When You Join Our Family by Harriet Evans, by Nia Tudor, Little Tiger, £11.99
A tender picture book exploration of the developing bonds between young children and adoptive parents, gently transitioning from first encounters to new traditions.
eco-friendly girl By Ken Wilson Max, Otter Barry, £12.99
Eve loves all the trees that grow near her house, but the huge baobab is her favorite. On her birthday, Grandma takes her deep in the woods and gives her a wonderful surprise – something that will keep her love of trees forever. This warm-colored picture book perfectly evokes the connections between humanity and wild nature.
Sometimes I Won’t Do It by Timothy Knappman, by Joe Berger, Macmillan, £12.99
Some days everything goes as planned – but sometimes the bathrooms are horrible, and it’s just too scary to play dogs in the park while we Dislikes Pea taste! A hilarious look at a child’s strong feelings and mobility “won’t happen”.
The Boy Who Dreamed of Dragons by Caryl Lewisillustrated by Carmen Saldana, Boffin, £12.99
Albee dreams of dragons – fiery dragons, water dragons, even a book of dragons. They are always with him, they accompany him, but no one can see them … until he meets a very special person. This beautiful picture book about imaginary friends, inner life, and overcoming rejection is perfect for imaginary kids going to school.
The Great Escape of the Zebra by Catherine Rundel, illustrated by Sarah Ogilvy, Bloomsbury, £14.99
When Mink, an indomitable and rule-breaking little girl, meets a runaway little zebra, she knows it’s up to her to free his parents – and the rest of the evil animals captured by Mr. Spit. This 5+ picture book is hilariously messy in words and illustrations, full of imagination and color.
And all will be delighted to see your chosen one Ella Risbridge, Photographed by Anna Spitta, Curious Crowe, £20
From Maya Angelou to Amanda Gorman, Elizabeth Jennings to Grace Nichols, this wide range of poetry by women and girls is uplifting, moving, and energizing. It’s a great gift for kids 6 years old and up.
The Little Match Girl Strikes Back by Emma Carroll, illustrations by Lauren Child, Simon & Schuster, £12.99
A compelling and challenging review of Hans Christian Andersen’s film The Little Match Girl of 7 years or more, heroine Bridie sees visions of a better future when she uses her last three matches – and leads factory workers to strike in hopes of making it happen. Child’s lively spot-color illustrations elegantly complement the ferocity of the story.
Any Way to Anywhere by Cressida Coyle, Hodder, £12.99
The unusual O’Hero Children and the real-life Smith Children are a turbulent family that has yet to blend in (although they all adore baby Annipeck). But K2 O’Hero has a gift – his graphics can transport people between worlds – and when Annipeck is kidnapped, all the siblings must travel to a perilous place desperate to save her. The wild charm, Quill’s great sense of humor, rich environmental protection, and the intricacies of family love are masterfully woven through the first book in a fantastic new series for 8+.
Joyful, Joyful: Stories Celebrating Black Voices, selected by Dabo Adeola, Macmillan, £20
This colorfully illustrated compendium of stories and poems features 40 black authors and illustrators from around the world, from top hitters like Mallory Blackman and Alex Whittle to new talents like Camryn Jarrett and Denzel Dunquah. Filled with the humor, challenge and joy of the title, it features legendary whales, young boxing champions, talking books and a taste of Nan Jollof Rice. Lovely book for 8+ to give as a gift, or keep in the school library.
The Elemental Detectives by Patrice Lawrence, Scholastic, £7.99
In old London filled with racist spirits, Maricie and Robert are drawn into a battle against a deadly shepherdess, whose sleeping sickness threatens to kill all humans, leaving the Elementals in control. The award-winning YA writer has turned her hand to writing for over 9 readers, with amazing results – the world-building is especially amazing.
The Ministry of Unladylike Activity by Robin Stevens, Puffin, £12.99
A new crew of resourceful kids takes the helm in Stevens’ follow-up to the bestselling Murder Most Unladylike series. In the 1940s in war-torn Britain, young spy Mae Wong seeks to evacuate herself to a smart country house with her new boyfriend, Eric. Their job is to investigate its owner – but they don’t expect to come across a murder along the way. Careful, slightly worn research and sharp observation of the character will please over 9 newcomers and old fans alike.
The Eternal Return of Clara Hart by Louise Finch, Little Island £8.99
A groundhog day story with a difference, this extraordinary YA debut features a grieving teenage boy, a naughty partygoer – and a girl who dies over and over, so Spence can figure out what he needs to change in order to save her life. A careful, thoughtful, and compulsive examination of toxic masculinity and normal sexual abuse.
Mindwalker by Kate Dylan, Hodder, £16.99
Although Captain Seal Sarah is only 18 years old, her record is legendary – and her time is running out. Sil is a Mindwalker from Syntex Corporation, capable of taking over the brains of field customers and guiding them to safety, but the supercomputer that allows her to do so will kill her in less than a year. When a rescue mission goes wrong and she’s accused of treason, Seal discovers some unwelcome truths about the company she’s dedicated her life to–and finds herself strangely drawn to the leader of Syntex’s enemies. This SF YA debut features very sharp characterization and fast-paced action.
As Long as Lemon Trees Grow by Zalfa Katuh, Bloomsbury
In a miserable Homs hospital, 18-year-old Salama works as one of the few surgeons left, despite having only one year of pharmacy training. She is surrounded by little shock and present violence, but she cannot bear the thought of leaving Syria, though Khaf, the intense hallucination she visits, insists that her pregnant sister-in-law must be rescued. But when Salama meets Kinan and begins to fall in love with him, she must decide what to do for the best. Although the writing is repetitive at times, this “Love Letter to Syria” is a unique novel for those over 14 years old, blending beauty, horror and a sense of hope.