For us, there is no potion quite so powerful as the blend of words and pictures – and a story that perfects both is a delight to enchant readers of all ages, again and again.
Below is our pick of the illustrated books, by Scottish authors, artists and publishers, due out in 2022. There’s lots of excitement on the way for little, and not-so-little readers.
Dragon Storm, by Alastair Chisholm (Nosy Crow)
In the land of Draconis, there are no dragons left – until young Tomás learns that he has a very special power, and can summon one for himself. But Tomás faces a difficult choice, and he and his dragon, Ironskin, must learn to trust each other if they are to save their home from a deadly threat.
As dragon-lovers and fans of Alastair Chisholm’s brilliant picture books, the little Roaring Readers are excited that this new chapter book series is on the way – just as they get big enough to read it for themselves.
Velda the Awesomest Viking and the Ginormous Frost Giants, by David MacPhail (Kelpies)
The small girl with a big axe returns for a second adventure, more determined than ever to show that she can be a proper Viking – and taking on even bigger enemies to prove it.
Uncle Pete and the Forest of Lost things, by David Flanagan and Will Hughes (Little Door)
Uncle Pete and his witty rodent sidekick TM return on a mission to recover his lost plane. The second in this quirky series about an unusual explorer and his unpredictable missions, we’re especially looking forward to more of Will Hughes’ cheery illustrations.
There’s a Hole in my Bagpipes, wee Hamish, wee Hamish, by Kate McLelland (Kelpies)
There was a Wee Lassie who Swallowed a Midgie, by Rebecca Colby and Kate McLelland is a popular staple of libraries and classrooms across Scotland – featuring Scottish creatures instead of farmyard animals. If you enjoyed that, we’re pretty sure this light-hearted Scottish take on a different much-loved rhyme (again illustrated by Kate McLelland) will appeal too.
Oran the Curious Otter, by Lynne Rickards, illustrated by Abigail Hookham
Meet Oran, an inquisitive otter cub, who is about to learn all about the wonders – and the dangers – of the ocean, with his friend Camille the Seal. This is the latest in a gorgeous series of rhyming picture books introducing Scotland’s iconic wildlife. We loved our encounters with Willow the Wildcat and Rowan the Red Squirrel, and can’t wait to head out on the waves with Oran.
Pooka, even the smallest seed can make a difference, by Alison Murray (Orchard)
Nina is a small girl living in a big city, but she wishes that her home could be different – and then a nature sprite visits. A book about realising that small things, and small people, can make a big difference. We’ve had fun reading many of Alison Murray’s stories, especially Dino Duckling and Princess Penelope and the Runaway kitten and this one looks like something really special.
The Boy Who Rescued a Rainbow by Corrina Campbell, Corrina Campbell (Little Door)
When a little boy finds a broken rainbow lying on the ground, he decides to take it home and look after it. A story about being strong, brave and fearless, from the author of the Girl Who Stole the Stars.
We’re thrilled to see another title from Corrina Campbell, whose debut enchanted us last Christmas. We’ve seen the cover – and that’s beautiful.
Happy Sad, by Pippa Goodheart and Augusta Kirkwood (Little Door)
When Toby finds a mermaid stranded in a rock pool her takes her home and tries to cheer her up with songs – and a paddling pool full of bubbles. They have fun for a while until the mermaid begins to miss the people she loves. A story about empathy and love, from the team behind Daddy Frog and the Moon.
Wheesht! By Susi Briggs, illustrated by William Gorman (Foggie Toddle)
Written in Scots, Wheesht is a story about a dog who loves to sing but who has been sent outside to the garden by his family who don’t always appreciate the noise. They’ve told him to “Haud yer wheesht” but he has no idea what this means and asks other animals if they know. In the end he works it out for himself!
Ones to watch
We don’t have the details yet, but do look out for the debut title from author Zeshan Akhter, coming later in the year – we’ve been lucky to read examples of her work and she’s a talent to look out for.
And…Barrington Stoke, one of our favourite Scottish publishers, recently announced the launch of a new picture book imprint, Rocket Bird Books. Watch this space for news of their early titles.