Each year, International Children’s Book Day is celebrated on or around the birthday of celebrated author Hans Christian Andersen (2 April), to inspire a love of reading and great stories by bringing children and books together around the world.

We spoke to the experts about their current favourites from the world of children’s books – Lois Hopkins, Children’s Book Buyer at Jarrold in Norwich, and Louisa Theobald, Children’s Bookseller at Waterstones.

For 3-year-olds:

The Pirates of Scurvy Sands by Jonny Duddle

When Matilda takes a holiday from Dull-on-Sea with the Jolley-Rogers, the other pirates are not impressed. Can she prove herself to the pirates and discover the secret of the legendary treasure of Scurvy Sands?

Another funny rhyming adventure and sequel to The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle with his brilliant animation-style illustrations.

The Squirrels Who Squabbled by Rachel Bright and Jim Field

‘Spontaneous Cyril’ and ‘Plan-ahead Bruce’ are two squirrels with very different ideas about storing food for winter. Gorgeous illustrations, hilarious rhymes and an angry bear make this story about sharing a firm favourite to read aloud.



For 6-year-olds:

Murray the Racehorse by Gavin Puckett

This is a book to be read aloud. Written in winning verse with colour illustrations by Tor Freeman it has a comforting message about believing in yourself and following your dreams.

Murray dreams of winning big races but he is too slow. When a twist of fate gives him the chance to shine, Murray sees his chance to beat the neigh-sayers (ahem) with a rather unusual race technique. Two other equally amusing books by Gavin Puckett in the fables from the stables series are also recommended: Hendrix the Rocking Horse and Colin the Cart Horse.

Meet the Twitches by Hayley Scott (illustrated by Pippa Curnick)

What could be more magical than the secret life of toys? Hayley Scott’s first book for children is the utterly enchanting story of four toy rabbits who come to life when nobody is looking. Wonderfully illustrated in full colour by Pippa Curnick, this is an ideal first chapter book that children will love!




For 9-year-olds:

Timecruiser by Chris Crowther

Adventure and local history combine in a time-travelling adventure set on the Norfolk Broads by Chris Crowther. A holiday on the Norfolk Broads goes awry for Max, Jenny and Faru while waiting for their holiday cruiser at the boatyard. Another boat catches their eye and Max forgets the warning not to touch. As they whizz off to another dimension, they realise it is a time machine taking them to some of the more significant dates in its history as well as showing them glimpses the direction their lives might take in the future.


Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

For as long as she can remember Morrigan Crow has been told is she cursed, destined to die on her eleventh birthday. But when the fateful day arrives she is whisked away to the secret world of Nevermoor and the mysterious ‘Wundrous Society’. This is fresh fantasy at it most exciting and inventive, with a winning combination of humour and peril.