30 Best Children’s Books for Christmas – Recommended by Kids!

Books make amazing gifts at any time of year. Buy a child a great book and they’ll be inspired, informed and transported to another world. They’ll also stop asking you if they can use the iPad! Where electronic toys come and go, books last the distance and can be passed down from one child to the next and from friend to friend.

Victoria and I asked our kids to share their favourite books as inspiration for Christmas Lists. We also asked them what new books they hope Santa might bring. Here are their answers!

 

 

As Recommended by Victoria’s Children

Charlotte’s Web 

By: E.B. White and Garth Williams

A favourite of my 8-year-old daughter is Charlotte’s Web, a can’t-go-wrong-classic about a little girl named Fern who saves one special pig with the help of a kind spider. We’re particularly fond of this illustrated version.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Children's Books for Christmas: Charlotte's Web by E.B. White and Garth Williams

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White and Garth Williams

 

 

House of Secrets

By: Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini

What do you do when the Harry Potter series starts getting too dark (around book 4 or 5)? You start on the House of Secrets. Written by Chris Columbus, who directed Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, this 2013 children’s novel follows three children on an adventure to rescue their parents. My daughter’s verdict: Almost as good as Harry Potter. Almost.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Children's Books for Christmas House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini

House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini

 

 

Horrible Histories

By: Terry Deary and Martin Brown

The Horrible Histories series is a collection of illustrated books created to make history fun for kids by telling you all the stuff you weren’t necessarily taught in school. With an emphasis on the gory and unbelievable, these books bring the past to life and kids seem to love them! My 6-year-old son is a big fan of Awful Egyptians. Others in the series (there are some 60-odd titles) include Ruthless Romans, Terrifying Tudors and Groovy Greeks.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Children's Books for Christmas Horrible Histories by Terry Deary and Martin Brown

Horrible Histories by Terry Deary and Martin Brown

 

 

Mr. Christmas

By: Roger Hargreaves

The Mr Men and Little Miss books are hugely popular in the UK. There are 49 Mr Men books and 42 Little Miss each one telling the tale of one character and their dominant personality – my favourite being Mr Tickle. This one, Mr Christmas, comes recommended by both my kids.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Children's Books for Christmas Mr. Christmas by Roger Hargreaves

Mr. Christmas by Roger Hargreaves

 

 

Captain Underpants

By: Dav Pilkey

The 12 Captain Underpants books, about two fourth-grade students and the superhero they create, have been challenged or banned regularly in American schools and libraries owing to lots of talk about poop and pulling pranks and other general silliness but, this is precisely why kids love them! My 6-year-old son was hooked from the first book and the series is credited with getting a lot of children off screens and into reading. As the author says, “As grown-ups, we need to respect our children’s rights to choose what they want to read. Kids who have fun reading are making a connection in their brains that reading is valuable and rewarding.”

Buy the 12 Books Set Collection in the UK

Buy the 12 Books Set Collection in the US

Best Children's Books for Christmas Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

 

 

Father Christmas Needs A Wee!

By: Nicholas Allan

Guaranteed to make kids giggle is this book, Father Christmas Needs A Wee!, that both my two children love. Santa eats and drinks too much as he goes around delivering presents until he is desperate to find a toilet! It’s a great one for younger kids to help with counting and rhyming (and maybe even potty training?!) but equally hilarious for older children.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Children's Books for Christmas

Father Christmas Needs A Wee! by Nicholas Allan

 

 

Minecrafters: Treasure Hunters in Trouble: An Unofficial Gamer’s Aventure

By: Winter Morgan

Another great book to get kids off screens this Xmas is one about the popular computer game, Minecraft. Ok, so the subject matter is still related to screens but if that’s what it takes to get kids reading then so be it. I’ll be honest in that I’ve never been a fan of these kinds of computer games as I find that kids get so addicted to them.  I’ll let them play it in their friends’ houses but I ban it at home! So when my son picked out this book at his school fair I was dubious. I didn’t think he’d actually read it as it doesn’t contain pictures, but it keep him quiet for hours! He has since read and enjoyed other editions in the Winter Morgan’s series too.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Children's Books for Christmas Minecrafters: Treasure Hunters in Trouble: An Unofficial Gamer’s Aventure by Winter Morgan

Minecrafters: Treasure Hunters in Trouble: An Unofficial Gamer’s Aventure by Winter Morgan

 

 

The Polar Express

By: Chris Van Allsburg

This is such a lovely book, one that beautifully captures the wonder of childhood and the magic of Christmas. A young boy boards a mysterious train on Christmas Eve and heads to the North Pole where he meets Santa and receives a very special gift. The Polar Express is a wonderful holiday present for children – and a delight for parents to read. Recommended by both my children.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Books for Children The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

 

 

The Magic Finger

By: Roald Dahl

My daughter’s teacher read the BFG to her class, which she loved, and we’ve recently picked up The Magic Finger. My 8-year-old finds it “very funny” and wishes that she, like the little girl in the story, had the power to change her teacher into a cat.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Children's Books for Christmas The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl

The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl

 

 

The Brilliant World of Tom Gates

By Liz Pichon

I was recommended this book when I visited Waterstones in Winchester, U.K and both my children love it. So much so that we’ve already downloaded the remaining eight books in the series to the Kindle. The books are the journals of Tom Gates, a ‘master of excuses, expert doodler, comic story writer extraordinaire – and the bane of his grumpy teacher’.

Buy the 7 Books Set in the UK

Buy the 7 Books Set in the US

Best Children's Books for Christmas The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by Liz Pichon

The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by Liz Pichon

 

 

As Recommended by Katja’s Children

One Dog and His Boy

By: Eva Ibbotson

My 8-year-old son was given One Dog and His Boy by his granny and we all loved it. It tells the really sweet tale of a young boy who is desperate for a dog. His wealthy parents are generous with gifts but not with their time and can’t think of anything worse than having a four-legged creature in their house, so they rent a dog for the weekend. What follows is a really heart-warming adventure about friendship, loyalty and how money can’t buy everything.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Children's Books for Christmas One Dog and His Boy by Eva Ibbotson

One Dog and His Boy by Eva Ibbotson

 

 

Maps

By: Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinkski

Maps is a favourite in our household. The 52 maps are beautifully illustrated and as well as showing cities and rivers and mountains, they also show native animals and plants, local foods and the typical names of boys and girls in that country. It’s a wonderful way to travel the world without ever leaving home. The accompanying Maps Activity Book is also great and has kept my 8-year-old occupied for hours.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Children's Books for Christmas Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinkski

Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinkski

 

 

The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark

By: Jill Tomlinson and Paul Howards 

My almost six-year-old was given The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark and it quickly became our bedtime favourite. It tells the story of Plop, the baby barn owl, who doesn’t want to be a night bird. The story of how he overcomes his fear of the dark – and how he learns to fly – is absolutely charming. Jill Tomlinson has written other animal books including Hilda: The Hen Who Wouldn’t Give Up, The Gorilla Who Wanted to Grow Up and The Penguin Who Wanted to Find Out, which we have also read and enjoyed. But Plop the Barn Owl is still our favourite.

Buy all six Jill Tomlinson Books in the UK

Buy all six Jill Tomlinson Books in the US

Best Children's Books for Christmas The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson and Paul Howards

The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson and Paul Howards

 

 

The Secret Seven

By: Enid Blyton

I grew up reading Enid Blyton’s books and so I’m really enjoying re-reading them with my kids. The Secret Seven are a group of super-sleuth children who go on regular adventures to solve mysteries. These stories have all the elements of a perfect kids’ adventure book; secret passwords, disguises and children regularly outsmarting adults! My kids are hooked.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Children's Books for Christmas The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton

The Secret Seven by Enid Blyton

 

 

The Day The Crayons Quit

By: Drew Daywait and Oliver Jeffers

I bought The Day the Crayons Quit recently on the recommendation of a friend and even though it initially appears to be a book for younger children, the humour means that it will appeal to older kids too; my eldest two (nearly six and eight) both really enjoy it. The story centres on a stack of letters written to a young boy Duncan from his crayons. Blue complains he’s been used too much, Beige hates being called ‘beige’, Green is happy in his work and Orange and Yellow are no longer talking to one another. It’s a lot of fun and the ending is lovely.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Children's Books for Christmas The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywait and Oliver Jeffers

The Day The Crayons Quit by Drew Daywait and Oliver Jeffers

 

 

Dragons Love Tacos

By: Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri

Another recent addition to the bookshelf is Dragons Love Tacos, a wonderfully silly tale of how to host the perfect party for dragons. Dragons love tacos but they don’t love spicy salsa! Feed them one piece of chilli and watch what happens…. The illustrations are a lot of fun and the text easy to read. My six-year-old (who loves tacos and dressed as a dragon for Halloween!) thinks it’s hilarious.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Children's Books for Christmas Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri

Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri

 

 

That’s Not My Reindeer…

By: Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells 

Unbeknownst to my youngest, this is what he’ll be getting in his stocking this year. We had lots of these ‘That’s Not My….’ books with my older two and they really enjoyed them. I can see us reading this one regularly for quite a while to come!

Strangely, neither Amazon US or Amazon UK seem to stock this book! They do, however, have That’s Not My Snowman, which looks equally cute.

Buy in the US

Buy in the UK

Best Children's Books for Christmas That's Not My Reindeer... by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells

That’s Not My Reindeer… by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells

 

 

Atlas of Adventures: A collection of natural wonders, exciting experiences and fun festivities from the four corners of the globe

By: Rachel Williams & Lucy Letherland 

Another wonderfully illustrated book is the Atlas of Adventures. This book follows a young boy and girl as they explore the world and experience a myriad of different adventures from sleeping under the Northern Lights in Finnish Lapland and looking for treasures in The Louvre in Paris, to dancing on the deck of a steamboat along the Mississippi and floating in the Dead Sea. It’s a lovely book for inspiring young minds.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Children's Books for Christmas Atlas of Adventures: A collection of natural wonders, exciting experiences and fun festivities from the four corners of the globe by Lucy Letherland

Atlas of Adventures: A collection of natural wonders, exciting experiences and fun festivities from the four corners of the globe by Rachel Williams & Lucy Letherland

 

 

Polly and the Puffin

By: Jenny Colgan and Thomas Docherty

Another of my daughter’s favourites is Polly and the Puffin, the story of a young girl Polly who discovers an injured puffin and brings him home to her cottage by the sea. Neil the puffin and Polly quickly become best friends but eventually his wing heals and it’s time for him to leave. It’s a charming story and a great one for early readers. At the back of the book are recipes, activities and puffin-themed jokes.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Children's Books for Christmas Polly and the Puffin by Jenny Colgan and Thomas Docherty

Polly and the Puffin by Jenny Colgan and Thomas Docherty

 

 

Tyrannosaurus Drip

By: Julia Donaldson and David Roberts

We have most of the Julia Donaldson books in our house but Tyrannosaurus Drip is our current favourite. Written with strong rhythm and rhyme, it’s a really fun book to read out loud with plenty of opportunities for silly voices. The story tells the tale of a peace-loving, vegetarian duckbill dinosaur who finds himself being raised by a family of big, scary – and rather dimwitted – Tyrannosaurus Rex. It’s a story of good vs. bad and finding your place in the world.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

30 Best Books for kids for Christmas

Tyrannosaurus Drip by Julia Donaldson and David Roberts

 

 

On The Christmas Lists!

 

Story of Life: Evolution (Welcome to the Museum) 

By: Katie Scott

My eldest has Animalarium, the first in the Welcome to the Museum series, and thinks its fantastic. Since Animalarium was published in 2014, Historium was released and then Story of Life: Evolution. All these books have incredible illustrations; everything is displayed as if you are wandering through a gallery or museum. The Story of Life starts with single-cell organisms and finishes with modern life forms; perfect for inquisitive young minds.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Books for Children Story of Life: Evolution (Welcome to the Museum) by Katie Scott

Story of Life: Evolution (Welcome to the Museum) by Katie Scott

 

 

Home

By: Carson Ellis

I showed Home to my eldest two and they both decided it would be perfect for their younger brother. Using few words but lots of beautiful illustrations, Carson Ellis shows all the different places in the world that can be called home. From igloos and birds nests to caravans and castles, it’s a wonderful way to introduce children to all the different places people can live – including the homes of Ellis’ imagination.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Books for Children Home by Carson Ellis

Home by Carson Ellis. Photo Credit: Candlewick Press

 

 

Wild

By: Emily Hughes

Wild tells the tale of a little girl who has known nothing but nature from the time she was born. Taught to talk by birds, eat by bears and play by foxes, she is truly at home in the wild. But then she goes to live in the city and can’t work out why there are no animals or trees or greenery.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Books for Children Wild by Emily Hughes.

Wild by Emily Hughes. Photo Credit: Flying Eye Books

 

 

Walk This World 

By: Jenny Broom & Lotta Nieminen 

Another beautiful book to introduce children to different countries is Walk This World, a stunning book that celebrates the similarities and differences in cultures around the world. This book came recommended to me and I have put it on the kids’ Christmas list for them! Kids can peep through French shop windows, open the door of a red telephone box in the UK and see the snow in Russia. A wonderful way to get children excited to explore the world we live in.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Books for Children Walk This World by Jenny Broom & Lotta Nieminen.

Walk This World by Jenny Broom & Lotta Nieminen. Photo Credit: Lotta Nieminen

 

 

Beyond the Surface

By: Nicolas Andre

There are lots of children’s books that explore the magic above ground but few that venture beneath the surface. Beyond the Surface explores the world from the earth’s centre to its highest mountains and includes achievements such as the scaling of Mount Everest. It’s a concertina book so it can also be used as wall art.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Books for Children Beyond the Surface by Nicolas Andre

Beyond the Surface by Nicolas Andre. Photo Credit: Nobrow Press

 

 

Oh, Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty

By: Joy Masoff

How could kids’ resist a book that celebrates all that is gooey and gasey and gross. Covering animals, people, insects, plants, foods and more, Oh, Yuck! explains why maggots eat rotten meat, why vomit smells and why wee is cleaner than spit. Cue entertaining dinner time discussions!

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Books for Children Oh, Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty by Joy Masoff

Oh, Yuck! The Encyclopedia of Everything Nasty by Joy Masoff

 

 

My Headteacher is a Vampire Rat

By: Pamela Butchart

My Headteacher is a Vampire Rat is aimed at 7- to 10- year-olds and comes hugely recommended. Izzy and her classmates are convinced that their new headmaster is actually a vampire and do their utmost to prove this. Easy-to-read with the odd tricky word thrown in to help expand vocabularies, this is perfect for anyone who sometimes doesn’t want to go to school.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Books for Children My Headteacher is a Vampire Rat by Pamela Butchart.

My Headteacher is a Vampire Rat by Pamela Butchart. Photo Credit: Nosy Crow

 

 

Beautiful Birds

By: Emmanuelle Walker

If you hadn’t guessed already, my son is a huge animal fan so Beautiful Birds is perfect for him. Organised alphabetically, this colourful book introduces children to some of the world’s most beautiful birds from albatrosses to zosteropidae (nope, I’d never heard of them before either!).

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Books for Children Beautiful Birds by Emmanuelle Walker.

Beautiful Birds by Emmanuelle Walker. Photo Credit: Flying Eye Books

 

 

Diary of a Time Traveller

By: David Long and Nicholas Stevenson

Follow along with Augustus as he travels through history meeting some of the world’s finest explorers, inventors, writers, painters, composers and leaders. Diary of a Time Traveller is a fun way to introduce children to some of history’s most famous personalities including Shakespeare, Leonardo Da Vinci, Genghis Khan and Tutankhamen.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Books for Children Diary of a Time Traveller by David Long and Nicholas Stevenson.

Diary of a Time Traveller by David Long and Nicholas Stevenson. Photo Credit: Wide Eyed Editions

 

 

How to be an International Spy

By: Andy Briggs, Lonely Planet Publications

My kids are obsessed with being spies at the moment – mostly because they want lots of gadgets. This latest book from Lonely Planet Kids, How to be an International Spy, tells you all you need to know about a career in international espionage, from famous spies in history to how to build your own HQ.

Buy in the UK

Buy in the US

Best Books for Children How to be an International Spy by Lonely Planet Publications.

How to be an International Spy by Lonely Planet Publications. Photo Credit: Lonely Planet Publications

 

 

 

 

Pin for later!

Bookmark this post by pinning the image below to one of your Pinterest boards.

Best Children's Books, recommended by Kids!

 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission from Amazon if you make a purchase using these links (NB: the links are not pay-per-click). Prices are exactly the same whether you use an affiliate link or not. We never endorse a product or service that we would not purchase or use ourselves.

 

Still looking for inspiration? Here’s another book that we love….

Can we save the tiger

Can We Save The Tiger? By Martin Jenkins & Vicky White