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The Best Debut Novels for Children 2019

1st April 2019

Best Debut Novels for Children

Did you know that there are 10,000 NEW children's books published each and every year? That's a staggering number of books to keep up with (though we do try our very best!). It's easy for books from debut authors and illustrators to get lost amongst all the others, so we've chosen our favourites, focusing on middle-grade books this time. 

So...presenting those dazzling debut novels you're not going to want to miss this year with one word of warning, you may love them so much you might not want to pass them on to the children...enjoy!

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The Garden of Lost Secrets

October, 1916. Clara is sent to stay with her formidable aunt and uncle in the grounds of a country estate. Clara soon discovers that her new surroundings hold secrets: a locked room and a hidden key, and a mysterious boy who only appears in the gardens at night... But can Clara face up to her own secrets, and a war she's desperate to forget?

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The Monster Who Wasn't

A brilliantly rich and strange fantasy adventure that will make us all believe in monsters - be they good, bad or somewhere in between.

It is a well-known fact that fairies are born from a baby's first laugh. What is not as well documented is how monsters come into being ...

This is the story of a creature who is both strange and unique. When he hatches down in the vast underground lair where monsters dwell, he looks just like a human boy - much to the disgust of everyone watching. Even the grumpy gargoyles who adopt him and nickname him `Imp' only want him to steal chocolate for them from the nearby shops. He's a child with feet in both worlds, and he doesn't know where he fits.

But little does Imp realise that Thunderguts, king of the ogres, has a great and dangerous destiny in mind for him, and he'll stop at nothing to see it come to pass ...

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Starfell: Willow Moss and the Lost Day

Described a 'the most spellbinding new children's fantasy series of 2019', with beautiful black-and-white inside illustrations by Sarah Warburton. 

Willow Moss, the youngest and least powerful sister in a family of witches, has a magical ability for finding lost things - like keys, or socks, or wooden teeth. Useful, but not exactly exciting . . .

Then the most powerful witch in the world of Starfell turns up at Willow's door and asks for her help. A whole day - last Tuesday to be precise - has gone missing. Completely. And, without it, the whole universe could unravel.

Now Willow holds the fate of Starfell in her rather unremarkable hands . . . Can she save the day - by finding the lost one?

Step into Starfell, a world crackling with warmth, wit and magic, perfect for readers aged 8-12. Perfect for fans of Cressida Cowell and Nevermoor .

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Scavengers

Landfill has lived his whole life as a scavenger, running with wooflers, swimming with turtles and feasting on fresh gull. Old Babagoo has always looked after him, on one condition - follow his rules. NEVER COME LOOKING OUTSIDE. NEVER RISE ABOVE THE WALL. But despite the dangers, Landfill longs to see Outside. And some rules are made to be broken.

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The Middler

"I was special. I was a hero. I lost the best friend I ever had."

Eleven-year-old Maggie lives in Fennis Wick, enclosed and protected from the outside world by a boundary, beyond which the Quiet War rages and the dirty, dangerous wanderers roam.

Her brother Jed is an eldest, revered and special. A hero. Her younger brother is Trig - everyone loves Trig. But Maggie's just a middler; invisible and left behind. Then, one hot September day, she meets Una, a hungry wanderer girl in need of help, and everything Maggie has ever known gets turned on its head.

Narrated expertly and often hilariously by Maggie, we experience the trials and frustrations of being the forgotten middle child, the child with no voice, even in her own family.

This gripping story of forbidden friendship, loyalty and betrayal is perfect for fans of Malorie Blackman, Meg Rosoff and Frances Hardinge.

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Charlie Changes Into a Chicken

Charlie McGuffin has an incredible secret . . .

He can change into animals. All sorts of animals: a flea, a pigeon, even a rhino.

Trouble is, he can't decide when - it only happens when he gets worried. And right now, Charlie has quite a lot to worry about:

* His brother (who is in hospital)

* His parents (who are panicking about it)

* And the school bully (who has Charlie in his sights)

And even though every kid wants a superhero power, Charlie isn't keen on changing into a chicken in the middle of the school play.

So with the help of his three best friends, Charlie needs to find a way of dealing with his crazy new power - and fast!

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The Peculiar Peggs of Riddling Woods

This is the story of a sleepy town called Suds. A place where stories fill the air of children who keep turning grey and disappearing without a trace... Poppy and Erasmus are certain there's something peculiar going on in Suds, and they're determined to unravel its secrets. But when they discover the answers might lie in the dark and twisting woods, can they find the courage to creep inside and solve this riddling mystery?

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The Boy At the Back of the Class

There used to be an empty chair at the back of my class, but now a new boy called Ahmet is sitting in it.

He's nine years old (just like me), but he's very strange. He never talks and never smiles and doesn't like sweets - not even lemon sherbets, which are my favourite!

But then I learned the truth: Ahmet really isn't very strange at all. He's a refugee who's run away from a War. A real one. With bombs and fires and bullies that hurt people. And the more I find out about him, the more I want to help.

That's where my best friends Josie, Michael and Tom come in. Because you see, together we've come up with a plan. . .


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The Midnight Hour

Emily's parents have vanished into the secret world of the Midnight Hour - a Victorian London frozen in time - home to magic and monsters. Emily must find them in the city of the Night Folk, armed only with a packed lunch, a stowaway hedgehog and her infamously big mouth.

With bloodthirsty creatures on her tail, Emily has to discover the truth to rescue her parents. What family secret connects her to the Midnight Hour? And can she save both worlds before she runs
out of sandwiches?

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