A collection of recently released picture books and novels recommended for children and teenagers.
Spyceratops by Alex Willmore, Farshore, £7.99
When a young dinosaur becomes suspicious of her grandfather’s actions, Spyceratops must step in to investigate. This humorous and lively picture book will entertain both aspiring spies and dinosaur enthusiasts, with a cleverly satisfying surprise ending.
Gina Kaminski Saves the Wolf by Craig Barr-Green and Francis Martin, Little Tiger, £12.99
Gina is dissatisfied with her hot and unpleasant school, and to make matters worse, the story of Red Riding Hood contains three major errors. Gina takes it upon herself to travel to the land of fairytales and correct them in this heartwarming and captivating picture book featuring an independent autistic main character.
The book “Mama’s Sleeping Scarf” was written by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (under the name Nwa Grace-James) and features illustrations by Joelle Avelino. It is published by HarperCollins and is priced at £12.99.
Chino misses Mama while she’s at work, so Mama gives her the silky scarf she ties round her hair at bedtime to play with. A joyful, acutely observed picture-book account of imaginative adventures with family, a beloved soft toy, and, of course, Mama’s scarf.
The book “The Oak Tree” by Julia Donaldson and Victoria Sandøy can be purchased from Alison Green Books for £12.99.
The growth of an acorn into a strong oak tree provides shelter and happiness to numerous generations of children and animals. Eventually, the tree falls and the cycle repeats. This beautiful picture book is written by the creators of The Christmas Pine.
“Transforming Your Canine into Spaghetti” by Hiba Noor Khan and Harry Woodgate, published by Bloomsbury for £8.99.
This vibrant guide to the “mysteries of science in the universe” is full of lively humor, captivating images, and clever wordplay. It is sure to capture the attention of young physicists, ages 7 and up.
“Kevin the Vampire” is a spooky tale about a mysterious creature, written by Matt Brown and illustrated by Flavia Sorrentino. Published by Nosy Crow, the book is priced at £7.99.
10-year-old vampire Kevin Aurelius and his family’s travelling carnival cause chaos when they arrive in Lower Drudging and awaken a frightening creature. However, the human residents of the town are hesitant to accept their assistance. The initial book in a series aimed at children 7 and older is filled with comical and brilliantly illustrated chaos, along with progressively ridiculous character names.
Atinuke and Kingsley Nebechi’s book “Brilliant Black History” is available from Bloomsbury for the price of £12.99.
From its initial question – “Did you know the first Britons were black?” – to an inspiring list of the Black people who “make Britain great”, this powerful, vividly illustrated book proudly reframes Black British history for readers aged 7 or 8+.
The After-School Crime Club by Hayley Webster, Nosy Crow, £7.99
Following the passing of her dear Nan, Willow’s mother enrolls her in an after-school club despite her objections. In an attempt to impress the intimidating leader, Tay, the shy and friendless Willow completes a number of challenges – but will she reach her breaking point? This concise and emotionally gripping novel is recommended for readers aged 9 and above, as it explores intricate emotions, ethical quandaries, and the journey to self-discovery.
Finding Wonder by Lauren St John, Faber, £7.99
Roo’s father gives her a lottery ticket and entrusts her to her unusual aunt Joni. Roo has always dreamed of having a winning showjumper, and with this ticket, her dream may come true. However, when her beloved horse Wonder Boy is stolen, Roo, Joni, and their new friend Skylar are thrust into a frantic mission to find him and other famous horses who have also gone missing. With stunning illustrations by Marie-Alice Harel, this gripping horse-themed mystery for children ages 8 and up will keep readers on the edge of their seats and deliver a powerful emotional impact.
Katherine Rundell’s book, Impossible Creatures, published by Bloomsbury, costs £14.99.
Christopher is in awe when he visits his isolated grandfather and stumbles upon a portal to the Archipelago, a hidden world where mythical creatures reside. However, the realm is under threat and Christopher meets Mal, a fierce girl on a quest to rescue a baby griffin. Together, they embark on a perilous journey with unknown consequences. Rundell’s entry into the fantasy genre pays tribute to beloved children’s literature while also delivering a captivating and deeply emotional quest for readers aged 9 and above. This may be her finest work yet.
“Adia Kelbara and the Circle of Shamans” is a book written by Isi Hendrix and published by Usborne. It is currently available for purchase at a price of £12.99.
Adia’s relatives in the distant Swamplands fear that she may be possessed by demons, known as an ogbanje. As she begins to exhibit destructive abilities, Adia also becomes fearful and flees to the prestigious Academy for Shamans. However, she soon realizes that things are not what they appear to be at the academy. Tasked by a temperamental goddess, Adia must team up with a warrior girl who can travel through time to not only save her world but also uncover her true identity. This captivating post-colonial story, suitable for ages 9 and up, offers a unique take on magical education.
Wise Creatures by Deirdre Sullivan, Hot Key Books, £8.99
When Daisy was young, she would hear voices of “wise creatures” that would tell her things she couldn’t possibly know. As she got older, she pushed them away and made a conscious effort to be like everyone else. However, when her cousin Nina is hurt and strange occurrences begin to happen in their home, it’s only a matter of time before the creatures break through. This story explores the unsettling and emotional conflict between family love and forbidden knowledge, making it a captivating psychological horror for readers aged 14 and above.
Everyone’s Thinking It by Aleema Omotoni, Scholastic, £8.99
In the exclusive English community of Wodebury Hall, being Nigerian and having darker skin puts cousins Iyanu and Kitan in a disadvantaged position. Iyanu, a skilled photographer, prefers to stay behind her camera lens and observe. Kitan, on the other hand, tries her best to fit in with the popular crowd and overlooks bad behavior in order to avoid conflict. However, when Iyanu’s photos are stolen and scattered around the school with hurtful messages, it brings to light the hidden hostility within Wodebury. This young adult novel is a captivating blend of Mean Girls and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
“Yours from the Tower” by Sally Nicholls published by Andersen for the price of £14.99.
During the late 19th century in England, three best friends from boarding school, Polly, Tirzah, and Sophia, have pursued different paths. Sophia is on the search for a wealthy husband, Polly is working as a teacher at an orphanage, and Tirzah is confined to living with her strict grandmother as her companion. Through their letters to each other, which are filled with humor, frustration, despair, and happiness, their individual lives and relationships are intricately intertwined in a captivating and romantic novel told through letters. This book is recommended for readers aged 12 and up.
You Could Be So Pretty by Holly Bourne, Usborne, £8.99
In the dystopian realm of Bourne’s latest young adult novel, girls have two options: become a Pretty, like Belle, and conform to the strict rules in hopes of being chosen at the Ceremony and gaining profitable contracts; or become an Objectionable, like Joni, reject makeup and aim for freedom through distant Education. The two girls harbor mutual disdain for each other as they vie for success, but could their fates change if they unite? This intense, action-packed feminist narrative offers insightful commentary on a world supposedly past gender equality, perfect for readers who enjoy Louise O’Neill and Laura Bates.