Best Books of 2017!

The Booksfortopics Best of 2017!

2017 has been a stellar year for children's books!

We've been asking our community of teachers, authors, librarians and book lovers to nominate their favourite children's books published in 2017!

This is what they told us... 


Peter Bunzl

Nominated by: Jeni Lane (@Mrs_Lane19), Class Teacher in Year 5/6 

"I absolutely loved the book, so much so, that I read it in one day. I just couldn’t put it down as I loved the excitement and adventure that flooded the pages. I can’t wait to read the third instalment!

Mold And The Poison Plot

Lorraine Gregory

Nominated by: Nicki Cleveland (@MissNCleveland), HLTA & school librarian

"The smells waft from the page as Mold encounters new friends and vicious villains in this heart-stopping, page-turner of an adventure through the fantasy realm of Pellegarno. I love this book for many reasons, but mainly because it's a celebration of the characters’ strengths drawn from their differences, the power of love and friendship, and the need to build bridges to the future rather than keep burning them down from the past. Mold and the Poison Plot is as emotional as it is intelligent. It opens up the whole debate around diversity and tolerance for children – which is very much needed – all wrapped up in a stonkingly good story."

Also featured on: best books for Year 5

Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink

Jennifer Killick

Nominated by: Vashti Hardy (@vashti_hardy), Children's Fiction Writer (keep an eye out for Vashti's children's novel 'Brightstorm', publishing March 2018 and available for pre-order here). 

"One of my favourite books of 2017 was Alex Sparrow and the Really Big Stink by Jennifer Killick. Not many books make me shoulder shake giggle but this is one of them. The humour and dialogue is so true to how children talk to each other in the playground, and I totally fell in love with the sparky characters of Alex and Jess (and Bob the goldfish!). But the reason this book resonates so well with me is the way humour is balanced with some really important themes, especially how the friends unite through difference and flaws become strengths. If I was still teaching, this would be top of my list for a whole class read for sheer enjoyment alongside sparking some important discussion points."

Malala’s Magic Pencil

Malala Yousafzai & Kerascoët

Nominated by: Laura Reid (@lauralaura27), Class Teacher in Year 3

"My nomination is Malala’s Magic Pencil. A beautiful book, which explains a tricky subject to young children brilliantly. The illustrations are perfect. I work in a deprived area and this has given some of my class a new hero. I love it!"

The Murderer's Ape

Jakob Wegelius

Nominated by: Roy James (@royjamesmoss), Librarian & Reader with KS2

"The Murderer’s Ape is a joyous read, a story of true friendship and loyalty. It’s so warming you could toast marshmallows on it, and it glides along so smoothly, you’ll barely notice you’ve just read 600 pages of a wonderful, thrilling adventure. It may be a cliché to say the characters become our friends while reading, but this book leaves you with the fuzzy feeling they’ll be around for much longer."

A Galaxy of Her Own: Amazing Stories of Women in Space

Libby Jackson

Nominated by: Scott Evans (@MrEPrimary), Primary Teacher and owner of 

"I have chosen this book because when I selected it from the shelf and turned the page, it was everything I wanted it to be (and more!): informative, interesting and most of all, inspirational. If you want to show children excellent examples of how people - in this instance, women in space - can aspire to achieve and succeed (often against the odds) then I could not think of a better non-fiction book out this year that could demonstrate this so well!"

Do You Speak Chocolate?

Cas Lester

Nominated by: Jo Cotterill (@jocotterillbook), author of children's books including A Library of Lemons, Looking at the Stars and A Storm of Strawberries (available here)

"Jaz is outspoken and having friendship troubles but when she meets Syrian refugee Nadima, she decides their shared love of sweets bodes well for a fantastic new friendship. This is a really heartwarming story that demonstrates very powerfully how friendship can overcome all kinds of obstacles of race, culture and language."

Pirate Blunderbeard

Amy Sparkes & Ben Cort

Nominated by: Jacqueline Harris (@Phonicsandbooks), educational consultant for early years & primary

"For younger children I nominate Pirate Blunderbeard by Amy Sparkes & Ben Cort, because it is daft and so funny I laughed out loud."

Who Let the Gods Out?

Maz Evans

Nominated by: Mr Mclugash (@MrMclugash) , Year 6 teacher and blogger at 

"Where do I start with this beauty? WLTGO was the first book I read this year and it was one of the main reasons why I got hooked on reading again. This book is full of humour and wit, complemented by a dash of Greek gods and a hard-hitting message about family illness. Maz is also an extremely active Twitter author."

Also featured on: books for Ancient Greece topics and best books for Year 5

One Christmas Wish

Katherine Rundell & Emily Sutton

Nominated by: Ian Eagleton (@MrEagleton), Year 2 teacher, English co-ordinator and Education Consultant

"This book has a wonderfully nostalgic, warm, comforting feel to it. The storyline and writing feel cosy and traditional, but also fresh and modern too. Rundell injects her story with energy and humour and the ending is particularly moving and surprising. The characters are all delightful too - amusing, engaging and larger than life and the writing is bought to life by Emily Sutton's beautiful, quirky and colourful illustrations. The perfect book to read whilst sat by a crackling fire, drinking a hot chocolate and watching the festive lights twinkle."


Heather Pindar & Sarah Jennings

Nominated by: Florence (age 4), resident book lover at booksfortopics HQ

"I love this book because of the magic wishes in it. I really liked finding out what the wishes were going to be after the cat appeared. The best thing of all was when they save one of the wishes for the brother at the end and we can decide for ourselves about what his wish will be for!" 


Eloise Williams

Nominated by: Finian Black (@finianblack), author of children's book 'The Final Raven' (available here)

"For me it's Gaslight by Eloise Williams. The Victorian setting of Cardiff is so beautifully crafted. It leaps off the page! Add in a terrific action packed plot and a new brilliant protagonist in Nansi and you've got an absolute belter of a book."

Also featured on: books for a Victorians topic

Nanette's Baguette

Mo Willems

Nominated by: Jenny Jones (@JennySarahJones), Head Prep School Librarian, Clifton College, Bristol.

"This is a fabulously funny, endearing book about Nanette who is entrusted, for the first time ever, to go out and buy a warm wonderful smelling baguette for her mother. Willems sets himself an increasingly hilarious task of finding new words to rhyme with 'Nanette' and 'baguette'. As the story goes on, it becomes something that young readers really find funny as they realise how much fun he is having with the rhymes and how ridiculous they become. The book is a visual delight as well. Willems constructed a French village scene by making 3D models out of cardboard boxes then imposed his cartoon style characters on top of the photographs digitally. This creates a wonderfully unique homemade effect that could easily inspire readers to create their own stories and scenes. As you'd expect from the author of the 'Pigeon' books and 'Elephant and Piggie', the story doesn't exactly go as you'd expect and there are several funny twists to the tale that readers will enjoy. Willems is quite rightly treated as a national treasure in the US children's publishing world but is not very well known this side of the Atlantic so do check his other books out too. My Year 1 classes are particularly obsessed with his peculiar brand of humour and we have a huge amount of fun sharing them together."

Bears Don't Eat Egg Sandwiches

Julie Fulton & Rachel Suzanne

Nominated by: Alison (@booksfortopics), owner of

"Here at booksfortopics HQ we can’t get enough of this humorous picture book with an irresistible repeated refrain! The story evokes elements of both The Tiger Who Came to Tea and Green Eggs and Ham, creating a wonderfully amusing new world of its own where boys negotiate lunchtime with bears in the most matter-of-fact kind of way. We love the bold, colourful illustrations that contrast the cartoon-like enormous bear with the photo-style collages of egg sandwiches, perfectly encapsulating the way in which the story merges the mundanity of lunchtime with the ludicrousness of the bear. We are certain that this one will quickly become a story-time favourite."

The Girl with the Lost Smile

Miranda Hart

Nominated by: Beth Bond (@JustTrouble), Year 6 teacher and ICT leader

"My favourite book of 2017 is The Girl with the Lost Smile by Miranda Hart. A beautifully moving book which mixes real issues with fantasy. Perfect for using within the classroom especially linking with PSHE."

The Goldfish Boy

Lisa Thompson

Nominated by: Nia Talbot (@NiaTalbot), Assistant Headteacher & Y6 English Teacher

"I really enjoyed reading The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson. It’s definitely a mystery story but so much more than that. The book is a commentary on people and how they perceive conditions such as OCD. So many of my class have borrowed my copy and loved it. That’s a sign of a good book."

Also featured on: best books for Year 5

Running on the Roof of the World

Jess Butterworth

Nominated by: Scott Evans (@MrEPrimary), Primary Teacher and owner of 

"I completely adored reading this remarkable story of survival, determination, companionship and courage. Feeling like I was actually there, transported across the globe to the towering, atmospheric peaks of Tibet during this exciting, eye-opening and fast-paced journey of adventure, the book's succinct chapters achieve such success in its powerful storytelling. I am very much recommending Jess’ thrilling debut to Upper Key Stage 2 teachers and I can’t wait for her second novel, When the Mountains Roared, expected in April 2018."

Also featured on: best books for Year 6

The Night Spinner

Abi Elphinstone

Nominated by: Leanne Woolcock (@Mrs_Woolcock), Year 6  Teacher and English coordinator

"The Night Spinner, the third instalment of Abi Elphinstone's heroic trilogy, sees the magnificent finale to the epic journey of Molly and Griff. Through arduous battles and final revelations, the gutsy characters must finally put an end to the dark magic that has plagued their world. Their friendship and bravery will be tested again but not without sacrifice. A must read for all who wish to experience heart pumping action on a monumental scale!"

Sea (from The Huntress Trilogy)

Sarah Driver

Nominated by: Sinéad O'Hart  (@SJOHart), author of children's book 'The Eye of the North' (available to pre-order here)

"I nominate Sarah Driver's SEA for its exceptional world-building and mythology, its brilliant use of dialogue and dialect, and the strength of the central character, Mouse."

Also featured on: best books for Year 6