Summer books and storytelling activities for children

Holidays are stressful enough with kids and keeping them entertained all the time is often a challenge, let alone when you have to keep up the good work they have done at school and the teacher is not around. We have found some fun educational activities for school children to do during these school holidays. New educational titles including popular sticker books will certainly come handy.

Books and storytelling can be parents’ best companions  during the nursery or school breaks. Kids require constant entertainment and we always try to seek extraordinary forms of entertainment in the belief that we would impress them but the truth is that good books and stories are equally entertaining with the educational advantage. Here is London Mums’ recommended Summer books and stories for children by age group. 

For 3+


From major new talent Sophy Henn comes a deceptively simple and exquisitely illustrated picture book about a little boy and his bear, and their journey to find a place called home. It is published by Puffin in hardback on 7th August 2014.

It explores themes of friendship, camaraderie and discovery. Where Bear? is a moving story full of humour that certainly captures the hearts of its readers, and I am not just talking about children…. 🙂

Sophy Henn lives and works in Sussex, England. She studied Fashion at Central Saint Martins, accidentally had a London based career as an Art Director in advertising, then completed an MA at University of Brighton in Illustration. Now she writes and illustrates children’s books in her studio, with a large cup of tea by her side, and can’t quite believe her luck. Where Bear? is her very first book.


Little Puppy Lost

Holly Webb (My Naughty Little Puppy, Magic Molly) never disappoints me. Little Tiger Press are publishing this title by the beloved animal lover and storyteller for the younger readers.

One little dog gets very lost in this debut picture book  by Holly Webb. Harry the puppy is out on his first walk with his owner, Evie, when a bright red ball whizzes past his nose. Off Harry races after it, but when he catches the ball he realises he’s lost his collar – and Evie! Will he find his way home?

The perfect picture book for all little animal lovers – and those pestering their parents for a pet! With beautiful illustrations from Rebecca Harry, this story is a wonderful way of introducing very young readers to the special world of Holly Webb.

Harry and the Monster

book harry and the monster cover
A warm, funny story by Sue Mongredien (The Secret Mermaid and Kitten Club) and illustrated by Nick East (Who’s For Dinner and Goodnight Digger), Harry and the Monster is the perfect picture book for children worried about nighttime monsters or bad dreams! One night, a monster stomps into Harry’s dreams. The next day, Harry is scared to go to sleep. “If he comes back, just imagine him with pink pants on his head,” suggests Mum. “He won’t be scary then!” Can Mum’s clever plan possibly work?
Harry and the Monster is the perfect bedtime read to help take away any fear of night-time monsters or things lurking under the bed! Published by Little Tiger Press

book harry and the monster illustration

Mighty Mo

book might mo

At the Golden Dodo Zoo, Mo the raccoon is bored, bored, bored. There must be something amazing he can do! It certainly isn’t making ice-creams or blowing up balloons… But when Big Ron the robber starts causing trouble, it’s up to mighty Mo to save the day!

This hilarious story about an unlikely hero will appeal to any child with a sense of adventure. Keep your little superhero entertained with these bright, lively illustrations from the talented Alison Brown (Eddie and Dog) – perfect for fans of Claire Freedman’s Superkid. Published by Little Tiger Press
book might mo illustration


book abigail cover

Abigail loves to count. It is her very favourite thing. But when she tries counting Zebra’s stripes and Cheetah’s spots, they just won’t sit still. It’s hopeless! What will Abigail do? A beautiful book by award-winning author-illustrator Catherine Rayner, full of gorgeous illustrations of Abigail the giraffe and her friends Cheetah and Zebra. Abigail is a perfect bedtime read with a stunning fold-out night sky ending. Shortlisted for the 2014 Kate Greenaway Medal! Published by Little Tiger Press

book Abigail illustrationCatherine Rayner is the winner of the 2009 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for Harris Finds His Feet and illustrator and author of Solomon Crocodile and Augustus and his Smile. 



book why?
A book by Tracey Corderoy beautifully illustrated by Tim Warnes
Archie is a rhino with a LOT of questions. He wants to know everything: “Why glue is so sticky? Why do dropped things go SMASH?” If only finding out was a little less messy… Published by Little Tiger Press
book why illustration
Everybody’s much-loved rhino returns in this brand-new sequel to No! from the wonderful Tracey Corderoy (Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam and The Little White Owl) and award-winning Tim Warnes (I Don’t Want to Go to Bed). Brimming with gorgeous illustrations, this warm, funny book is guaranteed to become a firm favourite. A must for all families with curious toddlers who just love to ask “WHY?”.


Judi Abbot is publishing this lovely book for young readers with Little Tiger Press in August 2014.

Toddlers would love this fantastically fun story starring Little Elephant and his friends who LOVE trains, planes, cars and diggers. The perfect picture book for any child obsessed with things that go! Help little ones learn about playing together and sharing too.

Little Elephant LOVES trains! But Cat wants to play with his plane. Penguin wants to play with his car. And Rabbit would rather play with his digger. How will they learn to play together?

A joy to read aloud, preschoolers will love chanting along with the inventive rhythmic section in the middle of the story. With fresh and funny illustrations from Judi Abbot (The Biggest Kiss and The Perfect Hug), Train! is a book that you won’t mind reading again and again… and again!


For 4+

Let’s play a game!: Everything you need to play six board games (Hardcover)

by OKIDO (Creator)

This is THE MUST HAVE activity ‘book’ for pre-schoolers. It includes all that young children need to play six silly and entertaining board games in a cleverly designed box.

OKIDO’s Let’s play a game! packs six re-imagined, classic board games into one box, which opens to reveal six pop-out colored counters and an integrated, numbered spinner that functions as a die. Inside a wallet are three folding double-sided game boards. The simple rules for each game are printed on the inside of the lid, and the entire game is printed on durable card and is suitable for two to six players. The games include: Space Race (steer your rocket through outer-space obstacles back to Earth); Noisy Game (make body noises as you match them with their body parts); Slither and Climb (go up and down as you meet all the animals); Ready, Steady, Disco! (follow the actions to make dance sequences); and Superbuzz! (how long will you fly between the flowers before you get eaten by a bear or caught in a spiderweb?). The boisterous games also help children (age 4+) at pre-school, school, and at home with mathematics, coordination, and matching and sorting skills.


Make art with your hands and feet! Draw around your hands and feet to create pictures

Jacky Bahbout together with illustrator Momoko Kudo have created a pad with a difference. Kids can draw around fingers, thumbs, hands, toes or feet to complete the 32 pictures! Hand- and finger-prints can be made with paint, too.

See the book in play!

Once the images are done, children can personalise pages with names or messages for family and friends, and tear them out to be given as gifts, or just stuck on the wall – and they have a space for the child’s age to be added to make a personal record.

The zany images go from reindeer with hand- print antlers to foot-print ghosts, and from jelly-fish thumbs to finger space rockets. There are whole families of toes too. Each page shows the child what to do, whether to draw around or print with their hands, fingers, thumbs, toes or feet.


For 5+

Look inside Mummies and Pyramids

Young children can peek under the flaps and discover the lives of the Ancient Egyptians, see inside pyramids and discover the gory details of how mummies were made in this lift-the-flap book for children aged 5 years and older. With over 70 flaps to lift to reveal fascinating facts about Ancient Egypt, including a page on archaeological discovery, this is an excellent introduction to the period.

The Bee Who Spoke – The Wonderful World of Belle and the Bee

book The Bee Who Spoke

An enchanting children’s picture book with an educational and environmental heart for young readers written by Al MacCuish and illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon. It will be published by on 25 August 2014.

Belle, an adventurous and inquistive eleven-year-old living in Paris is the heroine of The Bee Who Spoke. In this charming new story from Al MacCuish, we join her on her adventures as she travels from her home in Paris to the beautiful countryside of the Ardèche to visit her grandparents for the summer holidays.

When she arrives Belle is presented with a bicycle and, being bold and ever curious, she sets out to explore. When Belle gets lost far from her grandparent’s home she is found and befriended by a talking Bee who, as well as guiding Belle safely back to her grandparent’s house, introduces her to the magnificent plants and animals all around them, explaining to Belle the wonder and harmony that can be found in nature.

 The Bee Who Spoke is a vibrant tale for bright young readers that will both entertain and educate. It is the perfect book for children to take on their own holidays this summer, one that will encourage them to explore the natural world around them. They will identify with Belle’s adventurous, inquisitive personality and learn from the Bee who offers calm, gentle wisdom. Like Belle, they will see the world with fresh eyes and like Belle, who returns home to Paris wiser and more in-tune with the natural world, young readers will take away new-found knowledge from the book.

The central message of the book – that bees are the thread that holds the natural world together – is astonishingly little understood by children and adults alike but The Bee Who Spoke shares this crucial message through a tale of discovery and friendship. With its engaging, witty story, beautiful illustrations and sustainability theme, The Bee Who Spoke is the perfect holiday read for children this summer.

For 7+


The Life of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Written & illustrated by Peter SĂ­s

Little prince author

If you are a big fan of The Little Prince (who isn’t?!), you will love this book. This is a great introduction to school children to biography and let me tell you that Antoine de Saint-ExupĂ©ry had a very adventurous and certainly not boring life. He was born in France in 1900, when airplanes were just being invented. Antoine dreamed of flying and grew up to be a pilot—and that was when his adventures began. He found a job delivering mail by plane, which had never been done before. He and his fellow pilots traveled to faraway places and discovered new ways of getting from one place to the next. Antoine flew over mountains and deserts. He battled winds and storms. He tried to break aviation records, and sometimes he even crashed. From his plane, Antoine looked down on the earth and was inspired to write about his life and his pilot-hero friends in memoirs and in fiction. Peter SĂ­s’s remarkable biography celebrates the author of The Little Prince, one of the most beloved books in the world.

book pilot illustration little print author page book pilot little prince_sis5

Kings and Queens Sticker Book

A fun and informative illustrated sticker book featuring over 100 stickers with portraits of British Kings and Queens from the 10thcentury to the present day. Children can match the sticker portraits to the paintings in the frames on each themed page, which are organised in chronological order and include the Tudors, Stuarts, Queen Victoria, the Windsors and Queen Elizabeth II. Stickers help to fix the images and historical facts into readers’ minds. Includes fascinating facts about the lives, loves and feuds of Britain’s monarchs, with internet links to carefully chosen websites to find out more


Usborne art book about colour

Usborne art book about colour

This is probably my favourite book of all for this Summer. Parents would really love reading it with their kids. It has been written in association with The National Gallery, London for their “Making Colour” exhibition, which runs from 18th June to 17th September 2014. The title explores 15,000 years of colour in art, from the very first paints made from crushed insects to how later art movements used colour to convey different meanings. It is a fascinating introduction to colours and their effects, featuring artists such as Jan van Eyck and Pierre-Auguste Renoir as well as modern art and artists.


See Inside History of Britain (Hardback)

By (author) Rob Lloyd Jones, Illustrated by Barry Ablett

A lift-the-flap book by Usborne for older children that covers life in Britain from Anglo-Saxon invasions to the 21st Century. It is a fun way to be introduced to history. Flaps are great ‘tools’ to keep kids focused and help them enjoy a book like a treasure hunt. I wished I had this book when I was in primary school. Brilliant.


For 8+

Juniors will have a unique opportunity this Summer to see first editions, original letters and artwork from much-loved children’s authors such as Mary Norton and Michelle Magorian and to find out how The Borrowers and Goodnight Mister Tom became the stories we know and love. This is very much a collection that parents will remember and will love reading again with their children. I have particularly enjoyed reading Watership Down by Richard Adams.

This summer, Puffin is bringing a series of timeless and unforgettable stories to life for a new generation of readers to discover as A Puffin Book. From Goodnight Mister Tom to Charlotte’s Web, Watership Down to Tarka the Otter, these beloved children’s books are stories that last a lifetime.

The free exhibition of Puffin archive material at Waterstones Piccadilly will give readers both young and old an exclusive insight into the history of childhood favourites, such as Goodnight Mister Tom and The Borrowers, and is sure to enchant the many readers who fell in love with these books many years ago as well as those just discovering these extraordinary stories for the very first time.

Highlights include:
·         First and early editions of A Puffin Book titles, including one of the earliest titles published in Puffin paperback
·         The original cover art and proof for The Borrowers
·         Original letters relating to the publication of The Borrowers
·         Reproduction pages from Michelle Magorian’s notebook, showing extracts from the hand-written draft of Goodnight Mister Tom.



Summer books and storytelling activities for children

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