Kids’ Books that will stand the test of time – Roundup 2019

As a qualified book worm, every year I attend various events where authors and publishers present their latest releases. Here’s my favourite selection of kids’ books recently showcased by Penguin Random House that will stand the test of time. Do you agree?


The Very Hungry Caterpillar 50th anniversary gold cover edition 

2019 marks 50 years since The Very Hungry Caterpillar first munched his way through a variety of delicious food – and our hearts. This classic story has definitely passed the longevity test! 

To celebrate this milestone, Penguin have just released a limited hardback edition of this beloved classic, complete with stunning golden jacket and bonus content. Since its first publication in 1969, The Very Hungry Caterpillar has now sold over 50 million copies worldwide and has been translated into over sixty-two languages.

The much-loved caterpillar hero will be the star attraction at four of the RHS charity’s world-famous Flower Shows and four of its Gardens.


LOOK UP! by Nathan Bryon & Dapo Adeola

A funny, inspirational story encouraging everyone to put down their phones and reach for the stars.

Science-mad chatterbox Rocket launches into our hearts in this inspiring picture book from two incredible debut talents. Rocket’s going to be the greatest astronaut, star-catcher, space traveller who has ever lived! But first she needs to convince her big brother, Jamal, to stop looking down at his phone and start LOOKING UP at the stars. Bursting with energy and passion about space and the natural world, this heart- warming picture book will reignite your desire to turn off those screens and switch on to the outside world.

Nathan Bryon is an award-winning writer and actor who has written for BAFTA-award-winning children’s TV shows such as Swashbuckle and Apple Tree House and critically acclaimed Rastamouse. A rising star in the world of screenwriting, his animated series Afro Kid is currently under option. Look Up! is his debut picture book for children.

Dapo Adeola is an illustrator and character designer who creates characters and images that challenge gender norms in a fun and upbeat way.

He runs illustration and character design workshops in and out of schools, to help highlight the possibilities of a career in illustration to inner-city children.


Jungle Jamboree by Jo Empson

A stunning picture book that brings the jungle to life in vibrant colour with an important message about loving yourself just as you are. It was nominated London Mums’ book of the week  in February. 

Here I’m hugging the lovely Jo Empson at the Penguin Random House Summer Party 2018.


Charles Darwin’s on the origin of species 

For the first time, the revolutionary scientific book that explained evolution to millions of people is retold in stylish and accessible picture-book form. Currently enjoying incredible global success, with rights sold in 20 languages! 

Utilising her unique skills as both scientist and artist, Sabina Radeva’s book is simultaneously educational and beautiful – and perfectly pitched for children. It is suitable for children age 5+. 




Little Badman and the invasion of the killer aunties 

The first novel in a hilarious new series for children from Humza Arshad and comedy writer Henry White. Little Badman, is a funny and fast-paced ad- venture story created with illustrations from Aleksei Bitskoff. Full of mischief, silliness and with a delightful cast of characters the series is sure to appeal to fans of David Solomons and David Baddiel. Children from 9 years upwards will truly enjoy it and parents will giggle when reading it out loud. A comedy book for the whole family! 


My Brother’s name is Jessica by John Boyne

A stunning and timely new novel from the best- selling and award-winning author of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (one of the saddest historical dramas and one of my personal favourite youth novels of all time). John is a delightful person to be around. 

Full of John’s trademark wit, warmth and emotion, My Brother’s Name is Jessica is an urgent call to arms for better empathy and understanding about the complexity of gender identity. It is suitable for children age 11+. 


CHARLIE CHANGES INTO A CHICKEN by Sam Copeland – Illustrated by Sarah Horne

The first book in a new laugh-out-loud illustrated series for fans of Kid Normal and David Walliams.

Charlie McGuffin has an incredible secret… he can change into animals. Trouble is, it only happens when he gets worried, and right now, Charlie has quite a lot to worry about.

It is suitable for children age 8 +.


Mummy Fairy and Me – Unicorn Wishes by Sophie Kinsella 

Ella’s family has a big secret – her mummy is a fairy! But sometimes Mummy Fairy’s magic goes wrong, and it’s up to Ella to help… In this third book of adventures about Mummy Fairy and Ella, you’ll find flying cars, enchant- ed ballet shoes, a unicorn in the kitchen, and Ella’s very own magical wardrobe. It is suitable for children age 5+.



Thirteen Doctor Who stories from thirteen bestselling authors, with a new story written by Malorie Blackman.


A new version of this much-loved anthology, with a brand- new story featuring the brand-new Thirteenth Doctor!

Twelve wonderful tales of adventure, science, magic, monsters and time travel – featuring all twelve Doctors – are waiting for you in this very special Doctor Who book. 

I’m here with the incredibly talented Malorie Blackman!



TWO CAN KEEP A SECRET  by Karen M. McManus

The new compulsive thriller from the bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying.

Two Can Keep a Secret introduces readers to Echo Ridge, a small town that keeps losing
its homecoming queens. With their murders unsolved and sinister messages appearing all over town suggesting the return of the killer, it’s a race against time for new student Ellery and suspect Malcolm to unravel the mystery and uncover the secrets buried in Echo Ridge . . .

Karen M. McManus earned her BA in English from the College of the Holy Cross and her MA in journalism from Northeastern University. When she isn’t working or writing in Cambridge, Massachusetts, McManus loves to travel with her son.


Pretty Little Liars meets Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda – a slick, LGBT+ high-school mystery. Ground-breaking and page-turning, Jack of Hearts (And Other Parts) celebrates the freedom to be oneself, especially in the face of adversity, and bravely begins a conversation about teenagers and their sex lives that desperately needs to be had. It is suitable for children age 14+. 


A deeply moving and powerful own voices story from a bold and exciting new voice in British young adult fiction.

How can I hold myself together, when everything around me is falling apart?

Neena’s always been a good girl – great grades, parent-approved friends and absolutely no boyfriends. But ever since her brother Akash left her, she’s been slowly falling apart – and uncovering a new version of herself who is altogether more dangerous.

As her wild behaviour spirals more and more out of control, Neena’s grip on her sanity begins to weaken too. And when her parents announce not one but two life-changing bombshells – one is that they want her to have an arranged marriage – she finally reaches breaking point. But as Neena is about to discover, when your life falls apart, only love can piece you back together.

Emma Smith-Barton was born in South Wales to Pakistani parents. Growing up between cultures has

heavily influenced her writing and she is especially interested in exploring themes of identity and belonging. Before writing, she taught in secondary schools for six years and is passionate about increasing awareness of mental health in young people. Her short stories have appeared in various publications such as Mslexia and the Bristol Short Story Prize 2016 anthology (under her pseudonym for adult fiction, Amna Khokher). The Million Pieces of Neena Gill is Emma’s first novel for young adults.

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