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Ones to Watch – New Children’s Books This Term

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New and Upcoming Children’s Books For Summer 2024

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!

Here are the new and upcoming children’s books our team is most looking forward to this term, and what to watch out for over the next few months.

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New Children's Books for April 2024

Ash Bond
Chapter book

The perfect book for lovers of Percy Jackson and Who Let the Gods Out?

Peregrine is a 12-year-old girl who ends up on an action-packed fantasy adventure in the Under-Underground, alongside characters from mythology.

This book has a huge dose of adventure and mystery throughout. As a narrative with multiple perspectives, it would be best suited to confident UKS2 children and some understanding of Greek mythology would probably be beneficial (but not necessary).

Peregrine Quinn makes a great main character: the perfect blend of confidence, bravery and loyalty wrapped up in a 12-year-old girl. The side characters are also great fun and add a healthy dose of comedy to the story, as well as adding their journeys for children to follow through the story.

Michelle Harrison
Chapter book

This story about twins who can stop time to solve mysteries is a delicious combination of mystery and fantasy – there is enough gore in here to keep it tense and thrilling and enough magic to make it unexpected.

The premise of the story, that a set of twins can see back and forwards in time, gives a twist that children will enjoy. There is a disappearance (or is it a murder?) to be solved and seeing back in time might come in very handy. Whilst the twins may look identical, their different personalities come through clearly in the story. Twins often fascinate people, and it is not such a stretch to imagine that they might have unusual abilities. The villain is vile and reminded me of a James Bond villain, stroking his rabbit rather than a cat. Even the rabbit seemed to have villainous tendencies!

In many ways, the setting steals the limelight. Who wouldn’t be interested in exploring an old house, with a fire-damaged wing and secret rooms? I could almost smell the mustiness of the old house and I would have wanted to explore the house and grounds in the same way. I can’t help feeling this book lends itself to a sequel, though I would miss Fox House if it did not feature in that sequel.

Elle McNicoll
Chapter book

Keedie is the prequel to Elle McNicoll’s best-selling novel A Kind of Spark.

Set five years earlier, this book focuses on fierce, outspoken big sister Keedie who is figuring out how to navigate life as an autistic teenager whilst trying to remain true to herself.

Keedie is intent on seeking revenge against the bullies in her school – not just for herself but for others. Her intentions are honourable and she wants to send the message that we should stand up for ourselves and others. But her simplistic view of righting wrongs not only gets her into trouble but creates an even deeper divide between her and the twin sister that she barely recognises anymore.

Keedie’s character is developed with nuance and depth. Readers who enjoyed the book or CBBC adaptation of A Kind of Spark will be excited to read more about the character of Keedie, whose lived experience provided a pillar of wisdom and encouragement for Addie.

This book is perfect for developing empathy and a sense of self in Upper Key Stage 2 readers – it teaches us that while we may all be watching the same scene, our narratives can be very different.

Manon Steffan Ros
Chapter book

This is an interesting and feel-good story, which, although it centres around a love of football, is so much more than that.

Sam is obsessed with football – in particular Aaron Ramsey, from the Welsh national team. He lives with his parents and younger sister, but money is tight, family life is marred by arguments, and his Dad, Huw, is secretly illiterate. Huw is also football-mad and when he is signed as a player by local club Peniel, the future looks brighter and home life becomes happier.

Tragically, after a very successful debut game, a terrible injury cuts short Huw’s fledgling career and an awful sadness seeps into the family; Sam’s way of escaping his dad’s depression and his own anxieties (that he nicknames The Bad) is by immersing himself in Aaron Ramsey videos. Home is quiet and unwelcoming. Then hope arrives in the form of a Wales vs England game at Cardiff and a force-of-nature friend who gives the family something to aim for and makes Huw consider his choices.

The story has clever hook lines at the end (and even at the beginning) of chapters to keep the reader eager for more, plus themes of anxiety, friendship, bullying, resilience, mental health and educational struggles. There’s definitely enough to interest those without a particular interest in football too. I enjoyed it.

Nicola Penfold
Chapter book
The journey winds through me, twisted and turned, like a difficult second spine…Having escaped their city, Juniper Green and her brother Bear have settled in Ennerdale with their dad and his family. Every day the Wild introduces them to a new wonder, but Juniper can’t stop worrying about her grandmother and best friend left behind. When she hears news that disease has entered the city, she’s determined to bring her loved ones to safety.Trapped in a city riddled with disease and run by a ruthless leader, Etienne longs for the Wild. With the guards becoming more aggressive to counteract the growing rebellion, Etienne’s prepared to fight for his freedom. But will he be able to protect himself and keep those around him safe until Juniper returns from the Wild?The compelling and thought-provoking sequel to the much-loved WHERE THE WORLD TURNS WILD, this ecological adventure is perfect for fans of THE LAST BEAR, RUNNING ON THE ROOF OF THE WORLD and THE LAST WILD.

Dev Kothari
Chapter book

Winner of the Commonword Diversity YA novel in 2018, Dev Kothari brings us her much anticipated, debut novel bringing to life her experience of growing up in a small village outside of Mumbai.

Aimed at the middle-grade market but equally compelling for older years too, Kothari has artfully created a gripping mystery story interwoven with a narrative that leaves you simultaneously fearing for and cheering on the main characters.

Lena has grown up in the shadow of her older brother, Kay-Kay, always feeling second-best at school and at home but, when KayKay goes missing, Lena realises just how much her brother has always been there for her and vows to help find him.

Bringing back Kay-Kay is a story of love – for India, for family and sometimes even for those who seem least deserving. Touching on the true-life, shocking statistics of missing children in India, as well as some quite difficult issues, such as depression, poverty and runaways, this story is most suitable for UKS2 and beyond. Suitable as a class read or as a good quality library addition.

Carlie Sorosiak
Chapter book

Shadow Fox is a surreal and unusual tale from Carlie Sorosiak, who has become known for animal-themed middle-grade stories that explore deeper human themes like grief, mental health or loneliness.

Told through the eyes of a female fox, the story takes the reader on an adventure through place to a mysterious island. Unbeknownst to the fox, she possesses magical powers which the islanders hope to tap into. Set in the  Great Lakes in Minnesota and their islands, there is a strong sense of place in the detail within this story; the harshness of the environment is tangible.

Like the author’s previous stories, the magical animal character at the centre is the star of the show and in this story, the fox teams up with a young girl called Beatrice, whose nan has disappeared. I liked the quirky details of the fox’s personality; their love for their cuddly toy and their obsession with socks as well as the additional surreal details of the fox’s ability to conjure up miniature foxes, bean tins and other random objects.

The dream-like action and twists and turns make this story suitable for mature readers who can handle a more challenging narrative structure and are able to suspend their disbelief and run with the story. The fox embodies the magical power of the wilderness and the need to protect nature. The environmental messages behind the narrative aim to raise awareness regarding the fragility of natural resources.

Alexandra Sheppard
 & Bex Glendining
Chapter book
Alyssa must save the magical spell garden with her new unreliable powers.When 11-year-old Alyssa is forced to spend the summer holiday with her mum's family, who she's never met before, her latent magical powers explode into life. Her great aunt runs a secret magic school in her spell garden where local kids can hone their power. The garden grows magical spell ingredients that have protected their family and the wider neighbourhood for decades - ever since they arrived from Jamaica with their mother Effie in the 1960s. But something is going wrong and the magic is running out! Can Alyssa use her new, unpredictable magic to set things right?A contemporary fantasy set in a small community in North London facing eviction and gentrification with a magical garden at the centre of it. Stunningly illustrated by Bex Glendining.
Tamsin Mori
Chapter book

Callen’s life has been turned upside-down. He’s just finished Year 6 but instead of spending the summer hanging out with his friends, his dad bought a new house.  Well, not a house but a huge, crumbling mansion which has been in his dad’s family for generations . . . but which Callen had never seen before and didn’t know about. The house is falling apart and Callen hates it. It is ‘guarded’ by some fearsome stone gargoyles, including a mysterious ring of them in the middle of the ballroom floor surrounding a fearsome-looking hole.

One night, Callen realizes that the gargoyles are not just for show but come alive, but only in times of danger. So what danger are Callen and his family in and can the gargoyles save them? With the help of some new-found friends and their special magical gifts, Callen begins to win over the trust of the house’s gargoyles . . . but can he do it in time? Can he save the house’s magic before it’s too late or will dark forces win control?

A brilliant, fast-paced adventure story with a wonderfully magical, yet creepy setting and a cast of very likeable characters. It will appeal to readers who love a magical mystery.

New Children's Books for May 2024

Abi Elphinstone
Chapter book
A magical NEW story filled with adventure, wonder and edge-of-your-seat excitement, set in a world of daring dragons and magical maladies by the best-selling author of Sky Song, Abi Elphinstone . . .Rusty Fizzbang, vet to magical beasts, needs an apprentice. Ember Spark, looking for adventure, is his newest recruit - and together with an unlikely friend, Arno, she is sent to help a baby dragon whose parents have gone missing. But keeping magical beasts a secret isn’t an easy task, especially with arch-villain, Jasper Hornswoggle, hot on their heels and keen to derail them…
Tom Percival
Chapter book

In this collaboration with the National Literacy Trust, Tom Percival has written a book that should be in every school library in the country. For Will, things just keep going wrong. Bullied for having cheap shoes, misunderstood by his teachers, and struggling to come to terms with the bleak and hungry life he leads after his dad lost his job, life seems to be pushing him down a path of self-destruction.

The love of his family, the persistence of his friends, and a freak encounter with nature keep filling him with just enough hope to keep doing the next right thing. Will is living on the poverty line, and this will be a sensitive issue for some children. Life for Will is hard, but he learns that he is still powerful, and in a position to make choices about his future and the path he wants to take.

The Wrong Shoes is a story that will increase empathy in children whose lives are easier than Will’s, and empower those who relate to him. Suitable for Upper KS2 and beyond.

Catherine Bruton
Chapter book

After the death of his mother, Will is sent to live with his Uncle (whom he barely knows) in the wild, beautiful landscape of the Lake District. They discover an osprey nest as he explores the hills with his new friend Omar. Will immediately feels a connection with the smallest chick that they name Whitetip. During a storm, Will finds Whitetip knocked from the nest and rescues her, breaking the law by handling a protected species and moving the injured bird to the barn by his house. With the help of Omar, Will looks after Whitetip in secret, feeding her and determined to save her. However, when her condition deteriorates, he needs to learn to reach out and trust in others too.

As the plot unfolds, we learn more about Will, his mother’s mental ill health, as well as the tragic accident that ended her life. You feel Will containing his grief throughout the story, his emotions and complex thoughts inextricably linked to the bird and its own survival, as if saving Whitetip will somehow atone for his mother’s death.

There are strong links to empathy, PSHE and mental health within the story and depending on the context, this story could be used as a powerful window or mirror to support children in understanding their own lives and the experiences of others.

Themes of taking flight and healing run through the narrative. Most suitable for Upper KS2 and beyond, there are some very emotive and raw scenes, as both Will and Omar begin to acknowledge their trauma, heal, and find the strength to move forward in their grief, with an ultimately hopeful ending for both boys.

Jennifer Bell
Chapter book
From the internationally bestselling author of Wonderscape and The Uncommoners, comes a spectacular new fantasy series for 9+ set in a world of magical creatures, ancient meteorites and secret organizations, irresistible to fans of Pokémon, Skandar and the Unicorn Thief and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.FEEL THE MAGIC. CONJURE THE IMPOSSIBLE.When her dad is kidnapped by a woman with a giant hamstoceros, Bitsy and best friend Kosh are swept into a secret world of ancient meteorites and strange beasts called magicores, each conjured using a different emotion. Using a powerful bestiary called Magicalia, the friends must quickly become conjurors themselves, before following a trail of clues that will take them from London to India to Paris, in a race to rescue Bitsy’s dad from a mysterious villain…
Alastair Chisholm
Chapter book
An outstanding, highly original and unputdownable read! This is a bold, thought-provoking adventure perfect for fans of MORTAL ENGINES and THE LAST WILD.Coll is Wolf.He lives with his clan on a Construct, a huge technological "creature" driven by the clan's combined willpower. Together they roam their world, fighting other clans and absorbing them into their own.But when a new and dangerous Construct attacks them, Coll is thrown clear from Wolf and left behind. Now he must survive life on ground and get back to his clan. He is helped by Rieka, a "Tock" who makes the Constructs work. She promises Coll a way to return, but can she be trusted? And what is she really trying to do...?When Coll uncovers the truth, it destroys everything he thought he knew about his clan, the world they live in, and even himself. In a world full of danger, and suddenly without meaning, can he find a way back?

New Children's Books for June 2024

Kieran Larwood
 & Joe Todd Stanton
Chapter book

This is the first in a series of adventures from Kieran Larwood (the author of the much-loved Podkin series of books) and illustrated by the excellent Joe Todd-Stanton.

Hero Trial is a classic tale of the underdog triumphing against the odds, standing up to bullies and showing that size and strength are not everything. Kit is a gnorf (part gnome, part dwarf) and Dungeon Runners is a TV game show that Kit is desperate to be on. The trouble is that he has no magical powers, combat skills or even a team. After being bullied into entering the Dungeon Runners trial, Kit needs to find a team double quick to make sure he isn’t humiliated by his mean next-door neighbour Breg the Troggle.

So starts his adventure in finding friendship, and courage and learning that you can win by being kind and using your intelligence. This imaginative and brilliantly illustrated story will appeal to quest lovers and adventure fans in lower KS2.

Mary Cathleen Brown
Chapter book
The village is alive with rumours about the Tall Man and Tom lives in his house. Tom hears a boy in the cellar offering a 'special' acorn to a rat, Captain Rat, whom he begs to find the key to his leg-iron. The cellar is empty but Tom knows that the boy is real and he's convinced that he is trapped in a brutal past and the Tall's Man's prisoner. Each time Tom tries to help the boy, the Tall Man's ghostly presence intensifies. Who is the boy in the cellar and can they escape Tall Man?
Patrick Gallagher
Chapter book

Kira and Jacob are aware that they are different. With pale skin and bright blue eyes, growing up in a small village near Jinja, Uganda, how could they not be? But it isn’t just their physical appearance that sets them apart. Home-schooled by their mother, Eunata, the two children are exceptionally gifted, with a strong moral compass that seems to lead them from one scrape into another.

When their latest skirmish involves a heavy from Ranatech, they realise that they may be making enemies in high places, why else would the biggest technology company in the world be taking an interest in them…

This is a cracking debut novel from Patrick Gallagher, interweaving his love of his maternal homeland, Uganda, with a passion for sci-fi, while ensuring an environmental message is conveyed, without ramming the message home. Set fractionally in the future with two lead characters, the story races along at break-neck speed, diving through one plot twist after another. I turned the last page with a disappointed “No!” as I longed for more and I’ll be eagerly awaiting the sequel as I am sure will any child who reads it!

Gallagher’s background as a Primary teacher also shows through, a rich source of vocabulary and an innate sense of topics that Upper KS2 children will engage with – environment, AI, hackers – make this an appealing book to pick up while the pace and storytelling should keep even the most reluctant reader along for the ride, as a class read if nothing else, although I suspect this will be well fought over at the bookcase too.

Clare Povey
Chapter book

The first of an exciting new series from Clare Povey, The Wanderdays: Journey to Fantome Island is a rescue mission for the missing mother of Flo and Joseph.

This edge-of-your-seat underwater quest to the secret Fantome Island is full of twists and turns and mystery. Flo and Joseph Wanderday’s mum is one of the world’s greatest explorers, but she’s gone missing on her latest expedition. Then a mysterious stranger appears and the sinister reason for Mum’s trip is revealed. Will you take the plunge and dive into this action-packed adventure? Knowing that this was no ordinary expedition and Mum was trying to uncover some fishy crimes, Flo, Joseph and their friends travel to the secret island to save Mum and expose somebody’s crabby plans…

A thrilling new series for age eight and above, where mystery meets spy-mission extraordinaire!

Julia Green
 & Pam Smy
Chapter book

A hauntingly beautiful story about growing up, exploring the secrets of the past, and facing the darkness within.

Ettie has lived blissfully with just her grandma for company and the wild woods as her playground. Until she meets the mysterious Cora and she starts to crave more – now she wants to explore further, to discover secrets of her own. So, when Cora leads her to the hidden quarry pool – deep, cold, beautiful and dangerously inviting – Ettie is ready to jump straight in. But the quarry has secrets too, and Ettie will have to dive deep into the darkness to uncover them…

This poignant story of courage and hope makes links to ancient myths and fairy stories to show the darkness and light in stories, and show that not all stories end with happily ever after. Gripped, I read this haunting adventure story in one sitting as I was intrigued by the characters in the book. Having so few characters made me more connected with them and their story and want to find out what was going to happen next.

An easy independent read for a more mature Year 5 or Year 6 reader. The author shares her love and knowledge of nature throughout the story with beautiful descriptions to share the power of nature from gardening to swimming in tarns and caves, whilst telling the story of Ettie uncovering the truth about her family and what has happened in the past.

Chapter book
Forgotten your homework and need to WING it? Wish you could talk your way out of DETENTION? Want to SQUASH your bullies and RISE to the top? Join Kamal as he attempts to go from PUKE BOY to POPULAR!Kamal is better than anyone else in his school at fading into the background. When you're a refugee and you've started a new school three times in as many years, you learn to keep your head down.But, after a major puke incident in front of the whole school, being invisible is no longer an option. And when Kamal finds a mysterious CHEAT BOOK in the library that promises to help him gain popularity, he sees a chance to finally make his mark . . .This hilarious guide to being 'too cool for school' (or just cool enough) from brilliant author-illustrator RAMZEE. Perfect for 8+ readers of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Loki, with black-and-white illustrations throughout!
Polly Ho-Yen
 & Charis Loke
Chapter book
From award-winning author Polly Ho-Yen, comes a beautifully illustrated story for readers aged 7+.Yara has only glimpsed the last dragon on Earth twice. She’s got other things to worry about: her sister is in hospital, her parents are panicking, and her new teacher has labelled her a troublemaker and wants her out. But one evening, in the glow of the lights of the shopping centre in Milton Keynes, Yara finds herself being watched by the last dragon and, before it departs, it leaves her a gift: its only egg.Entrusted with the care of the last dragon egg, Yara discovers it is more powerful than she could ever have imagined. But there are others who want it and they’ll stop at nothing to steal it for themselves...A moving story about bravery, self-belief and our responsibility to protect the natural world.
Julie Pike
Chapter book
All Ember wants is to fly with the golden flamebirds who stop every year at Bright Beacon before heading west across the seas to their mysterious home. Their fiery arrival is also the signal for the waiting Flame Chasers in the harbour below to prepare to follow the birds, whose glowing tail feathers grant the finder a wish. But when Pa tells Ember he is chasing without her, she is devastated. Can she find a ship's captain to help her save her father, and the flamebirds secret home?

New Children's Books for July 2024

Gita Ralleigh
Chapter book
In Gita Ralleigh's second magical middle grade adventure set in a parallel colonial India, land-pirate Sam Singh sails to an isle teeming with spirits and secrets on a perilous journey to find the truth.'We are kings of the forest, Let them tame us if they can!'Sam’s older brother, Moon, has been missing for three long years. Moon is a skilled thief, but Sam fears Moon's luck has finally run out. It's rumoured he's held in the Octopus, a notorious prison on the Isle of Lost Voices, from which no one has ever escaped alive. Leaving his tribe of land-pirates behind, Sam sets sail with the shady Professor Bogusz and his faithful parrot, Suka. With help from a young forest guide called Lola, they trek deep into the island's interior, a place where spirits dwell and the Octopus casts a deadly shadow.With a storm brewing and the clock ticking, Sam is in a race against time to break into the prison, save Moon and find a brighter future for them all.

New Children's Books for August 2024

Jenny Pearson
Chapter book
Three kids face shipwrecks, survival and pirates in the latest adventure from bestselling and award-winning author Jenny Pearson.Sebastian Sunrise and his two best friends, Lina and Étienne, are in a bit of trouble. They are stranded on a desert island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, after a rowing race went very, very wrong.The friends have no idea how long they might have to stay on the island, so they make a plan. They will try to survive, look after the island's baby turtles, and have fun, if they can.But Sebastian's life has never gone to plan, and they quickly face jellyfish stings, burnt bums and an out-of-control goat. But when a boat arrives, bringing pirates who want to hunt the island's baby turtles, the friends face their greatest danger yet...

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