Meet our Book Doctor for World Book Day... Rashmi Sirdeshpande!


Rashi Sirdeshpande

Rashmi Sirdeshpande is our guest Book Doctor for World Book Day, prescribing the best reads for young booklovers.

To celebrate 25 years of World Book Day, children's author Rashmi Sirdeshpande has joined us in Caboodlers' Corner to provide reading recommendations and advice to young readers. Rashmi is the author of heartwarming story Yes You Can, Cow! and her non-fiction book, Think Like a Boss, is one of this year's fantastic £1/€1.50 books, illustrated by Adam Hayes. She's picked five questions to answer – sent in by Caboodlers just like you – and each person will receive a £15/€20 National Book Token, so their young booklover can choose some new reads.

Got a bookish bothering of your own? Send your questions in and if we pick yours for the attention of our future Book Doctors, you'll get a National Book Token!


It's a No-Money Day

As a parent, I like books that teach children something useful without actually being a non-fiction book. Are there any books that fit this sort of criteria which you can recommend for primary aged children? – Asma

Do you know what, I think picture books are perfect for this. Across all of primary. They're mini masterpieces and they cover all kinds of big and important themes – kindness, confidence, courage…you name it! Some are eye-opening explorations of big issues. It's a No-Money Day by Kate Milner, and The Last Chip by Duncan Beedie both look at poverty and hunger. Mr Bunny’s Chocolate Factory by Elys Dolan is a fun-filled story about fairness and workers' rights. The Travellers' Tales series by Richard O’Neill (and various artists) celebrates diversity and is a window into the world of the Traveller community. Meanwhile, The Colour Monster by Anna Llenas dives into feelings.

There are also books like Dom Conlon and Anastasia Izlesou's Wild Wanderers series that look at the facts about sharks, hares, the wind and the stars, all through stunning pictures and poetic storytelling. And there are picture book biographies like On a Beam of Light by Jennifer Berne and Vladimir Radunsky, which is about Albert Einstein. For older readers, there are books like Sufiya Ahmed's My Story: Noor-un-Nissa Inayat Khan. Actually, that whole My Story series by Scholastic is worth looking up – fascinating history but in the form of thrilling stories.

Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Being Good

My pre-teen daughter and I love reading time together; she likes a laugh-out-loud story. Can you recommend a book that has a hilarious storyline as well as boosts courage and confidence in kids? – Pooja

FUNNY BOOKS! So glad you asked. I absolutely loved Otherland by Louie Stowell for this (Rohan especially – I related HARD to that character!). She's also the author of Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Being Good, which I snort-laughed my way through! And I love the Sticky Pines series by Dashe Roberts too (starting with The Bigwoof Conspiracy). That one's clever, funny, spooky sci-fi and it helps kids feel confident about their own observations about the world and find the courage to stand by their values. ALSO, have a look at Marie Basting's stereotype-smashing Princess BMX – that’s one writer with an incredible imagination. These three are some of my favourite funny authors and I hope you like them too!

Another one I adored is Pooja Puri's A Dinosaur Ate My Sister, illustrated by Allen Fatimaharan – hilarious. And I can’t not mention Secrets of a Schoolyard Millionaire by Nat Amoore. Had me in stitches. It's also packed with actual life-skills and I have to say they are THE BUSINESS.

The Humans

What books would you recommend for my 7-year-old daughter to make learning about history more appealing and accessible? – Clare

Clare, you’ve hit on one of my favourite subjects! Assuming you’ve explored the brilliant Horrible Histories series already (or maybe you’re waiting a year or so), I really recommend looking up The Histronauts, a series by historian Frances Durkin and illustrator Grace Cooke. A fabulous blend of story, facts, and all kinds of activities, all in a really engaging graphic novel format. Genius, really.

I'm also obsessed with The Humans by Jonny Marx and Charlie Davis. It's a big book with stunning art and it whizzes you through all kinds of incredible ancient civilisations and the amazing things they taught us. And if you're looking for history + HUMOUR, you can’t go wrong with Chae Strathie and Marisa Morea's So You Think You’ve Got it Bad series. (Confession: I write children’s non-fiction and I love those so much, I WISH I'd written them myself.)

For an even wider look at international history right up to the modern world, check out The History of Everywhere: All the Stuff That You Never Knew Happened at the Same Time by Philip Parker and Liz Kay. Does what it says on the tin and it is GLORIOUS. One to dip in and out of!

Run, Rebel

How can I motivate myself to actually pick up a book and stick with it? – Macy, age 15

Macy, I LOVE this question! I’m going to be controversial and say if you're not loving a book, you have every right to put it down. Sure, stick with it for a bit to see how it turns out – it might surprise you – but if it's not working for you, it's okay to find another one. Look for the books that really pull you in.

Another thing you could do is to try a new genre or a new format like a graphic novel. The graphic novel version of The Crossover by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Dawud Anyabwile, is incredible. Or try a verse novel like Lucy Cuthew's Blood Moon or Manjeet Mann's Run, Rebel. Stories told through poems. They’re proper page turners and they’re punchy and easy to read. When I was in a full-on a reading slump last year, verse novels were my absolute go-to books and these two are just WOW.

The main thing is to give yourself permission to explore and find what it is that gets you wanting to keep turning those pages. What I love most about books is that there's something for everyone. Including you. I just know it.

This Book Will (Help) Cool the Climate: 50 Ways to Cut Pollution, Speak Up and Protect Our Planet

Are there any books that will teach children how to help prevent climate change? – Claire

Yes! So many! This Book Will (Help) Cool the Climate: 50 Ways to Cut Pollution, Speak Up and Protect Our Planet by Isabel Thomas is one of my favourites for practical tips. It's written with warmth and humour and it’s an amazing handbook for budding eco-activists. Speaking of eco-activists, What a Wonderful World by Leisa Stewart-Sharpe and Lydia Hill is a big and beautiful book that takes you around the world to meet 35 incredible real-life 'Earth Shakers' and to see how we can play our part in taking care of our planet too.

Climate Action by Georgina Stevens and Kate Rewse is another brilliant book that explores the causes and impact of climate change and where young readers might be able to make a difference. And for even younger readers, there’s Usborne's Can We Really Help the Polar Bears? by Katie Daynes and Róisín Hahessy.

Finally, a wildcard suggestion – have a look at Wild Child by Dara McAnulty and Barry Falls. It’s not a climate change book but it is about falling in love with and connecting with nature. Feels like a first step towards protecting this planet of ours. What do you think?



About Rashmi Sirdeshpande's books

Yes You Can, Cow!

Yes, you can, Cow! We believe in you! Ready... steady... go...

It's the Nursery Rhyme's big performance, but Cow is having second thoughts. She's too scared to jump! What if she crashes? Will everyone laugh? The curtain's almost up and the audience are waiting. Can Cow overcome her fear of failure and become the star of the show?

A gorgeous, heartwarming story about believing in yourself and doing your best based on the ever-popular nursery rhyme 'Hey Diddle Diddle'.

Think Like a Boss: Discover the skills that turn great ideas into dash 

An exclusive £1/€1.50 World Book Day book

Ever thought making money was just for adults?
Or that business was boring?
And that inventing stuff was only for super clever people?
Think again

Though this book may be small, it’s bursting with big ideas for budding entrepreneurs. From understanding money and looking after it, to the nuts and bolts of setting up a business, making your big ideas a reality and using your cash for good.

Don't have a big business idea just yet? Don't fear. Being a boss isn’t just about making money. It’s about building confidence, thinking outside of the box, problem solving and being 100% fearless. Which isn’t a bad place to start, right?

So don’t leave everything to the grown-ups. It's time to boss it.

Packed with tips and tricks from real businesses and fantastic role models.

Need urgent book advice? Why not visit your local bookshop where the booksellers will be happy to recommend your next read – find your nearest.

Rashmi's books

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