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A list of the best books for storytelling

For all those who wish to read stories to small children

“I love reading stories to young children! I have been doing it since 2012. Children thrive from storybooks – make it your duty to read to them as often as possible. Help turn them into book-worms – exploring the pages of books like magnificent wings of butterflies. Storybooks are more powerful than you could ever imagine”

Sherry – Storyteller for What Children Really Want

The main comment that I hear amongst parents, teachers and carers is “Gosh, there are so many children’s storybooks out there on the market, but which ones should I go for?”

At my story-time events, it’s so wonderful to experience the delight on the faces of the children that I’m reading the stories too. I try to pick easy digestible stories for ages 3 – 7 years approx, making sure that there is something for everyone, whether they are native English speakers or not (as most of my work is in Barcelona)

I’m happy to share a list of my favourite books that I use for my storytelling.

Maybe you know some of them? You may not know all of them, but they are worth seeking out as these are the ones I use and get a good reaction to at my story-time events.

I’ll also do a list of the storybooks that I use when I teach English to small children. I make sure I read from a fun storybook in amongst the teaching. I choose books that the kids really respond positively to, and ones that can be read several times without the risk of them getting bored with the story. I sometimes create a craft to go with the story. An attractive but easy craft that I can prep, and the children can complete it with a little bit of help if necessary. All of which you can easily do too! – I will soon be posting and doing video tutorials of the crafts that I do!

My personal lists of the best storybooks for story-time

Books that make great storytelling and are best read to a large group of children…

These are my personal top ten choices for books that I like to read to children when I am doing story-time to 8 – 20 children. Recommended for 3 years and up.

  • ‘Open Very Carefully – A book with bite!’ By Nicola O’Byrne and Nick Bromley.
  • ‘Beegu’. By Alexis Deacon.
  • ‘Something Beginning With Blue’. By Nick Sharrat and Sally Symes.
  • ‘Pants’. By Nick Sharratt and Giles Andreae. Can be used as a quick warm-up story
  • ‘Max The Brave’. By Ed Vere.
  • ‘Mr. Big’. By Ed Vere.
  • ‘Upsy Down Town’. By Sue Hendra.
  • ‘Animal Pants’. By Brian Moses and Anja Boretzki.
  • ‘Thank You For Looking After Our Pets’. By Tim Hopgood.
  • ‘The Ravenous Beast’. By Niamh Sharkey.

My all time favourites have got to be these 3…

  • ‘Shark In The Park’. By Nick Sharratt
  • ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt’. By Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury.
  • ‘The Colour Monster’. By Anna Llenas.

Books that are best read to children in small groups

These are my personal top ten choices for storybooks books that I like to read to children when I am teaching 1 – 4 children. You can easily read these choices to children at home.

  • ‘So Much’. By Trish Cooke and Helen Oxrenbury.
  • ‘Peter’s Pebbles’. By Cherie Zamazing.
  • Grizzly Dad’. By Joanna Harrison.
  • ‘The Tale Of Jack Frost’. By David Melling.
  • ‘The Kiss That Missed’. By David Melling.
  • ‘Billy’s Beetle’. By Mick Inkpen.
  • ‘Give That Back Jack – A Cautionary Tale’. By Phil Roxbee Cox and Jan McCafferty.
  • ‘The Day Louis Got Eatten’. By John Fardell.
  • ‘Big Mum Plum’. By Daniel Postgate.
  • ’10 Minutes Till Bedtime’. By Peggy Rathmann.

My bonus fav is this one!…

  • ‘Meet The Parents’. By Peter Bently. Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie. A great storybook for family members, or teachers, etc to read to children and remind them of how fantastic their parents are!

Buy your children’s books on Amazon

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Children’s books on Amazon USA

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Children’s books on Amazon UK

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Children’s books on Amazon ES

How to take a step further into story-time…

You don’t always need an actual book for storytelling.

  • Use puppets, cut-out figures, flash-cards or adapt any other simple props that you can easily find around you (sock puppets!)
  • Memorise a story, or make up your own one. Preform it in a wonderful, expressive storytelling manner with lots of vocal changes.
  • Make your own story on sheets of A2 and laminate them! You can see the result of my hand-painted story that I like to perform during the festive season

‘In A Cold Snowy Forest’ – by Sherry

‘In A Cold, Snowy Forest’

Do you want to add to these lists? Help others by letting us know if there are any other storybooks that you find great for storytelling/story-time.

Now jump to our other post where I share some of my great tips on techniques for storytelling…

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This ‘BEST BOOKS FOR STORYTELLING’ Blog Post is brought to you by…

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Simple tips for storytelling to young children

Tips and techniques for Storytelling to young children. Storytelling with Sherry
Tips for storytelling to young children. Story-time with Sherry

Hi all! Sherry here – I’m a children’s storyteller. Many people ask me for my personal tips and techniques on storytelling/story-time* to young children.

So I’ll dive straight in!

My personal simple tips and techniques for storytelling/story-time are: 

  • If parents/carers are present, then allow the children to sit with them as many children may feel shy to be placed without a comforting adult.
  • Make ‘happy’ eye-contact with the listeners. Sit on their level e.g, don’t tower over them. If your’e standing, then bend down as often as possible and be close to the children.
  • Speak clearly and try to project your voice at an adjusting tempo – adding slow suspense and fast excitement as needed. 
  •  Be mega expressive with lots of gestures – even when you’re holding a book! Try to know most of the words so you don’t have to be staring at the book the whole time.
  • Try to choose a big book with colourful pictures that can easily be seen and understood. (I’ve used small books before, but I make sure I know the words so I can make up with engaging gestures and different vocals. And when using small books, it’s important to walk around the group).
  • Go around the group showing the children the pictures close-up. Always remember that some may not be able to get a good view, so make sure you find these children and show them the pictures too.
  • Try to make the stories inter-active. Ask questions and allow the children to answer and prompt their imaginations.
  • Choose age appropriate stories. I choose fun stories that are easy to digest and don’t contain heaps of text for 3 – 7 year olds.
  • But sure to select easy to understand books, with engaging stories and illustrations for non-native listeners – such as my all time favourite ‘Shark In The Park’ by Nick Sharratt.
  • Have lots of fun with the children! Don’t take yourself so seriously, and don’t show embarrassment – let yourself be a kid again – Smile and laugh a lot. If you make mistakes, just laugh them off and start the sentence again.
  • Try to wear ‘fun’ clothes that children will relate to – I like to wear a bright t-shirt with a fun character on the front, such as The Cookie Monster. Sometimes I wear a sequinned clowns tie and a waistcoat, with pedal-pushers and stripy socks. But don’t over do it, otherwise your outfit will be distracting.
Festive Christmas story-time with Sherry
Festive story-time with Sherry

Bonus tip for those who want to dive deeper into storytelling/story-time for kids…

Planning a storytelling/story-time event in brief, simple steps.

You can do your story-time as a 45 minute event like I do:

Storytelling with Flashcards. Story-time and songs with Sherry
Story-time and songs with Sherry, using flashcards.
  • No doubt, some people will arrive late to your storytelling event. Don’t worry, this happens for different reasons, and most of them are understandable if it involves kids. So, have something prepared for a little warm-up while you wait 10 mins or so. Play music that the ones who are present can sing-a-long to, or play a simple game with flashcards, play ‘eye-spy’, tell silly jokes, see if they can say any tongue twisters, ask names, etc.
  • Do an introduction when everyone is there – tell them your name and a little bit about yourself and the hosting venue. Or the host can do an introduction for you.
  • Tell two stories: 1 short, fun story to start with. The 2nd story should be a bit longer and very expressive (Such as ‘We’re Going On A Bear Hunt’ by Micheal Rosen and Helen Oxenbury.)
  • Follow the stories with action songs! The children will be in need of lots of movement by now. If you don’t have action songs, then do popular sing-a-long ones that the children are likely to know. Try to get the adults to join in too! I like to do songs by ‘Super Simple Songs’ such as ‘A Sailor Went To Sea’, and ‘There Was A Farmer Had A Dog’. I use flashcards that are blue-tacked to the wall. Kids are very visual and the flashcards make it more fun for them, but they are not a must.
  • After the songs is where I would throw in a game, to get the children calmer and ready for the end of the story-time event. You could play musical statues. I like to play a game of ‘Animal Snap’ if there are no more than 20 children. I give out various animal cards making sure each child has about 5 different animals in their hands, and I keep one of every animal card for myself. I then call out the animals that I’m holding one by one, and if a child has a matching animal that I call out, then they must shout out ‘ SNAP’ and I collect their card. The winner is the one who manages to get rid of all their cards. They get a sticker on their hand as a prize. The game continues until every child gets a sticker – so they are all champs!
  • If there is time and you are feeling adventurous, you can add in an easy craft that you have prepped, or give out colouring sheets. (The colouring sheets should be related to the story)
  • Try not to go over an hour – leave them wanting more!

“I used to give out balloons to each child after a storytelling event, but after realising that balloons just end up in the trash or the sea, creating useless waste and potentially endangering wildlife, I happily decided to ditch them.”

Sherry – What Children Really Want
We're Going On A Bear Hunt easy craft for pre-schoolers
We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, my easy craft idea for pre-schoolers

I’ll be posting my craft ideas and tutorials soon!

So, these were my easy to follow tips for techniques on storytelling to young children

*Side note…

I prefer to describe what I do as a ‘story-time’ for children. I mainly read from a story book as children are gathered round me.

I would describe ‘storytelling’ more as telling a story through acting, and without the use of a book in my hands. I imagine it as someone up on a stage and giving more of a performance.

If you need some advice on selecting some great books for storytelling, then read my blog post that contains

a list of my personal favourite books for story-time

This ‘STORYTELLING/STORY-TIME TO YOUNG CHILDREN’ Blog Post  is brought to you by…

What Children Really Want©

What Children Really Want
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Mum! The Monsters!

Mum, The Monsters

‘Mum! The Monsters!’ is the perfect  book for little ones who are afraid of the dark

A fabulous book written by Liliana Cinetto and wonderfully illustrated by Poly Bernatene

Mum! The Monsters! helps small children realise that they do not have to be afraid at bedtime

Our Review:

Quite a few children are scared of the dark – they think there are monsters lurking in the bedroom, in wardrobes and closets, and under the bed. This is a book that can help them in a fun and adventurous way.

‘Mum! The Monsters’ defiantly gets an excellent review for us – and rightly so!

We purchased the paperback version which is 24cm x 24cm and consists of 29 pages. The words are written in lowercase. They are clear, and easy for confident, early readers to start tackling.

If your child cannot read, or prefers you to read the story to them, they will certainly have a blast observing the illustrations! (Make sure they keep an eye out for the little blue teddy bear on nearly every page!)

‘Mum! The Monsters! is a highly entertaining storybook, and the amazing illustrations help to relieve the tension that many children suffer at bedtime. 

The only thing is as it deals with monsters, the illustrations may scare younger, sensitive children.

Mum, The Monsters!

 But as the story goes on, the illustrations become very comical, and the aim is to get your child laughing at these scary figures and realising that they are silly and harmless.

The hero of the day is ‘Mum’ – Normally mum goes into her little boys bedroom, turns on the light and sings him songs until he falls back to sleep. But one day, she decides to tell him “You’re a big boy now. You shouldn’t be afraid any more”. Then she takes drastic action right before his wide eyes! Mum comes to the rescue armed with her very own special weapons to erase monsters from the home once and for all!

Mum, The Monsters


Mum! – The Monsters! – such a great story written by Liliana Cinetto, fabulous illustrations by Poly Bernatene. (The U.S title is called ‘Mom! The Monsters!)

This is a great story not only for Halloween, but also any time of the year. It is especially aimed at children who are afraid of going to bed at night. This book teaches them that there’s no need to be scared of hairy monsters with sharp teeth that smell of dirty socks. Ghosts that float around trailing dust and cobwebs. Witches with messy hair and yellow eyes. And huge ogres with mouths full of green drool. It’s these monsters who need to be very afraid, because tonight they have met their match, and this hero doesn’t need a cape! 

Always support your child, never ridicule their fears – help them to overcome their fears in a gentle way

Mum, The Monsters

See the video of our storyteller Sherry reading ‘Mum, The Monsters!’

Sherry has included a bonus feature that has questions to get your child talking and thinking about ‘being afraid of monsters’

Please drop a comment and let us know how your child reacted to the story!

Mum! The Monsters

NOTE: If you are experiencing trouble with this website, click the padlock icon in the address bar to see if  your browser/Firefox has blocked parts of this page such as images appearing as ‘broken’ 

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Mom! – The Monsters – USA

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Mum! – The Monsters – UK

Mum! – The Monsters – ES

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What Children Really Want

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The Colour Monster


The Colour Monster – A fabulous ‘must-have’ book by Anna Llenas.

This is a must have book for your child’s book collection!

The Colour Monster Anna Llenas
The Colour Monster

Appealing colours and a lovable main character.

The pictures are illustrated in such a creative way using cardboard and paper as Anna Llenas takes re-cycling to a new level! – a truly beautiful layout that captures the attention of any child – and adult! And the actual story is truly heart-warming.

Does your child need help with understanding feelings and emotions?

‘The Colour Monster’ is here to teach children about feelings, as each beautiful colour leads to an emotion. It will also help children build understanding and empathy towards others, as in the story the emotions are attached to deep descriptions of how the little furry Monster feels inside and how he is able to cope:

Here’s a snippet of what each colour means in this story:







The Colour Monster can lead on to an engaging discussion with children – 

The Colour Monster Anna Llenas

You can ask them if they think other colours could have been used e.g…

  • Black – could black represent bravery and not fear?
  • Blue could be calmness.
  • Pink could represent happiness,
  • Red could be love? Or is that too typical!?
  • What about the colours orange, purple, grey, brown, white – which feelings and emotions do they provoke?

After you’ve read this story to your child, get them to get out their crayons and have fun drawing this enjoyable character!

Go on a delightful journey with this sweet little Monster – you’ll be glad that you did!


The Colour Monster Printable

See our video to get a feel of ‘The Colour Monster’ before you decide to take him home!… 

The Colour Monster Anna Llenas


The Colour Monster read by our storyteller ‘Sherry’…

Anna Llenas has also created ‘The Colour Monster pop-up book’, and ‘The Colour Monster Activity book’ – be sure to check them out too!

Safely browse though  ‘The Colour Monster’ and various other books by Anna Llenas on the BOOK DEPOSITORY...

Below you will see our other choices available on Amazon according to where you are located, USA, UK, or in Spain…

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The Color Monster – Amazon USA

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The Colour Monster – Amazon UK

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The Colour Monster – Amazon ES

The Colour Monster plush toys Anna Llenas

This ‘THE COLOUR MONSTER’ Blog Post  is brought to you by…

What Children Really Want©

What Children Really Want
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‘I Don’t Like Gloria’ – Storytelling with Sherry


I Don’t Like Gloria’!

This is a fun book that has mixed reviews.

In the original version by Kaye Umansky, the dog was named Calvin, now he is called Colin.

‘I Don’t Like Gloria’ can be seen as an entertaining story about sibling rivalry, but some may see it as being enemies and ganging up on others – We choose to see it as a great opportunity to start talking about how it isnt nice to not like someone because they are different! This story can be used in a positive way to talk about a few topics and get a better understanding!

We would love to hear what you think of ‘I Don’t like Gloria!’

Please subscribe to our Youtube channel for more stories and reviews – What Children Really Want

‘I Don’t Like Gloria!’ Read by Sherry

Written by Kaye Umansky, Illustrations by Margaret Chamberlain

Music credit: ‘Without U’ produced by Adamack, for shadowville Productions


Get ‘ I don’t like Gloria’ on Amazon…

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What Children Really Want