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Must-reads of 2020: the best new Puffin children’s books

From tales about climate change and the secrets of the universe to thrilling adventures across the sea, look out for these children’s books in 2020.

Jump to: Jan | Feb | Mar | Apr | May | Jun | Jul | Aug | Sep | Oct | Nov

Puffin team

January book releases

Unlocking the Universe by LucyStephen Hawking (9 Jan) Have you ever wondered how the universe began? Or what it takes to put humans on the moon – or even on Mars? What would you do if you could travel through space and time? Unravel the secrets of the universe with this collection of writings by scientists, including the late great Stephen Hawking.
Recommended reading age: 9-12-years-old

Peter Rabbit 2 (23 Jan) Peter Rabbit is hopping back into cinemas this spring! So, get a head start on his adventures with this book, inspired by the original Beatrix Potter tale. But be warned; this is Peter Rabbit as you've never seen him before!
Recommended reading age: 6-8-years-old


Unlocking the Universe
Unlocking the Universe
Have you ever wondered how our universe began?

Or what it takes to put humans on the moon?

Do you know what happens in the microscopic world of a life-saving vaccine? What would you do if you could travel through space and time?

Embark on the adventure of a lifetime in this beautiful collection of up-to-the-minute essays, mind-blowing facts and out-of-this-world colour photographs, by the world's leading scientists including Professor Stephen Hawking himself.

This edition features brand-new content from Dr Mary Dobson: Plagues, Pandemics and Planetary Health.

This unmissable volume was curated by Stephen and Lucy Hawking, whose series of children's books George's Secret Key was a global hit.

George's stories are punctuated with fascinating real-life facts and insights from leading scientists and now this incredible non-fiction has been collected into one bumper volume, with new content from key scientific figures and up-to-the-minute facts and figures for readers in 2021.


"Despite its scientific content the essays are written in a very accessible style and the many topics investigated which range from the physical explanations of the universe to earth science to robotics and future predictions. Highly recommended for curious minds from around 10 years upwards" - Sue Warren, Blogger

"My 9 y.o. loves this book. We've previously discussed a lot of the concepts, but this seems to answer questions I hadn't thought of, but my son wanted to know"

February book releases

Charlie Morphs Into a Mammoth by Sam Copeland (6 Feb) In this third instalment, Charlie McGuffin has finally managed to gain control of his ability to change into animals! He’s basically a superhero. And like all superheroes, he uses his powers for good – and only against school bullies like Dylan. But Charlie can’t control his parents’ arguments or the strange pet-nappings happening throughout town…
Recommended reading age: 6-8-years-old

The Case of the Drowned Pearl: World Book Day 2020 by Robin Stevens (20 Feb) In this exclusive murder mystery for World Book Day, Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are on holiday at the seaside when they discover a body on the beach. And the body is that of a famous Olympic swimmer who appears to have drowned…
Recommended reading age: 9-12-years-old

Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray (20 Feb) For fans of His Dark Materials and The Edge Chronicles, Orphans of the Tide is a dark, absorbing fantasy set in the last city in a drowned world – packed full of secrets and inventions.
Recommended reading age: 9-12-years-old


Charlie Morphs Into a Mammoth
Charlie Morphs Into a Mammoth
The third hilarious adventure for Charlie McGuffin, the boy who changes into animals when he gets nervous.

Charlie McGuffin is an actual superhero. He's gained control over his wacky ability to change into animals - he's even able to use it to turn the tables on school bully Dylan.

But there are some things Charlie can't control, like the arguments his parents keep having (which are making him more worried than ever) or the mysterious animal disappearances spreading through town (which might be connected to Charlie himself).

Can Charlie unravel the mystery of the pet-nappings before his biggest secret is revealed to the world...?

Praise for Charlie Changes into a Chicken:

'My body couldn't help but shake with laughter' Maren, age 10

'Belly-busting hilarity' The Guardian

'Cleverly daft storytelling at its very, very best' Maz Evans, author of Who Let The Gods Out?

'The best kind of silly' The Observer

Charlie Changes into a Chicken has been:
Shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize!
Longlisted for the Brandford Boase Award!
Longlisted for the Blue Peter Award!
The Guardian and The Telegraph's Book of the Year!

March book releases

Daisy and the Trouble with Nature by Kes Gray (5 Mar) Daisy is back. And this time she’s very excited about her school’s new nature garden! Trouble is, there’s not a lot of nature in it. Where are the birds? Where are the butterflies? There aren’t any grizzly bears or wolverines either! Luckily, Daisy and her friend Gabby are off on a camping trip – the perfect chance to find lots of nature.
Recommended reading age: 6-8-years-old

Mummy Fairy and Me: Mermaid Magic by Sophie Kinsella (5 Mar) Mummy Fairy is still having trouble with her magic but luckily Ella is always around to help! And this time they catch a robber, save a whale, swim with mermaids and cause chaos in a pottery class.
Recommended reading age: 6-8-years-old

The Secret Garden by Claire Freedman (19 Mar) The beloved story of Mary Lennox and her secret garden is brought to life again in this beautifully illustrated retelling.
Recommended reading again: 5-7-years-old


The Secret Garden
The Secret Garden
Rediscover the magical story of Mary Lennox, who arrives in the wild and windswept Yorkshire a sickly and miserable girl - until she discovers a forgotten, Secret Garden.

As Mary works hard to bring the garden back to life, its magic begins to work on her too . . .

This classic and beloved story has been beautifully retold by Claire Freedman and brought to glorious visual life by new illustration talent Shaw Davidson

April book releases

What Stars Are Made Of by Sarah Allen (2 Apr) Libby wants to be a scientist when she grows up. Although Turner Syndrome can make things difficult for her, she has lots of people around her who love her, including her big sister Nonny. And when Nonny finds herself in trouble, Libby has the perfect plan to help her. This is a moving middle-grade debut about family, friendship and how it's ok to be different.
Recommended reading age: 9-12-years-old

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer (16 Apr) At just 12-years-old, Artemis Fowl is a criminal genius. No scheme is too dastardly, no plot too devious. And he's just discovered that fairies are real. Poor fairies. Read the original book before the film comes out in May 2020.
Recommended reading age: 9-12-years-old

Climate Rebels by Ben Lerwill (16 Apr) It’s not too late to save the planet we all love. Hear the stories of humans from around the world, who are fighting to protect Earth. From Greta Thunberg and David Attenborough to the guardians of the Amazon rainforest. Climate rebels unite!
Recommended reading age: 9-12-years-old


Climate Rebels
Climate Rebels
On the outskirts of the Milky Way, floating slowly through space, there hangs a planet unlike any other. It has oceans, deserts, jungles and mountains. It has life that swims, life that soars and life that swings through the trees. It is a place of dazzling variety and infinite wonder - and it's the only world we've got.

Climate change is happening, now. But it's not too late to change the story.

Meet the humans, from around the world, who are fighting to save our planet. This is your call to arms. Featuring 25 hopeful stories including Greta Thunberg, David Attenborough, Jane Goodall, Wangari Maathai - as well as lesser-known heroes, such as turtle-protector Len Peters, the guardians of the Amazon rainforest, and the poacher patrollers The Black Mambas.

This book will transport you from the poles, to the oceans, to the rainforests, with iconic illustration. These are true stories to make you think, make you cry, make you hope - and these are stories to make us all stand together and protect our home. These stories are the proof that one person's small changes can grow into something big, and powerful, and world-changing.

So read on to be inspired, as we take our future in our own hands, and together save Planet Earth - for all the living things that call it their home.

May book releases

Where's Spot? by Eric Hill (14 May) Celebrate Spot’s 40th birthday! Even though he’s still a puppy… Lift the flaps to find Spot in this special anniversary edition of the classic tale. A wonderful book for new fans of this mischievous pup.
Recommended reading age: 0-5-years-old

The Extraordinary Life of Greta Thunberg (28 May) Greta Thunberg is the schoolgirl activist drawing our attention to the devastating effects of climate change. And she's single-handedly inspired a whole generation to take action to protect our beloved planet Earth. 


June book releases

A quiet month in the publishing world... 

July book releases

The Ship of Shadows by Maria Kuzniar (16 Jul) Brave, independent and more than a little sneaky, Aleja defies society's expectations to make her own adventurous dreams come true. She’s a modern-day hero. Join her as she hops on board the Ship of Shadows, crewed by a band of ruthless women en route to finding something far across the sea.
Recommended reading age: 9-12-years-old

Clean Up! by Nathan Bryon & Dapo Adeola (23 Jul) Science-mad Rocket is back! And this time she’s on a mission to save the Caribbean island her grandparents live on from plastic pollution. An empowering tale that shows how we can all make a difference.
Recommended reading age: 0-5-years-old

The Unadoptables by Hana Tooke (23 Jul) Hands down, the most exciting middle-grade adventure of the year! Follow Lotta, Egg, Fenna, Sem and Milou – the five ‘unadoptables’ – on a daring escape across Amsterdam.
Recommended reading age: 9-12-years-old


The Ship of Shadows
The Ship of Shadows
The sweeping, sparkling first book in a brand new series that will delight fans of The Wild Way Home and Frostheart.

"A sumptuous delight of a book" - Sophie Kirtley, author of The Wild Way Home

"A feast for the imagination . . . an enthralling adventure." - Abi Elphinstone, author of Sky Song

"This swashbuckling tale has it all . . . I loved it." - Alex Bell, author of The Polar Bear Explorers' Club


With a strong protagonist and a likeable crew of characters, I couldn't stay away from the story for long, and now I CRAVE a follow-up." Gavin Hetherington, waterstones.com

"Just order it . . . it's wonderful." Akshaykumar, amazon.in

"Thrilling, exciting and intriguing and I can't wait for the next instalment!" Rhiannon, waterstones.com

"What a fantastic spellbinding book . . . A truly fascinating tale and we cannot wait for the second book to be released!" Eva Sneep, amazon.co.uk

"The real treasure in this gem of a book lies in the crew . . . I can't wait to join the crew again for the next instalment of this thrilling tale." Stephanie, amazon.co.uk

"This book sparkles! Complete gorgeous escapism." Nicola Penfold, amazon.co.uk

Aleja is a dreamer who longs for a life of magic and adventure. So when a mysterious ship arrives in her Spanish harbour city, crewed by a band of ruthless women, Aleja knows it's sailed right out of a legend.

And it wants her.

But life aboard the Ship of Shadows is more than even she bargained for. It will take all of Aleja's strength and skill to gain the trust of her fellow pirates - and discover what they are risking everything to find . . .

August book releases

Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure by Jeff Kinney (4 Aug) As well as keeping his own journal, Rowley is also writing his first book. An adventure novel of epic proportions! But his best friend Greg keeps offering his own creative ideas on how the story should go…
Recommended reading age: 6-12-years-old

Death Sets Sail by Robin Stevens (6 Aug) Are you ready to say goodbye to Daisy and Hazel? We’re not but they definitely end on a high in their final mystery. Our favourite detectives are travelling along the River Nile on the SS Hatshepsut when a fellow guest is discovered murdered in her cabin…
Recommended reading age: 9-12-years-old

Never Show A T-Rex A Book! by Rashmi Sirdeshpande (6 Aug) How you ever wondered what would happen if you showed a book to a T-Rex? Well, we have! And the results are quite surprising.
Recommended reading age: 6-8-years-old

Extraordinary Lives (6 Aug) Learn about the extraordinary lives of modern and historical figures from all over the world. Alan Turing, the mathematician who helped crack the codes in secret messages between enemy soldiers in World War II. Serena Williams, a tennis star and winner of more Grand Slam titles than anyone else. And last but certainly not least, Freddie Mercury, a musician with a four-octave vocal range and the frontman of the British rock band Queen.
Recommended reading age: 9-12-years-old

Jonathan the Magic Pony by Stuart Heritage (20 Aug) As well as being a pony, Jonathan is a brilliant magician. All he has to do is wave his wand and – Boomf! – whatever it is, is gone. And then – Boomf! – it’s back. But then Jonathan, magics away Sarah’s bear and no matter how hard he tries, he can’t make it come back…
Recommended reading age: 0-5-years-old

Don't Feed the Coos! by Jonathan Stutzman (20 Aug) Those who live in large cities will know the perils of pigeons aka coos. The heroine of this story – a generous but foolish young girl – makes the mistake of leaving a coo a small crumb. But when you do that, all the coos will then come!
Recommended reading age: 6-8-years-old


Death Sets Sail
Death Sets Sail
*The number one bestseller!*

The ninth and final novel in the bestselling, award-winning Murder Most Unladylike series.

Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are in Egypt, taking a cruise along the Nile. They are hoping to see some ancient temples and a mummy or two; what they get, instead, is murder.

Also travelling on the SS Hatshepsut is a mysterious society called the Breath of Life: a group of genteel English ladies and gentlemen, who believe themselves to be reincarnations of the ancient pharaohs. Three days into the cruise their leader is found dead in her cabin, stabbed during the night.

It soon becomes clear to Daisy and Hazel that the victim's timid daughter is being framed - and they begin to investigate their most difficult case yet.

But there is danger all around, and only one of the Detective Society will make it home alive...

September book releases

The Puffin Book of Big Dreams (3 Sep) It’s Puffin’s 80th birthday this year! And although we are getting on, there’s no chance of us slowing down. Our new anthology of stories, poems and illustrations from a bumper list of authors – including Jacqueline Wilson, Tom Fletcher and Malorie Blackman – will make for some very magical bedtime reading.
Recommended reading age: 6-8-years-old

The World of Roald Dahl (3 Sep) Are you a fan of Roald Dahl’s phizz-whizzing world? Then you’re going to LOVE this bumper book filled with splendiferous activities, frothbuggling quizzes and hopscotchy facts.
Recommended reading age: 6-12-years-old

Into the Spotlight by Carrie Hope Fletcher (17 Sep) Based on the classic Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild, this magical story follows Marigold, Mabel and Morris as they spend their summer holidays at their Great Aunt Maud’s theatre in London.
Recommended reading age: 9-12-years-old

On the Origin of Species Activity Book by Sabina Radeva (24 Sep) Learn all about Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution whilst colouring-in and completing activities in this entertaining book.
Recommended reading age: 4-10-years-old


The Puffin Book of Big Dreams
The Puffin Book of Big Dreams
Stories to spark your imagination in this beautiful collection of stories, poems and illustrations to celebrate Puffin's 80th birthday!

A brand new anthology featuring extracts from classic family favourites AND brand new stories about BIG dreams from Puffin's best-loved and exciting new authors and illustrators, including:

Humza Arshad & Henry White, Jeff Kinney, Jacqueline Wilson, Malorie Blackman, Nadia Shireen, Tom Fletcher, Anne Fine, Rashmi Sirdeshpande, Jamie Littler, Yassmin Abdel-Magied and Sophy Henn.

This magical book also features quotes and motivational pieces from brilliant inspiring leaders, scientists and actors on their own BIG dreams.

5% of the RRP from this book will go to the National Literacy Trust, to help them continue their life-changing work.

October book releases

The Miracle on Ebenezer Street by Catherine Doyle (1 Oct) Young George is missing his mum who sadly passed away three Christmas’ ago. But then George discovers Marley's Curiosity Shop and picks up a mysterious snow globe that sweeps him and his dad on a journey to the past, present and future. This modern reimagining of A Christmas Carol will be your new festive favourite.
Recommended reading age: 8-12-years-old

The Danger Gang by Tom Fletcher (1 Oct) Franky has just moved to a new town with his family and although he is excited, he misses his best friend Dani. Then an unusual storm with green lightning and earth-shaking thunder hit the town. After that night, Franky and the other children on his street are left feeling odd; you might even say a little magical…
Recommended reading age: 7-11-years-old

Frostheart: Escape From Aurora by Jamie Littler (1 Oct) It’s the book fans of Frostheart have been waiting for! In the follow-up tale, Ash is still looking for his parents, and so he and the rest of the crew find themselves at the stronghold of Aurora. But despite its beauty, Aurora is not a safe place. Will Ash and his friends be able to escape?
Recommended reading age: 8-12-years-old

The Witches by Roald Dahl (6 Aug) Beware! Witches may look like ordinary women in ordinary clothes but they’re actually always plotting ways to rid the world of children. Read Roald Dahl’s classic tale to tie in with the new film – starring Anne Hathaway, Octavia Spencer, Stanley Tucci and Chris Rock. 
Recommended reading age: 9-12-years-old


Frostheart 2
Frostheart 2
Sequel to the bestselling Frostheart - the crew are back for another thrilling adventure!

Ash and the rest of the Frostheart's brave crew have finally arrived at the majestic stronghold of Aurora - and Ash's mind is blown.

It's an extraordinary place - unlike anything he's ever seen - and he can't wait to solve the next clue that will lead him to his parents.

But it's quickly clear that even Aurora isn't safe for Song Weavers. A fanatical Pathfinder captain has turned the city against Ash and his kind - and it's not long before the Frostheart has to make another break for freedom.

But when a vicious Wraith attack leaves Ash, Lunah, Rook and Tobu stranded on the ice, they will have to use all their strength and cunning to reach safety. But what they find is even more incredible...

Praise for Frostheart:

"Littler's debut is wild, funny, lavishly illustrated and filled with excitement." Guardian
"A heart-stopping tale ... [that] really lives up to the hype" Sunday Post
"This exhilarating snowy adventure will have kids reading under the covers long after lights out." i Newspaper

November book releases

The Puffin Keeper by Michael Morpurgo (12 Nov) After rescuing a young boy and his mother from a shipwreck, lighthouse keeper Benjamin Postlethwaite unwittingly forms a lifelong friendship. And then he rescues an injured Puffin… A beautiful new tale from much-loved storyteller Michael Morpurgo.
Recommended reading age: 8-11-years-old

A Christmas Carol by Kristina Stephenson & Hoang Giang (12 Nov) The characters from Charles Dickens' classic festive tale are brought to life in this beautiful picture book retelling. A great one to help introduce younger readers to Scrooge, Tiny Tim and the three ghosts of Christmas past, present and future.
Recommended reading age: 5-7 years old


The Puffin Keeper
The Puffin Keeper
It was Benjamin Postlethwaite's job all his long life to make sure the light shone brightly high up in the lighthouse on Puffin Island. Not once in all his years as the lighthouse keeper had he ever let his light go out. But sometimes even the brightest light on a lighthouse cannot save a ship.

This is a story of a life-changing friendship, a lost puffin, and a lonely artist. It's the story of an entire lifetime, and how one event can change a life forever.

From masterful storyteller, Michael Morpurgo, and world-class illustrator, Benji Davies, comes a magical new story. This truly beautiful tale will enchant readers of all ages.

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