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Debut Children’s Authors to Watch in 2023

By Emma Rogers, Holly Allwright and Rosie Pinder


Some great children’s books are still left to come in 2023, many of them by debut authors. We have compiled some of the top titles to look out for. Maybe your new favourite author is amongst them!


Picture Books


Giraffe Is Too Tall for This Book by DK Ryland


Set to be published on 17 October 2023, DK Ryland’s first picture book tells the tale of six animal friends and their quest to help Giraffe read as he is too tall. A hugely interactive story of inclusion, this book will challenge young readers and their problem-solving skills through bold and beautiful illustrations and the sweet narrative of friendship and learning. Ultimately, the animals learn that it is not their friend that needs to change but simply the world around them.


Monster Above the Bed by Kailei Pew, illustrated by Steph Lew


Coming in October 2023, this gorgeous new picture book is a twist on the classic childhood fear: a monster under the bed! Protagonist Blossom finds bravery and a new friend in this wholesome story and encourages children to consider other perspectives. What might the monster think of you? It’s a fun read complimented by Steph Lew’s brilliant illustration style.


Middle-Grade


Pizza, Pickles, and Apple Pie: The Stories Behind the Foods We Love by David Rickert


A non-fiction addition to the middle-grade scene, teacher David Rickert wanted to create a genuinely engaging way of learning about the past, from which came his first book discussing the history of all of our favourite foods. From the origins of sushi to pizza and pasta, Rickert’s illustrations and writing strike an excellent balance of humour and information bound to captivate his young audience.


Good Different by Meg Eden Kuyatt


This debut middle-grade novel is written in verse and teaches children to understand and celebrate what makes them unique. Seleh, a neurodivergent, has always locked her feelings inside to seem normal until one day, these feelings implode, and she hits a fellow student, causing her familiar world to crumble around her. She begins to understand more about who she is, but can she get her school to understand her differences before it's too late? Lauren Shovan describes this new voice in literature as “…funny, insightful and poetic…” and this is an excellent read for children on their journey to self-acceptance.


Young Adult


Give Me a Sign by Anna Sortino


Anna Sortino’s debut young adult book explores touching themes of disability and its struggles alongside vibrant narratives of romance and friendship. Lilah struggles with hearing loss and feels conflicted about her position in the world because of it. To remedy this feeling, she works as a counsellor at a summer camp for people who are deaf and blind to immerse herself in the community and practise her American Sign Language (ASL) skills. From challenging campers to dreamy co-workers, one thing is for sure: Lilah’s summer will be anything but ordinary, and she will learn a lot about herself and her place in the world.


Bellegarde by Jamie Lilac


While we all wait in anticipation for the new season of Netflix’s hugely popular show, Bridgerton, why not pick up this historical rom-com for young adults? Based on the nineties classic, She’s All That, Bellegarde follows the adventures of Evie Clement as she works to improve her sewing skills in 18th-century Paris. She has no time for boys, least of all Belle Bellegarde, the son of the wealthy Bellegarde family. But when Belle’s stepbrother ropes him into a bet – turn the most unknown girl in their school into the winning Bloom at the Court of Flowers annual ball – Evie is thrown into a world of high-status parties and stunning ball gowns. Author Jamie Lilac is a big fan of nineties movies and dreams of writing stories full of love, magic, mythology and secrets.


Girl, Goddess, Queen by Bea Fitzgerald


Published on 20 July 2023, this is the fantastic debut young adult novel by Bea Fitzgerald. Bea is already well known on her TikTok account, @chaosonolympus, which focuses on funny Greek mythology content. Girl, Goddess, Queen follows a similar vein; it’s a funny, feminist rom-com based on a Greek myth – the story of Persephone and Hades. It turns the myth on its head: Persephone wasn’t taken to hell – she jumped. The novel is fun and flirty, and its vibrant pink aesthetic aligns with the current Barbie craze.


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