In so many ways Christmas is all about family, especially the little ones and at the National Children’s Literary Festival at Listowel Writers’ Week that means children’s books. To help you fill those Christmas stockings with the best children’s Christmas books, Máiréad Costelloe of the Children’s festival team has put together a selection of her favourite books, from new publications to timeless reads. Take a look!
Best Children’s Christmas Books for the 0-5 year olds ,
First up is a great Christmas Eve bedtime story Santa is coming to Kerry by Steve Smallman and Robert Dunn. Santa has packed his sleigh and is heading here to Kerry, but after a crash landing in Tralee will he get all his presents delivered?
2014 was a great year for beautifully illustrated picture books. Highlights include Shh! We have a plan by Chris Haughton – the sweet and colourful tale of four inept bird catchers and their disastrous attempts to capture their prey.
Another best children’s Christmas book is Claire Freedman’s Monsters Love Underpants. Combining Ben Court’s colourful illustrations with Claire’s great rhyming story, this makes a great bedtime read with plenty of opportunity for your own sound effects. If you love this book you could also pick up Aliens love Panta Claus.
Tales from Acorn Woods is a great series by Julia Donaldson & Alex Scheffler. Young readers will love lifting the flaps in each page to help search for Mr Fox’s Socks or to find out who is keeping Rabbit awake.
Best Children’s Christmas Books for the 6-10 year olds
Jeff Kinney is back this year with the ninth instalment of The Wimpy Kid series. And the great news is that The Long Haul is as hilarious as the previous instalments. The adventure begins when Greg and the Heffley family go off on a fun road trip which quickly starts to go wrong.
Judi Curtin once again reunites Alice and Megan in Viva Alice! and presents another wonderful story of friendship conquering all, and Roddy Doyle’s latest children’s offering Brilliant sees him use his trademark wit to make a tricky subject like economic recession and depression accessible and relevant to young readers.
Sarah Webb has edited a wonderful collection of wintry tales from Irish illustrators and authors in Beyond the Stars, which is available just in time for Christmas. There is something in this book for all the family, with all profits going to ‘Fighting Words’ – the Irish Story Centre in support of Creative Writing for Children and Adults.
Best Children’s Books for the 10 year olds and over
Some of the biggest names in children’s writing have again delivered a wonderful selection of best children’s Christmas books for young readers this holiday season.
Derek Landy offers a fitting finale to his Skullduggery Pleasant series with The Dying of the Light, the heart wrenching story of Skullduggery’s final battle to save the world.
In Opal Plumstead, Jacqueline Wilson introduces us to the fiercely intelligent Opal whose dreams of university are snatched away from her when her father is sent to prison. Set during World War I this is another amusing and accessible exploration of a key time in history for young readers.
Michael Morpurgo’s latest offering, Listen to the Moon is also set in World War I and tells the story of Alfie and his fisherman father who find a girl on an uninhabited island in the Scillies – injured, thirsty, lost… and with absolutely no memory of who she is, or how she came to be there. Where has she come from? Is she a mermaid, the victim of a German U-boat, or even – as some islanders suggest – a German spy…? A must for anyone who enjoyed War Horse.
Christmas is a great time to introduce new readers to some of the timeless children’s reads we all enjoyed growing up. With the announcement this year that Enid Blyton’s Magic
FarawayTree is to be made into a film, what better time to introduce your child to the wonderful Famous Five, Secret Seven, Mallory Towers or the Adventures of the Wishing Chair for younger readers. Puffin have also just released their In Bloom series, a reissuing of classics such as Heidi , Ann of Green Gables and Little Women with new covers designed by Anna Bond.
“Minecraft fan’s will love the Ultimate Collector’s Edition: Construction handbook for Minecraft and Minecraft: Blockopedia,” Máiréad says. “Both titles will provide everything you need to know to get started and master your Minecraft world.”
In case you missed Máiréad on our ‘Between the Covers’ Radio Kerry slot yesterday when she was discussing her best children’s Christmas books with Deirdre Walsh, you can listen to a podcast of it at www.radiokerry.ie.
Wishing you a very Happy Christmas and New Year wherever you are in the world from all at Listowel Writers’ Week. See you in 2015.