The Christmas Department Store by Maudie Powell-Tuck and Hoang Giang (Little Tiger, £11.99)
Money is tight, and Benji’s family are a little sad – but when Benji visits the enchanted Christmas Department Store, he finds the perfect presents, full of laughter and delight. A warm, golden picture book about treasuring joyful feelings and the people closest to you.
The Christmas Pine by Julia Donaldson and Victoria Sandøy (Alison Green, £12.99)
A simple, sweetly festive story from picture-book legend Donaldson and Norwegian illustrator Sandøy, celebrating the pine tree sent from Oslo to London every year, and following its journey from seed to splendour.
The Fire Fox by Alexandra Page and Stef Murphy (Two Hoots, £12.99)
Mum and Freya are staying in a cosy little cabin – but Freya feels empty now that Dad is no longer with them. When she finds a white fox in the snow, however, she follows her new friend out into a world of magic … Inspired by the Finnish Sami legend of the “fox fires” which form the northern lights, this moving, glowing tale is bewitching to read.
We All Celebrate! by Chitra Soundar and Jenny Bloomfield (Tiny Owl, £12.99)
For five-plus, a stunning, colourful guide to celebrations around the globe, from Hogmanay and the lunar new year to the Day of the Dead, Hanukah and Christmas. Delectable details of food, sweets and costume are interwoven with thoughtful historical observations – and the dancers holding hands on the endpapers are particularly fabulous.
Clarice Bean: Think Like an Elf by Lauren Child (HarperCollins, £14.99)
The beloved heroine returns in an odyssey of yuletide misadventure to delight six-plus readers, during which the spirit of the season is repeatedly mislaid – and found again. A hilarious, warm, child’s-eye view of the runup to Christmas, with characteristically gorgeous collaged illustrations.
Black and British: An Illustrated History by David Olusoga, illustrated by Jake Alexander and Melleny Taylor (Macmillan, £16.99)
Olusoga’s celebrated title is now available in a beautiful and absorbing illustrated format that invites readers from seven and up to pore over its pages. Maps and portrait galleries effortlessly convey how Black and British history have been woven together since the Roman invasion.
The Very Merry Murder Club, edited by Serena Patel and Robin Stevens, illustrated by Harry Woodgate (Farshore, £12.99)
For eight-plus readers, a seasonal compendium of lighthearted murder mysteries from authors including Patrice Lawrence, Maisie Chan, Elle McNicoll, Sharna Jackson and Benjamin Dean, with Woodgate’s black-and-white illustrations throughout.
Peanut Jones and the Illustrated City by Rob Biddulph (Macmillan, £12.99)
Peanut Jones’s dad is missing, and everyone seems to have given up looking – but when Peanut finds a very special pencil, she’s drawn (literally) into a parallel world, where imagination is under threat. Can Peanut, her little sister, and her science-minded friend save Chroma’s creativity from being erased – and find her dad, too? Rob Biddulph’s first book for nine-plus is a vividly illustrated, immersive romp that will leave readers desperate for the next instalment.
Fledgling by Lucy Hope (Nosy Crow, £7.99)
In a bizarre house in the Bavarian mountains, a curious creature crash-lands in Cassie’s bedroom – a creature that seems to be a cherub. Cassie can’t expect much from her self-centred opera singer mother, or her father, who is obsessed with taxidermy, but will her best friend, Raphael, help keep the creature safe from the sinister forces hunting it? A quirky, adventurous fantasy debut with a wonderful setting and a numinous hint of David Almond’s Skellig.
You’ll be the Death of Me by Karen McManus (Penguin, £7.99)
For 14-plus, the teen thriller queen returns with a high-octane take on Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Ivy, Cal and Mateo cut school together on a day none of them can face. But when they discover the body of Ivy’s rival for class president, they’re drawn into a desperate search for answers – and a drug theft with a long tail of terrifying consequences. A treat to gulp down in one sitting.
Stay Another Day by Juno Dawson (Quercus, £7.99)
In their Edinburgh family home, three siblings prepare for an idyllic traditional Christmas … or possibly not. Fern wants everything perfect for her new boyfriend, but Rowan just wants to go out on the pull, while the prospect of Christmas indulgence terrifies Willow. Hilarious, mordant, moving and rude, a yuletide delight from the author of Meat Market.
Terciel and Elinor by Garth Nix (Hot Key, £16.99)
After a long wait, Nix returns to the land of the Abhorsens in this superb prequel. Unconventional, gifted Elinor lives a secluded life – until the forces of the dead attack her quiet home, and tangle her fate with that of Terciel the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, skilled in Charter magic and in fighting back the dead. Exhilarating, fast-paced, fierce and funny, it introduces the parents of Nix’s later heroine Sabriel in a standalone that will please both newcomers and devoted fans.
• Browse all the featured books and save up to 15% at guardianbookshop.com. Delivery charges may apply.