By Nicole Haynes, Rosie Pinder and Emma Rogers
With 2022 coming to an end, The Publishing Post children’s team wanted to reflect on what has been a great year for children’s books. From exciting new releases to fantastic events – many of which returned to being in-person for the first time since COVID-19 – there has been a lot going on. In this article, we share some of our favourites from the past year and also look ahead to 2023 and the new titles that we cannot wait to read.
Nour’s Secret Library by Wafa Tarnowska and Valli Mintzi
This profound picture book is based on writer Wafa Tarnowska’s childhood experiences while taking shelter in her basement during a civil war in Lebanon. When their Syrian city becomes a battleground for war, Nour and her cousin courageously sneak out of their shelter to gather books for their secret library. By embracing the humanity that remains when all seems lost, this 2022 release explores how books provide hope and comfort in times of despair.
The Breakfast Club Adventures by Marcus Rashford, Alex Falase-Koya and Marta Kissi
The first fiction book written by the football phenomenon Marcus Rashford, this book is based on Rashford’s school days and the time spent at his own breakfast club. This mysterious adventure follows the twelve-year-old Marcus who accidentally kicks his favourite football over an ominous school wall. He is certain that he will never get it back until he gets invited to join the Breakfast Club Investigators who take matters into their own hands. Friendship, fantasy and magic make this 2022 fiction debut an incredible read, demonstrating Rashford’s intriguing storytelling capabilities.
The First to Die at the End by Adam Silvera
Adam Silvera took TikTok by storm with his novelThey Both Die at the End, and, thanks to some begging from fans, he released a prequel earlier this year. The night before Death-Cast goes live, Orion and Valentino meet in Times Square. Orion has waited years for somebody to tell him he is going to die, having lived with a serious heart condition his whole life, while Valentino is full of life. When the first End Day calls go out, one of them receives a call and the other doesn’t. Once again, Silvera shows the importance of living life to the fullest in a YA novel with a bittersweet ending.
The Ivory Key by Akshaya Raman
Published at the beginning of 2022, The Ivory Key follows the story of the queen of Ashoka and her quest to find a mysterious object that can save the magic in the city. Vira must rebuild the broken relationships with her three siblings to succeed, but each of them has their own motive for finding the ivory key. This Indian-inspired fantasy is full of magical descriptions and a captivating plot which will leave you yearning for the sequel coming out soon in 2023.
Grandad’s Pride by Harry Woodgate
Coming out in June 2023 is the uplifting sequel to Grandad’s Camper. Milly is as excited as ever to spend the summer at her Grandad’s cottage by the sea, especially when she discovers his Pride flag in the attic. Grandad insists he is too old to attend the celebrations in London. So, Milly discovers a way to bring Pride to him. This picture book is fantastic for those looking to teach their children more about the history of the LGBTQIA+ community.
The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi by S. A. Chakraborty
Shannon Chakraborty returns this March with a brand-new trilogy. Amina Al-Sirafi, a pirate who has survived husbands, demons and backstabbers, has left her life of piracy behind to immerse herself in motherhood. But when she is offered a job, she jumps at the chance to have one final adventure with her old crew. However, the job comes at a cost Amina never expected: her soul. This book has a strong female lead and is full of magical adventures.
Different for Boys by Patrick Ness
Patrick Ness, the author of A Monster Calls and More Than This, explores the complexities of sexuality in his new novel that will be coming next year. Ant Stevenson has lots of questions about his sexuality, and his confusion only grows as he juggles three very different relationships. Ant’s close friend Charlie is homophobic. Jack has an eccentric personality which makes him the target of Charlie’s rage. Freddie just wants Ant to try out for the rugby team. Ness tells a moving story about inclusivity and prejudice that many young people will relate to.
Speak Up! by Nathan Bryon, illustrated by Dapo Adeola
The third book in this fantastic series, Speak Up! is set to be released in May 2023. It follows the main character Rocket as she organises a campaign to save her local library. Not only is this book an incredibly heart-warming story showing the importance of books and libraries, but it also teaches children about the power of their own voice and what can be achieved when you speak up for something you are passionate about.