Roundup for kids and teens – the best new picture books and novels | Books

How to Count to ONE by Caspar Salmon and Matt Hunt (Nosy Crow, £6.99)
A devious, interactive picture book that tries, with transparent duplicity, to entice its little readers to count numbers greater than one. Bright colors, naïve imagery and a strong, sustained shared joke make this a counting book with a delicious difference.

Joe Todd-Stanton’s Comet (flying eye£12.99)
Nyla is sad when she and Dad move to town, away from the trees, the stars, and the sound of the waves. When she sees a comet racing across the sky, she feels at home – but will Dad understand as she tries to make her way? A picture book of luminous beauty, full of bittersweet feelings of farewell, about learning to welcome the new.

A detail from The Aquanaut by Dan Santat.

A dress with pockets by Lily Murray and Jenny Løvlie (Pan Macmillan, £7.99)
In her quest for the perfect dress, Lucy only needs one thing: pockets. But will she find the dress of her dreams in the Fabulous Fashion Store, with its glittery, frilly, itchy, itchy items? Playful rhyming dialogues and intricate, engaging images perfectly convey the need for children’s clothing with built-in freedom of exploration.

Big Cats: A Day in the Life by Tyus D Williams and Chaaya Prabhat (neon squid£7.99)
Ideal for 5+ fans of Owen Davey’s wildlife books, this compelling documentary-style look at panthers, cheetahs, snow leopards and mountain lions strikes the perfect balance between gripping factual text and a captivating graphic illustration.

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Gaia: Earth Goddess by Imogen and Isabel Greenberg (Bloomsbury£14.99)
For mythology fans over the age of 6, this story of the Greek goddess who created the Earth – then watched in dismay as generations of gods ravaged it – is retold and thrillingly illustrated in strip-style panels. drawn, with the three Fates commenting sarcastically from the borders.

All to Play For by Eve Ainsworth, illustrated by KirstI Beautyman (Barrington Stoke£6.99)
Lewis’ father died tragically young on the pitch, so it’s no wonder his mother was anti-football. But when Lewis is offered the chance to shine, how can he turn it down? A moving and engaging story for football fans aged 7+, from an accessible “super readable” editor.

Dan Santat’s Aquanaut (Scholastic, £9.99)
A spacesuit driven by sea creatures, a bereaved daughter, an absent uncle and a failing theme park are the quirky but brilliant ingredients in this funny, poignant and atmospheric graphic novel for ages 7-8+, from the author of The Adventures, winner of Caldecott. of Beckle.

I have this

Got It by Cara Mailey and Chrissie Sains (Scholastic, £6.99)
Erin suffers from achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, but there’s nothing small about her singing voice – or her dreams. When her favorite pop group holds a contest offering a chance to star in their new music video, Erin is determined to enter. But is his best friend and video director really on his side? Drawing from Mailey’s own experience, this bubbly tale for ages 8 and up has a bold and engaging narrator.

Skandar and the Unicorn Thief by AF Steadman (Simon & Schuster, £12.99)
Skandar always wanted to be a unicorn rider, bonded for life to a dangerous and glorious steed. But a terrifying revelation about Skandar’s magic and the flight of the island’s most powerful unicorn soon catapults him on an adventure even more perilous than his training. This satisfyingly fat, fast-paced novel revives worn tropes with compulsive readability – 9+ fantasy fans will be hooked on sight.

Ajay and the Mumbai Sun

Ajay and the Mumbai Sun by Varsha Shah (Homemade chicken, £7.99)
Ajay lives in a train station, but is determined to become a journalist – and when he finds an old printing press, he and his friends seize the opportunity to start their own newspaper. When the Mumbai Sun speaks truth to corrupt power, can it survive the fallout? Never hiding the realities of life for children in the slums of Mumbai, Shah’s compelling debut is a gripping, vivid and heartfelt story for ages 9 and up.

Say no to the dress by Keren David (Barrington Stoke, £7.99)
Miri was confident in her body until puberty and Covid robbed her of her confidence. Now she’s grown up all over the place and two of her siblings want her to be a bridesmaid. How can she dodge the frills, the fat-shaming — and the dreaded spotlight? A short, sweet, funny and warm story of self-discovery for ages 11 and up.

Let the truth be told by Sue Divine (Pan Macmillan, £7.99)
On a residential trip to County Down, Tara, daughter of a Catholic single mother, is shocked to meet Faith, the child of strict evangelical Protestants – and Tara’s exact look-alike. Sifting through the secret of their relationship will shake up all their certainties about who they are and where they belong, not to mention revealing their own secrets. Set in contemporary Northern Ireland, Divin’s second YA novel has all the power, humor and heartbreak of his Carnegie selection debut.

From Blood to Poison by Mary Watson (Bloomsbury, £7.99)
In the 17-year-old Cape of Savannah family, one woman from each generation dies young. The curse began with Hella, their ancestor, a female slave whose anger brought her magic to life. Now Savannah is mad at the catcallers too, her mom’s boyfriend, everyone – but death draws closer with each outburst of fury. Can she find the formula to help him break the curse? Or will the city’s dark veil witches steal her power – and her life? A ferocious battle cry of justified anger, set in a richly textured world of everyday magic.

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