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The best children's books of 2022 (so far, and what's still to come)

If you're looking for the best new kids books of 2022, our list of the best reads for kids of all ages, from babies to young teens, is here to help.

There’s plenty to get excited about in 2022 for younger bookworms, whether sharing stories out loud or encouraging independent reading. From classic picture books for babies and toddlers, to adventure yarns for under 10s, and narratives for older children that tackle more complex issues, we’ve got it covered. For more reading inspiration, see our round-up of the best picture books for children, and our list of children’s books that represent and celebrate multicultural experiences from all over the world.

The best new books for babies and toddlers

WOW! Said the Owl

by Tim Hopgood

Book cover for WOW! Said the Owl

At night, when we are feeling tired and ready for bed, owls are just waking up. But one curious little owl decides to stay awake all day, instead of all night, and discovers a world bursting with colour! When the night-time comes around again, the stars above her head are still the most beautiful sight of all.

Little ones will love joining in with the WOWs in this warm and simple story, and a final activity spread about colours makes this book perfect for sharing together at story time.

A Dress with Pockets

by Lily Murray

Book cover for A Dress with Pockets

Emerging star Lily Murray and Waterstones Prize-winning illustrator Jenny Lovlie bring you a book for small kids who aren't excited by shiny clothes and sequins. Lucy and Aunt Augusta are looking for new dresses. The Fabulous Fashion Store is crammed with frilly, stripy, silly and colourful choices. But Lucy isn't interested . . . she just wants a dress with pockets, where she can store her collection of petals, nettles, spells and shells. Will Lucy find the dress of her dreams?

Dear Zoo

by Rod Campbell

Book cover for Dear Zoo

Rod Campbell's classic lift-the-flap book Dear Zoo has been a firm favourite with toddlers and parents alike ever since it was first published in 1982. Little ones will love lifting the flaps to discover which animals the zoo has sent – but will the perfect pet ever arrive?

Keep little Dear Zoo fans entertained with these Dear Zoo activities for kids.

Night Night Sleep Tight: Farm Animals

by Lucy Rowland

Book cover for Night Night Sleep Tight: Farm Animals

When it's time to head to bed, little readers can help tuck sleepy animals in for the night by turning the blanket-shaped pages of this lovely book, created by bestselling author Lucy Rowland and pattern designer and illustrator Monika Forsberg. With gentle rhymes and dreamy illustrations, Night Night Sleep Tight: Farm Animals will help lull little ones to sleep . . .

On the Night You Were Born

by Nancy Tillman

Book cover for On the Night You Were Born

With lilting rhymes and enchanting illustrations, On The Night You Were Born captures the feelings of adoration and joy that come when a baby arrives in the world. A series of animals arrives to welcome baby, the latest arrival in the natural world. This robust board book, a New York Times bestseller, is just right for small hands to hold on to.

The best new books for children aged 3–5 years old

Cars Cars Cars!

by Donna David

Book cover for Cars Cars Cars!

Full of spotting and counting fun, with different cars to follow on each page and an exciting fold-out race at the end, this rhyming preschool picture book from Donna David and Nina Pirhonen has been specially developed to encourage pre-reading skills and expand language and vocabulary. With a super-shiny foil cover and fun read-aloud text, Cars Cars Cars! is perfect for any transport-obsessed toddler!

Once Upon A Fairytale

Book cover for Once Upon A Fairytale

With this engaging book the young reader gets to decide the outcome, and weave their own story. Choose your own character! Will you be a smart princess, a gentle knight or an inquisitive gingerbread man? And which adventure will you go for? Picnic with fairies, make your home in a tree, eat freshly-buttered sunbeams or take a ride on a unicorn – the choice is all yours. 

I Love Me!

by Diane Ewen

Book cover for I Love Me!

Positive statements for little readers, written by Marvyn Harrison who founded Dope Black Dads, and illustrated by Diane Ewen who created the illustrations for Floella Benjamin's Coming to England. The book is full of engaging and uplifting affirmations for every day of the week, helping young children prepare for nursery and school, including useful tips for parents and carers of young children.

Mole's Spectacles

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for Mole's Spectacles

Lift the flaps and join in the fun with Mole's Spectacles, a brilliant story in the bestselling Tales from Acorn Wood preschool series by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, creators of The Gruffalo.

Mole has lost his spectacles. He searches all around his house, in the garden and even in Weasel's sweetshop, but he can't find them anywhere! Where could they be? Lift the flaps to help him find them.

With sturdy flaps on every spread and rhyming stories that are a joy to read aloud, Mole's Spectacles joins the bestselling Tales from Acorn Wood which have been delighting parents and children for over twenty years.

Badger's Band

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for Badger's Band

Gruffalo creators Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler bring you Badger's Band, the latest story in the bestselling Tales from Acorn Wood preschool series. Badger is keen to start a band, and his friends want to join in. Bear plays piano and Tortoise plays trumpet, but does anyone else want to take part? Lift the flaps to find out, and join Badger and co for their important concert. With sturdy flaps and lilting rhymes, this story is a delight for both children and adults.

The best new books for kids aged 6–8 years old

InvestiGators: Ants in Our P.A.N.T.S.

Book cover for InvestiGators: Ants in Our P.A.N.T.S.

Down in the sewers, the alligator investigators have a brand new mission. Agent Brash is in a coma and the technicians have replaced him with RoboBrash! Mango and the robot set out to stop giant ants which are rampaging through the city. But the ants aren't the only bugs causing trouble – there are a few bugs in RoboBrash's system, and they are adding to the hilarity and chaos.

A Robot Squashed My Teacher

by Pooja Puri

Book cover for A Robot Squashed My Teacher

Esha Verma, along with her snooty apprentice Broccoli and his clever pet tortoise, have a plan. The gang are determined to win the famous Brain Trophy for genius inventors. Their entry is the RoarEasy – a machine that lets people speak to animals. But rival inventor Ernie steps in and the RoarEasy goes haywire, turning Monsieur Crépeau into a pigeon. So Esha, Broccoli, Archibald and Monsieur Crépeau take a trip to the Central Research Laboratories – with Ernie on their tail –  to try to solve the problem, encountering huge robots, killer plants, mechanical spiders and shrinking machines along the way.

Rumaysa: Ever After

by Radiya Hafiza

Book cover for Rumaysa: Ever After

Rumaysa: Ever After is the fabulously empowering sequel to Radiya Hafiza's Rumaysa: A Fairytale – a powerful and laugh-out-loud story that turns a classic fairytale around, showing that anyone can be a hero. The story starts long ago and far away, with young Rumaysa looking for her long lost parents. She hopes that an invitation from Saira White, the Queen of Bishnara, will help. Will the queen help her find her family? But it's not quite that straightforward, and soon Rumaysa is tugged into a mystical adventure, trying to help some new friends. Witches, princes, princesses and beasts feature in this tale set in a magical, alternative South Asia.

Treehouse Tales: too SILLY to be told ... UNTIL NOW!

by Andy Griffiths

Book cover for Treehouse Tales: too SILLY to be told ... UNTIL NOW!

Looking for more from Andy Griffith's Treehouse series? Climb the storeys with 13 top-secret fully illustrated adventures starring Andy, Terry and their friends.

Featuring stories such as Terry and the Magic Wand, Chair-up-your-nose Day, The Day Terry Flushed Me Down the Toilet and many more!

Well, what are you waiting for? Come on up!

Escape to the River Sea

by Emma Carroll

Book cover for Escape to the River Sea

It's 1946 and the war in Europe is over, but nobody has come to collect Rosa Sweetman, a young Kindertransport girl. She is stuck at Westwood, a country home in the north of England, where she found refuge seven years earlier. But then Yara Fielding arrives, taking Rosa on an adventure that leads deep into the Amazon rainforest, amongst jaguars and giant sloths and Yara's welcoming family. Has Rosa finally found somewhere she can belong?

Aziza's Secret Fairy Door and the Birthday Present Disaster

by Lola Morayo

Book cover for Aziza's Secret Fairy Door and the Birthday Present Disaster

When Aziza sees a Secret Fairy Door in her bedroom, covered in a ribbon tied with a messy bow, it's clear that a new adventure is just around the corner. She opens the door, and finds herself in the palace, just as Princess Peri's birthday party is about to begin. Tiko is organising party games, tasty food and more. But when some the the presents go missing, Peri needs Aziza's help. The third title in an enjoyable and inclusive series, this story is packed with mischief, magic and friendship. 

The best new books for 9–12 year olds


by Caryl Lewis

Book cover for Seed

This warm-hearted book encourages you to believe in the impossible, when all seems lost. Written by award-winning author Caryl Lewis and illustrated throughout in black and white by George Ermos, it is the story of Marty. He doesn't have a lot, but his mum has tons of stuff, and she won't throw anything away. It's becoming hard to leave the house. Then Grandad gives Marty a very special seed for his birthday. As the seed grows bigger and bigger, it shoots Grandad, Marty and best friend Gracie into an impossible dream, filled with love and optimism.

Sabotage on the Solar Express

by M. G. Leonard

Book cover for Sabotage on the Solar Express

and Sam Sedgman

Ride into high stakes with Hal and Uncle Nat in the fifth Adventures on Trains series entry, from bestselling authors M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman and brilliantly illustrated in black and white throughout by Elisa Paganelli.

After Australian child prodigy Boaz designs the winning locomotive in billionaire enthusiast August Reza's competition, he invites Hal and Uncle Nat on the prototype's maiden voyage across the Australian Outback. But during the journey to Darwin, the train is sabotaged, hurtling passengers into a rip-roaring thrill-ride and leaving Hal to find the saboteur and stop the runaway train before calamity strikes.

You Can Do It

by Marcus Rashford

Book cover for You Can Do It

and Carl Anka.

Packed with inspiring stories from Marcus's own life, brilliant advice, and top-tips from social justice educator Shannon Weber, You Can Do It will show kids how to use their voice and make a difference in this world. From surrounding themselves with the right team, to showing kindness to those around them, to celebrating and championing difference, this inspiring book will bolster and empower young readers.

Peanut Jones and the Illustrated City

by Rob Biddulph

Book cover for Peanut Jones and the Illustrated City

Drawing feels like magic to Peanut Jones. But art can't fix her problems. Her dad has gone missing, and she's stuck in a boring new school where the teachers hate her doodling, St Hubert’s School for the Seriously Scientific and Terminally Mathematic. Everything seems bothersome, until the day she finds a magic pencil and is suddenly pulled into a world packed with more colour, creativity, excitement and danger than she could ever have imagined. And maybe, just maybe, she might find out what happened to her dad.

The Swallow’s Flight

by Hilary McKay

Book cover for The Swallow’s Flight

A companion novel to the wonderful The Skylarks' War, The Swallows' Flight  tells the tale of German boys Erik and Hans and English girls Ruby and Kate. Under normal circumstances they would never meet. But this is wartime, and fate tumbles the four children together. Meanwhile, Rupert and Clarry are working secretly for peace – and a brighter future for everyone. . .

The Boy With Wings

by Sir Lenny Henry

Book cover for The Boy With Wings

Illustrated by Keenon Ferrell

Comic Lenny Henry has written a suitably laugh-out-loud adventure story for readers of 9 to 12 years, with dazzling illustrations throughout by Keenon Ferrell. Tunde has some problems with the school bully, but when he sprouts wings and realises his true mission is to save the Earth, school becomes the least of his problems. Flying high in the face of danger, Tunde is the boy with wings.

The Breakfast Club Adventures

by Marcus Rashford

Book cover for The Breakfast Club Adventures

The first novel by everyone's favourite international footballer, child food-poverty campaigner and #1 bestselling author. Written with Alex Falase-Koya, Marcus Rashford tells a story strongly influenced by his own childhood. Something odd is happening at school . . . When twelve-year-old Marcus boots his  football over the school fence, he knows it's never coming back. But the next morning Marcus gets a mysterious note inviting him to join the Breakfast Club Investigators, and fun and adventure beckons in a bid to reclaim the ball.

Noah's Gold

by Frank Cottrell-Boyce

Book cover for Noah's Gold

Bestselling, multi-award-winning writer Frank Cottrell-Boyce wants us to know that being the smallest in the room doesn't mean you don't have the biggest ideas. Eleven-year old Noah has snuck onto his big sister's geography field trip. But nothing goes to plan! The teacher disappears and six hungry kids are marooned on an uninhabited island. Their phones aren't working and Noah has broken the internet . . .  But then he discovers a mysterious treasure map, and the gang begin a hunt for hidden gold.

The best new YA books for 12+ year olds


by Frances Hardinge

Book cover for Unraveller

In a world where anyone can cast a life-destroying curse, only one person has the power to unravel them. Kellen does not fully understand his unique gift, but helps those who are cursed, like his friend Nettle who was trapped in the body of a bird for years. She is now Kellen's constant companion and his closest ally. But the Unraveller carries a curse himself and, unless he and Nettle can remove it, Kellen is a danger to everything – and everyone – around him . . .

My Mechanical Romance

by Alexene Farol Follmuth

Book cover for My Mechanical Romance

This book is by Alexene Farol Follmuth, worldwide bestselling TikTok star author of The Atlas Six (under the penname Olivie Blake). My Mechanical Romance explores the vulnerable feeling of a first romance, with an engaging opposites-attract YA love story. Bel shows a talent for engineering, and is made to join the robotics club, where she is thrown together with Mateo Luna, captain of the club and the football team. As Bel and Teo labour over producing a battle-ready-robot, they realise they've also made a connection they don't want to break. As graduation and new futures loom, will their love survive?

You've Reached Sam

by Dustin Thao

Book cover for You've Reached Sam

Seventeen-year-old Julie has her future all planned out: move out of her small town with her boyfriend Sam, attend college in the city, spend a summer in Japan. But then Sam dies. And everything changes. Desperate to hear his voice one more time, Julie calls Sam’s cellphone just to listen to his voicemail. And Sam picks up the phone.

Mark My Words

by Muhammad Khan

Book cover for Mark My Words

Dua Iqbal has always been open to new stories: she is persuasive and curious, and a job as a journalist seems like a good move for the fifteen year old. When her school merges with another one, Dua seizes the moment and establishes a rival newspaper, packed with stories that some teachers and kids would rather not be told. Dua is digging deep, and as exams draw closer, she has to decide when to just let things lie. But when she discovers that some of the pupils are being falsely accused of selling drugs, it's time to speak up and speak out.

I Kissed Shara Wheeler

by Casey McQuiston

Book cover for I Kissed Shara Wheeler

Chloe Green wants to be a winner. Her moms have moved her from SoCal to Alabama for high school, and she has had to spend four years navigating gossips and the puritans who run Willowgrove Christian Academy. She is determined to win valedictorian, and only prom queen Shara Wheeler stands in her way. But, a month before they graduate, Shara kisses Chloe and disappears. Chloe launches an investigation with some fellow students –  quarterback Smith and bad boy Rory. Could it be there's more to Shara than meets the eye?