It’s time for my January anticipated children’s book releases by both favourite and new-to-me authors. I’ve been lucky enough to have early reads of a few of these (The Magic of Endings, Saving Neverland and Libby and the Highland Heist) – readers are definitely in for a treat with all of these!). I also have early copies a few of the others to read over Christmas (The Night Animals, Albi the Glowing Cow Boy and The Octopus, Dadu and Me). I’m looking forward to getting copies of all of these to add to my ever-growing class library.
I have taken the synopsis for each of these from the Waterstones website.
Jojo Locke’s dad disappeared six years ago. And what’s stranger still, none of his family can really remember him, there’s a hole inside each of them where Dad should be. But then Aunt Pen arrives, a real faerie, with her tricks and wishes. She tests Jojo to see how deep his courage runs and sets him off on a journey to find their memories of Dad, and an adventure far beyond what he could have imagined begins.
Number 14 Darlington Road, looks like a perfectly ordinary townhouse – at first glance, anyway, but magic is good at hiding . . . when it’s waiting for the right person to discover it. Martha Pennydrop is ten, and desperate to grow up. But growing up is a tricky business. It means turning your back on imagination, fun and magic, because those were the things that led to the Terrible Day when something awful nearly happened to Martha’s younger brother, Scruff, which would have been All Her Fault. But when Martha and Scruff discover a drawer full of mysterious gold dust in the bedroom of their new house – along with a window that’s seemingly impossible to close – it’s the start of an incredible adventure to a magical world: Neverland!
Nora’s mum has good days and bad days, but the bad days are getting worse. It’s been just the two of them for always, and they don’t need anyone else. When the rainbow-shimmering ghost animals Nora used to see when she was small start to reappear, she’s convinced that they hold all the answers. Along with new friend Kwame, Nora follows a glittering ghostly fox, hare, raven and otter on the adventure of a lifetime, helping her to find the strength she needs to help her family.
When Brutalia’s ever suspicious Queen is forewarned of a new enemy – a nearby island called Bonrock – Mort is worried. As a pacifist, he’s a firm believer that strangers are just friends they haven’t met yet. Then he and his best friend and fellow pacifist Weed are sent to the island to investigate. But Bonrock is a warm and welcoming place, with luscious landscapes and tropical waters. Mort’s relieved – there’s no need to fight! Until they stumble upon something terrifying… Perhaps there really is trouble in paradise?
On a quiet farm in a frosty England, under the glowing light of a magical milk moon, a boy calf is born. His name is Albi, and he has no idea how extraordinary he is going to be. Several miles away lives a human boy called Rufus. Rufus is extraordinary in his own way, but he has no friends and no one to love him. Rufus seeks the family he never had, and he’ll go to any lengths to find it. Albi and Rufus must each embark on a journey that will take them across continents, showing them things they never believed could be true. But why are they so deeply connected? And will each extraordinary ‘boy’ find what they’re searching for?
Nine and her friends have cured the house’s hiccups and are off to the strange and utterly unpredictable Back of Beyond in search of Professor Dish – Spoon’s best friend and partner in all things alchemy. When they find Dish trapped by the greedy witch Ophidia in the basement of a particularly marvellous shop, it soon becomes clear they’re going to need something more than Flabberghast’s dicey magic and Nine’s quick thinking to triumph this time. What they really need is a rather clever witch – one particularly good at curses…
Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, a magic school in the clouds for Marvellers from around the world. Ella discovers that being the first isn’t easy but she finds friendship in fellow misfits Brigit, a girl who hates magic, and Jason, a boy with a fondness for magical creatures and support from her Elixirs teacher, Masterji Thakur. Then the notorious Ace of Anarchy escapes prison, supposedly with a Conjuror’s aid, and Ella finds herself as the prime suspect. Worse, Masterji Thakur mysteriously disappears while away on a research trip. With the help of her friends and her own growing powers, Ella must find a way to clear her family’s name and track down her mentor before it’s too late.
FACT: Octopuses have three hearts. FACT: Octopuses have BEAKS, like BIRDS. FACT: The octopus at the aquarium is psychic! Sashi feels like she has three hearts and they’re all breaking. She’s losing her beloved Dadu to dementia, and her parents don’t even want her to visit him anymore. She hides from her grief in the aquarium, and that’s where she meets Ian. Like her Dadu, Ian is trapped. Like her Dadu, Ian should be at home with his family. And then Ian tells her he’s in danger and only she can help him escape. Except Ian just happens to be an octopus…
An endangered forest. An abandoned snow leopard. A child who only feels comfortable talking to animals. When fates collide, the unbelievable can happen … ‘Put me in mind of Dodi Smith and Gerald Durrell at their very best – enchanting and thrilling in equal measure.’ Piers Torday ‘Reads like a classic. I loved it.’ Pam Munoz Ryan Maggie’s stutter makes going to school hard. She will do almost anything to avoid speaking in class – even if that leads to trouble. Sent to stay in the depths of Cornwall with a grandfather she barely knows, Maggie discovers an abandoned snow leopard hiding in the nearby Wildoak Forest. Sheltered by the ancient trees, the two of them build an understanding in secret. But when the cub is spotted by local villagers, danger follows – threatening everything she has come to believe in. Can Maggie find an answer before time runs out – not just for the cub, but for herself and the forest as well?
When Pete, Krish and Nancy read a story in the local paper about weird gunk being found in a field where sheep have gone missing next to Hilltop House, they’re sure there’s a mystery to be investigated. The new research farm at Hilltop is working on the creation of new bio-fuels, but when a storm knocks out the power in the local area and something escapes from the farm, it’s clear that the research has gone horribly wrong … Can the brave trio save the village in their most terrifying adventure yet?
Inventors and artists have gathered in Paris for the World Fair. All eyes are on the aeroplane exhibition – these incredible machines will take humanity to new heights! Alice suspects that some of these inventors are in terrible danger, but no one will believe her. Surrounded by enemy spies, Alice will need to use every trick in the recipe book if she’s to keep her friends safe and stop France’s greatest invention from falling into the wrong hands.With a half-baked plan and a dash of daring, Alice must foil the enemy’s plot before the whole thing boils over…
13-year-old Kallie Tamm can’t wait to spend a week of her summer holidays at the Wildstorm Theatre Camp: she’s determined not to let her dyslexia hold her back from achieving her dream of becoming a playwright. The finale of the whole week is a performance in the local village theatre. But as soon as she arrives, Kallie discovers that the cast will be performing a play written by a 17th Century witch, Ellsabet Graveheart, and strange, scary things start happening. Unbeknown to Kallie, a dark shadow is stirring in the woodland near Wildstorm: an ancient and dangerous creature has awoken from a centuries old slumber, and they’re out for revenge, putting Kallie and all of her new friends in grave danger.
After a tumultuous term in Paris, Libby and Connie are looking forward to a quiet holiday at Connie’s family home. But before long they find themselves caught up in another mystery, this time set against the dramatic backdrop of the Scottish Highlands and Edinburgh.
Twelve-year-old Valentine Crow has lived his entire life at the Foundling Hospital. Now, he and his best friend Philomena are leaving to begin their new lives as apprentices – but Valentine has been assigned to Death himself. Valentine finds himself in an impossible situation when his best friend’s name appears on the list of souls to take. Can he fight Death to save her soul, or does fate have other ideas?
Do any of these catch your interest? What are your most anticipated books for the New Year?