Holiday reading: the best children’s books for the summer holidays

One Tiny Dot by Lucy Rowland and Gwen Millward

One Tiny Dot by Lucy Rowland and Gwen Millward (Templar Publishing, £6.99) is actually a powerful dot, which gets bigger every time someone is nice to them, and in turn spreads kindness across the country. The little dot is adorable, and cuteness being a tangible object that grows and shrinks is a brilliant way to explain to kids how feelings shift and change. Clever rhyming prose drives the story forward at a gentle pace, and Millward’s expressive characters come to life in a bright, bold color palette.

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Ready for Spaghetti: Funny Poems for Funny Kids by Michael Rosen and Polly Dunbar (Walker Books, £14.99) is a fabulous collection of new rhymes for young readers. Michael Rosen has a special understanding of how toddlers think and he weaves his blacksmith magic here. Each short poem captures a childhood moment of the joy of waking up – “Up up uppity-up!” to be “all setti for spaghetti” at dinner time. Polly Dunbar’s accompanying artwork perfectly captures the chaos and delights of childhood.

Ready for Spaghetti: Funny Poems for Funny Kids by Michael Rosen and Polly Dunbar

Vehicles by Okidokid and Liuna Virardi (Little Tiger, £6.99) is a beautifully lively hardcover book that’s perfect for little hands. Virardi’s striking work will inspire younger readers to grasp it and explore the world of opposites.

Once Upon a… Fairytale by Natalia and Lauren O’Hara (Macmillan Children’s Book, £7.99) is an imaginative ‘choose your own adventure’ for young children. A villain has put a curse on the kingdom and the queen needs YOU. You can decide who you want to be (how about a courteous fox or a jolly lumberjack son?) and where you want to live (a tower on a windy hill or even a creepy crumbly haunted cabin). Brilliant to share with super cute illustrations, this is a fun and engaging book that puts the reader at the center of the story.

Because of You, John Lewis by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Keith Henry Brown (Scholastic Press, £14.99) is an inspiring story of friendship and activism. Based on the true story of ten-year-old Tybre Faw and his friendship with Congressman John Lewis, this is a powerful story about dreaming big and standing on the shoulders of those who preceded us. With superb illustrations by Keith Henry Brown to accompany the poetic narrative, this is a book readers will cherish.

The boy who grew a tree

The Boy Who Grew a Tree by Polly Ho-Yen and illustrated by Sojung Kim-McCarthy (Knights Of original paperback, £5.99) is an exquisite and original story of the importance of libraries and green spaces to central communities -town. Timi tells his own story, of the tree that grew inside a library, and how he and his friends took a stand to protect it. Told in beautifully crafted prose by Polly Ho-Yen and with charming illustrations by Sojung Kim-McCarty, this is storytelling at its best.

Phil Corbett’s Kitty Quest: Trial by Tentacle (Simon and Schuster, £8.99) is perfect for fans of Phoenix Comics or Bunny vs Monkey graphic novels. Laugh Out Loud funny, this is a very entertaining and utterly delightful story. The Isle of Pawdor is threatened by sea monsters, but luckily Kitty Quest is here to tackle those sprawling beats. Quick and witty, this is an exciting and enjoyable read.

For a magical summer read, dive into Serena Holly’s The Marvelous Granny Jinks and Me: Animal Magic, illustrated by Selom Sunu (Simon and Schuster, £6.99). Inspired by the true story of Jenny Mayers, the first black woman to be accepted into the Magic Circle, this new series is sure to entertain. With magical antics throughout and tips for performing magical effects at home, it’s a charming read.

Because of You, John Lewis by Andrea Davis Pinkney and illustrated by Keith Henry Brown

For those worried about starting a new school after the summer, Lily Bailey’s When I See Blue (Orion Children’s Books, £7.99) is a compelling read. The story follows Ben as he starts school and begins to make friends, while learning to deal with his obsessive compulsive disorder. But the road isn’t easy, and at Halloween Disco, his newfound friendship with Alice is put to the test. With characters close to your heart that you’ll never want to leave, it’s a heartwarming and joyful read about the importance of empathy and understanding.

An equally fascinating story of friendship and family, Scottish author Maisie Chan’s Keep Dancing, Lizzie Chu (Piccadilly Press, £7.99) is an engaging read. Lizzie Chu lives with her grandfather in Glasgow, and both are struggling to adjust to life without Grandma Kam. As ballroom dancing fans, when they have tickets left for the tea dance at the Blackpool Tower Ballroom, Lizzie is determined to go. An uplifting and powerful story about never giving up on your dreams, this is a must read.

Transporting you to a remote Scottish island The Billow Maidens by James Dixon (Guppy Books, £7.99) is ideal summer reading. Intertwining the magic of Celtic and Norse mythology with contemporary experience, it’s a unique tale. In a dark cave, Ailsa discovers Hefring, a daughter of the waves. With the help of new friend Camilla, the two work together to save Hefring. But events conspire against them. Can they save her in time? Magical and hopeful, this is a story that will capture the imagination and hearts of readers.

Spies by David Long and beautifully illustrated by Terri Po (Faber, £18.99) is perfect for non-fiction lovers and those looking for an exciting summer read. Exploring brave spies and secret agents from around the world, these stories will fascinate and intrigue. Written in an engaging and accessible style, this is a superb book for young readers, perfect for those looking to lean into the pages of espionage and daring deeds this summer.

Scottish Book Trust: Reading is caring

Scottish Book Trust recently launched a fundraising appeal to support more people with dementia. The charity runs Reading is Caring, a new program that provides personalized training on creating shared sensory reading experiences to support people with dementia and those caring for someone with dementia. Reading is Caring is designed to make everyday challenges easier by creating special moments of connection, sparking positive memories and relieving stress. It is currently only available in one area of ​​Scotland and the charity is raising funds to reach more people in need of help. Marc Lambert, CEO of Scottish Book Trust, said: “More and more people in Scotland are either living with dementia or caring for someone with dementia. We have seen the huge difference that personalized Reading is Caring training makes in the daily lives of people with dementia and it is just as beneficial for the person with dementia as it is for the person caring for them. We want to reach more people across Scotland with our specialist support. Reading is Caring is currently airing in the Scottish Borders and will move to Edinburgh and Lothians in August. To find out more and donate, visit

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