Children’s Book Guide | National Storytelling Week 2019

29 January, 2019

We’re celebrating National Storytelling Week by encouraging the children in our care to pick up a book and get reading.

To help them find a book they love, we asked our foster and birth children to tell us about their all-time favourite books and used these recommendations to create our Children’s Book Guide.

Gallagher Girls Box Set Collection by Ally Carter
Recommended by Emma, aged 13

The series follows the journey of Cammie, a teenager who’s training to be a spy at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women. Nicknamed ‘Chameleon’ after her special talent for disguising herself in a crowd, we watch the teen develop her spy skills in the classroom, including become fluent in fourteen languages and kill a man with uncooked spaghetti. But the academy doesn’t prepare her for what to do when she meets an ordinary boy.

Why do you love it?

Because it leaves you constantly in suspense and you never want to put the book down in case you miss out on the action!

The North Wind and the Sun by Aesop
Recommended by Hermioney, aged 18

This is one of Aesop’s fables which tells the story of a competition of strength between the North Wind and the Sun.

While they were disputing their strength with much heat and bluster, a traveller passed along the road wrapped in a cloak. “Let us agree that he is the stronger who can strip that traveller of his cloak”, said the Sun. “Very well”, growled the North Wind, and at once sent a cold, howling blast against the traveller. The traveller held onto his cloak tighter to stay warm. But when the Sun shone his light and heat onto the traveller, the cloak came off.

Why do you love it?

My Mum always used to read this to me as a child. She reads to read it to all the children who come into her care. It teaches the power of gentle persuasion and kindness, over bullying and brute force. A great narrative to make a connection with young people. It’s short but even young children can understand its message.

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
Recommended by Jay, aged 4

Set in the deep dark forest, this story features a very brave mouse who simply wants to eat a nut. Faced with an owl, a snake and a big scary Gruffalo, he quickly realises how to trick the Gruffalo into thinking he’s the most dangerous animal in the woods.

Why do you love it?

Jay loves the rhyming words and the illustrations. He enjoys the descriptive language used to describe the Gruffalo and he recites this along with me as I read.

Around the World with Phineas Frog by Paul Adshead
Recommended by Thomas, aged 20

A frog, who is an adventure traveller, accidentally hooks his daughter by her knickers onto his balloon and ends up having to taking her around the world, collecting treasures and money from each country. All the treasures go into her magic, bottomless bag, only to find it has a hole in the bottom, and she drops everything out along the way.

It teaches all about landmarks and cultures and it’s written in rhyme and is very funny. He has to get around the world in 80 days and in the end, he builds a plane out of the boat he was in and flies back, just in time.

Why do you love it?

I’ve had this book since I was 4 years old and I still have it.

It was a great way to learn about the world and me and my mum used to make up our own travel stories at bedtime to help me go to sleep. It inspired me to travel and visit all sorts of places and I now love to google the world and still hope to keep travelling. I have been to some really interesting places and Iceland was my favourite place – I’ve been twice and want to go again. I loved this book growing up and I still have it. 

The Baby Who Wouldn’t Go to Bed by Helen Cooper
Recommended by Isla, aged 2

This story is about a baby who simply won’t go to bed. Insisting on staying up all night, the baby embarks on an adventure in his little imaginary car. However, he soon discovers that he’s not alone, when his mummy finds him and takes him back home for a lovely cuddle.

Why do you love it?

The pictures are beautiful with lots to look at on every page. I love the mummy looking for baby and picking him up.

Strombreaker by Anthony Horowitz
Recommended by Jon, aged 13

The book is about a fourteen-year-old orphan, called Alex. He lived with his uncle, who unfortunately died and was then blackmailed into to becoming a spy for MI6.

Why do you love it?

I love the book because it is really adventurous and risk taking. The book made me feel suspense and that I didn’t know what would happen next.

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
Recommended by Mason, aged 9

Harry Potter is a boy that doesn’t know he’s a wizard. He lives with his awful aunt, uncle and cousin who is extremely spoilt. Then one day, he finds out who he really is and that he’s been living with non-magical Muggles.

Harry then becomes enrolled at Hogwarts, a magical school for witchcraft and wizardry, where he meets his best friends Ron and Hermione, and has to save the wizard world from a dark wizard.

Why do you love it?

I love Harry Potter because it takes you to a whole new world, with new languages, money and even sports. It’s not just a story it’s a whole new world.

Awful Auntie by David Walliams
Recommended by Mia, aged 10

This is a story about a girl who is forced by her awful auntie Alberta, to sign over the deeds to Saxby Hall, a home she inherited from her late parents.  Alberta wants to turn it into a museum with stuffed owls all over the place, but young Lady Stella Saxby fights back.

Why do you love it?

It’s sooo funny and was written by my favourite author, David Walliams. 

How the Elephant Got His Trunk by Rudyard Kipling
Recommended by Luke, aged 7

Once upon a time, elephants weren’t always born with trunks. It wasn’t until once day, when the elephant’s curious baby elephant decided to take a trip down to the river and an alligator bit his nose. The baby elephant tried to pull away and his trunk got longer. All his friends thought it was so good, so they decided to copy. And that’s how the elephant got his trunk.

Why do you love it?

It’s a funny story and I love that elephants can now get water up their trunks and reach the fruit from tall trees.

A Monster in the House by Elisa Kleven
Recommended by Sophie, aged 7

It’s about a girl who’s recently moved to a new house and tells her new neighbour friend about the monster living in her house. The monster screams, cries and smears food all over the place. But it turns out to be a new baby brother.

Why do you love it?

I really like this story, it makes me laugh a lot and talks about mess, sick and poo a lot! 

There’s No Such Thing as Monsters by Steve Smallman
Recommended by Jessica, aged 2

The story is about two brothers who are bears. Little Bear gets his own bedroom and starts to imagine that he can see monsters from the shadows of toys. Big Bear keeps running back to Little Bear to show him there are no monsters, only socks on the back of a chair.

Why do you love it?

Jessica is fascinated by this book and can recite most of it.


All book recommendations were given by looked after children or birth children, but to protect their identity, we’ve changed their names.

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