world book day

13 children’s books recommendations for Boys and Girls on World Book Day

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Yay, it’s World Book Day! We’re so excited to share some of our favourite books in English and in Portuguese from our own book shelf with you!

So, without further ado, here are 13 book recommendations for World Book Day.


*This post includes affiliate banners and links (marked with *). I only recommend products that I like. See disclaimer for details.


Children’s books in English


1. Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Goldilocks and the Three Bears*, Usborne First Fairytales

A firm favourite with our girls. We have this story in so many different formats (this board book plus in collections of stories both in Portuguese and in English). This is the first book we got which both girls still like (Sophia will even go dressed to school as Goldilocks for this year’s Word Book Day) and we have since added more to our very own library.

2. Alice in Wonderland

Alice in Wonderland (hardback pop-up)* 

Another classic! We have a couple of versions of this story. A short, simple version we got cheaply from a charity shop to endure daily wear and tear. And then, this innovative pop-up book, which is a work of art. This pop-up adaptation of Lewis Caroll’s Original Tale is by Robert Sabuda.




The girls are still little, their attention span and care for such delicate and intricate pop-up detail is limited, so it’s out of easy reach and we only get it out occasionally. Truth be told, mainly for myself as I think it’s mesmerising!

3. Party Animals

Party Animals*, by Tony Mitton and David Wojtowycz, Scholastic

The girls love this. It rhymes and if read by the grown up with gusto and special voices (see my old article), enjoyment is even bigger for the reader (in my opinion anyway) and for the children. Full of glitter, colour and stylish animals to spot, this book is great fun.

4. The crocodile who didn’t like water

The crocodile who didn’t like water* Gemma Merino, Macmillan

The story of a crocodile who, it turns out, is not a crocodile after all… A very sweet book, which also helps understand the other a little bit better. Winner of the Macmillan Prize for Illustration 2011


5. Open very carefully – a book with bite

Open very carefully – a book with bite* by Nicola O’Byrne, words by Nick Bromley, Nosy Crow

This book is a riot! If you and your children like something different, this book deconstructs what one expects from a book. I love this kind of book, I think it encourages imagination and thinking out of the box which is so important, especially as those are the skills of the future.

6. Atchoo, The Complete Guide to Good Manners

Atchoo, The Complete Guide to Good Manners*, by Mij Kelly and Mary McQuillan, Hodder Children’s Books

We first borrowed this book from the library when our eldest was two years old. She liked it so much, that we decided to get our own copy. It’s a sweet book and it rhymes, which helps! Aside from going through various rules of good manners, it shows children how others might feel, teaches them to empathise and to be kind.



One of the golden rules is: “Only do to others what you’d like other to do to you”. This book helped mummy and daddy get across the principles of good manners, so Suzy Sue, a character from the book, still gets mentioned every now and again…

7. My shadow

My shadow, by Robert Louis Stevenson, Top That

I got this book once from Poundland for, you guessed it, £1. And it’s surprisingly good! My nearly 3 year old loves it and is obsessed with shadows at the moment. It rhymes, has few words on each page and is playful in a way that celebrates imagination.

An added bonus is that it actually teaches some concepts related to shadows, for example, how a shadow gets shorter when you’re just under the source of light, and it gets taller, as you move away from it.


Children’s books in Portuguese 


8. Primeiras Palavras Português-Inglês

Primeiras Palavras Português-Inglês, Severine Cordier


World Book Day Dia do Livro Palavras portugues ingles


A great way for little ones to start learning Portuguese words. It’s a bigger than an average board book. Each page with a different scenarios (e.g. beach, forest) and the names of things one might find in those settings. It’s great to learn and practice first words in Portuguese (and in English as it’s a bilingual book).

9.  Contos Infantis

Contos Infantis (5 minutos), editora Gailivro (Title in English: 5 minutes fairy tales)

This is a collection of popular stories (such as Cinderela, The Three Pigs). They’re very short and rhyme so work perfectly. It includes many of the stories we have in English so it’s good to also read those classics in Portuguese.


10. Toc Toc Sr Croc

Toc Toc Sr Croc, Jo Lodge, Minutos de Leitura (also available in English in the UK)

This is such a simple book in terms of content, but so popular – the girls still love it.  It’s a pull up, pop up book about time and daily routines, very colourful and we know how kids just can’t resist a pull up book.


11. Hoje sinto-me…

Hoje sinto-me…  by Madalena Moniz

This book was a gift from my mum to the girls. Each spread deals with a letter of the alphabet and a related emotion. The artwork is just wonderful. I know they can’t yet fully appreciate it because they are not yet alphabetised in Portuguese so it doesn’t make so much sense to them, but I love to look at it on my own, I find it so peaceful! I’m this book’s guardian and when the girls are ready, I’m happy to move it from my bookshelf to theirs.


12.Toca Música com o Crocodilo

Toca Música com o Crocodilo, Civilizacao Editora

Puppets are so useful to engage children. This book comes with a Crocodile puppet and it encourages the children themselves to operate the puppet. This is a musician puppet and the girls have a great time with it.   


13. O Monstro das Cores

O Monstro das Cores (Pop Up), Anna Llenas

Another gorgeous, colourful pop up book. This one deals with emotions. The monster is confused with its feelings. Each feeling is a colour. A little girl is helping the Monster get his feelings organised.  Each page has lovely artwork and pop up effects. The girls were mesmerised the first time we read it together and like to play with it every so often.  This book also exists in English in the UK.



Our friends the local library

There are so many more wonderful books we like, it’s tough to pick a small selection.

The books listed above are from our own collection. However, over time we have borrowed so many from the local library – I’m so grateful for its existence! We simply have no budget and space to buy all the books we’d like. The staff at our local library are so good and there’s always a steady flow of new and interesting books. I thoroughly encourage everyone to use their local library, wherever you are. Even because, if you don’t use it and don’t take books out, that will tell the Government there’s no need for them and they’ll cut funding. So please, please, please – visit your library today and take some books out!


Want more book recommendations?

Watch this space. We have a few other great books to share with you – join us on social media (@MotherTongueNotes, @MotherNotes on Twitter) or join the email list below to be kept on the loop. And while you’re here, you can also read this post about why reading is so important in a bilingual journey and how to find minority language reading resources.

Happy reading!









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