stumble upon browsing through iCloud can help. A shaky, silly video clip of two noisy toddlers will do it too. But nothing brings those moments back like flicking through a book I’ve read what feels like hundreds of times to a consistently rapturous reception.
I keep a small box of the most precious ones and of all of them Peepo by Janet and Allan Ahlberg does it for me . I only have to look at the illustration of the laundry drying in that babies gloriously messy home to dive back into those early days. Ten Little Fingers, Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox is another one we had from the beginning and other staples that we still dig out are the always entertaining and hilarious Berenstein Bears books.
Whether it’s that Potter boy or that Pippi girl, books offer a portal to the past like no other. These days mine are reading their own from Roddy Doyle’s poo-infested Giggler Treatment to my own beloved Milly Molly Mandy collection to the entire excellent Tom Gates canon. When they are a little older I can’t wait to introduce them to Anna Carey’s junior suffragette adventure The Making of Mollie.
I asked people on Twitter about the books they’ll be giving children this Christmas and why they chose them. To sum up: Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli, The President’s Glasses by Peter Donnelly, A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea by Sarah Webb and Steve McCarthy and Bad Dad by David Walliams will be making appearances under lots of trees this Christmas. Support your local bookshops wherever you are and check out #IrishTimesKidsBooks on Twitter for more inspiration.
You can read The Irish Times best children’s and YA books of 2017 here.
Now for some more recommendations:
Peepo – the board book version so she can turn the pages – for my 9-month-old daughter because it’s timeless, engaging, well-written and beautifully illustrated. I loved it as a child too. – Victoria
I’m giving The President’s Glasses by Peter Donnelly and a Paddington Bear book to one set of cousins. – Ger
Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann is a wordless romp which will help children develop their narrative skills, inference, and humour. Particularly useful for children who can read words but miss the point and the emotions, or the deeper meaning. – Doris
Puffin Rock for smallies, ages 2-4. It’s linked to Cartoon Saloon show on Netflix – nice, gentle stories which are also meant to be good for a nearly 5-year-old just starting to read. – Caitriona
Here We Are: Notes for Living on Planet Earth by Oliver Jeffers. I got it for my niece and nephew. My Mam, their nanny, passed away in October and I think the book might give them a little more understanding and maybe answer some of their questions. – Laura
Rosa Parks (Little People Big Dreams) by Lisbeth Kaiser and Marta Antelo; Focloiropedia by Fatti and John Burke; Adam Saves The Seasons by Benji Bennett; Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai – all stories to open young eyes and minds. – Sandra
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli. Wonderful look at great women across history and how important they are. Also beautifully illustrated. Perfect gift for anyone but I’d say 12 years and up. – Sam
You really can’t go wrong with JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books for instilling a sense of magic, intrigue, a dash of just the right amount of scary stuff, and a resulting love of reading. (And a fantastic female heroine too that makes nerdy cool!) – Ann-Marie
I’ve been reading my now 6-month-old the Gruffalo stories and Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson since birth. She loves the rhyme and pictures, but my Roald Dahl collection awaits her. Battered, re-read multiple times, and oh so loved! – Sarah
The Worm that Saved the World by Kevin Doyle. Ticks all boxes. – Paula
Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli . My daughter is almost 7 and she deserves to be anything and everything she wants to be. – Paul
The Snow Lion by Jim Helmore, I’m a learning support teacher and find this is unanimous favourite with kids from 4-10. Incredible illustrations and lovely subliminal message about being brave in new environment. – Laura W
Alice in Wonderland kids novel for the 4-year old-nephew – never too young to learn the world can be absolutely bonkers. – Barry
I love tellmystorybook.com books for my niece (4). The makers of the books use real photographs of the child in the story so it looks like they are the character in the book. It’s adorable. (Irish made and designed, Available in Arnotts, Dublin) – Paul
I’ve bought three copies of Impossible Inventions by a Polish writer Malgorzata Mycielska. I may have to go back for a fourth it’s a great read. Marta in the Gutter Bookshop in Dalkey, Co Dublin, recommended it. – Martina
Where to start? For 5-year-old – Winnie and Wilbur meet Santa; and Nuddy Ned’s Christmas. For 9-yr-old – Bad Dad by David Walliams and The Minpins by Roald Dahl, newly illustrated by Quentin Blake. – Sinead
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr – helps to understand the idea of refugees at a childhood level. Measuring Penny by Loreen Leedy, a fun girl maths book that features a dog. Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey because the 7-year-old boy is addicted. – Pamela
A Sailor Went to Sea Sea Sea for the younger ones and Rocking the System by Siobhán Parkinson for my 12-y-o niece. – Riona
Half of my choices, for 8 grandkids : Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls ×2 for the girls age 7 and 9. Illegal, by Eoin Colfer & Andrew Donkin (for the 11-year-old), stunning graphic novel Beyond the Sky by Dara O’ Briain for the seven year old , future astronaut. – Mags
For various ages Gangsta Granny by David Walliams, The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt and the first Hairy Maclary From Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd. – Jenn
Bad Dad by David Walliams and a boxed set of Tom Gates series. Would highly recommend the Darkmouth books by Shane Hegarty. – Alison
A Sailor Went To Sea, Sea, Sea by Sarah Webb and Steve McCarthy. Gorgeous book! – Sarah
The President’s Glasses for my 3-year-old, can’t wait to read it. – Heather
There May Be a Castle by Piers Torday for my niece because it avoids princesses and pink and goes for talking animals and bravery and farts and fun and fantasy and deals with life and death. – Ita
Stephen Cartwright’s Animal Hide and Seek (Farmyard Tales Touchy-feely) is my go-to book for all small children. – Ruth
A Boy Called Christmas and The Girl Who Saved Christmas by Matt Haig because they are brilliant stories, so engaging and wonderfully written. – Aoife