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LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 05-Jun-14 14:20:51

Great books for grandkids

It's easy to fall back on well-loved classics when choosing new books to read with grandchildren, but according to author Elizabeth Laird it's important not to miss out on the exciting new authors the literary world has to offer. Here are her tips on finding the best new children's writers.

Elizabeth Laird

Great books for grandkids

Posted on: Thu 05-Jun-14 14:20:51


Lead photo

Elizabeth with her grandchildren.

There's nothing as lovely as cuddling up on a sofa with a wriggly little grandchild in your arms, and enjoying a book together. But how to find good books to read with them? And once the children can read by themselves, how do you choose a book to give them as a birthday or Christmas present?

The easy answer is to fall back on the books you enjoyed as a child. Peter Rabbit, The Wind in the Willows, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe - these classic stories are eternal, but it's a shame to miss out on the other marvellous things on offer, especially as we are living through a golden age of children's literature, with the likes of Anthony Browne, Quentin Blake, Oliver Jeffers, Michael Rosen, Malorie Blackman, Anne Fine, Jamila Gavin and Patrick Ness - not to mention the superstars, JK Rowling, Michael Morpurgo, Philip Pullman, Jacqueline Wilson and Julia Donaldson.

A good picture book can be enjoyed for years. A child will learn it by heart and absorb the artwork, so it's important to introduce the child to the best, rather than settle for a diet of endless TV tie-ins, cartoony pictures and bad retellings of old fairy tales. After all, the grown-up has to enjoy the book too.

A good picture book can be enjoyed for years. A child will learn it by heart and absorb the artwork, so it's important to introduce the child to the best.

A quick way to find the best is to check out the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards shortlists. These are chosen by librarians from around the country and they really know their stuff. A look through their past and present shortlists is a roll call of all that's excellent in British children's literature. Books for Keeps is a wonderful resource, with over 12,000 reviews of children's books in its archive, and great articles about books and writers. The lovely journal Carousel drops onto my doormat three times a year. It contains reviews of the best books for readers from babyhood to teenage, as well as interviews with authors and feature articles. You can subscribe online too.

If you'd like to get more involved with children and books, you might be lucky enough to find that the Federation of Children's Book Groups has a group in your area. Members read and discuss children's books together, and get the chance to help with all kinds of projects in schools to help children discover and love books. The FCBG organises the annual Red House Children's Book Award, with a glamorous award ceremony at the end of the whole process. If there isn't a book group in your area, you can always start one yourself!

Liz's latest novel, The Fastest Boy in the World, is published by Pan Macmillan and is available now on Amazon.

By Elizabeth Laird

Twitter: @EMRLaird

Mishap Thu 05-Jun-14 14:32:33

Noisy Bottoms - an Usborne book that does what it says on the tin - my GSs love it!!!!

whenim64 Thu 05-Jun-14 14:50:03

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell - there's so much joy in watching little children recognise words and hearing them shout 'send it back' on each page, as unsuitable pets keep arriving in different shaped crates.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 05-Jun-14 14:59:43

Oh! It sounds a lovely book! I'm getting it for my two.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 05-Jun-14 15:01:50

He's got to save his grandad! Awww!

NanKate Fri 06-Jun-14 10:50:36

For older grandchildren 8+ both boys and girls you can't go far wrong with the exciting adventures by the award winning author Chris Bradford. His Young Samurai series is full of adventure and excitement set in C17th Japan.

For teenagers the new 'Bodyguard' series is great. He also writes for reluctant and dyslexic readers with his 'Ninja' books.

There is nothing as satisfying as seeing a child/ teenager with their nose in a book.

rosesarered Fri 06-Jun-14 11:05:43

Does anyone have good ideas for books that autistic children may like?Age for 7-9.

NanKate Fri 06-Jun-14 22:47:54

Roses Try on the website of Barrington Stoke who publish books for youngsters with different reading needs. If you contacted them directly I am sure they would help you.

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 06-Jun-14 22:54:38

I've been buying the rest of the Frank Lampard books for grandson. He loves them. (got one from GN) Waterstones has got them for buy 1 get 2nd half price.

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 06-Jun-14 23:00:33

here's one *roses*

jinglbellsfrocks Fri 06-Jun-14 23:01:56

There are some more on the "also bought"on that page.

chadosborn21 Mon 09-Jun-14 09:34:40

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chadosborn21 Mon 09-Jun-14 09:37:37

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Mishap Mon 09-Jun-14 09:47:21


Elegran Mon 09-Jun-14 10:16:08

Where is Stanley Unwin when you need him?

Elegran Mon 09-Jun-14 10:39:42

Here he is.

rosesarered Mon 09-Jun-14 12:06:27

chados what a lot of **** you are on the wrong site mate!Thanks Jingl and NanKate I will look at those you suggest.

junesmith11 Wed 11-Jun-14 13:16:20

Josh has read all the wimpy kid books what next for some reason he does not like horrid henry

NanKate Wed 11-Jun-14 21:57:44

The books by Charlie Higson (Enemy series) very popular with young male teens. Very gory but exciting and well written. Books by Sophie McKenzie very popular with girls.

feetlebaum Wed 11-Jun-14 22:04:44

The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True
by Richard Dawkins, illustrated by Dave McKean. A truly beautiful book aimed at young people.

annodomini Wed 11-Jun-14 23:03:07

I like the sound of that, feetle. What age group is it aimed at? I have a bright GS, about to be 10. Would that be too young?

Humbertbear Thu 12-Jun-14 08:23:21

I've just bought my 6year old grandson a box set of 10 Time Chronicles books. They are part of the Oxford Reading Tree (level 12) and are about all the old familiar characters but in each book they time travel and meet real historical characters and they are trying to stop the Virans from destroying history. There are two further sets of 6 books each. He can read them himself but likes to be read to and he devoured the 10 in two weeks, reading under the bedclothes. His older sister aged 8 was drawn into the stories too.
I'm afraid she still likes the Fairy books, especially as she was recently bought a set of the Animal Fairies. Still, at least she reads and is bound to move on at some point.
Their dad abandoned the David Walliams books for bedtime reading as he had to keep stopping to explain the language. I personally love the Lemony Snikket books (now often seen in charity shops, sadly). They are good stories using good language.
I've just bought them Stig of the Dump for bedtimes.

Some of their favourites when younger have been books I received through Gransnet such as The Singing Mermaid and the Paper Dolls.

Dare I say it, when they are here they also enjoy Bible stories such as Joseph, Noah's Ark, David and Goliath and Daniel in the lions den. I know not everyone will approve (my husband doesn't) but they are good stories and general knowledge as far as I am concerned.

Humbertbear Thu 12-Jun-14 08:42:08

Sorry - just thought. There is a great online site for children's books and they sell sets and do great deals. You might know who I mean as they often display a few books in schools and offices. I don't think I'm allowed to name them but if you google 'books' the site comes up very near the top.

NanKate Thu 12-Jun-14 15:15:06

Can you give more of a clue Humbert please as I don't think you mean Amazon. ?

annodomini Thu 12-Jun-14 15:38:14

Lovereading4kids, is a good site which gives you an idea of a book's suitability for a particular age group - often for overlapping age groups