The best books to gift the little reader in your life this Christmas

There's nothing we love more than seeing little ones getting excited about reading. Letting them explore the pages of a fictional world or learn about an interest of theirs through the medium of reading really brings a smile to our face.

Whether you have a little bookworm at home or are trying to encourage the younger people in your life to read in their spare time, you can't go wrong with buying them a new book this Christmas. To help you chose from the many titles out there, we’ve found some wonderful children’s books that any little one would love to receive under the tree this year.

If you're looking for picture books for the youngest members of your family, a non-fiction piece for the tween in your life or a novel for a teenager at home, we’ve got all the best book ideas in our ultimate gift guide below.

Ellie and the Fairy Door by Lena Angland & Alice Taylor. Illustrated by Audrey Dowling

Published by The O’Brien Press

Fairy, fairy, take my hand, And welcome me to Fairyland!  When Ellie loses a tooth, she finds herself whooshed through a magical fairy door in her bedroom. There, she meets Willow the Tooth Fairy and Leprechaun Sean. Together, the three set out on an enchanting adventure

It's Too Dark, Puffling by Gerry Daly and Erika McGann

Published by The O'Brien Press 

A kind little puffling lives on Skellig Michael. She loves her cosy underground bed. But her smaller puffling friend is afraid of the dark. Can the animals of Skellig help show him the wonder of nighttime? 

Follow My Lead by Niall Breslin. Illustrated by Emma Proctor

Published by Gill Books, age 3+

Dad and Sam are walking her dog Frank in the park after school. She tells Dad about feeling busy and a bit overwhelmed and he explains that she needs to calm her mind down. He explains that her brain is a bit like her dog, Frank: excited to explore lots of different things. Sometimes it gets too much, just like it does for Frank. When that happens, they give Frank a gentle tug on his lead to bring him back and calm him down. “That’s exactly what this breathing exercise does,” says Dad, “bring you back to yourself, making you stronger for another day!”.

Too Many Cats by Kate Sheehy

Published by The O'Brien Press 

Lily loves her cat, Lenny. Having one cat is the best thing in the world. And, if having one cat is great, what if she had lots and lots of cats? That would be AMAZING. But what will Lily do when there are just Too Many Cats? When Lily hatches the purr-fect plan to fill her house with all kinds of cats, things quickly start to go wrong!

A Christmas Adventure: The Burpee Bears by Joe Wicks. Illustrated by Paul Howard 

Published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, age 3+

As the little bears eagerly await Granny Bear's visit, they engage in various activities like building snow bears, making snow angels and ice skating together. However, when Christmas Day arrives with a snowstorm that prevents Granny Bear from reaching them, the Burpee Bears take matters into their own paws. With their trusty sledge, they embark on a mission to bring Christmas to Granny's house. Packed with exercises and festive recipes, this book is the perfect gift for families looking to add some active amusement to their holiday.

Lottie and the Stolen Pirate Ship by Erika McGann. Illustrated by Leona Burns

Published by The O'Brien Press

Lottie, Mia and Finn love playing on the sand in their pirate ship – until it disappears! The children – and Biscuit the dog – search every inch of their island for their ship. Will they ever find who stole it? Using creativity, imagination and friendship, can Lottie and her friends save the day?

A Christmasaurus Carol by Tom Fletcher. Illustrated by Shane Devries

Published by Puffin

William Trundle and his family can’t wait for Christmas. But when powerful magic brings a mysterious old copy of A Christmas Carol to life, and Ebenezer Scrooge himself emerges from its pages, Christmas is suddenly in grave danger. Can William, Santa and the most unique and magical dinosaur of all- the Christmasaurus!- find a way to return Scrooge to the book and save Christmas, before it’s too late? 

Our National Anthem

Published by Abair Linn Publishing, age 2nd to 5th class 

A 100% Irish made and printed keepsake book which aims to teach both children and parents the Irish National Anthem for life, and it’s the perfect educational Christmas gift - stocking filler for both children and adults. The book includes a phonetic (along with English and Irish) version of Amhrán na bhFiann, which makes it easy to learn the Irish words and is particularly helpful for non-Irish speakers of all backgrounds. The book explains the origins of the Irish national anthem in a gentle manner along with interesting illustrated historical stories, a quiz and a workbook section to encourage children to learn their national anthem. 

Wolf-Men and Water Hounds: The Myths, Monsters and Magic of Ireland by Manchán Magan. Illustrated by Steve Doogan

Published by Gill Books

Uncover the secrets of our island in this engrossing look at magical landmarks across the country. Travelling province by province through Ireland, follow Manchán as he unearths the legends of Ireland, and tells us about the country’s mythical creatures and Irish words associated with them. Discover the dobharchú or water hound of Achill Island; the enchanted sow Cailcheir of Sligo’s Keash Caves; the Burren’s ollphéist or great serpent; Lough Ree’s water monster and the Caoránach or hairy worm of Lough Derg; the one-eyed salmon of Ballyshannon; and the man wolves of Ossory, County Kilkenny, amongst others. 

Wonders of the Wild by Éanna Ní Lamhna. Illustrated by Brian Fitzgerald

Published by The O'Brien Press 

Wildlife expert Éanna Ní Lamhna and artist Brian Fitzgerald explore the wonders of the wild in this fun & fabulous new book. Nature has lots of hidden treasures. Find out about rabbits who eat their own poo, what feeds on humans, and how caterpillars burst. Discover animal-eating plants, what rises from the dead, sea life that glows in the dark, and many more weird and wonderful surprises from nature!

The Friendship Fairies Save Christmas by Lucy Kennedy. Illustrated by Phillip Cullen

Published by Gill, age 6+

There’s much excitement in the Dixon household as the Friendship Fairies’ dad has bought his own bakery – and he’s planning on opening it just in time for Christmas! The girls are busy helping him get ready, and enjoying sampling the wares as they go. But when a little elf from nearby Red Forest comes seeking their help, they down tools and jump into action, for in the magical forest, disaster looms. The elves are normally busy helping Santa prepare for Christmas, making toys and sweets for all his special deliveries. But this year, their machines have broken down, and everything has ground to a halt… Can Emme, Holly and Jess – with some assistance from Dad – help save the (Christmas) day?

Oscar’s Lion by Adam Baron. Illustrated by Benji Davies

Published by HarperCollins Children’s Books

A magical coming-of-age story about a boy spending his first weekend without his parents… and the lion who comes to babysit him. Phil Earle Oscar is a little terrified to find that a lion is going to be looking after him for the weekend. But when the lion lets him eat as many biscuits as he wants, and reads him his favourite story ten times, Oscar realises he might be on to something good. Soon, Oscar discovers that the lion can change into different animals and the pair find themselves having all kinds of adventures! But before the lion has to go, might he have one more amazing transformation up his sleeve?

Wings of Glory by Dermot O’Leary. Illustrated by Claire Powell

Published by Hodder Children’s Books, age 8+

Can one tiny bird help to win a world war? It’s 1940, and the world is at war. Linus, a swift, has always dreamed of flying with the Royal Bird Force and making a name for himself as a squadron leader. So when he and his sister, Ava, have the opportunity to volunteer, he jumps at the chance. But it’s a dangerous journey, and Ava goes missing before they manage to reach the airfield for training. Now, Linus has two missions: help the war effort and find his sister. Linus will face bomber planes, arrogant falcons, and a spy who’s determined to take him down... He is brave and fast and kind - but can Linus prove that helping win the war is more about the size of your heart than the size of your wings?

Manifest for Kids: Four Steps to Being the Best You by Roxie Nafousi 

Published by Puffin, age 8+

Ideal for ages eight and above, this non-fiction will introduce young readers to the world of manifestation and self-development, explaining how the powers of the mind can be used to make positive changes in children’s daily lives. Designed as an interactive and engaging handbook, Manifest for Kids, which focuses on understanding feelings, growing confidence, gratitude and goal setting, will provide tools to help young people feel happier, more confident and better prepared to cope with day-to-day challenges using the core principles of manifesting. 

The Secret Tunnel by Alma Jordan. Illustrated by Margaret Anne Suggs

Published by The O'Brien Press, age 8/9+

As summer ends on Hazel Tree Farm, the Farrellys are as busy as ever. There’s a new herd of giddy Angus heifers to take care of, and Kate is getting ready to launch her ‘Operation Plan Bee’. The arrival of the glamorous Sinclairs at Greenway Manor has the whole of Ballynoe in a tizzy. Everyone, that is, except Peter, who has a bad feeling about Simon Sinclair. But when the children discover a secret passage at Greenway Manor, things take a mysterious turn… 

The Blunders by David Walliams. Illustrated by Adam Stower 

Published by HarperCollins Children’s Books

Meet the Blunders: Bertie, Betsy, their children, Brutus and Bunny, along with their beloved grandma Old Lady Blunder, and their pet ostrich, Cedric. An ostrich is not a sensible pet, but then the Blunders are not sensible people. This family of upper-class twits live in a crumbling country house named Blunder Hall. When their home comes under threat, they must embark on a series of comic misadventures to save it. 

The Starlight Stables Gang 2: Jess and the Star Rider by Esme Higgs and Jo Cotterhill. Illustrated by Hannah George

Published by Puffin, age 8-12

After solving the mystery of the stolen pony, the Starlight Stables Gang are ready to have a relaxing summer and enjoy the Haversham Horse Trials, but things aren't as sunny as they seem. Can the Starlight Stables Gang band together and work as a team once again, or will it prove too much for one of the friends? 

Tread Softly - Classic Irish Poems for Children. Edited by Nicola Reddy, illustrated by Erin Brown

Published by The O'Brien Press

With poems by W.B. Yeats, Oscar Wilde and James Joyce, Katharine Tynan, Alice Milligan, Lady Wilde and Lady Gregory, J.M. Synge, Jonathan Swift, Austin Clarke and many others, and wonderfully radiant illustrations by Erin Brown, this collection will delight readers young and old.

The Miraculous Sweetmakers: The Frost Fair by Natasha Hastings. Illustrated by Alex T. Smith

Published by HarperCollins Children’s Books

The Great Frost of 1683 has London in its icy grip. Thomasina and her best friend Anne sell sweets on the frozen Thames, amid rumours of the magical Frost Fair that awakens there at night. They say if you can find the fair, Father Winter himself will grant you any wish. And Thomasina has an impossible wish: the return of her twin brother, Arthur. But once they discover Father Winter's kingdom, Thomasina and Anne quickly realise the Frost Fair is not what it seems - and that some wishes never come for free.

The Ministry of Unladylike Activity 2: The Body in the Blitz by Robin Stevens

Published by Puffin 

March 1941. Britain is at war, and a secret agency called the Ministry of Unladylike Activity is training up children as spies - because grown-ups always underestimate them. Enter May, Eric and Nuala: courageous, smart, and the Ministry's newest recruits. May's big sister Hazel has arranged for them to stay on a quiet street close to the Ministry, home to an unlikely collection of people thrown together by the war. And it is in the basement of the bombed-out house at the end of that street that they discover something mysterious. Something that was not there when the Blitz wreckage was first combed through. Something that has been placed there recently. A body...Could this be the missing Ministry spy that Daisy Wells is on a dangerous mission in France to find? Or could  it be someone else - someone a resident of the street wanted silenced . . . ?

The Harp of Power by Alex Dunne

Published by The O'Brien Press, age 9+

When Cat finds out that her cool new neighbour, Dr Becca Ryan, is a witch, she’s fascinated. Cat already loves magic and she is sure she can learn lots from Becca. But when Cat turns to Becca for advice, she and her friend Shane end up on a quest for an ancient harp. As they face shape-shifting wolves, demons and magic on the island of Hy-Brasil, Cat and Shane must prepare to battle an ancient and terrifying power.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Chalice of The Gods by Rick Riordan

Published by Puffin, age 9+

After saving the world multiple times, Percy Jackson is hoping to have a normal senior year. Unfortunately, the gods aren’t quite done with him. Percy will have to fulfil three quests in order to get the necessary three letters of recommendation from Mount Olympus for college. The first quest is to help Zues’ cup-bearer retrieve his goblet before it falls into the wrong hands. Can Percy, Grover, and Annabeth find it in time?

Sally in the City of Dreams by Judi Curtin 

Published by The O'Brien Press, age 9+

Ireland, 1911. Young sisters Sally and Bridget are leaving their home in the Irish countryside, and everything they know, to seek out a new life far away in New York. On their journey across the sea, they meet a young orphaned girl, Julia, who is travelling alone in the hope of staying with her long-absent brother. Life in the City of Dreams is more difficult for the three young friends than they ever could have imagined. But, despite all the challenges, being desperately homesick, and Bridget being wrongfully accused of theft, the girls begin to find their way in this strange new place. With friendship they can face anything- together.

In Between Worlds: The Journey of the Famine Girls by Nicola Pierce 

Published by The O'Brien Press, age 9+

In 1849, the Thomas Arbuthnot set sail for Australia. Onboard were 194 Irish girls. Maggie and Sarah are on their way to Australia. Their homes and their lives have been devastated by famine, with death coming to so many. Even when they sought refuge in the workhouse they found horror and heartbreak there. When the girls are given the chance of a new life on the other side of the world, they know they have to say yes - no matter the price. On board ship, they are caught in between worlds. How will they find the courage and strength to build new lives in a strange land?

The Climbing Boys by Ann Murtagh

Published by The O'Brien Press, age 9+

Dublin, 1830. When his da gets injured, Hugh 'Scholar' O'Dare has to leave school to work as a chimney sweeper. The job is scary and dangerous, but it brings him into the home of the most famous man in Ireland, Daniel O'Connell, who takes an interest in the young boy's life. Then Scholar comes across another young sweeper whose circumstances are much worse than his own, and a shocking secret comes to light. Can he help this new friend escape a life of darkness?

Molly Malone & Bram Stoker in Double Trouble at the Dead Zoo by Alan Nolan

Published by The O'Brien Press, age 9+

When Bram and his best pal Molly meet a lonely boy called Sanjit in Dublin’s Natural History Museum, they can see he needs some friends. So they, along with Molly’s gang, The Sackville Street Spooks, take him under their wing. Sanjit tells them the tale of the dread (and very dead) pirate, Captain Lamprey and his links to the Museum.  Soon the new shipmates find themselves outwitting vagabonds and villains, hot on the trail of a mysterious long-lost treasure… the Rajapur Ruby! But little do they know that not everyone they come across is who they claim to be!

The Completely Chaotic Christmas of Lottie Brooks. Written & illustrated by Katie Kirby 

Published by Puffin, reading age 9-12

It’s beginning to look a Lotttie like Christmas with candy canes, presents and complete chaos! The whole Brooks family are visiting for the festive break, there’s a Secret Santa to organise AND Lottie has to prepare for her big performance in the Christmas play as the back-end of a reindeer. Will Lottie survive the festivities intact? Will she find anyone under the mistletoe? And most importantly, will she get two hundred KitKat Chunkies in her stocking? 

The Brothers Hawtorne by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Published by Penguin Random House

Grayson Hawthorne was raised as the heir apparent to his billionaire grandfather, taught from the cradle to put family first. Now the great Tobias Hawthorne is dead and his family disinherited, but some lessons linger. When Grayson’s half-sisters find themselves in trouble, he swoops in to do what he does best: take care of the problem – efficiently, effectively, mercilessly. And without getting bogged down in emotional entanglements. Jameson Hawthorne is a risk-taker, a sensation-seeker, a player of games. When his mysterious father appears and asks for a favour, Jameson can’t resist the challenge. Now he must infiltrate London’s most exclusive underground gambling club, which caters to the rich, the powerful, and the aristocratic, and win an impossible game of greatest stakes. Luckily, Jameson Hawthorne lives for impossible. Drawn into twisted games on opposite sides of the globe, Grayson and Jameson – with the help of their brothers and the girl who inherited their grandfather’s fortune – must dig deep to decide who they want to be and what each of them will sacrifice to win.