While we’ve been building our book collection for the family, we’ve discovered many inspirational kids books that have made us see the world in a new light. In fact, we could almost say that we’ve learned more about various subjects through these than reading the adult versions. The combination of words and illustrations in kids books can be incredibly powerful and bring subjects to life in a simple, understandable way.
We’ve shared some of our favourite finds here (both owned and on our wishlist) to help you build your family library. These also make great birthday and Christmas presents. Some of these books were gifted to us by publishers but we only accepted them because we knew they’d be keepers!
Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai
This picture book tells the story of Malala Yousafzai, the famous girl’s rights champion who fled Pakistan after she was attacked by the Taliban. It sounds like a harsh read but this version for 4-8 year olds is sensitively depicted with gentle illustrations by Kerascoët.
The main theme of the book focuses on the power of the written word to create change. Malala sees injustice from an early age and she steps up to fight it.
Malala’s Magic Pencil is a great way to introduce your kids to challenging subjects without scaring them and is particularly inspirational for girls. Little M first read this when she was 4 and now 7, returns to this often. You can read our review here.
Buy Malala’s Magic Pencil |Hive
All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
This book was gifted to us.
All Are Welcome is a fun picture book that tells the follows a diverse class of kids throughout one day. Filled with bright illustrations by Suzanne Kaufman and the repeated message of ‘All are welcome’, this lovely story promotes inclusion and multiculturism.
Everyone in the school is accepted with open arms. Kids from varying cultures and faiths play together happily. All Are Welcome introduces small children to the concept of LGBTQ families too. Every time you read this book, you spot fresh little details that bring the pages to life.
This is designed for 4-8 year olds, but it’s the kind of book that you’ll want to keep for future generations.
Buy All Are Welcome |Hive
The Day War Came by Nicola Davies
This heartbreaking picture book tells the fictional story of a child refugee who has to flee her comfortable home and find refuge in an unwelcoming country. Life only starts to brighten when a fellow classmate helps her at the end of the book.
If you want to encourage your kid to be more empathic about the plight of refugees, this is ideal for young children. The illustrations by Rebecca Cobb are just lovely and when coupled with Nicola Davies’ words, incredibly moving. You experience the little girl’s feelings as she embarks on this unwanted journey and by the end of it, you share her hope for the future.
Buy The Day War Came | Hive
Earth Heroes by Lily Dyu
Our copy was gifted.
Our kids will inherit the Earth so what better way to show them how to care for the planet than by sharing the stories of 20 real-life environmental heroes across the globe.
Earth Heroes is aimed at slightly older children aged between 8-12 but it’s very easy to digest. Every chapter covers a different hero and environmental theme making this a fantastic way to introduce your kids to green topics. We had heard of the famous champions such as David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg but it was great to find out about less well-known figures such as Isatou Ceesay and Mohammed Rezwan.
Earth Heroes is a diverse and fascinating kids book that will widen your perspective on global environmental issues and would make a great resource for school projects. You can read our longer review here.
Buy Earth Heroes | Hive
Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of Species retold by Sabina Radeva
Our original post was sponsored.
We hear so many different interpretations of Charles Darwin’s work but this has been the only book where I’ve understood his theories properly.
Sabina Radeva has taken really complicated ideas and simplified them in such a way that kids can understand the concepts behind evolution. The beauty of this is that it will also appeal to children in different ways as they grow up. The animal illustrations (also by Sabina Radeva) will charm little kids and older ones will be more interested in the science.
On the Origin of Species is a standout in a line up of kids books that make you think about the natural world in a fresh way.
Buy On the Origin of Species retold by Sabina Radeva | Hive
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
There are two books in the Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls series. These non-fiction titles dedicate one page to the stories of 100 influencial women ranging from Amelia Earhart to Frida Kahlo – each with an illustration.
It’s refreshing to see a book that highlights the achievements of women in every sphere of life and there’s a role model for every girl. We had heard of some of these but many of the stories were new to us. This is an important book in showing how women have shaped the world.
Buy Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls | Hive
What is Race? Who are Racists? Why Does Skin Colour Matter? And Other Big Questions by Clare Heuchan and Nikesh Shukla
This soon-to-be published book (23 July 2020) is an essential for all families who want to open up conversations about racism with their kids. It’s targeted at children aged 10+ and encourages them to consider the issues involved. Here’s the blurb.
Talk about race is often discouraged, but this book aims to bring everyone into the conversation. It explores the history of race and society, giving context to how racist attitudes come into being. It looks at belonging and identity, the damaging effects of stereotyping and the benefits of positive representation. The authors talk sensitively about how to identify and challenge racism, and how to protect against and stop racist behaviour.
We don’t have a copy of this yet, but it’s a book that we will most definitely be buying.
Pre-order What is Race? Who are Racists? Why Does Skin Colour Matter? And other Big Questions | Hive
You Are Awesome: Find Your Confidence and Dare to be Brilliant at (Almost) Anything by Matthew Syed
If your kid is struggling with self confidence, then You Are Awesome: Find Your Confidence and Dare to be Brilliant at (Almost) Anything could be the book they need.
This covers the transitional years from 9-12 when children are starting to grapple with puberty but can stretch to older kids. The core purpose of the book is to empower pre-teens and teens to achieve their full potential. With an emphasis on developing a growth mindset, it promotes hard work and resilence.
Buy You Are Awesome: Find Your Confidence and Dare to be Brilliant at (Almost) Anything | Hive
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Warning: This book will make you cry.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio tells the fictional story of 10 year-old Augie, a boy with a facial abnormality who has to cope with bullying when he starts at a new school.
Of all the kids books that make you you think differently about physical disability, this is one of the most touching. Augie’s personal kindness and integrity shines throughout. We see him as a rounded person, not just as someone with a disfigurement. This is bolstered by the other characters as we see their viewpoints too. An essential read for 9-11 year-olds.
Buy Wonder by R.J.Palacio | Hive
What Are the Children’s Books That Have Made You See the World From a Different Angle?
We’re always on the lookout for new kids books that change our perspective on the world and see things in a fresh light. What are the kids books that you make you think in an original way? Has anything surprised you or your family recently? Please let us know in the comments!