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Ones to Watch: 5 Top Books Coming Soon

We take a look at some of our Review Panel’s top picks of children’s books coming out over the next few months. From a poignant new middle-grade story of child poverty by Tom Percival to an illustrated Dungeons and Dragons style adventure from the author of the much-loved Podkin series, there’s plenty to look forward to over from April to June 2024…
new children's books

new children's books

Five of our favourite books coming over the next few months…

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 at BooksForTopics HQ, we’re always excited to get a sneak peek at new books ahead of their publication date. This means that our panel have time to read ahead and pick the very best new books to recommend to you. We regularly refresh our Ones to Watch page to keep you updated with the latest upcoming book releases each term.

This month, we’ve been attending publisher showcases to find out about the most exciting new releases for the rest of 2024. In this blog, we’ve chosen five of our favourite coming-soon children ‘s books to share with you.

Here are our panel’s top picks of new and upcoming children’s books for April, May and June for you to watch out for over the next few months –  why not pre-order now as a gift to your future self?


  1. The Wrong Shoes by Tom Percival

    Publication Date: May 9, 2024
    Pre-order here

    the wrong shoes

    Tom Percival is well known for his popular picturebooks exploring big emotions, including Ruby’s Worry, The Invisible and Perfectly Norman. Now the author brings a multi-layered and empathy-boosting middle-grade chapter book about child poverty. In this collaboration with the National Literacy Trust comes 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. This beautifully deep and sensitively written chapter book is most suitable for Upper KS2 and beyond. Additionally, £1 from every sale of the book will be donated to the work of the National Literacy Trust and 15,000 books will be gifted by the publisher to children living in communities with low literacy levels.

    Tom Percival the wrong shoes

    For more children’s books exploring the theme of child poverty, we recommend It’s a No Money Day, The Invisible, The Great Food Bank Heist and The Cooking Club Detectives.

    Pre-order The Wrong Shoes from Amazon or BookShop.


  2. Keedie by Elle McNicoll

    Publication Date: April 4, 2024
    Pre-order here


    Keedie is the prequel to Elle McNicoll’s best-selling novel A Kind of Spark, which is a featured book on our Autism Awareness booklist and has recently been televised as a CBBC drama.

    Set five years earlier, this new 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.


    Pre-order Keedie from Amazon or BookShop.     d


  3. Twice Upon a Time by Michelle Harrison

    Publication Date: April 11, 2024
    Pre-order here

    twice upon a time

    Much loved Michelle Harrison – author of A Pinch of Magic – brings a new story about twins who can stop time to solve mysteries. Twice Upon a Time 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.

    Readers who love mystery stories like Robin Stevens’ Murder Most Unladylike, time-slip adventures like A Christmas in Time or magical fantasies like Pages and Co will enjoy delving into the new series.

    Pre-order Twice Upon a Time from Amazon or BookShop.


  4.  Peregrine Quinn and the Cosmic Realm by Ash Bond

    Publication Date: April 25, 2024
    Pre-order here

    peregrine quinn and the cosmic realm the first adventure in an electrifying new fantasy seriesPeregrine Quinn and the Cosmic Realm is a new high-octane fantasy series based on a meeting of modern and mythological worlds. The series will appeal to 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.

    For more books for fans of Percy Jackson, check out our new branching-out booklist too.

    Pre-order Peregrine Quinn and the Cosmic Realm from Amazon or BookShop.


  5.  Dungeon Runners: Hero Trial by Kieran Larwood and Joe Todd Stanton

    Publication Date: June 6, 2024
    Pre-order here

    dungeon runnmers

    Dungeon Runners: Hero Trial 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.


Pre-order Dungeon Runners: Hero Trial from Amazon or BookShop.



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