Bringing You the Daily Dispatch


A collection of recommended picture books and novels for children and teenagers.

“It costs £12.99 to purchase the book ‘Peace on Earth’ by Smriti Halls, with illustrations by David Litchfield, published by Walker Books.”

A happy group of friends embark on a journey, but a heated disagreement puts everything at risk – yet their commitment to reconciliation brings back radiant happiness in this lovely and emotional picture book.


The Robin Who Stole Christmas by Rachel Morrisroe, illustrated by Richard Merritt, Puffin, £7.99

The wicked Rotten Robin has devised a scheme to take Christmas away, with the help of Fowl Owl and Unpleasant Pheasant. It is now the responsibility of the other robins to come to the rescue in this festive adventure book filled with lively verses and detailed, comical drawings.

The Season is Here, written by Richard Jones and published by Nosy Crow, priced at £19.99.

A captivating book version of an Advent calendar, featuring hidden seasonal illustrations behind flaps and evocative poems. This delightful package includes a colorful fold-out strip and a variety of poets such as Russell Hoban, John Agard, and Coral Rumble, making it a hit with children of all ages, from preschool to primary.

What You Need to be Warm by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman’s book “What You Need to be Warm” is available from Bloomsbury for £12.99.

Featuring a variety of artists such as Oliver Jeffers and Chris Riddell, this impactful book, suitable for ages 5 and up, is published in partnership with UNHCR. The use of orange accents suggests both comfort and potential danger. Gaiman’s lyrical words bring to life fond recollections of warmth, from cozy radiators to protective gloves and familial smiles, ultimately culminating in the empowering declaration: “You belong here.”

The book “The Panda’s Child” written by Jackie Morris and illustrated by Cathy Fisher is available for purchase at Otter-Barry for £16.99.

A young child who is lost is taken care of by a panda. After nine years, the child returns the favor by rescuing the panda’s own baby, with the help of the powerful and determined spirit of the forest. This beautifully illustrated story, suitable for readers and listeners aged 5 and up, explores the bond between humans and animals through vivid descriptions of nature from Fisher and Morris’s unique perspective.

The Nutcracker by Alex T Smith

The Nutcracker by Alex T Smith, Macmillan, £15.99

Alex T Smith has created a hilariously silly version of The Nutcracker for the holiday season. The story follows Clara, her brother Fritz, and their friend Walter the Nutcracker as they try to stop the Mouse King from causing chaos with his love for cheese. Along the way, they receive some help from a magical chicken named Brenda. With vibrant colors reminiscent of a candy store and just the right amount of cheeky humor, this book is ideal for reading with children ages 5 and up in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

“The Girl Who Became a Fish” written by Polly Ho-Yen and illustrated by Sojung Kim-McCarthy, published by Knights Of, priced at £5.99.
This heartfelt, deceptively simple little book follows anxious Ita, scared of her classmates, of drifting away from her family and, most of all, of water – until she discovers the river near her new home and the strange magic it contains. A transporting illustrated tale of courage and change, for readers of 5 or 6 and up.

An Animal a Day by Miranda Smith

A daily dose of animals brought to you by Miranda Smith, with illustrations by Kaja Kajfež, Santiago Calle, Mateo Markov, and Max Rambaldi. Available for purchase at Red Shed for £22.

This book is a captivating collection of different animals, ranging from the ogre-faced spider to the fennec fox and the tiger quoll to the fried egg jellyfish. It includes scientific names, animal classifications, and conservation statuses for young zoologists, along with interesting facts about the animals’ lives and behaviors. Out of all the wildlife reference books available for children aged 6 or 7, this one stands out for its engaging and easy-to-read content.

The Ice Children by MG Leonard, illustrated by Penny Neville-Lee, Pan Macmillan, £12.99

After finishing a puzzling book, Bianca discovers her younger brother Finn in the park, encased in ice and wearing a smile. Although his heart is still beating, he cannot be awakened. As more children become frozen, Bianca embarks on a desperate mission to thaw them before they are gone forever. Along the way, she is lured into a magical winter wonderland filled with peril and deceit. This thrilling journey, recommended for ages 8 and up, pays tribute to Andersen’s classic tale, The Snow Queen, while also promoting conservation.

The Firefly’s Lights –- The Secret Inventors of Our Natural World by Sarah Horne

“Discovering the Firefly’s Glow: The Hidden Creators of our Environment” written by Sarah Horne, published by Scholastic for £7.99.

This illustrated book is suitable for children ages 8 and up. It features Horne’s trademark comic and approachable style, and serves as an engaging and visually appealing introduction to inventions that have been inspired by nature. These inventions include reflective road studs based on cat’s eyes and the bullet train’s noise-reducing “beak”.

“Best Friends Forever” is a book written by Lisa Williamson and illustrated by Jess Bradley. It costs £7.99 and is published by Guppy.

Lola and Evie have been inseparable since they were babies, but when they are placed in different classes in secondary school, Lola is devastated. Her home life is not great, and she is stuck sitting next to the annoying Daniel. To make matters worse, Evie is trying to impress her new friend, Cleo, who doesn’t seem to have any time for Lola. Will Lola be able to regain her best friend’s attention? This heartwarming and humorous book is perfect for readers aged 9 and up who enjoy Jacqueline Wilson’s books.

The Secret of Helmersbruk Manor by Eva Frantz

The Secret of Helmersbruk Manor by Eva Frantz, illustrated by Elin Sandström, translated by Annie Prime, Pushkin, £16.99

Flora is not enthusiastic about spending Christmas with her mother in a tiny coastal town. However, she becomes intrigued by the eerie Helmersbruk Manor, which appears to be abandoned. As Flora begins to investigate the surrounding area, she questions if the house is truly empty. She also encounters a boy wearing a green hat who wants to befriend her. This evocative and gentle ghost story, perfect for children aged 9 and up, is a great read for a cozy evening and has elements reminiscent of “Tom’s Midnight Garden.”

Bad Magic: A Skulduggery Pleasant Graphic Novel by Derek Landy, PJ Holden, Matt Soffe, Rob Jones and Pye Parr, HarperCollins, £14.99

Upon arriving in Termoncara, a small Irish village with a surprisingly high mortality rate, the skeletal detective Skulduggery Pleasant and his partner Valkyrie Cain are ready to uncover something monstrous. However, they soon realize that evil can take on many forms, even that of a human. This first graphic novel in the widely beloved Skulduggery Pleasant series is both grisly and enthralling, making it an ideal starting point for readers aged 14 and above.

Only for the Holidays by Abiola Bello

This book is titled “Only for the Holidays” and is written by Abiola Bello, published by Simon & Schuster, and priced at £8.99.
When city girl Tia finds herself trapped at Saiyan Hedge Farm for Christmas, she hates it on sight. A sheep eats her coat, manure is everywhere, and there’s no wifi to stalk Mike, her on-a-break boyfriend back home. But there is one silver lining: Quincy Parker, whose family own the farm. Drop-dead gorgeous and in need of a partner for the glamorous Winter Ball, Quincy suggests a fake-dating ploy in return for a favour. A delectably festive YA romcom from the author of Love in Winter Wonderland.

“Be Careful, He’s Watching” by Sarah Naughton is available for purchase at Scholastic for £8.99.
Eleri is opening an Advent calendar with a difference. Every day in December, someone has been leaving a gift for her behind a different door in the abandoned block of flats opposite her own. Is it Ras, her bad-boy crush at school? Or is her secret Santa someone more sinister? This spine-tingling suspense thriller for 14+ is ideal for fans of Holly Jackson.

Source: theguardian.com