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Home > Ones to Watch – New Children’s Books for Spring 2023

Ones to Watch – New Children’s Books for Spring 2023

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New Children’s Books For Spring 2023

It’s always exciting to know about which great new books are coming soon and we’ve been on a mission to dig out the best books to look forward to!

Our team has been taking a look at some of the new children’s books coming up this term. We’ve picked out ten top recommendations that we are most excited about. Here’s what to watch out for over the next few months –  why not pre-order now as a gift to your future self?

Zillah Bethell
Chapter book

The Song Walker is a soulful story that beautifully serenades the reader with themes of freedom, identity, music and heritage. Zillah Bethell’s writing always takes readers to new horizons.

The author’s previous book The Shark Caller was a real favourite here at BooksForTopics HQ and also among our community of teachers and librarians. The Song Walker is a new standalone adventure that shares a similar intensity of setting and an interweaving of gentle existentialist musings with relatable themes of making friendships and searching for identity in the face of cultural and familial expectations.

This time, the setting is the Australian Outback and the reader feels the blazing heat and dryness of the red, flat landscape that spans underneath a limitless sky. The main character, who is nameless at the start of the story, appears to have no idea how she got there or who she is. She carries a mysterious case and finds herself on a search for answers accompanied by her new friend, Tarni. Journeying deeper into the desert landscape, the girl has to dig deep into her inner self to find answers about who she is and who she wants to be. 

Tarni’s character adds real depth to the story. She is a First Country Australian girl from the traditional Alaywarre community. Tarni navigates the Outback using a traditional form of mapping – not with paper maps or satellite technology but with songlines, with which routes are passed from generation to generation by repeating the words of a song. The differences and similarities between the two girls become increasingly celebrated as the story progresses, showing how a bond between people from different cultural heritages and lifestyles can be mutually enriching. 

The story is philosophical and at times dream-like, with a melodic quality to the writing. The book is perfect for mature readers in upper kS2 who enjoy an immersive reading experience and a thought-provoking narrative with the potential to stir some very profound discussion questions.

Harriet Muncaster
Chapter book
Beautifully illustrated in two colours, this NEW series from the world of Isadora Moon introduces Isadora’s mermaid friend, Emerald! Emerald is learning how to be a mermaid princess, but she doesn’t feel like one at all. She’s not very good at waving to crowds and royal headdresses just aren’t her thing – her hair is too spiky and wild. Emerald’s wriggly pet octopus, Inkibelle, doesn’t much like living at the royal palace either. The annual Ocean Parade is coming up. Will Emerald be brave enough to be a mermaid princess but do it her own, special way? Isadora Moon is such a popular series with early readers and is known for flying off the shelves in KS1 classrooms and libraries. We can’t help feeling that Emerald and her underwater world will also make waves with children looking for first chapter books.
Mike Barfield
 & Jess Bradley
Non-fiction
Take a colourful and comical tour through our galaxy and beyond with this fun new comic collection from Mike Barfield and Jess Bradley. Discover the poisonous clouds of Venus, the rings of Saturn and the raging storm on Jupiter. Venture inside nebulae, black holes, supernovas and far-flung galaxies. Find out about the historic figures who pioneered space travel, the animals who ventured to the stars so humans could follow and the ground-breaking technology that took them there. With over 90 fun-packed entries, children will laugh as they learn about the wonders of the universe. Each entry uses a colourful comic-strip style to delight and inform young readers in equal measure. We love this graphic-novel-style non-fiction series and we were over the moon to discover the new space-themed edition.
Chrissie Sains
 & Jenny Taylor
Chapter book
Join inventor Scooter and his alien sidekick, Fizzbee, on their third adventure! For the first time ever, Scooter has NO ideas. How on earth can they save the jam factory from a slimy slug invasion? Scooter, Fizzbee and Cat have turned McLays jam factory into a tropical jam-making paradise. Delicious! There’s just one problem. SLUGS. Slithering everywhere, eating all the fruit, and in danger of causing the factory to fail its hygiene inspection. Scooter has to think of a way to get them out, pronto. Hyper-creative, he usually has ideas constantly whizzing and whooshing around his head. But something strange has happened … he’s gone blank. SCOOTER HAS NO IDEAS! With evil head slug Mucus Vane taking total control of the factory, the gang will need to summon everything they have to save McLays Jam – and help Scooter rediscover his creativity!
Lesley Parr
Chapter book
It’s February 1974 and working-class families have been hit hard by the three-day week. The reduced power usage means less hours for people to work, and less money to get by on. Thirteen-year-old Jason feels the struggle keenly. Ever since his parents died, it’s just been him and his older brother Richie. Richie is doing his best, but since he can’t make ends meet he’s been doing favours for the wrong people. Every day they fear they won’t have enough and will have to be separated. One thing that helps distract Jason is the urban legend about a beast in the valleys. A wild cat that roams the forest, far up the river from their bridge. When Jason’s friends learn of a reward for proof of The Beast’s existence, they convince Jason this is the answer to his and Richie’s money problems. Richie can get himself out of trouble before it’s too late and the brothers can stay together. And so a quest begins. Starting at the bridge of their village and following the river north, the four friends soon find themselves on a journey that will change each of them – forever.

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