Get your little ones reading online, with broadban...
Get your little ones reading online, with broadband
E-readers have been making a splash in the news over the past weeks, especially now the new Kindle Fire's been tipped for release in July. But it's children's reading that's hotter than ever, with Suzanne Collins of 'The Hunger Games' fame being named Amazon's most downloaded e-book author - just in time for International Children's Book Day too (2 April 2012). With e-reading and children's books being so popular right now, we thought we'd pull together a list of our favourite websites for kids who could do with being bitten by the bookworm. Just read on and use your broadband to get your little ones reading ...
Last summer, a million Harry Potter fans got the chance to get the first look at Pottermore, a digital universe based on the adventures of the famous fictional boy wizard created by J.K. Rowling. The site is currently in beta and only accessible to the million initial subscribers, as the full launch - originally scheduled for October 2011 - was delayed. The full version is now due to go live early this month but, for the most up to date information, you can check the official Pottermore blog. Pottermore members will get the chance to immerse themselves in the world of Harry Potter - opening accounts at Gringotts Bank, shopping in Diagon Alley and collecting magical items - and will be able to submit their own drawings and comments. E-book and audio book versions of the Harry Potter novels will be available via Pottermore and J.K. Rowling has also written more than 18,000 words of additional content for the site. When Pottermore is finally launched, it's sure to be a worldwide phenomenon and will contain enough content to entertain your kids for hours - so you'll be glad you've got t'internet and aren't missing out on some Potter magic.
The Roald Dahl website
Although Roald Dahl died in 1990, sales of his books - which include classics like 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory', 'James and the Giant Peach', 'The Witches' and 'Matilda' - are still strong around the world. The official Roald Dahl website is packed with information about Dahl and his works, and includes games and quizzes to keep your little 'Dahlings' entertained. They can help James fly over the city on his giant peach, get together with Willy Wonka to create the perfect sweet potion, test their Roald Dahl knowledge and send e-cards to their friends. Kids aged under 13 can also join the Roald Dahl Club via the site - membership is free of charge, and enables them to access secret parts of the website and receive a monthly e-newsletter, 'The Dahl-y Telegraph'.
Horrid Henry's Wicked Website
Horrid Henry's Wicked Website is the must-visit website for fans of Francesca Simon's hugely popular children's book character. The site includes: details of the Horrid Henry books; a 'Horrid Henry's World' section where kids can learn more about Henry's family, friends and enemies; a section featuring jokes and pictures submitted by readers; and a news and events section. Horrid Henry fans can also sign up online to join the Purple Hand Gang. Members receive a Purple Hand certificate and a monthly newsletter, and will be able to access secret areas of the website where they can play games and download extras like screensavers - and what's more, it's totally free to join.
The Gruffalo website
'The Gruffalo' - written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler - was only released in 1999, but is already considered to be a children's classic. If your little ones can't get enough of this fantastic tale, make sure they check out the official Gruffalo website. They'll be able to listen to song clips, play games, complete activities, chat with other fans, enter competitions and find out about the latest Gruffalo news and events on this beautifully designed site. Kids aged 8 or under can also join the Gruffalo Gang to receive free email newsletters - and occasionally members get free Gruffalo gifts too.
The Horrible Histories website
It's not just fiction that inspires kids to keep reading. And if you've got a mini-history buff at home and they don't mind a bit of gore, check out the Horrible Histories website. The first Horrible Histories books hit the shelves in 1993, and since then more than 60 titles have been produced, including 'Terrible Tudors', 'Vicious Vikings', 'Rotten Romans' and 'Vile Victorians'. They have also inspired several TV series, a board game, a PC game, exhibitions and stage shows. The official Horrible Histories website features details of all the books in the series, as well as fun facts, jokes and competitions. Last year, a 'Virtual World' area was also added to the site, enabling kids to create their own avatars and walk through different worlds, playing history-themed games and quizzes. Membership to the 'Virtual World' area is free, but the site also offers paid-for packages which allow kids to access additional features.
The Hunger Games website
The Hunger Games movie has stormed to the top of the box office chart - breaking a few records on the way. And your kids can find out more about the best-selling books and the movie by checking out the official Hunger Games website. You'll even be able to download the first chapter of The Hunger Games, which sees heroine Katniss Everdeen volunteer to take her sister's place in a deadly televised game that sees 24 teens pit against each other until only one survives. It's free to download the chapter too - so you can give it a go then decide whether or not to read the books or see the movie. And if you're hooked on the series, you can download icons to use on Twitter and Facebook as well.
More sites for budding bookworms
Other sites that little bookworms will love include: