In times of uncertainty, what better comfort than the company of a good book? This week’s bibliotherapy book recommendation blog is a children’s and young person’s special! Below, NCW Programme Assistant Vicki Maitland addresses your bibliotherapy needs with a handful of book recommendations.

NCW Programme Assistant Vicki MaitlandIf you’ve got a request – by genre, theme or anything else – send an email to with the subject line ‘Bibliotherapy’ and NCW Programme Director Peggy Hughes will do her best! You can also send your requests via Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.

Nature (and dinosaurs!)

‘My little niece is obsessed with nature and in particularly dinosaurs. Any fun reads you can recommend?’ – Laura

Illustrated cover for 'David Attenborough' by Maria Isabel Sanchez VegaraHi Laura! It sounds like you have a young Attenborough on your hands – how about his biography from the Little People Big Dreams series by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books) ? This series is a great way to introduce younger readers to some of the most important people of our time, and surely few are more important to nature lovers than David Attenborough himself! Read more

For a sillier read, The Dinosaur that Pooped series (Red Fox) by Tom Fletcher and Dougie Poynter (previously of McFly fame) has options for all seasons and is a real laugh. Read more

There is, of course, always the stunning The Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris (Hamish Hamilton). This book is a real treat for adults and children alike – a great one to dip into before bed with beautiful illustrations and gorgeous poems. Read more


Noisy books for bedtime

‘My girls, aged 6 and 8, are loving storytime before bed… especially when they get to join in and make a bit of a ruckus! Do you know of any books for noisy girls?’ – Yousef

Book cover for 'Kid Normal' by Greg James and Chris SmithThere are a couple of my own childhood favourites I could think of to add to your bedtime book pile, Yousef… The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy (Puffin) is a great one for rambunctious girls (read more here), and I loved the adventures of the kids in Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome (Vintage). Read more

For a more contemporary choice, the Nevermoor series by Jessica Townsend (Little, Brown) features a fantastic female lead and tonnes of activity. Read more

Greg James and Chris Smith’s Kid Normal series (Bloomsbury) would be a bundle of laughs to read out loud with enthusiastic assistance! Read more


Books for young poets

‘My grandson is a very gentle 9-year-old and he’s recently got into writing, especially poems! Do you know any creative writing handbooks that will help him keep writing?’ – Teresa

England, Poems From A School by Kate ClanchyI always think the best way to be a great writer of poetry is to be a great reader of it, so I’d recommend England, Poems From A School by Kate Clanchy (Picador). This is a collection written by students at Oxford Spires Academy – some of the poems in here touch on difficult topics, so you might want to be selective about which you let your grandson read, but they are all written by children just a few years older than he is. Read more

I also think you can’t really go wrong with Michael Rosen, he has a huge range of poetry for children.

I’m also going to re-recommend The Lost Words, as I’ve written above, the poems in this book are rewarding for children and adults alike, so it’s a great one to share.

It’s not a book, but we’ve got a brand new online poetry course for 9 year-olds on our website right now, which your grandson might be interested in? We would love to read some of your grandson’s poetry, Teresa!


Politics and the environment for young adults

‘I’m 16 and definitely feel like I’ve had enough of teen fiction… I’m interested in politics and the environment what would you recommend? I’ve already read Greta Thunberg’s books’ – Tamar

The Age of Earthquakes by Shumon Basar, Douglas Coupland and Hans Ulrich ObristHi Tamar – it sounds like you’re tackling the big issues! For a brilliant snapshot into our current political climate, I recommend On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder (Bodley Head). This is neat non-fiction which takes 20 lessons from the 20th century and applies them to today’s political scene. Read more

I also really recommend The Age of Earthquakes by Shumon Basar, Douglas Coupland and Hans Ulrich Obrist (Penguin), which describes itself as a self-help book for Planet Earth and is a fantastic look at our new digital age. Read more

If you’re ready to move into some adult literature, Ali Smith’s Winter (Hamish Hamilton) is a brilliant step. Written and published almost instantaneously, climate change and politics are imbued in this book. It’s the second in her seasonal quartet, so if you love it there are three more books to get stuck into! Read more


Got a request?

In need of a personal bibliotherapy recommendation? Send your request – whether it’s by genre, theme or anything else – to with the subject line ‘Bibliotherapy’ and Peggy will do her best to help! You can also send your requests via Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.


Where can I buy?

Many of your favourite independent bookshops are continuing their business online or by phone and will deliver anywhere in the UK. Why not give them a shout?

Norwich – The Book Hive, Jarrold, Tombland Books, Bookbugs and Dragon Tales, Abstract Sprockett, Norfolk Children’s Book Centre

London – Burley Fisher Books, Daunt Books, Brick Lane Bookshop, Pages of Hackney, Dulwich Books, Stoke Newington Bookshop, South Kensington Books, Newham Bookshop, Pages of Cheshire Street, The All Good Bookshop, Pickled Pepper Books, Owl Bookshop, Persephone Books

Edinburgh – Golden Hare Books, Typewronger Books

Wadhurst – Barnetts Books

York – Ken Spelman Books

Petersfield – The Petersfield Bookshop

Stockton-on-Tees – Drake the Bookshop

Arundel and Chichester – Kim’s Bookshop

Nottingham – Five Leaves Bookshop

Hexham, Northumberland – Cogito Books

Explore The Bookseller’s list of independent bookshops and the services they can offer