Read all about it: What to give your kids for World Book Day

Ahead of World Book Day, Ailin Quinlan rounds up the best reads for kids

Thousands of school pupils around the country are set to participate in one of the world’s biggest and most popular reading initiatives next week.

Research shows reading has a wide range of benefits for children — and as part of World Book Day, Thursday, March 7, schoolchildren receive special tokens enabling them to ‘buy’ one of 12 specially priced €1.50 World Book Day Books.

File photo

This year there’s an additional book available in Ireland only, Sam Hannigan’s Rockstar Granny by Alan Nolan, published by The O’Brien Press.

The aim of World Book Day, which has run for 22 years, is simple: To encourage children to experience the pleasure of books and reading by providing them with the opportunity to have a book of their own. Therefore, as part of the initiative, the special tokens are distributed to primary and second-level schools all over the country.

Reading has a massive impact on a child’s mental wellbeing, his or her vocabulary, literacy, numeracy, and general better outcomes overall,” says Elaina Ryan, director of Children’s Books Ireland which provides its top picks for books for children of all ages.

CBI has also organised a number of special initiatives around World Book Day. One of these, Bookseed, which begins in early March in Limerick — and is expected to be eventually rolled out nationwide — encourages parents to read to babies, while another initiative will see CBI engage in a partnership with KPMG which focuses on reading and book gifting to groups in Dublin, Galway, Cork, and Belfast.

Meanwhile, in another celebration of World Book Day and what it stands for, a campaign to highlight the needs of school libraries will be the focus of a special survey by CBI on

Find out about World Book Day and the 12 World Book Day €1.50 titles for 2019 at

0-2 yrs

Lucy Cousins.

Little Fish and Mummy.

Walker Books €7.98, ISBN 9781406384291

This rhyming maritime adventure with its bold outlines and vivid colours is the perfect book to share with babies. Little Fish loves Mummy Fish very much, and young readers are invited along on a special adventure with them under the sea.

Mary Murphy

Happy! A First Book of Feelings

Walker Books €6.84, ISBN 9781406380651

A first book of feelings for the very youngest children by Irish artist Mary Murphy. Little hands are encouraged to lift the flaps and explore the world of emotions in this fun, interactive board book.

Ingela Parrhenius

Where’s Mrs Kangaroo?

Nosy Crow €7.98, ISBN 9781788003681

This is the latest title in this brilliant board book series for babies. With easy-to-grasp, shaped felt flaps, a repetitive refrain and beautiful artwork from Swedish homewares designer, Ingela Arrhenius, the tiniest book-lovers will be able to interact with this board book with its easy-to-turn, sturdy pages.


Benji Davies


Harper Collins Children’s Books €14.94, ISBN 9780008212797

This is a story about growing up and branching out — and not always being the first to do so. Meet Tad, the smallest tadpole in the pond. Tad is very concerned about where all his fellow tadpoles are disappearing to in this story about taking the next steps in life, even when they are a little bit daunting.

John and Fatti Burke

Brian Boru: The Warrior King

Gill Books €14.84, ISBN 9780717184569

Following on from Granuaile, the first in this Little Library series, John and Fatti Burke bring us the story of Brian Boru for younger readers. Brian Boru lived a big and exciting life. Now his adventures have been condensed by John into simple text for younger readers and brilliantly illustrated by Fatti.

Alexandra Penfold

All Are Welcome

Bloomsbury Publishing €13.69, ISBN 9781526604088

“This is an important book that celebrates diversity and inclusion in a simple way suitable for all young children,” says Elaina Ryan. We see families of all shapes and sizes bringing their children to school, a mix that includes interracial, same-sex, and heterosexual couples as well as single caregivers and guardians. We follow this group of children throughout their day in school, to which everyone is welcomed with open arms.


Beatrice Alemagna

Harold Snipperpot’s Best Disaster Ever

Thames & Hudon €14.84, ISBN 9s780500651872

This is the story about a lonely little boy named Harold Philip Snipperpot who is about to be seven years old. Harold has never had a real birthday party. His ‘grumpy’ parents don’t like parties or shows of affection, and he fears there’s no chance he’ll have a birthday celebration this year either. But in fact, this year is going to be very different indeed!

Steve Antony

Amazing Hodder

Children’s Books €14.84, ISBN 9781444944709

This book is a celebration of friendship, It’s about being yourself with its positive message about celebrating diversity. The child in this book may be in a wheelchair, but the only reason we know this is though the illustrations. “The book provides the perfect platform to start conversations about the importance of understanding and acceptance,” says Elaina. A great fun read for all kids who will recognise Steve Anthony’s artwork from the award-winning Mr Panda series.


Kirsten Reinhart, translated by Siobhán Parkinson Illustrated by David Roberts

How To Bake a Sausage Dog Little island Books €10.28, ISBN 9781910411889

Fennymore Teabreak has more challenges in his life than most boys his age. His parents have mysteriously disappeared, and he’s left in the ‘care’ of eccentric Aunt Elsie who has a penchant for salted dachshund which has disastrous consequences. Throughout this zany book, we meet a plethora of odd characters who seem intent on making life difficult for Fennymore, but, like all good protagonists, he overcomes his problems intelligently and finds a great female sidekick called Fizzy to company up with.

Anita Ganeri

Amazing Expeditions: Journeys that Changed the World

Ivy Kids €17.12, ISBN 9781782407232

Most children are fascinated by adventure and those extraordinary humans who undertake them. Throughout history, adventurers have always wondered what is beyond the next mountain, ocean, river... or even planet. Explorers head out to discover new lands, find and establish trade routes, seek treasure, make scientific discoveries, gain territories for their country, or simply do something that’s not been done before.


Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault

Louis Undercover

Walker Books €20.55, ISBN 9781406378429

A visually stunning, hopeful, and thought-provoking graphic novel about family separation, love, and bravery from the award-winning creators of Jane, the Fox and Me. In this quiet, probing tale we meet Louis, an adolescent boy who shuttles between his mum’s home in the city and his dad’s house in the country, with his little brother, Truffle who is still too small to understand the situation fully. As painful as the upheaval and complexities of his parents separation is, Louis has another problem: he is trying to summon up the courage to speak to his true love, Billie and struggling to do so.

Dick Lehr

Nothing But The Truth

Walker Books €9.13, ISBN 9781406379846

Dick Lehr, a former reporter for the Boston Globe’s famous Spotlight Team, has reimagined a case he investigated during his journalist days, to create a compelling story about a daughter determined to prove her father’s innocence. This novel is inspired by the true story of a young man’s false imprisonment for murder, and a daughter’s fight for justice against the odds. When a 13-year-old African-American girl becomes the innocent victim of gang-related gunfire, there is a public outcry and a immediate manhunt is launched to catch the murderer. A young African-American man is quickly apprehended, charged, and wrongly convicted of the crime. Twelve years after his conviction, his daughter persuades a reporter and a determined lawyer to help clear her father’s name. A pacey read and timely reminder of the damage a rush to judgment can cause, especially relevant in today’s charged climate.

Sara Barnard

Fierce Fragile Hearts

Macmillian €9.13, ISBN 9781509852888

This book is a companion novel to the earlier Beautiful Broken Things, focusing on Suzanne, who has come out the other end of a downward spiral that left her vulnerable but is now back at home, near the reassuring safety of close friends. However, her friends are about to leave for university. Suzanne lost time when she went off the rails, and is now lagging behind them in her life stage, again about to lose her safety net. This story is about life’s turning points and the changes when you are the person left behind.

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