International Children’s Book Day

International Children’s Book Day

Today is International Children’s Book Day! It’s a day to reminisce about your favourite childhood book, read an extra bedtime story to your little one, or simply enjoy a good book! We celebrate International Children’s Book Day to inspire others to read, as well as call attention to children’s books in particular.

International Children’s Book Day (ICBD) has been observed since 1967 on or around Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday, April 2nd, to encourage a love of reading and to draw attention to children’s literature.

To celebrate, we asked our Red Balloon of the Air staff what their favourite children’s books are because you’re never too old for a good story! Some chose books that were their favourites when they were children, while others named books that their own children love to read. We hope this list inspires you to read a book today, whether that’s one from our list or perhaps an old favourite.


  • The Twits– This Roald Dahl classic is about a pair of horrible twits and the tricks they like to play on each other. (Ages 7 and up)
  • Room on the Broom– The story of a kind witch and her cat who invite three other animals (a dog, a bird and a frog) to join them travelling on her broomstick. (Ages 3 to 7)
  • Harry Potter– A series of seven novels chronicle the lives of a young wizard, Harry Potter, and his friends Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley, all of whom are students at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. (ages 9 and up)


“I grew up with Harry Potter, in that when each book came out I was around the same age as Harry. We graduated from school in the same year. I remember reading Deathly Hallows in my gap year and crying because I was so proud of how they’d all grown. Something that feels distinctive to me about the HP books, compared to other ‘fantasy’ novels, is just how relatable and recognisable the characters are. Yes, it’s about magic and the fight between good and evil and all that. But it’s also about British teenagers growing up in the early years of the new millennium.”


  • The Hunger Games– A dystopian novel series written from the perspective of 16-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives in the future, post-apocalyptic nation of Panem in North America. (Ages 11 and up)
  • The Gallagher Girls– Cammie Morgan is a student at the Gallagher Academy for Exceptional Young Women, a fairly typical all-girls school—that is if every school taught advanced martial arts in PE and the latest in chemical warfare in science, and students received extra credit for breaking CIA codes in computer class. (Ages 13 and up)
  • The Little White Horse– A children’s novel that features a recently orphaned teenage girl who is sent to the manor house of her cousin and guardian in the West Country of England. The estate, village, and vicinity are shrouded in mystery and magic. (Ages 8 and up)


“I discovered this book in my bookcase at about the age of 9 – who knows how it got there – and was completely captivated and moved by its olden-day charm. It also has a unicorn.”


  • You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum– Mr Gum is a complete horror who hates children, animals, fun and corn on the cob! (Ages 6 and up)
  • Northern Lights– His ‘Dark Materials’, is the story of Lyra, a young girl with an exceptional destiny. Brought up in Jordan College, Oxford Lyra uncovers a secret about her mysterious guardian which leads to some dangerous questioning. (ages 6 and up)
  • Ballet Shoes– Pauline, Petrova and Posy Fossil are sisters – with a difference. All three were adopted as babies by Great Uncle Matthew, an eccentric and rich explorer who then disappeared, leaving them in the care of his niece Sylvia. The girls grow up in comfort until their money begins to run out and nobody can find Great Uncle Matthew. (ages 9 and up)
  • The Faraway Tree– A series of popular novels that take place in an enchanted wood in which a gigantic magical tree grows. (Ages 7 and up)


“I absolutely loved this series by Enid Blyton when I was a kid. I adored the characters and found them so funny and magical. And the idea that an enormous tree, reaching as high as the clouds, had a slide which spiralled down inside the trunk was just too exciting! I’m now reading them to my own little girl to try and spread the magic!”


  • Hairy Maclary– adventures are usually in the company of his other animal friends who include the dachshund, Schnitzel von Krumm. His arch-enemy is the tomcat Scarface Claw. (Ages 3 and up)
  • Ma Lien and the Magic Brush-A poor peasant boy who is also a talented artist is one day gifted with a magic brush from a wise old wizard who makes anything he paints come to life. (Ages 5 and up)
  • George’s Marvellous Medicine-George’s nasty old grandma needs teaching a lesson, and he decides the best remedy is a special homemade medicine… (Ages 7 and up)

We hope today inspires you to pick up a book, and yes, audiobooks count as reading! Read alone or read aloud to someone you care about (we find dogs to be a particularly forgiving audience)! Many students at Red Balloon are working hard to catch up on literacy skills that they missed during their time out of education. Our negotiated curriculum encourages young people to explore their interests and there’s no better way to do this than to pick up a book on fishing, baking or becoming a wizard!

Related news and events