At Children’s Books Ireland, our vision is simple, but powerful: every child a reader. We want all children to have the chance to become a reader and to find stories they love.

For many years, children rely on the adults in their lives – families, teachers, librarians and booksellers, to be their guides when it comes to what to read next. Young readers vary as widely as adult readers do in their tastes, interests and abilities, and part of our work is suggesting books that speak to every kind of young reader, and encourage families to pick up a book together.

As a child, I was a real bookworm – as, unsurprisingly, was every member of our little team. Just as many of my most precious childhood memories were spent in the kitchen, elbow deep in pastry and covered in flour, as tucked up in bed with a story. Baking, like reading, sparks the imagination, inviting daydreams of buttercream, gingerbread houses and towering, showstopping creations. And baking, just like reading, is better shared.

With the Great British Bake Off back on our screens, it presents the perfect opportunity to get children trying their hand at baking. You won’t need much in the way of special equipment for the recipes in these books, and the instructions are straightforward enough that even those with no experience at all can whip up a sweet treat in no time.

We’ve steered away from some well-known classics, like Roald Dahl’s Revolting Recipes (entertaining, but tricky, and, as the title says, revolting) to bring you a selection of great cookbooks of all kinds to adorn your kitchen counter.

And while you’re waiting for your bread to prove or your cake to bake, why not pick up a book together to pass the time?

Now, on your marks, get set – bake!

My First Baking Book: Delicious recipes for budding bakers

David Atherton, illustrated by Harry Woodgate

Walker Books (HBK) 80pp £14.99 9781529505504

The third book from 2019 Great British Bake Off winner David Atherton is all about baking, with a focus on fun and togetherness. There are sections for breads, cakes, biscuits, pastries and finally showstoppers, for the very ambitious. The yeast breads will require some patience from young bakers, while even the littlest chefs can get their hands dirty sprinkling chocolate “soil” and gummy worms into chocolate garden cups. Beautiful, inclusive full-colour illustrations from Harry Woodgate make this gorgeous gift book a feast for the eyes (and the tummy!).

The United Nations of Cookies

Jess Murphy and Eoin Cluskey, illustrated by Nicky Hooper

Blasta Books (HBK) 68pp €15 9781999379926

This neat little book is not specifically aimed at children, but it is a perfect starting point for curious bakers who like a story. The authors have gathered recipes from all over the world, from Afghani shortbread, or nankhatai, to Mexican piglet cookies. Recipes include a brief story of how these cookies featured in the contributors’ lives – often as part of a celebration, and almost always in a fond childhood memory. Children will love the delightful excess of American monster cookies and can get hands-on making Norwegian jam thumbprint cookies. To sweeten the deal even further, all author proceeds are donated to UNHCR, the UN refugee agency.

Nadiya’s Bake Me a Story

Nadiya Hussain, illustrated by Clair Rossiter

Hodder Children’s Books (HBK) 160pp £14.99 9781444933277

Featuring 15 food-themed retellings of classic tales by 2015 Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain, this book is as much about stories as it is about recipes. Inspired by her family’s love of baking and sharing stories together, Nadiya includes Little Red Hen and Her Bread Friends (to accompany blueberry and orange soda bread) and Rapunzel’s Enchanted Carrots (to read while your carrot and nutmeg cookies are cooling) among others. The concept is a great one to entertain impatient young bakers while they await the spoils of their labour. With lively full colour illustrations by Clair Rossiter throughout, this will no doubt be a family favourite.

Chop, Cook, Yum! Recipes from the Cool Food School

Deirdre Doyle

The O’Brien Press (HBK) 128pp €14.99 9781788492744

This clever, Irish-published book from food educator and children’s cooking teacher Deirdre Doyle includes difficulty levels – easy, medium and hard – and an illustrated character – Ollie, Molly, or Chuck, aged 10, 8 and 6 – to help children work out which recipes might suit them best. This book’s focus is on building children’s confidence and independence in the kitchen, and simple recipes include granola, flapjacks and muffins, as well as an array of savoury foods for every meal.

Jolly Good Food: A Children’s Cookbook Inspired By The Stories Of Enid Blyton

Allegra McEvedy, illustrated by Mark Beech

Hodder Children’s Books (HBK) 144pp £14.99 9781444929805

Another story-meets-recipe book, this time with extracts from six Enid Blyton books and over 40 recipes inspired by her work. Mark Beech’s vibrant illustrations could easily be mistaken for Quentin Blake’s at a glance, making this a double whammy of nostalgia for Roald Dahl fans who associate Blake’s work with their favourite childhood stories. These recipes are just as wholesome as you’d expect – jam tarts and peppermint creams, sponge cake and drop scones. And of course, lashings and lashings of ginger beer!

Children’s Books Ireland is the national organisation for children’s books in Ireland. Our website is crammed full of recommended reading – you’ll find reviews of new releases, lists on themes from funny books to books about sport, as well as full reading guides on mental health and wellbeing or inclusion and representation. We always include great non-fiction in our selections, appealing to those children and young people who may not yet have found the book for them, but who may be interested in science, the natural world, farming or dinosaurs. Visit