The best children's books that will make you feel things

Who am I?

My biggest aim as a writer is for my reader to feel something. It could be on a page where they are fighting back the tears or at the end of a chapter where they are gasping at an unexpected plot twist. I think we can sometimes forget how powerful children’s books can be – yes, they can make you cry, laugh, gasp and feel scared! Here are some of my favorites that will make you have all the feelings.


I wrote...

The Light Jar

By Lisa Thompson,

Book cover of The Light Jar

What is my book about?

Nate and his mother are fleeing from a bad situation at home. They hide out in an abandoned, run-down cottage in the middle of a forest and Nate's mother heads off for groceries. She doesn't return. Has she run into trouble, or abandoned him? He is alone and afraid, with the dark – and all his old fears – closing in on him. But comfort can come from the most unexpected of places: like a strange girl trying to solve a treasure hunt, and the reappearance of a friend from his past. Will Nate find the bravery he needs to face down his fears and illuminate his future? From the author of The Goldfish Boy, comes a captivating story of finding the light within.

The books I picked & why

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Charlotte's Web

By E.B. White,

Book cover of Charlotte's Web

Why this book?

Charlotte’s Web was the first book that made me realize how powerful a book could be, and that was because it made me cry. I was very young at the time, but I remember being so shocked that just a bunch of words on pieces of paper had made me sob! It still makes me cry today. A truly wonderful book.


The Enemy

By Charlie Higson,

Book cover of The Enemy

Why this book?

This book is the first in a series and is aimed at the teenage market, but I defy any adult to read it and not feel a shiver of fear. Everyone over the age of fourteen has succumbed to a deadly zombie virus and the kids have to try and survive. A gripping plot and the writing is heartbreaking, funny, and horrific. 


October, October

By Katya Balen,

Book cover of October, October

Why this book?

October lives in the woods with her father where their lives are surrounded by peace and nature. October’s life sees a drastic change after her father has an accident and needs to go to the hospital.  Suddenly, October finds herself living with her mum in the city. Katya Balen is the most beautiful writer and this book is a literary feast for the soul. 


The Snail and the Whale

By Julia Donaldson, Axel Scheffler (illustrator),

Book cover of The Snail and the Whale

Why this book?

I used to read this book to my children and I think it is one of the most beautiful and lyrical picture books ever written. It’s a story of a snail who hitches a ride on the tail of a whale and then gets the chance to see how amazing the world is. It’s so simple and always brings a tear to my eye.


The Boy at the Back of the Class

By Onjali Q. Raúf,

Book cover of The Boy at the Back of the Class

Why this book?

Nine-year-old Ahmet, a Syrian refugee, has arrived in Mrs. Khan’s classroom after fleeing the horrors of war. One of the things that is so striking about this book is how the children in the story have far more understanding than most adults. It is both funny and heartfelt and is a masterclass in teaching empathy – for the young and the old.


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