New children's books we love

Every month, we review dozens of books for children and teenagers. Here are the ones we liked best in July: guaranteed to get your child reading... 

Whether they're a teeny toddler or a very particular teen, this is where you can find your child's next amazing book: just scroll down to find books for a range of ages. 

You can also keep track of the latest titles by looking at our past reading recommendations in:

For ages 0-3 and up

Don’t Make Me Cross

Author: Smriti Prasadam-Halls Illustrator: Angie Rozelaar

Little Monster claims to be sweet, but is proving to be anything but! Children will love the naughty monster snatching presents and hogging sweets, and parents will delight in reminding them not to be like Little Monster if they don’t want to end up feeling silly! 

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Zoom, Zoom, Zoom!

Author: Annie Kubler

The blend of rhyme, repetition and alliteration is a recipe almost guaranteed to attract a toddler. This delightful board book combines all these elements, along with a rocket theme for added excitement. 

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For ages 3-5 and up

Astro Girl

Author: Ken Wilson-Max

Astrid loves the stars and space, and wants to be an astronaut. A delightful and educational book for young readers interested in space travel, with colourful illustrations, large-print text, fun facts, diverse characters and heartfelt father-daughter interactions. 

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Brave Molly

Author: Brooke Boynton-Hughes

In this (almost) wordless picture book, a young girl’s anxiety is brought to life in dark shadowy figures that follow her around. Brave Molly will capture the attention of art fans, as well as being useful for children dealing with anxiety and fear-issues. 

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Ceri & Deri: The Treasure Map

Author: Max Low

Ceri the Cat and her best friend Deri the Dog are on the hunt for treasure. Max Low’s illustrations are cartoony and comic and this gentle story is perfect for those who want to avoid too much peril or drama. 

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Clem and Crab

Author: Fiona Lumbers

Clem loves going to the beach and tries hard to keep the coastline clean, but soon realises she needs the help and enthusiasm of her classmates, too. An uplifting and inspiring picture book that demonstrates that lots of small actions can have a big impact. The uplifting story is accompanied by beautiful illustrations, which bring the seascape to life.

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Don't Go There

Author: Jeanne Willis Illustrator: Hrefna Bragadottir

A little girl is excited when a Martian comes to play, but there's a problem - he's not toilet trained yet! Little ones will love this charming, funny story about learning to use the loo.

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Duck and Penguin Are Not Friends

Author: Julia Woolf

Maud and Betty are the best of friends, so it only stands to reason that their favourite toys will be, too – doesn't it?! Funny and full of insight, this is the perfect picture book for celebrating the ins and outs of friendship. 

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Why Are There So Many Books about Bears?

Author: Kristina Stephenson

In the hallowed hall of Mollusc college, the animals with the most brilliant minds have come together to answer the impossible question: why are there so many books about bears? 

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For ages 5-8 and up

An Otter Called Pebble

Author: Helen Peters Illustrator: Ellie Snowdon

Friends Jasmine and Tom spot a baby otter alone on the riverbank and decide to help and name her Pebble. This heartwarming tale of hope, kindness and determination will delight young independent readers with an interest in wildlife. 

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BOOT: Small Robot Big Adventure

Author: Shane Hegarty Illustrator: Ben Mantle

The heartwarming story of Boot, a junkyard toy, will hook readers from page one. Shane Hegarty has a magic touch with words and has crafted a story that is a true delight to read and will linger long after the book finishes.

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Child of St Kilda

Author: Beth Waters

Norman John Gillies was born on Hirta, the largest island making up St Kilda, in 1925: an isolated place to live, exposed to the worst of the Atlantic weather. Now, it is deserted. A remarkable illustrated story that illuminates a little-known community.

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Cloud Forest

Author: Victoria Turnbull

Victoria Turnbull’s visionary art in this book of few words is really the star of the show, depicting magical lands of soft imagination and a dreamlike sense of togetherness, as well as the grief that the little monkey feels when Umpa is gone. 

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Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson put Astronauts on the Moon

Author: Helaine Becker Illustrator: Dow Phmiruk

The fascinating story of Katherine Johnson, who yearned to know about numbers and the universe, and ended up calculating the flight paths to the moon despite numerous obstacles. An inspiring picture book for children to dream big and work hard. 

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Frockodile

Author: Jeanne Willis Illustrator: Stephanie Laberis

Cliff the crocodile discovers a slinky frock and some fabulous peals and heels, and feels divine in them! But when the hyenas laugh at him, he starts to worry about others finding out his secret. A funny picture book that looks at inclusion and acceptance with a light, expert touch.

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Just Read!

Author: Lori Degman Illustrator: Victoria Tentler-Krylov

There's so much fun to be had when you have a book... and you can enjoy stories anywhere! This wholehearted celebration of reading would be a gorgeous addition to any bookworm's shelves.

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McTavish Takes the Biscuit

Author: Meg Rosoff Illustrator: Grace Easton

After McTavish, a rescue dog, whipped the Peachey family into shape, they’ve all become food fans. Even Pa Peachey is determined to win a local Bake Off competition. Fortunately, McTavish is on the case to ensure that everything ends up as well as it can…

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Nell and the Circus of Dreams

Author: Nell Gifford Illustrator: Briony May Smith

Nell finds a lost chick and cares for it, naming it Rosebud. One day, Rosebud is gone and Nell runs into the meadows looking for her – and finds a circus instead! This beautiful, jewel-like book is a real star, all about friendship, magic and circuses. 

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Somebody Swallowed Stanley

Author: Sarah Roberts Illustrator: Hannah Peck

Written by an animal behaviourist and environmental campaigner, this gentle tale subtly educates children about the damage a simple plastic bag can do to wild animals. Lively illustrations accompany the rhythmic, repetitive text, which is perfect to read aloud.

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The Missing Bookshop

Author: Katie Clapham Illustrator: Kirsti Beautyman

Katie Clapham's love of books and bookshops shines through in this absolutely delightful story, illustrated by the very talented Kirsti Beautyman, about love, family, books and community. Absolutely delightful.

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For ages 9-12 and up

Can You See Me?

Author: Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott

Starting secondary school is a daunting time for any 11 year old – and Natalia is no exception. This is a powerful, readable and relatable story about trying to fit in. Along the way, a host of assumptions and stereotypes about autism are smashed. 

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Clifftoppers: The Arrowhead Moor Adventure

Author: Fleur Hitchcock

This rip-roaring page turner about a group of strongminded young sleuths is reminiscent of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five series. Bursting with intrigue and excitement, it is ideal for confident young readers who enjoy traditional, wholesome adventure tales.

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Level Up!

Author: Tom Nicoll Illustrator: Anjan Sarkar

A fun and mildly scary virtual romp through a computer game packed with space paraphernalia and gadgetry. Entertaining black-and-white illustrations add atmosphere and more than a few laughs.

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Lost

Author: Eve Ainsworth

Alfie used to be good at football, but now his mother is dead and he no longer has the heart to play. A friendship with troubled Alice helps him cope with grief. A moving, convincing story about the delicate relationships between father, son and friend. 

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Marta: Ultimate Football Heroes

Author: Charlotte Browne

This biography showcases the srength of Brazilian footballer Marta, both on and off the pitch, and should be compulsory reading for every girl. Marta’s steely determination will inspire young people to follow their passions, whether they feature a football or not.

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Owen and the Soldier

Author: Lisa Thompson Illustrator: Mike Lowery

A beautiful tale of a courageous young man who overcomes his fears when he finds an unlikely companion in a park statue. Complex ideas of young carers, social anxiety and remembrance are sensitively weaved into a light and accessible story.

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Runaway Robot

Author: Frank Cottrell-Boyce Illustrator: Steven Lenton

Alfie has one hand; Eric has one leg. Can a small boy and a giant, police car-crushing robot ever be friends? And do bad things in your past have to destroy your future? Hilarious, complex and hugely satisfying.

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The Middler

Author: Kirsty Applebaum

In the town of Fennis Wick, there are two rules: eldests go to military camp when they turn 14, and you don’t talk to wanderers, like Maggie. This dystopian novel, set in a seemingly idyllic town, will send a shiver down the spine. 

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The Nothing to See Here Hotel: Sea-ing is Believing

Author: Steven Butler Illustrator: Steven Lenton

A riotous rollercoaster of a read featuring fantastically weird magical creatures, a disgusting hotel menu and fiendishly wicked ancestors. Perfect for middle grade readers who love absurdity and wild imagination in their books.

Read more about The Nothing to See Here Hotel: Sea-ing is Believing

The Unexpected Find

Author: Toby Ibbotson

This intriguing novel weaves together the stories of three seemingly disparate characters to create a rich tapestry of mystery, myth and adventure. Extremely unusual and beautifully written, this is a compelling and moving read. 

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You’ve Been Werewolfed

Author: Tom McLaughlin

Tyler can’t wait for the summer holidays to start, until she discovers she's been enrolled by her dad at Happyville Summer Camp. Even more alarming is when, through a madcap series of events, she starts to morph into a werewolf. Hilarious stuff.

Read more about You’ve Been Werewolfed

For teens (12+)

Summer Bird Blue

Author: Akemi Dawn Bowman

Rumi struggles with loss and anger and ultimately finds her way back to the thing that gives her relief: music. A stunning and visceral depiction of survival after devastating grief and the potential of music to heal. 

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The Paper and Hearts Society

Author: Lucy Powrie

Tabby hopes that moving to a new town will release her from the relentless bullying of her ex-best friend. This debut novel from a well-known book blogger and YouTuber is an absolute must for anyone who is fed up with trying to fit in.

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Toffee

Author: Sarah Crossan

Allison befriends a woman with dementia, and an unusual friendship develops against the odds. This beautiful, profound verse novel goes straight to the heart and asks the questions teenagers most want to explore: who am I and what’s my place in the world? 

Read more about Toffee

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