2023 has been another bumper year for new kids’ books and some of Parrot Street’s favourite authors have been especially busy.
If you’ve been following us for a while, you will know that we are huge champions of new authors and series, and brilliant books that are flying under the radar. The books and authors we select for our subscription boxes all have a very special place in our hearts and it gives us enormous pleasure to see those authors enjoying more and more success.
All the books listed below were published in 2023 and are authored by writers we’ve included in our boxes over the last five years.
So, if you’re a Parrot Street subscriber looking to boost your library this Christmas or simply a children’s book fan looking for the best new books by the finest children’s authors, here’s our guide to some of the books you won’t want to miss:
Illustrated chapter books for age 5+
Too Small Tola Makes it Count by Atinuke
We sent the first in this delightful illustrated series to our Parakeet subscribers back in March 2020 and are so pleased to see it still going strong.
In this book lockdown is over and Too Small Tola has returned to the crowded family flat in Lagos, Nigeria. Even though she is back home and safe, there are still plenty of problems for Tola to solve. These fun and gentle stories are perfect for reading together.
Lenny Lemmon and the Trail of Crumbs by Ben Davis
Our Parakeet subscribers enjoyed Lenny Lemmon's first madcap adventure earlier this year. With slapstick humour, relatable characters and brilliant illustrations this series is perfect for fans of Wimpy Kid or Pamela Butchart.
When an important visitor turns up at school one day, Lenny and his friends are surprised to find themselves sent to the back field to count the footballs and tidy up the bibs. But the teachers' plan to keep Lenny, the school dog and the important visitor ends up going hilariously wrong!
The Dog Squad: The Newshound by Clara Vulliamy
This is the first in a new series from the illustrator of The Book Cat, which we featured in one of our Parakeet subscription boxes and was a near-instant sell out. Clara has both written and illustrated this beautiful animal adventure brimming with heart.
Eva has always wanted to be a journalist, so when she finds a stray dog outside her home, she might just have found her first case. Can she, along with her best friends at the Newshound newspaper, Simone and Ash, find Wafer’s real owner?
Pixies vs Fairies by Dave Lowe and Charlotte Colwill
Dave Lowe's The Incredible Dadventure was one of the first books we ever sent to our book club subscribers. This short, illustrated adventure is full of magic and sparkle with a colourful cast of characters. Perfect for fans of Amelia Fang or Isadora Moon.
Alice's family have moved to the countryside and there are no adventures to be found at all. But everything changes when she meets seven-year-old Max who shares the most wonderful secret - there are three pixies living at the bottom of his garden!
Stink: Worst. Fairy. Ever by Jenny McLachlan
We sent the first in Jenny's epic Land of Roar series to our Cockatoo subscribers back in 2019. This hilarious, highly illustrated caper for younger readers is something completely different and would be perfect for fans of Louie Stowell's Loki series and Diary of a Wimpy Kid.
Stink is the rudest, naughtiest fairy there’s ever been. Instead of sparkles, Stink makes mess. Instead of being kind, Stink plays pranks. She also eats woodlice and rides on rats. From the moment Stink flies out of the fairy door and attaches herself to his hair, Danny knows that Stink is trouble.
Books for readers age 8+
The Storm Swimmer by Clare Weze
Clare's debut novel, The Lightning Catcher, was a huge hit with our Cockatoo subscribers a few years ago. This new book is a perfect middle grade fantasy adventure, infused with science and friendship.
Summer was supposed to be Ginika's time for fun, friends and fairs. But instead she's been sent to live at the dead-end seaside boarding house her grandparents run. Everything changes when she meets Peri. He leaps and dives through the water like a dolphin and he talks like a burst of bubbles. He's not exactly a mermaid, but he's definitely something Ginika's never seen before!
The Stolen Songbird by Judith Eagle
The author of The Pear Affair, which we sent our Cockatoo subscribers in 2021, is one of our favourite kids’ authors. Her newest novel, another classic historical adventure story, is perfect for fans of Emma Carroll and Ross Montgomery.
When Caro Monday's mother disappears on one of her jaunts, she has no choice but to go and stay with a miserable woman that she's never met. Not only that but she's told that her beloved rabbit, His Nibs, is not allowed to go with her. Luckily, Caro's not one for following rules. With her rabbit in hiding, and her wild behaviour getting her into trouble as soon as she walks through the door, Caro is only going to find herself in deeper water. In the lining of her suitcase is a small but extraordinary painting of a thrush . . . a painting that some dangerous art thieves are hunting down!
The Housetrap by Emma Read
Emma's Milton the Mighty was a huge hit with our subscribers. Scooby Doo meets Escape Room in this brilliant new book packed with puzzles, spooks and mystery!
Amity has run off into Badwell Woods. Her brother Claude goes after her, only to discover his little sister’s scarf dangling near a house in the trees. Has she gone inside? He enters, not expecting a three storey-building with NO stairs. And a party laid out when there’s nobody else around. Only when the front door locks behind him does he realize it’s a housetrap. And they’ve been caught...
The Song Walker by Zillah Bethell
Jenny's stories are vividly told, relatable and carry hugely important messages about our environment. We sent subscribers Zillah's debut children's novel, The Extraordinary Colours of Auden Dare, back in 2018 and have followed her career with interest since then.
When a young girl wakes up in the middle of the desert, she has no idea who she is. She's wearing one shoe, a silky black dress, and she's carrying a strange, heavy case. She meets Tarni, who is on a mysterious quest of her own. Together, the two girls trek across the vast and ever-changing Australian Outback in search of answers. Except both are also hiding secrets...
Spellstone by Ross Montgomery
We have been huge fans of Ross Montgomery's books ever since we sent Max and the Millions to our Cockatoo subscribers back in 2018. He's an exceptional talent, writing contemporary classics that both kids and adults love.
Evie is used to not being noticed. However, when she meets the mysterious Wainwright, she discovers that going unnoticed might just be what makes her unique. Recruited into the Order of the Stone, a secret magical organization, Evie finds herself at the heart of an ancient battle to protect the Spellstone, the most powerful magical weapon in the world. Evil is returning to the land, and Evie is the only person who can stop it. But how can she when she doesn’t even know how to use her own powers?
Books for tween and teen readers aged 12+
Sweet Skies by Robin Scott-Elliot
We sent our Macaw subscribers Robin's gripping World War 2 adventure Hide & Seek last year. His latest novel is another historical thriller, this time set in a post-war Berlin.
Otto Hartmann would do anything to be a pilot. With Berlin blockaded by the Soviets, the Americans fly to the rescue and Otto's captivated by the matinee-idol pilots dropping chocolate for the city's hungry kids. But never mind the Hershey bars - he wants to be up there with them. Now Otto has to choose between those he loves or flying from a ruined city where danger lurks around every corner.
The Song that Sings Us by Nicola Davies
Back in 2018 we sent our youngest subscribers Nicola's Ariki and the Giant Shark - a beautiful illustrated adventure set on a remote Pacific island. Her newest novel is for older readers and blends a cast of fantastic human and animal characters with important environmental themes and a gripping adventure. Perfect for fans of Piers Torday and Katherine Rundell.
Harlon has been raised to protect her younger siblings, twins Ash and Xeno, and their outlawed power of communicating with animals. But when the sinister Automators attack their mountain home they must flee for their lives. Xeno is kidnapped and Harlon and Ash are separated. In a thrilling and dangerous adventure they must all journey alone through the ice fields, forests and oceans of Rumyc to try to rescue each other and fulfil a mysterious promise about a lost island made to their mother.
The Last Whale by Chris Vick
Back in 2021 we sent our first Macaw subscribers Girl. Boy. Sea by Chris Vick, a moving adventure story packed with empathy. Chris's newest book offers more of the same action-packed adventure combined with a fiercely emotional and important message about climate change set in the present and future worlds.
Just Like Everyone Else by Sarah Hagger-Holt
Sarah's Proud of Me, a contemporary story of family, friendship and figuring stuff out, was one of the first books ever chosen for our Macaw subscribers. Her books brilliantly explore real world issues with humour and empathy which we know really resonates with tweens and teens.
Thirteen-year-old Aidan can't breathe in his crowded family home. When his mum announces that she is a surrogate for gay couple Justin and Atif, Aiden is furious...and scared. Aidan thinks he might be gay, and he's really struggling to accept this possibility. He's definitely not ready to come out, but what if being around Justin and Atif exposes him as gay? If only he was just like everyone else.
If you're interested in more recommendations like these check out our Book Club Authors collection!