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

Posted on 24th April 2020 by Mark Skinner

There is certainly no let-up in the pace of children's publishing as we enter May. Arguably the biggest Young Adult release of the year - Suzanne Collins's triumphant Hunger Games prequel The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes - arrives this month, alongside superlative new works from the likes of Patrick Ness and Elizabeth Acevedo. The third part of Cressida Cowell's wildly popular Wizards of Once series materialises in paperback, whilst The Proudest Blue flies the flag for intelligent, beautifully produced picture books.      

Teen & YA

£18.99
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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 science fiction thriller.
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£12.99
Hardback
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A staggering new YA novel from the pen of the masterful Patrick Ness, Burn is set in an alternate 1950s America where dragons double as farmhands and sinister conspiracies have magical undercurrents. As profoundly compassionate and thrilling as his bestselling Chaos Walking trilogy, Burn is destined to become a future classic.

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£7.99
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A dizzying, irrepressibly stylish take on Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Juno Dawson’s new novel further redefines what Young Adult literature is capable of. Addressing issues of mental health, gender and privilege, Wonderland is a giddy, endlessly thrilling ride with serious and powerful undertones.

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£7.99 £6.99
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Nobody writes verse novels quite as accomplished as Elizabeth Acevedo and the latest electrifying offering from the author of the award-winning The Poet X is an intensely powerful tale of family, grief and rediscovering your roots.
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£7.99
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The queen of YA wartime intrigue returns with another nuanced and gripping thriller centred on three courageous and intelligent young women who find themselves with the opportunity to turn the tide of the Second World War. This book contains content suitable for middle grade readers looking for a more challenging reading level.
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£14.99
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The second instalment of the delightfully playful and exciting Aurora Cycle finds the motley crew of Squad 312 braced to fight off a monolithic evil - whilst dealing with their own personal issues. Packed with gleefully ironic humour and heart-in-mouth action set pieces, Aurora Burning continues this great new series in fine style.
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£7.99
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Perfect reading for fans of Alice Oseman and Becky Albertalli, Stamper’s winning novel of teen love amidst the madness of adult life boasts compelling characterisation and sensitive, eloquent prose. Capturing the awkward mechanics of a burgeoning relationship with grace and charm, The Gravity of Us is a beautifully constructed story.
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£7.99 £5.99
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A smart, stylish LGBTQ+ romantic comedy with an terrific premise and an intoxicating central relationship, Date Me, Bryson Keller fizzes with energy, playfulness and charm. A cracking debut from an assured new voice in YA literature, this is the perfect feel-good read.
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Achingly romantic and divinely escapist, The Betrothed is a sweeping royal love story from the pen of Keira Cass. Princely infatuation comes up against forbidden passion in an absorbing historical narrative.
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Older Fiction

£7.99
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The No.1 bestselling series from current Waterstones Children's Laureate and author of How To Train Your Dragon, Cressida Cowell. Enter a land of wizards, warriors, mythical creatures and powerful Magic in an exciting fantasy adventure.
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£7.99
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The pulse-quickening sequel to former Waterstones Children’s Book of the Month, Malamander, Taylor’s gripping adventure returns readers to Eerie-on-Sea for another battle against a monstrous foe.
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£6.99
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A good old-fashioned summer holiday adventure reminiscent of Enid Blyton, Ryder’s delightful debut finds our titular hero embroiled in the exciting investigation of a spooky old house. Well-paced and compellingly plotted, Jack’s Secret Summer is a captivating read.
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£6.99
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Perfect for fans of P.G. Bell or Anna James, Lapinski’s fantastical adventure yarn features Flick Hudson, a twelve year old girl on a desperately dangerous mission for the Strangeworlds magical travel society.
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Children's Reference & Activities

£6.99
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The teenage founders of Kids Against Plastic encourage other young environmental activists to find their voice in this inspirational and highly practical guide to looking after the planet. Featuring a foreword from Steve Backshall and fascinating information about Amy and Ella’s journey to ecological awareness, Be Plastic Clever is an urgent and accessible manifesto for change.
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£9.99
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One of the most iconic activists of our age gets the Little People Big Dreams treatment with Anke Weckmann’s bold artwork perfectly complementing the clear, precise text of Sanchez Vegara. The ideal introduction to an essential life, this is another terrific entry in a highly collectable series.
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£6.99
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From the world of the hugely popular Football School comes a bumper collection of brainteasers, games and puzzles about the beautiful game. Discover whether you are Premiership material or in danger of relegation with this addictive volume.
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Light, bright and colourful, the stickers in this joyous celebration of summer sparkle and shine in every scene. Dolphins, butterflies and mermaids all feature in a series of beautifully realised interactive land and seascapes.
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£5.99
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Let the calming activity of magic painting soothe your soul with a series of mindful scenes to distract from anxiety and worry. The latest addition to a popular activity series.
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Picture Books

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A ground-breaking picture book about religion, sisterhood and identity, The Proudest Blue features Faizah, who faces taunts and bullying when her older sister starts wearing hijab.
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£6.99
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A new Elmer book is always a cause for celebration and the latest offering from the pen of the legendary David McKee definitely doesn’t disappoint. A charming tale about Elmer’s upcoming birthday celebrations, this is a funny, heartwarming delight for preschoolers.
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£6.99
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Everybody’s favourite moody unicorn returns in an intergalactic adventure with his long-suffering buddies Narwhal, Mermaid and Jellyfish. Another hilarious story about not getting your own way and learning to compromise, Don’t Call Me Grumpycorn! showcases Sarah McIntyre’s wonderfully quirky writing and illustration.
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From traffic cop sloths to chimp paramedics, You Can’t Call an Elephant in an Emergency is an inspired slice of rhyming madness featuring various improbable animal rescue workers.
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Buoyed by the expressive artwork of Fran Preston-Gannon, this important picture book wraps a serious message about human desecration of the rainforest in a gentle adventure tale about a young girl and a lovable monkey. Published in collaboration with Greenpeace There’s a Rang-Tan in My Bedroom conveys significant issues in a light and entertaining manner.
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£6.99
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With a wry sense of humour and bold illustrations, Haddow and Adeola’s riotous, vibrant tale of bears in the family is a wonderfully warm-hearted tribute to dads the world over.
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Younger Fiction

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The fourth enchanting adventure for lovable Kitty and her nocturnal feline crew centres on a missing pooch and a trail of moonlit clues. Combining the charm and playfulness of Isadora Moon with Amelia Fang, Kitty and the Treetop Chase bewitches on every page.
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Comments

Dom Conlon

I'd also recommend If I Were Other That Myself by Sue Hardy-Dawson (Troika), Bright Bursts of Colour by Matt Goodfellow (Bloomsbury), and The Magic of Mums by Justin Coe (Otter-Barry).

Please let's include children's poetry in these excellent lists. Visibility helps. View more

Dom Conlon
6th May 2020
Helpful? Upvote 0

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