Inspiring books for children of all ages

From biographies of visionaries to guides for success, these are our picks of the best books to inspire children this summer and beyond. 

With the summer holidays on the horizon, now is the perfect time to get your kids trying something new, and what better way to inspire them than with these uplifting stories. From women's footballing heroes and their tales of triumph to coincide with the World Cup, to stories of those who changed the world through their love of maths and science, these picture books, biographies and personal stories are all seriously inspiring, for both kids and grown ups alike! 

Whether your little one loves maths, sports, science or nature, we've found a book that is sure to inspire them this summer. 

Inspiring books for children aged 3 - 5 years

Counting on Katherine

by Helaine Becker

Book cover for Counting on Katherine

Instilling a love of maths is one of the best ways to set your child up to succeed when they start school, but doing so is easier said than done! Counting on Katherine, the story of Katherine Johnson (the NASA mathematician behind the Apollo 11 moon landing), will show little ones how maths can change the world. Charting her love of numbers right from her earliest years, this is an inspiring illustrated story of a groundbreaking girl’s drive to succeed and pursue her passion, despite the many barriers she faced. 

You Can Do Anything Tyrone!

by Sir Lenny Henry

Book cover for You Can Do Anything Tyrone!

Turn “I can’t!” into “I can!” with You Can Do Anything Tyrone!, the new illustrated children’s story from Sir Lenny Henry. When the rocket ship Tyrone is building won’t work, he’s ready to give up on his dreams of making it to the moon. That is until his Grandad Cleveland comes along and shows him how he can do anything when he believes in himself. A fantastic story to introduce children to the importance of having a growth mindset, this story will inspire children big and small to follow their dreams. 

The Best Me

by Marvyn Harrison

Book cover for The Best Me

Teach little ones how to be their best selves with The Best Me by the founder of Dope Black Dads, Marvyn Harrison. This empowering illustrated story is the perfect way to spark conversations about how taking care of our physical and mental health, eating healthily, and treating others how we wish to be treated can make the world a better place and help us be happier and more fulfilled. With a fun and positive story and its message of the importance of kindness, this book belongs on every child’s bookshelf. 

Sammy Striker and the Football Cup

by Catherine Emmett

Book cover for Sammy Striker and the Football Cup

Sammy Striker eats, breathes and sleeps football! So when she’s scouted for the Under 8s National Team by coach Melissa McDream, she thinks her wildest dreams have come true. As the football cup approaches, Sammy can barely contain her excitement until her shots suddenly start missing the target. Can Sammy believe in herself and make it to the top? An inspiring picture book about the importance of self-belief in helping you achieve your goals, Sammy Striker and the Football Cup is a summer must-read for young football fans. 

Inspiring books for children aged 6 - 8 years

With You Every Step

by Rob Burrow

Book cover for With You Every Step

Inspiring millions with their friendship and perseverance, rugby legends Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield have now joined forces to celebrate their friendship in this beautiful new illustrated book. Sharing words of love, gratitude and stories of friendship, With You Every Step features full colour pictures from best-loved illustrators including Rob Biddulph, Reggie Brown, David Litchfield, Gill Smith and Sam Usher. A gorgeous gift book for a special friend or loved one in your life, 50p from each copy will be split equally between two charities close to Rob and Kevin’s hearts. 

Wild Child

by Dara McAnulty

Book cover for Wild Child

Inspire young nature lovers to explore the world around them this summer with award-winning young naturalist Dara MacAnulty. This beautiful, full-colour book is jam-packed with Dara’s wisdom on how to experience more of Britain’s wonderful wild spaces, along with guides to different environments and habitats. With ideas for activities to help children connect with nature, this book will encourage everyone to get outdoors and reap the benefits of spending time in nature this summer holiday. 

She Shoots, She Scores!

by Sarah Long

Book cover for She Shoots, She Scores!

Despite thrilling the nation at Euro 2022 and inspiring a brand new generation of players, England’s female football stars haven’t always had the right to play the sport they love. This new chronicle of how women’s football beat the odds to become one of the fastest-growing sports in the world will inspire young fans to follow their dreams, just like their sporting heroes. She Shoots, She Scores! is packed with advice for young players of all positions and a foreword from star England player Steph Houghton. 

They Did It First

by Julie Leung

Book cover for They Did It First

Behind every scientific breakthrough, world-changing invention and groundbreaking discovery is someone who dreamed it was possible. Inspire your young reader to dream big with They Did It First, which features tales of fifty visionaries who all believed in themselves and defied the odds to be the first. From Alan Turing and Aretha Franklin to lesser-known figures, including Walter Alvarez, who discovered that an asteroid may have wiped out the dinosaurs, this anthology of inspiring stories illustrates that anyone can achieve great things. 

Activists Assemble - Save Your Planet

by Ben Hoare

Book cover for Activists Assemble - Save Your Planet

With the earth getting hotter, the oceans being polluted, and positive stories about the environment hard to come by, being a kid in 2023 can feel overwhelming. However, there are many ways they can be part of the change the world needs to see. In Activists Assemble — Save Your Planet, journalist Ben Hoare and illustrator Jade Orlando explain why we need to act to help save the planet and what we can each do to help. From inspirational stories from activists worldwide to tangible tips for making a real impact, this guide will inspire young eco-heroes to make a real difference this summer. 

Saving Sorya – Chang and the Sun Bear

by Nguyen Thi Thu Trang

Book cover for Saving Sorya – Chang and the Sun Bear

Growing up in Vietnam Chang is surrounded by an abundance of nature, so when she discovers a bear farm near her home she makes it her mission to save as many creatures as possible. Learning about the rainforest and volunteering at a rescue centre, Chang looks set to achieve her goal until a heart wrenching decision has her questioning everything she has fought for. Be inspired to help save the planet by this award-winning story of a young conservationist, told as a beautiful full-colour graphic novel. 

Be The Change

by Liz Brownlee

Book cover for Be The Change

Curated and introduced by National Poetry Day Ambassadors Liz Brownlee, Matt Goodfellow and Roger Stevens, the poems in Be the Change will inspire young readers to drive the changes they want to see in the world. With stirring messages of activism, positive change, and thought-provoking questions at their heart, these poems are a brilliant way to spark conversations with children and young people about how we can all play our bit to improve our world. 

Inspiring books for children aged 9 - 12 years

You Have the Power

by Leah Williamson

Book cover for You Have the Power

With the Women’s World Cup kicking off this summer, the Euros-winning captain of the England women’s football team wants to show kids that they can achieve anything they put their mind to, both on and off the pitch, no matter what other people say. This positive guide for life will inspire young girls to lead like a pro, and motivate them to do what they love. A brilliant summer or back-to-school read for independent young readers.

You are a Champion

by Marcus Rashford

Book cover for You are a Champion

As inspiring an activist off the pitch as he is a player on it, Marcus Rashford knows a thing or two about achieving goals against the odds. In You are a Champion, written with journalist Carl Anka, Rashford shares his remarkable story, tips for staying motivated even when times are tough, and advice for making the most of every opportunity. Whether they’re aspiring footballers or dream of something else, this optimistic and inspiring book will be an excellent gift for every reader. 

Plastic Sucks

by Dougie Poynter

Book cover for Plastic Sucks

We all know the world has a plastic problem that we must solve– and fast. But how can we make changes that make a difference to our planet right now? Plastic Sucks, written by McFly’s Dougie Poynter, has the answers for how young people can start sustainable habits that stick and inspire those around them to do the same. With interviews with inspiring environmental activists and top tips for cutting out single-use plastic, young eco-champions will find many ways to make a difference this summer. 

Joyful, Joyful

by Dapo Adeola

Book cover for Joyful, Joyful

This curated collection of 40 stories and poems by Black writers from around the world is an inspiring celebration of joy for young readers. From fantasy stories and tales of home to poems that will make you laugh and cry, this celebration of Black excellence, curated by award-winning illustrator Dapo Adeola, features writers including Malorie Blackman, Alex Wheatle, Patrice Lawrence and many more. A book designed to read together, this uplifting collection will inspire young readers to share their stories too. 

Inspiring books for children aged 12+ 

Clicks - How to Be Your Best Self Online

by Natasha Devon

Book cover for Clicks - How to Be Your Best Self Online

With the digital world evolving at a neverending pace, it can take time to learn how to navigate the internet and all its facets. In her new book, Clicks - How to Be Your Best Self Online, writer and mental health campaigner Natasha Devon offers a no-nonsense guide for safely navigating the digital world. From considering a site’s trustworthiness and evaluating an influencer’s arguments to avoiding creating content that may come back to haunt you, Devon gives teens advice that will help them get the most out of their online presence and avoid digital slip-ups. 

Open: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be

by Gemma Cairney

Book cover for Open: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be

Penned by author and broadcaster Gemma Cairney, Open: A Toolkit for How Magic and Messed Up Life Can Be is a no holds barred guide to dealing with everything wonderful (and not so wonderful) about growing up, with an inspiring message to live your truth and find your own path. With practical advice from experts, tidbits from Gemma’s life, and space for young readers to journal and make the book their own, this toolkit for navigating the teenage years is a must-have.


by David Roberts

Book cover for Suffragette

A beautifully illustrated history of the women’s suffrage movement in Britain, Suffragette celebrates the impact of activism and what can happen when voices come together to fight as one. David Roberts’ vibrant storytelling and colour illustrations bring the story to life, making it feel as vital and relevant now as it did over a century ago. Celebrating the strength, ingenuity and bravery of activists from all walks of life, Suffragette is an inspiring true story everyone needs to hear.  

These are the Words

by Nikita Gill

Book cover for These are the Words

An inspiring illustrated poetry collection from Nikita Gill, These Are The Words encourages everyone to find their words and discover their hidden power. A guide to life for her younger self, in poems about heartache, change, anger, family and joy, Gill charts the emotions that come with growing up and change, describing how we should all fight for who we are and what we believe in.