There are some fantastic children’s books being published at the moment and I’ve chosen a brilliant selection for you in this month’s blog post from picture books right up to teen fiction. Do keep an eye on twitter for a chance to win copies of some of the books featured!
The Boys by Lauren Ace and Jenny Lovlie (Little Tiger)
My boys and I adore The Girls by Lauren Ace and Jenny Lovlie and The Boys is quickly on its way to becoming a family favourite as well. I love that this story celebrates so many different types of masculinity and really champions male friendships as the boys grow up, navigate the challenges life throws at them, and become men.
Maybe by Chris Haughton (Walker Books)
We adore all of Chris Haughtons’s books in our house, but this is easily my new favourite! Possibly because the character of a cheeky monkey who is told ‘no’ and thinks ‘maybe…’ resonates so much. Maybe is full of Chris Haughton’s characteristic humour and bright, bold artwork and is highly recommended.
What Happened To You? By James Catchpole and Karen George (Faber & Faber)
Joe is playing his favourite game with sharks in, but all the other children want to do is ask him what happened to his leg. This is a really powerful story and I particularly liked that it encourages children to consider how it feels to be on the receiving end of personal questions about a disability.
My Daddies! By Gareth Peter and Garry Parsons (Puffin)
This book is a lovely celebration of imagination and stories as well as adoption and LGBTQ+ families. I loved the joyful rhyming text and the artwork which is full of life. The story was inspired by Gareth Peter’s own experience as a parent within a same-sex couple and I think it’s so important for children to see all different kinds of families represented within the books they read.
Fiction for Young Readers
Lizzie & Lucky: The Mystery of the Missing Puppies by Megan Rix, illustrated by Tim Budgen (Puffin)
Lizzie wants a dog more than anything, especially as she could train it to be her hearing dog. But while she is busy persuading her parents to get one, she witnesses an adorable puppy being snatched away. Can Lizzie solve the case? This is a fun detective story for young readers and I love that it features a heroine who wears hearing aids.
Kitty and the Twilight Trouble written by Paula Harrison, illustrated by Jenny Lovlie (Oxford Children’s Books)
This is another magical adventure story about Kitty (who has feline superpowers) and her friends. They can’t wait to visit the funfair, but when disaster strikes at the top of the big wheel, only a true hero like Kitty can save the day. With artwork throughout, this is ideal for early readers.
Wigglesbottom Primary Dino Chick by Pamela Butchart illustrated by Becka Moor (Nosy Crow)
My six year old loves these three stories about Class 2R at Wigglesbottom Primary School. With plenty of humour and illustrations, these are great for early readers.
Little Gems: The Beach Puppy by Holly Webb, illustrated by Ellie Snowdon (Barington Stoke)
Ruby is delighted when her dad surprises her by bringing home a puppy called Coco. But when the family go on holiday to the beach, Coco gets distracted and wanders off. Will Ruby manage to find her again? Barrington Stoke specialise in books for struggling or reluctant readers.
Melt by Ele Fountain (Pushkin Children’s)
Yutu lives with his elderly grandmother in a remote, artic village whilst Bea is trying to adapt to yet another new school. When their worlds collide, they find themselves in a frantic search to uncover the truth. This is a beautifully written, gripping story of survival.
By Ash, Oak and Thorn by Melissa Harrison (Chicken House)
Three little people, no bigger than your hand, wake up from their winter sleep in the hollow trunk of an old ash tree. They normally love spring, but when they discover that the oldest of them is starting to fade away, they embark on a journey to search for answers. I really enjoyed this tale of these funny, wild beings set in our disappearing natural world.
How To Be Me by Cath Howe (Nosy Crow)
With his Dad always busy at work, Lucas is stuck at home, alone, missing his mum more than ever. When his Dad signs him up for the local drama club, he expects to hate it, instead he finds somewhere that he might actually be able to be himself. This is a poignant story told with empathy and real heart.
Jaz Santos VS. The World by Priscilla Mante (Puffin)
When Jaz sets up her own girl’s football team, no one takes her seriously and the other girls on the team prove much harder to manage than she’d ever imagined. This is an inspiring story about unlikely friendships, perseverance and following your dreams.
Young Adult Fiction
The Boy I Am by K. L. Kettle (Little Tiger)
Time is running out for Jude. He has to secure a place working for the female elite, if he fails, he faces a future in the mines. Jude is determined to escape the path set out for him, but finds himself entangled in a plot that limits his options even further. This fast paced, gripping dystopian novel subverts traditional gender roles.
The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar (Hodder Childrens)
Nishat’s parents are happy for her to be herself, as long as she isn’t a lesbian. But when Flavia walks back into her life, Nishat struggles to find a way to be true to herself without losing her family. This is a well written, captivating story about love, identity and community.
The World Between Us by Sarah Ann Juckes (Penguin)
Alice is bed bound with a chronic illness, but through Stream Cast she can experience other people’s lives without even leaving her room. But when she meets a new streamer, Rowan, and learns his secret, everything changes. With romance, realistic illness and lots of emotion, I really enjoyed this sensitively told story.
First Day Of My Life by Lisa Williamson (David Fickling Books)
It’s GCSE results day, a baby has been stolen and Frankie’s best friend Jojo is missing. Frankie is determined to find her and uncover the truth about what’s happened, but discovers more than she bargained for. Told from both Frankie and Jojo’s point of view, I couldn’t put down this powerful story about friendship, love and hope.
Out and About: Minibeast Explorer (Nosy Crow)
These Out and About guides are perfect for encouraging children to learn more about the natural world around them. With full colour illustrations through, this fabulous book is all about the wonderful world of minibeasts, with heaps of information, activities, a classification chart too, ‘to scale’ guide and even a quiz!
Create Your Own Kindness by Becky Goddard-Hill, illustrated by Clare Forrest (Collins)
Find out why kindness matters and what happens in your brain when you are being kind. I absolutely love the ethos of this book which as well as being packed full of information about kindness, also has loads of practical suggestions and activity to help kids increase kindness in their lives, and those of the people around them.
The Body Book by Hannah Alice (Nosy Crow)
This bright, bold book is a fantastic introduction to the human body and how it works, from your skeleton and heart, to lungs and brain. My boys were especially fascinated by the see-through pages that let readers take a look inside the human body.
Busy Spring: Nature Wakes Up by Sean Taylor & Alex Morss, illustrated by Cinyee Chiu (Words and Pictures)
When spring arrives, two sisters help their Dad in the garden with all his jobs. With beautiful illustrations throughout, this book cleverly combines a story about nature waking up with several pages of facts and information about plants, animals and insects at the end.
A mum of two, Naomi Jones spent eight years working for Children’s Publishers in London and is now a children’s author and freelance editor. Her debut picture book, The Perfect Fit, published in March 2021.