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BookTrust’s Great Books Guide 2021: best new children’s books!

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We are thrilled to see so many of our amazing authors and illustrators in BookTrust’s Great Books Guide 2021: best new children’s books!

Meet the Oceans

Caryl Hart, illustrated by Bethan Woollvin

Discover the undersea caves of the Atlantic Ocean, visit the busy shipping lanes of the South China Sea and marvel at the spectacular Great Barrier Reef in the Coral Sea, which can be seen from space. From friendly beluga whales and giant jellyfish to tropical islands and enormous icebergs, there is so much to see on this exciting underwater adventure.

Young children will love diving into this vibrant picture book and embarking on a captivating exploration of the world’s oceans. Each double-page spread focuses on a different body of water and highlights some of the creatures and plants that lie beneath the waves.

When I Say Boo, You Say Hoo

John Kane

John Kane’s brilliantly silly, clever book sets up a series of call-and-response rules with young readers to create a hilarious performative reading.

If you see the colour blue, you must shout out Stinky Poo! If you see a tree, shout ME! Once the rules have been set, the book starts to put funnier and funnier questions and answers together until the kids are shouting about a farting ghost and no one knows exactly who has done a poo.

A perfect book for Key Stage 1 kids for a hilarious read at the end of the day, or just as perfect at home.

Spaghetti Hunters

Morag Hood

Duck is looking for his spaghetti, but he can’t find it anywhere. Fortunately, Tiny Horse, self-proclaimed spaghetti hunter, has all the kit to help them find the elusive pasta.

Yet when Tiny Horse presents her findings, Duck isn’t convinced. Is spaghetti supposed to hiss? And what’s that ball of wool doing there?

Morag Hood’s slightly surreal books with minimal text and lots of laughs are perfect for two to four-year-olds. In reading, we also learn a little about how spaghetti is made, teaching very young children about the origin of their food.

Squishy McFluff: On with the Show!

Pip Jones, illustrated by Ella Okstad

Ava and her best friend Squishy McFluff, the invisible cat, are thrilled to hear that Bing’s Big Top Circus is in town. Ava and Squishy supposed to be helping Mum clear out the garden shed, and if they do a good job, Mum and Dad will take them to the circus in the evening. But when celebrity clown Hank Honk doesn’t turn up, Ava and Squishy find themselves starring in the show rather than just watching it! Ava and Squishy’s adventures are fun, engaging and a great way to enjoy a shared story and to encourage the first steps towards independent reading.

Pizazz

Sophy Henn

Pizazz is a superhero, but she hates her superpower. In fact, she hates it so much that sometimes she’d rather let the baddies win than to use it because it’s so embarrassing. Yet when Pizazz becomes an eco-monitor at school, she finds out that a local business is planning to steamroller the local park and build a car park on it instead. Can she stop them? And will she have to use her (actually quite fabulous) superpower?

Sophy Henn’s zany illustrated adventure is full of friendship, family and positive activism – and completely relatable for anyone who has ever felt that other people’s talents are better than their own.

A Mummy Ate My Homework

Thiago de Moraes

It’s the first day of Year 6 and Henry can’t wait to get back to school. Yet, in maths, Henry is pulled through a time portal and lands smack bang in the middle of Ancient Egypt!

Life is very different in 3100 BC, with pet crocodiles and hunting lessons, but Henry makes a great set of new friends and is pretty good at life in Ancient Egypt. But how can he get back? Weaving historical fact and fiction together in this highly illustrated and hilarious book really works. Readers get to learn about ancient Egypt and solve hieroglyphic puzzles while reading a very funny story.

Happy Here: 10 Stories from Black British Authors and Illustrators

Including Alexandra Sheppard and Dorcas Magbadelo

In Alexandra Sheppard’s ‘A House Like No Other’, illustrated by Dorcas Magbadelo, Izzy goes to stay with her Aunty V in Brixton and helps her aunt move on from the past as well as find confidence in her skills as a dancer. In ‘You’re The Boss’ by E.L. Norry and illustrated by Chanté Timothy, Ash joins a new school where gaming in lessons is the norm, and children are required to have strange inoculations that make their eyes glow green…

These ten illustrated short stories from some of today’s best black authors and illustrators will thrill readers with the stories they’ve been waiting for. This book really has everything: a skilfully spun plot, humour and charm, as well as unforgettable characters and poetry in its language.

Emmy Levels Up

Helen Harvey

Emmy lives some of the best bits of her life online. Yet, in real life, Emmy feels inadequate and uncoordinated, and the cool new girl Vanessa has also got Emmy’s oldest friend to turn against her. Fortunately, a lunchtime computer club helps Emmy and the other ‘geeks’ come to realise that what makes them different also gives them strength.

This is a hard-hitting yet empowering exploration of the toxic effects of bullying, not just on those who are targeted but also on those who are too afraid to challenge cruel behaviour for fear of becoming victims too. Ultimately uplifting, Emmy’s story is funny, touching and a captivating read.

Read the full list here!