Recommended children's booklists sorted by age or topic

Home > Books of The Month > Best Books This Month – January 2024

Best Books This Month – January 2024

icon - best books winner
best childrens books january 2024

It’s easy to feel lost in the flood of so many new children’s books available. Each month, our review panel reads scores of new books and we highlight five of our recently published favourites.

Check out our Review Panel’s top books for you to read in January 2024.

Support independent bookshops

Hattie Hearn,Neon Squid
 & Margarida Esteves

This book was a gem of a read. It has become my favourite book about World War 2 and was very popular with my Year 6 class. It is a large hardback and was bigger than expected (154 pages of tales), which was a wonderful surprise!

The contents page is full of what the true tales will be about, in addition to telling us about the key events of the war, in chronological order. The clues in the titles led to natural discussions and predictions about what the tale could be about- and were sometimes a red herring as they thought ‘The Guinea Pig Club’ would be about guinea pigs, however, it was a twist they were not expecting.

As a class, pupils enjoyed voting for a tale to share, with favourites being ‘A Bear Called Wojtek’ and ‘Rip the Rescue Dog’ – as stories of animals in the war are of particular interest to children and they were shocked to learn that a bear was enlisted into the Polish army as a private and fought alongside the soldiers!

Each page is a visual delight, with some smaller illustrations, to whole page illustrations- it is a book that could be shared under a visualiser to get a full impact or for small groups to share.

Even those who know a lot about the war, will find out something new in this book. A must-have for anyone with an interest in World War 2 or for any class learning about World War 2. .

Paula Harrison
Chapter book

If you have children who enjoy a fractured fairy tale, then this fast paced, illustrated chapter book series is one they’ll love. It’s got everything you want in a fairy tale – magical settings, mythical creatures, magic carpets, talking toads and the triumph of good over evil – with three strong female protagonists and some ninja moves mixed in for good measure!

In this third book in the series, the fairies suspect a new villain is on the move when fairies begin to be trapped and have their magic subdued. Goldie Locks and her friends attempt to outwith a very nasty enchantress to outwit, with the help of magic wishes. 

Oodles of feel-good fun for the 7-9 age group, this magical series would make a great read aloud alongside a traditional tales topic and gives lots of ideas for creating your own tale with a twist.

Nikita Gill
 & Chaaya Prabhat

‘Stories are ‘like a river flowing backward in time,’ writes Nikita Gill as she explains that the tales in this collection were originally told to her by her grandmother, who got them from her mother, who got them from her grandmother – and so on back through thousands of years of Sanskrit tradition. Each one, she says, is ‘as precious as the moon itself’ and she retells them all with an infectious love for stories.

I was quickly drawn in and soon entranced by the stories of Fierce Yowl and Clever Snout the jackals; of nomadic geese and a talkative tortoise; of an entitled lion and a resourceful bear cub. Each story begins conversationally as the author introduces the characters, and then ends in the same tone as, with the lightest of touches, she points out the moral. The reader can almost hear the voice of the older generations passing on the tales.

In between, the stories themselves are told with vividness and pace – a balance of description and narrative with direct speech at the key moments. Luscious illustrations by Chaaya Prabhat and high-quality production make it not only a wonderful gift book but a gem for any primary school too. The stories will provide wonderful read-alouds, each about the right length for a satisfying end-of-the-day storytime.

There is an opportunity for interesting book talk, comparing the stories with traditional tales from other parts of the world – Brer Rabbit, Aesop, Anansi – and a lot of scope for initiating PSHE discussions – about friendship, loyalty or honesty, say. Should your class be writing traditional tales, here are some richly written models to help inspire young writers. If your class is studying India, what happier way to illustrate the rich culture of the subcontinent?

Versatile and beautiful – I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Jess French
Chapter book

Kayla, Alethea and Rustus could not be more different and, growing up in different parts of the kingdom, they could not be less likely to meet, let alone become friends. But when circumstance throws them together, their individual quests become entwined and they soon realise that the fate of the whole kingdom could lie with them. Can they overcome the evil upon them or will they fail like others expect them to?

Jess French is a vet, zoologist, entomologist, naturalist and TV presenter. Her knowledge of animals has made her a successful children’s author, producing several books that make understanding animals and the importance of protecting them easily accessible and enjoyable to even the youngest readers. This appears to be a new departure into middle school fantasy writing for French, although her knowledge is still interwoven into the fantasy world.

The text neatly flips per chapter to continue the story from each of the lead character’s perspectives, which works really well and she builds up the story behind each character and what leads them to come together, building tension and the desire to read on. The first half of the book evolved naturally and the second half gallops along to the end point – a springboard to the next novel. The story leads to great discussion points about bullying and family expectations, as well as what it looks like to have preconceived ideas about other cultures.

This story is aimed at an audience of UKS2 with a love of fantasy or animals, who will enjoy the quest and look out for the next one in the series.

Craig Barr-Green
 & Francis Martin

What a great read! This is a superb book to share with one child or a whole class. The inside cover alone is a delight – crammed with emojis showing an array of emotions which children can share and talk about. The story is written in an informal style and follows a young neuro-diverse girl, Gina, as she journeys through the story of Red Riding Hood, fixing mistakes and recounting the true facts.

Craig Barr-Martin weaves into the narrative the use of charts to show how you feel; the making of lists to keep you organised; and the importance of familiar items when you go on a journey.

The first reading is fun, the second builds further understanding and the third reveals even more about the way we all think and feel.

Find more fun twists on fairy tales on our new Fairy Tales and Traditional Stories booklist.

Support independent bookshops

Many thanks to our review panel members Katherine Wright, Louisa Farrow, Jane Evans and Cath Delor for reviewing this month’s selection.



Booklists you might also like...

Subscribe to our newsletter

Your Review

Stone Girl Bone Girl


Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Would you recommend the book for use in primary schools?


Curriculum links (if relevant)

Curriculum links (if relevant)

Any other comments

Any other comments