My favourite five: Nicola Lee of the Children’s Bookshop Huddersfield

‘Fabulous books to fire the imagination’ is the motto of the Children’s Bookshop.

Despite the decline of the high street and the onslaught of online shopping, this specialist store in Lindley, a village on the outskirts of Huddersfield, is still going strong after more than 40 years.

Along with stocking a lovely selection of books, it hosts a monthly book group for 8-10 year olds and regular author events. Gill Lewis and Sibeal Pounder are scheduled to visit this autumn.

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Owner Nicola Lee took charge two years ago after a long relationship with the shop. She says: “When it came into being, I was just a young bookworm and I soon became a regular visitor.

“When my nieces and then my own children were born, I took them to choose books there. When my youngest son went to school, I went to work there and when the owner wanted to retire, I bought the business.  

“I have always loved books and particularly children’s books.  There is nothing more satisfying than matching a child with a book that they grow to love. Reading with your children is a lovely experience and creates happy memories.”

In honour of this, Nicola has chosen her favourite classic picture books that have stood the test of time and bring back fond memories of reading with her own children.

Hairy Maclary From Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd, £3.99, Puffin  

“This is so ingrained in our family’s history that even though the boys are teenagers we still refer to dogs by the names in this book.  The repetition and rhymes have children joining in with gusto.”

Hairy Mac

The Little Red Train series by Benedict Blathwayt, £4.99, Red Fox

“The clickety-clackety train rhythm of these books makes reading it a delight.  The detail in the illustrations meant that in reality we spent so long looking at the pictures, we never really got going with the rhythms!”

Little Red Train

Each Peach Pear Plum by Janet and Allan Ahlberg, £6.99, Penguin 

“Another book where the detail of the illustrations invites you to spend lots of time spotting different things and generates conversation between you and your child. It introduces a variety of traditional characters from other stories and nursery rhymes that you may well have forgotten.”

Read our review of Each Peach Pear Plum

I Love You, Blue Kangaroo by Emma Chichester Clark, £6.99, Andersen Press  

“Lily and Blue Kangaroo have a very special friendship but this comes under threat as new toys appear.  When Blue Kangaroo goes missing, Lily is fraught and as they are reunited reassures him that she loves him. A lovely book especially for a child who needs lots of reassurance. (In our case it helped that it came with an actual blue kangaroo – which we still have!)”

Blue kangaroo

But Excuse Me That Is My Book by Lauren Child, £6.99, Puffin 

“A Charlie and Lola classic where Lola takes the same book (Beetles, Bugs and Butterflies) out of the library every time she visits.  Until, that is, someone gets there before her!  Charlie has a task on his hands to persuade her to try something different.  When my youngest son learnt to read, he used to read this himself, copying the way I’d read it to him to perfection!”


Find out more about Nicola’s shop and events at

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