A child Prime Minister, a time-travelling caveman and a guide to Einstein...
Here, we wrap up the best books to keep all the family entertained…
1. Albert Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, by Carl Wilkinson (Lawrence King)
“The important thing is to not stop questioning”. These were the famous words of Albert Einstein and this thought-provoking hardback, broken down into bite-sized chapters, is perfect for children to understand how his amazing mind changed the world. There are some beautiful illustrations and it is currently Amazon’s number one bestseller in science and technology biographies for children and young adults.
2. Pippi Longstocking Goes Aboard, by Astrid Lindgren (Oxford University Press)
Celebrating the 75th anniversary of the strongest girl in the world, the Pippi Longstocking series has been captured in this beautiful gift edition hardback. It is illustrated by Charlie & Lola’s Lauren Child and follows Pippi on her many brilliant adventures.
3. The Ickabog, by J.K. Rowling (Little Brown)
One of the best things to come out of lockdown – J.K. Rowling had this book stored in her loft to read to her children when she decided to serialise it online for everyone stuck at home. And what an incredible world it conjured. Warm, witty, wise, this is a modern-day fairytale to move boys and girls alike. An instant classic, no children’s shelf is complete without it.
4. The Accidental Prime Minister Returns, by Tom McLaughlin (Oxford University Press)
Joe Perkins, the first child to become Prime Minister, is back and up for re-election. Bringing his whoopee cushion to yet another boring meeting – there’s a lot to be learnt from Joe and his antics. Bound to be a hit with mischievous, ambitious minds.
5. The Midnight Guardians, by Ross Montgomery (Walker Books)
A big-hearted, enchanting adventure based in Blitz-bombed London. The midnight Guardians is the story of Col and his imaginary friends (who just happen to include a six-foot tiger and a dapper badger who suddenly spring to life) and their magical adventure to save his sister. This is definitely one to whisk them away at bedtime and was Waterstone’s children’s book of the month in November.
6. Pierre The Maze Detective: The Curious Case of the Castle in the Sky, by Hiro Kamigaki (Laurence King)
Budding investigators and puzzle fiends will love the new case for Pierre the Maze Detective. Let your little ones trace through the intricate illustrations and spot the clues in a fantastic world of underground cities, hot air balloon rides and haunted houses. The epic journey to find the stolen maze stone will (hopefully) keep them quiet for hours.
7. The Time-travelling Caveman, by Sir Terry Pratchett (Penguin)
A final short-story collection by the masterful Sir Terry Pratchett. The stories were written when he was just a young man starting out and are filled with magic, adventure and his irrepressible, wonderful wit. As the man himself said: “Imagination is an amazing thing”.
8. Your Mood Journal, by Fearne Cotton (Penguin)
Emotions can seem big and complex, especially this year, but the more children understand, the better they become at managing them. This interactive activity book is designed to help little ones recognise and understand their emotions. With stickers to customise the cover, children have the space to write, draw and express how they feel and most importantly have fun. It’s a great way to encourage your child to begin journaling and a good exercise for the whole family.
9. A Really Short History of Nearly Everything, by Bill Bryson (Penguin)
Taking children from the Big Bang to the dawn of science – this is a well-informed, well written (they aren’t all!) history of the world. Every child should have a copy (and parents will learn a lot as well).
10. Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright, selected by Fiona Waters (Nosy Crow)
From unforgettable classics to modern-day poetry from around the world, you will find a poem for every day of the year in this sumptuous anthology. With work by Ted Hughes, William Blake, Dick King-Smith, Lewis Carroll, and Emily Dickinson, it is illustrated by award-winning artist Britta Teckentrup and is a gentle, inspiring way to introduce your children to the world of poetry.
11. The Wintertime Paradox by Dave Rudden (Penguin)
Doctor Who followers will love this thrilling anthology of festive adventures through time and space for the long winter nights. Written by popular children’s author and lifelong fan of the show, Dave Rudden, it features the best-loved characters and places from the Doctor Who world.
12. Football School Epic Heroes, by Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton (Walker Books)
Celebrating the greatest players and teams in football history with 50 true stories, from Rashford to Ronaldo. Discover the dog that helped win the league and the team who won the championship with the very final kick of the game. A must-read for young football fans.
13. Telephone Tales by Gianni Rodari (Enchanted Lion)
Every night at 9 o’clock Signore Bianchi, an accountant who worked as a traveling salesman, called his daughter to tell her a bedtime story. Telephone Tales is a collection of children’s stories short enough to be read during a 20th century pay phone call. One night it is the story of a carousel so beloved by children that an old man finally sneaks on to understand why and sails above the world. The next it’s a land filled with butter men and roads paved with chocolate. Italy’s most beloved children’s author turns 100 this year and this new translation is not one to miss.