Green Bean Studios’ Top 25 Children’s Books – Celebrating 25 Years of World Book Day
This year World Book Day is celebrating its 25th birthday, promoting a love of reading and sharing books for a quarter of a century. The annual charity event is held every year on the first Thursday in March, with nurseries and schools organising fun events for children and families to get involved with. Each year, every child in the UK in full-time education is given a book voucher to be spent on books, meaning that every child has a book of their own and the opportunity to read for pleasure at home.
Research has shown that children who read for pleasure are more likely to succeed and have better opportunities in their lives. Having access to a wide variety of books not only at school, but also at home, is fundamental to enabling children to nurture a love of reading and therefore boost their wellbeing and reach their full potential in life.
To celebrate 25 years of World Book Day’s life-changing annual event, Green Bean Studios has put together our top 25 children’s books, based on what our team members love reading to their children, or remember loving as children themselves!
The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle
There are no surprises that this perennial favourite has made it onto our list. Eric Carle’s story delights children with unique illustrations, and fun features including flaps and a hole that the hungry caterpillar has nibbled right through the pages! A beautiful tale that continues to be read to generation after generation.
Spot The Dog – Eric Hill
Perhaps it’s something about ‘Erics’ and the ability to create books that young children adore? Eric Hill’s series of books follow Spot, a lovable dog who explores and learns with everyday experiences that are highly relatable to the early years audience.
Freckle Juice (Banana Books) – Judy Blume
American author, Judy Blume, tells the hilarious tale of a school boy called Andrew who admires the freckles of a boy who sits in front of him in class. Andrew decides he really wants freckles as well – mean girl Susan swears she has a recipe to grow freckles, but things start to go awry for Andrew! Judy Blume has a wonderful way of telling stories from a child’s perspective, making this a perfect early reader for children.
Harry Potter Series – J. K. Rowling
This global phenomenon needs little introduction. The series of seven fantasy novels for children and young adults has sold over 500 million copies worldwide, making them the best-selling book series in history! The stories follow the life of young wizard, Harry Potter, and his friends who study at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, as they battle against evil wizard Lord Voldemort. Though the stories are positioned as middle-grade or young adult, they have been read and enjoyed by just as many adults as children.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Jeff Kinney
This series of tales includes hilarious writing and cartoons, following protagonist Greg Heffley as he navigates the ups and downs of school, family and friendship. The diary style of writing, relatable humour and unique illustrations make this a firm favourite for children. First published in 2007, the books have now sold over 250 million copies worldwide!
Aliens Love Underpants – Claire Freedman
A laugh-out-loud rhyming story that does what it says on the tin! Children are instantly drawn to the vibrant illustrations of aliens exploring underwear and wreaking mayhem. The amusing story is carried along by the rhyming text, making it engaging and fun for young children to be read to.
The Snowman – Raymond Briggs
A classic story that has been loved by families for decades, The Snowman is a charming tale that children love at Christmas and all year round. This children’s picture book contains no words, instead relying on the captivating illustrations to tell the story. The animated film adaptation of this book released in 1982 was an instant hit and continues to be enjoyed by families every year at Christmas.
Me! – Linda Cole & Luana Rinaldo
A wonderful board book helping children to learn about their bodies in an accessible and engaging way. With amusing, rhyming text and sensory elements throughout, this book is ideal for helping children to learn in a fun way.
Little Kippers – Mick Inkpen
Mick Inkpen has delighted children for years with his character, Kipper, in a series of best-selling picture books. Kipper is a dog who has fun, relatable experiences that children love, and the unique illustrative style is adored by parents and children alike.
Cecil the Lost Sheep – Andrew John McDonough
Cecil the sheep is lost! This charming story follows Cecil as he runs, hides, climbs, and gets stuck – but will he ever find his way home? Children love the bright illustrations and engaging writing as they encourage interaction, making it the ideal book for parents to read out loud.
Horrible Histories Series – Terry Deary, Peter Hepplewhite, and Neil Tonge
This series of illustrated history books are a brilliant, hilarious introduction for children into the world of history, teaching them all about what happened in the past in an accessible way. With fun facts which are often gruesome or simply a bit gross, the books have huge appeal for children as they learn about the fascinating yet often brutal past.
Winnie the Pooh – A. A. Milne
A loveable cast of characters in these classic children’s stories by English author A. A. Milne, following teddy bear Winnie the Pooh and his human friend Christopher Robin, as well as Rabbit, Tigger, Kanga, Roo, Piglet, Owl and Eeyore on their adventures in the Hundred Acre Woods.
Dear Zoo – Rod Campbell
A timeless children’s classic lift-the-flap book which has been loved by families for almost 40 years! What type of animals will be delivered to the zoo? Children love the interactive elements of this book and discovering the different animals beneath the flaps.
Harry and the Robots – Ian Whybrow
Harry’s robot stops working, so he sends it off to the robot hospital to get fixed. Then his Nan gets poorly and has to go to a hospital too. Luckily, Harry knows just what to do and makes lots of robots to help blast away Nan’s cough! This wonderful story is one in a series of others including main character Harry, from best-selling author Ian Whybrow.
Funny Bones – Janet and Allan Ahlberg
These much-loved children’s stories from award-winning husband and wife writers Janet and Allan Ahlberg tell the tale of three skeletons - a big skeleton, a little skeleton and a dog skeleton, as they live fairly ordinary lives, just like us, enjoying walking the dog, going to the park, and going on holiday.
Zog – Julia Donaldson
Zog is a clumsy dragon who tries his hardest in class to win a golden star. This lovable character is one of many fantastic creations from children’s picture book sensation, Julia Donaldson. With wonderful illustrations from Axel Sheffler, this book is an instant hit with children and parents alike.
Superworm – Julia Donaldson
Another wonderfully silly children’s picture book by Julia Donaldson about an earthworm who saves the day. When Superworm is captured by the evil wizard lizard, Superworm’s garden friends come to the rescue. Excellent, hilarious rhyming text and more lovable illustrations from Axel Sheffler make this a firm family favourite.
The Trouble with Grandad – Babette Cole
Grandad is great at growing enormous vegetables, winning all the prizes at the vegetable shows. The other exhibitors aren’t impressed, and one of them gives him a tomato that keeps growing bigger, and bigger, and bigger. Though this gets Grandad into lots of trouble, he saves the day by growing a gigantic cucumber! Wonderful storytelling that has been loved by generation after generation of children and parents.
Hairy Maclary – Lynley Dodd
This series of children’s books follow the misadventures of a scruffy, mischievous dog as he chases and bounces around – often ending up in a spot of bother! Energetic rhyming text and unique illustrations make these hugely appealing stories for children.
Mog in the Dark – Judith Kerr
Mog is a cat with big thoughts and big feelings. One night, she sits in the dark, thinking dark thoughts…then has a dream that she can fly! On her nighttime adventures, she comes across weird and wonderful creatures including a ‘mousedogbird’. Finally, she is reunited with her family for her supper and bed. A perennial favourite, this children’s classic is just one out of a whole series of books featuring Mog.
Supertato – Sue Hendra
The first book in a best-selling series of hilarious children’s books. This laugh-out-loud tale is loved by children, and one that parents will enjoy reading over and over again. Supertato is a superhero who saves the other vegetables from his arch-nemesis, a very naughty pea.
The Runaway Pea – Kjartan Poskitt
This brilliantly silly story is all about a pea who escapes from the plate. When he ends up under the fridge it seems that all is lost, but there’s a happy ending for this escapea! With vibrant, amusing illustrations and playful rhyming text, children adore this tale and keep coming back to it for the fun factor.
The Tiger Who Came To Tea - Judith Kerr
Perhaps Judith Kerr’s best-known and best-loved children’s story, this tale carries a certain wonder and magic with the iconic illustrations drawn by Judith Kerr herself, and a story which combines the ordinary with the extraordinary when a tiger knocks on the door and is invited in for tea with Sophie and her mother – only to eat and drink everything in their house!
I Am A Tiger – Karl Newson
Quirky and laugh-out-loud funny, this children’s story tells the tale of a mouse who thinks he’s a tiger. In fact, this cheeky mouse is so confident that he’s a tiger, that when he meets an actual tiger, he manages to convince it that it is in fact a mouse! Brilliant characterisation through the illustrations and clever writing make this a huge hit with children and grown ups too.
Santa Claus VS. The Easter Bunny – Fred Blunt
The Easter Bunny works hard every year to make chocolate eggs and give them to children, but unlike Santa Claus, bunny gets no thanks for his efforts and decides to sabotage Santa. Though his plans go awry, all works out in the end and the Easter Bunny is finally rewarded for his hard work. Hilarious, witty writing and charming illustrations make this a wonderful story to read aloud with kids. Children will be wanting to leave a carrot out at Easter for the Easter Bunny every year after reading this story!
We hope you’ve enjoyed reading our top 25 books for children, and may discover some new ones to share with your children this year! Are there any others you’d add to this list? What are your all-time favourite books for children? Connect with us on social and carry on the conversation on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
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Melissa Brannlund is the features writer and editor, for Green Bean Studios.
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