6 Books to Celebrate International Children’s Book Day 2023

International Children’s Book Day brings awareness to reading and how essential it is in developing the young minds of the future. Books provide children with a sense of escapism from their daily reality and allows them to discover stories on their own terms and in a language that they understand.

As with adults, books offer children the precious opportunity to explore different interests, new worlds, unique characters, and the chance to flex their imagination - all while progressing their reading skills and growing their vocabulary.

With a little help from BookTrust, we’ve compiled a list of 6 wonderful books to introduce your child to in 2023…

Ages 6-8 and Up

  1. 1. Courage Out Loud
    Author: Joseph Coelho
    Illustrator: Daniel Gray-Barnett

 Courage Out Loud Book
This inspiring and dynamic poetry collection is about courage in lots of different forms. Not only are there poems about courage – from facing a fear or setting a boundary to trying something new – it also guides children on how to be brave through poetry, whether that’s through performing a poem aloud or having a go at writing their own.

There is lots of variety in style and length, meaning it can be dipped in and out of and will suit children reading either alone or with a group. This is also a brilliant resource for helping children to build confidence.

  1. 2. The Broken Dragon
    Author: Karen McCombie
    Illustrator: Anneli Bray
    The Broken Dragon

    When Tyra moves in with Nan, they love to visit charity shops in search of hidden treasures and are always delighted if they find anything dragon-related, as Tyra adores dragons. Despite her exuberant personality, Tyra feels anxious about starting her new school. She worries that her classmates will think she’s too bouncy or weird, just like they did in her last school. When Nan gives her an exquisite china dragon to celebrate her first day, Tyra has a great idea: she’ll take it to school and everyone will be so impressed that they will want to be her friend. Unfortunately, in her haste to show it off, Tyra drops the dragon and watches in dismay as it smashes into pieces. Luckily, Tyra’s teacher has a wonderful suggestion to make everything better.

    This heart-warming tale sensitively explores the anxieties of starting a new school and trying to fit in, beautifully demonstrating the importance of kindness and inclusivity. The book has many specialist features designed to help dyslexic and reluctant readers, such as a special font to help avoid confusing letter shapes and short chapters to build confidence and stamina. Dynamic black-and-white illustrations perfectly capture the energy and emotion of the tale.

  2. 3. Who Ate All The Bugs? The TRUE and GORY Story of the Food Chain!
    Author: Matty Long
    Publisher:Oxford University Press
    Who Ate All The Bugs? The TRUE and GORY Story of the Food Chain!

Snail and worm are out for a stroll one beautiful day when disaster strikes: someone or something is eating all the bugs! Terrifying!

Outraged by the horrifying insect-icide, Snail decides to investigate. Their suspicion lands first on Bird, but it turns out that Bird has only eaten seeds all day. Next, Snail finds Snake, a very possible predator – but Snake eats rather slowly and tends to look for bigger prey than bugs. Perhaps Spider is responsible for eating all the bugs? But Spider only eats the bugs that fly into their web. So, who ate all the bugs?

This delightful and very funny cartoon-style guide to food chains is a brilliant introduction to the concept, and gives young readers/listeners some simple facts about a range of animals and their eating habits, and the natural cycle of life. The layout includes some busier spreads where there’s lots to see and point out, often little animals with amusing speech bubbles.

Four to five year olds will enjoy having this read to them, and six to seven year olds will enjoy reading it to themselves.

Ages 9-11 and Up

  1. 1. Young, Gifted and Black, Too
    Author: Jamia Wilson
    Illustrator: Andrea Pippins

    Young, Gifted and Black, Too

    This richly-illustrated collection of inspiring true stories is a celebration of Black history from the 16th century to the present day. It showcases the achievements of more than 50 remarkable people, from leaders and activists to artists and writers, and explores the worlds of sport, music, science and more. Children will learn about an eclectic mix of Black icons, including Jamaican freedom fighter Queen Nanny, artist Bertina Lopes from Mozambique and British racing car driver Lewis Hamilton.

    A mini biography of each person outlines when and where they lived, their key accomplishments and the impact they had on others. The informative text is elevated by dynamic, vibrant portraits, which bring the figures to life. There is a USA focus to the selection, but there are also many examples from countries across the globe, such as Haiti, Nigeria, Spain and the UK.

    The tales in this uplifting sequel to Young, Gifted and Black will engage young readers and encourage children with a BAME heritage to feel proud, positive and part of a global community.

  2. 2. Wider Than the Sea
    Author:Serena Molloy
    Illustrator: George Ermos
    Wider Than the Sea

    Ró finds it tricky to read. The words dance about on the page, and she hates reading aloud in class, even Holes, which she’s enjoying as an audiobook. But she loves drawing. And she loves Sunny, the dolphin that swims in the bay, who comes up close when she and her friend The Bean are in a boat. Ró’s house is tense – Mum and Dad are either shouting or ignoring each other – and she hangs out with The Bean, copying his homework.

    One day, a new teacher spots that Ró is having difficulty with words and with numbers. But Ró doesn’t want her parents to know about the broken bits of her, because maybe it’s her fault that they’re so unhappy. Meanwhile, The Bean has new, popular friends because he’s discovered a talent for long jump. Ró feels very lonely. And now Sunny is missing…

    With lots of white space on the page, and some beautiful illustrations by George Ermos, this feels accessible and friendly for all readers. The author herself is dyslexic and knows the challenges that children can face when they don’t have the right support. Set on the west coast of Ireland, this heart-felt and ultimately uplifting story is also available as an audiobook.

  3. 3. Kyan Green and the Infinity Racers
    Author: Colm Field
    Illustrator: David Wilkerson

    Kyan Green and the Infinity Racers

    Kyan is unimpressed with an old racing-car game he finds in the loft: the picture on the box is hand-drawn, the u-shaped track only has seven pieces and there aren’t even any vehicles included. He eventually figures out how it works and is astounded when he’s sucked into the game and thrust into a parallel universe.

    Kyan finds himself in the middle of a high-speed race, which is both thrilling and terrifying. Although he wins, a rival competitor cheats, and steals the prize money as Kyan is pulled back to his own reality. Kyan is furious, as the money could have secured his family’s future by paying their spiteful landlord, who is threatening them with eviction. Determined to re-enter the game and claim what is rightfully his, Kyan enlists the help of his friends. However, every time they play, they are transported to yet another dimension, and Kyan’s nemesis – who seems curiously familiar – appears in a different guise each time.

    The stakes are high and the pace is fast and furious in this exhilarating, multiverse adventure. Injected with plenty of humour, it also touches on real-life issues of financial instability, friendship and trust.