Get Real, Mallory! by Daisy Hirst, Walker, £12.99
Nomi thinks she’s not the best at drawing dogs – until her imaginary pup Mallory “gets real” and joins her on an adventure in the park. An adorable, energetic picture book, filled with creative flair.
Faruq and the Wiri Wiri by Sophia Payne, illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat, Templar, £7.99
This colourful picture-book celebration of Guyanese cooking – including hot wiri wiri peppers – features a little boy desperate to learn to cook, and the joy of sharing food with family.
Lizzy and the Cloud by the Fan Brothers, Frances Lincoln, £12.99
Lizzy’s pet cloud needs daily watering and ample space – but what happens when Milo gets too big for their flat? An elegant, surreal and touching picture book for 5+.
Press Start! Game On, Super Rabbit Boy! by Thomas Flintham, Nosy Crow, £6.99
A zany, pixelated, potentially addictive new series for 5+ with strong Sonic vibes, in which Sunny must defeat King Viking to win back Singing Dog via repeated goes on his favourite video game.
The Little Lost Kitten by Holly Webb, illustrated by Abigail Hookham, Barrington Stoke, £6.99
Since their old cat Patch died, Lucy and Dad are sad. When Lucy finds a lost kitten in the garden, she doesn’t want to upset Dad – but is it time to welcome a new pet? A simple, effective little story, ideal for newly independent readers of 5+.
Glitter Boy by Ian Eagleton, Scholastic, £7.99
James loves Mariah Carey, dancing and singing. He doesn’t like Paul in his class, who calls him “that word”, or his dad forbidding him to sing at his teacher’s wedding. Can James find acceptance both from himself and others? This poignant, defiantly fabulous story for 8+ draws vividly on the author’s experience of being bullied.
The Stickleback Catchers by Lisette Auton, Puffin, £7.99
Mimi is devoted to her wild, dramatic, hilarious Gran, but then Gran starts forgetting things, and strange cracks appear in reality. With the help of her new friends Titch and Nusrat, will Mimi be able to fix Gran’s broken memory? A moving, fantastical adventure story of coming to terms with challenge and change.
Glow Up, Lara Bloom by Dee Benson, Hot Key, £7.99
When Lara’s friends decide to transform their looks in a shared glow-up, Lara isn’t keen, until gorgeous new boy Caiden appears. But will she ever get her hair under control – or grow beyond an AA cup? And how much does she really need to change? A warm, funny, delightfully hapless diary-format story for 11+.
You Think You Know Me by Ayaan Mohamud, Usborne, £8.99
Model student Hanan always heeds her mother’s maxim “A closed mouth is gold” – until her friend is murdered, and the whole Muslim community comes under attack. As her family suffer and racists grow bolder, it’s time for Hanan to open her mouth and give her rage a voice. A tremendous YA debut from a powerful new talent.
The Girl Who Broke the Sea by A Connors, Scholastic, £8.99
Expelled from school, this is Lily’s last chance: a new start on a deep-sea mining rig. But Deephaven is anything but welcoming. It’s cramped and claustrophobic, the head scientist’s gone missing, and a curious, sentient something calls to Lily from the sea … An atmospheric, satisfying YA sci-fi thriller.