Having just turned 8, I would classify my son as a reluctant reader; he can read perfectly well and he surprises me all the time with his comprehension but nevertheless, he is often unwilling to pick up a book and read. This means that like many other parents, engaging him has become a bit of a game (and my mission in life)

Firstly I think it is important to not dictate what he should be reading, if he wants to read a Mr Man book or Room on the Broom then he is still reading so why not? Equally I will never say that something is ‘too much’ for him, if he chooses the mightiest tome on the shelves then I encourage him and we will give it a try.

I’m going to share with you the books that I think have done the most to encourage my son to read independently (but, please do keep reading to your child, for as long as they will let you, as the benefits cannot be overstated!)

This book is a joy to behold, let alone read! Interesting and engaging facts with lovely illustrations – so much to discover. Perfect for the forever curious little mind. Great design – you have to flip it over from Water to Earth (image = birds eye view)

This is one of my favourite books of 2017 – I found my son reading this in bed one morning and he talked about Tutankhamun for weeks after. If your child is fascinated by magic, mystery and the ancient world, then this is the book for you.9781408876787

One day a collection of very old maps are found in a dusty library. They are beautifully illustrated and they show where in the world to find monsters  from mythology and folklore. According to the notes left with them they were made by Cornelius Walters, an intrepid explorer from the 15th century. But did Walters really make these elaborate maps, or is it all a hoax?

A great one for children who enjoy puzzles and mystery, there is a secret code to decipher and messages to decode. My son sat for two hours unravelling the code and really enjoyed looking at the pictures and reading about strange monsters.


Every time I see this book it makes me smile. 


From the polar bears of the Arctic to the North  American pumas and pandas in Asia, this book takes children on an exciting journey of discovery. The drawings show these animals  in all their natural majesty and the witty and charming descriptions will teach children all about their new favourite animals!



Sometimes it is hard to explain the BIG things – this book helps:

Class is in session, and the subject is physics. Your teacher? Why, he’s the smartest cat in the galaxy! In this brilliant follow up to ‘Professor Astro Cat’s Frontiers of Space’, our trusty feline returns to take you on a journey through the incredible world of physics. Learn about energy, power and the building blocks of you, me and the universe in this all new atomic adventure!


You may consider me a heretic but I think times have moved on from the traditional craft/hobby book, you know the ones that used to tell you how to make paper flowers or 3D cards…

This little gem, however, is part of the new guard – bringing science to your home and kitchen! Who doesn’t want to make some lovely goo or a baked Alaska?

Best to check your ingredients the day before so as not to disappoint…


I really love this collection of books about famous people – so often my son comes home full of enthusiasm for a topic he has been learning about and when we look at books they are dusty and dull with really dated images. This is such a charming book; presenting information in a bright, engaging fashion. I think we are moving away from the notion that if a subject matter is ‘serious’ then the book cover and tone has to reflect – hooray!

The Story of Life is another brilliant book for helping to explain the BIG concepts (really there’s only so much one can explain in lay persons terms!) I am so grateful that books like this are available for our children to read.

Alas, my son keeps pondering what it must have felt like to turn from an ape into a person so it is on to the next mission for me – the concept of time.


As you can probably see from my selections, I am a great advocate of using books to help explain the world around us. This doesn’t mean that we’re an exclusively non-fiction household – on the contrary, there are about a million fiction recommendations that I could wax lyrical about! (but these are the books that held my sons interest the most)

I know that there is a wealth of information available online for today’s children to mine with engaging, interactive content and we do utilise this – but I always start with a book (if available) and then research more online.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed my Children’s book foray and that maybe you’ve seen something that tempts you…