Toppsta - Childrens Books – Reviews

Bookish ideas if you're self isolating with the kids

31st July 2020

Pile of books and a writing book and pencil

Here's a list of all the cool author and illustrator events taking place online. A huge thanks to everyone for continuing to run these whilst we're all in lockdown. *Don't forget to save this page*, we'll be updating it every week.

And if you're looking to encourage your children to read more, why not download our FREE reading pack, which includes a 15 Minute Reading Challenge, a fun reading Bingo Game with REAL PRIZES and more!



  • You can listen to David Walliams reading chapters from The Ice Monster, on his website 
  • Waterstones is running storytime for ages 0 - 8 (11am) and ages 9 - 12 (2.30pm) on Youtube
  • Sit back and listen to three families of Harry Potter fans reading Chapter Seventeen: The Man with Two Faces from Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, over on the Wizarding World Website

Tuesday 4th August

10am - Watch a new Rob Biddulph #DrawWithRob video on his website

Wednesday 5th August

1pm - Piers Torday will be reading from his book, The Frozen Sea and running a live Q&A on the IsoRead website (registration required)

Thursday 6th August

10am - Watch a new Rob Biddulph #DrawWithRob video on his website

11am - Join author and illustrator Sophy Henn LIVE on The Book Nook Hove Facebook page to celebrate her new book, Pizazz (Also a Toppsta Book of the Month in August!). Listen to Sophie doing a reading, join in with a draw-along and ask Sophie your burning questions!

3pm - Join Tom Palmer for the book launch of his new book, After the War on Facebook 

6pm - Inky Willis is launching her new book Scribble Witch: Magical Muddles Book 2 on the Moon Lane TV Youtube channel

7pm - Join the book launch for Eight Pieces of Silva, the new young adult novel by Patrice Lawrence, live from Gay's the Word bookshop. Registration required, the event will take place on Zoom. 

8pm - @one_to_read (Ben Harris) is running his regular #BooksAtBedtime Twitter chat 

Friday 7th August

10am - 7Stories Storytime with Andersen Press on the 7Stories Facebook Page

4pm - Fun Fri-yay Horrid Henry activities with behind the scenes content on Youtube

Saturday 8th August

6pm - Sophy Henn will be LIVE reading from her new book Pizazz followed by a fun draw-along on the  Moon Lane TV Youtube channel

Bookish ideas if you're self isolating with the kids

And more bookish ideas to try at home

We have over 1,000 books with videos, lesson plans and activity sheets! - check out our favourites here or search for your favourite book and see what's available on the book page.

Involve the grandparents - call/skype grandparents and ask them to provide the first line of a story. The kids then sit down and write for 30 minutes then phone them back to read out their story.

Get the kids to write a diary - these are extraordinary times and this will help not only to record these crazy days but writing things down can also help with anxiety.

Maps & Atlases -  I printed off a world map and asked the kids to think of/research 10 books set in different countries and add them to the map. If you have an atlas at home you can also set them challenges to find where places are e.g. "Find the Galapagos Islands"..."in which country is St Petersburg in"..."write down 10 facts about Turkey" etc etc

Write a book review - I'd be remiss if I didn't encourage kids to write a book review! You can download our '10 tips on how to write a book review' which also includes a quick book review template to print off at home. It doesn't matter if they enjoy reading classics or David Walliams books, writing a review helps them to think about the book, hone their comprehension skills and improve their vocabulary.

Audiobooks - we have a list here of some of our favourite audiobooks but Borrowbox, which are ebooks and audiobooks loaned out by your local library should be your new best friend. Audible have also put a small selection for free and there are apps like Cloudaloud which have some free titles too. 

Podcasts - Soundcloud (where you can listen to extracts, author readings, kids interviewing authors and more)

Videos - We're adding videos to our book pages (see this author video for The Train to Impossible Places and a gorgeous video review of Captain Whiskers from one of our Video Panel Reviewers) 

Publisher Youtube Channels: See Walker BooksUsborneDorling Kindersley, Nosy Crow, HarperCollins Children's, Puffin Books, Egmont Publishing, Macmillan Children's Books, Hachette Children's Books, Ladybird Books (including Peppa Pig), Little Tiger Press, Lit Film Fest are releasing a daily video or writing tips.

Author Youtube Videos: Michael Rosen, Andy Stanton reads Mr Gum and the Biscuit Billionaire, Abi Elphinstone, Jeff Norton, Philip Ardagh

Illustrator Youtube Videos: Steven Lenton, Nick Sharratt, Tom McLaughlin

Toppsta Youtube channel: We've recently launched our Toppsta Youtube channel and we'll be sharing video reviews from children and 'Look Inside' videos too.

Organisations with free resources to use at home: 

But also check out BBC TeachAuthorfy (login required), World Book Day, CLPE (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education), British Library, Scholastic Resource Bank, The School Run, Booktrust, Literacy Shed, KeyStage2Literacy, Literacy Trust, Lovemybooks and Caryl Hart is doing an amazing job collecting together all the picture book resources over on her website.

Creative Writing/Drawing: Pobble (a picture a day to inspire drawing and writing. Ask your kids to find their favourite book and ask them to either draw the existing cover or a new version. Author Sinead O'Hart is running creative challenges on her website for kids to enter and win books.

Apps: Reading Realm

Twitter: if you're on Twitter we are running a live Twitter chat every weekday at 10am where you can find out more about new books, authors and illustrators. You can also follow the hashtags #FreeBookResources #UnitedByBooks #lockdownkidlit

Facebook: Author Events Online

Instagram: Lydia Monks, Sandra Dieckmann

Run a sponsored read - and get books into the hands of children who need them most. Take a look at Readathon and the brilliant work they do

Check if your favourite author has their own website - so many have brilliant resources you can download for free from their website: see Joshua Siegal, Joseph Coelho, Tom Palmer, Peter Bunzl, Robin Stevens, Andy Shepherd, Will Mabbitt, Kieran Larwood & more

Great illustrator websites with free resources: Nick Sharratt, Sarah McIntyre

Ditto for great publishers who have tons of resources over on their websites. Check out the advice and free resources for dyslexic readers on the Barrington Stoke website,  Walker Picture Book Party, Nosy Crow Activities, Usborne Play & Learn (coming soon), Chicken House, Piccadilly Press, Lonely Planet Kids, Child's Play, Lion Hudson and more

ebooks - Register for Borrowbox so you can borrow ebooks from your local library and Project Gutenberg has has more than 60,000 ebooks available for free

Bedtime Stories - Check out Cbeebies Bedtime Stories

Bookish ideas if you're self isolating with the kids

Share this read with others...

Tweet Email