Best Children’s Books of 2018
- Published on Monday, 17 December 2018 12:44
- Last Updated on 17 December 2018
- Monica Costa
I will remember 2018 as the year that brought out some of my favourite children’s books ever. It’s been difficult to create a shortlist because there are so many other books that I have enjoyed reading that would make for great gifts to any child, pre-teen and teenagers. There’s simply not enough time to enjoy all these amazing stories.
The Kitchen Science Cookbook
This book is where little scientists meet little chefs. London Mums and the kids club love it! It’s a beautiful, lovingly-crafted cookbook with a twist: Each of the 50 recipes is a science experiment you can do at home, using only easy-to-find ingredients (RRP £18.49 – Hardback).
How to Think Like an Absolute Genius by Philippe Brasseur
Published QEB Publishing this Autumn, this is one of the cleverest children’s books I have ever come across so far.
It’s a non-fiction book for kids 9 – 14. It is what is says on the title, a manual that gives you tips on how to become a genius, because at the heart of this is the concept that if you work hard you can craft your own genius talents – curiosity, imagination, determination, flexibility. It helps young people and adults alike to explore the genius mind. There are lots of ideas and information as well as images to make the reading easy and fun. 27 geniuses are mentioned including our own brain – John Lennon, Walt Disney, Copernicus. Packed with facts, games and activity ideas to boost your intelligence, with this book to guide you, you can become absolutely awesome at whatever you put your mind to.
This beautifully designed book by Quarto is an excursus into the history of popular music from Elvis in the 1950s through to contemporary acts. 40 icons include the likes of Elvis, The Beatles, Arcade Fire and Beyonce. This title is the 4th instalment in the ‘40 Inspiring Icons’ series (which also includes the beautiful book ‘Greek Gods & Heroes’).
The information is presented in bite-size format and is filled with trivia and facts about musical genres and associated social movements (from psychedelic rock and protest music to punk rock and rap). This book is a great way to introduce 12-14 year olds to trends in music and in pop culture.
Unexpected Twist is an original novel by Michael Rosen (illustrated by Tony Ross), told alongside the Dickens classic that inspired it: Oliver Twist.
Shona and her dad are moving house, and at Shona’s new school, the rules are pretty confusing; she keeps getting into trouble without realizing! It’s a lot like how it is for Oliver Twist, that boy she’s reading about in English class. After Shona is unexpectedly given a mobile phone, she begins to suspect there’s something fishy about the new boys she’s met. Where did the phone come from? And some gifts, she soon learns, aren’t exactly free…
Three Little Monkeys
I love anything Quentin Blake writes or illustrates. And this picture book, Three Little Monkeys, is no exception He’s one of those people that really fascinates me and I was lucky enough to interview him a few years ago. You can read it here.
Quentin Blake and renowned illustrator Emma Chichester Clark have come together to collaborate on Three Little Monkeys, their very first picture book (published by HarperCollins Children’s Books on 6th October in a lavish hardback edition). This book tells the story of Hilda Snibbs and the three mischievous monkeys who turn her life upside down. A funny, riotous, truly charming story, it will delight picture book lovers, young and old. Emma Chichester Clark’s artwork brings to life the monkeys’ chaotic trail of destruction, with colourful, glorious aplomb – and with an exquisite tenderness for the book’s impish but loveable heroes. Quentin Blake and Emma Chichester Clark have been friends for many years and have enjoyed a strong, creative relationship since Quentin was Emma’s tutor at the Royal College of Art.
Win 1 of 12 copies of Holly Webb’s Book Evie’s War
BUTTERFLY LULLABY FAIRY BOOK
The Butterfly Lullaby Fairy Book by Sharon J. Bainbridge can now be personalised with your own child’s name. It is really beautiful and comes with an original Butterfly Lullaby song that can be listened to on YouTube.
The children’s fairy book, “Butterfly Lullaby” is an enchanting fairy tale about a little Butterfly Fairy princess who is put under a horrible magic spell. A magic charm stops her from sleeping and this drains her mother, the Queen Butterfly, of all her energy. The Queen becomes very ill and the fairies fear for her life. Flamingo Dragonfly is sent with a message of help to Fairy Grandmother. “Butterfly Lullaby” is not just a fairy story. You can buy the songs to go with the story. You can also personalise the book with your own Photographs – Become one of the characters. Have your photograph taken in costume or send in your image. This will be transformed to fairy art. Visit real places from the story – Plantasia, Swansea, Wales – Castell Coch, Cardiff, Wales – Upper Wishing Well, Weymouth, Dorset. One pound per book sale goes to the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. Available from Amazon.
Other books that really inspired our kids’ club include the following:
Dog Diaries & Dog Diaries: Happy Howlidays! by Steven Butler and James Patterson
Two perfect books by two beloved kids’ authors.
These are really great book that children love reading over and over many times. It’s not just the amusing plots, the good writing but they also include hilarious illustrations. Steven Butler is one of my son’s favourite author. Read our exclusive interview with him some time ago when he was busy writing Dennis the Menace series.
Tom Gates 15: What Monster? (Hardback)
Here’s another book in the super-doodler Tom Gates’ series that my son keeps reading again and again. We could not include it in our essential reads list for 2018. Our Liz Pichon‘s interview is also one of our favourite ones. It’s the 15th episode in the bestselling series but is still going strong.
Dogs in Space: The Amazing True Story of Belka and Strelka (Hardcover)
A lovely true story about Belka and Strelka, the Soviet space dogs surviving in space. It is suitable for 5 – 7 years kids but I loved reading it too. The book is beautifully illustrated.
Hubert Horatio: How to Raise Your Grown-Ups by Lauren Child (Hardback)
Lauren Child, the super creative genius behind of Clarice Bean and Charlie and Lola, is back with Hubert Horatio – How to raise your Grown-Ups, a funny and beautifully illustrated book for ages 6+. The story is about the Bobton-Trent seniors who seem to know how to make the most of their extravagant wealth – socialising, doing things, buying things and generally being more than a little bit irresponsible. Luckily for them, their son Hubert Horatio is an exceptionally intelligent, talented and sensible child. Unluckily for Hubert, this tends to mean that a lot of his spare time is spent steering his rather unruly set of grown-ups out of trouble.
Last but not least, the yearly bestselling Ripley’s Believe It or Not! 2019 (£20 | Hardback) is full of weird, wonderful and wacky people, stories, mind-boggling facts and photos from around the world and is the perfect half-term read and Christmas gift for curious minds. Here are some teaser facts…
EEK! The two headed baby bull shark discovered in Florida and sold for £6,000.
WOW! The woman who can smash 920 roof tiles in a minute – with her bare hands.
YUCK! The farmer who grew a chilli pepper 500 times hotter than Tabasco sauce.
Win 1 of 5 copies of The Book of Comparisons – Sizing Up the World Around You
Kids Club: Diego interviews Liz Pichon & reviews book Tom Gates – Top of the class (Nearly)
Book review: BILLY AND THE MINPINS by Roald Dahl & Quentin Blake
The House of Illustration – Quentin Blake’s best kept secret & new picture house
Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London https://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums