Published: 2013
Theme: Animal Rights
Best for: 9 to 12

“It was not an easy journey. The yetis had to be sealed up inside the lorry until nighttime, when they found a deserted place to stop and they could come out and stretch their legs and get some air.” This children’s book, perhaps one of Ibbotson’s last, takes on animal hunting directly, making it an abominable thing to do!

Published: 2004
Theme: Trust and Loyalty
Best for: 12 and up

“The world was so beautiful in those days, Annika. The music, the flowers, the scent of the pines…” “It still is,” said Annika. “Honestly, it still is.” Filled with unexpected twists and turns, with terrific characters, and with a cliff-hanger, but happy, ending, this children’s book is terrific from start to finish.

Published: 2001
Theme: Caring for the Planet
Best for: 8 and up

“She went on to explain that the worm was a person who liked to think about important things like ‘Where has yesterday gone?’ or ‘Why hasn’t God made sardines without bones?’ The trouble is he’s so long that his thoughts don’t easily get to the other end, and that upsets him.” As a confirmed fan of Eva Ibbotson, I was so happy to find another quirky children’s book by her on the library shelves, this one with both fun and seriousness….

Published 1979
Theme: Being Different
Best for: 11 and up

“Belladonna had always been a white witch...Flowers sprung up where she walked, … and from the age of 6, there had always been someone nesting in Belladonna’s golden hair.” This is probably the most unlikely children’s book I would have ever expected to find myself recommending. Especially after writing a blog post saying…

Published 2008
Theme: Innate Wisdom of Children
Best for: 11 and older

“It was because of the king. Because he was brave and true to what he believed in and wouldn’t let himself be bullied. Because he knew that if you have power you must use it well and not be afraid.” A book that celebrates the power of independence in children’s lives..

Published 2001
Theme: Adventure and self-discovery
Best for: ages 10 and up
Five Stars

“Perhaps I’m mad–and the professor, too–but I think children must lead big lives…if it is in them to do so.” What is the mark of a great children’s book, really? For me, it is the feeling of immense goodness about the world that rises up when I finally read the last word of the book…