Ginee Seo, Children’s Publishing Director, Chronicle Books
Caldecott Honor winner Brendan Wenzel brings his perceptive eye to Hello Hello, an ingenious book that introduces very young readers to concepts ranging from simple to abstract and celebrates the diversity of nature through a dazzling and joyful array of animals, many of them endangered. Forever Or A Day is a gorgeous meditation on time and what it means to a parent and a child. This book made editors cry when we presented it at Bologna — always a good sign! And we’re delighted to reward Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall’s many patient fans with a new Ivy and Bean story at long last! It may well be the funniest one yet, as Ivy and Bean set out to prove that just because Ivy is an only child, it doesn’t mean she’s spoiled.
Rachel Williams, Publisher, Lincoln Children’s Books
In Spring we launch a new picture book initiative, First Editions – led by Editorial Director Katie Cotton and devoted to discovering the world’s best debut talent. With 6 new titles publishing this year, including a brave little girl from Grace Easton and lemurs and lions from Cindy Wume, these are the new voices for a new generation.
We also have the only book conceived and written by The Mandela family, Grandad Mandela, to publish on what would have been his 100th birthday this July. And the long-awaited follow up from Waterstone’s prize author David Litchfield: The Bear, The Piano, The Dog and the Fiddle.
2018 is going to be our year of women, with 9 new Little People Big Dreams taking the list to a 20-titles strong, featuring best-loved icons like Jane Austen, Anne Frank, Josephine Baker and Jane Goodall. These are complimented by a new book about princesses that we can all be proud of: Power to the Princess (Sept), written by kid lit star Vita Weinstein Murrow and illustrated by Julia Bereciartu.
Julia Marshall, Publisher, Gecko Press
Frida Nilsson is a perfect Gecko Press writer—internationally recognised and award-winning; her writing original, commercial, pacy and assured – and she is not yet discovered in English. The Ice Sea Pirates has made her a sensation in Sweden and Europe. It was nominated for six major awards (winning three), with rights sold around the world. Nilsson has won several big children’s book awards, including the German Youth Literature Prize and the Astrid Lindgren Prize. She was selected by the Hay Festival as one of Europe’s top writers under 39 for young people.
The Ice Sea Pirates is a page turning adventure for eight pluses, set in the swirling Arctic amid mermaids, ice, wolves and of course, pirates – and Siri, a brave and characterful child who is up against them all.
Harriet Wilson, Editorial Director, HarperCollins Children’s Books
I’ve chosen Rory Branagan (Detective) by Andrew Clover and Ralph Lazar. I first fell in love with the character of Rory himself. He zings off the page with the energy, optimism and emotions of a real ten-year-old. One minute he’s full of confidence and determination, and the next he is powerless and being sat on by his big brother. He is totally awed by Cassidy (and rightly so). These characters worked their way into my heart and underlying the big crime adventures are real relationships and hilarious family dynamics (Rory and his brother are my favourite). And the illustrations are the perfect complement to the text. With deceptively simple lines, Ralph can send you on wild flights of imagination, crack you up laughing or break your heart.
Katherine Agar, Acting Editorial Director, Hodder Children’s Books
I’m very proud of the Rabbit and Bear series by Julian Gough, illustrated by Jim Field: we’re publishing the third title, Attack of the Snack, this month, and I’m excited – it seems to be one of those rare series where each book finds more readers than the previous one! I love it because the text and art work seamlessly, and make kids laugh … and I love it even more because it makes parents laugh, too. As well as being funny, and a bit scatological, the books are (secretly) about other things too: this one is all about kindness, about learning from your mistakes, and about welcoming people – even if you find them a bit scary at first.
Emma Matthewson, Publishing Director, Hot Key Books and Piccadilly Press
We are so excited to leap into the New Year with The Cruel Prince by the magically talented Holly Black – the first of a trilogy and those who have read it are already begging for the next instalment! Holly has truly proved herself a faerie queen as she weaves a tale of kingdoms, cruelty and seduction when a mortal girl is ensnared in a royal web of intrigue. YA and adult readers alike are sure to love it.
Also coming: The Island by MA Bennett. S.T.A.G.S., MA Bennett’s YA debut, sold translation rights like wildfire. Her next book is a contemporary The Lord Of The Flies. In the aftermath of a plane crash a group of ill-assorted teens slowly, terrifyingly, realise they have crashed onto a deserted island. It is up to them to work together to survive … a fast-paced tale with a twist that will have teen and YA readers gripped.
Georgia Murray, Commissioning Editor at Hot Key Books and Piccadilly Press:
The Boy Who Grew Dragons by Andy Shepherd is the book I want to press into everyone’s hands this year! It will have you running down to the bottom of your garden at the first opportunity to see if maybe, just maybe, that funny old tree that’s always been there is actually growing dragonfruit … and that maybe, just maybe, a tiny dragon might pop out! It’s an utterly charming, funny and heartwarming debut for 7-9 year olds that celebrates the magic in the everyday and is illustrated throughout with great wit and verve by the inimitable Sara Ogilvie.
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown is a classic in the making – a New York Times bestseller now published in the UK for the first time. It’s the story of singular robot Roz, who finds herself washed up on the shore of a rocky and remote island and who must, against all the odds, make this place her home and find a way to become part of the (at first) hostile animal community who live there. A story of family, friendship, tolerance and prejudice, it feels vital for our times.
Lisa Edwards, Head of Children’s Publishing at Kings Road Publishing
Templar Publishing greets its 40th anniversary year with a roster of sparkling picture books, non-fiction and novelty titles. In picture books, Jonny Duddle’s hilarious pirate family the Jolley-Rogers return to these shores with The Pirates of Scurvy Sands in February, and we welcome Greenaway winner Grahame Baker Smith back to the list with the jaw-dropping Rhythm of the Rain in April. In August, we launch a new non-fiction series with the incredible Britta Teckentrup, with There are Fish Everywhere, and our Christmas headliner is Welcome to the Museum: Planetarium, in partnership with The Science Museum, written by UCL’s Professor Raman Prinja and illustrated by the sensational Chris Wormell.
Alice Curry, Founder and Publisher, Lantana Publishing
2017 saw Lantana make the shortlist for the Bologna Prize for Best Children’s Publisher of the Year, and 2018 is set to get better still. We have several standout titles this year, including Nimesh the Adventurer by debut author Ranjit Singh and Kate Greenaway Medal-nominated Mehrdokht Amini about a little boy with a BIG imagination, and You’re Safe With Me, a gorgeous modern fable by acclaimed author Chitra Soundar and new standout talent Poonam Mistry. It is a collaboration set to continue with a follow-up title, You’re Snug With Me, scheduled for the autumn. Finally, look out for Peace and Me: a collection of peace ideas inspired by Nobel Peace Prize laureates of the 20th and 21st centuries – the illustrations are stunning!
Elizabeth Jenner, Children’s Editorial Director, Laurence King
We have some really vibrant new non-fiction publishing this year on a wealth of subjects. It’s so hard to single any out, but I’m particularly excited to be launching our beautiful narrative non-fiction biography series, strong>Little Guides to Great Lives. Gorgeously designed and illustrated in an eye-catching mini format, this series introduces children to some of the most inspirational figures from history in a fun, accessible way, including Marie Curie and Nelson Mandela. Others to look out for are Marion Deuchar’s Bob the Artist embarking on new exploits in Bob’s Blue Period, and Helen Friel’s Hoakes Island. Using a hidden map and a red lens, help the animals of Hoakes Island crack the puzzles, solve the mystery, and save their home from the evil property developers in this wonderfully innovative puzzle mystery adventure.
Suzanne Carnell, Two Hoots Publisher, Macmillan Children’s Books
Next year marks the 100th anniversary of (some) women getting the vote and as part of the celebrations Two Hoots is publishing an extraordinary book for older children about the campaign for women’s suffrage. Written and illustrated by David Roberts, Suffragette: The Battle for Equality is an absolute tour de force – 128 pages of fascinating stories about incredible women, all illustrated with the most breath-taking pictures.
Equally stunning is the gorgeous One Day in Wonderland, about Lewis Carroll and the story of Alice, written by and richly illustrated by the amazing Júlia Sardà. And look out for the paperback edition of the brilliantly funny, seriously clever I’m Just No Good At Rhyming by Chris Harris and Lane Smith: genius.
Rachel Petty, Editorial Director, Macmillan Children’s Books
We’ve got some really exciting YA coming in 2018 with the launch of the incredible Children of Blood and Bone by US author Tomi Adeyemi, which mixes magic, romance and the spirit of the Black Lives Matter movement with elements of West African mythology in a richly imagined fantasy world. We also have the wonderful Sara Barnard’s Goodbye, Perfect, which is about two best friends who realise they don’t know each other as well as they thought when one of them runs away with a teacher, andOut of the Blueby Sophie Cameron – a stunning debut about grief, new love and family against a backdrop of angels falling from the sky. Finally I can’t wait for everyone to read Floored – a seven-author collaborative novel by Sara Barnard, Holly Bourne, Tanya Byrne, Non Pratt, Melinda Salisbury, Lisa Williamson and Eleanor Wood – it’s One Day meets The Breakfast Club!
Lucy Pearse, Senior Editor, Macmillan Children’s Books
2018 is going to be a magical year with two fantastic middle-grade books that will take you to new worlds: Amy Wilson’sA Far Away Magic is a beautiful, sweeping tale of monsters and friendship, while Unwise Magicis an adventure full of magical mishaps from Accidental Pirates author Claire Fayers. On the YA front, the explosive Ash Princess, first in a trilogy from Laura Sebastian, is so full of fire, fury and feistiness, you’ll be desperate for the next instalment. And speaking of kick-ass heroines, we are delighted to be publishing I Am Thunder, Muhammad Khan’s astonishingly powerful debut novel about Muzna Saleem, who has to decide how far she is willing to go to stand up for what she believes.
Venetia Gosling, Publisher Macmillan Children’s Books
I’m especially excited about Lauren St John’s new middle-grade series, Kat Wolfe Investigates, which sees her return to her mystery heartland with an exciting adventure set on the Jurassic Coast, featuring a tween detective and a host of animal sidekicks. I’m also delighted to be launching a brand new voice with Birdie Milano’s unmissable LGBT summer romance, Boy Meets Hamster, which is full of hilarity and heart. And we also have The 104-Storey Treehouse, the eighth title in Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton’s towering Treehouse series, with laughter on every level – as well as another Australian bestseller, Ruby Red Shoes by Kate Knapp, making her UK debut with this utterly charming illustrated series about a little hare who loves to travel. It’s a contemporary Little Grey Rabbit and perfect for newly-independent readers.