Roundup of the top new picture books and novels for children and teens.
Snail in Space by Rachel Bright, illustrated by Nadia Shireen, Simon & Schuster, £7.99
Gail is set on becoming the initial snail on the moon in this delightfully crazy story about a brave little snail with unwavering aspirations. This animated and comical partnership between two highly acclaimed picture-book authors is sure to entertain readers.
“Confetti” written by Dean Atta and illustrated by Alea Marley is priced at £12.99 from the publisher Orchard.
The debut picture book by acclaimed poet Dean Atta is a heartwarming and inclusive tribute to color, love, and the special moments of family life – such as a birthday, a Pride parade, a new baby, and a relative’s wedding – brought to life by Marley’s beautiful and warm illustrations.
I have a greater affection for you written by Clare Helen Welsh, with illustrations by Kevin and Kristen Howdeshell, published by Nosy Crow for the price of £7.99.
At night, Mom expresses her love for little Rae by saying she loves her more than blue whales love to spout, and even more than the stars in the sky. However, Rae always has the final say. This charming picture book is enhanced by detailed illustrations of wildlife.
A Horse Called Now by Ruth Doyle, illustrated by Alexandra Finkeldey, Nosy Crow, £7.99
Relaxing and kind, the large horse comforts anxious rabbits and lambs by assuring them that no matter what scary predators may come, “everything is fine for now” and that “even the most intense storms will eventually pass.” This insightful tale is unique among current picture books on mindfulness.
Donut Feed the Squirrels by Mika Song, Pushkin, £8.99
Norma and Belly, two adventurous squirrel friends, will go to great lengths to get a fried treat from the food truck, which constantly irritates the doughnut seller. This graphic novel is simple, charming, and full of energy and humor, perfect for readers ages four to five years old.
Lisa Thompson’s book “Sidney and Carrie Have a Party” is illustrated by Jess Rose and published by Barrington Stoke. It is priced at £6.99.
Two close friends decide to organize a birthday celebration together, but their differing preferences cause conflicts and hurt emotions. Sidney prefers tiger-themed decorations, while Carrie prefers frogs, and they struggle to come to a consensus on the cake. This charming book, perfect for young readers aged 5 and up, explores themes of friendship, disagreements, and finding a middle ground, accompanied by beautiful full-color illustrations.
Sheena Dempsey’s book “Pablo and Splash” is available for £8.99 from Bloomsbury.
This hilarious graphic novel is perfect for readers aged 7 and up. It follows the adventures of two penguins as they try to go on a tropical vacation, while also encountering a time-traveling robot and a beach filled with dinosaurs. The heart of the story lies in the dynamic between worrier Pablo and carefree Splash, making it a must-read for fans of Bunny vs Monkey.
“The Shape of Rainbows” written by Neal Zetter and illustrated by Will Hughes, published by Otter-Barry, is available for £8.99.
This book is a creative and enjoyable compilation of poems suitable for children aged seven or eight years old, filled with clever wordplay (“So furry / So purry / So cinnamon whirly”). It is perfect for both reading and reciting out loud, especially in a classroom setting.
Patrice Lawrence has adapted Charlotte Brontë’s novel, Jane Eyre, and published it under the title “Jane Eyre: Abridged.” The book is available for purchase from Walker Publishers at a cost of £7.99.
Lawrence’s sincere adaptation condenses the depth and excitement of Brontë’s classic work into a novel suitable for age 9 and up. It is both fulfilling on its own and a gateway to the original. In her preface, she also briefly addresses the book’s portrayal of mental health and people of color, subtly encouraging young readers to engage in critical thinking while immersing themselves in Charlotte Brontë’s beautiful writing.
Yesterday’s Countdown, written by Shirley Marr and published by Usborne, is available for purchase at the price of £7.99.
James is struggling with his current situation as his parents have separated, causing him to feel disoriented and sad as he adjusts to living in two different homes. He longs for the past and the memories of his family being together. However, a new girl named Yan who is not like anyone else at school could potentially make his dream of going back in time come true. This touching and optimistic novel, suitable for ages 9 and up, explores the intricacies of time travel and perception in a humorous way.
Dan Smith’s book, “The Creatures of Kilburn Mine”, published by Barrington Stoke, is priced at £7.99.
After a meteorite crashes near Crooked Oak, it sparks the curiosity of Krish, Pete, and Nancy, along with their physics teacher, Mr. Berring. However, their fascination leads them into a perilous situation in this gripping science fiction tale for readers aged 9 and above. The story involves a sinister mine and a disturbing method of manipulating the mind.
Iszi Lawrence’s “City of Spies” is available from Bloomsbury for £7.99.
In the year 1780, a 12-year-old boy named Aiden Blaise becomes an apprentice to a printer in New York. He is determined to succeed and make his English family proud. Aiden is not concerned about the rebel colonies, believing that they cannot defeat King George’s army. However, when he becomes involved in decoding secret messages and dangerous misinformation, he discovers that the conflict may be more intricate than he initially believed. This gripping historical fiction novel, suitable for ages 9 and up, paints a vivid picture of the fast-paced events of the time.
Phil Earle’s book, Northern Soul, published by Barrington Stoke, costs £7.99.
When a new student named Carly joins the school, 14-year-old Marv – who was previously solely focused on football – immediately develops feelings for her. However, Marv lacks the knowledge on how to communicate with girls, and has no one to seek guidance from. That is until a kebab-loving, surprisingly northern version of the love god Otis Redding appears, offering advice that promises to turn Marv into a smooth-talking ladies’ man in no time – but will it actually work? This hilariously embarrassing tale of growing up is suitable for ages 12 and up, and comes from a beloved author.
The title “Goddess Crown” by Shade Lapite, published by Walker, is priced at £8.99.
The young princess of Kalothia was raised in a secluded village, thinking her parents were hiding from the ruler of Galla. But when her adoptive family is murdered, she is thrust into the toxic, male-dominated society of the Gallan palace. Through her journey, she learns of her important destiny – if she can survive long enough to fulfill it. The richly crafted world and well-developed characters make for an impressive first novel in the YA fantasy genre, with a strong emphasis on feminism.
Krystal Sutherland’s book “The Invocations” is available for purchase at Hot Key for £8.99.
Five females have lost their lives in a manner that is strikingly similar. Three young women come together to pursue the person responsible, each with their own hidden motives. There is Jude, who is wealthy, attractive, and cursed, seeking to break free from a demon that is slowly destroying her; Zara, who is determined to use a necromancer to resurrect her deceased sister; and Emer, a cursewriter whose customers are being killed off one by one. This intense and alluring horror-fantasy novel, recommended for readers aged 14 and up, will be enjoyed by those who like the works of Holly Black and Melissa Albert.