Books for Young Children – Let Toys Be Toys gift guide

We believe all children should be able to choose freely the books they like best and we celebrate all the marvellous writers, illustrators, publishers and booksellers that avoid putting boy or girl labels on books. Here we list some of our favourite reads for the very small people in our lives.

All booksellers featured on this page have received the Let Toys Be Toys “Toymark award” – our good practice award for the stores that are getting it right.

If you live near a great local bookshop that doesn’t segregate or signpost books according to gender please nominate them for our Toymark Award 2017! Tweet us at @LetToysBeToys, send us a Facebook message, or email

I Could Be, You Could Be

From Letterbox Library – a not-for-profit children’s booksellers specialising in books which celebrate equality and inclusion…and with an allergy to stereotypes!

In this book by Karen Owen, an adventure-fuelled girl and boy conjure up fantastic worlds, picturing themselves as dragons, astronauts and more…A magical rhyming celebration of make-believe, soaring imaginations and being yourself. Includes mask-making tips!

Price: £5.99

Recommended age: 3-5 Years

Clive and his Babies (All About Clive)

Meet Clive – and his imagination! Clive loves his dolls. He enjoys playing with them, and sharing them with his friends. A gentle, affectionate book, celebrating diversity and challenging gender stereotypes.

Price: £2.50 from Child’s Play

Sleeping Handsome and the Princess Engineer

From News From Nowhere – Liverpool’s not-for-profit radical & community bookshop.

Prince Jack is strong, rich, a top trampolinist and very, very handsome. But he is also cursed. When he is pricked by a sword he, and his whole castle, fall sound asleep. It’s up to the Princess Engineer to come and save the day!

Price: £6.99

Recommended age: 3-7 Years

Spacegirl Pukes


Spacegirl is getting ready to blast off into outer space, but she starts to feel queasy. Bleurg! Spacegirl is sick! Will her mission be cancelled? Will Spacegirl ever reach the stars?

What a good thing both her mummies are there to look after her. A perfect tale for reading with young children, this new edition has returned to Vanda Carter’s original illustrations to accompany Katy Watson’s hilarious story.

Available online for £8.99 at  Letterbox Library or in store at Gay’s the Word bookshop at 66 Marchmont St in London W1

Little Ocean Explorers

Let’s explore! Slip the double-sided figure into the acetate pocket to enjoy all manner of exciting activities. Investigate the ocean in this innovative board book. Helps to develop motor skills, as well as promoting discussion and helping to combat gender stereotypes.


Price: £4.99 from Child’s Play

My Animal Book

A hands-on, action-packed title to share with young children. A little girl called Koko helps children to think about animals and make comparisons with their own lives. There are also three intrepid explorers who go on adventures to a variety of places to find out about different species. There are things to do both on and off the page, including games, recipes and craft activities. This friendly and approachable book will be read again and again by all children of 5 and over.

Available for £8.95 from Thames & Hudson

William’s Doll

From Bookmarks – the largest socialist bookshop in Britain with a huge variety of kids books to encourage children to think outside the box.

William wants a doll – to hug, to feed, to tuck in, and kiss goodnight. “Don’t be a creep, ” says his brother. “Sissy, sissy, ” chants the boy next door. His father buys him trains and a basketball – but not the doll that William really wants. Then one day, someone comes along who understands why William should have his doll.

Price: £6.99

Super Daisy

Also available from Letterbox Library…  Can Super Daisy save the world from little green peas (intergalactic lift-the-flaps included!)? A much loved, boisterous character who simply has no time for being conventional!

Price: £6.99

Recommended age: 3-6 Years

Dogs Don’t Do Ballet

Biff is not like ordinary dogs. He doesn’t do dog stuff like peeing on lampposts, scratching his fleas or drinking out of toilets. If you throw him a stick, he’ll just look at you like you’re crazy.

No, Biff is no ordinary dog. Biff likes music and moonlight and walking on his tiptoes. You see, Biff doesn’t think he’s a dog, Biff thinks he’s a ballerina, which is all very well… but dogs don’t do ballet – do they?
The hilarious story of a small dog with a big personality and even bigger dreams!

Price: £5.99 from News From Nowhere

Girls are Not Chicks Coloring Book

A subversive and playful book for children, and adults, to examine how pervasive gender stereotypes are in every aspect of life. This book helps to deconstruct the homogeneity of gender expression in children’s media by showing diverse pictures that reinforce positive gender roles for girls. Girls are not chicks. Girls are thinkers, creators, fighters, healers and superheroes.

Price: £7.99 from Bookmarks

Let Toys Be Toys Gift Guides

Check out more stereotype-free gift guides.

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  1. The Fawcett Society – Challenging gender stereotypes in early years – johobbsblog

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