The summer holidays are a perfect time for adventurous children to travel to other worlds in the pages of a book. Let Big Issue books editor Jane Graham be your guide to the best kids’ books for the warmer months.
Looking for our picks for adults? Here’s the hottest fiction to read in 2023
The Skull by Jon Klassen
Out on 11 July (Walker Books, £14.99)
If you’re weighing up whether or not to read The Skull, consider how much you liked the thrillingly creepy film adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline. Author and illustrator Jon Klassen is cut from a similar ‘domestic noir’ cloth to Gaiman – both are drawn to the sinister shadow under the bed, the unsettling persistent whistle outside the window, and are inspired by myths and folklore. Oh, and Klassen was an illustrator on the masterful Coraline movie too. This is a delicious little horror, inspired by a Tyrolean folk tale, about a lonely, abandoned skull who plays host to a very brave little girl. It has surprises, a clever wit and some knockout illustrations.
Billie Blaster and the Robot Army from Outer Space by Laini Taylor and Jim Di Bartolo
Out on 17 August (Amulet Books, £12.99)
Author of the much-loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy, Laini Taylor teams up with her talented illustrator partner Jim Di Bartolo to create this bright, fun graphic fiction novel aimed at six- to 10-year-olds who can’t get enough of intergalactic robot wars. It’s the classic old story – supersmart scientist schoolgirl must stop her own genius invention from destroying the galaxy after evil nemesis irresponsibly casts it into space with all the forethought of Boris Johnson throwing an impromptu cheese and wine. Bemused goat looks bemusedly on. We’ve all been there. But hey, wasn’t it a blast? (Not @ you Boris.)