22 children's books to look out for in 2022: January to June

At National Book Tokens, we're passionate about reading for pleasure, which is why we're proud to sponsor World Book Day and support charities Read for Good and Book Aid International to bring the joy of reading to children everywhere.

We've put together this list of 22 fantastic new books for young readers of all ages to look out for in the first half of the year, from magical adventures to funny fiction.

Take junior bookworms to their local bookshop, pack their National Book Tokens or Bookily cards, and don't forget to ask booksellers for even more recommendations!

Have we left out your most anticipated book for younger readers? Tell us in the comments at the bottom of the page. 


Frankie's World

Frankie's World by Aoife Dooley (7+)

How do you fit in and stand out when you feel different to everyone around you? Frankie's World is a graphic novel offering a unique perspective on autism, told with humour and heart, by autistic author-illustrated Aoife Dooley.

When the War Came Home

When the War Came Home by Lesley Parr (9+)

When Natty has to move to a new village, she meets two young soldiers who are still battling the effects of the First World War. As she tries to keep a secret and unravel a mystery, Natty finds her own way to fight for what she believes in - and learns that some things should never be forgotten... This mesmerising historical mystery includes an interactive clue so readers can unravel the mystery alongside the characters!

Jummy at the River School

Jummy at the River School by Sabine Adeyinka (9+)

Jummy at the River School is the children's Indie Book of the Month for January, and is a joyful, glorious collision of classic boarding-school story with vibrant 1990s Nigeria, based on Sabine's own experience of boarding school in Nigeria.

Leonora Bolt: Secret Inventor

Leonora Bolt: Secret Inventor written by Lucy Brandt and illustrated by Gladys Jose (7+)

Leonora Bolt spends her days creating incredible inventions in her top secret laboratory, under the watchful eye of her terrifying uncle. Everything changes one day when a strange boy washes up on an inflatable lobster and reveals that Uncle Luther has been stealing her inventions and selling them on the mainland. This epic STEM-themed adventure is about believing in your brainpower - and yourself!

Vi Spy: Never Say Whatever Again

Vi Spy: Never Say Whatever Again by Maz Evans (9+)

Vi, who made her entrance last year, takes pride of place on our colourful National book Tokens gift card. Vi Spy: Never Say Whatever Again is the laugh-out-loud funny sequel where Vi's shadowy nemesis Umbra is still at large. Can Vi unveil the arch-villain before she gets expelled and her parents ground her forever?

Like a Charm

Like a Charm by Elle McNicoll (7+)

Elle McNicoll, author of the awe-inspiring stories A Kind of Spark and Show Us Who You Are, is back with a third adventure. Edinburgh is a city filled with magical creatures. No one can see them... until Ramya Knox. Plunged into an adventure that will change everything, Ramya is about to learn that there is more to her powers than she ever imagined.

Fantastically Great Women Artists and Their Stories

Fantastically Great Women Artists and Their Stories by Kate Pankhurst (9+)

Over half of all the visual artists working today are women, but the paintings and sculptures shown in many galleries and museums tell a different story because they're usually the work of men. In this book Kate Pankhurst, descendent of Emmeline Pankhurst, tells the fascinating stories of some of history's most talented female artists.

Rocket Rules!

Rocket Rules! by Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola (3+)

Duo Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola created this inspirational mini picture book especially for World Book Day. Join Rocket from the Look Up! series as she explains her ten 'Rocket Rules' for living life in the best (and most fun!) way possible. Check out the other fantastic £1/€1.50 books available on World Book Day this year. 

Don't Ask the Dragon

Don't Ask the Dragon written by Lemn Sissay and illustrated by Greg Stobbs (3+)

The first children's book from bestselling author, poet and national treasure, Lemn Sissay. This is the story of a little boy called Alem who goes on an adventure. It's his birthday, but who knows where he can go to celebrate it? Maybe the bear, the fox, the treefrog or the bulldog know? But dont ask the dragon … or he will EAT you!

The Last Firefox

The Last Firefox written by Lee Newbury and illustrated by Laura Catalan (9+)

Between bullies at school and changes at home, Charlie Challinor finds life a bit scary. And when he's made guardian of a fiery furry fox cub called Cadno, things get a whole lot scarier. Lee Newbury's heartwarming story sees Charlie swept up into an unexpected adventure to protect his flammable friend, and he's going to need to find the bravery he never thought he had, if he's going to save the last firefox...

Dragon Rising

Dragon Rising by Katie & Kevin Tsang (9+)

We're big fans of the ROARsome Dragon Realm series (perfect for fans of nail-biting mysteries and cinematic battles) by authors Katie & Kevin Tsang, and this is the fourth story. A dastardly plan is concocted by an evil baddie, and a human and dragon battle unravels that will go down in history. It's up to Billy and friends to save the world, but can they do it?

Baby Love

Baby Love by Jacqueline Wilson and illustrated by Rachel Dean (13+)

For Jacqueline Wilson fans old and new comes a heartbreaking, compelling and timely story about teen pregnancy, family trouble and unlikely friendships, set in 1960. When Laura's family learns that she is having a baby, they are horrified. Sent away to save them from shame, Laura meets girls just like herself, whose families have given up on them - and they become a family for each other at the most difficult time in all their lives.

The Secret Sunshine Project

The Secret Sunshine Project written by Benjamin Dean and illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat (9+)

A grey cloud is following Bea's family around. Dad has passed away, and they have no choice but to move to the countryside to live with Gran. With Bea’s big sister, Riley, taking the news hard, Bea will do anything to cheer her up. So with the help of new friends, The Secret Sunshine Project is formed – Bea's plan to bring Pride to the countryside and a smile back to Riley’s face. A stunning story, from the author of the gorgeous Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow, about kindness, courage, and love in all its forms.

A Robot Squished by Teacher

A Robot Squished by Teacher written by Pooja Puri and illustrated by Allen Fatimaharan

A laugh-out-loud, wacky adventure, this is the sequel to the Marcus Rashford Book Club title, A Dinosaur Ate My Sister. Esha Verma, her snotty apprentice Broccoli and his secretly cunning pet tortoise have a dream. They are going to win the legendary Brain Trophy – the ultimate inventing prize. But when Esha's arch-nemesis, fellow inventor Ernie, lands her in detention, their invention RoarEasy malfunctions and suddenly Monsieur Crépeau is transformed into a pigeon. Luckily for Esha, she knows exactly what to do.

Family of Liars

Family of Liars by E. Lockhart (12+)

8 years ago, booklovers across the world were ferociously reading and talking about We Were Liars, and its popularity has risen among more teen readers thanks to TikTok. This thrilling prequel takes readers back to the story of another summer, another generation, and the secrets that will haunt them for decades to come. Welcome back to the Sinclair family. They were always liars.

Only On the Weekends

Only On the Weekends by Dean Atta (12+)

Black Flamingo author Dean Atta returns with Only On the Weekends. Mack never thought he'd find love, but now two boys want to be with him. Will he choose Karim or Finlay? And can true love last forever? This is a highly-anticipated queer love story for fans of Sarah Crossan, written in verse.

The Breakfast Club Adventures

The Breakfast Club Adventures: The Beast Beyond the Fence written by Marcus Rashford & Alex Falase-Koya and illustrated by Marta Kissi (8+)

The first fiction book by England International footballer, child food-poverty campaigner and bestselling author Marcus Rashford MBE, inspired by Marcus's own experiences growing up. When 12-year-old Marcus kicks his favourite football over the school fence, he knows he's never getting it back. But the next morning, Marcus gets a mysterious note inviting him to join the Breakfast Club Investigators, and he is soon pulled into an exciting adventure with his new mates to solve the mystery and get his football back!

Treehouse Tales

Treehouse Tales by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton (7+)

There are lots of laughs at every level in Treehouse Tales: too silly to be told... until now! Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton are back to delight children with 13 fully illustrated adventures starring Andy, Terry and their friends.


Seed written by Caryl Lewis and illustrated by George Ermos  (8+)

A funny, uplifting, big-hearted story about the power of hope and imagination when you believe in the impossible. Marty doesn't have much. Unlike his mum, who has billions of things: newspapers, holey shoes, rusty lawnmowers, broken picture frames – she keeps EVERYTHING! It's hard to leave the house. But on Marty's birthday, Grandad, gifts Marty a very special seed. The seed grows bigger and bigger, and launches Grandad, Marty and his best friend Gracie on an impossible, wondrous plan.

Our Sister, Again

Our Sister, Again by Sophie Cameron (10+)

On a small island off the Scottish coast, Isla and her family are grieving the loss of her older sister Flora. Then they’re offered the chance to be part of a top-secret trial, which revives loved ones as fully lifelike AI robots. Isla has her doubts about Second Chances, but they evaporate the moment the 'new' Flora arrives. But not everyone on their island feels the same. Will Isla be able to protect the new Flora and bring the community back together? An intriguing, thoughtful and poignant exploration of what makes us ‘us’.

Escape to the River Sea

Escape to the River Sea by Emma Carroll (6+)

Emma Carroll's compelling new book inspired by Eva Ibbotson's bestselling classic Journey to the River Sea. Featuring places and characters known and loved by fans of the book (including, among others, Maia, Finn, Miss Minton and Clovis), this spectacular new chapter tells of the next generation and the growing threats to the Amazon rainforest that continue to this day.

Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun

Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun by Tolá Okogwu (9+)

Black Panther meets Percy Jackson in this action-packed and empowering superhero series about a British-Nigerian girl who learns that her Afro hair has psychokinetic powers. Onyeka has a lot of hair – the kind that makes strangers stop in the street. She's always felt insecure about her vibrant curls, until she makes an important discovery: she can control her hair with her mind!


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