It’s been another exciting year for children’s and teen books, from established authors and rising stars alike. Lovereading4kids Reviews Editor Andrea Reece chooses the top nine books to excite readers of all tastes

Mouse and Mole

best children's books

By Joyce Dunbar and James Mayhew

First published in 1993 but out of print for almost 20 years, it is wonderful to see this new edition of Mouse and Mole stories by award-winning author and illustrator team Joyce Dunbar and James Mayhew. Gentle and full of humour, the stories focus on the relationship and everyday adventures of best friends Mouse, who is calm and sensible, and the more impulsive Mole. They are perfect to either read aloud or for newly independent readers to enjoy on their own. (age 5+)

Invisible in a Bright Light

By Sally Gardner

Carnegie Medal winner Sally Gardner has a rare ability to build worlds that are rich, strange and totally unique to her. Her new novel, Invisible in a Bright Light, is a kind of fairy story and it mixes a quest narrative into settings that are magical many times over – snowy 19th century Copenhagen, its glorious opera house, an enchanted undersea cavern. At its heart are a group of young people with the courage to defeat evil and make things right. It’s a story that all readers will respond to and will enthral you from beginning to end. (age 10+)

The Iron Man

By Ted Hughes

Every child should know The Iron Man by Ted Hughes and his strange, compelling, fairy-tale adventure feels more relevant today than it ever has. This new edition is illustrated by Chris Mould and his Iron Man is spectacular – huge, frightening, but also vulnerable and expressive. Mould captures all the humour of Hughes’s story as well as the mystery, and he is equal to the big themes the story presents, creating unforgettable images for this unforgettable fable. (age 8+)

Midnight Feasts

A F Harrold Midnight Feasts best children's books

By A.F. Harrold

Contrary to popular opinion, children love poetry and this is a very tasty collection indeed. In Midnight Feasts, poet A. F. Harrold has gathered poems on nearly every kind of food from favourite poets alongside Katy Riddell’s illustrations. It features Ian McMillan on soup followed by Christopher Reid on salad, and Caroline Bird ponders the humble turnip. A book to dip into, share and return to again and again. Delicious! (age 8+)

The Magic Place

By Chris Wormell

Best known for his illustration work, this is Chris Wormell’s first book as an author. The Magic Place is a wonderfully atmospheric melodrama about a young orphan girl desperate to escape her Aunt Vermilia and Uncle Rufus, who are both Dahlesque in their villainy. Wormell’s illustrations are delightfully monstrous and the book evokes Dickens’s bleak metropolis in this tale of good and evil. (age 7+)

Top Marks for Murder

By Robin Stevens

If the young readers in your life haven’t come across this excellent 1930s-set crime series yet, they’re really missing out. After various adventures, schoolgirl detectives Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are back at the boarding school they love in Top Marks for Murder by Robin Stevens. But before you can say ‘Agatha Christie’, a dormmate claims to have witnessed a murder, with sudden death striking at the heart of Deepdean School. Scrupulously researched, carefully plotted and as good on friendships and family relationships as it is on clues and red herrings, this is top quality reading. (age 9+)

Dr Maggie’s Grand Tour of the Solar System

Dr Maggies Grand Tour Of The Solar System

By Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock 

The Sky at Night presenter Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock (MBE) was bitten by the space bug as a kid and does an excellent job of passing on her passion in this inspiring book, Dr Maggie’s Grand Tour of the Solar System.  She encourages us to copy Einstein in his ‘thought experiments’ and follow her on an imagined journey through space to the very edge of the Solar System. The book features amazing NASA photos alongside full-colour illustrations and is packed with up-to-date information presented in blocks of text or via charts and diagrams. It does exactly what non-fiction books should, answering all the questions readers will have, while inspiring them to future journeys of discovery. (age 8+)

Snowflake, AZ

By Marcus Sedgwick

Set in a community of people forced to live apart from the rest of society, and prompted in part by his own experience of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Marcus Sedgwick’s new book, Snowflake AZ, examines what it means to be well. From that starting point, it tackles bigger themes such as the health of our planet, the unseen dangers that may be threatening us all. Told in flashback, it intrigues from its bleak opening page and is chilling in its deadpan delivery. This is a typically thoughtful, intelligent and challenging YA novel from one of our finest writers. (age 14+)

The Misadventures of Frederick

Misadventures best children's books

By Ben Manley

Perfectly told and beautifully illustrated, The Misadventures of Frederick by Ben Manley is a clever, engaging picture book that is recounted almost entirely through letters. Frederick lives a solitary, indoor life in his grand house reading, drawing and watching television – his mother prefers he stays in. Emily sends him a series of invitations via paper planes, asking him to come out to play. One day he accepts – and what fun they have! This is great story about making friends and the joys of outdoor play, and readers will love the final twist too. (age 5+)

Enjoy this? Read Author Sophie Anderson on ‘rewinding children’