I wonder how many of you have spent this weekend like I have, negotiating with your kids as to how much time they spend doing the things that they want to do (playing Minecraft) verses what you'd like them to be doing (reading, playing with all those untouched toys in the cupboard, spontaneously undertaking a science experiment without any adult help, baking, making a life-size rocket out of discarded household objects...), ok ok who am I kidding, I'd be happy with pretty much anything which doesn't involve screen time.
So I can understand why it might seem counter-intuitive to be recommending children's books about Minecraft. Surely this will encourage them to play more Minecraft, right? Well, rather surprisingly, no. Not unless you can suddenly acquire extra hours in the day (in which case where do I sign up?!) then I've found that far from increasing time spent on Minecraft, getting your Minecraft fan, a book about Minecraft, seems to actually have no other effect than to increase the time they spend reading. With enthusiasm. As in, I don't even have to nag them to read. They, gulp, seem to actually WANT to read. Who knew?
Embarrassingly, it's the piece of advice I most often give to parents of reluctant readers. Find something they're interested in (in my case mostly football and unicorns) and browse books with said child (in a bookshop or in a library) until something catches their eye. So let's all of us put down our book snobbery for a moment and embrace a brand which understands that a) there's no better way for a child to learn about a subject than through a book and b) that games and books can happily coexist together. Happy parent AND happy child. Win. Win.
If you want to give this a try, here are our favourites below (and a few new books coming out this year I've got my eye on)...