Nit combing distraction: Most popular children’s books

Nit combing can be a tedious activity for some children, which is why at The Hairforce we have become very creative when it comes to keeping children entertained. And guess what? Reading is a great distraction when nit combing!

Rather than put on the TV or a film get your child to read whilst you are checking their hair – they could even read out loud to you, or alternatively, you could both listen to an audiobook. Time will pass as you check or clear and it will be doubly well spent.

Reading brings magic, freedom and joy into children’s lives, especially at a time of stress and challenge. It is an easy way to escape and relax. No wonder it had a resurgence in lockdown. In this blog post, we go through how lockdown has changed our little ones’ reading habits and the most popular books.

What were the most popular children’s books in lockdown?

It is reported that children found that reading during lockdown made them feel better whilst shut away from the world – it opened other worlds and allowed them to travel in a completely different way.  That freedom came from the following books over the last year:

The most popular book for secondary pupils was Rick Riordan’s fantasy adventure, The House of Hades, followed by Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass, other Riordan novels and Angie Thomas’s The Hate U Give.

The most popular book for primary pupils was Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

Girl reading

Did children’s reading change in lockdown?

The annual ‘What Kids Are Reading’ study from Renaissance Learning examines the reading habits of more than one million pupils in the UK and Ireland discovered that children’s reading habits really changed in lockdown. Before that reading was declining, but instead during this challenging but less busy time children turned to more interesting and longer reads. 

Professor Keith Topping at the University of Dundee and author of the study is quoted as saying ‘During the lockdown overall, pupils tended to read longer books of greater difficulty and with greater comprehension. Having more time to read gave children the chance to immerse themselves in literature. Schools should encourage more reading time now that they are open again’.

What was the effect of reading for children during lockdown?

According to the National Literacy Trust’s latest survey conducted by Dr Christina Clark and Irene Picton, 3 in 5 children stated that reading made them feel better during lockdown, easing the anxiety and stress it brought into their lives. 32% of children said reading had helped them when they felt sad about not being able to see friends and family.

The NLT’s survey told a different story from their 2020 research ‘one of increased reading engagement during this first spring lockdown. Having more time to read and the increased autonomy of book choice, along with the opportunity to read for its own sake, were key reasons why more young people are enjoying being immersed in stories’.

What were the favourite children’s books of 2020?

Before you start your next nit combing session, you might want to have one of these children’s books by your side to keep your kid entertained. We are sure they will love their book so much they will stay perfectly still for as long as you need to check their hair.

nit combing kid reading

For the young:

How to Train your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

Coronavirus: A Book for Children about Covid-19 by Nosy Crow

While We Can’t Hug by Eoin McLaughlin and Polly Dunbar

The Hospital Dog by Julia Donaldson and Sara Ogilvie

Where Snow Angels Go by Maggie O’Farrell

The Book of Hopes by Katherine Rundell

Middle Years:

The Girl Who Stole an Elephant by Nizrana Farook

Lost by Ele Fountain

The Acrobats of Agra by Robin Scott-Elliot

The Wizard in My Shed by Simon Farnaby

Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray

A Secret of Birds & Bone by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Boy, Everywhere by A M Dassu

Mic Drop by Sharna Jackson (part of Jackson’s prize-winning High-Rise Mystery series)

The Monsters of Rookhaven by Padraig Kenny

For older children:

Asha and the Spirit Bird by Jasbinder Bilan (Costa’s children’s Book of the Year)

High Rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson

Look Up! By Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola

Clean Up! Also, by Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola

Anisha, Accidental Detective by Serena Patel (Sainsbury’s Children’s Fiction Book of the Year)

Black and British: A Short, Essential History by David Olusoga (this was an instant best seller)

Noughts + Crosses by Malorie Blackman

The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman

One of Us is Next by Karen M McManus

The Cousins also by Karen M McManus

A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Holly Jackson

Good Girl, Bad Blood also by Holly Jackson

Wilder Girls by Rory Power

Harrow Lake by Kat Ellis

Wranglestone by Darren Charlton (shortlisted for the Costa book award)

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle

The Silent Stars Go By, by Sally Nicholls

How can I get my child’s head lice treated by the professionals?

The Hairforce nit and head lice removal clinics exclusively provide a checking and clearing service. Your child can bring along their favourite book and read it whilst their head lice are cleared, or instead watch one of the movies on offer. If you would like to book an appointment or talk to them about their process, then click here.

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