This week is Autumn’s ‘Children’s book week’. To celebrate we have listed Waterstone’s ‘Best books to look out for children in 2020’. There is a wide variety of genres to dive into for children of all ages, from mesmerising mythical worlds and light-hearted adventures to curious crimes and suspicious secrets. The books listed below are only scratching the surface of the vast quantity of books released this year to capture a child’s mind and creativity.
Older Fiction: (7+)
- ‘Nothing Ever Happens Here’ – Sarah Hagger-Holt : Approaching issues of gender and sexuality with a fresh, vibrant slant, Nothing Ever Happens Here focuses on the fallout from Izzy’s father coming out as a trans woman. Handled with sensitivity and refreshing humour, Hagger-Holt’s debut children’s novel is a tribute to inclusivity and acceptance that speaks brilliantly effectively to a vitally important topic.
- ‘The Kid Who Came from Space’ – Ross Welford : It takes real skill to combine thrilling adventure, affecting pathos and wacky humour, but Ross Welford has consistently pulled the trick off with modern classics like Time Travelling with a Hamster and the 1,000-Year-Old Boy. The Kid Who Came from Space is another masterclass in children’s storytelling, featuring a mysterious disappearance, formidable chickens and a spaceship called Philip.
- ‘A Sprinkle of Sorcery’ – Michelle Harrison : Channelling folklore and myth with great heart and excitement, A Sprinkle of Sorcery sees the Widdershins sisters depart Crowstone for more magical adventures.
- ‘Starfell: Willow Moss and the Forgotten Tale’ – Dominique Valente, Sarah Warburton : With a splendidly quirky main character and a richly imagined fantasy landscape, Starfell: Willow Moss and the Lost Day became a word-of-mouth sensation in 2019. Now, Willow Moss is back with her powers run amok and her best friend kidnapped and in great peril. Packed with bewitching humour and absorbing adventure, Willow Moss and the Forgotten Tale is one of the children’s books of the year.
- ‘Nightshade’ – Anthony Horowitz : Going deep undercover to investigate the shadowy Nightshade organisation, Alex Rider, legendary teen spy, returns in another high-octane, blockbuster adventure from the pen of storytelling maestro Anthony Horowitz.
- ‘The Unadoptables’ – Hana Tooke, Ayesha L.Rubio : Effortlessly merging the gothic and ghastly with the eccentric and absurd, Hana Tooke’s mesmerising debut sends a quintet of abandoned orphans off on a caper across nineteenth-century Amsterdam.
- ‘Kid Normal and the Final Five: Kid Normal 4’ – Greg James & Chris Smith ; Concluding the riotously entertaining series in spectacular style, Kid Normal and the Final Five pits the Heroes Alliance against the machinations of their nemesis, oily Nicholas Knox. Fizzing with wit and silliness, as well as a genuinely gripping plot, Kid Normal’s swansong is everything his legion of fans are hoping for – and much more.
- ‘A Double Detectives Medical Mystery: The Cure for a Crime’ – Roopa Farooki : A brilliantly original spin on the detective genre, the Double Detectives – aka twins Ali and Tulip – must use all the hospital-based knowledge they have acquired from their surgeon mother to crack an intriguing medical mystery. With a winning central duo and a gripping puzzle at its heart, Cure for a Crime heralds a wonderfully involving new series.
Teen & Young Adults: (12+)
- ‘The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’ – Suzanne Collins : Return to the world of The Hunger Games in a compelling prequel that both informs the original trilogy and stands alone as a powerful, breathlessly exciting fantasy thriller.
- ‘One of Us is Next’ – Karen McManus: The eagerly anticipated sequel to One of Us Is Lying does not disappoint McManus’s army of devoted fans, as sinister events once more bedevil the teens of Bayview.
- ‘The Conference of the Birds’ – Ransom Riggs: The fifth instalment of Riggs’s gloriously gothic series continues Jacob Portman’s eerie journey, as an ominous prophecy threatens to destroy the whole of Peculiardom forever.
- ‘The Last Hours’ – Cassandra Clare : The opening chapter in an electrifying new Shadowhunters cycle, Chain of Gold once more mines the fantasy Edwardiana of Clare’s earlier work to utterly absorbing effect. A sweeping saga of romance, magic, mermaids and warlocks, this exclusive edition boasts stunning foil cover design, beautiful salmon endpapers and tantalising bonus content.
- ‘Infinity Son’ – Adam Silvera : A thrilling new direction for Adam Silvera, Infinity Son is a kinetic tale of celestial warfare, brotherly love and superhero angst set against the pulsating backdrop of a futuristic New York City. Told with pace, drama and a keen eye for memorable characterisation, this is a magnificent addition to the ranks of Young Adult fantasy.
- ‘Havenfall’ – Sara Holland: A bewitching new series from the author of Everless, Havenfall envisions a sprawling Colorado mansion as a fragile portal between worlds, and its guardian, Maddie, locked in a life-threatening battle against unknown foes.
Hopefully these books will inspire and supplement a child’s reading collection to be the start of a love for literacy! Let us know what books you have suggested to the children and their feedback so we can share!