My bairns are aged 4 and 2 so I tend to focus on books for toddlers and preschoolers on the blog and on social media, but occasional...

Books for Big Kids Christmas Gift Guide

Friday, November 22, 2019 BookBairn 1 Comments

My bairns are aged 4 and 2 so I tend to focus on books for toddlers and preschoolers on the blog and on social media, but occasionally I come across books for BookBairn to grow in to or books to save for later. So every year I compile these into a list of books for 'older readers'. The age range of these varies so I recommend you double-check the recommended ages over on the publisher website or on amazon because you know your young readers best as to what is appropriate for their reading. Some of the book listed here are equally as good for reading aloud as well as independent readers so it's worth bearing that in mind too. If you want more suggestions, my guides from the previous two years are still full of recommendations that we still love and read regularly! You can find them all here: GIFT GUIDES

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carrol & Julia Sarda

This is Wonderland as you have never seen it before! It tells the classic story, in the words of Lewis Carroll (it's not a retelling but true to the original text) but with over thirty new, gorgeous and full colour illustrations by one of my favourite illustrators, Julia Sarda. Julia's style is dark and haunting which perfectly suits the story of Wonderland which though magical is full of bizarre and dreamlike characters and events. This is the story of Alice, a bored little girl who falls down a rabbit hole into a whole new world - or does she? Is it her imagination gone wild? This is such a gorgeous edition with stunning illustrations and a beautiful gold detailed cover, it's the perfect present for devoted Alice fans or as a wonderful introduction to new readers.

Narwhal Unicorn of the Sea / Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt by Ben Clanton

I borrowed these from the library for BookBairn but I think she's still a little bit young for them yet, especially as she isn't really familiar with the comic book style and they probably work better for independent readers rather than a read aloud. When Narwhal meets Jellyfish, he thinks he's imagining him. And when Jellyfish meets Narwhal, he thinks it's bizarre that he's imagining a creature who think he's imagining him. Are you keeping up? It's witty, adorable and full of fun and friendship, and waffles. This is perfect for independent readers to enjoy - you'll hear the giggles as they read about this fun pair! The illustrations are simplistic but packed full of humour and fun and the characters are adorable and, in great comic-book style, so expressive! A very fun gift and there's a whole series to collect.

Aesop's Fables by Elli Woollard & Marta Altes

Aesop's fables are stories that we carry with us from our childhood into adulthood with moral lessons as important today as they were thousands of years ago when they were first told. So having a beautiful collection of these makes a fantastic gift as it may well be that these are the words and associated illustrations that young readers will look back on and remember when they are older. This version has been retold in charming rhyming verse - making them a joy to read aloud and with illustrations that are bright and colourful, this new version is an enchanting retelling. And a perfect gift for readers of all ages.

The Lost Fairytales by Isabel Otter & Ana Sender

Fairy tales are stories of daring, magic and adventure. But if damsels in distress and prim princesses give you cause for distress (like they do us!) then this anthology of twenty overlooked and forgotten fairy tales collected from different cultures around the world is definitely a perfect fit for your bookshelf! Traditionally, the editors of fairy tale anthologies were almost always men. They collected stories that reflected how they thought girls and boys should behave. This means that the stories passed down to us invariably feature girls who were vain, weak, jealous and often just plain boring! But this collection of heroines approach life with humour, wit, cunning and bravery. None of them need rescuing! The illustrations throughout are truly magical too and bring these tales to life. I love the Map included at the beginning of the book which shows where the stories have come from, and I love that the illustrations show fairy tale characters as diverse as the cultures they represent (unlike the old European fairy tales that we are used to where the princesses are uncannily similar!). This will make a lovely gift for parents to read aloud with children or for independent readers to enjoy themselves.

Hilda and the Troll / Hilda and the Midnight Giant by Luke Pearson

Now this is a series that has been around for several years but is completely new to me. I guess with younger kids I hadn't had reason to discover the joys of Hilda's dry wit humour! But I saw them in the library and picked them up because I thought that they might be perfect for this gift list and they are! The tell the story of Hilda and a whole cacophony of mythical creatures. Hilda's outings and adventures never quite fall into the realm of ordinary. Dramatic, unexpected and mysterious, these stories are written in a comic book/graphic novel style for young readers. They are packed full of dry humour too! The illustrations are beautifully drawn with characters so expressive you will feel like you have made new friends. This is perfect for less-enthusiastic readers and for after they have finished the stories they can enjoy the TV series on Netflix. So it's a gift that will keep on giving! I can't wait to read more Hilda and introduce BookBairn to her when she's older.

A bonus book...
After I had prepped this post I discovered the most fantastic book for young readers so I'm popping the link to my Instagram post here so you can see it too!

View this post on Instagram

If you saw my Stories yesterday you’ll have noticed that when I went through a bundle of books that I’d received recently there was an audible gasp and pause. And it seems you guys too were excited by this one, because I got countless messages about it. And when I looked more closely yesterday evening it got even better! This is a book unlike any other! Written in the format of an official report of a dissection of the complete body of a Tyrannosaurus rex which has been recently been uncovered this book brings a new dimension for dinosaur fans. And it shows the anatomy of a 10 and a saurus Rex like never before. As a team of palaeontologist prepared to dissect the body, young leaders are lucky enough to be helping them. Under their watchful eye, you peel back the flaps, lift away layers of skin and reveal the inner workings of this prehistoric beast. Truly bringing non-fiction to life, this pop-up book is hands-on learning fun! And the intricacy of the details and all the little extra added flaps underneath flaps. It’s ingenious! Insanely complex and complete wonder - not unlike the workings of inside this prehistoric beast, this is an amazing book! (To see more inside pop on to my Stories.) (Sent by the publisher @templarpublishing as part of a Christmas gift bundle.) Please note that for US buyers it appears to be unavailable on Amazon but you can buy with free international shipping through Book Depository. And for UK buyers it’s worth noting the sale price on at the moment is a great deal!
A post shared by Kim & the BookBairns (@bookbairn) on

And if you want any specific recommendations please feel free to get in touch! All our social media links are in the header at the top of the blog - or you can just search 'bookbairn' to find us!

I have also added this list to my Amazon shops so you can find the links easily, just click on the section for Books for Big Kids.

Happy Christmas Shopping,

Kim and the elves xx

Disclaimer: We were sent some of these books free for review purposes by the publishers. Words and opinions are my own. If you click on the title or image of the book you will be sent to using an affiliate link. This means that if you choose to purchase on, I will receive a small sum (around 20-70p per book) from amazon at no extra cost to you. I understand that you may not want to use an affiliate link, but if you like reading our blog please just think of it as a small tip for a tip-off to an awesome book. And know that your support means I can buy more books! For more information check out our 'For Our Readers' section.

1 comment:

  1. Nice to see some of the old fairy tales getting a make-over and being recommended. Also - I saw the T Rex pop-up book when it came out the box. Amazing!