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 January: 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

Bizzy Bear: Zoo Ranger

Author: Benji Davies

Bizzy is helping out all over the zoo: visiting the lions in their den, rather alarmingly brushing a crocodile with a broom, and feeding the penguins with a bucket of fish. Children will love spotting all the animals and this bright, bold and brilliant fun!

Read more about Bizzy Bear: Zoo Ranger

Pip and Posy: The Christmas Tree

Author: Axel Scheffler

Pip and Posy are putting up the Christmas tree. Mysteriously, when Posy goes to get some candy, she returns to find that one of the biscuits has gone. What happened? And why does Pip suddenly feel sick? A lovely picture book with a gentle moral. 

Read more about Pip and Posy: The Christmas Tree

Where’s Mr Penguin?

Author: Ingela P Arrhenius

There are lots of new friends to discover in this bright and colourful board book that celebrates polar animals. Even the tiniest book-lovers will be able to interact with this board book with its easy-to-turn and sturdy card pages.

Read more about Where’s Mr Penguin?

For ages 3-5 and up

Flat Cat

Author: Hiawyn Oram Illustrator: Gwen Millward

A lovely story about a pet that lives in a city apartment block, this is a nice reminder that many children also live in cities, as well as the moral that things don’t make people as happy as friends and family – and freedom – do.

Read more about Flat Cat

Lots of Frogs

Author: Howard Calvert Illustrator: Claudia Bolt

Even if you're not sure where the phrase 'as mad as a box of frogs' comes from, Howard Calvert’s story appears to be proof that with a box of frogs, madness ensues. Seriously silly fun that is sure to make little ones laugh. 

Read more about Lots of Frogs

The Elephant that Ate the Night

Author: Bing Bai Illustrator: Yuanyuan Shen

Children and families will enjoy this calming lullaby of a book, with its gentle refrain, muted colours and fairy tale-like charm. It's a great one for children who are scared of the dark, and it's perfect for bedtime and settling down for the night. 

Read more about The Elephant that Ate the Night

The Rescue of Bunny Wunny

Author: Emma Chichester Clark

Bunny Wunny belongs to Imelda. He has been her favourite toy ever since she was a baby. However, it’s not always easy being the favourite toy of such a bad-tempered girl. A wickedly funny story that highlights the importance of manners and respecting others. 

Read more about The Rescue of Bunny Wunny

The Wall in the Middle of the Book

Author: Jon Agee

Jon Agee is a well-known picture book author-illustrator in the US and this deceptively simple concept about walls, and what they keep in and out, is exceptionally well executed. A thought-provoking, topical book about relating to others.

Read more about The Wall in the Middle of the Book

When I Grow Up

Author: Julie Chen Illustrator: Diane Goode

Beautifully illustrated, this is a warm and reassuring story, dreaming of the future and knowing there are no limits to what children can grow up to be.

Read more about When I Grow Up

When Sadness Comes to Call

Author: Eva Eland

Introducing the concept of mental wellbeing, this picture book helps children to recognise and understand difficult emotions. The result is a contemplative and ultimately uplifting tale.

Read more about When Sadness Comes to Call

For ages 5-8 and up

2019 Nature Month-By-Month

Author: Anna Wilson Illustrator: Elly Jahanz

This month-by-month almanac is a whizz-bang tour of nature and culture that includes simple indoor activities as well as inspiration for outdoor fun like rockpooling or looking for bats. A wonderfully colourful, inclusive and joyous exploration of our world.

Read more about 2019 Nature Month-By-Month

Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas

Author: Dav Pilkey

Dog Man is a comic masterclass, perfect for the surreal sense of humour of the average six- to nine-year-old. It’s a full-colour comic throughout with five to six simple panels per page and split into eight chapters, so kids can feel like they’re reading a lot quickly.

Read more about Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas

Dragon Post

Author: Emma Yarlett

This is a delightful picture book with an extra element of brilliance in the five letters included in the book. Dragon Post manages to be a book about animal conservation, friendship, letter-writing and freedom, all wrapped up in a rather special little package.

Read more about Dragon Post

Jack Dash and the Great Custard Cake-Off

Author: Sophie Plowden Illustrator: Judy Brown

This crazy, carefree story has plenty of laugh-out-loud moments and some wild, imagination-stretching storylines, such as a peahen falling in love with a penguin, and a cake so hard from overbaking it causes a castle to crumble. 

Read more about Jack Dash and the Great Custard Cake-Off

Nadiya’s Bake Me a Celebration Story

Author: Nadiya Hussain Illustrator: Clair Rossiter

With bright illustrations and a smart finish, this is a real treat for any blossoming bakers. The stories themselves are short and sweet with funny dashes of modern life. Like Nadiya herself, this book is full of joy and love for all things family and food.

Read more about Nadiya’s Bake Me a Celebration Story

Robot: Meet the Machines of the Future

Author: DK foreword by Dr Lucy Rogers

Organised in different sections, highlighting the history of robotics, robots in the home, robots in the workplace, surgical robotics and even “hero” robots, Robot is an excellent introduction to current robot technology and development. 

Read more about Robot: Meet the Machines of the Future

The Adventures of Catvinkle

Author: Elliot Perlman Illustrator: Laura Stitzel

Catvinkle's peaceful cat existence is disrupted when her owner brings home Ula the Dalmatian. Against the odds, the pair become pals. But how will the other cats react? A chapter book with the inclusive message that friendship should extend to everyone.

Read more about The Adventures of Catvinkle

The Ice Monster

Author: David Walliams

The Ice Monster is an epic, loosely historical adventure that is funny, easy to read and shoots along at a rocket pace. Tony Ross’ glorious cover and artwork on almost every page are also a joy. 

Read more about The Ice Monster

The Legend of Sally Jones

Author: Jakob Wegelius Translator: Peter Graves

Jakob Wegelius’ graphic novel prequel to the novel The Murderer’s Ape tells the gorilla Sally Jones’ sad origin story with great compassion. It reminds us of the terrible ways humans have treated gorillas and orangutans.

Read more about The Legend of Sally Jones

Timothy Top

Author: Gud

An exciting first volume in an attractive series of graphic novels for junior readers, this tale successfully combines science fiction, humour, family difficulties and environmental concerns in an accessible and entertaining format.

Read more about Timothy Top

Young Heroes: Inspirational Children from Around the World

Author: Lula Bridgeport Illustrator: Federica Frenna / Isabel Munoz / Julianna Swaney

This collection of remarkable young people’s achievements is truly inspirational. With a gentle guide to being a hero yourself at the back of the book, and a look back at great children of the past, these amazing young people give us all hope for the future.

Read more about Young Heroes: Inspirational Children from Around the World

For ages 9-12 and up

A Year of Nature Poems

Author: Joseph Coelho Illustrator: Kelly Louise Judd

This beautifully illustrated portrait of one year in nature is put together by poet Joseph Coelho, with each month assigned a relevant and resonant poem. It reassuringly shows that emotions come and go, like the seasons – and the bad times always pass.

 

Read more about A Year of Nature Poems

Fantastic People who Dared to Fail!

Author: Luke Reynolds Illustrator: M S Corley

This book's premise is that failure is a necessary part of success as it builds resilience, determination and perseverance. It explores the setbacks that inspiring people have overcome to achieve their goals and tries to motivate children to have more self-belief. 

Read more about Fantastic People who Dared to Fail!

For Every One

Author: Jason Reynolds

The wonderful Jason Reynolds has written this seamless long-form poem about achieving your dreams and reaching your potential. A small but perfectly formed and utterly delightful book: an ideal pick-me-up for everyone.

Read more about For Every One

Lightning Chase Me Home

Author: Amber Lee Dodd

This is an unusual adventure story that successfully holds the reader under its spell. A growing sense of danger rumbles in the background and it combines a convincing contemporary context with timeless mystery and magic.

Read more about Lightning Chase Me Home

Royal Rebel

Author: Carina Axelsson

An empowering and fun, relatable read for tweens, Royal Rebel presents a young girl growing up in a matriarchal community and navigating family responsibilities alongside school, friends and being herself.

Read more about Royal Rebel

The Extremely Weird Thing that Happened in Huggabie Falls

Author: Adam Cece Illustrator: Andrew Weldon

An utterly nonsensical but engaging romp through the weirdest town in the world, featuring a warty witch, a creepy scientist, vegetarian piranhas and a dastardly plot that could change the town forever.

Read more about The Extremely Weird Thing that Happened in Huggabie Falls

The Girl with the Shark’s Teeth

Author: Cerrie Burnell

When mysterious men kidnap her mother, Minnow has to set sail alone for the magical, dangerous and beautiful Wild Deep. This book is full of lyrical, breathless prose and Burnell’s imagination is marvellous.

Read more about The Girl with the Shark’s Teeth

The Peculiar Peggs of Riddling Woods

Author: Samuel J Halpin

Is there something in the woods stealing children? A creepy, compelling and deliciously dark modern fairytale. For maximum tension and thrills, try reading under the covers by torchlight. 

Read more about The Peculiar Peggs of Riddling Woods

The Truth About Martians

Author: Melissa Savage

Mylo Affinito knows there's no such things as Martians... until an alien spaceship crash lands near his family's farm! A funny, warm tale which delicately deals with issues of grief, depression and tolerance.

Read more about The Truth About Martians

For teens (12+)

Banana Sunday

Author: Paul Tobin Illustrator: Colleen Coover

Fitting into a new school isn’t easy, as Kirby discovers. This full-colour graphic novel in a school setting has an intriguing mystery and a trio of wacky, talking primates, which wittily explores "otherness" in a number of ways. 

Read more about Banana Sunday

Paper Avalanche

Author: Lisa Williamson

Fourteen-year-old Ro Snow’s got a secret: her house is filled to the doors with her mother’s hoarded rubbish. A brilliant, thoughtful read that explores Bonnie’s mental health issues and their effect on Ro with compassion. 

Read more about Paper Avalanche

Virus: Virtual Kombat 2

Author: Chris Bradford Illustrator: Anders Frang

A tense and gripping thriller set in the world of virtual reality gaming, presented in a super-readable and accessible format for teens.

Read more about Virus: Virtual Kombat 2

Thank you!

A big thank you to everyone who donated to the BookTrust Christmas appeal. With your amazing support, we have reached over 11,500 children who are vulnerable or in care with a festive book parcel, and made them feel special this Christmas.

Find out how to support BookTrust in 2019 and help get books to more children

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