Growing bookworms – Interactive books for children Part 1

Interactive books for children are those books that allow for active participation from, and interaction by, the child as part of the reading process. There are two categories of interactive books for children: those that incorporate modern technology and provide for digital participation by children, and those that are not digital.

Today, I’m going to chat about the non-digital interactive books for children. There are a myriad of non-digital interactive books for children, aimed at a variety of different age groups.

Touch and feel books are aimed at very young children. They are wonderful for helping children to associate their sense of touch with a word or words. For example, a picture of a duck could include soft, fluffy feathers and a picture of a tree could have rough bark. Most touch and feel books are very simple and only teach one word at a time. I had a few books like this for my sons when they were babies and very young toddlers and they loved them.

Interactive books for older toddlers and pre-school children include pull-tabs, flaps, pull-downs, and pop-up books. Pop up books work by literally popping up a 3-D picture when the child turns the page. These were hugely successful with my boys but I did have to teach them not to pull on the pop-ups and break them. I also had to teach them not to pull tabs, flaps, and pull-downs too hard, but they learned quickly and my instruction ensured they treated their physical books with respect.

This is a link to a pop-up Alice in Wonderland book on Amazon US. It’s not the same as the one I had for my sons but it looks equally fun: https://www.amazon.com/Alices-Adventures-Wonderland-Pop-up-Adaptation/dp/0689847432

Colouring books speak for themselves and allow children to colour in the pictures that relate to the stories. There are also sticker books that allow the child to dress the characters.

Usborne has an amazing selection of sticker books. You can find out more about them here: Amazon US Usborne sticker books

Hidden object books are those that hide various objects within pictures for the child to discover. These books are available for a variety of age groups, and my boys loved the Where’s Wally books.

This is the blurb of the Where’s Wally Amazing Adventures and Activities 8 Books Bag Collection Set: https://www.amazon.com/Adventures-Activities-Collection-Fntastic-Hollywood/dp/9123888113

Where’s Wally?:
The original book which kick-started the worldwide Wally phenomenon! Search for Wally and his friends as they hike round the world.

Where’s Wally Now?:
Wally and his friends travel through time in this second best-selling classic adventure. Search for them as they visit the Stone Age, Ancient Egypt, the Vikings …

The Fantastic Journey:
Hidden in every intricately-detailed scene are Wally and his friends – so let the hunt begin! Search for them in the land of the unfriendly giants, the watery world of the deep-sea divers.

Where’s Wally? In Hollywood:
Wally visits the land where dreams are made in this classic activity book! He meets directors and actors, walks through the crowds of extras, and sees behind the scenes.

Where’s Wally? In Outer Space:
Play tangle line teasers, find your way out of a space race maze, unscramble muddled up words, crack alien codes, match and spot the differences in busy picture puzzles.

Where’s Wally? At Sea:
Untangle fishing lines; solve a boat race riddle; match seaside silhouettes; track down pirate treasure on a map; join up words in a message in a bottle.

Where’s Wally? Across Lands:
Scale castle walls and ancient Aztec temples as you complete games, crack written riddles, get creative by drawing your own Egyptian city and doodling inside speech bubbles.

Where’s Wally? Takes Flight:
Work your way out of a busy airport runway maze; match up dragons to their race day medals; solve birdy word searches and visual snap; colour in a nighttime dragon scene.

My sons both spent hours pawing through these books.

The last type of interactive book I’m mentioning in this post are game books. These are middle school children’s books where each section ends with a decision. The child makes a choice and is directed to the next section on a specific page. I managed to obtain a big pile of the Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was a girl, and I absolutely loved them.

This is the link to the Choose Your Own Adventure series on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/Alices-Adventures-Wonderland-Pop-up-Adaptation/dp/0689847432

What Amazon says: Widely commended for its appeal to reluctant readers, Choose Your Own Adventure is the 4th bestselling book series for children of all time. Written in the second-person, the reader is the hero of the story, and at the bottom of each page, there is a decision point: If you go in search of the yeti, turn to page 11. If you think it is safest to stay put and call for help, turn to page 25. By reading and choosing, kids become more engaged, making the Choose Your Own Adventure series a stealth reading program for reluctant readers.

About Robbie Cheadle

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Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with ten children’s books and two poetry books.

The eight Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published two books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has two adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories, in the horror and paranormal genre, and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie Cheadle contributes two monthly posts to https://writingtoberead.com, namely, Growing Bookworms, a series providing advice to caregivers on how to encourage children to read and write, and Treasuring Poetry, a series aimed at introducing poetry lovers to new poets and poetry books.

In addition, Roberta Eaton Cheadle contributes one monthly post to https://writingtoberead.com called Dark Origins: African Myths and Legends which shares information about the cultures, myths and legends of the indigenous people of southern Africa.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

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62 Comments on “Growing bookworms – Interactive books for children Part 1”

  1. Dave Astor says:

    Robbie, excellent overview of interactive books for young readers! It sounds like you gave your sons wonderful experiences with those books in their early years. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Dave, I did provide my sons with a wide variety of books to read and ‘experiment with’. Michael liked non-fiction as a young boy and I had all the Mickey Wonders Why books which were fantastic. I didn’t make negative comments about any types of reading material so anything went, and still does, including graphic novels and comics which my teachers didn’t consider to be reading at all.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. BERNADETTE says:

    Thanks Robbie for the suggestions. I have a reluctant reader in our family and I am going to purchase some of your suggestions.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Reblogged this on Robbie's inspiration and commented:

    I am over at Writing to be Read with this month’s Growing Bookworms article about interactive books for children. This post covers non-digital interactive books. Thanks for hosting, Kaye Lynne Booth.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. beetleypete says:

    Shared both posts on Twitter for you, Robbie. 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Jan Sikes says:

    What a great look at interactive books, Robbie. My grandchildren all loved the pop-up and textured books.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. Great reminder of these wonderful print interactive books.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Jacqui, I am more in favour of this type of interactive book because I think modern kids have enough of digitalisation with other products. I accept, however, that the world has moved to digitalisation and that is probably where children’s books are going.

      Liked by 3 people

  7. D.L. Finn, Author says:

    Great information, Robbie. I love all of these stages of reading and the fun they offer.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. marianbeaman says:

    Of course I’m familiar with Alice in Wonderland but somehow missed out on the Wally books when my kids were young. Cliff and I both love your marvelous dough boy, flexing his muscles. Fabulous! 😀

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Marian, Alice in Wonderland is a favourite children’s book of mine and I have about nine different versions, including a pop-up book. Where’s Wally is very popular with the Gen Z’s. They are fun for adults too. I’m glad you like my strong man.

      Liked by 3 people

  9. I loved these kind of interactive books, and enjoyed many an hour with our granddaughter… Especially the sticker books as she had to choose the sticker as the story unfolded… Colouring books also top of the list… And I think I never grew out of them 😉 lol 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Sue, I think boys are girls do prefer different types of books. My sons never really took to colouring but my nieces love it. I remember pull out paper dolls which you could dress when I was a girl. They came in a book with a girly story about the particular paper doll. My sons wouldn’t have been interested in dressing male characters unless they were historical like Sir Francis Drake. Then they were interested.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Thanks Robbie and great article. A wonderful way to get children engaged and your boys had a great start to their reading adventure..thanks Kaye Lynne… xx

    Liked by 3 people

  11. olganm says:

    I’m a fan of interactive books, especially the ones where you can interact with the book, and I still remember some I had as a child. I read some of the choose your own adventure with my younger cousins, but I don’t think they were available here when I was a child. Anything that gets children interested in books is good, and these are very creative and fun as well. Thanks for reminding us of those books and for your recommendations, Robbie.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Olga, I do believe the Chose your own adventure books were new when I discovered them. The libraries didn’t have them and I had to earn money and buy them new. I just loved them and I bought a set for my sons when they were younger. I also love pop up books and I have a collection of them.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Jim Borden says:

    wonderful post, Robbie. I never thought about the many ways a book could be interactive. I have enjoyed all of the types that you mention…

    Liked by 3 people

  13. Such fun! It seems that the Build Your Own Adventure books would help children build the critical thinking skills that are so important later in life.

    Liked by 3 people

  14. petespringerauthor says:

    For many years the younger kids were enthralled by our version of Where’s Wally? They were called “Where’s Waldo.” Kids could check out two books when they went to the school library. I eventually had to devise a rule that they could check out one Where’s Waldo book as long as they checked out one story book.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Pete, I have seen Where’s Waldo about so that version of the hidden objects books is also available here in SA. Unfortunately, there isn’t a strong culture of reading here as our indigenous populations have a culture of oral story telling rather than written books and many of them are also very poor and can’t afford books. That is why I donate so many books to literacy programmes here.

      Liked by 2 people

  15. Toni Pike says:

    What a great article, Robbie – kids have so much fun with these, we can’t ever do without them. Toni x

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Interactive books can certainly pique a child’s interest, which is a great thing to promote reading. Great article, Robbie. I love your dough boy!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Hi Jill, I do think interactive books are a great idea for kids. I tried to make mine more interactive by including the recipes as activities. I see a lot of children’s authors are including colouring pages and other games in their books now.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I read a bunch of these types of books with my daughter and she loved them. I also loved these as a child. They’re a great way to engage little ones in books. Thanks, Robbie, for another informative article, and Kaye Lynne for hosting. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  18. what a great post Robbie and these interactive books were so amazing. My kids loved them as well. Love this! 💖💖

    Liked by 2 people

  19. Because me and my siblings grew up in a non-digital book world, I am in total support of children being given non-digital books! There are so many reasons to occupy their hands as well as their minds. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  20. Thanks for these great suggestions, Robbie! Your figurines are so cute. You are a great multigenre artist. Best wishes, Michael

    Liked by 2 people

  21. What a wonderful and informative post, Robbie. I remember these books when my children were little, and they especially loved sticker books. Thanks to Kaye for hosting you, too.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. dgkaye says:

    Wonderful book ideas Robbie. I especially like the ‘non digital’ approach. Touching, feeling, discovering with hands is a great grassroot approach to learning. Digital isn’t the best for everything. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Debby, I agree that using the senses is a wonderful way to learn and discover new things. So many kids these days have tactile issues because they don’t experience enough of nature and different textures and sensory situations.

      Liked by 3 people

  23. Jennie says:

    Outstanding, Robbie. You know I fully agree, and your choices are very good. Where’s Waldo is a classic! Hands on is the best way to learn.

    Liked by 3 people


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