Collection of children’s books – the best new picture books and novels | Books


Tthe distant savagery of a Scottish island mixed with Celtic folklore and Hindu mythology: Jasbinder Bilan’s Aarti & the blue gods (Chicken House) is a gem for readers ages eight and up. Aarti lives alone with her demanding and cruel aunt, cut off from the world and her own history – until a boy is stranded on the beach and she makes an extraordinary discovery. Skilfully interweaving the tangible and the numinous, this adventure rich in layers confirms the striking and original talent of Bilan.

Of Scavengers author Darren Simpson comes Memory thieves (Usborne), a tense sci-fi thriller. In the Sanctuary Elsewhere, young residents, including Cyan, submit to Dr Haven’s memory modifications to escape deep-rooted trauma – but when Cyan finds a cryptic message etched into a whale skeleton and sees a new arrival resist the regime, he begins to rebel, too. Simpson combines quick visual storytelling with a complex and empowering message about coming to terms with the past.

My beautiful voice by Joseph Coelho. Illustration by Allison Colpoys

A philosophical autonomous, Poison for breakfast (Rock the Boat) by Daniel Handler alias Lemony Snicket, is told by the author, who realizes one morning that he is investigating his own murder. Where is he? Reading this little book gives the impression of opening a window to let in air and light. It’s filled with curious information and powerful feelings, and is alternately humorous, sad, meditative, and lovely – with ambiguous questions to ponder and savor.

For seven years and over, Maddy Yip’s Guide to Life Sue Cheung’s (Andersen) follows the eponymous heroine on a quest to discover her talent. Everyone has one, so surely she must too… but annoyed by an agonizing awkwardness, disgusting cakes and defiantly fleeing guinea pig assistants, will Maddy ever discover her unique gift? A very illustrated and often hilarious start for a new series.

Written by Polly, Geoffrey Faber’s granddaughter, and published, of course, by Faber, The cat from the book is illustrated with glittering-eyed charm by Clara Vulliamy. It’s the whimsical tale of Morgan, a wartime street kitten turned into a perfect publishing house cat under the auspices of TS Eliot. Morgan then trains other kittens as fellow writers to get them out of London – a sweet feline twist on the classic evacuee story.

The cat from Polly Faber's book.  Illustration by Clara Vulliamy
The cat from the book by Polly Faber. Illustration by Clara Vulliamy

A picture book for ages five and up, the magnificent My beautiful voice (Frances Lincoln) by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Allison Colpoys, is a story that unfolds as delicately as a flower, infused with the swirls of vivid colors of Colpoys. The shy narrator doesn’t speak in class – until her teacher Miss Flotsam provides the perfect conditions for her to write a poem, and then recite it, in her newly discovered beautiful voice.

In picture books for young readers, two very fun counting books stand out. In 10 stupid children (Pavilion) new talent Jon Lander happily takes us from sane activities – sitting, bathing, cooking, gardening – to fold-out shutters in which extreme silliness reigns: think lions in disguise and worm pie feasts. . Everything is conveyed by hand-drawn pops of color that are playful and free, while the solemn injunctions not to open said flaps give the book a conspiratorial feel, perfect for reading aloud.

And Ten delicious teachers (Walker), by Ross Montgomery and Sarah Warburton, features a handful of carefree educators who missed the last bus home and take a shortcut through the forest – much to the delight of the hungry, brightly-colored monsters who walked them away. pick up, one by one. Funny and irreverent, it’s easy to imagine this one being a huge hit at school story time.

Also from Walker, Ergo, by Alexis Deacon and Viviane Schwarz, is the deceptively simple story of a little yellow chick discovering that she is not the world, nor her eggshell. Ergo’s progression from certainty to doubt, from exploration to new discovery, is comical, engaging and deeply stimulating, for readers of all ages.

Gathering of teenagers

The Upper World paperback - august 19, 2021

The upper world
by Femi Fadugba, Penguin, £ 7.99
When teenager Esso begins to glimpse the future, he is haunted by the sight of a bullet fired into an alley; but can the future be changed? Fifteen years later, Rhia is filled with questions about her parents and when she never met them. Does Dr. Esso have answers for her – or is her time travel talk just messed up? From the streets of Peckham and Streatham to the supernatural strangeness of the upper world, this superbly original debut album, written with extraordinary ambition and panache, a blend of theoretical physical effort and all too human tragedy.

Keith Gray's climbers

by Keith Gray, Barrington Stoke, £ 7.99
Sully is the best tree climber in the village, until the boy who calls himself “Nottingham” appears. No one climbs Twisted Sister without at least seven falls, but Nottingham succeeds in their second attempt. Angry and unstable, Sully challenges Nottingham in a race – be the first to climb the impossible tree, the nameless tree. But will any of them make it to the top without tragedy? Spared, brief, crystal-clear, this short story from a multi-award-winning author distills the sensitivity to thin, sore skin of teens, desperate to both stand out and fit in.

The Sound of Everything by Rebecca Henry

The sound of everything
by Rebecca Henry, All with words, £ 8.99
Complex and difficult Kadie was returned from foster home to foster home, treason after treason. But if the noise of everyday life often threatens to overwhelm her, she has a talent for music that drives her to forge an unlikely alliance with Dayan, also a gifted musician. As envious girls start an online hate campaign against her, can Kadie bring herself to trust Dayan and let him in? A brilliantly assured first novel, evoking all the accumulated defensive wound of the child in series rejected.

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