Best Pre-Schooler Book 3-5 Years | Junior Design Awards 2021

Books for toddlers and pre-schoolers can be a minefield so make light work of choosing the best books for your little ones with these Junior approved award winning titles




WHO: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK

WHAT: The Best Worst Day Ever by Sophy Henn

WHY: The panel really loved this book that deals with a very familiar, very cross small person stomping his way back to happiness having run away from home to nearly the bottom of his garden. Sophy Henn’s clever observations of exactly what it’s like to be little again, complete with eccentric thoughts and funny phrases delighted our judges and the bright and joyful illustrations were commented upon by everyone. A book that speaks to children on their level and reminds adults that there are lots of ways to turn that frown upside down if you look at things from a different perspective.

Brilliant title! Another to add to our reading list!
Charlotte Kewley, Children’s Stylist and founder of @thelittlestylist
Really liked the illustrations in this book and it was a sweet story - I’d definitely pick this up in a bookshop!
Zoey Goto, Freelance Writer and Author
An all too familiar day in the life of a pre-schooler brought to life and turned on its head in the best possible way for both kids and parents. Fabulous illustrations!
Bonita Turner, Editor of Junior

WHERE: Simon & Schuster


WHO: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK

WHAT: I’m Sticking With You by Smriti Halls and Illustrated by Steve Small

WHY: This book really made a huge impact on our judges who loved the wonderful personality packed illustrations, the jaunty rhyme and a very humorous central premise that everyone can relate to. I just need a little bit of space! Especially resonant for parents who never get to go to the bathroom alone and great for children who either like their space or want to stick to you like glue or don’t understand why a sibling might want a bit of alone time. Safe to say, the JDA panel loved this book!

Excellent illustrations!
Charlotte Kewley, Children’s Stylist and mother of three
I loved the illustrations and page layout - it really works visually.
Zoey Goto, Freelance Writer and Junior Contributor
A fantastic story that everyone will enjoy reading. Funny, relatable and a joy to bounce through those rhyming couplets.
Bonita Turner, Editor of Junior

WHERE: Simon & Schuster



WHO: The HappySelf Journal

WHAT: My First HappySelf Journal – A daily journal for 3 to 6 year olds based on scientifically proven methods to promote happiness, develop healthy habits for life and nurture enquiring minds.

WHY: Our judges were all familiar with The HappySelf Journal and were so excited to see that they had produced a version especially for younger children. The judges loved the slightly larger format for less dextrous writers and artists and the addition of shared journaling spaces so that children can sit down, talk through and record emotions and feelings with their parents and carers and find time for gratitude, kindness and mindfulness in their day.

Simple but effective design - I like that there’s the option to either write or circle the pictures, making it relevant for a broader age range of kids. A great concept - especially relevant for kids post pandemic.
Zoey Goto, freelance writer and mother of two
The benefits of journaling are well documented and it’s so great that there’s now a HappySelf Journal to help younger children express gratitude and find contentment.
Bonita Turner, Editor of Junior

WHERE: The HappySelf Journal


WHO: Little Bodhi Books

WHAT: Conker the chameleon

WHY: The JDA panel all felt very moved and uplifted by this fantastic book which brings children’s mental health to the fore, with a focus on the message that talking about your feelings and showing emotion is hugely important for wellbeing. Conker the chameleon captured the judges’ hearts and they felt that the back pages of the book that invite children to reflect on their feelings and share them would be a fantastic tool for parents to help their children unravel any issues in a safe and calm space.

I love the idea of this book. I’m going to buy it to read with my son.
Charlotte Kewley, Children’s Stylist
I thought that the workbook section at the back was a great addition.
Zoey Goto, Freelance Writer and Junior Contributor
At a time when the pressure on children’s mental health is higher than ever, this book feels like a wonderful way of starting conversations and reassuring kids in a warm and gentle way.
Eleonore Crompton, Junior Contributing Editor

WHERE: Hannah Peckham