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Lockdown literature for kids

If the novelty of staying at home with your kids is wearing a bit thin, here are 14 brilliant books to keep them amused and out of the fridge for at least five minutes.

Fear your kids are spending too much time staring at an iPad and too little time doing anything meaningful during lockdown? We hear you. But don’t beat yourself up. The juggle is real, homeschooling a nightmare and the lure of screentime is strong. Thanks to lovely peeps at The Little Bookshop in Cookham, here are 14 awesome books to lure them down a literary rabbit hole. Five minutes peace your say? You’re welcome.


Little Green donkey and The song of the tree books

Little Green Donkey by Anuska Allepuz

From the creator of That Fruit is Mine! comes a laugh-out-loud cautionary tale, sure to resonate with all picky eaters and their parents! Little Donkey LOVES eating grass – it’s just so sweet, and crunchy, and juicy! His pillow is even made from grass so he can roll over in the morning and eat his own bed. ‘Why don’t you try some other food?’ suggests his desperate mum, putting on a display of fruit as a way to entice her little one to eat something new. But Little Donkey sees no need. Until that is, he catches a glimpse of his reflection.

The Song of the Tree by Coralie Bickford-Smith

A rich, vibrant story about growing up from the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith. Bird loves the towering tree that grows in the jungle. Every year in the dry months, he and the other birds come to play and sing in tree’s branches. Then one day Bird wonders: what is it like for tree when they fly away? Who else lives there? As he goes on a journey to discover the stories of the other creatures who love tree as much as he does, Bird learns to sing a new song. This is a tale about the spirit of adventure and finding our own way of exploring the world. (Suitable ages 3-17).

The Seed of compassion and stars before bedtime books

The Seed of Compassion: Lessons from the Life and Teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama

For the first time ever, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate His Holiness the Dalai Lama addresses children directly, sharing lessons of peace and compassion, told through stories of his own childhood in a small village in Tibet. With simple, powerful text, the Dalai Lama shares the universalist teachings of treating one another with compassion, which Bao Luu illustrates beautifully in vibrant colour. In an increasingly confusing world, The Seed of Compassion offers guidance and encouragement on how we all might bring more kindness to our world.

Stars Before Bedtime : A Mindful Fall-Asleep Book by Jessamy Hibberd and Claire Grace

Create a calm bedtime ritual with this debut book Stars Before Bedtime – a soothing journey through the glittering constellations of the night sky woven with tried-and-tested sleep exercises and mindfulness techniques from the bestselling author and clinical psychologist Dr Jessamy Hibberd. In this fast-paced world, relaxing and preparing for sleep can be difficult for children. This beautiful, fact-filled book helps ease bedtime struggles with mindfulness, muscle relaxation, visualisation and other exercises proven to help kids release stress and anxiety, clear their minds, and fall asleep. No guarantee you won’t doze off too.


Find the spy and Secret Garden books

The Secret Garden by Claire Freedman

An oldie but a goodie – revisit the magical story of Mary Lennox, who arrives in the wild and windswept Yorkshire a sickly and miserable girl – until she discovers a forgotten, Secret Garden. As Mary works hard to bring the garden back to life, its magic begins to work on her too. This classic and beloved story has been beautifully retold by Claire Freedman and brought to glorious visual life by new illustration talent Shaw Davidson.:

Find The Spy by Zoe Armstrong 

Discover the true stories of eight fascinating spies: one who crawled across the rooftops of Paris, one who hid secrets in her wooden leg, and even the grandma-next-door who turned out to have been a spy… Along the way you’ll learn top-secret skills such as the art of disguise, coding secret messages and writing in invisible ink. With spotting scenes, real-life incredible stories from throughout history, and devious spy skills to learn – this book will keep all budding spies busy.


Mega Make and Do and David Walliams' Slime

Tom Gates: Mega Make and Do (and Stories Too!) by Liz Pichon

The 16th title in the bestselling series, from the talented Liz Pichon. When Mum and Dad forget it’s half term, what’s Tom going to do to keep busy over the break?! All his friends are away or busy and he doesn’t want Delia left in charge! So he’s finding lots of EXCELLENT things to do… It’s a weeks’ worth of doodling, games, stories and woolly monster making (because everyone needs one of those, don’t they?)! Written in diary form Full of Tom’s doodles and pictures & his amazing sense of humour Perfect gifts for boys & girls who love to laugh themselves silly.

Slime by David Walliams

The new children’s book from No1 bestselling author David Walliams – a fantastically funny tale illustrated by artistic genius, Tony Ross. WELCOME TO THE ISLE OF MULCH… This little island is home to a large number of horrible grown-ups. The school, the local park, the toy shop and even the ice-cream van are all run by awful adults who like nothing more than making children miserable. And the island is owned by the most awful one of all, Aunt Greta Greed! Something needs to be done about them. But who could be brave enough? Meet Ned, an extraordinary boy with SLIMEPOWER!

AGE 8+

Fierce and Fearless and middle school disaster

Fierce, Fearless and Free: Girls in myths and legends from around the world by Lari Don

A brilliant, inclusive collection of traditional tales from around the world featuring amazing women and girls. Once upon a time, there were strong, fierce women who plotted, schemed, took action, showed kindness, used magic and trickery, and made their own destiny. From Nana Miriam who beat a hippo using politeness and magic to Kate Crackernuts who tried to save her stepsister from her mother’s curse, these are stories of girls doing it for themselves! Lari Don presents heroine stories where the handsome prince needs not apply.

Middle School: Master of Disaster : (Middle School 12)

In this blockbuster instalment of the bestselling Middle School series, Rafe and all James Patterson’s kids book characters are together for the first time! Rafe and Jimmy, two misunderstood troublemakers, are finally up to something good. They’re in charge of a huge celebration of books and reading – but when a small issue snowballs into a big problem that threatens to derail the whole event, they need to work fast to keep things on track! And the best part? Rafe and Jimmy are joined by the funniest storytellers they know, Jamie Grimm, Jacky Ha-Ha, the Kidd family and super-genius Max Einstein.

Havenfall by Sara Holland

From the New York Times bestselling author, Everless is a thrilling contemporary fantasy series about the safe haven between worlds – and the girl sworn to protect it. Maddie loves spending summers at her uncle’s Inn at Havenfall. But the Inn is much more than Maddie’s safe haven, and life in Havenfall isn’t without its secrets. Beneath the beautiful, sprawling manor in Colorado lies hidden gateways to other worlds, some long-sealed by ancient magic. When a body is found on the grounds, the volatile peace brokered between these worlds is irrevocably compromised. What’s worse is that Maddie’s friend Brekken stands accused of the murder.

AGES 10+

Cloudburst and The Racehorse who learned to dance

The Racehorse Who Learned to Dance by Clare Balding

Clare Balding has taken over out TV and has now set her sights on your bookshelves too. The Racehorse Who Learns To Dance tells the tale of Charlie’s racehorse, Noble Warrior, who won the Derby against all odds and bested a bunch of nasty kidnappers. But now Noddy is facing his greatest challenge yet as Charlie and her injured BFF Polly try and teach him dance.

Cloudburst : A Jack Courtney Adventure by Wilbur Smith 

Best known for his historical fiction for grown-ups, Wilbur Smith has now added children’s author to his literary bow. Cloudburst is Smith’s debut kids book and introduces young readers to Jack Courtney. This summer his parents are travelling to the Congo for a gorilla conference, and they’ve promised to take Jack and his friends with them. When his parents go missing in the rainforest, abducted by mercenaries, nobody seems to have any answers. Jack is pretty sure that it’s got something to do with the nearby tantalum mines, but he needs to prove it. Along with Amelia and Xander, Jack must brave the jungle to save his parents. The first of many we think.

Bedlam by Derek Landy

The 12th explosive novel in the internationally bestselling Skulduggery Pleasant series, Bedlam will blow your mind – and change everything. On a desperate journey to recover her sister’s lost soul, Valkyrie Cain goes up against the High Sanctuary itself, and there’s nothing Skulduggery Pleasant can do to stop her. With Abyssinia’s grand plan about to kick off in a night of magic, terror, and bloodshed, it falls to Omen Darkly to save the lives of thousands of innocent people.


  • Order books by email from The Little Bookshop and get FREE delivery.
  • Join their Facebook Book Club (this month’s read is Jojo Moyes, Giver of Stars).
  • Enter the children’s writing comp (open to children attending schools in the RBWM catchment area for KS1, 2 and 3).

The Little Bookshop, 16 High Street, Cookham SL6 9SJ

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