Must-read children’s birthday books 2019

These classic kids books should be on every kids bookshelf - and each are marking a special anniversary this year too.

15 Children's books celebrating a birthday in 2019

15 Children's books celebrating a birthday in 2019


Published: 2009


Written and illustrated by Emily Gravett The Odd Egg is one book no toddler or pre-schooler should miss. Full of wit, detail and lovely split pages … it tells the story of a selection of birds and the eggs they have too hatch. All except Duck who has no egg, until he finds one – the odd egg of the title and decide to look after it himself. He’s delighted with his egg, it’s the most beautiful egg in the whole world. But, all the other birds think it’s a very odd egg indeed – and everyone’s in for a big surprise when it finally hatches. And, on no account cheat with this book – the surprise ending is worth the wait and will delight children again and again. As it has done for the last 10 years.

BUY HERE >> Odd Egg by Emily Gravett

15 Children's books celebrating a birthday in 2019


Published: 1999

Created by Lauren Child MBE – who is a multi-award-winning author and the current Children’s Laureate – in 1999. Clarice Bean is the original introduction to the fabulously fiesty Clarice and is the ideal first book for children who are ready to make the transition from younger picture books to independent reading. In Clarice Bean That’s Me all she wants is a bit of peace and quiet. But that can be hard to find in a house where your little brother is being utterly annoying, your big brother is in the dark tunnel of adolescence and your grandad’s pouring soup on his cornflakes . . . Chaotic, playful and quirky children will literally laugh out loud at her antics – as will you. Over the last 20 years they have become a bestselling series with 6 follow up picture books and novels.

BUY HERE>> Clarice Bean That’s Me by Lauren Child


Published: 1999

“A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood…” How many times have you uttered this line over the last 20 years? An undisputed modern classic The Gruffalo has been made in a animated film, a stage play, national woodland trails, a ride at Chessington World of Adventures and not to mention the products you can buy from fashion to homewares. Possibly prize-winning author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler’s biggest ever book selling over 13 million copies worldwide and having been translated into seventy-five languages. Originally penned for readers aged three to seven, The Guffalo is the story of a mouse’s walk through the woods which unfolds in two phases, is about 700 words long and written in rhyming couplets, featuring repetitive verse with minor variance. It’s sequel The Guffalo’s Child was published 5 years later in 2004 (making it its 15th anniversary this year too!)

BUY HERE>> The Guffalo written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler


Published: 1999

The third in the Harry Potter series of fantasy novels of a young wizard created by author J.K Rowling, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban follows Harry in his third year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry along with his friends Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger as they investigate Sirius Black, an escaped prisoner from Azkaban who they believe is one of Lord Voldemort’s old allies. Published in July 1999 – it sold 68,000 copies in just three days and 3 million in the UK alone – it’s believed that Rowling found this one easy to write – finishing it within a year of starting. Loved by fans around the world, the Harry Potter series has sold more than 500 million copies, been translated into 80 languages and been made into eight blockbuster films. Phew… do you remember life before HP?

BUY HERE >> Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K Rowling

15 Children's books celebrating a birthday in 2019


Published: 1989

“We’re going on a bear hunt. We’re going to catch a big one. What a beautiful day! We’re not scared.” For thirty years we have been reading this much-loved and catchy chant of We’re Going on A Bear Hunt as we follow 5 children (the eldest of whom is sometimes mistaken for their father) and their dog as they go on a …bear hunt. Swishy-swashing and splash-splashing tale through rivers, fields and various other obstacles in the English countryside before coming face to face with a bear in its cave – and the reverse as they race home. Written by Michael Rosen and beautifully illustrated by Helen Oxenbury. Most of the illustrations were painted in watercolour, however six pictures of the children facing a new hazard are in simple black and white drawings. We love this special anniversary edition that features enhanced cover art and beautiful French flaps – and is ideal for any of you new to this classic book.

BUY HERE >> We’re Going on A Bear Hunt written by Michael Rosen and illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

15 Children's books celebrating a birthday in 2019


Published: 1989

Another nursery classic celebrating a 30th birthday this year too is Elmer. Elmer the elephant. But, Elmer is different. Elmer is patchwork. The grey elephants all love him, but he soon starts to wonder what it would be like to be just the same as them… but the subtle message throughout this first book and ongoing Elmer series – that it is ok to be different – has resonated with children and parents across the world since 1989 and sold over 10 million copies too. This special 30th birthday edition of David McKee’s original book comes a free audiobook and a beautiful foiled cover. Visit Elmer Day for the official news on the celebrations on May 25th 2019.

BUY HERE >> Elmer: 30th Anniversary Edition by David Mckee



Published: 1979

Written by was one of the most popular German authors of the 20th Century Michael Ende, who has been captivating children (and adults) with his extraordinary fantasy stories and fiction stories for decades. The Never Ending Story has has been translated into more than 30 languages, made into a hit movie in 1984, and remains a much-loved, international bestseller. It’s the story of small and insignificant Bastian Balthazar Bux. He is nobody’s idea of a hero, least of all his own but through the pages of an old book he discovers a mysterious world of enchantment – but a world that is falling into decay. The great task of making things well again falls on Bastian and so begins a dazzling, magical and epic adventure.

BUY HERE >> Never Ending Story by Michael Ende

15 Children's books celebrating a birthday in 2019


Published: 1969

Can you believe The Very Hungry Caterpillar is STILL hungry even after 50 years! 50 years of munching his way through a variety of foods and of course, our hearts. This book by Eric Carle is often hailed as ‘one of the greatest childhood classics of all time.’ Using distinctive collage illustrations -which was a new style at the time – The Very Hungry Caterpillar offers simple text with educational themes – counting, the days of the week, foods, and of course, the life stages of a caterpillar into a butterly. Since its first publication in 1969, The Very Hungry Caterpillar has now sold over 50 million copies worldwide and has been translated into over sixty-two languages.

BUY HERE >> The Hungry Caterpillar 50th Anniversary Anniversary Edition by Eric Carle

SHOPPING>> Celebrate The Hungry Caterpillar – whatever your child’s age there is a cool caterpillar treat for them!


Published: 1964

A classic, moving and sometimes, divisive story about a boy who would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk … and the tree was happy with this. But, as the boy grew older he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave and gave. A parable on the joys of giving beautifully written and illustrated by the versatile Shel Silverstein (he also wrote poems, song and plays) The Giving Tree opens up a conversation about the selfless act of giving and a serene acceptance of another’s capacity to love in return. It’s hard to believe that it took four years before Harper Children’s books decided to publish it, now having sold over 8.5 million copies worldwide. A bookshelf must for children and adults.

BUY HERE >> The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

15 Children's books celebrating a birthday in 2019


Published: 1959

The perfect gift for birthdays – and as zany as you would expect from Dr. Seuss, Happy Birthday to You! introduces us to a whole host of wacky situations and mischievous characters in the imaginary land of Katroo. Filled with hilarious rhymes this charming little tale looks at all the wonderful things that children get up to on their birthdays

BUY HERE >> Happy Birthday To You! by Dr. Seuss

15 Children's books celebrating a birthday in 2019


Published: 1959

An innocent and charming tale seen through the eyes of a 10-year-old girl about of a group of farm children who mistake an escaped convict hiding in their manger for Jesus Christ – a conclusion they come based on their Sunday School stories – and,  after he exclaims this once he is discovered. The touching drama and comedy unfolds as they try to protect him from the grown ups in a story about innocence, trust and mutual redemption. Whistle Down the Wind was written by Mary Hayley Bell in 1959 – who’s daughter, actress Hayley Mills starred in the 1961 film by Richard Attenborough – is a story you want to enjoy again and again whatever your age.

BUY HERE >> Whistle Down The Wind by Mary Hayley Bell

15 Children's books celebrating a birthday in 2019


Published: 1949

Who hasn’t grown up with an Enid Blyton book or two? The English children’s writer books have been among the world’s best-sellers since the 1930s, selling more than 600 million copies and translated into 90 languages. Besides The Famous Five, Malory Towers and Faraway Tree books (see below) – there is Noddy. A little wooden boy who comes to life and is one of Blyton’s most enduringly popular creations. This first book Noddy Goes To Toyland published in 1949 explains Noddy’s origins, how he was made by a woodcarver in a toy store but ran away after the man began to make a wooden lion, which scared Noddy. As Noddy wanders through the woods, with no clothes, money or home, he meets Big Ears, a friendly gnome who decides that Noddy is a toy and takes him to live in Toyland. And, then the Noddy adventure really begin – and continues for many, many years to come.

BUY HERE >> Noddy Goes To Toy Land by Enid Blyton

15 Children's books celebrating a birthday in 2019


Published: 1939

‘In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines…’ Are the infamous first lines in this the debut Madeline book, which is often considered one of the major classics of children’s literature. Set in a catholic boarding school in 1930’s Paris ran by Miss Clavel the title character is Madeline, who is the smallest of all the girls. The small but feisty heroine, is seven years old and known for her distinctive red hair – she is also the most outgoing of the girls and always the one at the centre of any mishaps, adventure and intrigue. Written by Ludwig Bemelmans an Austrian-born American writer and illustrator and first published in 1939. Five more books in the series were published from 1953 and a family movie was released in 1998 starring Frances McDormand as Miss Clavel.

BUY HERE>> Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

15 Children's books celebrating a birthday in 2019


Published: 1939


The first in the timeless Faraway Tree series written the world’s best-loved children’s authors, Enid Blyton. The Enchanted Wood is where we first meet Jo, Fanny, and Bessie ( in later editions Joe, Fran and Beth) who move to live near a large wood. One day, they go for a walk in the wood and discover an enormous tree whose branches seem to reach into the clouds. This is the Faraway Tree. And the beginning of many magical adventures!  The Faraway Tree stories include The Magic Faraway Tree, Folk of the Faraway Tree, and Up the Faraway Tree. It was announced that the books would be adapted for the cinema for the first time, with a live action film version by Sam Mendes – we are all awaiting release dates. This is one set of books every child should read and one for adults to enjoy all over again.

BUY HERE >> The Enhanted Wood by Enid Blyton

READ MORE>> 10 Classic Children’s books celebrating a birthday in 2018