Reading is one of the greatest gifts we can give our children. Not only does it help expand their language skills but also opens up their imagination and creativity. As an added bonus, children's books often weave in an important life and/or social message in a fun and engaging way.
As we head into a new school year, there is a plethora of new books coming out to tick all the boxes of keeping your children quietly occupied sans screen!
Here are our top picks for the year ahead.
1. BRONCO AND FRIENDS: A PARTY TO REMEMBER
By Tim Tebow
This sweet story of animals with different challenges and abilities is core to Tim Tebow's message to fans and friends of any age who have special needs. Getting invited to the party is exciting--but bringing your own particular gifts makes it more fu, reminding everyone that they are special, unique and essential to the party.
2. EYES THAT KISS IN THE CORNERS
By Joanna Ho
A young Asian girl realises that her eyes aren't like her peers, instead they are like her grandmother's, mother's and little sister's - eyes that kiss in the corners. Drawing from the strength of these powerful women, she recognises her own beauty and discovers a path to self-love and empowerment.
3. SADIE SPROCKET BUILDS A ROCKET
By Sue Fleiss
Sadie wants to go to Mars. She learns everything she can about the planet and space, then assembles her crew of trusty stuffed animals to build a rocket and prepare for the journey. With cheery rhyming text and quirky artwork, this is a story about dreaming big and reaching for the stars. It also includes facts about Mars and women in space to inspire budding explorers everywhere.
4. GRANDMA WOMBAT
By Jackie French
Like all grandmas, Grandma Wombat thinks her grandson is the best-behaved baby ever. But this baby wombat has other ideas... This delightfully funny book celebrates the love and joy that being a grandma can be.
5. A FATHER'S LOVE
By Hannah Holt
Throughout the animal kingdom, around the globe, fathers love and care for their babies. This book shows readers the many ways fathers have of demonstrating their love. From a penguin papa snuggling with his baby in frosty white snow, to a lion playing with his cub in a yellow field, to a seahorse father protecting his young inside his pouch. This book is a celebration of the special bond a father shares with his children.
1. MILO IMAGINES THE WORLD
By Matt de la Pena
Milo loves to observe faces around him and imagine what their lives are like. When he observes the boy in the suit with the bright white sneakers, Milo imagines him arriving home to a castle with a drawbridge and a butler. But when the boy gets off at the same stop as Milo - walking the same path, going to the same place - Milo realises you can't really know anyone just by looking at them.
2. AMBITIOUS GIRL
By Meena Harris
Niece to the Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Meena Harris writes this story about a young girl who sees a strong woman on TV labeled as "too assertive" and "too ambitious," sending her on a journey of discovery through past, present, and future about the challenges faced by women and girls and the ways in which they can reframe, redefine, and reclaim words meant to knock them down.
3. STAR WARS: THE MANDALORIAN JUNIOR NOVEL
By Joe Schreiber
Relive all the excitement of the first season of the smash-hit streaming series in this action-packed junior novel by Joe Schreiber! A lone bounty hunter known as The Mandalorian travels the outer reaches of the galaxy. When his newest bounty hunting target turns out to be a small Child, the Mandalorian decides the Child must be protected at all costs.
4. THE BOOK OF DARES: 100 WAYS FOR BOYS TO BE KIND, BOLD AND BRAVE
By Ted Bunch and Anna Marie Johnson Teague
Packed with 100 inspiring, creative, fun challenges for boys, this project from violence-prevention organisation A Call to Men answers parents' cries for building healthy manhood, respect, and emotional awareness in their sons. This collection of 100 original dares will help boys expand their worldview, inspire more respect toward girls and non-binary kids, and generally develop a healthier idea of manhood.
5. EXPEDITION DIARIES: AUSTRALIAN OUTBACK
By Simon Chapman
Simon is in Darwin, Australia, preparing to travel through the unique mix of tropical forest, savannah and desert that make up the Australian Outback. But he's already worrying if his 4x4 is up to the job, and about the dangers posed by crocodiles, spiders and snakes - and road trains! Simon Chapman brings geography to life, and these Diaries are a great way to introduce the world's biomes and habitats to children.
By Gordon Kormon
This hilarious middle grade novel is about a group of kids forced to “unplug” at a wellness camp—where they instead find intrigue, adventure, and a whole lot of chaos. Focused around Jett, a spoiled son of a famous tech billionaire, who struggle at first but soon finds adventure and purpose at this wellness camp.
2. KATIE THE CATSITTER
By Colleen AF Venable
Katie is dreading the boring summer ahead while her best friends are all away at camp--something that's way out of Katie and her mom's budget, UNLESS Katie can figure out a way earn the money for camp herself. But when Katie gets a job catsitting for her mysterious upstairs neighbor, life get interesting. Can Katie wrangle a whole lot of wayward cats, save a best friendship, AND crack the biggest story in the city's history? Some heroes have capes . . . Katie has cats!
By Megan E. Freeman
When twelve-year-old Maddie hatches a scheme for a secret sleepover with her two best friends, she ends up waking up to a nightmare. She’s alone—left behind in a town that has been mysteriously evacuated and abandoned. Can Maddie’s stubborn will to survive carry her through the most frightening experience of her life?
4. THE WORLD BETWEEN BLINKS #1
By Ryan Graudin and Amie Kaufman
Whenever Jake and Marisol get together, adventure follows. Following a map their legendary adventurist, Nana left behind, Jake and Marisol sneak out to a nearby lighthouse—then accidentally slip into another world! The World Between Blinks is a magical place, where all sorts of lost things and people wind up. Everywhere they turn, the cousins find real mysteries from history But the man who holds the key to Jake and Marisol’s journey home doesn’t want to be found . . . and if the cousins don’t catch him fast, they could end up lost in this world forever.
5. WHIFFY NEWTON IN THE CASE OF THE DASTARDLY DEEDS
By Rebecca Limv
Whiffy Newton, real first name Alfred, hardly looks like a crack amateur super-sleuth. His clothes are too short and too tight. He never gets picked first for sports. And he has poor eyesight. But he's got his two best friends - Doreen and Paz - and together, the three friends form the detective outfit THE AGENCY. Until now, The Agency has only handled the discreet enquiries of other put upon children at Kentwood High. But The Case of the Dastardly Deeds sees them take on their biggest, their craziest, their most dangerous, case yet.