Monthly Parenting Magazine

Ten of the Best Independently Published Children’s...

Ten of the Best Independently Published Children’s Books

Zoe Ayre I Will Always Help You Sleep

Zoe Ayre, aka The Respectful Mum, shares her top ten independently published children’s books in celebration of Indie Author Week UK

The 10th to 17th June 2023 is Indie Author Week UK. When you look at the books on your children’s bookshelves, 99-100% of those books are likely to be traditionally published through one of the large publishing houses. But there’s a growing community of indie authors both for adult and children’s books. A new generation of authors who want to have more creative control, more ability to market their own books and interact with their readers on a greater scale, and who choose to go it alone. Not because they couldn’t get a publishing contract, but because they see the real benefits of being independent.

So for Indie Author Week, we wanted to showcase some of the best indie children’s books. One of the joys of indie publishing is that we see some crucial and unique topics being tackled, that would never see the light of day in traditional publishing. They create a diverse market of books dealing with nearly every niche you can imagine- looking for something a bit different, turn to the indie kidlit community and I bet you’ll find it. 

My own book, I Will Always Help You Sleep came about for just this reason. I was searching for a book that represented my family as a co-sleeping mum who embraces responsive parenting, day and night. I couldn’t find a single book that did this. So, I set about writing my own. The story follows newborn Willow and her Mummy as they learn what Willow needs to help her sleep. Offering heartfelt reassurance to parents whilst entertaining little ones with beautiful illustrations by Alexandra Fowler, and an engaging story. It’s an incredibly relatable read as much for parents as for children.

So let’s dive into our top ten picks celebrating the best of independently published children’s books.


My Mum’s a Tiger by Kate Claxton, illustrated by Angela Mayers

A brilliant rhyming story all about embracing the body we are in and promoting body positivity. Mums will absolutely relate to the way Eliza’s mum earned her stripes. It’s beautifully illustrated and will make you smile throughout.  


What’s Wrong with Mummy? By Hannah Blatch and Nicholas Child

This book brought tears to my eyes. It’s a beautiful tale of post-natal anxiety and depression, told in an incredibly child friendly way. It follows Henry the hedgehog as he wonders why Mummy sometimes feels sad, tired and down. Written by Hannah in the depths of post-natal depression herself, the book feels incredibly relatable. It is a must for any parents struggling with depression and anxiety, to help their children understand what they might be feeling whilst reinforcing the knowledge that their child is always loved no matter what. 


Our lovely days by Murphys Sketches

Murphys Sketches is famed for her stunning illustrations, with a dedicated Instagram following where she shares her creations with relatable captions. Our lovely days is her second venture into the world of children’s books, and it’s just as wonderful as her first. The story is beautiful in its simplicity, as it follows the ordinary days through life with children that hold the most joy and love. 


Robo Babies- Love Builds A Family written by Laura Gallagher, Illustrated by Nicci Martin

Another brilliantly unique book, this time representing the different routes that can lead us to parenthood. Laura’s journey to motherhood happened via IVF, and this story is the perfect way to explain to children the different roads to becoming a family.


Colour and Me! By Michaela Dias-Hayes

Firstly, the illustrations in this book are stunning. It’s bright, engaging and so fun. It’s an absolutely brilliant exploration of race and diversity. We follow the main character as she experiments with mixing primary paint colours, until she eventually happens upon the colour brown, which suits her perfectly. A brilliant book that’s ideal for children of all cultures and backgrounds, embracing diversity through the use of colour.


I Wish You Happiness by Michael Wong, illustrated by Ann Baratashvili 

Exploring everything that’s important in life, this book shows us that happiness doesn’t come from material things and riches. The illustrations are inclusive and diverse, captioned with heartfelt messages about the things we all want for our children growing up and the qualities we need to achieve them. A heartwarming story.  


Why, Oh Why, Am I A Crocodile? Written by Alex Brooks and Illustrated by Hannah Worsley

Follow crocodile as she wishes she was anything but herself.  This is a gorgeous story exploring body positivity and the importance of accepting the skin we’re in and seeing the beauty in ourselves (flaws and all). It’s a fun and upbeat rhyming tale that will keep little ones engaged throughout. 


My Family is So Scottish by Kirstin McNeil, illustrated by Karen MacAllister

A fast and funny story full of diversity – My Family is So Scottish breaks down stereotypes whilst embracing the fun and chaos in every family. Kirstin’s rhyming story is catchy and entertaining throughout, with perfectly complimenting illustrations. We loved this book. 


Breathe by Becky Hemsley and Siski Kalla

I needed this book when I was a child. Becky writes the most beautiful poetry which is so relatable in the way it depicts the challenges of growing up, when it can feel like nothing you ever do is right. You’re always “too this” or “too that”. The book takes you through those feelings whilst reminding you of the importance of just stopping to breathe and accepting yourself for who you are.


Everything is Better Because of You, by Robert McPhillips

A beautifully illustrated story that’s a lovely read with your little ones to tell them how much they mean to you. The book has some brilliant sub-themes showing the importance of being kind to our planet, helping others, and celebrating our own individuality.

I hope this round up shows the joy, creativity and uniqueness that independently published children’s books bring to the market. We’d love to know which one is your favourite. 

Written by Zoe Ayre aka @therespectfulmum

Zoe is a Children’s Book Author of ‘I Will Always Help You Sleep’ and a mum of one. 

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