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Reading for pleasure text ideas

February 2023 Sharing Book Recommendations

To create these recommendations, I have used a wide variety of websites and book lists including CLPE, Book Trust and Books for Topics. These websites are fabulous for reading suggestions and have a wide variety of book lists available for different themes and topics. 


0-3 years old

Look Touch Learn: Sea (Tummy Time)

Author: Illustrator: Charlotte Archer

A wiggly, slippery fish, a knobbly spiny starfish and swaying rubbery seaweed are just a few interesting words to listen to and shapes to look at in this seaside-inspired book for babies.


My Best Friend is A Giraffe

Author: Siân Roberts

A delightful and playful touch and feel board book. Bird’s best friend is a giraffe and this giraffe likes getting up to all kinds of silly antics…


Two Places to Call Home

Author: Phil Earle Illustrator: Jess Rose

Florrie has a home with her mum and a home with her dad – and she loves them both! An uplifting picture book to soothe worries about separation or divorce.


Rainforest (Now You See it!)

Author: Sarah Dellow

Find the hidden rainforest animals in this brilliant board book, featuring die-cut holes and high-contrast graphics. Perfect for building early visual perception skills.


I Really Really Love You So

Author: Karl Newson Illustrator: Duncan Beedie

Can Bush Baby find the best way to show love? A delightfully funny book that avoids cliché and sickly sentiment – but will certainly end with a hug!


Don’t Be Silly!

Author: Padmacandra

Bouncy Bo and Little Smudge are always being told ‘Don’t Be Silly!’ when they’re just having fun. But what fun do their grandparents have up their sleeves?


4-5 years old

The Kiss

Author: Eoin McLaughlin Illustrator: Polly Dunbar

Crocodile and Tiger are both feeling as sleepy as can be, and they both need someone to give them a goodnight kiss. Unfortunately, no one will, until they find their parents in the middle of the book who are always there to help them into dreamland.


I’m (Almost) Never Bored

Author: Anna Milbourne Illustrator: Åsa Gilland

A warm and comforting picture book about a little girl who learns to appreciate life’s boring moments away from screentime by having fun with her imagination.


The Littlest Yak: The New Arrival

Author: Lu Fraser Illustrator: Kate Hindley

Gertie, the littlest yak, is thrilled to learn that she will soon be a big sister but worries that there won’t be enough room in Mummy's heart for two little yaks. This humorous picture book is perfect to reassure young children who are expecting their own new sibling. 


Dare We Be Dragons?

Author: Barry Falls

A dad is putting his young daughter to bed, and as he tucks her in, they both start to imagine all of the adventures they could have together the next day. They could be dragons, or walk with giants in the woods, or fly to the moon and then swim with huge whales in the oceans. There are so many adventures that Dad and his little girl can have together – and,…


Ways to Say I Love You

Author: Madeleine Cook Illustrator: Fiona Lee

A gorgeous celebration of all the things we do with and for the people we love – from listening, to sharing, to playing together, to hugging.


Out of the Blue

Author: Robert Tregoning Illustrator: Stef Murphy

In a world where everything has to be blue, what happens if you like yellow? A joyous celebration of being individual.


Press Start! Game On, Super Rabbit Boy!

Author: Thomas Flintham

Aimed specifically at early readers, this super-fun colourful and accessible story will appeal to young gamers, and any child who enjoys simple yet engaging books.


6-8 years old

Secret Beast Club: The Unicorns of Silver Street

Author: Robin Birch Illustrator: Jobe Anderson

When best friends Aisha and Jayden become members of the Secret Beast Club, their first magical mission is to rescue a lost unicorn foal before he falls into the wrong hands. An exciting fantasy adventure for confident young readers.


You Are History

Author: Greg Jenner Illustrator: Jenny Taylor

A fun and riotous introduction to world history through fifty objects children encounter in everyday life.


History’s Biggest Show-Offs: The Boldest, Bravest and Brainiest People of All Time

Author: Andy Seed Illustrator: Sam Caldwell

Who are the biggest show-offs of all time? The people that have done some of the flashiest and most outrageously impressive things? Some of them were super powerful, some others were amazingly talented and some were extra clever. This book aims to give children an introduction to some of humanity’s greats, and inspire them to want to show off about their talents.


Bertie and the Alien Chicken

Author: Jenny Pearson Illustrator: Alexsei Bitskoff

Bertie must help Nugget the alien chicken find Earth’s most valuable resource - before the aliens blow up the planet! A brilliant humorous, dyslexia-friendly story.


Little Explorers: Science

Author: Templar Books

This would make a lovely addition particularly to a school library, or a great gift for a young science enthusiast with lots of questions.



Brilliant Bedtime Reads

Sharing a story is magical at any time - but there's something extra special about snuggling up for a story at bedtime. 


0-3 years


Goodnight, Little Bunny

Author: Amanda Wood Illustrator: Bec Winnel and Vikki Chu
Publisher: Magic Cat
Little Bunny sets out from her burrow for the first time - there are adventures to be had before it's time for bed. A simply told story and a very sweet book that combines illustrated backgrounds with real photography.


Shhh... Good Night

Author: Nicky Benson Illustrator: Thomas Elliott
Publisher: Little Tiger Press
The animals in the forest are finishing their day and settling down to sleep –  it’s time for quiet and time for dreams. A beautiful, lyrical, lullaby of a book that's perfect for soothing little ones into sleep.


Sleep Tight Very Hungry Caterpillar

Author: Eric Carle
Publisher: Puffin
You may be familiar with the tale of the Very Hungry Caterpillar and what he eats over the course of a week, but now it’s time to join him as he makes his way home to bed. A calming goodnight story from the nation’s favourite caterpillar.


Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Author: Nicola Slater
Publisher: Nosy Crow
All the animals are off to a jazz festival – the are deer playing clarinets, the tiger is on the trombone and the elephant is twanging a banjo! When it’s time for a singsong under the stars, what better than Twinkle, Twinkle? This musical board book, with Nicola Slater’s delightful 50s retro-feel illustrations is a lovely one whether for bedtime.


Baby, Sleepy Baby

Author: Atinuke Illustrator: Angela Brooksbank
Publisher: Walker

This soothing picture book lullaby celebrates the beautifully tender moments that families share with their sleepy babies at bedtime.


3-5 year olds

The Rabbit, the Dark and the Biscuit Tin

Author: Nicola O’Byrne
Publisher: Nosy Crow
It's starting to get dark but Rabbit doesn't want to go to sleep, so he traps the Dark in his biscuit tin. Can the Dark convince Rabbit about the benefits of night-time and to let him out? The perfect book for little ones who might be a bit reluctant to put down their toys and say goodnight. 


The Boy Who Loved Everyone

Author: Jane Porter Illustrator: Maisie Paradise Shearring
Publisher: Walker Books

Dimitri is new at nursery, and no matter how many people (and trees) he says 'I love you' to, no one says it back. Dimitri starts to get really sad. Even the guinea pig seems to want to get away!


When Mum walks him to nursery the next day, she explains that people show their feelings in different ways: the mean old man on the park bench is telling the stray cats he loves them by giving them tuna. Berthe the dinner lady says 'I love you' with her smile. Stella, Sue and Sophie tell the birds they love them by feeding them seed. Encouraged, Dimitri starts to see that most people love others.


A touching tale with a theme of emotional honesty and intelligence, The Boy Who Loved Everyone teaches children that the way others react and feel may not be the same as they might do, but that there are as many ways of expressing love as there are people. Shearring’s diverse illustrations are a real joy, especially the lovely nursery teacher.


Lulu's Sleepover

Author: Anna McQuinn Illustrator: Rosalind Beardshaw
Publisher: Alanna Max

Lulu is getting ready for her first ever sleepover. She’s going to be spending the night at her cousin Hani’s house, but first she needs to pack. Pyjamas, spare clothes, books and her favourite soft toys all go in the suitcase. She’s ready! At Hani’s house the cousins build, paint, play, dress up and even watch a film before bedtime. When it’s time for bed they snuggle up for stories before they fall asleep. In the morning, after trying a new breakfast dish, Daddy returns to collect Lulu with a big hug. Lulu has absolutely loved her first sleepover and can’t wait for when it’s Hani’s turn to stay at her house.


Spending the night away from home may be a little daunting for some children. Full of warmth and family love, the story focuses on the fun activities and joyful new experiences of a sleepover, making it perfect for a little one gearing up for their first sleepover with a relative or friend.


The story is told in simple language, making this a great read for toddlers and also for emerging readers to start working through. Beardshaw’s beautifully detailed artwork helps to lifts the story while conveying all the wonder and joy of Lulu’s new experiences.


More Would You Rather...

Author: John Burningham
Publisher: Penguin

Would you rather serve a meal to a very polite rat or a very bad-mannered cat? John Burningham's hilarious sequel to Would You Rather... poses this and other vital questions. A brilliant book you can turn into a game, which also ends with a particularly snuggly bed.


Goodnight World

Author: Nicola Edwards Illustrator: Hannah Tolson
Publisher: Caterpillar Books
When it’s time to say 'Goodnight', every language has a different way of saying the same thing. This soothing picture book has a lilting rhyme throughout as it helps us learn the phrase in various languages - along with the message that whatever our language or culture, we all sleep under the same stars, and bedtime is special for everyone.


5 - 7 year olds

The Best Kind of Bear

Author: Greg Gormley Illustrator: David Barrow
Publisher: Nosy Crow

Bear is a very sweet little bear, but he doesn’t know what type of bear he is. Spectacled? Grizzly? Polar? He meets them all but none of them seem quite right - until his best friend Nelly helps him discover that he's the best kind of bear there is. An adorable friendship story that's perfect for young animal lovers.


The Bookworm

Author: Debi Gliori
Publisher: Bloomsbury

Max's pet worm loves listening to stories - and also loves curry and chilli crisps. As it grows, Max realises his pet is not a worm after all, but something MUCH bigger. This heartwarming tale of a boy and his unusual pet’s relationship is full of the everyday magic that stories bring.


How To Be A Lion

Author: Ed Vere

Publisher: Puffin

Leonard is a gentle lion – a dreamer rather than a chomper – and, most importantly, a good friend to Marianne the duck. Just because you’re a lion doesn’t mean that you have to roar, and, in fact, perhaps if the other lions spent more time on Leonard’s thinking hill, they would be better lions altogether.


When the roary lions insist that Leonard should chomp Marianne, the friends come up with a plan together. Perhaps the best thing is for everyone to be themselves, and not worry about roaring at other animals.


A book about ignoring the aggressive voices in our society and lending an ear to our own, quieter thoughts, this warm and reassuring story is reminiscent of Winnie-the-Pooh. Vere’s illustration is as expressive as ever, with warm oranges and yellows that are as comforting as the story itself.


A perfect and very necessary book about friendship and gentleness for all thinking lions (and clever ducks, too).


You're Safe With Me

Author: Chitra Soundar Illustrator: Poonam Mistry

Publisher: Lantana Publishing

When the moon rises high and stars twinkle, it is bedtime for the baby animals of the Indian forest. But tonight, when the skies turn dark and the night grows stormy, the littles ones can’t sleep. Only Mama Elephant with her words of wisdom can reassure them.


This simple story will comfort little ones and its soothing text will lull them to sleep. Accompanied with incredibly stunning and intricate illustrations, this picture book would make a great addition to the bedtime routine.