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Must-reads of 2019: the best new books for 6-12-year-olds

From extraordinary real-life stories to shape-shifting little boys and evil aunties who threaten to take over the planet, 2019 is packed full of children’s books we know you won’t be able to resist adding to your bookshelf.

Jump to July releases

January book releases and events

Choose Kind Journal by R J Palacio (3rd Jan). Make 2019 the year you choose kind every day. Filled with suggestions, quotes and activities for spreading kindness, this beautiful journal is the perfect gift for fans of R J Palacio’s bestselling book Wonder.

Florence and the Mischievous Kitten by Megan Rix (3rd Jan). It is the summer of 1888, and mischievous kitten Scamp escapes from his home only to find himself lost in London. Luckily, a kind penniless orphan called Beth returns Scamp to his owner, who is none other than Florence Nightingale! An unlikely friendship is formed but then Beth’s sister Iris falls ill. Can Beth, Florence and Scamp find a way to help Iris before it’s too late?

Extraordinary Lives (10th Jan). Get ready to be inspired by two very extraordinary people. First we have activist Malala Yousafzai, who in the face of adversity and an attempt on her life showed incredible bravery. And then, renowned physicist Stephen Hawking who despite being diagnosed with motor neurone disease in his university years, went on to become one of the greatest minds of our time.

The Whispers by Greg Howard (17th Jan). The Whispers are forest creatures that will grant anything you wish if you leave them a tribute. And 11-year-old Riley has a lot of wishes. His biggest being for his mother to come home. Four months on from her disappearance, the police are no closer to finding her. It seems Riley will have to take matters into his own hands.

The Extraordinary Life of Malala Yousafzai
The Extraordinary Life of Malala Yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai is:

A student

A campaigner

An inspiration

Malala is known across the world for her bravery, resilience and hope in the face of terrifying adversity. From playing in the Swat Valley in Pakistan to making speeches at the United Nations, she has become an inspiration for people fighting for justice.

Discover what it took for one incredible girl to become the voice of so many, in this beautifully illustrated book that brings Malala's extraordinary story to life.

Explore other extraordinary lives:
The Extraordinary Life of Stephen Hawking
The Extraordinary Life of Michelle Obama
The Extraordinary Life of Anne Frank
The Extraordinary Life of Mahatma Gandhi
The Extraordinary Life of Rosa Parks
The Extraordinary Life of Serena Williams
The Extraordinary Life of Nelson Mandela

Events and anniversaries

8th: Stephen Hawking was born on this day in 1942

February book releases and events

Charlie Changes into a Chicken by Sam Copeland (7th Feb). Charlie McGuffin is a bit stressed out. His brother is in hospital awaiting a big operation, his parents are beside themselves with worry, and the school bully Dylan is really making Charlie’s life miserable. And to top it all off, Charlie keeps inexplicably turning into animals. Fortunately, Charlie’s three best friends are on hand to help him deal with his crazy new power.

The Moomins by Tove Jansson (7th Feb). To coincide with the highly-anticipated Sky animation series, Tove Jansson’s iconic tales of The Moomin family will be re-released with brand new book covers. This is delightful series for both old and new fans.

Mirror Magic by Zach King (7th Feb). The third book in this magical series, Zach find himself in trouble when he collides with a mirror and becomes stuck in a universe where everything is the polar opposite! That means no powers and no way of getting home. Worst of all, his mirror-double Jak is causing serious mayhem in Zach’s world.

JoJo and BowBow: Candy Kisses by JoJo Siwa (7th Feb). Dance Moms star JoJo is back with a brand-new book. It’s Valentine’s Day and the Queen Bs at JoJo’s dance studio are throwing a party. But one of her classmates has not been invited. So, it’s up to JoJo to bring everyone together.

Percy Jackson and the Singer of Apollo: World Book Day 2019 by Rick Riordan (28th Feb). In this exclusive short story for World Book Day 2019, the god Apollo needs a favour from Percy. Unfortunately, it’s not going to be easy.

Diary of Greg Heffley's Best Friend: World Book Day 2019 by Jeff Kinney (28th Feb). We’re used to hearing from Greg Heffley about the trials and tribulations of middle school. Now, it’s his best friend Rowley Jefferson’s turn. Fans of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series will love this short story for World Book Day.

Nought Forever: World Book Day 2019 by Malorie Blackman (28th Feb). Another thought-provoking story from Noughts & Crosses author Malorie Blackman for World Book Day. When Dan, injured by a nought gang, crosses paths with Eva she decides to help him. But both are hiding dark secrets. Can they really trust each other?

March book releases and events

Little Badman and the Invasion of the Killer Aunties by Humza Arshad & Henry White (7th Mar). A hilarious laugh-out-loud debut from comedian Humza Arshad and comedy writer Henry White. Eleven-year-old Humza Khan aka Little Badman is a promising rapper from Eggington. Humza’s dreams are suddenly put on hold when his music teacher is taken ill. So, his Auntie steps in to act as a substitute. But her unusual way of teaching, followed by the continuous disappearance of other teachers and the arrival of more Auntie substitutes, raises concerns with Humza and his friends…

How High the Moon by Karyn Parsons (7th Mar). Set in 1944 in the small town of Alcolu, South Carolina, 11-year-old Ella spends most of her days running around with her friends and cousin. But racial tensions bubble at the service in Alcolu, so when Ella is invited to join her mother in Boston she jumps at the chance. After an eye-opening trip, Ella returns to find that her school friend has been arrested for the murder of two girls.

Mummy Fairy and Me: Unicorn Wishes by Sophie Kinsella (7th Mar). Ella and her Mummy Fairy are back in the third instalment of this wonderful series. Flying cars, enchanted ballet shoes, unicorns and a magical wardrobe are just some of the things you can expect to find.

The Case of the Missing Treasure: A Murder Most Unladylike Mini Mystery by Robin Stevens (7th Mar). No mystery is too mini for detectives Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong! London’s museums have been targeted by a daring thief, and it seems the British Museum is next. It’s up to Daisy and Hazel to solve the case before it’s too late.

Doctor Who: Thirteen Doctors 13 Stories (7th Mar). This anthology of 13 magic tales belongs on every Doctor Who fan’s bookshelf. Featuring a brand-new story by The Power author Naomi Alderman, the Thirteenth Doctor is battling to save the universe – again!

Little Badman and the Invasion of the Killer Aunties
Little Badman and the Invasion of the Killer Aunties
One of The Guardian's 100 best holiday books for 2019

'Wildly over the top and satisfying'
The Observer New Review Children's Book of the Month

'This book is bonkers but proper funny- it's Drake meets James Bond'
Match of the Day Magazine

'Microwaved pants and killer bees feature in this rib-aching comic caper, heightened with moments of real tenderness and heart.' The Guardian

"A perfect read for Tom Gates fans: prepare for big belly laughs and great advice on how to be yourself." BookTrust


"You've probably heard of me, right? Little Badman. No? Oh. Well. . . Doesn't matter. You will do one day. I'm gonna be big."

I'm Humza Khan, the greatest eleven-year-old rapper Eggington has ever known; soon everyone will know my name.

Only problem is school has got really weird, man. All my teachers are disappearing and our aunties are taking over.

It wasn't too bad at the start, they keep feeding us delicious snacks. Like, all the time.

But now these aunties are trying to mess with my music, so me and my best friends Umer and Wendy are going to hunt for the truth. Cos something big and bad is going on and we won't let anything mess with my music... or you know, the world.

A hilarious and fast-paced adventure from comedian Humza Arshad and screen writer Henry White, perfect for fans of David Solomons and David Baddiel.

Events and anniversaries

7th: World Book Day 2019

April book releases and events

V&A Introduces: Queen Victoria (4th Apr). Mid-2019 marks 200 years since the birth of Queen Victoria, Britain’s second longest reigning monarch. This mini-hardback is filled with beautiful illustrations, photographs and details on the life and legacy of Victoria.

Rumple Buttercup by Matthew Gray Gubler (4th Apr). Written and illustrated by Criminal Minds actor, Matthew Gray Gubler, this charming and inspiring tale follows Rumple Buttercup as he goes on a journey to embrace his five crooked teeth, three strands of hair, green skin, and slightly bigger left foot.

My Brother's Name is Jessica by John Boyne (18th Apr). Sam Waver has always looked up to his kind, popular and talented older brother Jason. Jason seems to have it all figured out whereas Sam has always been a bit of an outcast. Then one evening, Jason reveals he has a big secret. A life-changing one that could tear his family apart

Dancing the Charleston by Jacqueline Wilson (18th Apr). It’s the roaring 20s, and 10-year-old Mona lives with her dressmaker aunt in a little cottage on the edge of the huge Somerset estate. But after Lady Somerset passes away, and leaves a new member of the family in charge, things begin to change for Mona…

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer (18th Apr). We can’t wait for this summer’s film starring everyone’s favourite 12-year-old criminal mastermind, Artemis Fowl. So, whilst you wait, revisit Artemis’ evil escapades with these brand-new editions.

May book releases and events

The Witch’s Warning by Joseph Delaney (2nd May). The second book in Joseph Delaney’s spooky series, Crafty and his friends are now facing new and even more dangerous aberrations in their fight against Shole. After receiving a disturbing warning from an old enemy, has time finally run out for Crafty and the other Castle Gate Grubs?

The Pocket Dragon by Ed Clarke (30th May). On a beach in Wales, aspiring palaeontologist Mari stumbles upon the discovery of a lifetime – a tiny dragon! She wants to study the baby reptile but this mischievous little creature has other ideas…

The Witch's Warning
The Witch's Warning
A gloriously spooky horror-fantasy story from Joseph Delaney, the internationally multi-million bestselling author of The Spook's Apprentice

Crafty halted, his heart lurching with fear, his mouth dry. There were bare footprints in the white snow, and each one was smeared with red, as if the owner of those clawed feet had stepped in a puddle of blood . . .

Crafty and his friends have already faced dozens of horrifying aberrations during their time as Castle Gate Grubs - assistants to the mysterious guild of Gatemancers, who fight against the terrifying Shole. But the real battle is only just beginning. New and more dangerous aberrations are appearing all the time, and worse yet, it seems someone from within the Castle is helping them attack. And when an old enemy returns to give Crafty a disturbing warning, it seems time might be running out for all of them . . .

Events and anniversaries

27th: Summer half term

June book releases and events

Extraordinary Lives (6th June). We have some more extraordinary people to inspire you. Anne Frank, who would have turned 90 this year, is best known for the incredible diary she wrote whilst hiding from the Nazi’s in World War II. Neil Armstrong made history in 1969 when he became the first person to set foot on the moon. And mathematician Katherine Johnson, was also making in history in 1969 with her calculations that enabled US astronauts, like Armstrong, to fly into space.

The Racehorse Who Learned to Dance by Clare Balding (13th Jun). Charlie Bass and her racehorse, Noble Warrior, won the Derby and bested a bunch of kidnappers. Now it’s up to them to help Charlie’s best friend Polly, who was nearly paralysed in an accident, and make her equestrian dreams a reality.

Sasha's Secret by Cathy Cassidy (27th Jun). It seems that Sasha has it all. She’s the lead singer of the Lost and Found band, has a growing online presence, and has attracted the attention of the coolest boy in her school. But Sasha is secretly struggling; will she be able to keep her anxiety under wraps or will the pressure get to her?

The Racehorse Who Learned to Dance
The Racehorse Who Learned to Dance
Penguin presents the audiobook edition of The Racehorse Who Learned to Dance written and read by Clare Balding.

Charlie's racehorse has certainly earned the name Noble Warrior: he won the Derby against all odds and bested a bunch of nasty kidnappers. But now Noddy is facing his greatest challenge yet . . .

Charlie's best friend Polly is still recovering from an accident that left her almost paralysed. But Polly has a real talent with horses - and she and Charlie are determined not to let it go to waste.

Can the two best friends find a way to make Polly's equestrian dreams come true, and forge a new path for the racehorse who wouldn't gallop?

Events and anniversaries

12th: Anne Frank was born on this day in 1929


July book releases and events

Watch this space!

Events and anniversaries

12th: Malala Yousafzai’s 22nd birthday

15th: Start of the school summer holidays

16th: 50 years since Apollo 11 landed on the moon

August book releases and events

Watch this space!

Events and anniversaries

5th: Neil Armstrong was born on this day in 1930

9th: Artemis Fowl set to be released in cinemas

September book releases and events

White Bird by R J Palacio (3rd Sep). Julian is best-known as the boy who terrorizes Auggie Pullman in Wonder. But in R J Palacio’s new graphic novel, we’re shown another side of Julian’s story. During World War II, his grandmother was a young Jewish girl hiding from the Nazi’s in occupied France. Julian learns about her pre-war life and how she befriended a boy who was shunned for being different.

Events and anniversaries

13th: Roald Dahl Day

October book releases and events

Watch this space!

November book releases and events

Watch this space!

December book releases and events

Watch this space!

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