The start of 2023 promises to be a bumper season for children’s books. After a quieter 2022, many of our favourite authors and publishers are back with a bang – and we can’t wait to get reading.
Here is the first instalment of our list of tips for 2023. You can read our recommendations for younger readers here.
Rivet Boy, by Barbara Henderson (publisher: Cranachan)
Blending fact and fiction to tell the story of one boy’s role in the building of the iconic Forth Rail Bridge, this promises to be a brilliant insight into the origins of a world-famous feat of engineering. Barbara has a talent for transporting us to the past and, as Writer in Residence for the Forth Bridge, we know that she’s done some serious first-hand research for this one. We can’t wait to meet young John and Rusty, his red squirrel sidekick!
Haarville, by Justin Davies (publisher: Kelpies)
Haarville is a place where everything smells fishy – it’s shrouded in fog and steeped in pungent pongs. It’s also home to twelve-year-old orphan Manx Fearty (what a name!) whose livelihood is threatened by the appearance of sinister newcomers claiming to be long-lost relatives. We laughed a lot at Justin’s Help! I Smell a Monster series and are looking forward to new giggles and puzzles next year.
Like a Curse, by Elle McNicoll (publisher: Knights Of)
Ramya Knox needs to rescue her Hidden Folk friends, but she is stuck in Loch Ness and Edinburgh is under the control of a powerful Siren. As long-buried secrets come to light, Ramya, a young witch, must learn the true meaning of her powers before all she loves is lost. From the Blue Peter Book Award winning author of A Kind of Spark, this is the follow-up to last year’s magical Like a Charm.
Ghosts of Mars, by Stuart White, illustrated by Jennifer Jamieson
How would you feel if you were born on Mars, were the most famous person in the Solar System, but could never leave the Red Planet? Eva is the world’s first Martianborn human, and a Type 1 Diabetic. She needs to save her dad, who’s stuck in a mining vent in a dust storm far from base – and she doesn’t have any insulin. This high stakes space adventure aimed at 8-12 year-olds is the debut from Stuart White, the founder of the Write Mentor programme for children’s authors – and we think it sounds gripping. Ten percent of author profits will go to Diabetes UK.
The Broken Dragon, by Karen McCombie (Barrington Stoke)
Tyra gets off to a tough start at her new school. She’s loud and different and nobody seems to be particularly friendly. So when her nan gives her a beautiful china snow dragon, Tyra’s decides to take it to school, but disaster strikes and the beautiful dragon is smashed. Can Tyra find a way to repair her treasure while also making some new friends along the way?
Winter’s Keep, by Tamsin Mori (Publisher: UCLAN)
With Velda overthrown and the Storm Laws abolished, hundreds of young Storm Weavers are being reunited with their stolen clouds – but that includes Heather, the Sea Witch of Stella’s nightmares. Is she seeking redemption or plotting her final revenge? Tamsin Mori’s magical Weather Weaver series has enchanted us from the beginning and we can’t wait to rejoin Stella and her clever cloud-companion Nimbus for the conclusion of their Shetland adventure.
Euro Spies, by Lindsay Littleson (Publisher: Cranachan)
Samia, Ava and Frankie think they’ve won a sight-seeing trip to Europe, but their chaperone, the enigmatic Miss Watson, is a spy and they are actually on a mission for MI6. We are huge fans of Lindsay’s hits the Rewilders, and Guardians of the Wild Unicorns and this mystery promises to be just as captivating – and perhaps even more fun!
The Dark and Dangerous Gifts of Delores Mackenzie, by Yvonne Banham (Firefly)
Sent into the care of mysterious Uncles in Edinburgh’s Old Town, Delores Mackenzie must learn to control her paranormal gifts without angering her strange new housemates. But when a sinister apparition appears and threatens the lives of her friends, can Delores really push back the dead? We’re expecting spine-tingling from this Stirlingshire-based debut author.
The Pawnshop of Stolen Dreams, by Victoria Williamson (Tiny Tree)
A spooky fantasy adventure from the award-winning author of The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle, this story is set in the village of Witchetty Hollow, where something very odd is happening to the grown-ups. It’s up to 11-year-old Florizel to uncover a murky and magical mystery and to find out what the new arrivals and their businesses – the Daydream Delicatessen and Sack-baby factory – have got to do with it.
Finding Treasure Island by Robin Scott Elliot (Publisher: Cranchan)
“A writer seeking a story, a boy seeking a future, a girl seeking treasure.” We don’t know much about this Robert Louis Stevenson-inspired adventure – yet, but we’ve been have been waiting for more of Robin Scott Elliot’s atmospheric historical fiction and now we know enough to be intrigued!
Watch this space…
- We’ll keep updating this list over the next few weeks, and we are waiting for confirmation on a couple more really exciting bits of book news. If you know of a debut author/illustrator or a great Scottish story that belongs on this list, we’d love to hear about it via @roaringreads on twitter.