It’s December, so we are officially allowed to use the C word and start on our shopping. Books are of course a great gift for children who love reading, as well as for those who haven’t yet fallen in love with it. Here’s your Patron of Reading’s own selection of brilliant titles published this year, for all ages.
Feel free to add your own recommendations in the comments below!
My Dreams by Xavier Deneux
This is one for babies and toddlers, with big chunky pages, stark black and white illustrations and even some glow in the dark bits! A gentle bed-time read by the author-illustrator of the brilliant My Animals in the same series, for the same age group.
How to Find Gold by Viviane Schwarz
Anna and Crocodile are on a mission to find gold: they have to be really sneaky and really clever about it, in case of competition. This is a glorious read, with bright and funny dialogue that will prompt map-making and treasure-hunting around the house for sure. 3+
Rabbit and Bear series by Julian Gough and Jim Field
Take Rabbit, who has never uttered the word ‘fun’, and Bear, who is kind but a bit dim-witted. Place them in a snowy countryside with some mouldy carrots, the makings of a snowman and a wolf (maybe). This is an extremely funny read, with some gross bits occasionally thrown in, to read aloud or read all by yourself. 6+
Mega Robo Bros by Neill Cameron
Sibling rivalry with robots and super powers, what’s not to like? An awesome, fast-paced and hilarious comic that is the first in a series. Brilliant! 7-10
For the fact-lovers out there, here comes this atlas with a different. Take a stroll around the world and learn to great the locals in over 150 languages. With flaps to lift and big, detailed pictures to pore over, this promises hours of quiet reading. 8+
Tamsin and the Deep by Neill Cameron and Kate Brown
Another fabulous comic with plenty of adventure and suspense, and a healthy dose of magic and scares. Tamsin is off surfing when a rogue wave drags her under apparently forever. A month later, she resurfaces, apparently unscathed, but she has brought back from the deep a magic stick and, unfortunately, a very nasty creature… 9-12
Football School by Alex Bellos, Ben Lyttleton and Spike Gerell
A treat for football fans, Football School is a handy guide to explaining absolutely everything through football. Hilarious and full of fascinating trivia. 9+
Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Sputnik may look like a dog, but, really, he is an alien from outer space and his mission is to find 10 good reasons to save Earth from its scheduled annihilation. Prez is the human boy who first opens his door to Sputnik and thus the crazy adventure begins. A big, fat novel that reads super-fast because it is so giggle-inducing and action-packed. 10+
Survivors by David Long and Kerry Hyndman
These true stories of survival from the past century should delight those who love facts and ‘real’ stories. The real-life heroes in these pages have survived being attacked by bears, trapped in canyons, surrounded by sharks and crashing in their plane in the jungle. Heartening, gripping and occasionally graphic: edge-of-your-seat stuff. 11+
The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin
Prepare to cry, prepare to laugh as you meet ex-best friends Franny and Suzy. Ever since Franny died at the beach, Suzy has stopped talking. Stopped talking, but not thinking. Suzy is a practical, scientific kind of girl and what she thinks is this: there must be more to Franny’s death. Heart-breaking and empowering in equal measure, this is one to cuddle up with. 12+
Nothing Tastes as Good by Claire Hennessy
One for Young-Adult readers, this is the story of Annabel, a snarky, anorexic teen who also happens to be a ghost. Her job is to look after Julia, an over-achieving, bright girl with an obesity issue. The irony isn’t lost on Annabel who has very personal notions of what it might mean to ‘help’ her charge. Spot on, funny and gripping, it doesn’t shy away from strong language and mature topics. Young Adult
For more great book ideas, head over to Inis magazine, where you will find books for all ages in English and Irish. Your local library should also have a copy of this year's Inis Reading Guide, which contains over 250 quick reviews of books for babies to young adults: picturebooks, early readers, chapter books, big, fat novels, fact books and poetry.