A selection of the best Puffin books out in 2021 on a pink background

Image: Alicia Fernandes/Penguin

January

How To Change The World by Rashmi Sirdeshpande & Annabel Tempest (7 Jan) 

Humans have been changing the world since, well, forever! And in Rashmi Sirdeshpande’s new book, you’ll meet 15 different groups of people who have made changes for the better. From the campaigners who fought for women’s rights to the scientists working to protect the ozone layer, it’s amazing what can be done when we all work together.

The Worries: Sohal Finds a Friend by Jion Sheibani (14 Jan)

Sohal is a worrier. His parents and teachers always say so but this just makes Sohal worry more. He worries about the dark, not having friends and mutant sheep. So, to make himself feel better, Sohal decides to scribble down his worries. And this helps! Except when he wakes up the next morning, he finds his worries sitting at the end of his bed in furry creature form! Will Sohal be able to keep them under control? A great story for fans of Pixar film Inside Out.

Uma and the Answer to Absolutely Everything by Sam Copeland & Sarah Horne (21 Jan)

Uma Gnudersonn has a million and one questions. Why do old people shrink? What’s the most disgusting animal in the world? Will my dad ever start talking again? Why did mum leave before she passed away? Unfortunately, Uma doesn’t always get an answer. But then she stumbles across a single mysterious in-ear headphone called Athena who has the answers to everything. Armed with this access to unlimited knowledge, Uma is determined to make some changes in her life. But then Athena’s sinister inventor comes looking for her creation… 

 

  • The Worries: Sohal Finds a Friend

    The Worries

  • .

    'Funny, sweet and very useful for opening conversations with anxious children' - Guardian

    Everyone feels worried sometimes. But what if your worries came to life and started following you around?

    Sohal worries about a lot of things: the dark, mutant sheep, being alone - you name it, he worries about it! So one night he tries drawing his worries to make himself feel better - and somehow they look a lot less worrying once they're scribbled down.

    But then imagine Sohal's surprise when he wakes up the next morning to find a set of funny, furry friends at the end of his bed!

    His worries have come to life, and it's not long before Hurt, Fail, Anger, Big and Alone have turned his world upside down. Now it's up to Sohal to work out how to keep his worries under control - and have some serious fun while he's at it!

    The Truth Pixie meets Inside Out in this hilarious, highly illustrated new series, perfect for helping children gently work through their worries and concentrate on having fun.

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February

The Hatmakers by Tamzin Merchant & Paola Escobar (18 Feb)

Cordelia Hatmaker belongs to a family of magical milliners. In her world, alchemy and enchantment can be woven into different clothing items – this is a rare and ancient skill known as Maker magic. Cordelia’s father Prospero often has to travel to collect some special hat ingredients but this time he and his ship go missing. Cordelia is determined to find him – however, with a longstanding family rivalry resurfacing and a potential war brewing, will Cordelia ever see him again? This captivating debut from actress Tamzin Merchant is perfect for lovers of fantasy adventures.

Antiracist Baby by Ibram X. Kendi & Ashley Lukashevsky (18 Feb)

Antiracism is bred, not born. And if you need a little guidance on how to broach the subject with younger children, Ibram X. Kendi’s picture book is ideal. Ashley Lukashevsky’s bold illustrations alongside Kendi’s playful rhymes will introduce little ones to the concept of antiracism and provide parents with the tools they need to have those necessary conversations.

Little Badman and the Radioactive Samosa by Humza Arshad & Henry White (25 Feb)

Despite having saved the world twice already, Little Badman aka Humza Khan finds himself caught up in another hair-raising adventure for World Book Day. This time Humza and his friends end up with superpowers after a box of delicious samosas are hit by a rock from outer space. Pretty cool, huh? Less cool are the giant terrifying hamsters now on the loose…

There's a Wolf in Your Book by Tom Fletcher & Greg Abbott (25 Feb)

The characters from the Who’s In Your Book? series are also taking part in World Book Day this year. And in this special interactive tale, they have made a book inside a book! But there’s a big bad wolf on the loose and he’s causing chaos. Can you help them get rid of this meddlesome beast? 

  • The Hatmakers

    The Hatmakers

  • Enter a spellbinding world brimming with magic and wonder, perfect for fans of Nevermoor, A Pinch of Magic and Harry Potter.

    'Wildly inventive . . . full of laugh-out-loud humour, enchanting magic and rebellious hope. I loved it' Catherine Doyle

    Cordelia comes from a long line of magical milliners, who weave alchemy and enchantment into every hat.

    In Cordelia's world, Making - crafting items such as hats, cloaks, watches, boots and gloves from magical ingredients - is a rare and ancient skill, and only a few special Maker families remain.

    Life as a magical milliner isn't without its difficulties, though...

    When Cordelia's father Prospero and his ship, the Jolly Bonnet, are lost at sea during a mission to collect hat ingredients, Cordelia is determined to find him.

    But her Uncle Tiberius and Aunt Ariadne have no time to help the littlest Hatmaker, for an ancient rivalry between the Maker families is threatening to surface.

    Worse, someone seems to be using Maker magic to start a war. It's up to Cordelia to find out who, and why . . .

    Beautifully illustrated throughout by Paola Escobar.


    'Imaginative debut . . . entertaining, comical and breezy, and the settings are conjured in transporting detail' The Times, Children's Book of the Week.

    'An utterly charming adventure full of wildness, wit, magic and heart' Anna James

    'Absolutely wonderful' Emma Carroll

    'A cosy magical adventure peppered with charming detail' The Bookseller

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March

Becoming: Adapted for Younger Readers by Michelle Obama (2 Mar)

Former First Lady of the USA, Michelle Obama, has adapted her bestselling memoir Becoming for younger readers. Get ready to be inspired and learn about Michelle’s humble beginnings in Chicago and how she went on to become a successful lawyer, loving mother, and activist championing all girls' right to an education.

Shipwreck Island by Struan Murray & Manuel Sumberac (4 Mar)

In this sequel to Struan Murray’s Orphans of the Tide, Ellie and Seth have arrived on a mysterious tropical island after fleeing from the City following their battle with the Enemy and the Inquisition. They still need to uncover the truth behind Seth’s lost memories but at least they can rest easy for now. Or can they?

Rowley Jefferson's Awesome Friendly Spooky Stories by Jeff Kinney (16 Mar)

Greg Heffley’s best friend Rowley is continuing to show off his knack for story writing with this collection of spooky tales. There are zombies, vampires, ghosts, and a host of other ghoulish beings. Don’t read this with the lights off…

The Runaway Girls by Jacqueline Wilson & Nick Sharratt (18 Mar)

In Jacqueline Wilson’s new tale, the year is 1851 and two young girls from very different backgrounds are struggling. Kitty Fisher lives on the streets, performs tumbling to earn her meals and has recently lost the only friend she had. Lucy Locket on the other hand comes from a wealthy family, but the arrival of her new stepmother and a mean governess has left Lucy feeling very lonely. So, she runs away and ends up meeting Kitty. It’s now up to the girls to work together if they are to survive on the streets of London and avoid the workhouse.

The Extremely Embarrassing Life of Lottie Brooks by Katie Kirby (18 Mar)

Lottie Brooks is only 11 years old but her life is officially already over. She doesn’t have any friends at her new high school. She doesn’t have glamourous swooshy hair. And worst of all, she’s too flat-chested to wear a bra! The only thing left for her to do is go into hibernation with her hamsters. How will she ever get through this? Fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid will love this new series. 

  • Becoming: Adapted for Younger Readers

  • *A younger reader's edition of the number-one bestselling memoir by former first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. With a new introduction from Mrs Obama herself*

    What's important is our story, our whole story, including those moments when we feel a little vulnerable . . .

    Michelle Robinson started life sharing a bedroom with her older brother Craig, in their family's upstairs apartment in her great-aunt's house. Her parents, Fraser and Marian, poured their love and energy into their children. She would go on to become Michelle Obama, the inspirational First Lady of the United States of America.

    Now adapted for younger readers, with new photographs and a new introduction from Michelle Obama herself, this memoir tells a very personal, and completely inspiring, story of how, through hard work and determination, the girl from the South Side of Chicago built an extraordinary life.

    A tale of ups and downs, triumphs and failures, this is an incredibly honest account. It will take you from the early years - first kiss, first school, first love - to the wonders of the White House, and the moment Mrs Obama shook hands with the Queen of England.

    A book to read, share, and talk about with the adults in your life, this is a call to action and compassion, and hope for change in uncertain times, and in a scary world.

    You'll be inspired to help others, and understand that no one is perfect. Just like Michelle Obama, you too are finding out exactly who you want to be (and, actually, so are the adults in your life).

    Above all, it is a book to make you think: who are you, and what do you want to become?

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April

My Daddies! by Gareth Peter and Garry Parsons (1 Apr)

Families look different for everyone and all are equally wonderful. For one little girl, she has two daddies and they go on the most amazing adventures. From battling dragons and running from dinosaurs to travelling to the moon and finding treasure, she always has the best time with them. Perfect for bedtime, this charming picture book is sure to be a new favourite for all little readers.

Weirdo by Zadie Smith, Nick Laird & Magenta Fox (15 Apr)

Maud is a guinea pig who likes judo, and she’s gifted as a birthday present to a young girl called Kit. However, things get off to a rocky start between Maud and Kit’s other pets; they think she’s a bit of a weirdo. But a friendly encounter with a neighbour shows Maud she should embrace her individuality. This gorgeous story from veteran writers Zadie Smith and Nick Laird, alongside Magenta Fox’s delightful characters, will be treasured by weirdos young and old.

The Accidental Diary of B.U.G. by Jen Carney (15 Apr)

This is the diary of Billie Upton Green (don’t ever call her BUG). Although it’s not really meant to be a diary – it’s supposed to be used for practising her spellings. Anyway, there’s a new girl called Janey at Billie’s school, so Billie decides to show her the ropes. But then Janey starts to get very close to Billie’s BFF Layla. And she seems to know an awful lot about their teacher Mrs Robinson’s missing purse…

Barbara Throws a Wobbler by Nadia Shireen (15 Apr)

We all throw a wobbler now and then. And Barbara is having one of those days. First of all, she couldn’t find matching socks. Then there was a strange pea on her plate. And to top it all off, Barbara has a very unfortunate incident with her ice cream. So, she throws a wobbler. But it’s now getting out of control. Will Barbara be able to make it go away? 

  • Weirdo

    Private

  • Meet Maud: a guinea pig who inexplicably wears a judo suit - and not everyone understands or approves. When Maud is thrown into a new and confusing situation, it takes brave decisions and serendipitous encounters for her to find her place and embrace her individuality.

    The charming characters of Magenta Fox, whose work is evocative of Raymond Briggs and Janet Ahlberg, perfectly offset Zadie and Nick's warm, wry prose.

    Weirdo is an endearing story about the quiet power of being different by two veteran writers, and introduces an exciting debut illustrator. Together they have created a picture book that adults and children alike will treasure.

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May

Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian (6 May)

It’s been 40 years since we were introduced to young Willie Beech who is evacuated from London due to the war and sent to live with the bad-tempered Tom Oakley. Despite their differences, the pair form a lifelong friendship. This anniversary edition is a must-have for older fans and new readers.

The Little Mermaid by Anna Kemp & Natelle Quek (13 May)

This beautiful picture book reimagining of Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid is perfect for readers new to the classic story. Princess Coral is a mermaid who dreams of living above the ocean waves. After rescuing and falling in love with the human Prince Eldo, Coral seeks out the Sea Witch to give her two legs instead of a fin. But powerful magic like that comes at a terrible price…

The Dream Team: Jaz Santos vs. the World by Priscilla Mante (27 May)

Jasmina Santos-Campbell is part of the Bramrock Stars. Maybe you’ve heard of them? Don’t worry if not, you will soon when they become famous football stars. Jaz formed the team to show everyone that girls can play football too. And hopefully once Jaz is a football star, her mum will come back home…

The Summer I Robbed a Bank by David O'Doherty & Chris Judge (27 May)

The summer holidays are meant to be fun, not spent on a remote and very rainy Irish island surrounded by sheep. But silver lining: Rex gets to stay with his strange and very brilliant Uncle Derm. And Uncle Derm is planning on robbing the island’s travelling bank. 

  • Goodnight Mister Tom

    A Puffin Book

  • A beautiful jacketed hardback with a lovely new introduction and extra material by the author to celebrate the 40th anniversary of bestselling GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM.

    Young Willie Beech is evacuated to the countryside as Britain stands on the brink of the Second World War. A sad, deprived child, he slowly begins to flourish under the care of old Tom Oakley - but his new-found happiness is shattered by a summons from his mother back in London.

    'Everyone's idea of a smash-hit first novel: full-blown characters to love and hate, moments of grief and joy, and a marvellous story that knows just how to grab the emotions' - Guardian

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June

Bodies Are Cool by Tyler Feder (3 Jun)

Tyler Feder’s empowering picture book shows younger readers that all kinds of bodies exist in the world. The rhythmic words are great for reading aloud together and paired with Feder’s vibrant illustrations, little ones will learn there are all different kinds of skin tones, body shapes, hair types and more. Every body is a cool body!

The Bench by Meghan, The Duchess of Sussex & Christian Robinson (8 Jun)

Inspired by her husband and son, The Duchess of Sussex releases her first children's book The Bench this summer. Christian Robinson's beautiful watercolour illustrations complement Meghan's touching narrative poem, which speaks about the special relationship between father and son, as seen through a mother's eyes.

Hey You! by Dapo Adeola (10 Jun)

Written by superstar illustrator Dapo Adeola, Hey You! is a powerful picture book that tackles the experiences Black children face growing up. With artwork from 18 other incredible Black illustrators, this is a powerful and inspiring book for every child.

Peter Rabbit: Head Over Tail by Rachel Bright & Nicola Kinnear (10 Jun)

Beatrix Potter’s iconic character is still up to lots of mischief in this new series by Rachel Bright and Nicola Kinnear. Peter needs to help his mum clean the sheets he’s made so grubby. So, looking in his big invention book, he hatches a plan with Squirrel Nutkin. But things don’t quite go to plan…

How To Grow A Unicorn by Rachel Morrisroe & Steven Lenton (24 Jun)

Sarah’s grandma loves gardening and it’s nearly her birthday, so Sarah sets off to Mr Pottifer's Parlour of Plants to find her grandma the perfect gift. There’s so much to choose from; there are tiger plants, foxgloves, green runner beans and birds of paradise. Sarah settles on a packet of unicorn seeds – what a wonderful gift this will be. But after she plants the seeds, Sarah finds that a garden full of unicorns is hard to maintain.

Aldrin Adams and the Cheese Nightmares by Paul Howard (24 Jun)

Aldrin Adams has quite a rare superpower: if he eats smelly cheese before bedtime, he can enter people's dreams and nightmares. Pretty cool, huh? Aldrin likes to help people with their problems. But he doesn’t really have anyone to help him with his own. His dad hasn’t been the same since his mum died and their cheese shop is in danger of being closed. And to top it all off, someone is trying to steal Aldrin’s superpower for their own evil plan of world domination! If Aldrin’s going to save the day, he’ll need the smelliest of cheeses. 

  • Hey You!

  • This groundbreaking picture book is a lyrical, inspirational exploration of growing up Black, written by award-winning illustrator Dapo Adeola, and brought to life by some of the most exciting Black illustration talents working today.

    Remember to dream your own dreams
    Love your beautiful skin
    You always have a choice

    This book addresses - honestly, yet hopefully - the experiences Black children face growing up with systemic racism, as well as providing hope for the future, delivering a powerful message to a new generation of dreamers. It's a message that is both urgent and timeless - and offers a rich and rewarding reading experience for every child.

    To mirror the rich variety of the Black diaspora, this book showcases artwork from Dapo and 18 incredible Black illustrators in one beautiful, powerful, and cohesive reading experience.

  • Pre-order now

July

The Ship of Shadows: Secrets of the Stars by Maria Kuzniar (8 Jul)

In the follow up to The Ship of Shadows, Aleja and her fellow pirates are keen to set sail and find the second piece of the magical map. But the clues are bewildering and time is running out. Aleja also begins to experience strange visions – could these be the key to getting what she wants?

A Different Sort of Normal by Abigail Balfe (22 Jul)

Abigail Balfe always felt different and a bit out of place growing up. She couldn’t understand the ‘normal’ world like everybody else. This is Abigail’s story of how she came to learn she was autistic, as well as her experiences with scary toilets, crowded trains, and a mysterious tub of ice cream. Plus, there is some very crucial information about autism.

Listen, Layla by Yassmin Abdel-Magied (22 Jul)

Listen, Layla is the sequel to You Must Be Layla and school has just finished for the summer. Layla can’t wait to spend all her time getting her inventions ready for the Grand Design Competition. But then her grandmother in Sudan falls very ill, so Layla and her family go to be with her. This summer is going to be a difficult one to navigate. 

  • A Different Sort of Normal

  • I'm not like the other children in my class . . . and that's an actual scientific FACT.

    Hi! My name is Abigail, and I'm autistic. But I didn't know I was autistic until I was an adult-sort-of-person*.

    This is my true story of growing up in the confusing 'normal' world, all the while missing some Very Important Information about myself.

    There'll be scary moments involving toilets and crowded trains, heart-warming tales of cats and pianos, and funny memories including my dad and a mysterious tub of ice cream. Along the way you'll also find some Very Crucial Information about autism.

    If you've ever felt different, out of place, like you don't fit in . . . this book is for you.

    Told through the author's remarkable words, and just as remarkable illustrations, this is the book for those who've never felt quite right in the 'normal' world.

    Very important, very funny and very informative. This is the book the world needs right now.

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August

Once Upon a Crime by Robin Stevens (5 Aug)

Just when we thought we had bid farewell to Daisy and Hazel, this never-before-published short story collection arrives! Our favourite schoolgirl detectives along with their friends and Hazel’s sisters must solve four more mysteries. A perfect addition to the Murder Most Unladylike series.

Forever Star by Gareth Peter & Judi Abbot (5 Aug)

Happy space couple Tim and Tim long for their own family. So, the pair set off into the sky to find their own star child. This is a lovely tale for children and a great starting point for conversations around the experiences of LGBTQ+ families. 

  • Once Upon a Crime

    A Murder Most Unladylike Collection

  • A brand-new short story collection in the number-one bestselling award-winning Murder Most Unladylike series.

    Featuring four original, never-before published stories, this incredible collection brings together Daisy Wells, Hazel Wong and their friends Alexander and George, as well as Hazel's sisters, Rose and May Wong.

    From the artfully sinister The Case of the Second Scream, set aboard the ship carrying Daisy and Hazel's back from Hong Kong, to The Case of the Uninvited Guest, where a Uncle Felix and Aunt Lucy's wedding ceremony is the target for an unlikely threat. The Hound of Weston School sees the Junior Pinkerton's lead the detecting, and May Wong steps up and shows her ambition to be the greatest spy ever when war breaks out in The Case of the Deadly Flat.

    The perfect book for all Detective Society fans and avid readers of the Murder Most Unladylike series.

  • Pre-order now

September

Grandude's Green Submarine by Paul McCartney & Kathryn Durst (2 Sep)

Grandude and his grandchildren are back in this follow-up to Hey Grandude! This time they’re on a mission to find Nandude and the only way to do that is to jump in Grandude’s green submarine and follow her musical trail. This fun picture book from music legend Paul McCartney is a must-have.

The Fairytale Hairdresser and Rapunzel by Abie Longstaff & Lauren Beard (2 Sep)

To celebrate 10 years of fairytale hairdresser Kittie Lacey for making sure everyone in Fairyland has a world-class hairdo, the first picture book in the series has had a makeover! As well as the mammoth task of untangling Rapunzel’s miles and miles of hair, Kittie Lacey also needs to defeat an evil witch and save the day.

We’re Going to Find the Monster! by Malorie Blackman & Dapo Adeola (2 Sep)

Malorie Blackman has teamed up with award-winning illustrator Dapo Adeola to breathe new life into her original story Marty Monster. Two intrepid travellers are having fun using their imaginations to turn their house into a wild wonderland. The problem is this then turns their big brother into a mighty monster!

The Great Dream Robbery by Greg James & Chris Smith (16 Sep)

Following the success of the Kid Normal series, Radio 1 DJ Greg James and newsreader Chris Smith have teamed up again for The Great Dream Robbery. Maya Clayton is slightly different from other 12-year-olds in that she can’t wait to go to bed early. However, this is only because it’s the only way she can save her brilliant but bonkers dad, Professor Dexter. He invented a device that allows you to visit other people’s dreams. Unfortunately, he’s now trapped in a nightmare and so it’s up to Maya and the Dream Bandits to save him!

Change Sings by Amanda Gorman & Loren Long (21 Sep)

In Change Sings, a young girl leads the way for a cast of characters on a musical journey. And along the way, they learn they can make changes, both big and small if they just believe in themselves. Presidential inaugural poet and activist Amanda Gorman has created a dazzlingly beautiful lyrical picture book for children.

Kay's Marvellous Medicine by Adam Kay & Henry Paker (30 Sep)

Former doctor Adam Kay taught us all about the inner workings of the human body in Kay’s Anatomy. And now he’s back to school us on all the gruesome ways doctors used to treat their patients during a time where very little was actually known about the body. We hope you’re ready…

  • Grandude's Green Submarine

  • As the Chillers explored, Lucy spotted a picture of Nandude, their adventurous grandmother.
    "When will we see her again?" asked Bob.
    "Perhaps we could go on an adventure to find her!" said Em . . .

    Grandude and the Chillers are back!

    Jump aboard Grandude's magical green submarine and join the quest to find Nandude, following her musical trail around the world and deep beneath the sea.

    From the legendary Paul McCartney's unique imagination comes this action-packed, rip-roaring adventure. Packed full of strange surprises, playful Beatles references, and heart-warming family fun.

    Celebrate the fun grandparents and their grandchildren can have together, even if there is a bit of distance keeping them apart.

    Praise for New York Times Number 1 Bestseller Hey Grandude!
    A charming tale from the music legend - with the most glorious illustrations that will be enjoyed by old and young - THE SUN

    Inspired by his own experience of being a 'Grandude' of eight, the picture book sees four youngsters and their grandfather travel the world on a host of magical adventures. Accompanied by Kathryn Durst's colourful illustrations, it is sure to take pride of place on any little one's bookshelf - OK MAGAZINE

  • Pre-order now

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