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The Week Junior Book Awards Shortlist

the week junior book awards

We’re so excited for the inaugural The Week Junior Book Awards, sponsored by Bookily from National Book Tokens, and in partnership with The Bookseller and World Book Day!

The recently-revealed shortlist features a host of fabulous reads for children of all ages, many by some of our favourite authors. Among the Fiction picks for younger readers are several writers who have appeared in our Year Group Recommended Reads lists, like Harriet Muncaster, Nadia Shireen and Serena Patel, who are nominated for Isadora Moon Under the Sea, Grimwood and Anisha, Accidental Detective: Holiday Adventure respectively. The Fiction choices for older readers include our previous Books of The Month picks TygerLike a Charm and Grandpa Frank’s Great Big Bucket List.

Alongside the Fiction and Non-fiction awards, there will also be recognition for an Illustrated Book, with contenders including Bunny vs Monkey: Rise of the Maniacal Badger and Peanut Jones and the Twelve Portals – both by illustrators whose work we’ve always enjoyed. The Audiobook category includes authors such as Malorie Blackman and David Walliams – with narrators including well-known actors, authors and even a pop star – while The Week Junior readers will be voting for their choice of Cover of the Year from a vibrant and striking selection.

Check out the full shortlist for the 2023 The Week Junior Book Awards below or read about the 2023 Week Junior Book Award winners here.

Children’s Book of the Year: Younger Fiction (6–9 year-olds)

Karen Owen
 & Louise Forshaw
Chapter book
Join SPUD, the Super Perceptive Undercover Detectives, on their first fast-paced detective adventure. Getting your first hearing aids can be nerve-wracking; especially when you have to wear them to school. When Callie realises her new hearing aids - 'the Slugs' - give her the unique ability to communicate with Bo the Mynah bird, some of her worries are lifted. In fact, having a pair of eyes in the sky might come in handy… The duo team up with Callie's best friend, Grace, as they set out to catch a local thief who has been causing trouble all over town. Includes high-speed chases, a very peckish bird and purple POO! A new mystery series, illustrated by Louise Forshaw and perfect for reluctant readers.
Polly Ho-Yen
 & Sojung Kim-McCarthy
Chapter book
Nature-loving Timi is unsettled by the arrival of a new sibling and turns to tending a tree growing in his local library. But there is something magical about the tree and it is growing FAST… and the library is going to close. Can Timi save the library and his tree, and maybe bring his community closer together along the way? A charming early reader for ages 5-8, filled with black-and-white illustrations.
Pamela Butchart
 & Thomas Flintham
Chapter book
Hilarious, pitch-perfect stories where everyday school life becomes completely extraordinary! By a brilliant author/illustrator team with laughs on every page!Izzy's school is being merged with St Bartholomew's Primary, their greatest rivals! What will happen when the new kids join, in their too-shiny shoes and with their too-loud singing? And what if they've got a secret mission and that mission is a BAD mission? Only Izzy and her friends can discover the truth, even if they must go SO DEEP UNDERCOVER that they might not come back...
Harriet Muncaster
Chapter book
Half vampire, half fairy, totally unique!Isadora is special because she is different. Her mum is a fairy and her dad is a vampire and she's a bit of both.Isadora has been invited to a sleepover, which is always fun, but this time it's even more exciting because she will be staying at her mermaid friend's house under the sea! It's so much fun spending time with her watery friends, but while she's there Isadora meets a mermaid called Emerald who doesn't seem to be having such a nice time. In the middle of the night, when everyone else is fast asleep, Emerald finally reveals to Isadora what has been troubling her. Can Isadora help Emerald sort out her problem? It's the beginning of an amazing underwater adventure!
Nadia Shireen
Chapter book

Grimwood is a wacky, anarchic animal story, full of nonsensical mayhem. The story will certainly appeal to KS2 (although possibly not the most sensitive in this age group – as there are incidents of biting off heads, tails or feet!). There’s a dark and whacky humour to the story that will delight fans of Dahl or Mr Gum and plenty of discussion points such as the relationship between the fox cubs, the changes in their personalities and the desire to find refuge. The book could work as a class reader and a fun and quirky independent read for ages 7-11.


Liz Flanagan
 & Joe Todd-Stanton
Chapter book
When war threatens her beloved city, Rowan and her mother must flee to the Dark Forest, meeting Grandpa and his white wolf Arto for the first time.Though she misses her father, Rowan makes new friends - including a trio of powerful witches. When she rescues a baby dragon from poachers, she discovers the secret of her own identity. Could Rowan really be a wildsmith?Fostering a whole clutch of dragons, the summer speeds by. But when danger threatens, Rowan and Grandpa must call on all their friends for help.
Serena Patel
 & Emma McCann
Chapter book
The Mistrys are off on holiday, in the fifth hilarious mystery in the award-winning Anisha, Accidental Detective series!Pack your bags - we're off to a holiday camp!Milo can't wait to see the wildlife, Manny's learning survival skills, and even Granny's going to have a go at archery. Honestly, I just want to read my book, but there's NEVER any time to relax for Anisha, Accidental Detective.The holiday park's mascot, Delilah the duck, has been DESTROYED, and my new friend Cleo is everyone's number one suspect.But I'm sure she's innocent, and I'm going to do whatever it takes to prove it. Let's hope we can find the real culprit, and QUACK the case!!
Joseph Coelho
 & Freya Hartas
Chapter book
A subversive, funny - and deliciously prickly! - tale for the young reader looking for a book with bite.Eshe and her twelve sisters are Fairy Godmothers, honoured for the incredible gifts they can bestow. But Eshe's special abilities are a little different - she can glimpse into the future! And, one day, Eshe foresees something terrifying: a world blanketed in creeping vines and a girl covered in thorns. Eshe needs to stop her vision becoming true, but it will require old and powerful magic. And she won't be able to do it alone...Following on from Zombierella and Frankenstiltskin, this is the third and final book in a deliciously dark trilogy of twisted classics, written in verse by award-winning poet Joseph Coelho and illustrated by Freya Hartas.

Children’s Book of the Year: Older Fiction (9–12 year-olds)

Phil Earle
Chapter book
While the Storm Rages is the eagerly awaited new novel from the bestselling author of When the Sky Falls: The Times Children's Book of the Year, winner of the Books Are My Bag Readers Award for Children’s Fiction, winner of the British Book Award for Children's Fiction Book of the Year and shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal.September 1939. The world is on the brink of war. As his dad marches off to fight, Noah makes him a promise, to keep their beloved family dog safe.When the government advises people to have their pets put down in readiness for the chaos of war, hundreds of thousands of people do as they are told. But not Noah. He’s not that sort of boy. With his two friends in tow, he goes on the run, to save his dog and as many animals as he can. No matter what.
Katya Balen
 & Sydney Smith
Chapter book
From the author of October, October, winner of the Yoto Carnegie Medal 2022, comes a life-affirming story about blended families and learning to find room in your heart for new life and new love.Tom is still quiet and timid, even though his dad has been gone for nearly two years now. Zofia has a raging storm that makes her want to fight the whole world until she gets what she wants. And what she wants is for scaredy-cat Tom to get out of her life. Tom hates loud, unpredictable Zofia just as much, but he’s moving into Zofia’s house. Because his mum and Zofia’s dad are in love... and they’re having a baby.Tom and Zofia both wish the stupid baby had never happened. But then Tom’s mum gets ill, and it begins to look horribly like their wish might come true... A story of learning to trust, trying to let go and diving into the unknown with hope in your heart, with a stunning cover illustrated by CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal winner Sydney Smith.
Dhonielle Clayton
Chapter book
Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, a magic school in the clouds for Marvellers from around the world. Ella discovers that being the first isn't easy but she finds friendship in fellow misfits Brigit, a girl who hates magic, and Jason, a boy with a fondness for magical creatures and support from her Elixirs teacher, Masterji Thakur.Then the notorious Ace of Anarchy escapes prison, supposedly with a Conjuror's aid, and Ella finds herself as the prime suspect. Worse, Masterji Thakur mysteriously disappears while away on a research trip. With the help of her friends and her own growing powers, Ella must find a way to clear her family's name and track down her mentor before it's too late.
SF Said
 & Dave McKean
Chapter book

If you’ve spent any time on edutwitter or children’s booktok lately, you might know that SF Said’s Tyger has been one of the most hotly anticipated titles due this Autumn. It’s a fine thing when a children’s book generates a huge buzz in the months building up to publication, and this one certainly did – after all, with a well-loved author, an early drop of signed proofs, a beautiful cover by Dave McKean and just enough intrigue in the blurb to make you sit up and wonder, how could it not? Even better is when a book like this manages to really live up to the excitement generated. Did this one deliver? We are pleased to say it did.

This is an atmospheric story set in an alternative near-future London. The city is a dangerous place for many, dominated by strict social rules, a system of racial superiority and un-abolished slavery that developed from colonialism. In this London, Adam and Zadie are both children who have been made to feel like outsiders. The story centres on their discovery of a mythical creature – a Tyger who is hiding after being hunted and wounded. Adam helps the injured Tyger and a friendship blossoms. Soon, the Tyger teaches Adam a renewed philosophical outlook on life and helps him to tap into his hidden gifts. The children set about to protect and save the Tyger, and as fear and oppression rage in the city of London, the children’s courage to save the Tyger makes wider ripples than they could ever imagine.

There’s something timelessly alluring about tigers in children’s books, especially those that have time to sit down and talk with you. This Tyger has a mystical quality that will no doubt entice and intrigue young readers anew. Adult readers familiar with the work of William Blake won’t fail to notice the allusions to Blakean mythology that filter through text, illustrations and that striking cover. The Tyger in SF Said’s book offers Adam and Zadie something of the mystical and spiritual encounter that Blake hoped to offer his readers; a temporary liberation from the ‘mind-forged manacles’ of the material world and a hope-filled reminder of the power of human spirit.

SF Said’s fanbase will be thrilled to read this new adventure – laced with danger, edged with fantasy and packed to the core with thinking and discussion points that link to very real issues in society. Despite the serious themes explored, Said writes with optimism and hope, showing how joy and light can always be found in the darkest of times. This story will no doubt find a home in the hearts of Upper KS2 readers who love mythology, quest stories and an encouter with something deeper.

Reviewer: Alison Leach

Elle McNicoll
Chapter book

We’re big fans of Elle McNicoll’s books here at BooksForTopics HQ. We were excited to hear that Elle’s newest book takes a firm step into the magical realism genre. Elle says,”This book is a love letter to readers of A Kind of Spark who wanted to see neurodivergent girls with real magical powers. I loved magical books as a child, and still do now, so to have a neurodivergent heroine in a fantastical world, it meant a lot to me to write. I’m thrilled readers are going to meet Ramya.”

At its heart, this is an exciting magical fantasy with a quest to save an endangered town. Ramya is a feisty heroine whose dyspraxia can make her feel misunderstood and disconnected from the world around her. Ramya can also perceive things that most people can’t – seeing through the Glamour that disguises magical creatures. As the story unfolds, Ramya learns to trust her own instincts more, despite feeling weary from a world that fails to give value to the way she is. Her unique way of seeing things is her superpower and her quest confirms to her that her whole unique self is powerful, wonderful and of greater value to the world than she dared to imagine.

Fantasy lovers will enjoy the imaginative cast of magical characters (beware – the fairies in this book are not at all as you might expect) and the idea that a co-existing magical world is thinly veiled all around us is one that has a timeless appeal in children’s literature. Many young readers will relate to Ramya’s struggle to navigate the emotional connections with different family members. We were pleased to see that this is only the beginning of Ramya’s adventures and that there is more to come from the magical world she inhabits, with a sequel due in Spring 2023.


Victoria Williamson
Chapter book
On a remote Scottish island, fourteen-year-old Max's life changes forever when he loses his hearing in a boating accident. Struggling to make sense of his new life and finding it hard to adapt in school, he begins to notice other - even stranger - changes taking place when a new wind farm appears off the island's coast. With the help of three school friends with additional support needs, Max discovers that a sinister scientist, Doctor Ashwood, is using wind turbines to experiment on the islanders. They must find a way to shut down the government's secret test before it spins out of control...
Nizrana Farook
Chapter book

This is a story of adventure and friendship. The relationship between Selvi and Amir takes a while to build and it shows that friendships take work to be successful. The setting of the Serendib mountains will transport children to a place that many are likely to know very little about and provides an opportunity to introduce them to different lifestyles and cultures. The issue around animal hunting is an interesting one to explore and would make the basis for a good class discussion. The relatively short chapters help to keep the story moving at a good pace and make it an easy book to dip in and out of. For children who are daunted by longer chapters and books, this will make it all the more appealing.

Anthony McGowan
Chapter book
Chernobyl, 1986. Natasha’s world is coming to an end. Forced to evacuate her home in the middle of the night, she must leave her puppy behind and has no idea if she’ll ever return. Some time later, growing up in the shadow of the ruined nuclear power plant, pups Misha and Bratan have to learn how to live in the wild—and fast. Creatures with sharp teeth, claws, and yellow eyes lurk in the overgrown woods. And they’re watching the brothers’ every move…But will the dogs survive without humans? And can humans live without them?
A. M. Dassu
Chapter book
An empowering story about finding your identity and the courage to fight for it. Aaliyah is an ordinary thirteen-year-old living in the Midlands - she's into her books, shoes, K-pop and she is a Muslim. She has always felt at home where she lives ... until a terrorist attack in her area changes everything.As racial tensions increase and she starts getting bullied, Aaliyah decides to begin wearing a hijab - to challenge how people in her community see her.But when her school bans the hijab and she is intimidated and attacked for her choices, she feels isolated.Soon Aaliyah realises that other young people from different backgrounds also struggle with their identity and feel alone, scared and judged. Should she try to blend in - or can she find allies to help her fight back?Channelling all of her bravery, Aaliyah decides to speak out.Together, can Aaliyah and her friends halt the tide of hatred rippling through their community?An essential read to encourage empathy, challenging stereotypes, exploring prejudice, racism, Islamophobia and positive action.
Jenny Pearson
 & David O'Connell
Chapter book

Grandpa Frank’s Great Big Bucket List takes the reader on a journey of excitement, adventure, humour and discovery and leaves them understanding life just a little bit more.

Frank sets off to meet his grandpa with high expectations. What he finds is a very sad and lonely old man living in a nursing home who has no interest in establishing any kind of relationship. Not wanting to give up on his chance for happiness (and because Davenport men don’t quit), Frank comes up with the idea of a bucket list of activities to inject some joy back into Grandpa Frank’s life, secretly harbouring hopes of a grand family reunion somewhere along the line. Soon, Grandpa Frank finds himself participating in a whole array of activities most OAPs wouldn’t be expected to do. As they venture together through: hot air ballooning; parkour; synchronised swimming and monster truck driving, Grandpa Frank learns that maybe there are more opportunities for joy (and bruises) in life.

Despite the blossoming relationship with his grandfather, it seems that Frank’s dream of a family reunion will never happen. However, after the middle Frank steps a little further over the line than usual, it will take all of Frank Senior Senior and Frank Junior Junior’s newly-learned skills to save the day.

Alongside the humour in this story, there are many opportunities for the reader to see through societal stereotypes of older people and also begin to understand the impact of dementia.


Children’s Book of the Year: Younger Non-Fiction (6–9 year-olds)

Luogo comune
Non-fiction
Embark on a voyage of discovery across the seven seas! From enormous cruise ships glittering in the evening light to incredible submarines exploring the depths of the ocean, boats reveal to us the secrets, stories and histories of our world. Read about big battles, amazing adventures, vast voyages and calamitous catastrophes. Characterful felt-tip illustrations and curious facts combine in this gift-worthy non-fiction book of boats. All aboard!
Kim Ryall Woolcock
 & Stacey Thomas
Non-fiction
Being tiny is tough! You can't reach the highest shelf where the cookie jar sits, and the big kids always steal your lunchtime snacks. Don't get me started on going to theme parks, you can never get on the rides and you're always told to have an adult present for everything you do. But what if I told you that being small didn't suck at all? But was in fact really, really cool.Focus your eyes on the world of micro animals and learn what it's like to be so small. Discover how these tiny creatures stay safe, or hunt for their lunch. Zoom in on their superpowers, like having the ability to shoot microscopic darts, spring-loaded jumps which take them to incredible heights or the amazing ways in which tiny hunters defend themselves from much bigger creatures. Maybe it's not so tough to be tiny after all!
Mary Richards
 & Rose Blake
Non-fiction
A history of the world told through the prism of language, from Shakespeare to Anne Frank, Martin Luther King to Greta Thunberg.A History of Words for Children explores the uniquely human ability to transfer thoughts from one brain to another using words. Written in a lively narrative style, the book presents a history of the world and human development through the prism of language, introducing readers to the civilisations, inventions and wordsmiths who have shaped the way we communicate.Divided into themed chapters, the book explores what words are and how humans communicate using spoken language and sign; the development of written scripts and writing implements, including paper; the history of manuscripts and printed books, including worldwide bestsellers and famous libraries; the process of learning another language; dialects and accents and the way language can reflect our identity; the power of words to calm, inspire, rally crowds and rule nations; graffiti’s role in spreading messages; codes and invented languages; the patterns of poetry; the future of words, including emojis; and languages facing extinction.
Jasbinder Bilan
 & Nina Chakrabarti
Non-fiction

India, Incredible India written by Jasbinder and brought to life by artist Nina Chakrabarti is a joyful celebration of India. For years the BooksForTopics inbox has received requests for recommendations of good books to support curriculum learning about India – and for the first time we really do have a book that hits the spot. Layered between the information is a story of the bond between Nanijee (Grandmother) and Thara (her granddaughter). Each night when Thara sleeps over, Nanijee lets her choose an object from her beautiful carved trunk. Each of the objects has been lovingly collected over many years and when it is taken out, Nanijee tells a story of the object and where it is from over a series of beautiful and informative double-page spreads.

Poppy O'Neill
 & Caribay M. Benavides
Non-fiction
The Extraordinary Book that Makes You Feel Happy is for every child, with a host of projects, ideas and activities to help them to feel positive, confident, focused, calm, relaxed, inclusive and included. The activities help young children to build resilience to big, overwhelming feelings and to feel connected to themselves and to others.A project to cut out and make on every page, and a special pocket to collect them in. MAKE breathing wands, fidget spinners, art projects and more! PLAY games with your family and friends, and go on a nature scavenger hunt. TRY yoga poses and breathing exercises. Move, dance, wiggle and shake! CONNECT with a thank you card and keep a feelings journal. SAVE your projects in a special pocket at the back of the book. Take them out to create, imagine and smile again and again!

Lara Bryan
Non-fiction
Understanding money today is so much more than learning about notes and coins. Where does money come from? Why do I have to save? What happens if I click BUY NOW? Find answers to important money questions, and some silly ones too in this friendly and useful book.- The question and answer lift-the-flat format is a perfect reading tool for curious kids - Written in consultation with money management expert Bobby Seagull - TV and radio presenter, teacher and ambassador for the National Numeracy charity - Early learning about money is key to building good money habits

Children’s Book of the Year: Older Non-Fiction (9–12 year-olds)

Yeva Skalietska
Chapter book Non-fiction
Everyone knows the word 'war'. But very few understand what it truly means. When you find you have to face it, you feel totally lost, walled in by fright and despair. Until you’ve been there, you don’t know what war is.This is the gripping and moving diary of young Ukrainian refugee Yeva Skalietska. It follows twelve days in Ukraine that changed 12-year-old Yeva's life forever. She was woken in the early hours to the terrifying sounds of shelling. Russia had invaded Ukraine, and her beloved Kharkiv home was no longer the safe haven it should have been. It was while she was forced to seek shelter in a damp, cramped basement that Yeva decided to write down her story. And it is a story the world needs to hear.Yeva captured the nation's heart when she was featured on Channel 4 News with her granny as they fled Ukraine for Dublin. In You Don't Know What War Is, Yeva records what is happening hour-by-hour as she seeks safety and travels from Kharkiv to Dublin. Each eye-opening diary entry is supplemented by personal photographs, excerpts of messages between Yeva and her friends and daily headlines from around the world, while three beautifully detailed maps (by Kharkiv-native Olga Shtonda) help the reader track Yeva and her granny’s journey. You Don’t Know What War Is is a powerful insight into what conflict is like through the eyes of a child and an essential read for adults and older children alike.Published in association with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, with a foreword by Michael Morpurgo.
National Geographic Kids
Non-fiction
Gift a fact a day for every day of the year this Christmas.The perfect gift to entertain kids all year round! Be amazed and astounded with a new fact every single day of the year.With 365 fascinating facts on everything from animals and nature to science, space, the world and more.Did you know that red-eyed tree frogs have three eyelids? That candy floss was actually invented by a dentist? Or that on the 4th November 1922, Ancient Egypt’s most famous pharaoh was discovered?You’ll find a perfect mix of random trivia and ‘on this day’ facts, plus tons of colourful photos to entertain all year round.
Craig Glenday
 & Rod Hunt
Non-fiction
The 2023 edition takes readers on a journey that's out of this world! With bonus digital content throughout, we reveal the latest and greatest record-breaking achievements here on Planet Earth and across the vast distances of space. With ever more focus on diversity and inclusion, we showcase the most inspirational, eye-catching, mind-blowing achievements from the past year, across a multitude of topics such as gaming and the human body, engineering and wildlife. As lockdown restrictions ease, humanity's horizons are expanding once again, and our world is experiencing unprecedented change - in the environment, culture, technology and society. Keeping up with this dizzying revolution are the Guinness World Records adjudicators, who've been busier than ever documenting the Officially Amazing. The result is Guinness World Records 2023!
Anita Ganeri
Non-fiction
Find out the fascinating stories of ten real-life dragons, the myths and legends surrounding them, their discoveries and how they survive today.For centuries, dragons have captured our imaginations, guarding troves of treasure and breathing out fire. They appear in many myths and legends from around the world, some soaring through the air on scaly wings; some lurking in caves underground and some diving the depths of the seas and oceans.While there is, sadly, no such thing as a fire-breathing dragon, there are still dragons alive today in the animal kingdom. One of them can even fly. This book brings together the stories of ten real-life dragons, with fascinating facts mixed with some folklore. There are also tales of how these extraordinary creatures were discovered and about their adaptations for surviving in the wild.Are you ready for the wildlife safari of a lifetime?This high-interest approach to the natural world shows the diversity of nature, evolution and adaptation and can be used to support the science curriculum study of living things at key stage two.Full-colour photographs combined with illustrations make this a beautiful and fascinating introduction to real-life dragons around the world.

Stella Caldwell
Non-fiction
BEWARE! You've been imprisoned in a medieval castle and may be trapped forever! Can you escape the fortress walls?It is 1389, and you are locked in a tower of a medieval castle. The door is guarded. The castle bustles with nobles, servants, craftspeople and entertainers. But it is also a mighty fortress fiercely defended by soldiers. The castle's massive walls protect it from enemy attack, while inside there is a maze of dark passageways.Stay calm, use your wits and consult the heraldic wheel on the front cover. If you follow the clues, solve the riddles and decode the puzzles, you will make your escape!

Children’s Illustrated Book of the Year

Jamie Smart
Chapter book
Jamie Smart's big-selling comic-book success story continues!The Maniacal Badger has arrived, and he's determined to take over the Woods! Wasn't that Monkey's plan? This cannot happen! What japes await in this brand-new adventure, when Bunny and Monkey team up to beat this new menace?! They've never managed to work together before. . . And will Skunky rediscover his passion for evil inventions, to defeat his rival at their own game? One thing's for sure . . . Laughs are guaranteed!
Marlyn Spaaij
Graphic Novel
Frygea Forest. An ancient and mysterious place where trolls lurk in the mossy spaces between tree trunks and changelings scamper about, causing mischief. A place that Kyra and her sisters Margot and Janna return to every year to spend the summer at their grandma's farm: toasting marshmallows, catching frogs and befriending tiny, grumpy root goblins.But this summer is different, and as teenage Margot drifts apart from her sisters, slamming doors and keeping secrets, Kyra starts to worry. When Margot is enticed into the woods by the mysterious figures in the mist, Kyra resolves to do everything in her power to save her sister from danger, even if that means facing the spooky forces within Frygea Forest with just her kid sister for help.Join Kyra and her sisters in this beautiful coming-of-age graphic novel about embracing the changes that come from growing up, but never letting go of the imagination that keeps you young. If you're careful, and ever so quiet, you might spot a root goblin marching along the ground, or a glittering alf darting amongst the leaves.
Mark Bradley
Chapter book Graphic Novel
Best friends Bumble and Snug are Bugbops - little monsters filled with BIG feelings! Join them and a VERY excited unicorn, in this new, full-colour graphic novel, as they go on a thrilling, funny adventure and learn about the world outside and inside.Bumble and Snug are in the magical unicorn forest when they get into a spot of trouble. Luckily, they are rescued by a unicorn and together they have the great idea to become superheroes.Introducing the super buddies! From a runaway ice-cream van to a lost teddy bear, Bumble, Snug and Sparklehoof the unicorn save the day. But not everybody is happy when Sparklehoof gets too excited with his magic.Bumble and Snug have to come up with a super action plan to stop Sparklehoof. And with a giant kitten on the loose and a jelly city, they will have to work FAST!Bumble and Snug and the Excited Unicorn is a story about being too excited and how to listen, friendship and magic, and three new SUPERHEROES!Perfect for readers just starting to enjoy stories independently, for visual readers and for wise kids to share with their grown-ups. For fans of Narwhal and Jelly and Dogman.
Rizanino Reyes
 & Sara Boccacini Meadows
Non-fiction
Discover 15 plants and fungi with heroic powers, then learn how to grow them. Meet their surprising relatives (the tasty tomato is a cousin of deadly nightshade!) and unearth their interesting histories (lettuce was the first vegetable to be grown in space!). Then follow step-by-step instructions to grow and care for each one, whether you have a big backyard garden or a sunny windowsill.
Thomas Flintham
Graphic Novel

Press Start! is a series of books aimed at readers who are ready for their first chapter books or those who feel overwhelmed by longer chapter books.

‘Game On, Super Rabbit Boy’ is set in the game of Super Rabbit Boy Land, a platform game that is activated when the boy in the story presses start. For this book, Super Rabbit Boy has to save Singing Dog who has been captured by the game’s main enemy, King Viking. Once he starts the rescue, he is faced with the challenge of successfully completing six levels of increasing difficulty with only limited lives. As the game progresses, failure occurs and Super Rabbit Boy has to learn from his errors as he restarts a level. He has to remember what he has learned, apply his new knowledge, overcome his fears and go for the win. Not only must Super Rabbit Boy not give up, but nor should the boy who is playing the game – the theme of resilience and perseverance is very strong and would suit classroom conversations about not giving up.

Children who love gaming would very likely be attracted to the book – it reflects the visual style of Minecraft of Roblox, but it will appeal to a wide audience because of the level of detail, bright colours and range of illustrations page after page. The speech bubbles, relatively simple sentences, repetition and short paragraphs will make this work well as an independent reader for the more confident, as well as a shared reader.


Alex Falase-Koya
 & Paula Bowles
Chapter book
It's an exciting day for Marvin and his classmates because they are visiting the Natural History Museum. Marvin and Joe can't wait to see all those dinosaur skeletons up close, but they get more than they bargained for when supervillain Leo turns up and brings the Dino skeletons to life! With the help of his loyal sidekick, a super-intelligent robot called Pixel, it's time for Marvin to become superhero Marv. Marv must use all of his newfound superhero skills if he wants to stop Leo and save his classmates from the gang of marauding dino skeletons running riot!
Aoife Dooley
Graphic Novel

This graphic novel follows the story of Frankie and offers readers a delightful blend of humour, relatability, and empathy. Drawn from the author’s own life experiences, this is told from the perspective of Frankie, a girl with autism. Frankie tackles bullies, discovers her strengths, and gains a deeper understanding of herself.

Readers will cheer Frankie on in this wonderful graphic novel of growth and self-discovery illustrated in bright oranges and blues.

Rob Biddulph
Chapter book
Some legends are born, some are drawn . . .Famous works of art are disappearing from all over the world. One moment they are there, the next, they have crumbled to dust. Peanut Jones, artist and adventurer, and her friends suspect it might have something to do with the magical world of Chroma and the wicked Mr White's plot to wipe out colour, art and creativity. It's time to head back to the Illustrated City and help the resistance fight back. . .Superstar, author and illustrator Rob Biddulph dazzles in Peanut Jones and the Twelve Portals. This second title in the hilarious adventure series for boys and girls aged 8 to 12 fizzes with magic, danger, friendship and art. It is fully illustrated throughout by Rob, the creative genius behind #DrawWithRob.
Jo Schofield,Fiona Danks
Picturebook
From the authors behind The Stick Book and many other outdoor adventure favourites, this interactive one-of-a-kind creative scrapbook offers children an outlet for creativity inspired by the wild world. This truly unique book contains prompts for all kinds of creative activity based around the natural world around us, from drawing to writing to mixed-media collage. Readers will be encouraged to draw on their creativity, to express themselves without fear of being judged, and to make their book really WILD! They will need scissors, pens, paints, tape, glue and a magnifying glass, plus lots of wild materials and their wildest creativity, as this book becomes filled with keepsakes from their own outdoor adventures. From finding the faces hidden in pictures of trees, to collecting ingredients for a spell to keep nature safe, to sticking the feathers back onto a mythical bird, these prompts and activities will provide hours and hours of entertainment as they take children on flights of fantasy through the natural world. Readers can colour outside the lines, do the activities in any order and go at their own pace. The mixture of art, creative writing, collecting, games, wildlife-watching and imaginative prompts will appeal to kids with all kinds of interests, and there are no rules!

Children’s Book of the Year: Breakthrough supported by World Book Day

Janelle McCurdy
Chapter book
Beware of the shadows, the Reaper King is coming . . .Mia always dreamed of being an umbra tamer until she met the wild creature on the Nightmare Plains. Since that day, she prefers to stay safe within the walls of Nubis. Safe, that is, until a surprise attack. With her parents captured, Mia's only hope is to travel to the City of Light to find help. But with only her little brother, two friends and one solitary tamed umbra, the journey feels impossible. Mia not only has to overcome her fears, she also has to learn to harness her umbra taming abilities if they are to complete the quest in time.For fans of Amari and the Night Brothers, The Legend of Podkin One-Ear and Nevermoor, this is the first in the sensational Umbra Tales series, illustrated by Ana Latese.
J. T. Williams
 & Simone Douglas
Chapter book

The first book in the ‘Lizzie and Belle Mysteries’ series sees the young best friends and amateur detectives use their skills to investigate odd goings-on in a theatre, which in turn reveals further mysteries and crimes which they must solve.

Set in Georgian London, this book illuminates the multiracial history of Britain, and the struggles and injustices faced by Black people in a place where many powerful people thrived on keeping slavery alive. It also demonstrates that White people had an important role, as well as responsibility, to offer support to Black anti-slavery activists and to challenge the White slave owners of the time. Many of the characters and events in this book are based on real people and things that happened, and there is a lot of scope to research real stories. The real Elizabeth Sancho was daughter of the African-British writer and abolitionist Ignatius Sancho. Dido Belle was the daughter of Maria, an enslaved young African woman, and John Lindsay – captain in the British Royal Navy.

This is a fantastic mystery story, which could also lead to discussions about race, theatre, slavery and family history.

Author JT Williams also visited our blog to discuss the role of fiction in bringing history to life for children.

Sana Rasoul
Chapter book
Longlisted for The Juniper Book Award 2023. Beware the Twig Man, the Twig Man's hex. Beware the Twig Man, or you'll be NEXT! It's been a year since nearly-twelve-year-old Ari's older sister, Lana, ran away. Except Ari knows what really happened. She was taken by the Twig Man, the creepy monster that's haunted the woods for one hundred years. No one else will listen, so it's down to Ari to save his sister. But he had better hurry, as Ari finds himself next on The Twig Man's list...
Caryl Lewis
Chapter book
Seed is a funny, big-hearted story by award-winner Caryl Lewis about the power of hope and imagination when you believe in the impossible. Perfect for readers of 8-12. Illustrated in black and white throughout by George Ermos.Shortlisted for Breakthrough Children's Book of the Year, The Week Junior Book Awards Shortlisted for the Brandford Boase Award 2023Marty doesn't have much. Unlike his mum, who has billions of things: newspapers, holey shoes, rusty lawnmowers, broken picture frames – she keeps EVERYTHING! It's hard to leave the house. Marty wonders if anything will ever change.But on Marty's birthday, Grandad, with a glint in his eye, gifts Marty a very special seed. Grandad hasn't been this excited since he invented the bum scratcher 2000 or thought he'd brewed wonder fuel from rhubarb leaves! The seed grows bigger and bigger, and launches Grandad, Marty and his best friend Gracie on an impossible, wondrous plan fuelled by love, hopes and dreams.
Lisette Auton
Chapter book
A stunning literary adventure from an incredible debut talent, perfect for fans of Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Cerrie Burnell and Katherine Rundell.I was Haven Point's first Wreckling, but I certainly wasn't the last. There are forty-two of us now, not including the mermaids. When you're a Wreckling, you mainly spend your days squabbling, eating and planning adventures. Oh, and Wrecklings also carry out wreckings, which is how we got our name . . .Washed up as a baby beside a remote lighthouse and raised by a mermaid, Alpha Lux was the first foundling at Haven Point. Now the lighthouse is a ramshackle home for any disabled person who needs somewhere to belong. Looting from passing ships to make a living, they call themselves the Wrecklings, and for the children of Haven Point life is spent adventuring on the wild shore (and getting into trouble with the grown-ups).But when Alpha spots a strange light up on the headland, she realizes that her beloved family are in danger of being discovered by Outsiders.With their home under threat, the Wrecklings must decide what kind of future they want . . . and what they're willing to do to get it.

Simon Lamb
Poetry
Scallywag Press proudly present Simon Lamb's dazzling debut collection of poetry, featuring fifty luminous poems, each written in exactly fifty words, fully-illustrated throughout by much-loved former Children's Laureate Chris Riddell.With subjects ranging from family, identity, and growing up, to the need for hope, the wonder of nature, and the very concept of poetry itself, Simon offers his poems as small nuggets of wisdom, warmth and wit to help readers of all ages navigate their lives.Complementing the always-present three-dimensional sense of drama and interaction with the reader, every poem is gifted its own double page spread, each one exquisitely illustrated by Chris Riddell, with his distinctive insight and flair adding new layers of meaning and joy to these already magical poems.A beautifully-produced hardback gift edition with textured cover, de-bossing and thick paper, this is a book to read, to keep, to love.
Tolá Okogwu
Chapter book

An exciting, edge-of-your-seat adventure.

Onyeka and her best friend, Cheyenne, are both Nigerian living in London. Whilst Cheyenne is confident and not bothered what others think, Onyeka feels like she doesn’t fit in. Her hair in particular causes others to stare. It has a mind of its own and no matter what her hairdresser mum does to it, it’s out of control. Onyeka’s mum doesn’t talk about Nigeria or why they left and least of all, what happened to Onyeka’s dad.

One day, Onyeka’s hair literally has a mind of its own when it glows blue and crackles with electricity when Cheyenne is in trouble. Onyeka’s mum is forced to tell her that she is ‘Solari’ and has inherited this trait from her dad. When Onyeka struggles to control her power and it starts to make her sick, her mum decides it’s finally time to return to Nigeria and try and locate Onyeka’s dad and learn to control her powers. Despite being surrounded by other Solari, Onyeka still feels like she doesn’t belong. The other children have lived with their powers for years, but Onyeka has only just discovered hers. If only her mum could find her dad and maybe she could get some answers!

‘Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun’ is an exciting edge-of-your-seat adventure with interesting and unique characters. I loved the development of the relationships between Onyeka and the other children as she got to know more about them. I became totally lost in Onyeka’s world and couldn’t wait to find out what would happen next.

This story would make a fantastic read for Upper Key Stage 2 children, particularly for those that are fans of superhero stories and films. Tola Okogwu says in the author’s note in the book that she hopes it will “act as both a mirror and a window” in terms of representation, and I think lots of people will agree that it does. What a wonderful book.

Skye McKenna
Chapter book
Step into the magical world of Hedgewitch, where the land of Faerie lies just beyond our own, in this enchanting new series for children age 9+ and readers of Nevermoor, The Worst Witch and The Dark Is Rising.Cassie Morgan has run away. After seven years spent waiting for her mother to return, she flees her dreary boarding school and sets out to find her. But the world outside her school is full of hidden magic and children have been going missing.With the help of a talking cat and a flying broom, Cassie escapes to the enchanted village of Hedgely. There she will begin her training in the practical skills of witchcraft with the Hedgewitch, who watches over the Hedge, the vast forest that marks the border between England and Faerie.Will Cassie discover the truth about her mother? Can she find the lost faery treasures before the wicked Erl King gets his hands on them? And what will it take to save her new home – and Britain itself – from the shadowing magic of Faerie?

Children’s Book of the Year: STEM

Isabel Thomas
 & Aaron Cushley
Non-fiction
Why are bubbles always round? Could I ever touch a rainbow? Why can't I remember being a baby? Have you ever not been able to concentrate because there are SO many questions buzzing round your brain? The Bedtime Book of Impossible Questions will offer answers to the most bamboozling questions and curious queries that you can think of.How many stars are in the night sky? Why don't animals wear clothes? Do plants have feelings? This book will define, debunk and demystify the trickiest of questions and even open your eyes to questions you have never even thought of!With engaging and accessible text and accompanied by exciting, inviting illustrations, The Bedtime Book of Impossible Questions is the perfect bedside companion to delve into when you are wondering if there really is an answer to everything.
i-SPY
Non-fiction
Take on the i-SPY challenge with 50 things to do to get closer to nature! Kids will have fun collecting points with activities to enjoy nature at the seaside and help look after wildlife.From rockpooling to fossil hunting, making beach mandalas to bird watching, they’ll learn all about the natural world along the way.As well as activities, it is packed with facts, photos and things to spot that i-SPY fans will love. Once they’ve scored 1000 points, super-spotters can claim their official i-SPY certificate and badge. Plus there are extra eco points to be scored for doing something to help the planet.
Ben Hoare
Non-fiction
A timeless treasury of more than 100 stories from the incredible kingdom of plants, told by author and nature expert Ben Hoare.Plants are found almost everywhere on Earth, but to many people, their lives are a mystery. Learn how seagrass flowers underwater, how the Venus flytrap counts to make sure it catches its prey, and why some tulips used to cost more than a house! This fascinating book for kids explores the vast plant kingdom and explains how plants work, as well as the weird and wonderful relationships they have with animals.Children can discover the secrets of more than 100 amazing plants in this treasury of fascinating flora, as well as the essentials of plant science, including photosynthesis, pollination, and germination. Each species is shown with remarkable photography and beautiful illustrations, all brought to life by Ben Hoare's writing, filled with charm and infectious enthusiasm.This nature book for children ages 7+ features:- An eye-catching holographic cover, gilded edges, and stunning photography and illustrations, making it the perfect gift - A wide range of incredible plants and trees from all around the world - Illustrated diagrams to support definitions of different types of plants - Introductory reference pages that explain key topics such as photosynthesisThis book is a must for any child interested in the natural world and the plants that grow in it. Plants provide us with food, fuel, and medicine, and without them, life as we know it would not exist. From orchids that grow vanilla pods to leaves that look like stones, and from bamboo that can be made into clothes to moss that soaks up vast amounts of carbon dioxide, plants shape our world in an endless variety of ways.
Laura Brand
 & Freya Hartas
Non-fiction
Zoom in to watch a hummingbird drink nectar; watch a pea shoot appear; see a little snail as he comes come out to drink. With charming text and real science, see nature up close and let it stop you in your tracks, so that you can truly find joy in the present moment.
Susie Brooks
 & Josy Bloggs
Picturebook
A brilliantly funny first guide to genetics that is perfect for children aged 5 years and over. This stunningly illustrated book will boggle your brain with astonishing facts, as it shows how we're all related to every living thing on the planet. Did you know that a grain of rice has more genes than you? Or that you're related to dogs, dung beetles and even daffodils? Luckily, even though you're 99.9% like a chimpanzee, you're still 100% YOU! The extraordinary world of genetics has never been explained so simply. You'll be amazed at what makes you YOU.

Rob Lloyd Jones
 & Laurent Kling
Graphic Novel
Join an astronaut for a day as she goes on her first ever spacewalk, and new crew members arrive. Find out how she trained for her mission and what it's like living and working in space. How do you eat and drink at zero gravity? How do space toilets work? What are space suits designed for?
Alison Buxton,Helen Bell
 & Pintachan
Non-fiction
A one-of-a-kind project book that turns into 30 incredible inventions.The Extraordinary Book That Invents Itself turns itself into rockets, code-breakers, bionic hands, balancing acrobats, demolition balls, constellation viewers and many more ingenious human inventions.Each invention is introduced very simply, with the scientific and engineering principles behind it, and all the templates, tips and instructions to create it yourself.A pull-out Inventors Handbook includes easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions and clever hacks to help every young inventor achieve success.
Dr Thomas Bernard,Lisa Moss
 & Amy Willcox
Picturebook
Discover your inner superhero in the further adventures of the intrepid SUPERQUESTERS! Ada Twist, Scientist meets PJ Masks in this unique, interactive series expertly designed to develop children's STEM skills in immersive ways never done before.When Bea's robot B-bot malfunctions after installing new dance software the three friends put their heads together and return to Questland as the SUPERQUESTERS to find a solution to their problem. Upon arrival, the trio discover that Lord Grumble is wreaking havoc with his new Memory Machine, stealing memories from everyone, including the Queen of Questland. Adventure and excitement await as the friends work together to crack this latest case, while defeating Lord Grumble and his pesky Snapettes.This unique interactive story with hands-on activities is expertly designed in line with the Key Stage 1 Computing, Maths and Science National Curriculum to help children develop their STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills in innovative new ways. Children develop over 12 STEM skills including problem solving, coding, sequencing and algorithms as they complete each interactive quest... and discover their inner superhero along the way.Motivating and empowering, each book features over 100 reusable stickers including magical charm rewards and a reward chart to help children mark their progress and celebrate success. To support grown-ups, spark children's curiosity and bring the adventure further to life there's a 'how to use this book' guide, glossary and answer page, plus free additional hands-on activities and further learning resources to download at: www.questfriendz.com
Rosie Cooper
 & Harriet Russell
Non-fiction
Quirky stories, interactive activities and off-the-wall infographics serve to answer young brainiacs' urgent questions about the climate and weather.What’s the difference between the climate and weather? How do we know global warming is real? The answers to these and many more pressing questions are explored in this book through memorable stories, infographic data dumps, and by engineering a solar oven from a pizza box, among other hands-on activities. Aimed at young brainiacs who want to know how many cow farts make up the Earth’s atmosphere, and how to whip up a homemade storm.

Children’s Audiobook of the Year

M. G. Leonard
Chapter book
Multiple narrators.At the stroke of midnight on the dawn of December, five-year-old Finn Albedo is found frozen in the city park on a pedestal of ice. The doctor says his heart is beating, but no one can wake him.Finn’s big sister, Bianca, suspects the beautiful sparkling book Finn got from the library has something to do with it all but the mysterious book has vanished and no one will listen.As more children are frozen, Bianca realises she’s running out of time.Is there a connection between the peculiar stranger wearing a top hat and the disappearing books?The search for truth hurls Bianca into a fantastical winter wonderland where all is not as it seems…Can Bianca remember her mission and find a way to save her brother and the other Ice Children before all their hearts are lost forever?A future classic with a powerful message at its core.Now available in Dolby Atmos on Audible.
Andrew MacDonald
Chapter book
Narrated by Tom Alexander.The best-selling children's books series, soon to be hitting screens everywhere as an animated film and TV show with Nickelodeon and produced by James Corden.A super-accessible chapter-book series, perfect for listeners aged six and above, and fans of Pamela Butchart, DogMan, the Naughtiest Unicorn and Hotel Flamingo.Ever wonder why pigeons always act so weird? It’s because they’re out there chasing the bad guys and saving your butts!Did you know your city is protected by a secret squad of crime-fighting pigeons? It's true! With master of disguise Rock Pigeon, bendy Tumbler, strong Frillback and super-finder Homey, the REAL PIGEONS will solve any mystery and fight any bad guy to keep the city safe!So what do Real Pigeons do? They EAT DANGER, of course! This squad of crime-fighting feathered friends is nonstop action and nonstop laughs. In their second silly adventure watch as they infiltrate a secret warehouse full of bottled birds and take down a truly criminal ostrich. The DANGER is REAL. And so are the PIGEONS.
David Walliams
Chapter book
Narrated by David Walliams and multiple narrators.Go back to the Space Race with No.1 bestselling author David Walliams for a breathless cinematic adventure full of mystery, action, laughs and surprises—and a secret that could change the course of history…America. The 1960s.Stuck on a remote farm with her awful aunt, twelve-year-old orphan Ruth spends every night gazing at the stars, dreaming of adventure.One night she spots a flying saucer blazing across the sky…before crash-landing in a field. When the spaceship opens and reveals a mysterious alien, all Ruth’s dreams come true.But does this visitor from another planet have a giant secret?Spaceboy is a hilarious and action-packed tale for listeners in any solar system.
Simon Fox
Chapter book
Narrated by Michael Golab.A thrilling debut, with extraordinary twists and incredible action, from an incredible new voice in children’s fiction.I can steal time. The most I can take at the moment is fifteen seconds, which is not a lot. Grandmother took almost three minutes once and she told me she’s done more, but I never saw it. She says there are stories of someone who can take all the time in the world, but how can that be right? When Alex and his father are forced to flee their home to escape a brutal government, they begin a life-threatening journey across Europe. But when they are separated before they can reach Britain, Alex finds himself alone, with only his extraordinary gift to keep him alive.Perfect for fans of Alex Rider, Artemis Fowl, and Inception, Running out of Time is an ingenious, high-concept thriller with a twist that you won’t believe.
Richard Ayoade
Chapter book
Narrated by Richard Ayoade and Jarvis Cocker.What is it that makes YOU want to read a book? Richard Ayoade’s children’s debut gives you all the answers in a way that’s silly, funny, and thoroughly beguiling.Have you ever thought about how it feels to be a book? To be left under a whiffy pant pile or shelved, forever collecting dust? To have your pages bent backwards or your spine BROKEN? What if you don’t have a sparkly unicorn or dragon adorning your cover–who will pick you out of the bookshop then? This is the story of the sadly neglected Book That No One Wanted To Read–can its destiny change when it finally meets the right reader? Spoiler alert: yes.

Michelle Paver
Chapter book
Narrated by Sir Ian McKellan.The grand finale to the prize-winning adventure series that has changed the lives of millions. Breathtaking world-building on an epic scale. Pure escapism at its best.It is early spring, a turbulent, perilous time of sudden storms, frozen river fractures and drifting ice. Fleeing from a demon intent on devouring his souls, Wolf is swept out to sea far from the forest and his pack. The ocean, too, teems with danger: sea wolves, sharks and hunters of the deep, and the demon is gaining ground. Torak and Renn must race to save their pack-brother, battling the harsh icy waves and merciless torrents. If they can't find Wolf in time, the bond between them will be severed forever....Run wild with Wolf Brother for the last time in a Stone Age world we all want to be part of.Listen to Wolfbane as a stand-alone adventure or as part of the well-loved series.
Ladybird
Non-fiction
Narrated by Ben Bailey-Smith.Follow our fearless adventurers Otto (and Missy, the smartest bird in the universe) as they set out on their next action-packed Ladybird Audio Adventure!On this adventure, we're going to travel all around the globe and learn more about the seven natural wonders of the world!Dive amongst the coral in the weird and wonderful Great Barrier Reef in sunny Australia, climb to the coldest heights of Mount Everest and strap in for some splashingly good fun down the rapids at The Grand Canyon. There are many more natural wonders to visit and so much more to learn and discover about them all ,so don't miss out on this global adventure!These audiobooks help children learn about their environment on a journey of discovery with narrators Ben Bailey Smith (a.k.a. Doc Brown, rapper, comedian, and writer) and Sophie Aldred (best known for her role as Ace in Doctor Who).Ladybird Audio Adventures is an award-winning original series for three- to seven-year-olds; an entertaining and engaging way for children to learn about the world around them. Special stories written exclusively for audio so little ones can become their own adventurers with fun sound and musical effects that are perfect for listening at home, before bed and on long journeys.
Malorie Blackman
Non-fiction
Narrated by Esme Sears.Ellie is the rudest, most spoilt child her grandma has ever met and it's time that she learnt a lesson! So with a little bit of magic and some help from Jolly the cat, Grandma's going to make sure that Ellie changes her ways. Can Ellie work hard to prove that she can be good? Or is she destined to spend the rest of her days trapped in the body of a mean old cat?

Children’s Book Cover of the Year sponsored by Bookily by National Book Tokens

Elen Caldecott
Chapter book
Cover designed by Rachael Dean.Cassie’s older brother Byron has fallen in with the wrong crowd – it’s soon clear these boys are wild, reckless and not human at all. They are tylwyth teg – Fair Folk, who tempt humans down into the dark places of the world. And Byron is tempted. When he goes missing, Cassie and her cousin, Siân, follow his trail to an old abandoned railway tunnel which goes down and down into Annwn, the underworld. Here they find that the tylwyth teg are restless – and angry. Their leader, Gwenhidw, wants to protect Annwn from the damage humans are doing to the world. Byron is part of her plan. But Cassie won’t let her big brother be part of anyone’s plan. Can she rescue her brother before it is too late?
Yeva Skalietska
Chapter book Non-fiction
Everyone knows the word 'war'. But very few understand what it truly means. When you find you have to face it, you feel totally lost, walled in by fright and despair. Until you’ve been there, you don’t know what war is.This is the gripping and moving diary of young Ukrainian refugee Yeva Skalietska. It follows twelve days in Ukraine that changed 12-year-old Yeva's life forever. She was woken in the early hours to the terrifying sounds of shelling. Russia had invaded Ukraine, and her beloved Kharkiv home was no longer the safe haven it should have been. It was while she was forced to seek shelter in a damp, cramped basement that Yeva decided to write down her story. And it is a story the world needs to hear.Yeva captured the nation's heart when she was featured on Channel 4 News with her granny as they fled Ukraine for Dublin. In You Don't Know What War Is, Yeva records what is happening hour-by-hour as she seeks safety and travels from Kharkiv to Dublin. Each eye-opening diary entry is supplemented by personal photographs, excerpts of messages between Yeva and her friends and daily headlines from around the world, while three beautifully detailed maps (by Kharkiv-native Olga Shtonda) help the reader track Yeva and her granny’s journey. You Don’t Know What War Is is a powerful insight into what conflict is like through the eyes of a child and an essential read for adults and older children alike.Published in association with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, with a foreword by Michael Morpurgo.
Eve McDonnell
Chapter book
Cover designed by Holly Ovenden.Who can catch a memory thief?"Starting on All Fools Day, twelve years ago, I remember everything. EVERYTHING. That was a wet Saturday, and that was the day I was born." 12-year-old Piaf has the ability to (and burden of) remembering everything that has happened since the day she was born. When she discovers everyone in Paris has forgotten the entire last year, 1887, including the disappearance of several gifted children, Piaf and her twin brother Luc embark on a dangerous journey that brings them to the depths of Paris's underground twin, the Catacombs, to capture the memory thief and find the lost children.
Owen Davey
Non-fiction
Did you know that penguins can hold their breath for over half an hour? Or that they can swim four times faster than an Olympic swimmer? And they don't just live in icy Antarctica! You can find them on sandy beaches in South Africa and other more tropical locations too. Dive into this fascinating illustrated guide to our feathered friends, the penguins. From the tiny fairy penguin that is no bigger than a ruler, to the emperor penguin that is over a metre tall, find out where they live, what they eat and how we can protect them.
Craig Glenday
 & Rod Hunt
Non-fiction
The 2023 edition takes readers on a journey that's out of this world! With bonus digital content throughout, we reveal the latest and greatest record-breaking achievements here on Planet Earth and across the vast distances of space. With ever more focus on diversity and inclusion, we showcase the most inspirational, eye-catching, mind-blowing achievements from the past year, across a multitude of topics such as gaming and the human body, engineering and wildlife. As lockdown restrictions ease, humanity's horizons are expanding once again, and our world is experiencing unprecedented change - in the environment, culture, technology and society. Keeping up with this dizzying revolution are the Guinness World Records adjudicators, who've been busier than ever documenting the Officially Amazing. The result is Guinness World Records 2023!

Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Chapter book
Come with an Arctic fox on a breathtaking journey ... an enthralling story from the bestselling, award-winning creators of Julia and the Shark. With dazzling blue and black illustrations, this is a perfect gift for 9+ fans of The Last Bear and A Wolf Called Wander.She was very tired.She lay down, her soft head on her soft paws.The sunset licked her face.The snow covered her like a blanket.Fox wakes, and begins to walk. She crosses ice and snow, over mountains and across frozen oceans, encountering bears and birds beneath the endless daylight of an Arctic summer, navigating a world that is vast, wild and wondrous. Meanwhile, Leila embarks on a journey of her own - finding her way to the mother who left her. On a breathtaking journey across the sea, Leila rediscovers herself and the mother she thought she'd lost, with help from a determined little fox.Based on the true story of an Arctic fox who walked from Norway to Canada in seventy-six days, a distance of two thousand miles, this compelling, emotional and beautifully illustrated story is the perfect gift for 9+ readers.
Rob Biddulph
Chapter book
Some legends are born, some are drawn . . .Famous works of art are disappearing from all over the world. One moment they are there, the next, they have crumbled to dust. Peanut Jones, artist and adventurer, and her friends suspect it might have something to do with the magical world of Chroma and the wicked Mr White's plot to wipe out colour, art and creativity. It's time to head back to the Illustrated City and help the resistance fight back. . .Superstar, author and illustrator Rob Biddulph dazzles in Peanut Jones and the Twelve Portals. This second title in the hilarious adventure series for boys and girls aged 8 to 12 fizzes with magic, danger, friendship and art. It is fully illustrated throughout by Rob, the creative genius behind #DrawWithRob.
Nizrana Farook
Chapter book

This is a story of adventure and friendship. The relationship between Selvi and Amir takes a while to build and it shows that friendships take work to be successful. The setting of the Serendib mountains will transport children to a place that many are likely to know very little about and provides an opportunity to introduce them to different lifestyles and cultures. The issue around animal hunting is an interesting one to explore and would make the basis for a good class discussion. The relatively short chapters help to keep the story moving at a good pace and make it an easy book to dip in and out of. For children who are daunted by longer chapters and books, this will make it all the more appealing.

Sophy Henn
Non-fiction
Cover designed by Faith Booker.Step into the book and see how you measure up against some of the world's most amazing DEADLY animals. Watch out for the LIFESIZE black caiman jaws, burmese python, slow loris and much more!This interactive non-fiction adventure features LIFESIZE illustrations of some of world’s smallest and largest deadly animals and invites children to think about how they compare with these amazing creatures.This huge, playful book is the perfect introduction to animals for young children from picture book star, Sophy Henn.Climb into the book for a truly wild adventure . . .
Helen Rutter
Chapter book
Archie, the boy at the centre of this story, is a Year Six child who lives with his mum, after his parents split up. He regularly visits his dad but his dad often cancels their days together so that he can spend time with his new wife and baby daughter. Archie's mum is poorly, and has been for quite some time, but he has to keep it a secret from everyone. He also gets bullied at school and is never picked for the school sports teams. It's no wonder that he has low self-esteem when we first meet him! After a visit to his friend, Archie falls off his bike. When he wakes up, he sees his favourite football player, Lucas Bailey, who gives him nine wishes! Archie tries hard to use his wishes wisely but they never have the effect he expects! However, unlike many other moral tales of the same type, Archie's wishes really do help him to see himself in a much more positive light. The story is a brilliant take on the traditional ‘Aladdin' tale and brings in so much to think about; Archie's complex home life makes him a really interesting and thought provoking character. The story is perfect as a class read for a Year Five or Year Six class or could be used as a focus text within Anti-Bullying week. Although there are many sensitive themes addressed, there is also a huge amount of humour too...and a great twist at the end! Reviewer: Claire C

David Owen & George Ermos
Chapter book

Alex Neptune lives in the seaside town of Haven Bay, which is rather unfortunate as he thinks the sea is trying to kill him. He is not allowed to go anywhere near the sea; his grandad has forbidden it. However, this only makes Alex’s fear of water worse. Zoey Wu is Alex’s best friend and an inventor. She does have a tendency to blow things up or set them on fire though…
One day, their new friend Anil Chatterjee finds an octopus that takes a liking to Alex and seems to be trying to communicate with him. A whole host of other seaside creatures start acting rather strangely as well: Pinch the seagull, a group of sea otters and an army of crabs. The water in Haven Bay has recently turned foul and the locals are determined to find out why. Does it have something to do with a strange new building called the Station? And why do the animals seem to want Alex to visit the abandoned aquarium?

It’s not long until the annual ‘Water Dragon ceremony’ which celebrates the local legend of a mythical creature called the Water Dragon that supposedly created the bay. Alex, Zoey and Anil find themselves investigating the mysterious goings-on and uncovering more than they bargained for.

I really enjoyed the eco-themes mixed with magic in this book – a great combination! The humour and development of friendship between the characters were enjoyable elements as well. The friendship dynamics are something that children most likely will relate to, with Alex and Zoey being best friends and Anil being a new friend that comes along. ‘Alex Neptune’ will be enjoyed by fans of ‘Malamander’ and other legend-based adventures. It would also make a good class read for children in Year 5 or 6 and could link to a topic that covers pollution or be a good starting point for writing their own legends.

Chris Vick
Chapter book
Cover designed by Jessie Price.There are 1.3 million great whales left in the Earth's oceans today.Climate activist Abi and her AI computer Moonlight are on a mission to protect the planet.When they uncover whale song recordings made by Abi's great-grandfather, a whale hunter, Moonlight discovers a pattern......the songs are a map to a future that could rescue the whales and rescue the world.

Read about the award ceremony and the winners of each category here.

More information about the awards can be found on The Week Junior Awards website.

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