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Children’s and teens roundup – the best new picture books and novels

Children’s and teens roundup – the best new picture books and novels

Grey by Laura Dockrill and Lauren Child, Walker, £14.99View image in fullscreen

Terrible Horses by Raymond Antrobus, illustrated by Ken Wilson-Max, Walker, £12.99
Fighting with his sister leads a little boy to write stories of terrible, trampling horses, frightening a lone pony who can’t speak or keep up. But what will happen when his sister reads them? A poignant, expressive picture book about fraught sibling relationships.

Grey by Laura Dockrill, illustrated by Lauren Child, Walker, £14.99
One day our young protagonist feels grey, like cold tea or a puddle in the road – but warm acceptance and kind reminders that other, brighter feelings are still waiting inside, help navigate the sadness. A superb collaboration between two picture-book giants, full of strong colour and simple, effective cut-outs.

Holey Moley by Bethan Clarke and Anders Frang, Little Tiger, £7.99View image in fullscreen

Holey Moley by Bethan Clarke, illustrated by Anders Frang, Little Tiger, £7.99
Holey? Bowly? On a poley? Much to her annoyance, Gus the goat insists Mavis Mole’s home must rhyme with her name. A joyfully absurd picture book with a Seussian flavour.

Magic Counting by Nabeel Khan, illustrated by Tete Garcia, Scribble, £12.99
This counting book with a difference points out the shapes, patterns and numbers that feature and recur in our lives, from the circle’s simplicity to the intricate interlacing of the endless knot, on a beautiful and unusual journey from one to 10. A golden fold-out board book with potential to fascinate children of all ages from 4+.

Tiny Dogs: Bea’s Secret Friends by Rose Lihou, Puffin, £7.99
When shy Bea moves in with her grandparents, she doesn’t expect to discover a secret in their overgrown garden – four tiny dogs no bigger than mice, who need Bea to help them save their home. Illustrated in colour throughout, this ridiculously delightful book will help hook 6+ newly independent readers.

Astrid and the Space Cadets – Attack of the Snailiens! by Alex T Smith, Macmillan, £7.99View image in fullscreen

Astrid and the Space Cadets: Attack of the Snailiens! by Alex T Smith, Macmillan, £7.99
Once six-year-old Astrid goes to bed, the Space Cadet siren goes off and she swings into action. Tonight’s mission is to clean up the Milky Way – but the Space Cadets haven’t bargained for the appearance of the slimy giant Snailiens. Highly illustrated 6+ galactic fun, from the bestselling author of Claude and Mr Penguin.

The Art Book for Children, by Ferren Gipson, Amanda Renshaw and Gilda Williams, Phaidon, £19.95
From mysterious shapes to meaningful clues, pointillism to pop art, this accessible, lively and informative guide – an updated reissue, featuring 30 more contemporary entries – offers a fascinating immersion in the world of visual art for readers of 8+.

The Wrong Shoes by Tom Percival, Simon & Schuster, £12.99
Will’s shoes leak. His dad’s struggling to find work, and cruel kids call him “Poundland”. Hunger, exhaustion and the unfair grind of poverty make it hard for him to concentrate, keep calm or excel – but empathy, support and his own artistic talent offer hope for the future. Bleak, sweet and wryly funny, this profoundly powerful story for 9+ is heightened by Percival’s electric black and white illustrations.

The Girl Who Couldn’t Lie by Radhila Sanghani, Usborne, £7.99View image in fullscreen

The Girl Who Couldn’t Lie by Radhila Sanghani, Usborne, £7.99
Her family needs her to be fine, so Priya’s always fine – or, at least, always lying about it. But when she puts on a bangle inherited from her beloved grandmother, she discovers she’s been cursed to tell the truth. From telling handsome Dan Zhang she likes him to crushing her dad with cookery critiques – and, worst of all, spilling her best friends’ secrets – how can Priya cope with the chaos of the unvarnished truth? A hilarious and touching 9+ debut about learning when – and how – to speak up for yourself.

The Hidden Story of Estie Noor by Nadine Aisha Jassat, illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat, Orion, £7.99
When Estie is expelled from school and packed off to stay with her mum’s estranged sister, she carries a hidden story with her – the story Mum refuses to hear, about what really happened. But the little Scottish town where Aunt Ru lives is hiding another story; one that Estie is determined to uncover. A gripping verse novel mystery for 9+, rich, evocative and shaped by a passionate sense of justice.

Rewild – Can Nature Heal Our World? by Ben Martynoga and Moose Allain, DFB, £7.99View image in fullscreen

Rewild: Can Nature Heal Our World? by Ben Martynoga, illustrated by Moose Allain, David Fickling, £7.99
Elegantly balanced between soaring possibility and informative realism, this 11+ guide to Earth’s intricately interrelated ecosystems and how to restore them, offering us all a better future, boasts engaging illustrations, and commentary from sassy fungi throughout.

Your Time Is Up by Sarah Naughton, Scholastic, £8.99
Zaina is laser-focused on A-level revision. Friendship bust-ups, relationships gone sour; nothing matters except making her late father proud. But when her maths exam begins with a notable absence – and blood on the question paper – can Zaina stay focused on her answers, and should she? This compulsive real-time thriller for 14+ asks searching questions about exam pressure amid its enjoyably twisty melodrama.

Louder Than Hunger by John Schu, Walker, £9.99View image in fullscreen

Louder Than Hunger by John Schu, Walker, £9.99
Jake loves Emily Dickinson, musicals and his grandmother – but lately there’s a voice inside him drowning out everything else, even his hunger and his family’s concern. When he becomes an inpatient at Whispering Pines, the voice is there too, screaming that he’s gaining too much weight. Can it be quieted enough for Jake to recover? An intensely affecting verse novel for 14+, drawing on the author’s own experience of anorexia treatment.

Glasgow Boys by Margaret McDonald, Faber, £8.99
Care leaver Finlay is studying to be a nurse, struggling to manage essays, bills and the black hole where his self-esteem should be. Seventeen-year-old Banjo is trying to finish school without losing his foster family or his new job. Neither of them can remember the last time they had a hug; both are determined to hold on at all costs to the uncertain hope of a brighter future. This desperately poignant YA debut is a paean to the power of friendship, and daring to be vulnerable in the face of past hurt.

Source: theguardian.com