23 children's books to read in 2023

Kids love choosing books! Nothing beats visiting a bookshop to browse the shelves, book tokens at the ready.

The National Book Tokens team are back to highlight 23 fantastic new children’s and teen fiction books that will arrive in bookshops during the first half of the year, from hilarious escapades to magical journeys. Discover your local bookshop using our handy tool.

Don't forget, if your young booklovers spend some of their National Book Tokens – or Bookily cards – before 28th February, you can enter to win £500/€500 in cash to treat them – and you!

 

All Four Quarters of the Moon by Shirley Marr

January
All Four Quarters of the Moon by Shirley Marr (9+)

An Indie Book of the Month for January, as chosen by independent booksellers, this is a big-hearted, magical story about sisterhood and a family finding their way in a new place.

Bunny vs. Monkey: Multiverse Mix-up! by Jamie Smart

Bunny vs. Monkey: Multiverse Mix-up! by Jamie Smart (5+)

After receiving hundreds of entries for our complete the comic strip competition, we know that many of you are fans of Bunny vs. Monkey. In the seventh book, when portals to parallel dimensions open up, the gang meet different versions of themselves - a whole universe of Bunnies! The gang end up travelling to the very ends of existence . . . but will they make it back home to the Woods?

The Wildstorm Curse by Eve Wersocki Morris

The Wildstorm Curse by Eve Wersocki Morris (9+)

A thrillingly suspenseful story about unlikely heroes and the power of storytelling. 13-year-old Kallie Tamm can't wait to spend a week of her summer holidays at the Wildstorm Theatre Camp. As soon as she arrives, Kallie discovers that the cast will be performing a play written by a witch. And then strange, scary things start happening…

The Bookshop at the Back of Beyond by Amy Sparkes

The Bookshop at the Back of Beyond by Amy Sparkes (9+)

The third book in the captivating The House at the Edge of Magic series sees Nine and her friends discover that Professor Dish is trapped in the basement of a particularly marvellous shop.

A Million to One by Adiba Jaigirdar

A Million to One by Adiba Jaigirdar (12+)

The winning author of the YA Book Prize 2022 gives Titanic an Ocean's 8 makeover in this nail-biting heist set onboard the infamous ship.

Influential by Amara Sage

Influential by Amara Sage (13+)

Almond Brown has no friends in real life... but 3.5 million followers online. A heart-felt, whip-smart deep dive into what it would really be like to be internet famous at 17.

Like a Curse by Elle McNicoll

February
Like a Curse by Elle McNicoll (9+)

In this wonderful sequel to Like a Charm, Ramya Knox is stuck in Loch Ness while Edinburgh falls under the control of a terrifyingly powerful Siren. As she pushes to rescue her Hidden Folk friends in the city, long-buried secrets come to light and legends come to life.

Montgomery Bonbon: Murder at the Museum written by Alasdair Beckett-King and illustrated by Claire Powell

Montgomery Bonbon: Murder at the Museum written by Alasdair Beckett-King and illustrated by Claire Powell (9+)

Bonnie Montgomery is the world's best detective. Not that anyone has heard of her... But they might have heard of the great Montgomery Bonbon, the well-dressed gentleman detective who (apart from the hat and moustache) looks suspiciously like a 10-year-old girl. A brilliantly funny young murder mystery from an exciting new talent in children's fiction.

The Funniest Boy in the World by Helen Rutter

The Funniest Boy in the World by Helen Rutter (7+)

Billy Plimpton took to the stage and captivated the crowd at the triumphant ending to The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh, and in the sequel, he's going to go viral. We're also giving young booklovers the chance to write their own joke to win amazing prizes!

The Rescue of Ravenwood by Natasha Farrant

The Rescue of Ravenwood by Natasha Farrant (9+)

From the Costa Book Award winning author of Voyage of the Sparrowhawk comes an epic adventure with a call to arms: we must fight to save the most treasured things on our planet.

Villains Academy by Raymond Hammond

Villains Academy by Ryan Hammond (7+)

Welcome to Villains Academy the most prestigious villain school in the entire land. You will either leave here as a fully-formed villain... or in tatters. The first in a villainously funny, highly illustrated series.

Bear and Bird: The Picnic and Other Stories by Jarvis

March
Bear and Bird: The Picnic and Other Stories by Jarvis (5+)

Full of funny mix-ups and comic misunderstandings, as well as genuine warmth and affection, these four stories are the start of an irresistibly charming new chapter book series from award-winning creator Jarvis.

Jamie by L.D. Lapinski

Jamie by L.D. Lapinski (9+)

A beautiful and uplifting story from L.D. Lapinski, author of The Strangeworlds Travel Agency, about how to make your own place when the world doesn't think you fit anywhere.

Woodwitch by Skye McKenna

Woodwitch by Skye McKenna (9+)

Step into the magical world of Hedgewitch, where the land of Faerie lies just beyond our own in this enchanting sequel.

Call the Puffins written by Cath Howe and illustrated by Ella Okstad

Call the Puffins written by Cath Howe and illustrated by Ella Okstad (5+)

A delightful new series about puffins and teamwork. Along with their fellow recruits, Muffin and Tiny must work together to help all the birds on the island.

 

Bookily

Bookily: the monthly National Book Token

Give booklovers the joy of choosing a new book every month with Bookily. Just choose how much you want to give them and for how long, and they'll receive a Bookily card ready to spend on the books they want, when they want them.

 

 

Nic Blake and the Remarkables: The Manifestor Prophecy by Angie Thomas

April
Nic Blake and the Remarkables: The Manifestor Prophecy
by Angie Thomas (9+)

Superstar author Angie Thomas; new contemporary fantasy trilogy for children, inspired by African American history and folklore. All Nic Blake wants is to be a powerful Manifestor like her dad. But before she has a chance to convince him to teach her the gift, a series of shocking revelations and terrifying events occur…

The Time Machine Next Door: Explorers and Milkshakes written by Iszi Lawrence and illustrated by Rebecca Badley

The Time Machine Next Door: Explorers and Milkshakes written by Iszi Lawrence and illustrated by Rebecca Bagley (7+)

A page-turning, laugh-out-loud historical adventure, perfect for fans of Horrible Histories. This series bring lesser-known parts of history to life with hilarious plots, real-life characters, fascinating facts and fantastic illustrations.

The Other Edie Trimmer by Jacqueline Wilson

May
The Other Edie Trimmer written by Jacqueline Wilson and illustrated by Rachel Dean (8+)

This new story from beloved author Jacqueline Wilson finds Edie Trimmer travelling from present day to Victorian London. She feels the same, but everything around her is completely different to what she knows. Soon, she realises she's living the life of another Edie Trimmer - and is in danger of being sent to a real workhouse!

Imogen, Obviously by Becky Albertalli

Imogen, Obviously by Becky Albertalli (12+)

The new novel from Becky Albertalli, bestselling author of Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda. With an irresistible cast of characters, hugely funny and empathetic writing, Imogen, Obviously beautifully explores the nuances of sexuality, identity, and friendship.

Away With Words by Sophie Cameron

Away With Words by Sophie Cameron (12+)

Set in a world where words appear physically when people speak, Away With Words explores the importance of communication and being there for those we love. Gala has just moved from Cataluna to Scotland. She's lonely and unable to be her usual funny self until she befriends Natalie, a girl with selective mutism. They use the words to write anonymous supportive poems for their classmates, but then someone begins leaving nasty messages using the same method - and the girls are blamed.

My Name is Sunshine Simpson written by G. M. Linton and illustrated by Fuuji Takashi

My Name is Sunshine Simpson written by G. M. Linton and illustrated by Fuuji Takashi (9+)

Sunshine Simpson's larger-than-life Grandad is always telling her to get out and find her own adventures, but unfortunately BAD LUCK has a habit of coming her way. Sunshine needs to find her voice, but can she break through the clouds to stand tall, stand proud, and show the world she can shine?

Grandad's Pride by Harry Woodgate

June
Grandad's Pride by Harry Woodgate (3+)

Harry Woodgate, talented illustrator of the Hidden Books Game, celebrates the power of community and the importance of LGBTQIA+ history. In this joyful picture book, Milly's Grandad insists he’s too old to go to London's Pride, so Milly will bring Pride to Grandad.

Greenwild: The World Behind the Door written by Pari Thomson and illustrated by Elisa Paganelli

Greenwild: The World Behind the Door written by Pari Thomson and illustrated by Elisa Paganelli (7+)

Daisy Thistledown has recently escaped from boarding school, and has a mystery to solve. The trail will lead her through a hidden doorway to the Greenwild, a rich and verdant land bursting with magic.  

 

 

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