Looking for a New Book? Try These Expert Book Recommendations for Kids of All Ages

Jill Holtz

November 19, 2021

book recommendations for kids

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Patsy Lyons, owner TaraBookCo.ie, has provided some fantastic choices and book recommendations for kids that would make fantastic picks for story time, gift ideas or independent reading.

Tara Book Company is committed to fostering, nurturing and encouraging a love of reading with children by providing the very best books, both Irish and International.

Patsy is always reading and researching books, it’s her job. And to make your job easier in choosing the right books her website is age graded, with categories, to help narrow down the minefield that is children’s books.

Read on for Patsy’s recommendations for some wonderful books for kids of all ages.

Wondering What to Read Next?

During a MyKidsTime Instagram Live event, Patsy gave book recommendations for kids of different age groups and different types of books for different interests, as well as some lovely tips for parents about the importance of reading to your child and the gift it gives your child.

Tara Book Company also offers book gift sets and vouchers, perfect for Christmas and birthdays.

Exclusive Offer: MyKidsTime readers can use coupon code MKT22 to get 10% off book purchases (code valid until 25 December 2022).

Book Recommendations for Kids: 0-4 Years

Only a Tree Knows How to Be a Tree by Mary Murphy

Only a Tree Knows How to Be a Tree - book recommendations for kids

Buy Only a Tree Knows How to Be a Tree from TaraBookCo.ie

“Every person has their own thoughts in their head,
and their own feelings in their heart.
Every single person is different.
And only they know how to be them.”

Only a Tree knows how to be a tree! But trees are just the start – everything and everyone is different and special. Birds, dogs, fishes, people – and our Earth itself – all have their own unique place in our world. And only you know how to be you.

With a sure touch, this book shows every child its place in the world, and how everyone and everything is both part of the whole and special in itself.

Eva and the Perfect Rain by Tatyana Feeney

Eva and the Perfect Rain - book recommendations for kids

Buy Eva and the Perfect Rain from TaraBookCo.ie

Eva wakes up to find that it’s raining – again! She is thrilled because she can’t wait to use her new umbrella, but after breakfast the rain is too soft for an umbrella. The rain is lovely but it’s just not perfect umbrella rain!

Eva spends the day searching and hoping for the perfect umbrella rain that’s not too windy, too thundery or too drizzly. Finally, she finds it in a sun shower and a rainbow shines making it the most perfect rain of all.

Embrace rainy Ireland with Eva in this beautiful and delightful picture book.

Willy the Wimp by Anthony Browne

Willy the Wimp - book recommendations for kids

Buy Willy the Wimp from TaraBookCo.ie

Willy is tired of being a wimp, so he decides it is time to take action!

Willy is kind and gentle, and bullied by the suburban gorilla gang who call him “Willy the Wimp”. Desperate to do something about his situation, Willy answers a bodybuilding advert and grows big and strong, determined no one will ever call him “wimp” again.

Mad About Dinosaurs by Giles Andreae

Mad About Dinosaurs - book recommendations for kids

Buy Mad About Dinosaurs from TaraBookCo.ie

Join all your favourite dinosaurs in this colourful, rhyming picture book, from the author of international bestseller, Giraffes Can’t Dance!

Silly Diplodocus, fierce T-Rex, Brontosaurus, Stegosaurus and more… They’re all here in this bright, bold book. With a short lively rhyme on each page, fun facts and colourful pictures (plus handy pronunciation guides) this is perfect for young dinosaur fans everywhere.

Be Wild Little One by Olivia Hope with illustrations by Daniel Egnéus

be wild little one olivia hope

Buy Be Wild Little One from TaraBookCo.ie

Wake up early, don’t be shy.
This bright world can make you FLY . . .

This gorgeous, uplifting picture book celebrates the wildness in all of us, and the beauty of the world all around us. Prepare for a heart-lifting journey through the beauties of nature: from pine forests to awe-inspiring mountains, and from sparkling seas to starry skies, each page is full of wonders. Fly across oceans, run with wolves through the mountain snow, dance with fireflies, and prepare to BE WILD!

With a lyrical text from talented debut author Olivia Hope, and stunning, immersive illustrations by Daniel Egnéus, this stand-out book brims with joy and possibility and makes the perfect gift for any little one.

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Book Recommendations for Kids: 5-8 Years

Tom Crean: Hero of the South Pole by Gaye Shortland

Tom Crean Hero of the South Pole - book recommendations for kids

Buy Tom Crean: Hero of the South Pole from TaraBookCo.ie

In 1918, sailors from the famous polar ship Endurance recorded a ballad about one of their fellow crew members. The chorus went:

Hail, hail, Tom Crean, hail, hail, Tom Crean,
He’s the bravest man that the world’s ever seen.
Hail, hail, Tom Crean, hail, hail, Tom Crean,
He’s the Irish giant from County Kerry!

So who was this man hailed as a hero and loved and respected so much? Who faced death many times and never backed down? And how did this farmer’s son from Kerry, who ran away to join the navy at 15, come to be such a famous Antarctic explorer? This is his amazing story.

Sona Sharma Very Best Big Sister by Chitra Soundar

Sona Sharma Very Best Big Sister - book recommendations for kids

Buy Sona Sharma Very Best Big Sister from TaraBookCo.ie

Being a big sister to a new baby brings big responsibilities.

Sona Sharma’s house is full of people who joke often and argue sometimes. Relatives come unannounced, the phone rings frequently and friends drop in all the time. Then one day, Amma tells Sona she is going to have a baby. Is that good? Sona isn’t sure – she has always enjoyed being an only child – and straight away she has a word with her best friend, Elephant.

When Sona learns that there will be a baby naming ceremony, she is determined to find the perfect name for her new brother or sister. Because although she realizes that her life is about to change, and while she’s having some difficulty in coming to terms with having to share everything with the new baby – including Amma and Appa, her grandparents and her home – Sona Sharma wants to be the very best big sister she can be.

A Hundred and One Daffodils by Malachy Doyle

A Hundred and One Daffodils - book recommendations for kids

Buy A Hundred and One Daffodils from TaraBookCo.ie

Dusty the fox cub can’t wait for her very first spring; Dad has told her there will be a big party. All Dusty has to do is find 101 daffodils to prove it really is spring. That is a lot of flowers! Will Dusty and her friends be able to find them all?

This heart-warming tale from Irish author Malachy Doyle is perfect for Key Stage 1 (KS1) children who are learning to read by themselves. It features engaging illustrations from Denise Hughes and explores the themes of seasons and plant life cycles.

News Hounds The Puppy Problem by Laura James

news hounds the puppy problem

Buy News Hounds The Puppy Problem from TaraBookCo.ie

Gizmo is a city dog, so when he moves to the village of Puddle with his journalist human he doesn’t know WHAT to expect. Certainly not FLOWERS. Or BEES. And he couldn’t have even imagined MUD. Luckily he’s got Jilly, the wolfhound next door, to show him around.

But Jilly has a problem. Her puppies are going to be given to new owners far away. She’ll never see them again! Gizmo might not know the difference between a cow and a tractor but he’s got a nose for a story, and a great idea to help Jilly. What if the dogs of Puddle had a newspaper? STOP PRESS!

A charming and hilarious new illustrated young fiction series about the things dogs get up to when their humans aren’t looking.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Buy Diary of a Wimpy Kid from TaraBookCo.ie

Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into a new year and a new school where undersize weaklings share the corridors with kids who are taller, meaner and already shaving.

Desperate to prove his new found maturity, which only going up a grade can bring, Greg is happy to have his not-quite-so-cool sidekick, Rowley, along for the ride. But when Rowley’s star starts to rise, Greg tries to use his best friend’s popularity to his own advantage.

Recorded in his diary with comic pictures and his very own words, this test of Greg and Rowley’s friendship unfolds with hilarious results.

Dog Man & Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

Buy Dog Man from TaraBookCo.ie

George and Harold (the co-stars of the enormously popular Captain Underpants series) are in big trouble again! Their mean principal, Mr Krupp, has had it with their comic books. But the boys aren’t giving up, and they decide to create an all-new epic novel about a subject they’ve never tackled before!

Dr Dilbert Dinkle started his career as an ordinary, everyday evil genius/inventor/bank robber. But when he awakens one day transformed into a walking, talking puddle of pee, he vows to destroy every toilet in town. Will the devious Dr Dinkle and his conniving cat, Petey, ruin restrooms for the rest of us? Or could this be a job for the death-defying, dynamic duo of Super Diaper Baby and Diaper Dog?

King Henry by Paul O’Flynn

King Henry - book recommendations for kids

Buy King Henry from TaraBookCo.ie

There are parts of Ireland where hurling is life. Luckily for young Henry Shefflin, his home village of Ballyhale in Co. Kilkenny is one such place. Henry is from a hurling stronghold where every thought is about the next point, the next goal, the next match. But there’s only one match anyone talks about come September – the All-Ireland Final.

Can Henry be as good a hurler as his father and brothers? Can he train hard and overcome injuries and disappointments to one day play at Croke Park for his beloved county?

King Henry is the incredible story of how Henry Shefflin became the greatest hurling player of all time.

Be Inspired by Sarah Webb, illustrated by Graham Corcoran

be inspired sarah webb

Buy Be Inspired from TaraBookCo.ie

Meet the inspiring young Irish people taking on the world!

Follow beach-cleaner FLOSSIE DONNELLY on her quest to save the oceans, and join ADAM KING in changing the world one hug at a time. Hit the track with star athlete RHASIDAT ADELEKE, and swim to victory with Paralympian RÓISÍN NÍ RÍAIN.

Tune into RTE to catch award-winning journalist ZAINAB BOLADALE, explore the wonders of nature with writer DARA MacANULTY and restore our planet’s biodiversity with beekeepers ELIZABETH BYRNE & RIAN SOMERS.

From activism to sport, the creative arts to science and innovation, discover the amazing young people who are making waves.

It’s never too early to achieve your dreams – why not start today?

Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Buy Because of Winn-Dixie from TaraBookCo.ie

One summer’s day, ten-year-old India Opal Buloni goes down to the local supermarket for some groceries – and comes home with a dog.

But Winn-Dixie is no ordinary dog. It’s because of Winn-Dixie that Opal begins to make friends. And it’s because of Winn-Dixie that she finally dares to ask her father about her mother, who left when Opal was three. In fact, as Opal admits, just about everything that happens that summer is because of Winn-Dixie.

Fox Friend by Michael Morpurgo

Fox Friend

Buy Fox Friend from TaraBookCo.ie

Christine had lived her whole life on the farm without seeing a fox… until she finds a fox cub, separated from its mother. She looks after him, but has to keep it a secret from her father who thinks foxes are vermin.

Will she be able to keep him safe?

The Worst Class in the World by Joanna Nadin

Buy The Worst Class in the World from TaraBookCo.ie

A brand new, laugh-out-loud young fiction series from bestselling author Joanna Nadin. Perfect for fans of Horrid Henry and the Trouble with Daisy series.

According to head teacher Mrs Bottomley-Blunt, 4B is the worst class in the world. She says school is not about footling or fiddle-faddling or fun. It is about learning and it is high time 4B tried harder to excel at it.

But Stanley and Manjit didn’t literally mean to make their whole class sick with homemade biscuits. And they definitely didn’t literally mean for Manjit’s dog Killer to eat their teacher’s shoes or for Bruce Bingley’s rat to escape. These things just happened even though they had a foolproof plan. You see, 4B may be the worst class in the world, but you wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

Highly illustrated and featuring two hilarious madcap adventures in one book, these books are just right for children ready for their first chapter books.

Rex Dinosaur in Disguise by Elys Dolan

Rex Dinosaur in Disguise

Buy Rex Dinosaur in Disguise from TaraBookCo.ie

Rex is king of the dinosaurs: carnivores want to be him and herbivores want to be eaten by him… That is, until a pesky Ice Age comes along and he winds up frozen solid in a glacier. When he wakes up, 65 million years later, human beings rule the roost – and if they get their hands on Rex, he’ll wind up in a zoo. (Or, worse: a MUSEUM.)

Lucky for him, Rex isn’t the only undercover creature in town. He’s whisked out of danger by the one and only Bigfoot, who has been surviving among the humans undetected for years. Bigfoot and his friends show Rex how to get by in the humans’ world, and soon there’s only one thing left for him to do: GET A JOB.

But that’s easier said than done … and with a meddling nine-year-old neighbour to deal with, and the constant risk of discovery, life couldn’t be harder for a dinosaur in disguise.


Our book scavenger hunt for kids is great fun – and you might find your kids get distracted by some reading while they are at it!

Book Recommendations for Kids: 9-12 Years

Girls who Slay Monsters – Daring tales of Ireland’s Forgotten Goddesses by Ellen Ryan

girls who slay monsters

Buy Girls Who Slay Monsters from TaraBookCo.ie

Have you heard of Eithne the supernatural scholar or Fand the shape-shifting eco-warrior?

What about Bé Mannair, a gender-fluid spy who challenges an entire army, or Bé Binn, a giantess who gets her own back on her bullies?

From mermaids and fashionistas to athletes and farmers, meet goddesses of all shapes and sizes from Ireland’s ancient myths. Stand by their sides as they wield magic, fight monsters, and protect the powerless – and you might discover that you, too, are a force of nature.

The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle

Storm Keepers Island - book recommendations for kids

Buy The Storm Keeper’s Island from TaraBookCo.ie

When Fionn Boyle sets foot on Arranmore Island, it begins to stir beneath his feet…

Once in a generation, Arranmore Island chooses a new Storm Keeper to wield its power and keep its magic safe from enemies. The time has come for Fionn’s grandfather, a secretive and eccentric old man, to step down. Soon, a new Keeper will rise.

But, deep underground, someone has been waiting for Fionn. As the battle to become the island’s next champion rages, a more sinister magic is waking up, intent on rekindling an ancient war.

Stick Boy by Paul Coomey

Stick Boy - book recommendations for kids

Buy Stick Boy from TaraBookCo.ie

From the moment Stick Boy and his family move to Little Town, there is way more to worry about than being the new kid. There’s a mysterious plot involving Baron Ben’s new Mega Mall, pop star Jonny Vidwire and the highly suspicious HomeBots that are infiltrating every home in town. Can Stick Boy and his friends uncover the evil plan behind it all before it’s too late?

An incredibly exciting and extremely funny new world for middle grade readers and fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Tom Gates and Timmy Failure.

The Last Bear by Hannah Gold

the last bear

Buy The Last Bear from TaraBookCo.ie

There are no polar bears left on Bear Island. At least, that’s what April’s father tells her when his scientific research takes them to this remote Arctic outpost for six months. But one endless summer night, April meets one. He is starving, lonely and a long way from home. Determined to save him, April begins the most important journey of her life…

This moving story will win the hearts of children the world over and show them that no one is too young or insignificant to make a difference. The Last Bear is a celebration of the love between a child and an animal, a battle cry for our world and an irresistible adventure with a heart as big as a bear’s.

‘A dazzling debut . . . A magical, confidently told story – with beautiful illustrations by Levi Pinfold . . . I predict a roaring success’ The Times

Race the Atlantic Wind by Oisin McGann

Buy Race the Atlantic Wind from TaraBookCo.ie

As the First World War comes to an end, teams of pilots and navigators gather in Newfoundland. The challenge: to be the first to fly non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean.

In the spring of 1919, after the end of the First World War, teams of pilots and navigators begin to gather on the North American island of Newfoundland. They are attempting what many believe to be impossible – to fly non-stop across the Atlantic Ocean. Equipped with machines made mostly from wood, fabric and wire, they intend to fly the 1,800 miles to Ireland, in the face of the merciless North Atlantic weather.

John Alcock and Arthur Whitten Brown are late to arrive. Competing against some of Europe’s most famous pilots, these two British war veterans are considered rank outsiders. Maggie McRory is a sixteen-year-old girl who sees the gathering of all these aircraft and their crews as a chance to escape her narrow existence. Her war-scarred uncle, however, views them as a threat to the island and his way of life. This absurdly dangerous contest is going to change the world…

The Little Bee Charmer of Henrietta Street by Sarah Webb

The Little Bee Charmer of Henrietta Street - book recommendations for kids

Buy The Little Bee Charmer of Henrietta Street from TaraBookCo.ie

When their father’s business fails, Eliza and Jonty Kane move to a tenement flat in Dublin city, number 16 Henrietta Street.

From a crowded tenement to the dazzling world of the circus – can dreams really come true? A tale of bravery, adventure and bee charming!

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell


Buy Rooftoppers from TaraBookCo.ie

Winner of the Blue Peter Book Award and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, and shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal.

My mother is still alive, and she is going to come for me one day.

Everyone thinks that Sophie is an orphan. Found floating in a cello case and swaddled in a Beethoven score, she is the only recorded female survivor of a shipwreck on the English Channel. But Sophie remembers seeing her mother wave for help.

Charles, a fellow survivor and an eccentric scholar, finds Sophie and brings her home to his London bachelor flat. Raised in a quirky home filled with music, words and love (though questionable diet), Sophie grows into a free-spirited tomboy with a taste for Shakespeare and the unshakeable belief that anything is possible. And you should never ignore a possible.

So when the child welfare agency in its bureaucratic wisdom threatens to send Sophie to an orphanage, the optimistic girl and her odd guardian flee to Paris on a quest to find her mother, starting with the only clue she has – the address of the cello maker.

Join plucky heroine Sophie, her eccentric guardian Charles, and her intrepid orphan allies on the rooftops of Victorian Paris, as they encounter suspense and adventure that will keep kids of all ages on the edge of their seats right to the heartwarming end.

Love that Dog by Sharon Creech

Love that Dog - book recommendations for kids

Buy Love that Dog from TaraBookCo.ie

Is it a diary, poetry or a novel? It’s all that and funny too.

Fresh, enchanting and utterly original, this is a wonderful book for children and adults and simply defies definition.

Don’t Miss…

From crafts and science kits to the latest books and magazines, these subscription gifts for kids and teens will keep them engaged and interested long after the gift has been received. Plus, who doesn’t love to get something fun in the post?!

Book Recommendations for Kids: 12-15 Years

Tomorrow is Beautiful by Sarah Crossan

Tomorrow is Beautiful - book recommendations for kids

Buy Tomorrow is Beautiful from TaraBookCo.ie

Sometimes it’s hard to find the right words. This poetry anthology provides the antidote, offering calm, hope and peace to all.

Focusing on positivity, this is the perfect collection to dip into whenever you need a boost. Containing a selection of classic poems from Langston Hughes, Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Christina Rossetti, as well as contemporary poems chosen by Sarah Crossan – the go-to verse novelist in the UK – this beautiful book will lift your spirits time and time again. An essential read and the perfect gift for anyone in need of comfort, joy and hope.

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy

Buy Skulduggery Pleasant from TaraBookCo.ie

Meet the great Skulduggery Pleasant: wise-cracking detective, powerful magician, master of dirty tricks and burglary (in the name of the greater good, of course). Oh yeah. And dead. Then there’s his sidekick, Stephanie. She’s, well, she’s a 12-year-old girl. With a pair like this on the case, evil had better watch out!

Stephanie’s uncle Gordon is a writer of horror fiction. But when he dies and leaves her his estate, Stephanie learns that while he may have written horror, it certainly wasn’t fiction. Pursued by evil forces intent on recovering a mysterious key, Stephanie finds help from an unusual source — the wisecracking skeleton of a dead wizard.

When all hell breaks loose, it’s lucky for Skulduggery that he’s already dead. Though he’s about to discover that being a skeleton doesn’t stop you from being tortured, if the torturer is determined enough. And if there’s anything Skulduggery hates, it’s torture!

Will evil win the day? Will Stephanie and Skulduggery stop bickering long enough to stop it? One thing’s for sure: evil won’t know what’s hit it.

Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen

Orphan Monster Spy - book recommendations for kids

Buy Orphan Monster Spy from TaraBookCo.ie

Sarah has played many roles – but now she faces her most challenging of all. Because there’s only one way for a Jewish orphan spy to survive at a school for the Nazi elite. And that’s to become a monster like them.

They think she is just a little girl. But she is the weapon they never saw coming… with a mission to destroy them all.

The Legend of Valentine Sorrow by Caroline Busher

The Legend of Valentine Sorrow - book recommendations for kids

Buy The Legend of Valentine Sorrow from TaraBookCo.ie

The cholera epidemic sweeps across Ireland like a secret, bringing with it a family of 400-year-old Vampires. Unsuspecting orphan, Valentine, is unaware of the Vampires lurking in the shadows, until he finds himself flying through the star-filled sky on his way to a Vampire’s Lair. Matilda, Valentine’s sister, returns home from the fever hospital to discover that her brother Valentine has vanished and she will stop at nothing to find him.

Valentine embarks on the adventure of a lifetime; he is shipwrecked at the foot of an ancient lighthouse, battles with a Vampire Hunter, rescues a mermaid and works as an illusionist. Valentine takes up residence in Casino Marino, an exquisite temple in Dublin with hidden rooms and secret passageways.

Will Valentine ever see Matilda again? Can he overcome the Vampire’s curse? And does he have what it takes to defeat Lorenzo, a wicked Vampire, who has travelled through time to find him?

The Deepest Breath by Meg Grehan

The deepest breath - book recommendations for kids

Buy The Deepest Breath from TaraBookCo.ie

Stevie is 11 and loves reading and sea-creatures. She lives with her mum, and she’s been best friends with Andrew since forever. Stevie’s mum teases her that someday they’ll get married, but Stevie knows that won’t ever happen. There’s a girl at school that she likes more. A lot more. Actually, she’s a bit confused about how much she likes her. It’s nothing like the way she likes Andrew. It makes her fizz inside. That’s a new feeling, one she doesn’t understand. Stevie needs to find out if girls can like girls – love them, even – but it’s hard to get any information, and she’s too shy to ask out loud about it. But maybe she can find an answer in a book.

With the help of a librarian, Stevie finds stories of girls loving girls, and builds up her courage to share the truth with her mum.

Written in accessible verse ‘chapters’ and in a warm and reassuring style, The Deepest Breath will be of special relevance to young girls who are starting to realise that they are attracted to other girls, but it is also a story for any young reader with an open mind who wants to understand how people’s emotions affect their lives.

_Try These Expert Book Recommendations for Kids of All Ages

Like this? Share it with your network!

Like this? Share it with your network!

Published On: November 19th, 2021 / Categories: Entertainment / Last Updated: June 15th, 2023 / Tags: , /

About the Author: Jill Holtz

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Jill is one of the co-founders of Mykidstime and a mum of 2 girls

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