New books we love this month

Every month, we review dozens of children's books. Here are the ones we liked best of all in July. 

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

For age 0-4+

Billy and the Beast

Author: Nadia Shireen

Billy and her friend Fatcat are enjoying a walk in the woods when they notice that the bunnies and mice have gone missing – and a hungry Beast is collecting ingredients for a terrible soup. An empowering story, full of humour and humanity. 

Read more about Billy and the Beast

Going to the Volcano

Author: Andy Stanton Illustrator: Miguel Ordonez

Dwayne is heading off with Jane to look at the volcano. But when they get there, they have a bit of a shock! This hilarious and anarchic picture book from the author of the Mr Gum series is ideal for reading aloud.

Read more about Going to the Volcano

I Really Want to See You, Grandma

Author: Taro Gomi

Yumi and her grandmother have the same great idea at the same time: they want to see each other! Simple and lovely with a warm colour palette, Taro Gomi has created another wonderful book about everyday life, with an enduring message that love conquers all.

Read more about I Really Want to See You, Grandma

Is it a Mermaid?

Author: Candy Gourlay Illustrator: Francesca Chessa

Bel and Benji meet a friendly dugong, also known as a sea cow, on a tropical beach. This delightful book about friendship, imagination and self-belief includes factual information about these gentle marine mammals, who are sadly at threat of extinction. 

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Joy

Author: Corrinne Averiss Illustrator: Isabelle Follath

This uplifting tale, which explores the nature of happiness and celebrates the touching relationship between grandparent and child, is an absolute delight.

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Lift and Look Bugs

Author: Tracy Cottingham

Published in partnership with the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, this board book for young readers explores some of the places we can find bugs. Each page is an explosion of colour, which can’t fail to grab the attention of any budding naturalists and gardeners.

Read more about Lift and Look Bugs

Rhyme Flies

Author: Antonia Pesenti Illustrator: Ed Boxall

This arty rhyme book for babies is full of surprises, featuring rhymes that no one will see coming! The glossy board book format is really robust and the fold-out flap pages are easy for little fingers to turn. Definitely a book to share and laugh over together.

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Can You Say It Too? Stomp! Stomp!

Author: Sebastien Braun

A board book specially designed for children who are just starting to talk, with sturdy flaps, bright colours and bold illustrations giving it younger appeal, too. Part of Nosy Crow’s lovely little board series that covers all kinds of animals.

Read more about Can You Say It Too? Stomp! Stomp!

Ta-Da!

Author: Kathy Ellen Davis Illustrator: Kaylani Juanita

A girl and boy play together with their toys, imagining crystal castles, dragons, pirates and magic wands. This humorous picture book about imaginative play and friendship demonstrates that – with a little give and take – a game shared can be double the fun.

Read more about Ta-Da!

The New Neighbours

Author: Sarah McIntyre

Sarah McIntyre returns to Pickle Rye, the setting for her comic Vern and Lettuce, in this clever book about tolerance and not believing gossip. Readers will love her customary attention to detail, as well as the message about being a good neighbour.

Read more about The New Neighbours

Zeki Gets a Checkup

Author: Anna McQuinn Illustrator: Ruth Hearson

Zeki is a big boy now – he loves hiding toys, playing ball, singing and dancing. Today, he’s going for a checkup at the doctors’ with Daddy and his toy Mister Seahorse. A lovely book to share with toddlers, which marks their developmental milestones.

Read more about Zeki Gets a Checkup

For age 5-12+

Alex Sparrow and the Furry Fury

Author: Jenifer Killick

Agent Alex and Jess are back for the second book in the Alex Sparrow series and still bickering constantly! Their latest mission begins when animals turn against humans. An innocent, funny and exciting read, with characters you wish you could be friends with.

Read more about Alex Sparrow and the Furry Fury

Cinderella of the Nile

Author: Beverley Naidoo Illustrator: Marjan Vafaeian

Rhodopis is a rarity in the north of Greece, with her red hair and blue eyes. Soon, she is kidnapped and turned into a slave. When the Pharoah finds a slipper, he declares he will marry the owner. This version of the Cinderella story is based on an Egyptian tale.

Read more about Cinderella of the Nile

Ella on the Outside

Author: Cath Howe

Ella's going through a lot of changes - a new home, a new school, and a big family secret to keep under wraps. But how far will she go to stay friends with popular girl Lydia? An enormously entertaining read that will strike a chord with many young readers.

Read more about Ella on the Outside

Fantastic Footballers

Author: Jean-Michele Billioud Illustrator: Almasty

This Madam Tussauds of the footballing world showcases 40 legends from the beautiful game. Ideal for fact-hungry football fans but also stylishly designed to create the perfect coffee table book. A great book to read together as a family.

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Holes

Author: Jonathan Litton Illustrator: Thomas Hegbrook

A fascinating book on holes, from subways to sinkholes, as well as the philosophical concept of a hole and some surprising cultural facts. Any budding archaeologists will really enjoy this original take on the natural and built environment.

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McTavish Goes Wild

Author: Meg Rosoff Illustrator: Grace Easton

The Peachey family have a rescue dog called McTavish – but McTavish is pretty sure he's there to rescue THEM. So when the family go camping, McTavish decides to bring the family closer together. Gentle, funny and affectionate, with well-drawn characters.

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Poppy the Police Horse

Author: Gavin Puckett Illustrator: Tor Freeman

Told in hilarious rhyming couplets and with Tor Freeman’s brilliantly comic illustrations, this little book is about a police horse named Poppy, who was born blind. Poppy learns a valuable lesson: the pride from helping others is the best feeling of all...

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Riddle of the Runes

Author: Janina Ramirez Illustrator: David Wyatt

Alva is a strong, fierce and exciting heroine and this is an interesting approach to the well-known story of Vikings, which puts women at the centre of the story. An enjoyable adventure.

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Scales and Scoundrels

Author: Author Sebastian Girner Illustrator: Galaad and Jeff Powell

Luvander and her companions go on an expedition to find The Hall of Dreaming Teasures. Their journey is like a cross between Indiana Jones and The Lord of the Rings. A fun fantasy adventure packed with action and humour and comic-style ilustrations.

Read more about Scales and Scoundrels

Skyward

Author: Sally Deng

This slightly fictionalised version of the experiences of female pilots in World War Two is a fascinating read in terms of untold history. It's also an inspiring and heartwarming story of the close bonds these pioneer female pilots formed with each other. Brilliant.

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Station Zero

Author: Philip Reeve

An epic conclusion to the Railhead series, Station Zero follows Zen and Nova – and the trains Damask Rose and Ghost Wolf – as they fight for the people and the things they believe in. An adventure, a race against time, and a tale of great friendships and power.

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The 5 Misfits

Author: Beatrice Alemagna

Beatrice Alemagna’s highly original illustration style is a wonderful mix of collage and pencil, and her quirky, lovable story about the importance of being yourself –  especially when you might be regarded as odd by others –  is a jewel among children’s books. 

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The Boy at the Back of the Class

Author: Onjali Q Raúf

This is the story about how four classmates have a massive impact on the life of Ahmet, a boy that comes to their school as a refugee from Syria. An inspiring and sweet tale that should help children be the best they can be and realise the power of kindness.

Read more about The Boy at the Back of the Class

The Storm Keeper’s Island

Author: Catherine Doyle

Fionn and his sister Tara are spending their summer on the remote island of Arranmore, off the coast of Ireland, staying with their grandfather. Readers will be swept away by the setting, atmosphere and magic of Arranmore as Fionn discovers its history and secrets. 

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The Universe's Greatest Dinosaur Jokes and Pre-Hysteric Puns

Author: Artie Bennett

The Universe's Greatest Dinosaur Jokes and Pre-Hysteric Puns sums it all up in its title: this is a book wholly, purely dedicated to teasing out all the possible punniness out of our prehistoric reptile friends. It's zany, it's silly, and perfect for the dino-obsessed.

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The Boy Who Hit Play

Author: Chloe Daykin

A funny, life-affirming quest for identity that sees 12-year old Elvis Crampton Lucas and his adoptive dad racing across Norway, pursued by a shadowy villain. Captivating and thought-provoking.

Read more about The Boy Who Hit Play

For teens (12+)

Bookshop Girl

Author: Chloe Coles

Peggy has a mere four weeks to save Greysworth’s only bookshop from demolition. A funny, accessible and absorbing first novel with a couple of feisty heroines, which explores a love of books, fighting for a cause and the perils of falling for a poser.

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Hidden

Author: Miriam Halahmy

Alix doesn’t want any trouble with the local bullies. But then she defends Samir, a boy who has recently joined their school – and is from Iraq, seeking refuge in England. A book about a serious subject which is nonetheless warm, funny and optimistic. 

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In Your Light

Author: Annalie Grainger

In the midst of a violent storm, Lil comes across a young girl: dirty, bleeding and terrified. Could she hold the key to the disappearance of Lil’s sister, four months earlier?  An unsettling story of secrets, sisterhood and obsession.

Read more about In Your Light

The Ghosts and Jamal

Author: Bridget Blankley

Jamal wakes to find that everyone in his West African village have been killed. He alone has survived because of how others perceive his epilepsy. This is a powerful, moving and mesmerising story, set in a violent world and seen through a 13-year-old's eyes. 

Read more about The Ghosts and Jamal

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