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 May: 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 for:

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We've sorted our favourite new books into rough age ranges, but this is just a guide and readers might find something they'll love in a different category. 

For ages 0-3 and up

Tim Hopgood's ABC

Author: Tim Hopgood

A perfect accompaniment to days out in the pushchair for toddlers or repeated reads at home, this is an accessibly beautiful, well-made alphabet book with 1-2 year olds in mind and is a lovely place to start learning letters, animals and words.

Read more about Tim Hopgood's ABC

For ages 4-5 and up

Farmyard Friends: Portly Pig

Author: Axel Scheffler

Portly Pig is worried about being too clean. The grass is too pristine and the flowers and trees are too neat, so he goes to find somewhere muckier. Yet when Portly finds a nice muddy puddle to roll in, grey clouds appear and Portly gets washed clean again. What’s a pig to do?

Read more about Farmyard Friends: Portly Pig

Show and Tell

Author: Rob Biddulph

It’s Show and Tell day and class 2L are very excited: one child begins by showing everyone a sunflower seed, but the children begin competing with each other to show a bigger, more impressive thing than the child before. When an alien appears and steals all those wonderful treasures, there’s only one thing left. Fortunately, it’s just the right thing to win …

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King of the Classroom

Author: Derrick Barnes Illustrator: Vanessa Brantley-Newton

This wonderfully empowering picture book for little ones not only assuages their possible fears about starting school or nursery but models a celebratory approach to the big day with an upbeat story about being confident.

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The Longest Strongest Thread

Author: Inbal Leitner

A little girl is moving with her family to a cold country and leaving her grandmother behind; it’s too cold for her where they’re going, so she’s going to stay at home. A touching, gentle story about saying goodbye to our loved ones - and being distanced from them.

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Ready Rabbit?

Author: Fiona Roberton

Rabbit has been invited to a party but he’s not sure that he wants to go. He’s worried that there might be a spider in the bathroom, that it might be too loud, that a kid from school he doesn’t like might be there. Slowly, the narrator of the book manages to persuade Rabbit to go the party: after all, there will be music, dancing, games, prizes, cake and car…

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My Pet T-Rex

Author: Fabi Santiago

This colourful story is about the joy and excitement of owning a pet, and, like any good book about pets, acknowledges that there is some work involved to make sure our animals are safe and happy. Combined with a delightful T-Rex, this is a fabulous picture book with a lot of cuteness and laughs thrown in. 

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Rhinocorn Rules!

Author: Matt Carr

Ron might look the same as the other rhinos, but he's different. He doesn't want to be grumpy and grey - he wants to be bright, fun, and to show off his true colours as a Rhinocorn!

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There's a Lion in the Library!

Author: Dave Skinner Illustrator: Aurélie Guillerey

Little Lucy Lupin loves to tell lies - and she looks so sweet and innocent that everybody believes her! Until one day, when a big fierce lion appears in the library, it looks like her lies might catch up with her after all...

Read more about There's a Lion in the Library!

Super Happy Magic Forest and the Humongous Fungus

Author: Matty Long

It’s the day of the Frolic Festival in the Super Happy Magic Forest and everyone’s waiting for the Rainbow Dragon to appear, but something is very wrong. It's up to five unusual heroes – including Trevor, a small talking mushroom and Blossom the burping unicorn - to investigate.

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Work It, Girl: Blast Off Into Space Like Mae Jemison

Author: Caroline Moss Illustrator: Sinem Erkas

A beautifully written and illustrated book about the inspiring life story of Mae Jemison, the first black woman in space, from the wonderful Work It Girl series. 

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Professor Astro Cat’s Deep Sea Voyage

Author: Dr Dominic Walliman Illustrator: Ben Newman

Professor Astro Cat is back with his friends Gilbert, Martha, Felicity, Evie and Astro Mouse, setting sail on an incredible deep sea voyage in this book full of stunning retro illustrations and fascinating ocean facts.

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For ages 6-8 and up

Real-Life Disasters: Investigate What Really Happened!

Author: Susan Martineau and Vicky Barker

In this engaging dossier-style book, children explore a number of real life disasters such as the sinking of the Titanic, the Bermuda Triangle and the Black Death as well as investigating what happens when volcanoes, wild weather and earthquakes happen.

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Old Enough to Save the Planet

Author: Loll Kirby Illustrator: Aledina Lirius

Telling the stories of twelve young activists inspiring change in their communities and around the world, this is a book to treasure and so too are the young people whose stories it contains. Celebrating young activists, in style, it will inform and inspire many more.

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Saving Winslow

Author: Sharon Creech

Louie takes on the challenge of saving Winslow the baby donkey, but can he let Winslow go when the time is right?

Read more about Saving Winslow

Super Cats v Maximus Fang

Author: Gwyneth Rees Illustrator: Becka Moor

The Super Cast are an elite team of crime-fighting felines - and the biggest baddie of them all, Gory Gus, is about to break his old pal Maximus Fang out of prison and wreak havoc on the world. Can new recruits Tagg and Sugarfoot infiltrate his gang and stop the breakout before it's too late?

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Peanut Butter and Jelly (A Narwhal and Jelly Book)

Author: Ben Clanton

Narwhal and Jelly are the best of friends - but when Jelly persuades Narwhal to try peanut butter for the first time ever, it's a life-changing event for Narwhal as he becomes obsessed with the fabulous new flavour sensation! These quirky comic strips are perfect for younger children looking for something a bit unusul.

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What Stars Are Made Of

Author: Sarah Allen

12 year old Libby’s big sister is pregnant and Libby is thrilled - but also anxious, as the pregnancy isn’t going smoothly. Born with a rare condition, Libby wants no such challenges for this baby. So she makes a deal with the universe to safeguard her family’s happiness...

Read more about What Stars Are Made Of

For ages 9-11 and up

Clean Getaway

Author: Nic Stone

One day, Scoob's Grandma turns up at his house and invites him on a road trip - retracing the steps of a trip she took with his late grandpa. This is a satisfying, timeless read about a family’s history which intersects with the American civil rights movement, and reminds readers of the impact of racism and intolerance.

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Mic Drop: A High Rise Mystery

Author: Sharna Jackson

The second in Sharna Jackson’s High Rise Mystery books sees Nik and Norva return with another crime to solve on their home turf. 

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Anisha, Accidental Detective

Author: Serena Patel Illustrator: Emma McCann

Anisha's ultra-dramatic Aunty Bindi is getting married tomorrow and the groom, Uncle Tony, has been kidnapped! Can Anisha and her best friend Milo track down the culprit - and Uncle Tony - in time for his wedding?

Read more about Anisha, Accidental Detective

Sticky Pines: The Bigwoof Conspiracy

Author: Dashe Roberts

Strange things are happening in the town of Sticky Pines: odd lights in the sky, people disappearing, and now a huge, hairy creature is hanging out in the woods. Can Lucy and Milo unravel the mystery of Bigwoof? Written with wit and humour, Roberts has created a fun new series reminiscent of the X-Files and pitched perfectly for 9-12 year-olds.

Read more about Sticky Pines: The Bigwoof Conspiracy

Roxy & Jones: The Great Fairytale Cover Up

Author: Angela Woolfe

An exciting, witty adventure thriller for anyone who has fond memories of the traditional fairy tales and would not be surprised to find out that they are all entirely true.

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Wilde

Author: Eloise Williams

In the midst of an intense heatwave in the small Welsh village of Witches Point, mysterious notes claiming to be curses from a legendary witch cause a ‘blame game’ which seems certain to wreck at least one life.

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Dust Road

Author: Tom Huddleston

In a post-apocalyptic future, war between tribes seems inevitable but there is just a chance that siblings Kara and Joe might be able to stop it.

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Talking to the Moon

Author: S.E. Durrant

Iris’ grandmother is losing her memory. While protecting her, Iris tracks down the secret behind a bracelet and develops a tentative friendship with the boy next door.

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Robin Hood

Author: Robert Muchamore

In this contemporary retelling of the legend of Robin Hood, 12 year old Robin - armed with his trademark bow and arrow, but also some impressive parkour skills - is on a mission to defeat brutal underworld boss Guy Gisborne and clear his father's name. Violent and exhilarating with flashes of humour, this is well-suited to older children.

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The List of Things That Will Not Change

Author: Rebecca Stead

Bea’s dad is gay and he’s marrying his boyfriend Jesse, who Bea loves. Bea lives half of her week with mum, half of the week with dad. When Sonia, Jesse’s daughter, comes to stay, Bea is really excited about the prospect of a new sister, but it all feels strange to Sonia. Will Bea get the sister she’s always wanted?

Read more about The List of Things That Will Not Change

The Surprising Power of a Good Dumpling

Author: Wai Chim

Anna's Ma hasn't got out of bed for weeks and it's up to Anna to take care of her family. But when Ma finally leaves her room, things don't exactly go as Anna had planned. This beautiful book takes a nuanced and sensitive approach to a loved one experiencing a mental health problem, and highlights the importance of our own emotional wellbeing. 

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For teens (12+)

Fig Swims the World

Author: Lou Abercrombie

Fig is tired of her mother making New Year's resolutions for her, so this year she's come up with her own - to swim around the world (she just has to learn how to swim first). A wonderful coming-of-age adventure that will leave young people feeling inspired.

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Pretty Funny

Author: Rebecca Elliott

Haylah Swinton wants to be a stand-up comic, but her lack of confidence stands in her way. Can she find the self-esteem to love her body and reject the boy who’s using her?

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BookTrust HomeTime

Looking for something fun as a family? Enjoy storytime with our free online books and videos, play games, win prizes, test your knowledge in our book-themed quizzes, or even learn how to draw some of your favourite characters.

Go to the HomeTime hub

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