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The 100 Best Children’s Books of 2018

The 100 Best Children’s Books of 2018

From tigers to tapirs, rebels to refugees, high-fantasy fiction to high-school dramas - we live in a golden age of literary choice. An epoch where no matter the content or concept of a book it can be enjoyed by readers of all ages.

Reading is an essential part of children’s growth, contributing to their education, reading and writing ability, but also enhancing their emotional intelligence, empathy, social awareness and more.

So you may be shocked to hear:

Recent research conducted by Censuswide revealed that one in twenty young children had never been exposed to a picture book.

As an avid reader I find it a tragedy that children and families are missing out on amazing books that can spark the imagination.

In protest, I’ve worked tirelessly to compile this wonderful list of The 100 Best Children’s Books of 2018 (and a few from the end of 2017!). I’ve reached far and wide to ask the best authors, illustrators, book reviewers, independent book-store owners and our own brilliantly helpful community of english tutors, who're all active readers in their own right, to recommend their favourite newly released reads.

If you’re a parent or teacher, stuck with how to keep your kids busy over the coming months (or maybe you just want to unglue them from their phones!) then look no further. There are enough books here to keep even the busiest reader occupied for a while to come. 

Quick Links

I’ve split our recommendations into three groups based on reading age, the quick links below will help you skip to the most relevant section for you.

Go to Young Children’s / Picture Books (3 - 6 Years) >>

Go to Children’s Books (6 - 12 Years) >>

Go to Young Adult’s Books (12+ Years) >>

Young Children’s / Picture Books (3 - 6 Years)

‘Bedtime with Ted’ by Sophie Henn

Recommended by Max, at Books My Toddler Loves.

It's bedtime, but Ted's not ready to go just yet - he's busy splashing with some flappy penguins in the bath, brushing his teeth with a snappy crocodile and slurping his milk with a stripy tiger. Finally, after jumping out the final fidgets, Ted yawns, and it's time to snuggle up with his cuddly friends in bed.

This colourful board book has full page flaps to enable little ones to turn the pages and follow Ted's night-time routine, encouraging them to get used to all the steps needed before going to sleep. It's a perfect bedtime book for toddlers.

In Ted I wanted to create an inclusive, inspiring and empowering series of stories for the tiniest of readers. I wanted Ted to be cheeky and curious, taking his readers along on journeys of early discovery using something that is accessible to everyone, no matter where they live and in what circumstances... their imaginations." - Sophy Henn, Author.

‘Bee and Me’ by Alison Jay

Recommended by Georgina Atwell, Founder of Children’s Books Website Toppsta.

A little girl befriends a bee that takes her on a journey of discovery, revealing an action that every child can take to aid in conservation. In a wordless story told through enchanting illustrations, Bee & Me tells a tale of friendship and offers an introduction to the ecology of the natural world. Alison Jay's original artwork brings the story gently to life, pointing out the sadness of a world without bees. An afterword makes clear to readers the important role these endangered insects play.

Bee & Me is for me truly exceptional. The illustrations by Alison Jay are absolutely gorgeous and the lack of words adds an innocence and simplicity which warms my heart" - Georgina Atwell

‘Can I Join Your Club?’ by John Kelly

Recommended by Natascha Biebow, Editor at Blue Elephant Story Shaping.

Duck wants to join a club. But he needs to be able to ROAR to join Lion Club, or TRUMPET to join Elephant Club. And all he can do is QUACK! What's a Duck to do? Why, set up his own club of course...where everyone is welcome to join!

With recent international events and the current social and political climate, ‘Can I Join Your Club?’ is a humorous and fun way to encourage conversations about tolerance, acceptance and unity. Whether on a global scale, or making new friends at school or nursery, it is more important than ever to teach children that we can all be members of the same club.

A funny, silly book about friendship that entices young readers to be kind and inclusive" - Natascha Biebow

‘Can’t Catch Me’ by Timothy Knapman

Recommended by Harriet Hempshall, of Tutorful.

A wicked, wild read-aloud romp from Timothy Knapman, author of Soon, and Simona Ciraolo, winner of the Sebastian Walker Prize, this is the story of Jake ... the fastest mouse there ever was. NO ONE can catch him. Not the fox, not the wolf, not even the bear. “Can’t catch me,” teases Jake. “I’m the fastest mouse in the world!” But cunning Old Tom Cat has his eye on that sweet, young mouse for his dinner and he’s got a plan…

‘Do Not Open This Book’ by Michaela Muntean

Recommended by Alan Dapre, Children’s Author and Artist.

"Excuse me, but who do you think you are, opening this book when the cover clearly says, DO NOT OPEN THIS BOOK? The reason you weren't supposed to open this book is because it is not yet written!...You think it's easy to put words together? Hah! Now go away--I need time to think."

So begins Pig's valiant attempt to pen his masterpiece. But he is constantly interrupted by the reader who is seduced at every turn into foiling his efforts ("please go away" "please do not turn the page") until at last we reach the final page and discover that together, Pig & the reader have indeed created a book.

Funny, full of creative layouts and a subversive text that is laugh out loud" - Alan Dapre

‘Don’t Blink’ by Tom Booth

Recommended by Amber Dainty, of Tutorful.

Think you can win a staring contest against an elephant? What about a gorilla, a cheetah, a fox, or an alligator? What about all them - AND a bunch of their other animal friends - at the same time? You're about to find out! Whatever you do Dont' blink!

Young readers will enjoy testing their own staring skills against a vibrant assortment of characters in this interactive picture book from talented new author Tom Booth.

One of the best parts of storytelling is creating characters and worlds we can engage with and believe in. Late one night I was drawing the tortoise and girl who would become the main characters of DON'T BLINK!, and I made a tired joke: 'what if the characters I draw are actually looking at me?' The staring contest seemed like a natural next step, and before I knew it I had the makings of a fun, funny, and challenging picture book. Now if I could just get better at staring contests..." - Tom Booth, Author.

‘Don’t Call Me Choochie Pooh!’ by Sean Taylor

Recommended by Pippa Goodhart, Children’s Author.
This sets that familiar small child embarrassment of being called baby or silly names by the adults around you, but set in a world of dogs. Really funny, with wonderfully expressive illustrations, and also powerfully touching at the end" - Pippa Goodhart

From Sean Taylor, the author of Hoot Owl, Master of Disguise, and Kate Hindley, illustrator of Worst in Show, comes a hilarious new picture book comedy starring a very small fed-up dog…

This dog doesn't want to be carried in a handbag (how embarrassing!) or eat heart-shaped Mini Puppy Treats (I mean, come ON!) and under no circumstances does he ever want to be called Choochie Pooh! If only his owner understood. All he wants to do is play with the big dogs in the park - chase sticks, jump in muddy puddles and be an ordinary, proper dog.

I wanted to write a story about something all children know about: the embarrassment of being treated as cute and young. So I created a small, canine narrator. He gets called silly names and is fed ‘heart-shaped mini puppy treats’. But he wants to be an ordinary, stick-chasing, puddle-jumping dog! Walker Books turned DON’T CALL ME CHOOCHIE POOH into a lovely-looking book, with Kate Hindley’s comical illustrations perfectly bringing the fun to life.

And as soon as I started reading it to young children, I found out they identify rather deeply with the little dog narrator…and they are completely tickled by the way he describes his embarrassment! In fact, of all the 50 children’s books I have written, DON’T CALL ME CHOOCHIE POOH is the one most guaranteed to make young readers laugh out loud."  - Sean Taylor, Author.

‘Dotty Detective: The Midnight Mystery’ by Clara Vulliamy

Recommended by Catherine Friess, of Storysnug.com

The Join the Dots Detectives: Dot, Beans and McClusky are back on the case in a third, brand-new mystery!

Dot and Beans can’t wait for their school trip to Adventure Camp where they will do lots of exciting activities like zip-wiring, grass tobogganing and roasting marshmallows round a campfire! But once they arrive, strange things start happening. Could mean girl Laura could be up to her old tricks in a bid to win the Adventure Camp Prize…? It’s up to the Join the Dots Detectives to find out!

Meanwhile, Top Dog McClusky is entered into a local dog show! Will he keep up his training while Dot’s away and win the prize for handsomest pooch?

‘Douglas, You Need Glasses’ by Ged Adamson

Recommended by Gina, of Satisfaction For Insatiable Readers.
The hipness of eyewear comes and goes but the NEED for their visual assistance does not. It's nice to see books like this taking the spotlight because they are not only entertaining, but a great assist for parents trying to convince their kids that the eye doctor is not scary and that glasses are cool" - Gina

Meet Douglas, a dog with a big problem: he needs eye-glasses but doesn't know it, and his bad eyesight tends to land him in some pretty hairy situations.

Readers will laugh along with the new picture book character, Douglas, as he chases a leaf that he mistakes for a squirrel, walks through wet cement because he can't see the warning sign, and annoys the neighbor's dog by mistakenly eating out of his bowl. And when Douglas’ owner Nancy finally takes him to what is clearly an eye-glass store and Douglas asks, ”Why are you taking me to a shoe store?”, everyone will be giggling.

After an eye exam confirms that Douglas needs glasses, and Nancy helps him find the perfect pair, readers will rejoice with Douglas as he sees all the amazing things he's been missing!

Both kids and parents will laugh out loud and may even recognize themselves while reading this utterly irresistible, hilarious picture book.

Douglas was inspired by my own bad eyesight and my reluctance to wear specs as a child. I want the story to make people laugh but also make children feel relaxed about getting glasses." - Ged Adamson, Author.

‘South’ by Daniel Duncan

Recommended by Max, at Books My Toddler Loves.

When a lonely fisherman finds an injured bird on his boat, he nurtures it back to health and--since the bird can no longer migrate with its family--charts a course to head south for the winter. Together, the two form a special friendship and enjoy life at sea until both the healing process and the journey must come to an end. In the tradition of the classic Amos & Boris, South is a story about making new friends and the bittersweet process of saying good-bye to the ones we love. It beautifully depicts the power of new beginnings and the freedom in coming home.

‘Grumpy Frog’ by Ed Vere

Recommended by Elaine and Dave Chant, of Carousel Guide to Children’s Books.

Grumpy Frog is not grumpy. He loves green, and he loves to hop, and he loves winning. But what happens when Grumpy Frog doesn't win, or encounters - horror of horrors - a Pink Rabbit?

Join Grumpy Frog as he learns about compromise and tolerance, friendship and the power of saying sorry.

A hilarious book with a twist in the tail about getting - and getting rid of - the grumps from New York Times best-selling author, Ed Vere.

‘I Don’t Want Curly Hair!’ by Laura Ellen Anderson

Recommended by Nicola Walsh and Karl Newson, Children’s Book Author and Illustrator.

“NO! I do not want this BIG CURLY HAIR!

It's messy and silly and just plain unfair.”

All Curly Haired Girl has ever wanted is straight and luscious locks, but when she meets a little girl with the smoothest, silkiest hair, who says all she's ever wanted is spirally, squiggly hair, they are BOTH confused!

A hilarious tale about loving what we have. And hair, lots and lots of hair.

‘I Don't Want Curly Hair!’ is glorious new picture book for little people who always want what they can't have!

Brilliantly written with a bouncy rhyming text and the illustrations are incredibly funny" - Karl Newson

‘Lots: The Diversity of Life On Earth’ by Nicola Davies

Recommended by Rosamund De La Hey, of Main Street Books.

From the award-winning team behind Tiny: The Invisible World of Microbes comes ‘Lots’, a beautifully illustrated introduction to the concept of biodiversity for younger readers. There are living things everywhere: the more we look, the more we find. There are creatures on the tops of the tallest jungle trees, at the bottom of the coldest oceans, even under the feathers of birds and in boiling volcanic pools. So how many different kinds are there? One, two, three ... lots! With beautiful words from Nicola Davies and exquisite illustrations by Emily Sutton, this groundbreaking book is certain to enchant and inspire children.

‘Mr Bunny’s Chocolate Factory’ by Elys Dolan

Recommended by Clare Zinkin, of Minerva Reads.

Go behind the scenes of Mr Bunny's chocolate factory!

An irresistible look at the workings of Mr Bunny's chocolate factory! Packed with cross-over humour to amuse kids and big kids too, with artwork full of details for poring over time and time again. Still a new kid on the block, Elys Dolan has already been shortlisted for The Roald Dahl Funny Prize and the Waterstones Children's Book Prize, and nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal.

The perfect picture book for Easter, but also with a great all-year round appeal.

Appeals to both younger and older readers with its colourful exuberance celebrating chocolate, yet also its nod to workers’ rights. Clever, insightful and of course, exceedingly funny with a wonderful reliance upon visual literacy as well as textual" - Clare Zinkin

‘Never Take A Bear To School’ by Mark Sperring

Recommended by Matt Jones, of Tutorful.

Bears are clumsy. They don't sit still. They're much, much bigger than teachers - and they eat SUCH a lot of lunch! Yes, taking a bear to school is a BAD idea. But will this little boy find the courage to face the first day of school alone?

With so much to do, like painting, dressing up, storytime, and making new friends, he just might! And Bear? He'll always be waiting at the end of the day, with a great big hug!

A delightfully funny story that will reassure every child anxious about starting a new school or nursery.

‘Oi Cat!’ by Kes Gray

Recommended by Sarah Baker, Children’s Author.

The next hilarious rhyming picture book from award-winning Kes Gray and Roald Dahl Funny Prize winner Jim Field, creators of the bestselling Oi Frog! and Oi Dog! According to Frog ...Cats sit on gnats Dogs sit on logs Raccoons sit on macaroons Armadillos sit on pillows and Chicks sit on bricks But wait! Cat doesn't like sitting on gnats, they keep biting his bottom! Will Frog and Dog help him change the rules?

‘Our Last Trip To The Market’ by Lorin Clarke

Recommended by Jade Maitre, Curator of Amazing Stories at StoryBerries.

What a fabulous morning to go to the market. That busker is dressed as a clown! And there’s fruit and a baker. There are people on bikes. Annabelle, please put that down…

This is one that Mums and Dads can also get a laugh from. It drags us on the adventures of a brave Mum who decides to take her six kids to buy groceries at the market (what was she thinking!) as the kids run amok. This boisterous family excursion is full of warmth, humour and delicious mischief.

Lots of fun for kids and parents alike! - Jade Maitre

‘Pirates In The Supermarket’ by Timothy Knapman

Recommended by Luke Evans, of Tutorful.

“There's an anchor in the butter! There's a spyglass by the juice! There are parrots on the carrots! There are PIRATES on the loose!”

For one little boy, a trip to the supermarket is turned upside down. A swashbuckling pirate crew wreak havoc in the aisles, but the grown-ups can't see them. Can he convince the pirates to behave? A hilarious new picture book from the bestselling author and illustrator team behind ‘Dinosaurs In The Supermarket’.

‘Rapunzel’ by Bethan Woollvin

Recommended by Liza Miller, of the International Board of Books for Young People (IBBY UK).

Golden-haired princess Rapunzel is kept trapped in her lofty tower by a wicked witch, who lops off locks of her beautiful hair and sells them for her own profit. Can Rapunzel ever figure out a way to escape?

From creator of Little Red, a New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book 2016, comes another witty twist on a favourite fairy tale. This bold and funny story removes the handsome prince altogether, making Rapunzel the mistress of her own destiny.

Printed with stunning pantone inks, Bethan Woollvin's unique and striking art style and drily comic voice make this perfect for fairy tale fans of all ages.

‘Rockabye Pirates’ by Timothy Knapman

Recommended by Mark Hughes, of Tutorful.

“Rock-a-bye pirate, in the crow's nest

Mummy says bedtime, and Mummy knows best.

You've had your adventures, you've sailed the high seas,

So under the covers and go to sleep, please.”

After sailing the seven seas and making other pirates walk the plank, Rockabye Pirate is sleepy. There'll be no more yo-ho-hoing and no more 'A-harr me hearties!' It's time for loot-filled lullabies and dreams of buried treasure.

Join Rockabye Pirate in this glorious bedtime book - perfect for sleepy pirates everywhere!

‘Sky Private Eye and the Case of the Missing Grandma’ by Jane Clarke

Recommended by Natascha Biebow, Editor at Blue Elephant Story Shaping.

A Fairytale Mystery starring Little Red Riding Hood, Grandma, the Wolf and Sky Private Eye.

Little Red Riding Hood is bereft - Grandma has gone missing! The Big Bad Wolf has left telltale hairs at Granny's house... Has the Big Bad Wolf gobbled her up, or did he follow her on her beach side holiday, waiting to fatten her up?

Sky Private Eye with her bag of detective tricks and Just-in-time cupcake recipes is sure to solve the mystery in no time at all.

‘The Bear And The Piano’ by David Litchfield

Recommended by Raja Mohammadi.

One day, a young bear stumbles upon something he has never seen before in the forest. As time passes, he teaches himself how to play the strange instrument, and eventually the beautiful sounds are heard by a father and son who are picnicking in the woods. The bear goes with them on an incredible journey to New York, where his piano playing makes him a huge star. He has fame, fortune and all the music in the world, but he misses the friends and family he has left behind. A moving tale of exploration and belonging from an exciting debut author-illustrator.

The Bear & The Piano was my first book and I based it on many of the experiences myself and my friends had chasing our dreams and stepping out of our comfort zones. When I was away at university and then moving around a lot finding work It was important to me to know that I had the support of my loved ones back home and that they would always be there for me no matter how far away I went." - David Litchfield

‘The Building Boy’ by Ross Montgomery

Recommended by Rob Smith, of Literacy Shed.

“All at once, it was as if the stars leapt closer.

Grandma grabbed the boy, raising him high above the rooftiles on her head.

She was alive!”

The boy's grandma was a famous architect. Her garden is still full of old building materials. Unwilling to accept she has gone, the boy builds a giant structure from the bricks and girders he finds. And then ... Grandma comes to life! The boy is whisked away on an epic adventure across fields, through oceans and atop roofs. But where is Grandma taking him?

THE BUILDING BOY was inspired by lots of different things - but when I wrote it, I was mainly thinking and my grandfather. He was a very practical man, and used to make and fix a lot of his own things himself in his basement. It was dark and dingy, but filled with thousands of odds and ends. As a child, being able to make my own toy car out of bits of plastic and metal wire was a dream come true! I think those memories were very important when thinking about a boy building his grandmother from housing materials - for me, my memories of my grandfather and my memories of that room are totally inseparable." - Ross Montgomery, Author.

‘The Detective Dog’ by Julia Donaldson

Recommended by Debbie Hoare, at Hive.

“There once was a dog with a keen sense of smell.

She was known far and wide as Detective Dog Nell.”

Peter's dog Nell has an amazing sense of smell. Whether it's finding a lost shoe or discovering who did a poo on the new gravel path, her ever-sniffing nose is always hard at work. But Nell has other talents too. Every Monday she goes to school with Peter and listens to children read. So who better to have on hand when they arrive one morning to discover that the school's books have all disappeared! Who could have taken them? And why? There's only one dog for the job ... and Detective Dog Nell is ready to sniff out the culprit!

Written by the brilliant Julia Donaldson and stunningly illustrated by the multi-talented illustrator and printmaker Sara Ogilvie, Detective Dog is a fast-paced celebration of books, reading, libraries, and the relationship between a little boy and his rather special dog.

‘The Great Aaa-Ooo’ by Jonny Lambert

Recommended by Hannah Afifi, of Tutorful.

As Mouse scampers homewards through the dark, rackety wood, he hears an awful AAA-OOO! What could be making that horrible howl? Could it be Owl, Moose, Bear or Goose? Or could it be . . . a monster?

Packed with stylish illustrations and lyrical text from talented author-illustrator Jonny Lambert, The Great Aaa-Ooo is sure to become a bedtime favourite. This gorgeous animal picture book is perfect for reassuring children and toddlers who are scared of the dark or adjusting to sleeping in a big bed or in their own room.

‘The Greatest Wish’ by Amanda Yoshida

Recommended by Tynea Lewis, of LitPick.

This one-of-a-kind children's book taps into the young reader's imagination in an entirely new way by asking the question, “If you could be anything in the world, what would you be? Would you fly like a bird or a rocket ship? Would you swim beneath the ocean, like a shark or an octopus?”

With rhyming phrases moving the adventure forward, the reader is given opportunities to make simple decisions, which affects how the story unfolds. This results in creating a unique experience each time the book is read. Simple words are visually emphasised to help promote early reading development, comprehension and word recognition. Ultimately, the story ends with a positive moral lesson that plants the seeds for confidence and self-acceptance in young readers.

‘The Journey’ by Francesca Sanna

Recommended by Elaine and Dave Chant, of Carousel Guide to Children’s Books.

With haunting echoes of the current refugee crisis this beautifully illustrated book explores the unimaginable decisions made as a family leave their home and everything they know to escape the turmoil and tragedy brought by war. This book will stay with you long after the last page is turned.

Almost every day on the news we hear the terms "migrants" and "refugees" but we rarely ever speak to or hear the personal journeys that they have had to take. This book is a collage of all those personal stories and the incredible strength of the people within them.

‘The Lumberjack’s Beard’ by Duncan Beedie

Recommended by Catherine Friess, of Storysnug.com.

Every day, Jim Hickory the lumberjack heads into the forest with his trusty axe and chops down trees. Unfortunately, all sorts of creatures lose their homes in the process, so Jim gives them a home in his beard - until one day it all just gets too much. Time for Jim to come up with a better solution! A story with a green message.

‘The Night Box’ by Louise Greig and Ashling Lindsay

Recommended by Mike Barlow, of Tutorful.

An enchanting bedtime story about a small boy who is the custodian of night, from talented new picture book author and poet, Louise Greig, with beautifully atmospheric illustrations by Ashling Lindsay.

“Max has a key and a box of midnight blue.

When he turns the key in the lock –


Day slips inside as Night sweeps out.

Darkness tumbles into the air.

It dances and whirls around the room.

It goes under the bed, under the chair – everywhere!”

Louise Greig's lyrical voice and Ashling Lindsay's warm, endearing illustrations hold a candle up to the magical nature of night-time in this soothing picture book. Perfect for cosying up to read and share before bedtime, The Night Box is an original bedtime tale that sits perfectly alongside classics such as The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark – great for reassuring little ones who have a fear of the dark and calming down lively children before bedtime!

‘The Thing’ by Simon Puttock

Recommended by Sarah Yewman, Picture Books Blogger.
Touching on themes of compassion, kindness and belonging, this quirky tale will undoubtedly instigate crucial questions and topics for further discussion across all age groups" - Sarah Yewman

One day, the Thing falls from the sky and four strangers stumble across it.

Together they decide to work together to take care of the Thing. But before long a media circus builds up around the creature they are protecting and the debate about the Thing spreads far around the world.

What is the Thing?

Who does it belong to?

What does it do?

And is it any use for anything at all?

This captivating picture book will be many things to many people: a story about thoughtfulness, an adventure in friendship and an intriguing and gentle social commentary on the search for meaning in modern life. Daniel Egnéus’ unique and engaging artwork beautifully illustrates this enigmatic story and brings the strange Thing to life. With a similar feel to Alexis Deacon’s Beegu and Shaun Tan’s The Lost Thing, this is the perfect bedtime story for children and adults to enjoy together.

Sometimes (or quite often) I get a bit wearied of this shouty, look-at-me, look-at-me version of the world which we all to some degree or other end up subscribing to. I wrote The Thing to be as unlike that as possible. In essence, (and I possibly ought not say this) I wrote it purely for myself: I didn't expect to get it published; I had no intention of even trying to get it published, but having written it, events rather hijacked The Thing (long story, pun intended) and it ended up with a remarkable editor and a remarkable illustrator and became something I'm really very proud and delighted to have out in the world, hopefully not being very shouty at all." - Simon Puttock, Author.

‘There’s A Pig Up My Nose’ by John Dougherty

Recommended by Aileen Lynn.

What if a PIG got stuck up your NOSE? How ever would you get it out?

When Natalie has to go to school with a pig stuck up her nose, her whole class gets together to find a way to get the pig out. But how will they do it?

The zany humour of Sue Hendra (of Supertato and Barry the Fish with Fingers fame) meets Babe the Pig in this funny picture book. This delightfully silly tale, brought to life by warm, comical artwork from rising star Laura Hughes, will have children giggling and oinking out loud to try to work out how to get a farmyard animal out of someone's nose. The perfect picture book for boys and girls – or for anyone who has ever got something stuck up their nose!

‘There’s A Tiger In The Garden’ by Lizzy Stewart

Recommended by Rosamund De La Hey, of Main Street Books.

When Grandma says she’s seen a tiger in the garden, Nora doesn’t believe her. She’s too old to play Grandma’s silly games! Everyone knows that tigers live in jungles, not gardens. So even when Nora sees butterflies with wings as big as her arm, and plants that try and eat her toy giraffe, and a polar bear that likes fishing, she knows there’s absolutely, DEFINITELY no way there could be a tiger in the garden . . . Could there?

‘Tidy’ by Emily Gravett

Recommended by Rosamund De La Hey, of Main Street Books, and Chris Clarkson.

From the creator of Meerkat Mail and Dogs, comes a very funny rhyming woodland story about the perils of being too tidy.

Pete the badger likes everything to be neat and tidy at all times, but what starts as the collecting of one fallen leaf escalates and ends with the complete destruction of the forest! Will Pete realise the error of his ways and set things right?

Lush foliage and delightful characters abound in this cautionary tale of overenthusiastic neatness that delivers its message of environmental preservation with subtlety and humour. The freshness of the illustrations and the many comic details make this a very special book. Once you enter this forest, you'll never want to leave.

Emily Gravett's engaging woodland creatures will appeal to fans of such classics as The Animals of Farthing Wood and The Wind in the Willows and the rhythmic, rhyming text is perfect for reading aloud.

‘Triangle’ by Mac Barnett

Recommended by Bianca Shulze, Founder of The Children’s Book Review.

Meet Triangle. He is going to play a sneaky trick on his friend, Square. Or so Triangle thinks...

With this first tale in a new trilogy, partners in crime Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen will have readers wondering just who they can trust in a richly imagined world of shapes. Visually stunning and full of wry humor, here is a perfectly paced treat that could come only from the minds of two of today's most irreverent -- and talented -- picture book creators.

‘Zuma The Dog: The Dinosaur Guy’ by Samantha Bertish

Recommended by Daisy White, Author and Literary Entrepreneur.
Funny, easy to follow, with bright, colourful graphics which draws kids into problem solving in a fresh and effective way" - Daisy White

In search of something special, Zuma travels the length and breadth of Great Britain to solve a gigantic puzzle. Come and help him discover what it is.

Zuma is our very rambunctious little dog, who gets into all sorts of trouble. Digging is his most favourite activity and you just never know what he’s going to find. This book was inspired by Zuma’s real day of digging up bones on our daily walk, which caught my imagination. Perhaps one day he would find a real dinosaur?" - Samantha Bertish, Author.

‘Big Bunny’ by Rowboat Watkins

Recommended by Josh Jenkins, Book Reviewer
"Big Bunny started off as a doodle in my sketchbook. He looked like a small, sad rabbit who lived in a tree with a door. And I decided his name was Glum Bunny. But no matter how often I drew him, or his tree, or the forest in which he seemed to live, I could never figure out why he was sad. These things happen. Bunnies are kind of shy. Then one day while I was drawing Glum Bunny, he was suddenly too big to fit on the page. All I could see were his legs. And when I drew him again all I could see was his tail. Then his ears. That's when I realised maybe I couldn't figure out why Glum Bunny was sad because he wasn't sad at all. He was just too big to see."

Once upon a time there was a book about . . .




Nope . . . a BUNNY!


Um . . . well, maybe it was a tiny bit big.

From the curious mind of Rowboat Watkins comes a ginormously imaginative story that is as funny as it is philosophical. How big is Big Bunny? And how will this story end? Readers both big and small will discover that it all depends on how you look at it.

This is how pretty much all of my stories begin. I think I have the start of one thing, but it turns to be the start of something else. So while Big Bunny is arguably a book about a parent and child debating about how scary the bedtime story they’re telling themselves should be, it is also a story about storytelling itself. Because all of your imaginary bunnies will go wherever you are willing to let them lead you. This is the thrill and nightmare of being able to invent something out of nothing at all. " - Rowboat Watkins, author

Classic Animal Stories’ by Miles Kelly Publishing

Recommended by Harry Liddell, of Tutorful

Tales of friendship, adventure and bravery, Classic Animal Stories weaves together a beautiful selection of bedtime delight. Whether you’re looking to introduce your child to allegory through Aesop’s fables, or dip into Kenneth Grahame’s beautiful tale of countryside camaraderie, following Mole, Ratty and friends in Wind in The Willows, this compendium of excerpts is a lovely way to wind down before bed.

The storybook includes a variety of short stories, fables and excerpts from classic writers including Kenneth Grahame, Rudyard Kipling, E Nesbit and Anna Sewell. Each story is accompanied by exquisite, hand-drawn artwork, bringing the characters and their tales to life.

Children’s Books (6 - 12 Years)

‘Al’s Awesome Science Series’ by Jane Clarke

Recommended by Natascha Biebow, Editor at Blue Elephant Story Shaping.

Al's wacky experiments have the most unexpected and messy consequences in this new science-based adventure series. Al is experimenting to invent a time machine which would also be really useful to get him out of trouble! As a young scientist who never gives up Al is surprised to find out that his 'egg-speriments' can lead to very sticky situations!

Highly-illustrated, laugh-out-loud young fiction, ideal for readers moving on from picture books" - Natascha Biebow

‘Beaky Malone: Worst Ever School Trip’ by Barry Hutchison

Recommended by Georgina Atwell, Founder of Children’s Books Website Toppsta.

A hilarious new series from best-selling author, Barry Hutchison, perfect for fans of Tom Gates, Wimpy Kid and Barry Loser.

“I like to smell my own farts…” Gah! Someone shut me up!”

It’s been 92 hours since Beaky last told a lie. So far he’s survived two full days of school with only three light beatings, two telling-offs and one wedgie ... but the annual school trip is going to take Beaky’s survival skills to a whole other level – especially as a mix up in the school office means that Beaky and his class are on a trip to Learning Land, an educational theme park aimed at eight-year-olds. And home to cheery-but-creepy Clumso the Clued-up Clown whose job is to dish out fascinating facts to one and all.

But there is worse to come when Beaky’s partnered with Wayne, a.k.a the school bully, who has a morbid fear of clowns. With Beaky unable to tell a lie and Wayne intent on beating him up, things aren’t looking good. And that’s before they find themselves on the run from a manic clown who’ll seemingly stop at nothing to track them down…

My husband and I will argue with each other as to who gets to read this with our son age 8. It’s genuinely laugh out loud funny and we’re frequently in fits of giggles" - Georgina Atwell

‘Beetle Queen’ by M.G Leonard

Recommended by Rosamund De La Hey, of Main Street Books.

Cruel beetle fashionista, Lucretia Cutter, is at large with her yellow ladybird spies. When Darkus, Virginia and Bertolt discover further evidence of her evil, they're determined to stop her. But the three friends are in trouble. Darkus' dad has forbidden them to investigate any further - and disgusting crooks Humphrey and Pickering are out of prison. Hope rests on Novak, Lucretia's daughter and a Hollywood actress, but the beetle diva is always one scuttle ahead…

Beetle Boy introduced children to the wonderful world of beetles, and in Beetle Queen I wanted to explore the lifecycle of beetles, metamorphosis, and make readers think about our relationship to insects as pollinators and pests."  - M.G. Leonard, Author.

‘Cowboy Pug’ by Laura James

Recommended by Sarah Baker, Children’s Author.

Meet the brilliant, the wonderful, the courageous ... Cowboy Pug! The second book in a joyful new illustrated series for fans of Claude and Squishy McFluff.

Pug and his faithful companion, Lady Miranda, are going to be cowboys for the day - and first of all they're going horse-trading! But with their noble steed Horsey safely acquired, it's not long before they find themselves on the wrong side of the law. Can Pug the reluctant hero overcome his fears and save the day once more?

There’s something so special about the love and friendship that dogs offer us. My two wire-haired dachshunds, Brian and Florence, have definitely inspired me when writing ‘The Adventures of Pug'. They’ve taught me a lot. I think my personality is a little bit Pug and a little bit Lady Miranda. I’m a big dreamer like Lady M and I’m just as accident prone as Pug!” - Laura James, Author.

‘Daisy and the Trouble With Chocolate’ by Kes Gray

Recommended by Natascha Biebow, Editor at Blue Elephant Story Shaping.

Daisy is SO excited! She's been picked to look after the class hamsters, Pickle and Pops, over the Easter holidays - AND her mum's taking her to Chocolate Land!!!

Trouble is, the two things probably shouldn't mix...

The totally troublesome and laugh-out-loud funny new tale from the bestselling Daisy series.

‘Fish Boy’ by Chloe Daykin

Recommended by Liza Miller, of the International Board of Books for Young People (IBBY UK), and Rosamund De La Hey, of Main Street Books.

“People call me Fish Boy. My skin goes up and down like the waves. My mind goes in and out like the sea. They say I've always got my mouth open, that I ask too many questions. But what's wrong with that?”

Billy's got a lot on his mind - that he'd rather not think or talk about. So he watches David Attenborough, because Sir David's asked all the questions and got all the answers, and swims in the sea, just letting his mind drift . . .

So when new boy and nature fan Patrick Green starts at school with 'fingers like steel, strength of a bear' and a mackerel swims up to Billy's face, blows bubbles into his Vista Clear mask goggles and says: 'Fish Boy', Billy knows he can't keep it secret, because . . . a crazy talking mackerel changes EVERYTHING.

Shimmering with almost-magic and adventure, this is an exceptional read.

‘George’ by Alex Gino

Recommended by Georgia Walters, of The Bibliomaniac Book Blog.
George is such a lovely story, about a young transgender girl who wishes for a starring role in a school production. It's witty, heartwarming and tear-jerking in all the right places" - Georgia Walters

"Allow me to introduce you to a remarkable book, full of love, wonder, hope, and the importance of getting to be who you were meant to be. You must read this." - David Levithan, Author of Every Day and editor of George.

When people look at George, they think they see a boy. But she knows she's not a boy. She knows she's a girl. George thinks she'll have to keep this a secret forever. Then her teacher announces that their class play is going to be Charlotte's Web. George really, really, REALLY wants to play Charlotte. But the teacher says she can't even try out for the part... because she's a boy.

It seemed really important that kids have a book that reflects themselves and also that reflects trans people even if they're not themselves trans. I wanted to make sure that I didn't leave people with an 'it gets better in the future' feel, because that's not enough. It has to be now. Sometimes the results when you reveal yourself don't go well, and sometimes they do, and when they do it can be from the people you least expect."  - Alex Gino, Author.

‘Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls’ by Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo

Recommended by Lucy Parsons, of Life More Extraordinary.
My seven year old daughter and I have loved reading Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls because it is so inspiring. The range of women covered is incredible - from motocross riders to Egyptian pharaohs - all of them telling tales of triumph over adversity or great achievement. My daughter's imagination has been set on fire by these amazing women" - Lucy Parsons

What if the princess didn't marry Prince Charming but instead went on to be an astronaut? What if the jealous step sisters were supportive and kind? And what if the queen was the one really in charge of the kingdom? Illustrated by sixty female artists from every corner of the globe, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls introduces us to one hundred remarkable women and their extraordinary lives, from Ada Lovelace to Malala, Amelia Earhart to Michelle Obama.

Empowering, moving and inspirational, these are true fairy tales for heroines who definitely don't need rescuing.

It’s important for girls to see female role models. It helps them become more confident and set bigger goals for themselves. We're both in our early 30s, we're female entrepreneurs, and we know firsthand how hard it is to succeed, to be considered, to be given a chance. Research shows that by the time girls reach elementary school, they already have less confidence in themselves than boys. That is why changing the narrative early on is so important.

We wanted to feature women from as many countries as possible, because children’s media productions don’t just lack diversity in terms of gender, but also in terms of race, sexual orientation, religious background… We also wanted to feature women in as many careers as possible: we wanted to have trombonists, marine biologists, judges, Presidents, spies, chefs, surfers, poets, rock singers. Finally, we selected women whose personal stories had something that could be particularly interesting for a child, for example the fact that the famous chef, Julia Child, started her career as a spy, cooking shark-repellent cakes during WW2.

This is the most important thing we’ve ever worked on. It comes from a very personal place for both of us. We both deeply care about women’s rights and we wanted our work to have an impact on female empowerment. We want to get this book on the nightstand of every girl, because we’re sure it will help them make big inspirational dreams and encourage them to fight for who they are and what they want to accomplish."  -  Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, Authors.

‘Hamster Princess: Ratpunzel’ by Ursula Vernon

Recommended by Gina, of Satisfaction For Insatiable Readers.

Princess Harriet Hamsterbone does not like sitting around at home. How’s a princess supposed to have any fun when her parents are constantly reminding her to be careful and act princessly? So when her pal Prince Wilbur needs help finding a stolen hydra egg, Harriet happily takes up the quest. The thief’s trail leads them to a wicked witch and a tall tower, occupied by a rat whose tail has more to it than meets the eye!

The third book in the award-winning comic hybrid Hamster Princess series will make you look at rodents, royalty, and fairy tales in a whole new light.

There's wit and snark, adventure and daring, self realizations and friends of all shapes and sizes. The author really brings Harriet and her world to life, giving readers young and young at heart, a new pint sized hero-ess to look down, I mean UP to" - Gina

‘King Coo’ by Adam Stower

Recommended by Tim Knapman, Children’s Writer.

If Peter Pan had been a girl... with a beard... then he'd have probably been called King Coo.

Ben Pole is on the run from his arch-enemy Monty Grabbe when he discovers a forest with rope swings, water slides, Herbert the wombat, and best of all King Coo.

But watch out!

Cow-pat-a-pults and Slug Pulp to the ready! Monty and his gang have a dastardly plan, and Ben and Coo need to come up with their best invention yet...

A funny, inventive and brilliantly illustrated adventure” - Tim Knapman

‘Letters From The Lighthouse’ by Emma Carroll

Recommended by Scott Woodley, of Tutorful.

We weren't supposed to be going to the pictures that night. We weren't even meant to be outside, not in a blackout, and definitely not when German bombs had been falling on London all month like pennies from a jar.

February, 1941. After months of bombing raids in London, twelve-year-old Olive Bradshaw and her little brother Cliff are evacuated to the Devon coast. The only person with two spare beds is Mr Ephraim, the local lighthouse keeper. But he's not used to company and he certainly doesn't want any evacuees.

Desperate to be helpful, Olive becomes his post-girl, carrying secret messages (as she likes to think of the letters) to the villagers. But Olive has a secret of her own. Her older sister Sukie went missing in an air raid, and she's desperate to discover what happened to her. And then she finds a strange coded note which seems to link Sukie to Devon, and to something dark and impossibly dangerous.

‘Mango and Bambang: Superstar Tapir’ by Polly Faber

Recommended by Pippa Goodhart, Children’s Author.
A beautifully produced small book, just right for smaller hands, and remarkably inexpensive in spite of being published in hardback. Full of wonderful, beautiful, illustrations as it tells a story about a girl and her tapir" - Pippa Goodhart

Mango and Bambang reach for the stars in the fourth book of this charming illustrated series about a little girl and a tapir, described by The Sunday Times as having "real charm . reminiscent of Paddington." Both Mango and Bambang are left star-struck when Bambang's cousin comes to town with Hollywood actress Minty Verbena. But when disaster strikes, Bambang is the true star of the show. Superstar Tapir is Book Four in this delightful series for younger readers.

Tapirs have been woefully neglected in fiction and in the Mango and Bambang books I was determined to right that wrong! Each book contains four stories, beautifully illustrated by Clara Vulliamy and just the right length to build confidence. I hope newly independent readers will enjoy Bambang’s funny adventures as he adjusts to life in a busy city with his best friend’s help.” - Polly Faber, Author.

‘Mind The Gap’ by Phil Earle

Recommended by Elaine and Dave Chant, of Carousel Guide to Children’s Books.

When Mikey's dad died, something in Mikey died too. He loved his old man and he never stopped dreaming that one day his dad would land the role of a lifetime, prove them all wrong, and rock back up to the estate in the flashiest car anyone had ever seen. Now there's just numbness, and not caring, and really, really stupid decisions. He says the worst of it is that he can't even remember his dad's voice any more. Eventually Mikey's best mate can't bear it any more, and so he sets out to give Mikey the memories - and his dad's voice - back.

‘Podkin One-Ear’ by Kieran Larwood

Recommended by MumsNet User Redsrule.

“A thick white blanket covers the wide slopes of the band of hills known as the Razorback Downs…”

Podkin is the son of a warrior chieftain. He knows that one day it will be up to him to lead his warren and guard it in times of danger. But for now, he's quite happy to laze around annoying his older sister Paz, and playing with his baby brother Pook.

Then Podkin's home is brutally attacked, and the young rabbits are forced to flee. The terrifying Gorm are on the rampage, and no one and nowhere is safe. With danger all around them, Podkin must protect his family, uncover his destiny, and attempt to defeat the most horrifying enemy rabbit-kind has ever known.

‘Porridge The Tartan Cat’ by Alan Dapre

Recommended by Ijaz Khan, of Tutorful.

When Porridge was a wee kitten he toppled into a tin of tartan paint -- which is easy to do and not so easy to say. Now he lives by Loch Loch with the quirky McFun family: Gadget Grandad, Groovy Gran, Dino Dad, Mini Mum and the twins, Roaring Ross and Invisible Isla. Everyone has a super secret - or two - and Porridge is always there to lend a helping paw when things go awry. If there's a fishy biscuit in it for him…

And things do often go awry in the McFun family. It's a good job Porridge has nine lives!

In this zany new series for young readers, Porridge purrfectly CAT-a-logs the family's hilarious adventures from a cat's-eye perspective. With wacky twists, silly word play and meow-nificent illustrations in every chapter, readers won't even want to paws for breath.

‘See You In The Cosmos’ by Jack Cheng

Recommended by Carly Bennett, of Writing From The Tub.

11-year-old Alex Petroski loves space and rockets, his mom, his brother, and his dog Carl Sagan--named for his hero, the real-life astronomer. All he wants is to launch his golden iPod into space the way Carl Sagan (the man, not the dog) launched his Golden Record on the Voyager spacecraft in 1977. From Colorado to New Mexico, Las Vegas to L.A., Alex records a journey on his iPod to show other lifeforms what life on earth, his earth, is like. But his destination keeps changing. And the funny, lost, remarkable people he meets along the way can only partially prepare him for the secrets he'll uncover--from the truth about his long-dead dad to the fact that, for a kid with a troubled mom and a mostly not-around brother, he has way more family than he ever knew.

Jack Cheng's debut is full of joy, optimism, determination, and unbelievable heart. To read the first page is to fall in love with Alex and his view of our big, beautiful, complicated world. To read the last is to know he and his story will stay with you a long, long time.

Of the numerous inspirations for the book, one was a road trip I myself did in the Southwestern US not long after I had the idea for Alex's story. At the end of my trip, I took a Greyhound bus from Los Angeles to Detroit, replicating a bus trip that my father took when he first arrived here from Shanghai in 1989. That sense of trying to understand my father's experience definitely found its way, without me fully intending it, into Alex's quest to understand his own father." - Jack Cheng, Author.

‘Sputniks Guide to Life On Earth’ by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Recommended by Chris Clarkson.

The Blythes are a big, warm, rambunctious family who live on a small farm and sometimes foster children. Now Prez has come to live with them. But, though he seems cheerful and helpful, he never says a word.

Then one day Prez answers the door to someone claiming to be his relative. This small, loud stranger carries a backpack, walks with a swagger and goes by the name of Sputnik.

As Prez dithers on the doorstep, Sputnik strolls right past him and introduces himself to everyone in the household. Prez is amazed at the response. The family pat Sputnik on the head, call him a good boy and drop food into his mouth. It seems they all think Sputnik is a dog. It's only Prez who thinks otherwise.

But Prez soon finds himself having to defend the family from the chaos and danger unleashed by Sputnik, as household items come to life - like a TV remote that fast-forwards people: 'Anyone can do it, it's just that people don't read the instructions properly'; and a toy lightsaber that entertains guests at a children's party, until one of them is nearly decapitated by it - and Prez is going to have to use his voice to explain himself.

It turns out that Sputnik is writing a guidebook to Earth called Ten Things Worth Doing on Earth, and he takes Prez on a journey to discover just those ten things. Each adventure seems to take Prez nearer to the heart of the family he is being fostered by. But they also take him closer to the day that he is due to leave them forever...

‘The Bookshop Girl’ by Sylvia Bishop

Recommended by Catherine Friess, of Storysnug.com, and Clare Zinkin, of Minerva Reads.

This story is about a little girl named Property Jones, so-called because she was left in the lost property cupboard of a bookshop when she was five years old. Property loves living in the bookshop, but she has a whopper of a secret ... she can't actually read! So Property doesn't see the newspaper article announcing the chance to win the Montgomery Book Emporium, the biggest and most magnificent bookshop in the world! When her family win the competition, Property finds herself moving to the Emporium, a magical place filled with floor upon floor of books and a very bad-tempered cat. But all is not at it seems at the Emporium and soon Property Jones finds herself in a whole heap of trouble.

The main character, a young girl abandoned in a bookshop who can't read, popped into my head one day without warning. She had a name - Property Jones, named for the lost property cupboard she was put into - but unfortunately she didn't have a story! I had quite a few false starts trying to find a story for her, and I nearly abandoned her myself. But the final idea was inspired by some fabulous historians I know: my sister Jenny and my old flatmate Miranda. They had both studied how books are made and bought and sold, and how they have stories of their own, outside their words. I started thinking about how Property would see books, these beautiful mysterious objects that she couldn't read... and that led to a story which hinges on the smell and feel of books, and on inks and papers and forgeries!" - Sylvia Bishop, Author.

‘The Girl of Ink and Stars’ by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Recommended by Raja Mohammadi.

Forbidden to leave her island, Isabella dreams of the faraway lands her cartographer father once mapped. When her friend disappears, she volunteers to guide the search. The world beyond the walls is a monster-filled wasteland - and beneath the dry rivers and smoking mountains, a fire demon is stirring from its sleep. Soon, following her map, her heart and an ancient myth, Isabella discovers the true end of her journey: to save the island itself.

‘The Girl Who Drank The Moon’ by Kelly Barnhill

Recommended by Rick Mills, of Tutorful.

Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and delivers them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey.

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks Luna's magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule-but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her - even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she's always known.

‘The Nowhere Emporium’ by Ross McKenzie

Recommended by Rob Smith, of Literacy Shed, and Alan Dapre, Children’s Author and Artist.

When the mysterious Nowhere Emporium arrives in Glasgow, orphan Daniel Holmes stumbles upon it quite by accident. Before long, the 'shop from nowhere' -- and its owner, Mr Silver -- draw Daniel into a breathtaking world of magic and enchantment. Recruited as Mr Silver's apprentice, Daniel learns the secrets of the Emporium's vast labyrinth of passageways and rooms -- rooms that contain wonders beyond anything Daniel has ever imagined. But when Mr Silver disappears, and a shadow from the past threatens everything, the Emporium and all its wonders begin to crumble. Can Daniel save his home, and his new friends, before the Nowhere Emporium is destroyed forever? Ross MacKenzie unleashes a riot of imagination, colour and fantasy in this astonishing adventure, perfect for fans of Philip Pullman, Cornelia Funke and Neil Gaiman.

A breathtakingly magical adventure that sparks young imaginations…” - Alan Dapre

‘The Secret Diary of John Drawbridge Medieval Knight in Training’ by Philip Ardagh

Recommended by Karl Newson, Children’s Book Author and Illustrator.

John Drawbridge has moved to Widemoat Castle to learn to become a knight. And there is a LOT to learn...How to charge with a lance on horseback without falling off. Why the spiral staircases always go up in a clockwise direction. How to defend the castle against invading parties. Why the plates served at banquets are made of stale bread (and why you shouldn't eat them...). And much, MUCH more. So it's no wonder that John decides to keep a diary (even if it is only an imaginary one...) of his time at the castle. Things REALLY liven up when the castle is attacked by an invading Welsh party - but can John foil their plot before it's too late?

Incredibly funny (and silly), and very informative too. Jamie's illustrations are superb" - Karl Newson

‘Welcome to Nowhere’ by Elizabeth Laird

Recommended by Faye Batton, of Tutorful.

Twelve-year-old Omar and his brothers and sisters were born and raised in the beautiful and bustling city of Bosra, Syria. Omar doesn't care about politics - all he wants is to grow up to become a successful businessman who will take the world by storm. But when his clever older brother, Musa, gets mixed up with some young political activists, everything changes ...Before long, bombs are falling, people are dying, and Omar and his family have no choice but to flee their home with only what they can carry. Yet no matter how far they run, the shadow of war follows them - until they have no other choice than to attempt the dangerous journey to escape their homeland altogether. But where do you go when you can't go home?

‘Where's The Ballerina?’ by Anna Claybourne & Abigail Goh

Recommended by Nicola Walsh.

Can you spot the graceful ballerina as she pirouettes across ten beautiful ballets? This beautiful new book introduces young children to the magical world of ballet. Kids are asked to spot key characters from ten classic ballets, including Swan Lake, Cinderella, and Coppelia. First they read a snappy synopsis of the story and then a simple, illustrated narrative takes them through key scenes and introduces them to the main characters. Next they explore the wonderfully detailed illustrations as they search for the elusive ballerina and key characters in each busy scene.

The character-spotting element is an innovative way to capture ballets' timeless appeal, and the wonderfully detailed artwork brings each ballet to life.

I really enjoyed creating fantastical worlds inspired by the ballet stories, and filling them with many little dancing characters. It was especially fun hiding some of them in unexpected places, such as in the bushes, or peeking through windows. I hope children who read this book will have fun pouring over the details and spinning stories within each scene!"  - Abigail Goh, Illustrator.

‘Whipeye Chronicles’ by Geoffrey Saign

Recommended by Tynea Lewis, of LitPick.

Samantha and Jake have one and a half days to find and free the golden dragon, Drasine, from her deadly captor and turn her over to the murderous leader of the Lesser smugglers, or Jake will be killed. Sam is also worried Jake is going to leave her, and Jake has even worse concerns that he won’t tell Sam. Forced to fight in a Death Match against deranged Lessers, Sam and Jake learn that the secret mentor of Gorgon, the Evil One, is behind everything, and that one of them may have to die to save the other…

The debut fantasy series from Geoffrey Saign, WhipEye Chronicles, is a new addition to the great urban fantasy tradition of Brandon Mull, Rick Riordan, and Ransom Riggs. The award-winning fantasy thriller action-adventure series has captivated readers with its humor, heart, and originality. A unique mix of nature, wildlife, fantasy creatures, and monsters that is sure to keep readers up late.

First and foremost I wanted to create a thrilling fantasy story with mystery and humour mixed in. Also there are 100 species of wild animals mentioned in the book. This is seen by the reader through the main character’s eyes—Samantha—who is an animal nerd, struggling to find her way in life after her mother’s death. Lastly, Samantha and Jake grow during the story, have hard, scary choices to make, and learn to trust themselves. WhipEye is a thrill ride for the reader, and I’m excited that it won six awards." - Geoffrey Saign, Author.

‘Who Let The Gods Out?’ by Maz Evans

Recommended by Elaine and Dave Chant, of Carousel Guide to Children’s Books.

Elliot's mum is ill and his home is under threat, but a shooting star crashes to earth and changes his life forever. The star is Virgo - a young Zodiac goddess on a mission. But the pair accidentally release Thanatos, a wicked death daemon imprisoned beneath Stonehenge, and must then turn to the old Olympian gods for help. After centuries of cushy retirement on earth, are Zeus and his crew up to the task of saving the world - and solving Elliot's problems too?

Since I was a child, I have had a love for Greek mythology that has grown up with me. When I came to write my own book, it was an obvious setting. But I needed a very real hero - so when I learned about the hidden world of Young Carers, I was determined to shed some light on their stories - and Who Let the Gods Out was born!" - Maz Evans, Author.

How to Get Rid of a Vampire (Using Ketchup, Garlic Cloves and a Bit of Imagination) by J.M. Erre; translated by Sander Berg

Recommended by Alanna Morris, Book Reviewer

Have you ever thought there was something a little unusual about one of your teachers? Zazie confides in her beloved new diary that Mr Fleder – with his pale skin and blood-red lips – simply has to be a vampire! In order to save her life and those of her classmates, Zazie must find a way to get rid of Mr Fleder before it is too late – and what better way than by following the advice found in Bram Stoker’s Dracula…

Funny, wacky and truly original, How to Get Rid of a Vampire (Using Ketchup, Garlic Cloves and a Bit of Imagination) is as entertaining and unique as its brave, mischievous and loveable heroine.

‘Hopeless Heroes: Here Comes Hercules’ by Stella Tarakson

Recommended by Dom Gibson, of Tutorful

When Tim Baker breaks his mum’s favourite vase, it’s the least of his problems. The Greek hero he’s released is in danger of doing far worse. To the flowers, the rug—Oh, no! Not the kitchen! Hercules is only trying to be helpful but he’s just hopeless. It’s time to send this dim demigod home before Tim becomes ancient history.

Hopeless Heroes is a fun-filled series about Greek mythology, adventure and what it means to be a hero. Readers aged 7+ will love diving into the world of Tim Baker and his (sort of) friend Hercules. Great for fans of Who Let The Gods out and the Percy Jackson series. 

Young Adults Books (12+ Years)

‘Admissions: Life in Brain Surgery’ by Henry Marsh

Recommended by Jhia Jiat Teh.

Henry Marsh has spent a lifetime operating on the surgical frontline. There have been exhilarating highs and devastating lows, but his love for the practice of neurosurgery has never wavered. Prompted by his retirement from his full-time job in the NHS, and through his continuing work in Nepal and Ukraine, Henry has been forced to reflect more deeply about what forty years spent handling the human brain has taught him.

Moving between encounters with patients in his London hospital, to those he treats in the more extreme circumstances of his work abroad, Henry faces up to the burden of responsibility that can come with trying to reduce human suffering. Unearthing memories of his early days as a medical student, and the experiences that shaped him as a young surgeon, he explores the difficulties of a profession that deals in probabilities rather than certainties, and where the overwhelming urge to prolong life can come at a tragic cost for both patients and for those who love them.

In this searing, provocative and deeply personal memoir, the bestselling author of Do No Harm finds new purpose in his own life as he approaches the end of his professional career, and a fresh understanding of what matters to us all in the end.

‘All About Mia’ by Lisa Williamson

Recommended by Elaine and Dave Chant, of Carousel Guide to Children’s Books.

One family, three sisters. Grace, the oldest: straight-A student. Audrey, the youngest: future Olympic swimming champion. And Mia, the mess in the middle.

Mia is wild and daring, great with hair and selfies, and the undisputed leader of her friends - not attributes appreciated by her parents or teachers. When Grace makes a shock announcement, Mia hopes that her now-not-so-perfect sister will get into the trouble she deserves. But instead, it is Mia whose life spirals out of control - boozing, boys and bad behaviour - and she starts to realise that her attempts to make it All About Mia might put at risk the very things she loves the most.

‘Beck’ by Mal Peet and Meg Rosoff

Recommended by Pippa Goodhart, Children’s Author.
A story that tackles some really tough subjects, but is very readable, and ultimately uplifting" - Pippa Goodhart

Both harrowing and life-affirming, the final novel from Carnegie Medal-winning author Mal Peet is the sweeping coming-of-age adventure of a mixed race boy transported to North America.

Born from a street liaison between a poor young woman and an African soldier in the 1900s, Beck is soon orphaned and sent to the Catholic Brothers in Canada. Shipped to work on a farm, his escape takes him across the continent in a search for belonging. Enduring abuse and many hardships, Beck has times of comfort and encouragement, eventually finding Grace, the woman with whom he can finally forge his life and shape his destiny as a young man. A picaresque novel set during the Depression as experienced by a young black man, it depicts great pain but has an uplifting and inspiring conclusion.

When Mal Peet was dying in 2015, I promised I would finish his last book for him. That book was Beck, it’s set in the early 1900s in Canada, and it's a fantastic tribute to Mal — a story of struggle, adventure and brutality. It’s funny and shocking and sad and triumphant, and so far, no one (including me) can quite tell what I wrote and what he wrote."  - Meg Rosoff, Author.

‘Between The Lies’ by Cathy McPhail

Recommended by Alan Dapre, Children’s Author and Artist.

Judith Tremayne is missing. She hasn't been online, nobody has heard from her. She simply appears to have vanished, until Abbie Kerr, a school nobody, receives a message: "I want to come home". Suddenly everyone knows Abbie's name. The mean girls and the misfits alike are obsessed with Jude's disappearance. Abbie finds herself at the centre of a whirlwind of rumours, secrets and lies. Why would popular, fun Jude be messaging loner, loser Abbie? Why would Jude disappear? Can Abbie bring her home? Award-winning author Cathy MacPhail authentically captures the voice and lives of teens -- desperate to be seen, bombarded with online harassment yet obsessed with living their lives on social media. This tense thriller is packed with MacPhail's trademark sharp dialogue and a series of sensational twists.

Between the Lies is about a girl who goes missing. But of course it’s more than that. The story riffs on fragile relationships, loss and thrills" - Alan Dapre

‘The Book Of Dust’ by Philip Pullman

Recommended by Nik Perring, Author, and Giorgio Cassella, of Tutorful.

Renowned storyteller Philip Pullman returns to the parallel world of Lyra Belacqua and His Dark Materials for a thrilling and epic adventure in which daemons, alethiometers, and the Magisterium all play a part.

The Book of Dust will be a work in three parts, like His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglass).

The cover of this first story will remain under wraps until a later date, but it can be revealed that the book is set ten years before The Golden Compass and centers on the much-loved character Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon.

Philip Pullman offers these tantalizing details: "I've always wanted to tell the story of how Lyra came to be living at Jordan College, and in thinking about it, I discovered a long story that began when she was a baby and will end when she's grown up. This volume and the next will cover two parts of Lyra's life: starting at the beginning of her story and returning to her twenty years later. As for the third and final part, my lips are sealed.

‘Defy The Stars’ by Claudia Gray

Recommended by Melissa Robles, of YA Books Central.

A stunning blend of action-packed science fiction and love against the odds. Perfect for fans of the DIVERGENT series.

Noemi is a young and fearless soldier of Genesis, a colony planet of a dying Earth. But the citizens of Genesis are rising up - they know that Earth's settlers will only destroy this planet the way they destroyed their own. And so a terrible war has begun.

When Noemi meets Abel, one of Earth's robotic mech warriors, she realizes that Abel himself may provide the key to Genesis' salvation. Abel is bound by his programming to obey her - even though her plan could result in his destruction. But Abel is no ordinary mech. He's a unique prototype, one with greater intelligence, skill and strength than any other. More than that, he has begun to develop emotions, a personality and even dreams. Noemi begins to realise that if Abel is less than human, he is more than a machine. If she destroys him, is it murder? And can a cold-blooded murder be redeemed by the protection of a world?

Stranded together in space, they go on a whirlwind adventure through Earth's various colony worlds, alongside the countless Vagabonds who have given up planetary life altogether and sail forever between the stars. Each step brings them closer - both to each other and to the terrible decision Noemi will have to make about her world's fate, and Abel's.

Young adult Sci-Fi with terrific characters. I don't read much sci-fi but Claudia Gray made me realize I need to explore the genre more" - Melissa Robles

‘Geekerella’ by Ashley Poston

Recommended by Melissa Robles, of YA Books Central.

Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad's old costume), Elle is determined to win unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons before he was famous. Now they're nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he s ever wanted, but Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise. But when she disappears at midnight, will he ever be able to find her again? Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom.

Modern day Cinderella who is a geek at heart. Such an adorable and relatable read!" - Melissa Robles

‘Girlhood’ by Cat Clarke

Recommended by Carly Bennett, of Writing From The Tub.

Harper has tried to forget the past and fit in at expensive boarding school Duncraggan Academy. Her new group of friends are tight; the kind of girls who Harper knows have her back. But Harper can't escape the guilt of her twin sister's Jenna's death, and her own part in it - and she knows no one else will ever really understand.

But new girl Kirsty seems to get Harper in ways she never expected. She has lost a sister too. Harper finally feels secure. She finally feels...loved. As if she can grow beyond the person she was when Jenna died.

Then Kirsty's behaviour becomes more erratic. Why is her life a perfect mirror of Harper's? And why is she so obsessed with Harper's lost sister? Soon, Harper's closeness with Kirsty begins to threaten her other relationships, and her own sense of identity.

How can Harper get back to the person she wants to be, and to the girls who mean the most to her?

A darkly compulsive story about love, death, and growing up under the shadow of grief.

I've always loved boarding school books, particularly Malory Towers, by Enid Blyton. Girlhood is my love letter to those books I loved so much as a child. I'm not quite sure what Enid Blyton would make of it though!" - Cat Clarke, Author.

‘Ignite’ by Danielle Rogland

Recommended by Gina, of Satisfaction For Insatiable Readers.
Ever finish a book and just sit there like, WHOA. Then, after that momentary stupor, feel the need to discover so many things at once and TELL THE WORLD! The author brought the story right off the page, making the multi POV narration run smooth as silk. The triumphs and failures are equally represented and harrowing in their own right, while the characters stay with you right to the end" - Gina

In the ruins of London, the Empire rules through fear and fire.

"Everyone knew about 'The Flames' and how much trouble they had caused for the Empire. They were the only rebel group anyone knew about that had lasted longer than a few months without getting caught, leaving candles behind whenever they snatched somebody out of the Empire's grasp. Getting involved with people like them is stupid. So stupid."

Ever since her parents were murdered by the empires agents, Jacks has been living on the street as a pickpocket trying to keep away from trouble. When she accidentally witnesses the rebel group 'The Flames' in the middle of an operation she is unwillingly swept up into their world, and has to decide if she's going to go back to looking after herself or join the rebellion and help them fight for the people of London Ruins.

She knows that getting involved was stupid, but does she really have a choice?

IGNITE is about young people fighting hatred and oppression with hope and determination. I was inspired to write it while I was still a teen myself, because I felt like it was really important and empowering to see this kind of story. I wrote the story that I wanted to read."  - Danielle Rogland, Author.

‘Lord of Shadows’ by Cassandra Clare

Recommended by Debbie Hoare, at Hive.

Sunny Los Angeles can be a dark place indeed in Cassandra Clare's Lord of Shadows, the sequel to the No.1 New York Times bestselling Lady Midnight. Emma Carstairs has finally avenged her parents. She thought she'd be at peace. But she is anything but calm.

Torn between her desire for her parabatai Julian and her desire to protect him from the brutal consequences of parabatai relationships, she has begun dating his brother, Mark. But Mark has spent the past five years trapped in Faerie; can he ever truly be a Shadowhunter again? And the faerie courts are not silent. The Unseelie King is tired of the Cold Peace, and will no longer concede to the Shadowhunters' demands.

Caught between the call of faerie and the laws of the Clave, Emma, Julian, and Mark must find a way to come together to defend everything they hold dear - before it's too late.

One of the world’s most successful fantasy fiction authors, Cassandra Clare is the author of the bestselling Shadowhunter Chronicles. These include several series beginning with the original Mortal Instruments six-book sequence and now incorporating The Infernal Devices series and The Dark Artifices Trilogy.

‘Lowly’ by Laura P Angaroni

Recommended by Tynea Lewis, of LitPick.

I’m Lola, and I thought this year would be different. Just for once, I wanted to be a glass-half-full kind of girl. It’s 1981, and nice girls don’t curse. But the Demented Duo has been harassing me since middle school—cutting down my looks, my Christianity, my virginity. How am I supposed to control my anger when everyone at Sunset High School seems like they’re out to get me? They’ll embarrass me about anything.

And then George strides in, and like magic, everything is better.

If only it lasted.

How will I ever clean up my mess and make amends? Can anyone still love me?

I was inspired to write Lowly as my daughter approached adolescence, triggering thoughts of issues and hardships I experienced during my teen years. With the firm belief that the tough circumstances in our past can be redeemed by helping others, I began writing fiction for the first time, broaching these subjects with honesty and, I hope, humor." - Laura P Angaroni, Author.

‘Noah Can't Even’ by Simon James Green

Recommended by Carly Bennett, of Writing From The Tub.

Poor Noah Grimes! His father disappeared years ago, his mother's Beyonce tribute act is an unacceptable embarrassment, and his beloved gran is no longer herself. He only has one friend, Harry, and school is... Well, it's pure hell. Why can't Noah be normal, like everyone else at school? Maybe if he struck up a romantic relationship with someone - maybe Sophie, who is perfect and lovely - he'd be seen in a different light? But Noah's plans are derailed when Harry kisses him at a party. That's when things go from bad to utter chaos.

Laughter is the best medicine, and with Noah Can’t Even I really wanted to take a funny look at all the ups, downs and catastrophes of teenage life, as well as tackling LGBT themes in an honest and upbeat way. Whether you’ve been through it, or you’re currently living it, I hope Noah is the awkward teen we’ve all probably been at some point!” - Simon James Green, Author.

‘Noteworthy’ by Riley Redgate

Recommended by Melissa Robles, of YA Books Central.

It's the start of Jordan Trenton's junior year at Crockett Boarding School for the Performing Arts. Unfortunately, she's an Alto 2, which--in the musical theatre world--is sort of like being a vulture in the wild: She has a spot in the ecosystem, but nobody's falling over himself to express his appreciation. So it's no surprise when she gets shut out of the fall musical for the third year straight.

But that night, the school gets a mass email: A spot has opened up in the Sharpshooters, Crockett's elite a cappella octet. Worshiped ...revered ...all male. Desperate to prove herself, Jordan auditions in her most-convincing drag, and it turns out that Jordan Trenton, Tenor 1, is exactly what the Sharps are looking for.

With Noteworthy, I wanted not only to write to the weirdly specific experience of a cappella singing, a niche I occupied in high school and college, but to explore the coming-of-age experience of kids who don't fit into traditional majorities. Jordan, the narrator, grapples with the feeling of being an anomaly in the world she occupies: a low-income kid at a rich school, a kid of colour in a historically white space, a bisexual girl in a world that expects heterosexuality, an aggressively ambitious girl in a culture that expects female docility, and of course, a deep-voiced girl infiltrating an all-male a cappella group. Along with probing these tensions, I also wanted an excuse to make as many music puns as possible. Thus, Noteworthy was born." - Riley Redgate, Author.

‘Paper Butterflies’ by Lisa Heathfield

Recommended by Georgia May, of Teen Book Hoots.

June's life at home with her stepmother and stepsister is a dark one - and a secret one. Not even her father knows about it. She's trapped like a butterfly in a jar.

But then she meets Blister, a boy in the woods. And in him, June recognises the tiniest glimmer of hope that perhaps she can find a way to fly far, far away. But freedom comes at a price . . .

Paper Butterflies is heartbreaking, stunning and compulsively readable. It will make a mark upon you, no doubt" - Georgia May

‘Railhead’ by Philip Reeve

Recommended by Chris Clarkson.

The Great Network is a place of drones and androids, maintenance spiders and Station Angels. The place of the thousand gates, where sentient trains criss-cross the galaxy in a heartbeat. Zen Starling is a petty thief, a street urchin from Thunder City. So when mysterious stranger Raven sends Zen and his new friend Nova on a mission to infiltrate the Emperor's train, he jumps at the chance to traverse the Great Network, to cross the galaxy in a heartbeat, to meet interesting people - and to steal their stuff. But the Great Network is a dangerous place, and Zen has no idea where his journey will take him...

‘The Bone Sparrow’ by Zanna Fraillon

Recommended by Georgina Atwell, Founder of Children’s Books Website Toppsta.

Born in a refugee camp, all Subhi knows of the world is that he's at least 19 fence diamonds high, the nice Jackets never stay long, and at night he dreams that the sea finds its way to his tent, bringing with it unusual treasures. And one day it brings him Jimmie.

Carrying a notebook that she's unable to read and wearing a sparrow made out of bone around her neck - both talismans of her family's past and the mother she's lost - Jimmie strikes up an unlikely friendship with Subhi beyond the fence.

As he reads aloud the tale of how Jimmie's family came to be, both children discover the importance of their own stories in writing their futures.

This couldn’t be more relevant for today’s refugee crisis and is hugely moving but accessible and enlightening too. It is beautifully written and manages to give readers an insight into his life in the camp as well as making children appreciate the freedom and opportunities we all take for granted" - Georgina Atwell

‘The Broken Ones’ by Danielle L Jensen

Recommended by Melissa Robles, of YA Books Central.

Below Forsaken Mountain, a plot is being hatched to overthrow the tyrant king of Trollus, and Marc is the right-hand man of its leader. His involvement is information more than one troll would kill to possess, which is why he must keep it a secret from everyone, even the girl he loves.

After accidentally ruining her sister's chance to become queen, Penelope is given one last opportunity by her father, the Duke d'Angouleme, to make herself useful: she must find proof that the boy she's in love with is conspiring against the crown. If she fails, her life will be forfeit.

Marc and Penelope must navigate the complex politics of Trollus, where powers on all sides are intent on using them as pawns, forcing them to risk everything for a chance at a life together.

Except being together may turn out to be the greatest risk of all.

‘The Double Axe’ by Philip Womack

Recommended by Briony Hughes.

Dark forces are at work in the House of the Double Axe. Stephan, the thirteen-year-old son of King Minos of Crete, stumbles across a terrifying conspiracy. Is the Minotaur, a half man half bull who eats human flesh, real? Or is something even more dangerous threatening to engulf both the palace and the world? Stephan must race to save his family from a terrible fate and find out what really lurks inside the labyrinth...You think you know the story? Think again.

I wrote THE DOUBLE AXE inspired by the idea of the labyrinth and the minotaur: who might have built the labyrinth, and why? It seemed to me to be a thrilling setting for an exciting, mythical adventure, told by a teenage boy." - Philip Womack, Author.

‘The Fallen Children’ by David Owen

Recommended by Sarah Baker, Children’s Author.

Young people on the Midwich Estate don't have much hope for their futures. Keisha has lived there her whole life, and has been working hard to escape it; others have just accepted their lot.

But change is coming...

One night, everyone inside Midwich Tower falls mysteriously unconscious in one inexplicable 'Nightout'. No one can explain what happened during those lost hours, but soon afterwards Keisha and three other girls find they're pregnant - and the babies are growing at an alarming rate.

As the news spreads around the tower, its residents turns against them and the situation spirals toward violence. Keisha's life unravels as she realises that the pregnancy may not have just ruined her hopes for the future: she might be mother to the end of the world.

The Fallen Children is a story of violation, of judgment and of young people who must fight to defy what is expected of them.

The Fallen Children is a contemporary reimagining of The Midwich Cuckoos by John Wyndham, a story I've loved since I was 11 years old. Despite the original book being published in 1957, I saw a chance to write something fiercely relevant to young people today.

Arguably now more than ever the world is stacked against teenagers, particularly those not from privileged backgrounds, who face huge hardship due to circumstances far beyond their control. Yet they're widely written off as lazy and entitled for struggling to upset these odds. I wanted to write about the injustice of that, and the fight that young people face to make a better future, for themselves and everybody, and this weird, dark story seemed like the perfect chance to do that." - David Owen, Author.

‘The Hate U Give’ by Angie Thomas

Recommended by Georgia Walters, of The Bibliomaniac Book Blog and Rosamund De La Hey, of Main Street Books.

Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl's struggle for justice.

Especially considering recent events in America, The Hate U Give is such an important read, dealing with police brutality and racism. It's incredibly riveting and eye opening" - Georgia Walters

‘The Impossible Vastness of Us’ by Samantha Young

Recommended by Amber Dainty, of Tutorful.

India Maxwell hasn't just moved across the country--she's plummeted to the bottom rung of the social ladder. It's taken years to cover the mess of her home life with a veneer of popularity. Now she's living in one of Boston's wealthiest neighbourhoods with her mom's fiance and his daughter, Eloise. Thanks to her soon-to-be stepsister's clique of friends, including Eloise's gorgeous, arrogant boyfriend, Finn, India feels like the one thing she hoped never to be seen as again: trash.

But India's not alone in struggling to control the secrets of her past. Eloise and Finn, the school's golden couple, aren't all they seem to be. In fact, everyone's life is infinitely more complex than it first appears. And as India grows closer to Finn and befriends Eloise, threatening the facades that hold them together, what's left are truths that are brutal, beautiful and big enough to change them forever...

From New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young comes a story of friendship, identity and acceptance that will break your heart--and make it whole again.

‘The Island At The End Of Everything’ by Kiran Millwoord Hargrave

Recommended by Elaine and Dave Chant, of Carousel Guide to Children’s Books.

Amihan lives on Culion Island, where some of the inhabitants - including her mother - have leprosy. Ami loves her home - with its blue seas and lush forests, Culion is all she has ever known. But the arrival of malicious government official Mr Zamora changes her world forever: islanders untouched by sickness are forced to leave. Banished across the sea, she's desperate to return, and finds a strange and fragile hope in a colony of butterflies. Can they lead her home before it's too late?

‘The Six of Crows’ by Leigh Bardugo

Recommended by Hawwa, Book Blogger and Reviewer.

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price--and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone...

A convict with a thirst for revenge.

A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager.

A runaway with a privileged past.

A spy known as the Wraith.

A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.

A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.

Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction--if they don't kill each other first.

‘The Thing With Feathers’ by McCall Hoyle

Recommended by Angela Blount, of LitPick.
A refreshing, quality debut--meaningfully woven and beautifully engaging, from the first page to the last" - Angela Blount

Emilie Day believes in playing it safe: she’s homeschooled, her best friend is her seizure dog, and she’s probably the only girl on the Outer Banks of North Carolina who can’t swim.

Then Emilie’s mom enrols her in public school, and Emilie goes from studying at home in her PJs to halls full of strangers. To make matters worse, Emilie is paired with starting point guard Chatham York for a major research project on Emily Dickinson. She should be ecstatic when Chatham shows interest, but she has a problem. She hasn’t told anyone about her epilepsy.

Emilie lives in fear her recently adjusted meds will fail and she’ll seize at school. Eventually, the worst happens, and she must decide whether to withdraw to safety or follow a dead poet’s advice and “dwell in possibility.”

As a high school teacher, I see girls every day, struggling to overcome great adversity. That’s why it’s important to me to write honest stories about the challenges of growing up but to also deliver a message that there is always hope—no matter how flawed we think we are, there is always hope.

My hope is that readers will fall in love with Emilie and her dog and the Outer Banks. But more than that, I hope all girls, no matter what they’re struggling with, will have the courage to believe in their own happily-ever-afters." - McCall Hoyle, Author.

‘Troublemakers’ by Catherine Barter

Recommended by Clare Zinkin, of Minerva Reads.
Astute, intelligent, relevant and gripping. A contemporary political coming-of-age novel with phenomenal characterisation and a distinctive voice" - Clare Zinkin

In three years I will be able to vote and I will still have less power than I did at the moment that I saw that email, which was such a tiny thing but look what happened.

Fifteen-year-old Alena never really knew her political activist mother, who died when she was a baby. She has grown up with her older half-brother Danny and his boyfriend Nick in the east end of London. Now the area is threatened by a bomber who has been leaving explosive devices in supermarkets. It is only a matter of time before a bomb goes off.

Against this increasingly fearful backdrop, Alena seeks to discover more about her past, while Danny takes a job working for a controversial politician. As her family life implodes, and the threat to Londoners mounts, Alena starts getting into trouble. Then she does something truly rebellious.

A searing, heartbreaking coming-of-age tale.

Troublemakers is the story of an opportunistic politician, an overprotective brother, and a fifteen year old girl who is starting to ask questions about her mother's political activism that her brother doesn't want to answer. It was inspired by a life-long interest in stories about siblings, and by the frightening, politically turbulent times we live in. I've always been interested in the different kinds of responses people have to some of the scary, difficult things in the world - and I loved exploring that through the perspective of a teenager who's still working out who she is." - Catherine Barter, Author.

‘We Are Okay’ by Nina LaCour

Recommended by Daisy White, Author and Literary Entrepreneur.

“You go through life thinking there's so much you need. . . . Until you leave with only your phone, your wallet, and a picture of your mother.”

Marin hasn't spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she's tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that's been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.

An intimate whisper that packs an indelible punch, We Are Okay is Nina LaCour at her finest. This gorgeously crafted and achingly honest portrayal of grief will leave you urgent to reach across any distance to reconnect with the people you love

This latest book is incredibly moving and a beautiful read for LGBT teenagers" - Daisy White

‘We Come Apart’ by Sarah Crossan

Recommended by Liza Miller, of the International Board of Books for Young People (IBBY UK).

YA rising stars Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan join forces to break readers' hearts in this contemporary story of star-cross'd lovers. Jess would never have looked twice at Nicu if her friends hadn't left her in the lurch. Nicu is all big eyes and ill-fitting clothes, eager as a puppy, even when they're picking up litter in the park for community service. He's so not her type. Appearances matter to Jess. She's got a lot to hide. Nicu thinks Jess is beautiful. His dad brought Nicu and his mum here for a better life, but now all they talk about is going back home to find Nicu a wife. The last thing Nicu wants is to get married. He wants to get educated, do better, stay here in England. But his dad's fists are the most powerful force in Nicu's life, and in the end, he'll have to do what his dad wants. As Nicu and Jess get closer, their secrets come to the surface like bruises. The only safe place they have is with each other. But they can't be together, forever, and stay safe - can they?

‘Where The World Ends’ by Geraldine McCaughrean

Recommended by Rosamund De La Hey, of Main Street Books.

Every time a lad came fowling on the St Kilda stacs, he went home less of a boy and more of a man. If he went home at all, that is...

In the summer of 1727, a group of men and boys are put ashore on a remote sea stac to harvest birds for food. No one returns to collect them. Why? Surely nothing but the end of the world can explain why they have been abandoned to endure storms, starvation and terror. And how can they survive, housed in stone and imprisoned on every side by the ocean?

‘The Girl With The Red Balloon’ by Katherine Locke

Recommended by Katelyn Causey, of Tutorful

The Girl with the Red Balloon is the story of Ellie Baum, a teenager from our time, who accidentally time-travels by way of a magical red balloon to 1988 East Berlin. When she arrives, she’s caught by Kai and Mitzi, two Runners who take magic balloons from the secretive balloon makers to the people who need them to escape from East Berlin to West Berlin: from oppression to freedom. Ellie, Kai and Mitzi soon discover that Ellie’s balloon is not the only one with mysterious and dangerous magic. More time travellers show up—but this time they’re all dead. The only way to stop more people from dying may destroy Ellie’s only way home.

 Told from three points of view, including Ellie’s grandfather’s experience escaping from a death camp in 1942, The Girl with the Red Balloon is a magical glimpse into history that questions identity, our right to tamper with history, and the worth of a single life.

‘Skin and Bones’ by Sherry Shahan

Recommended by Pedro Pinto, Book Reviewer
During early drafts I stumbled over unexpected obstacles. One anorexic in my story figures out how to beat the health-care system. Research led me to memoirs where I discovered they’re experts at manipulating parents and each other, as well their environment. I worried about Skin and Bones becoming a how-to manual for those still in the throes of the disease."

Sixteen-year-old Jack, nicknamed “Bones,” won’t eat. His roommate in the eating disorder ward has the opposite problem and proudly goes by the nickname “Lard.” They become friends despite Bones’s initial reluctance. When Bones meets Alice, a dangerously thin dancer who loves to break the rules, he lets his guard down even more. Soon Bones is so obsessed with Alice that he’s willing to risk everything–even his recovery.

I knew I had to include information about the potentially grave consequences of the illness, yet I didn’t want to sound didactic. Sometimes I sprinkled facts into farcical scenes. Other times statistics emerged in arguments between patients. Either way, disseminating information felt more organic when slipped in sideways instead of straight on. 
People ask why I chose to explore this issue in the first place. The answer is simple: Media gives attention to accidents resulting from teens drinking and driving, drug abuse, shootings, suicide, etc. Yet anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents in the U.S. and has the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. Most people don’t think of males as being afflicted with this illness. Yet eating disorders currently affect approximately 25 million Americans, in which 25% are males." - Sherry Shahan, author

‘Zen and Gone’ by Emily France

Recommended by Stephen Stretton, of Tutorful

Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, Essence McKree feels older than any seventeen-year-old she knows. Ever since weed was legalised, Mom has been working in a pot shop, high more often than not. Lately it’s been up to Essa to care for her nine-year-old sister, Puck. When Essa meets Oliver—a brainy indoor type, in town for the summer—she is cautious at first, distrustful of the tourist crowd and suspicious of Oliver’s mysterious past in Chicago. But Puck is charmed and pushes Essa toward him. Soon Essa finds herself showing Oliver the Boulder she has forgotten: the mountain parties, the long hikes . . . and at Oliver’s urging, the exploration of Buddhism at the local zendo.

When Oliver agrees to accompany Essa on a three-day survival game in the Rocky Mountains, she feels a lightness she hasn’t known in a long time. Then she discovers that Puck has stowed away and followed them into the wilderness. After spending a night stuck in a mountain storm, Essa wakes to find Puck missing. Now Essa must rely on her newfound spiritual strength if she is to save her sister’s life, and ultimately her own.

“With another aching deep dive into human spirituality, Emily France mines her home state of Colorado in a novel of a teen girl’s harrowing search for her missing younger sister—and her own search for self. Zen and Gone is a timely, fictional look at the limits of drug use, the constant search for escape, and mental illness. Perfect for fans of Jennifer Niven and Emily M. Danforth, author Emily France’s Zen and
Gone details the nature of family and the strength of sibling bonds in a heart-wrenching, moving, and uplifting story.” - Abby Koski, SOHO Press

‘Jacked Up’ by Erica Sage

Recommended by Rachael Sprague, of Tutorful
I actually started this book a few days after returning from camp as an adult counsellor. I’d been thinking about all the ridiculous, “mad” things we humans believe—about religion, philosophy, family, friends, love, etc.—and how there is the unfortunate tendency to pass judgment against other people and their beliefs. I’d been pondering how many things we don’t understand look a somewhat ridiculous from the outside.”

Nick's sister is dead and his parents are sending him off to Jesus camp. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Nick is being followed around by Jack Kerouac, who’s surprisingly annoying for a genius. With its over-the-top rituals and the campers’ bizarre beliefs, Nick is pretty sure Eden Springs is going to drive him mad. But the worst part of all is the PC Box, into which the campers drop their prayers and confessions. At Jack’s urging, Nick scribbles down his darkest secret. But then the box is stolen. And when campers' confessions start appearing around the camp, Nick is desperate to get the box back — before the world learns the truth about what he did. The truth he can’t even face, himself.

I hoped this book would challenge readers in their assumptions of others and open their minds to celebrating the diversity of ideas and lifestyles. I wanted to remind readers to be gentle with each other, that we are facing trials in our lives. This world is so big and so mysterious, there’s room for all of us and our mad, beautiful ideas.” - Erica Sage, author

‘Black Flowers, White Lies’ by Yvonne Ventresca

Recommended by Rosalie Hayden, book reviewer

Her father died before she was born, but Ella Benton knows they have a connection that transcends the grave. Since her mother disapproves, she keeps her visits to the cemetery where he’s buried secret. But when Ella learns that her mother may have lied about how Dad died sixteen years ago, it’s clear she’s not the only one with secrets. New facts point to his death in a psychiatric hospital, not a car accident as Mom always claimed.

When a handprint much like the one Ella left on her father’s tombstone mysteriously appears on the bathroom mirror, she wonders if Dad is warning her of danger, as he did once before, or if someone’s playing unsettling tricks on her. But as the unexplained events become more frequent and more sinister, she finds herself terrified about who—or what—might harm her.

Soon the evidence points to someone new: Ella herself. What if, like Dad, she’s suffering from a mental breakdown? In this second novel from award-winning author Yvonne Ventresca, Ella desperately needs to find answers—no matter how disturbing the truth might be.

“In Black Flowers, White Lies, I strived to combine the frightening and the ordinary by having a series of unsettling events occur during an otherwise normal summer. Drawn to the idea of creating scary situations in our everyday world, I wanted to explore the main character’s sense of reality. What could cause Ella’s perceptions to change and what would be the result if they did? Ella soon worries that she is being haunted or suffering from a breakdown. While my early drafts were about a girl who needs to rescue someone else, in the final version, Ella is the only one who can save herself.” - Yvonne Ventresca, author

'Pacifica' by Kristen Simmons

Recommended by Luke Todd, Book reviewer
I didn’t set out to write a story about my family, but in a way, that’s what happened.
My great-grandmother, Haru Tanaka, was a school teacher in Hawaii when Pearl Harbour was bombed. Escorted, at gunpoint, and bounced around various detention centres, begging for someone to believe that she was innocent, she eventually returned home to Hawaii at the end of the war to find her house and job gone, and her children the subjects of a racism that would scar my family for generations."

For too long our people have suffered, plagued by overcrowding, disease, and lack of work. We have only just survived for too long. Now we must take the next step and thrive.

Pacifica. A new beginning. Blue Skies. Green grass. Clear ocean water. An island paradise like the ones that existed before the Melt.

A lucky five hundred lottery winners will be the first to go, the first to leave their polluted, dilapidated homes behind and start a new life. It sounds perfect. Like a dream.

The only problem? Marin Carey spent her childhood on those seas and knows there’s no island paradise out there. She’s corsario royalty, a pirate like her father and his father before him, and she knows a con when she sees one. So where are the First Five Hundred really going?

When I closed my eyes to imagine her story, I saw a survivor—a bright light in a world in ruins, the ground quaking beneath her feet, the sky filled with lightning. I saw her friends being ripped from their homes and their families, with no indication of where they were going. I saw drowned cities, and islands made of trash, ruled by those who could survive their banishment. I saw the fighters. I saw hope. I embraced her tenacity, and honoured her survival as best as I could." 

Hopefully this post has given you a few ideas of some new reads to pick up and share with your children (or to keep for yourself). By no means is this an exhaustive list of all this year's new releases - there are hundreds of other books out there just waiting to be discovered - but it’s a great starting point to get more people, especially children, reading, learning and dreaming.

Are you a budding author, or are you looking to just improve on your writing a little bit? You can check out our awesome creative writing tutors here!

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Hannah C

Hannah C

20th Apr 2018