Books we love in September 2021

The front cover of Sister Switch

Explore our pick of the best children's books in September 2021: from a fantastic and fantastical new picture book from Malorie Blackman and Dapo Adeola to a fascinating story of Marie Curie and her exceptional daughters...

  • 10 Silly Children

    Author: Jon Lander
    Publisher: Pavilion
    Interest age: 3-5

    The author of this book would like you to be sensible and not open its fold-out pages. Still, who could resist having just a peek? An original book that delights in the fun that can be had when we’re really, really silly.

  • A Different Sort of Normal

    Author: Abigail Balfe
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 8+

    Abigail, the author and illustrator of this exceptional non-fiction book, spent most of her life not knowing she was autistic. Insightful, accessible and easy to navigate, this is an essential book for autistic and allistic (non-autistic) readers of all ages, including adults.

  • Adam-2

    Author: Alastair Chisholm
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 9-16
    Reading age: 10+

    In a world devastated by 200 years of brutal conflict between humans and intelligent machines, could Adam-2 hold the key to ending the war? And, if so, which side should he save? A breathtaking science fiction thriller. 

  • Animal 123

    Author: Nikolas Ilic
    Publisher: Happy Yak
    Interest age: 2-3

    Nikolas Ilic’s lovely counting book takes little ones all the way up to 12 and introduces an adjective that describes each set of animals, as well as an action, making this point-and-say numbers book a fun reading experience for adults too. 

  • Cat Chat

    Author: Dr Jess French Illustrator: Penelope Dullaghan
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 1-4

    If you have ever wondered what your cat is really thinking, then Cat Chat from expert vet and CBeebies presenter Dr Jess French is the perfect read. An insightful board book that looks at feline body language to help young pet owners figure out their furry friends.

  • Grimwood

    Author: Nadia Shireen
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Interest age: 6-9
    Reading age: 7+

    Fox siblings Ted and Nancy live in the big city but decide to find Grimwood, a faraway forest where they can lie low. Nadia Shireen’s first illustrated middle grade novel is a brilliantly hilarious and heartwarming tale, full of her trademark anarchic humour. 

  • Happy Here

    Author: Various authors with an introduction by Sharna Jackson
    Publisher: Knights Of
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    In this important anthology, ten illustrated short stories from present day black authors and illustrators thrill readers with the stories they’ve been waiting for, featuring black protagonists at the centre of a huge variety of fictional worlds and situations.

  • How to Grow a Unicorn

    Author: Rachel Morrisroe Illustrator: Steven Lenton
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 2-4

    A beautifully illustrated book about a young girl who gets more than she bargains for when she buys a packet of unicorn seeds for her grandmother. Fun and magical. 

  • I'm Hungry

    Author: Rod Campbell
    Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
    Interest age: 1-3

    The hungry mouse likes eating cheese, the rabbit likes carrots and the monkey likes bananas, but what about the hungry tiger? Find out in this fun and inventive touch-and-feel book from Rod Campbell, the author of Dear Zoo.

  • I'm Thinking of a Sea Creature

    Author: Adam and Charlotte Guillain Illustrator: Lucia Gaggioti
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 1-3

    This delightful board book is great for older toddlers who might already recognise some of the animals featured (a turtle, an octopus, a shark and a seahorse) or can make a guess at who might be hiding in the pull-out tabs.

  • Listen, Layla

    Author: Yassmin Abdel-Magied
    Publisher: Penguin
    Interest age: 10-12
    Reading age: 10+

    Born in Sudan but brought up in Australia, funny and clever Layla longs to be an inventor, but life takes her back to Sudan in the middle of a revolution. To which country does she belong? This powerful book would be a great addition to any school library.

  • Maddy Yip’s Guide To Life

    Author: Sue Cheung
    Publisher: Andersen Press
    Interest age: 7-10
    Reading age: 8+

    All Maddy’s family and friends have at least one talent but the only thing Maddy is good at is armpit farts. Surely there must be something else she can do well?

  • Marie Curie and her Daughters

    Author: Imogen and Isabel Greenberg
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Did you know that Marie Curie was the single mother of two daughters, Irene and Eve, one of whom would later get a Nobel Prize, just like her mother? The story of a family of remarkable women, this is a truly fascinating and inspiring read.

  • My First Book of Microbes

    Author: Sheddad Kaid-Salah Ferrón Illustrator: Eduard Altarriba
    Publisher: Button Books
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 9+

    This fascinating picture book for junior readers delves into the hidden world of microbes, explaining what they are, where they are found and why they are essential to our existence.

  • Nell and the Cave Bear

    Author: Martin Brown
    Publisher: Piccadilly
    Interest age: 7-9
    Reading age: 8+

    A simple yet exciting illustrated tale, featuring a runaway cave girl and her pet bear, a tribe of ruthless bear stalkers and a hopeless mammoth hunt.

  • Peanut Jones and the Illustrated City

    Author: Rob Biddulph
    Publisher: Pan Macmillan
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    A magical pencil takes art-mad Peanut and her friends on a quest beyond her wildest imagination in the search for her lost father.

  • Real Pigeons Fight Crime

    Author: Andrew McDonald Illustrator: Ben Wood
    Publisher: Farshore
    Interest age: 6-10
    Reading age: 7+

    Three hilarious illustrated stories featuring the Real Pigeons – a motley band of airborne crime fighters, whose mission is to solve the most mysterious mysteries! Not to be read under the desk at school, as the teachers will catch you when you snort with laughter.

  • Ruffles and the Teeny, Tiny Kittens

    Author: David Melling
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 2-5

    Meet Ruffles, the playful puppy, as he learns to share his space and belongings with a litter of kittens. There's no finger-wagging here, only tail wagging – the tone is light and fun and the message about sharing with others sinks in through humour and repetition.

  • Rumble Tumble

    Author: Ben Newman
    Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
    Interest age: 2-3

    Funny and heart-warming, this entertaining picture book for preschoolers explores the familiar experience of falling over, and is ideal to encourage language and storytelling development.

  • See What I Can Do!

    Author: Jon Roberts Illustrator: Hannah Rounding
    Publisher: Graffeg Books
    Interest age: 4-8
    Reading age: 6+

    See What I Can Do! introduces a range of characters (based on real-life children) who each share an insight about disability and point out the challenges but also positive aspects of their lives. A beautiful book that celebrates individuality, empathy and understanding. 

  • Sister Switch

    Author: Beth Garrod
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Interest age: 9-13
    Reading age: 8+

    Lily and Erin are sisters, but they couldn't be more different. So what on earth will happen when they find that their bodies have been swapped? A fast-paced, laugh-out-loud story with lots of heart.

  • Striking Out

    Author: Ian Wright and Musa Okwonga
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    This engaging and uplifting novel, which celebrates friendship and community, is based on Ian Wright’s own childhood experiences and will appeal to any aspiring sportsperson. 

  • The Hideaway

    Author: Pam Smy
    Publisher: Pavilion
    Interest age: 11-14
    Reading age: 11+

    Pam Smy’s heartbreaking yet heartwarming illustrated novel has a supernatural element, but is really about the terrible impact that domestic violence can have on a family. 

  • The Little Wooden Robot and the Log Princess

    Author: Tom Gauld
    Publisher: Templar Books
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 6+

    A king and queen in a faraway land long for a child, so they consult a wise witch and royal inventor, who give them a girl and boy made from wood. This comic-style picture book is a lovely story about unconventional siblings with a strong and loving bond. 

  • The Rapping Princess

    Author: Hannah Lee Illustrator: Allen Fatimaharan
    Publisher: Faber
    Interest age: 4-5
    Reading age: 4+

    Shiloh's a princess – she’s supposed to sing, not rap. But she can't sing at all and has better flow than all the princes of the land put together. A hip-hopping fairy tale about feeling brave to stand out and accept your uniqueness

  • The Royal Rebel: The Life of Suffragette Princess Sophia Duleep Singh

    Author: Bali Rai Illustrator: Rachael Dean
    Publisher: Barrington Stoke
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    This fascinating tale highlights a troubling period of British history in an accessible manner. It explores the appalling impact of British rule on India, as well as the brutal treatment faced by women in Britain who demanded equality.

  • The Week At World’s End

    Author: Emma Carroll
    Publisher: Faber
    Interest age: 11-13
    Reading age: 9+

    Against the backdrop of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, Stevie finds a girl hiding in her garden shed. A personal, inspiring story of injustice and courage set against the backdrop of dramatic global events.

  • The Wild Before

    Author: Piers Torday
    Publisher: Quercus
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9+

    Little Hare’s story is a prequel to the environmental and animal-focused series that began with The Last Wild. Although the story's a sad one, this is a uniquely enjoyable book.

  • The World’s Most Pointless Animals

    Author: Philip Bunting
    Publisher: Happy Yak
    Interest age: 6-9
    Reading age: 7+

    From sugar gliders to red-lipped batfish, this collection of strange and unusual animals from around the world is an enjoyable factfile with lovely illustrations and an amusing read thanks to its rogue narrator, who shares jokey facts and silly names for each animal.

  • This Book Is Cruelty Free

    Author: Linda Newbery
    Publisher: Pavilion
    Interest age: 12-15
    Reading age: 12+

    In this thorough, well-researched and impassioned guide for older readers, Linda Newbery offers tips and advice on how to live a life that doesn’t cost the earth.

  • Three Little Vikings

    Author: Bethan Woollvin
    Publisher: Two Hoots
    Interest age: 3-5

    Best friends Wren, Ebba and Helga live with the Viking folk and love playing together. One day, a scary noise surrounds the village. The Chieftain says it’s just a thunderstorm, but does he really know best? A fairy-tale themed story with a Moomin-esque mood.

  • Ways To Be Me

    Author: Rebecca Scott and Libby Westcott
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Co-written by an author and a young autistic person, the book introduces us to Tally and her family on the road to a diagnosis. Tally’s story of family, friendship and growing up will resonate with any young person while also busting many an autism myth. 

  • We're Going to Find the Monster

    Author: Malorie Blackman Illustrator: Dapo Adeola
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 3-5

    A lovely slightly fairy tale-inspired tale about a family with two younger siblings and a teenager getting ready for breakfast, featuring the wonderful storytelling and word wizardry of Malorie Blackman and the illustrations of prize-winning Dapo Adeola.