Bringing stories to life – printed kids’ books beating digital

Christmas gifts on your mind? We peek again into the pages of Kodachrome 2, to discover why the printed children's book is far from dead and could make the most excellent of presents...

By: Phyllida Bluemel,   2 minutes

Are you slouching comfortably? Then we’ll begin.

It’s hibernation season – ever shorter days that bring numb noses and school runs in the dark; where ‘home’ means being huddled up, curled by the fire or buried by duvets. It’s the most wonderful time of year, for retreating out of the cold and into the world of stories.

It’s got us nostalgic for the books that first had us falling in love with words – when the dark hours became populated by cats in hats, wild things and hungry caterpillars. Large pages, splashes of colour, silly voices and reading aloud, the satisfying swish of the page turn.

But in a world of devices and Youtube and Peppa Pig, the digital doom-mongers might have you believing that engaging today’s kids with storytelling requires a broadband connection. That interaction means a play button and a tangle of headphones.

Don’t listen.

John Lewis’ ‘Moz the Monster’ may have captured hearts with their carefully branded nostalgia; but when author Chris Riddell pointed out the suspect similarities between the ad and his classic Mr Underbed – the book promptly sold out of every copy in existence. Turns out, the printed story still has some fight left.

In fact, as Joanna Thomas’s feature in Kodachrome 2 testifies – children’s books are fully alive and thriving. And, competing as they are in a tech heavy world, they’re becoming more playful, inventive and immersive than ever.

So why not take a leaf from the pages of Kodachrome 2 this festive season and seek out the kids books that will have the little people in your life hooting with joy, welling up and treasuring every turn of the page?

Here’s a handful worth looking up to get you started. Your children will thank you for it.

1. Grandpa Green by Lane Smith

Illustrated with captivating details – a book with a whole garden hidden inside.


2. The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde, Illustrated by Alexis Deacon

Deacon’s breathtakingly lush illustrations make this a magical way to introduce your children to a literary great.

3. I’m a Girl! by Yasmeen Ismail

A fresh and colourful take on identity and stereotypes and being yourself…

Need more convincing or interested in finding out about others you could look out for? Get the magazine to read all about it.

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