World Book Day: Here’s what to get your grandchild reading now


Depending on what they’re interested in, of course.

Whether your grandchild is already a voracious reader, or takes a bit of encouragement to get stuck into a book, there’s no better day to hit your local bookshop or library than World Book Day.

And when it comes to pulling tomes down from the shelves, or deciding together what you’re going to read before bed, we’ve got some suggestions…

If your grandchild likes…

Doing experience: Science Is Magic by Steve Mould (DK)

Author and TV presenter Steve Mould works his magic with his latest offering, bringing science to life for children with a raft of experiments designed to amaze and intrigue. Science Is Magic has the perfect balance of try-at-home tricks and science explainers, looking at the weird and wonderful in nature and the science behind some of the best-known illusions. Kids will love getting scientific with the magic ice tower, jumping drinks can and guess the coin trick, while parents will be left staring cross-eyed at the magic hidden pictures.

Having a giggle: Charlie Changes Into A Chicken by Sam Copeland (Puffin)

Charlie McGuffin discovers an amazing, but highly unusual power – the ability to change into animals. Brought on for the first time when Charlie is worried about his sick brother and hears his mum and dad arguing, he soon realises he has no control over his new-found superpower. He drafts in his three best friends to help him work out what triggers his secret talent, before risking public humiliation on stage at his school production. It is fantastically ridiculous and silly in equal measures.

Reading what everyone else is reading: Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown by Jeff Kinney (Puffin)

The 13th book in the bestselling Wimpy Kid series, has Greg and his best friend Rowley get up to their usual crazy capers, but this time it turns into a battle for survival as a neighbourhood snowball fight turns feral. A sudden cold snap shuts down Greg’s school and, snowed in with nothing better to do, the local kids soon see this winter wonderland become a winter battleground.

The planet: The Sea Book by Charlotte Milner (DK)

This sees illustrator and writer Charlotte Milner explore Earth’s oceanic depths, and what we can do to support them and their ecosystems. Super colourful and easy to digest, you can flick through and dip in, easily picking up facts along the way – two favourites being: “The violet seal snail makes a bubble raft”, and sea cows “greet each other with kisses”. It’s non-fiction with a conscience too – a section at the back is devoted to ways you can cut down on plastic.

An adventure story: The Colour Of The Sun by David Almond (Hodder Children’s Books)

It’s the summer holidays and Davie has a bag packed with snacks, pens and paper, and is sent off outside by his mam. The day takes a sinister turn when a boy’s body, crumpled and bloody, turns up and sets Davie’s hilly – and at times combative – community alight. Thinking he’s got an idea of who the killer might be, we follow as Davie’s day unfolds – from furred fruit pastels and first kisses, to blazing gorse in flower and tall tales of buzzards told by wizened neighbours.

Listening to a story read out loud: Square by Mac Barnett and illustrator Jon Klassen (Walker Books)

Square, a square the black-brown of a burnt pan with two stubby legs and two expressive oval eyes, pushes blocks from the bottom of his cave out into the world and stacks them at the top of a hill. Square does this every day until Circle rolls along and calls him a sculptor. It’s a comment that leads to doubt, confusion and one very stressful night for Square, spent trying to carve a block into something ‘perfect’. Amusing and simple, it’s also pretty beautiful.

If your grandchild is a teen, they may appreciate…

Mermaids and feminism: The Surface Breaks: A Reimagining Of The Little Mermaid by Louise O’Neill (Scholastic)

Retelling The Little Mermaid from a feminist perspective? High time – or a daring affront? Gaia is a princess with red hair, whose feet cause agonising pain with every step. She falls in love with the privileged son of a shipping company CEO and wishes to escape a coercive father, unwanted marriage and society that restricts female agency; but discovers the human world contains the same sexual abuse, jealousy, vindictiveness and gender power struggles.

Music and power: On The Come Up by Angie Thomas (Walker Books)

Brianna, 16, dreams of becoming a rap legend like her dad could’ve been, if he hadn’t had his life cut short. The problem is, there’s school to contend with, her aunt’s gang connections to navigate, as well as an empty fridge filling her with fear at home. Mostly though, Bri is grappling with other people’s expectations and misconceptions of who she is and how she should behave. And, as the pressure mounts, she must determine who she’s willing to become if it means making it and being able to look after her family.

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