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20 modern classic children’s books for World Book Day 20

Our pick of 20 new modern classic books for children to honour the twentieth year of World Book Day

Posted: 23 February 2017
by Gillian Crawshaw

Did you know this year is the 20th annual World Book Day? The day is a global celebration of books, authors and illustrators and was set up to spark a life-long love of reading in children.

World Book Day 20 takes place on Thursday 2nd March and will be marked in over 100 countries around the world with book-themed festivities (make sure you have your children’s costumes ready if they are dressing up).

Here at Junior we love books and think reading with your children is one of the most important things you can do with them.

As World Book Day is all about the books and authors that children already love, but also about helping them find ones that they will love just as much in the future, we wanted to give you some new ideas to add to your reading repertoire.

So we’re rounding up 20 modern classic children’s books for school-children, toddlers and babies, that both children and parents will love to honour its 20th year #WorldBookDay20

1. The Baby Lit series £5.99

Retelling everything from Shakespeare to Jane Austin via Little Women, The Baby Lit series uses simple but charming illustrations and minimal words to turn classic literature into contemporary baby board books. Start a life-long love of the classics early with this easy and lovely format.

2. Pantone Colors £6.99

A children’s book with a difference, the Pantone Colors book combines the board book format with a paint colour chart. There’s no story, but each page is devoted to a single colour, with grids of different shades related to every-day objects children will easily identify, from bubble gum pink to fire engine red. Pantone Colors is a book for stylish colour lovers everywhere, of all ages.


3. Press Here by Herve Tullet £6.99

Press Here starts with a simple instruction to press the dot on the front cover to start the story. An interactive book that’s completely offline, each page then has a different, fun order for the reader to carry out. Herve Tullet is known as the ‘Prince of Preschool’ and it’s easy to see why from this book.

4. WOW Said The Owl by Tim Hopgood £6.99

WOW Said The Owl tells the story of a curious owl which refuses to go to sleep (likely to be a familiar scenario for most parents). Staying awake during the day for the first time, the owl is amazed when the sun rises and the world turns from black into a rainbow of different colours. This book is another creative way of learning about colours along with with beautiful illustrations.

5. Kitchen Disco by Claire Foges and Al Murphy £6.99

A book all about the unexpected things that happen at night, Kitchen Disco tells the tale of the fruit bowl that comes alive for a party when the household goes to sleep. There’s a banana DJ, cheeky coconut and even breakdancing lemons. One for all of us who love dancing round the kitchen to music.

6. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt £3.99

What happens when a box of crayons don’t get on? This is the scenario faced by Duncan when he takes out his crayon box and finds a pile of resignation letters from all the different colours. The Day the Crayons Quit is a must-read for children and a tale about relationships, accepting differences and learning to get on despite them.

7. Edie by Sophy Henn £5.49

Have you met Edie? She’s an enthusiastic pre-schooler with an infectious lust for life, who is possibly a little too helpful at times. Painting on the living room wall aside, Edie is a beacon of positivity and hopefulness and a new book all children are bound to love.

8. I Want My Hat Back by Jon Classen £5.49

I Want My Hat Back is the story of a bear who almost gives up the search for his missing hat until a chance meeting with a deer sparks an important memory and puts it on the right path. It is written with dark humour that will appeal to children and parents alike.

9. There’s A Lion In My Cornflakes by Michelle Robinson £6.99

Did you ever collect the tokens on cereal boxes to win a prize when you were younger? Then this story might be familiar, but with a twist. When Dan and his brother collect enough tokens to claim their own lion, chaos – predictably – follows.

10. Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton £6.99

George is a dog that tries very hard to be good, but even the best intentions can go awry when you are faced with chocolate cake and cats. The bold, bright and colourful illustrations of this book make it a great one to read and share.

11. Blown Away by Rob Biddulph £6.99

Blown Away tells the tale of a fearless animal, Penguin Blue, who accidentally goes on a journey when his brand new kite takes flight. Rob Biddulph was previously the art director of The Observer, NME and even Just 17, skills now used to great effect in this beautiful – and beautifully rhyming – children’s book.                                 

12. Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers £5.54

This is the story of a boy who finds a penguin on his doorstep and decides to take the penguin home himself via a journey to the South Pole in a row boat. Lost and Found is actually an uplifting story about the importance of friendship and the power it can have on our lives.

13. Otto The Book Bear by Katie Cleminson £5.94

This is the story of a boy who finds a penguin on his doorstep and decides to take the penguin home himself via a journey to the South Pole in a row boat. Lost and Found is actually an uplifting story about the importance of friendship and the power it can have on our lives.

14.  Oi, Frog! by Kes and Claire Grey and Jim Field £3.39

In this funny and silly book, cats sit on mats and hares sit on chairs. But what happens when the frog will not sit on a log? It’s a book all about finding your own place in the world.

15. The Storm Whale by Benji Davies £6.99

Noi and his father live in a house by the sea. His dad works long hours as a fisherman and Noi is lonely, with only their six cats for company. However his life changes dramatically when he finds a small whale on the beach; but how long can he hide it in the bath for?

16. The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson £3.99

A beautiful tale of childhood, love, loss and the power of memory and imagination, The Paper Dolls is the story of a string of paper dolls, and their owner, throughout the years. Warning: wear your waterproof mascara if you’re reading this with your children.

17. How to Hide a Lion by Helen Stephens £6.99

How do you hide a lion, in a house, where your parents won’t find it? This is a question posed by Iris when she takes in a lion who is chased away by townspeople after an aborted hat-finding expedition. It’s a tale with a happy ending after the lion ends up saving the town and is eventually presented with his own hat. One for all fans of The Tiger Who Came To Tea.

18. The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak £5.24

Created by B.J Novak – of the U.S. version of The Office fame – The Book With No Pictures is as it sounds, a book with no pictures. This may seem like an odd premise for a children’s book. However, there are many words instead and the beauty of the story lies in the reading and delivery (so no pressure, parents).


19. Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World by Kate Pankhurst £5.24

Written by a descendant of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World is a modern history book all about wonderful women who have had an important impact on the world, from Jane Eyre through to Rosa Parks and Coco Chanel. Important history reading for both girls and boys.

20. My Dad Used to Be So Cool by Keith Negley £11.99

Do you ever look back on your life before children? My Dad Used To Be So Cool is an ode to fatherhood, with a new dad who reminisces on his pre-child times when he played in a band, rode a motorcycle and got tattoos. But don’t worry if this sounds familiar. The book emphasises that despite these days being behind you, your child will always think you’re the coolest person in the world.

Compiled By Gillian Crawshaw, A Baby on Board

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Discuss this story


With such colourful illustrations and graphics, I'm sure children would love to read these books! Thanks for sharing these slot of books with us! I liked the way you have described the books as well as given the estimate price it would cost to buy. Waiting for more number of posts from you! Visit


Posted: 18/08/2017 at 07:44

Really great and helpful books for those who were looking for it. Thank you so much, Susannah Osborne, because I was also looking for the book named “Here Comes the Train” for my baby. I had been searching for this book for a long time and I found it on this website, in fact, I also asked for some custom assignment writers because they usually work and get information from different resources to accomplish the assignment so they suggested my your website and I got it.

Posted: 22/08/2017 at 19:36

Thanks for this whole blog post and these books will helps me to provide the best book to my children.There are also many types of books on lyrics like Punjabi Lyrics,Hindi English etc.I really love these books which you share for the children.

Posted: 23/08/2017 at 19:22

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Posted: 25/08/2017 at 09:00

Hey Gillian, how are you?

Awesome recommendations. One book that I have given to my son is the "Little Prince." He liked the story a lot and always asks me to repeat it.

I often tell some stories from the Holy Bible too.

Thanks for sharing these 20 books, I'll arrange for my son!

Rafael who loves books, his son and videogames

Posted: 29/08/2017 at 19:22

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