We take a look back at the very best of the wonderful children's books that were released in 2016. From gritty mysteries to gorgeous picture books, these titles are exciting, engaging, funny and poignant. The list also features much-loved authors such as Cassandra Clare and David Walliams.
Cassandra Clare | 13+
This highly-anticipated book is the first in Cassandra Clare's new The Dark Artifices series. Emma Carstairs is now a young woman, hell-bent on revenge for her losses. She finds herself investigating a demonic plot that stretches across Los Angeles, but her heart is leading her astray. Additionally, Mark has returned, having been captured by the faeries five years ago. The faeries want to find out who is murdering their kind and they need the Shadowhunters' help to do it. But can they be trusted?
Marc Martin | 3+
There is a river outside my window... where will it take me? Embark on an amazing, imaginary journey from the city to the sea. From factories to farmlands, freeways to forest, each new landscape is explored through gorgeous illustrations and lyrical text, providing a magical voyage for younger readers.
K. M. Peyton | 11+
It's the 1920s. Cars and aeroplanes are new and exciting. Lily Gabriel is 13 years old - she's scruffy and confident and utterly no-nonsense! Antony is 17 - a rich, spoiled and arrogant young man - but Lily is completely in love with him. Join Lily as she falls in love, falls out of the sky, falls through time, and effortlessly, inescapably, falls into her future. Throughout, she will hold onto exactly what she needs: a young and wild heart.
Frann Preston-Gannon | 3+
This brilliantly funny picture book conveys the heart-warming message that there really is no place like home! Written in hilarious caveman language, it follows Dave the caveman. Despite having a lovely cave in a lovely spot, Dave is unhappy. What if there's an even better cave out there? But when he looks for one, it turns out that good caves are hard to find - too small, too big, too full of bats. Then he finds one that looks much more promising... but why does it look so familiar?
This stunning story was an immediate bestseller, filled with exhilarating twists and turns. Dustwalk is Amani's home; the desert sand is in her bones. But she wants - no, she needs - to escape. Then, a nameless foreigner shows up to save her life, and gives her the chance to run away with him. But to where? The desert plains are simmering with danger. Sand and blood are swirling, and the Sultan's enemies are on the rise.
David Walliams | 9+
This spellbinding story features Tom, who ends up at Lord Funt Hospital after being hit on the head by a cricket ball. He is greeted by the intimidating porter and meets the wicked matron of the children's ward - but, unbeknownst to him, he is about to undertake the adventure of a lifetime. The story features the riveting quest of five children calling themselves The Midnight Gang, as well as a bit of magic, mayhem and making dreams come true.
Kate DiCamillo | 9+
Raymie Clarke has a plan. If she can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire Competition, her father - who has run away with a dental hygienist - will see her picture in the paper and might even come home. To win, Raymie must do good deeds, learn how to twirl a baton, and compete with the wispy Louisiana Elefante and fiery, stubborn Beverly Tapinski. As the competition approaches, however, loneliness, loss and unanswerable questions draw the three girls together - and challenge them to rescue one another in unexpected ways.
Frank Cottrell Boyce | 9+
Prez has been fostered by the big, warm Blythe family. One day, a small, loud stranger called Sputnik shows up, claiming to be Prez's relative. The family seem to think he's a dog; only Prez thinks otherwise. But Sputnik unleashes chaos that Prez will need to get under control, like a TV remote that fast-forwards people. It turns out that Sputnik is writing a guidebook to Earth, and he takes Prez on enthralling adventures to advance his research. But each adventure takes Prez closer to the day he must leave the family...
Chris Hadfield | 3+
Popular astronaut Chris Hadfield tells a heart-warming story about a little boy who dreams of flying into space, despite a dreadful fear of the dark! His name? Chris! Young Chris knows that when bedtime arrives, the worst sort of alien appears: darkness! But when he watches the first televised moon landing, he realises that the dark isn't scary at all, because even where the darkest dark is, out there in space, it's actually very exciting! With gorgeous artwork and an otherworldly feel, this book will enchant little ones.
Gavriel Savit | 9+
This stunning, powerful novel tells the story of 7-year-old Anna Lania, who lives in Krakow in 1939. There are countless soldiers and hundreds of barking dogs. When the Germans take Anna's father, she is suddenly alone. Then she meets the mysterious Swallow Man. When he summons a beautiful swallow down to his hand to stop her crying, Anna is entranced. On their travels together, they will dodge bombs, tame soldiers, and even make a friend. But in a chaotic world, everything can prove dangerous...