By Michaela O’Callaghan, Aimee Haldron, Joanne Boustead and Laura Jones
What does a new year mean to you? For us bookworms, it means eagerly awaiting the release of new books that we’ve heard so much about, and now they’re just within our reach. Not sure which books to get hyped about? Then look below at our anticipated reads to find a new book to fall in love with this year.
The Year We Learned to Fly
This is a heart-warming and charming tale about the magical power of the imagination. On a rainy day, when a brother and sister can’t go outside, their grandmother’s words inspire them to adventure inside their heads and dream. Jacqueline Woodson delivers a powerful story that is bound to become a family favourite, with its important reminder that if we can imagine something – anything – then those boring days can become ripe with activity. And maybe, just maybe, we can imagine a better world too. The Year We Learned to Fly is out in early January – just in time for those dreary and cold days.
My Must-Have Mum
Jake’s Mum isn’t like most mums - she’s always looking to upcycle everything in their flat. Whilst others walk past a skip in the street, she’s rooting through it, exclaiming “Look at this, Jake,” and “We must have this!” Soon Jake starts to worry that his mum will want to change him too. A heart-warming and lovely story about the unbreakable bond between mother and son, and a little boy who learns that he is perfect just how he is. Due to be released in early March, this book is ideal for teaching children that they can be themselves and don’t need to change to please people. You can find out more here.
Loki: A Bad God's Guide to Being Good
We are unbelievably excited about this new series from Louie Stowell out in February and published by Walker Books. Loki, the God of Mischief, has been banished and forced to live as a typical human boy. Perfect for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, this book is the diary of Loki himself as chaos ensues. We are in love with the bright cover - a great glimpse into the quirky doodles that, we have been told, are packed into this funny and original book. Find out more here.
Out in early January is Frankie’s World, a graphic novel from Aoife Dooley. We are expecting great things from children’s graphic novels this year and think that this title is a good place to start if you want to jump onto the graphic novel trend. Early reviews have praised this title for its authentic portrayal of a neurodivergent character, as Frankie comes to accept herself and embrace her differences. Aoife Dooley has published both adult and children’s books before, and is known for her wit and heart-warming humour. Find out more here.
Jacqueline Wilson’s newest Young Adult novel, Baby Love, is out in March, published by Penguin Random House Children’s. Set in 1960, Baby Love explores the topics of teen pregnancy and adoption. Jacqueline Wilson is arguably most well known for her titles aimed at ages 9+; however, she has dipped into teen fiction before with the Girls series. Jacqueline Wilson has been both criticised and praised for tackling tough topics in her novels, so we are interested to see how she navigates the theme of family upset in a sensitive and touching way. Find out more here.
The Balloon Thief
Aneesa Marufu’s debut, The Balloon Thief, will be published in paperback in March this year by Chicken House and is definitely one for the ‘To Be Read’ pile. Social media has been awash with incredible early reviews, making this Young Adult fantasy novel, with its stunning cover design (from the talented Catherine Rowe), an absolute must-read. It is the story of Khadija and her bid to escape an arranged marriage. Following her journey, The Balloon Thief is not only a tale of escapism, but also oppression, racism, friendship and family. As Marufu identified in a recent press release, “It is a book that will make people feel uncomfortable…but it’s a conversation that needs to happen.” Find out more here.
Blade of Secrets
Blade of Secrets is book one in Tricia Levenseller’s Bladesmith Duology. This title was published in the US in 2021, but is set to be published by Pushkin Press this April, with a stunning new cover to make all those UK fantasy BookTokkers out there swoon. Levenseller is known for her Young Adult fantasy titles featuring strong female characters, fast-paced adventure and a heavy dose of romance, so we are excited to see how this book will be received in the UK. Find out more here.
If these books aren’t enough for you, then why not try B. B. Alston’s magical Amari and the Great Game or Jo Clarke’s mysterious Libby and the Parisian Puzzle? 2022 is shaping up to be an amazing year for children’s publishing, so we’re confident you’ll find the right book for you.