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The Waterstones Round Up: January's Best Children's Books

Posted on 5th January 2021 by Mark Skinner

As we dive headlong into a brand new year, there are plenty of books hot off the presses to enjoy this January. From wartime adventure to loved-up dinosaurs, here is our pick of the month's great new children's books. 

 
 
 

Older Fiction

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An enthralling wartime adventure perfect for fans of Emma Carroll and Ross Montgomery, Parr’s debut children’s novel centres on a lonely evacuee and a spooky discovery in a Welsh village.
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The author of former Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month The Girl Who Stole an Elephant serves up a sparkling Sri Lanka-set adventure featuring a mysterious shipwreck, a strange child and a big, blue whale.

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The author of Time Travelling with a Hamster returns with a wildly imaginative tale that combines laugh-out-loud comedy with a poignant reflection on illness and the unbreakable bonds of friendship.

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Boasting wacky wizards and troublesome trolls, Sparkes’s wildly imaginative and gloriously eccentric fantasy finds an orphan pickpocket in charge of a supernatural house placed under a strange and mystical spell.
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Featuring characters from Thompson’s acclaimed children’s bestseller The Goldfish Boy, The Graveyard Riddle is another sensitively handled page-turner with a complex, involving mystery at its very warm heart.
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Set in seventeenth-century Scotland at the height of the witch trials, The Forest of Moon and Sword is a lyrical children’s debut steeped in folklore and myth, as brave Art sets out to rescue her falsely accused mother.
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A sheltered young prince must do battle with a motley collection of mythical monsters in a twenty-second century London in ruins, in David Walliams’s first foray into the realm of science fiction and fantasy.
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Major house renovation can only mean one thing in the world of Wimpy Kid; complete, side-splitting chaos - and the fourteenth book in the bestselling series proves that, for the Heffley clan, Do It Yourself should definitely be done by others.
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A rip-roaring supernatural adventure with a lovable lead character, Alston’s gripping debut features a missing brother, a sinister organisation and a thoroughly evil magician.

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Fast-paced and fantastically funny, the first instalment of Weldon’s trilogy about Norse gods, resourceful Valkyries and roguish Vikings is an absolute joy from first page to last.
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Heart-warming and gently funny, Foster’s delightful novel revolves around eleven-year-old Sam and his quest to find a forever family and a home he can call his own.
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Teenage & Young Adult

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Set seventeen years before the events of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize-winning The Hate U Give, Concrete Rose focuses on Starr’s father and his attempts to do the right thing as a young dad.
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The blazing imagination behind the Darkest Minds series delivers a rollicking read centred on a deadly game played by Zeus on the Greek Gods and one young competitor who is determined to survive.

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The thrilling conclusion to the Cursebreaker trilogy ups the ante on regal intrigue as Grey competes for the throne of Emberfall and Lia Mara is forced to decide where her loyalties truly lie.

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Tackling the contentious theme of teenage pregnancy with sensitivity and intelligence, The First Day of My Life is another compellingly authentic read from the author of The Art of Being Normal.
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A brilliantly clever novel from the author of Opposite of Always, Forever Ends on a Friday channels science fiction to invest a tale of second chances and forced goodbyes with enormous emotional power.
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Deftly exploring the drama and complexities of World War II through the prism of three childhood friends, Kessler’s searching, powerful book is perfect reading for fans of Private Peaceful and The Book Thief.
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Tackling themes of anxiety and loneliness with an assured lightness of touch, The Sad Ghost Club is a stunning graphic novel that celebrates friendship and unity with sensitivity and humour.

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Written with a deliciously dry wit and endearing honesty, Brueggemann’s debut centres on the cynical Phoebe who is positive that she won’t do anything as stupid as fall in love.
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Picture Books

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Three-year-old Fenn Rosenthal’s deceptively simple song Dinosaurs in Love has become a online sensation, and now this charmingly illustrated picture book means that everyone can own a slice of the feel-good magic.
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Following on from Little Red Reading Hood, Rowland and Mantle deliver a delightfully funny rhyming take on the classic fairytale, all about the many joys of reading.
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A joyous, anarchic tale of confronting your fears from the author of The Naughty Naughty Baddies, starring Sumo Cat, Ninja Bird and King-Fu Worm - and a really, really scary beastie.
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Even slugs need a hug sometimes and this big, bold and colourful picture book from Rachel Bright and Nadia Shireen delivers a charming message with wit and warmth.
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An adorable story about dealing with anxiety and using your imagination, Albert Talbot: Master of Disguise is packed full of wit, vibrant artwork and sublimely silly names.
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Younger Fiction

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Andy Shepherd’s enchanting series concludes with Tomas discovering a mysterious secret about his new friend Aura that brings him a step closer to unravelling the ultimate magic of the dragonfruit tree.
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The Queen of laugh-out-loud children’s fiction returns with a supremely silly story of non-stop dancing, haunted hospital wards and a broken leg that is definitely, absolutely cursed.
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Reference & Activities

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An ingenious introduction to the wonderful world of weather, this short book looks at the science behind climate change and predicts what the earth’s weather could look like in the future.
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Encouraging children to keep fit at the same time as learning about their favourite animals, former Blue Peter presenter Radzi Chinyanganya’s fun, vibrant book models exercise moves from the animal kingdom.
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Vegan cookery prodigy Omari shares his favourite plant-based dishes in this fun and accessible recipe guide designed to encourage the next generation of vegan cooks.
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