Reading with children can be an immensely rewarding experience for both adult and child.  Together you can explore worlds, meet new characters and let your imaginations take flight. If you do it right, you can take a child with you into worlds of adventure, mystery and possibility and away, at least for a time, from difficult realities.

For a parent, reading aloud to your child gives you valuable together time and an opportunity to cuddle up on the couch and share a reprieve from the day’s demands. For a friend or family member it is an opportunity to spend time with a young person and see things as least for a while, through their eyes. It may also give their parents the opportunity to get things done or to take a little welcome time out.

When selecting what to read, take your lead from the child. Find out what they like and what they’ve read. Make use of the school or local library if you don’t have much at home, and be prepared to read and reread old favourites especially of the picture book variety.

We all have our favourite books to read aloud to children. Here are some of mine, tried and tested. Use it as a guide only and remember that the child for whom the book is intended will be your best guide as to whether the book is suited to them.  Enjoy.

For under 5

Time for Bed Mem Fox

Dear Zoo Rod Campbell

Where’s Spot Eric Hill

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Eric Carle

Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak

Avocado Baby John Burningham

Giraffes Can’t Dance Giles Andreae

Elmer the Elephant David McKee

The Gruffalo (and the Gruffalo’s Child) Julia Donaldson

Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See Bill Martin Jnr and Eric Carle

Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy Lynley Dodd

Fox in Socks Dr Seuss

Edward the Emu Sheen Knowles and Rod Clement


6-8 years

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day Judith Viorst

Diary of a Wombat Jackie French

The Loraxand Green Eggs and Ham Dr Seuss

Harry the Dirty Dog Gene Zion

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane Kate diCamillo

Tashi Anna Fienberg

The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark Jill Tomlinson

Flat Stanley Jeff Brown

The Story of Ferdinand Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson

Stella Luna Janell Cannon


8-10 years

The Tale of Despereaux Kate diCamillo

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (and many others by)Roald Dahl

Strega Nona  Tomie dePaola

Charlotte’s Web EB White

Nips XI Ruth Starke

The Wizard of Rondo Emily Rodda

Deltora Quest  series Emily Rodda

Flora and Ulysees Kate diCamillo

The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips Michael Morpurgo

The Naughtiest Girl in the School Enid Blyton

The Ranger’s Apprentice John Flanagan


10-12 years

The Mysterious Benedict Society Trenton Lee Stewart

A Wrinkle in Time  Madeleine L'Engle

Holes Luis Sachar

To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee

Harry Potter Series J K Rowling

Hoot  Carl Hiaasen

Ella Enchanted  Gail Carson Levine

Chronicles of Narnia C S Lewis

Hating Alison Ashley Robin Klein

Unreal (short stories) Paul Jennings

The Hobbit  J R R Tolkien


12+  years

Star Girl Jerry Spinelli

Skellig David Almond

The Giver Lois Lowry

Anne of Green Gables  L M Montgomery

War Horse Michael Morpurgo


Private Peaceful Michael Morpurgo

The Hunger Games Suzanne Collins