Peters Books of the Year 2023 - Peters

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Books of the Year 2023

December 15th 2023

Our librarians at Peters have reviewed many books this year, but there are always those extra special titles that really stand out. Read on for our team's favourites of 2023, in four categories: picture books, junior fiction, junior non-fiction and teen fiction/YA.

Picture books

With humour, cute cats and dogs, beautiful illustrations and more, there's something for everyone in our team's top 10 picture books of 2023. Follow Mavis's journey to find her 'bright spark of braveness' in Lu Fraser and Sarah Warburton's Mavis the Bravest, or read the tongue-twisting Holey Moley by Bethan Clarke and Anders Fang aloud to your class! In Rob Biddulph's Gigantic, when Gigantic's brother, Titan, gets stuck on the sand, it's down to Gigantic and his smallest sea creature friends to save the day. And don't miss Grumpy Monkey by Suzanne and Max Lang, a refreshing take on negative emotions. It's ok to be grumpy sometimes!

George and Tao
"Having my own cat and dog at home, the characters in the book were so wonderfully depicted in the illustrations, and the limited text just emphasised this visual and allowed the reader to apply their own experiences. And you really won't find a cuter, more heart-melting picture book."
Holey Moley
"An excellent debut, filled with humour and brilliant use of language, can be read again and again. If you want your reading to be fun, this is the book."


Junior fiction

Adventure, mystery and magic! These are the junior fiction reads that kept our team hooked this year, from award-winning World War II tale of bravery Until The Road Ends by Phil Earle, Zillah Bethell's gripping, poetic The Song Walker, to Katherine Rundell's much-praised 'absorbing fantasy,' Impossible Creatures. Immerse yourself in the world of plucky heroine Yara in Zohra Nabi's debut, The Kingdom Over The Sea, or amuse pupils with Dave Shelton's 'entertaining caper' Monster In The Woods.

The Swifts
"Clearly written by someone with a love of the English language, this was such a joy to read! It's a twisty murder mystery done with lightness and humour, whilst utilising the most fantastic names. How can you not love a character called Shenanigan?! I can't wait for the (just announced) sequel!"
Until The Road Ends
"Filled with the right ingredients for a solid, engaging read and written by one who knows his audience well. Lovely momentum that builds nicely, pure magic."

Junior non-fiction

Our team have chosen a selection of the brilliant information books published for young people this year, covering themes ranging from inventions across history and what makes a family, to important and eye-opening topics like the story of slavery and an introduction to the British Empire. Plus don't miss Joseph Coelho's fantastic Poetry Prompts  a range of prompts on how to write different poems including Renga, Tongue Twisters and Haikus.

The Tyrannosaur's Feathers
"I especially enjoyed this title as it approaches the popular topic of dinosaurs from an unusual angle and successfully mixes fact with genuine humour. The illustrations are really amusing too and perfectly complement the flavour of the text. It made me chuckle!"
How to Be a Boy and Do It Your Own Way!
"The cheery, chatty text is a great way to gently address big issues of masculinity and what it means to be a boy. It's really reassuring for anyone worrying about their body, mental health or sexuality and the sensible information comes from a trusted source." 


Teen fiction

There's something here for every teen reader, with horror, thriller and romance all on the list! Don't miss Girl, Goddess, Queen by Bea Fitzgerald, a 'cracking' re-telling of the Greek legend of Hades and Persephone, or Luke Palmer's Play,  a though-provoking story of four boys growing up and discovering who they are. Our team also picked out the powerful and absorbing verse novel The Door of No Return by Kwame Alexander, which follows a boy sold into slavery in 19th century Ghana, and the 'witty fantasy' by Alexandra Christo, The Night Hunt.

Treacle Town
"Although it deals with the most appalling violence and the setting is relentlessly grim, this book was funny and ultimately quite uplifting as our protagonist looks to have found a way to escape his miserable background. Showing the power of words to change lives could have been corny or trite, but Conaghan manages to make it an authentic and relatable read."
The Black Air
"The writing was just so good! Captured perfectly modern-day teen concerns and intertwined dark historical (teen) events. Very captivating."



Need more recommendations? Check out our Books of the Week

Each week, our librarians and schools team select their favourites of the most recently published children's, teen and young adult titles, from picture books to YA fiction. Our favourites are highlighted as recommended reads, and the books with the highest number of votes from the team are named 'Books of the week'.



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