Unusual gifts for kids can be hard to come by, but personalised books are always a winner. There’s a certain thrill to be had from seeing your name on a page and little ones will love the exciting adventures they can go on. Plus, the very best imaginative books can help develop a love of reading and teach handy skills, too.
The books listed here are suitable for a range of ages – with simple stories for younger ones and all-out fun and games for older kids – and you’ll find options involving characters that can be personalised to look just like the recipient. There are even a couple that allow your children to go on an adventure with their friend or sibling.
Here’s our pick of the best personalised books for children…
1. The Great Alphabet Chase, from £20.99 – best for teaching the alphabet
This fun book is full of beautiful illustrations designed to help your child learn the alphabet. We love the brightly coloured pages and the adventure-driven story, which will have your child jumping with excitement.
As well as choosing the name of the child in the story, there’s also a choice of eight different characters with varying skin tones and hair colours.
And, as an added bonus, £1 from each sale is donated to the mothers2mothers charity, who provide education and support for pregnant women and new mothers living with HIV in Africa.
It’s definitely one for younger readers, but we think it will remain on your bookshelf for years to come.
Available from: Papier
2. My Golden Ticket, from £24.99 – best for older kids
Created in conjunction with Roald Dahl, this book will allow your child to dive head-first into the marvellous, mind-boggling world of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
It’s essentially a retelling of the traditional story in the form of a diary, with plenty of weird and wonderful illustrations.
Your youngster will love seeing the unique Wonka bar which uses their name as inspiration, and you can all be entertained by the personalised Oompa Loompa song.
Although it is a few pounds more than some of the other options in this list, it includes between 36 and 40 pages (depending on your child’s name) and standout gold embossing. It’s bound to be a book they’ll keep coming back to.
3. A Tale of Two, from £21.99 – best for siblings
Buying gifts for siblings can be tricky – especially when a larger age gap means they won’t enjoy the same toys. Enter A Tale of Two. With a story set around 2 children who love to play hide-and-seek, it’s the ideal present for 2 youngsters to share or for a little one to buy their best friend.
We love the fact the characters and their names appear on the front page and it’s instantly recognisable as a special book. And there’s some great different options in terms of how your characters look, too, with various different hair styles and colours, skin tone, clothing choices and even the possibility of glasses.
Although it won’t entertain older children in the same way as The Golden Ticket or the Where Are You? books would, it’s a lovely story full of imagination and gorgeous illustrations.
Available from: Librio
4. Where Are You?, £19.99 for softcover, £27.99 for hardcover – best for keeping kids amused
This Where’s Wally-style book features a personalised character (choose from 6 different girl and 6 different boy options), which you have to find across a number of jam-packed universes. Each of the scenes are filled with brilliant detail, curious scenarios and hilarious activities, and there are some great challenges to fill in along the way.
There are also two different books in the series – so if the first one is a hit, you have another pressie idea up your sleeve for the future.
MFM tester Dani Graph bought this book for her 6-year-old daughter. “We adored this book,” she says. “Sure, the cartoon doesn’t look exactly like you, but there is so much to seek and find in this book. Filled with random characters, monsters, aliens and silliness, it will have your child going back time and time again, always discovering new things.”
Available from: Wonderbly
5. Peppa and George’s BIG Adventure, from £12.99 for standard size – best for Peppa fans
This delightful Peppa Pig book is sure to be a hit among kids who love the TV show. Peppa and George are going on a scavenger hunt – and the clues are formed from the letters in your child’s name.
Useful for helping kids learn to spell, it’s bright and colourful and exactly what you’d expect from a Peppa book.
There’s a nice level of personalisation with the characters, in that you can choose from a variety of hairstyles, skin tones, eye colours and whether they need to wear glasses. The book is also available in 3 formats – standard, large or hardback.
6. The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name/ The Little Boy Who Lost His Name, £19.99 for softcover – best for a bespoke story
Each story in this book is unique to the child as it involves them hunting down the lost letters of their name, and discovering characters that begin with that letter (for example, a little boy called Sam may find a snail, alligator and a mermaid).
The characters in the book can’t be personalised quite as much as with some other books – there are only 3 pre-made characters to choose from for each gender, and you can’t mix and match hair styles and skin tones as you can with the likes of Peppa and George’s BIG Adventure. But the beautiful storytelling more than makes up for that.
MFM tester Dani Graph, whose 5-year-old daughter has this book, says: “This feels very special and high-end as it’s printed on beautiful paper. It’s such a lovely story and we love having this in our little library.”
We also like that you can preview the book before buying and change some of the storylines if you think your child might prefer to see an alligator rather than an aardvark, for example.
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7. Mr Men: ‘You’ and the Silly Birthday, from £9.99 for the classic size – best for a birthday present
Kids will love this personalised twist on a classic Mr Men book. Your little one will delight in seeing their own character meet Mr Birthday and Little Miss Birthday and old-school favourites such as Mr Happy, Mr Tickle and Little Miss Scatterbrain make an appearance, too.
The book also includes a special mention of your child’s friend, family member or pet, as an extra-special touch. It’s quite small in comparison to, say, The Golden Ticket, but it’s the cheapest book mentioned in this list and would make a good birthday gift.
Available from: Egmont
8. On the Day You Were Born, £24.99 – best for a newborn gift
With its sweet rhyming messages about parenthood and beautiful gift box, this is the perfect present for a new parent. The book is available in pink or blue and has lovely illustrations depicting joy and happiness, with cheery motifs such as sunshine and hearts featuring heavily.
It’s a simple message, with not much of a storyline (unlike most of the other books mentioned here), but it’s ideal as a keepsake and provides a lovely way to mark the birth of a baby. You can also write a short message to the recipient that will appear in the cover.
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9. A Peter Rabbit Little Guide to Life, £24.99 – best for a keepsake
Beatrix Potter’s Peter Rabbit is a much-loved character – and rightly so! This beautiful little book features illustrations and excerpts from the original series as well as sage advice and important life lessons.
The name of your child is displayed at the front of your book and at the top of each page, and there’s also the option to include a personal message at the beginning.
The name isn’t incorporated into a story as such and there isn’t a visual representation of the recipient (as with the likes of The Little Girl Who Lost Her Name or The Great Alphabet Chase), but it’s a lovely little book and an ideal present for a special birthday or occasion.
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10. My Magical Christmas, £25.99 – best for a Christmas present
Capturing the magic of Christmas, this brilliant personalised book will see your child go on an adventure to make sure all the kids in the world receive their gifts on time.
What’s great about this book is that it also features another character – whether that’s a grandma, uncle or aunt. You can even include a photograph of your child at the beginning of the book.
It’s worth reviewing the pages before ordering to check the way the characters are referred to and, as a tip, we’d suggest using the ‘unrelated man’ or ‘unrelated female’ option as a way to incorporate Daddy or Mummy into the story.
The choice of options with the characters isn’t quite as extensive as some of the other books on this list, but you’re still able to pick hair colours and skin tones.
Available from: Micuento