Top Children’s Books 2014

Top Children’s Books 2014

Awful Auntie – David Walliams

Awful Auntie – David Walliams

Illustrated by the fantastic Tony Ross, the book is full of fun images to accompany the whimsical humour that David Walliams has mastered. The story centres around Stella who is the sole heir to Saxby hall after her parents die in a car crash, and her horrible aunt Alberta who wants to take her inheritance.

I absolutely love David Walliams’s books. In a few more years they will become classics” – Sue Townsend

A pleasure to read. A beguilingly funny, original and thought-provoking tale…hilarious” – Amanda Craig for The Times

“A triumphant mix of wit and warmth” – Telegraph Books of the Year

“The joy of David’s books are that he completely understands how children think and feel and is never ever patronising” – The Sun

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul – Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul – Jeff Kinney

The ninth book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, The Long Haul sees Greg and his family venture out on a road trip together. As to be expected there are a few mishaps along the way, including a last resort dinner of sugar wafers and breath mints, and Greg’s family’s traits all make for a rather eventful holiday!

“Kinney is right up there with J K Rowling as one of the bestselling children’s authors on the planet” – Independent

“The most hotly anticipated children’s book of the year” – Big Issue

“Hilarious” – Telegraph

“Kinney is right up there with J K Rowling as one of the bestselling children’s authors on the planet” – The Independent

“The most hotly anticipated children’s book of the year is here – Diary of a Wimpy Kid” – Big Issue

Girl Online – Zoe Sugg

Girl Online – Zoe Sugg

While many vloggers chose to write lifestyle guides or fun activity books that stayed close to the theme of their videos in 2014, Zoe Sugg – AKA Zoella – chose to venture into the world of fiction writing with a fun and sweet story that would appeal to her army of teenage fans. And appeal it certainly did – the book has since become the UK’s fastest-selling debut novel in history! Girl Online is the story of blogger Penny, a sweet and relatable girl with normal teenage problems who shares her feelings about life on her blog. But when Penny meets gorgeous American boy Noah in New York, a secret poses to threaten their friendship.

“The charm of Girl Online is the message that growing up doesn’t have to mean leaving childish stuff behind. The book is sugary as a frosted cupcake, but so is Zoella and six million YouTube subscribers love her that way.” Anita Singh, The Telegraph

Geek Girl 3: Picture Perfect – Holly Smale

Geek Girl 3: Picture Perfect – Holly Smale

The award-winning Geek Girl series has been a huge hit with young readers, and in 2014 Harriet Manners made her return in the equally funny third book. Set in New York with family troubles, boy issues and the problems that come with living stateside, this is a hilarious story to get stuck into.

“Loved GEEK GIRL. Wise, funny and true, with a proper nerd heroine you’re laughing with as much as at. Almost.” James Henry, writer of Smack the Pony and Green Wing

“A feel-good satisfying gem that will have teens smiling from cover to cover, and walking a little taller after reading” – Books for Keeps

“I would highly recommend Geek Girl to anyone who likes a good laugh and enjoys a one-of-a-kind story.” – Mia, Guardian Children’s Books website

House of Secrets – Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini

2014 saw the release of the first book in an epic fantasy adventure trilogy about the Walker children. When the children move into a house that used to belong to a writer whose stories came to life, they unexpectedly find themselves fighting giants, pirates and warriors. To restore order the kids must find a dark book of untold power, or else they may never see their parents again.

“A breakneck, jam-packed rollercoaster of an adventure about the secret power of books, HOUSE OF SECRETS comes complete with three resourceful sibling heroes, a seriously creepy villainess, and barrel loads of fantasy and fear.” — J.K. Rowling

“The nonstop action comes with increasingly high stakes…wildly imaginative.” — Publishers Weekly

Peep Inside Animal Homes – Anna Milbourne and Simona Dimitri

Peep Inside Animal Homes – Anna Milbourne and Simona Dimitri

“An absolutely delightful way to introduce children to a wide variety of animal homes… One of the best non-fiction books for young children that I have ever seen” – Parents in Touch

“Like all Usborne books, it is beautifully illustrated… another fab offering from Usborne!” – Activities 4 Kidz

“We absolutely loved this delightful book and would highly recommend it. It is a perfect book for young children with sturdy pages and lots of flaps to lift up. The illustrations are really stunning… This is one of our favourite picture books of the year so far.” – Bookbabblers

“This book supported the children learning about the world, different animals and their habitats. We love Usborne books as they are always well presented. The flaps are strong and durable. This book raises awareness of the natural world and can also become a great turn-taking activity!” – Practical Preschool

Skulduggery Pleasant: The Dying of the Light – Derek Landy

Skulduggery Pleasant: The Dying of the Light – Derek Landy

Another spectacular end to a well-loved series, the final Skulduggery Pleasant book The Dying of the Light came out in 2014. They might have won The War of the Sanctuaries, but Skulduggery Pleasant’s work is far from done as he calls upon killers, criminals, monster hunters and soldiers to help defeat Darquesse before she destroys the world. As always, danger is at the turn of every page and readers are in for an action-filled finale.

“A fast evolving plot and a great mix of scariness and humour” – 5 star review, Sunday Express

“Fast and funny” – The Times

“This is a writer at the height of his powers and Landy is getting better with every book… Whatever your age, read them and enjoy the ride” – Irish Independent

Thirteen – Tom Hoyle

Thirteen – Tom Hoyle

The first book in the debut series by Tom Hoyle, Thirteen is an action-packed thriller for teens. A cult led by a crazy leader called Coron is tracking down boys who were born on the first day of the new millennium, believing that they should be killed before their thirteenth birthday. After twelve boys born on that date have been killed by the cult, their attention turns to teenage Adam who is to be their final victim.

“This was a very strong debut novel, the villains were fantastic and all the more eerie because these kinds of people actually exist. If you know any young to mid teens with a penchant for thrillers and tense action stories, this is definitely the story for them.” – ermergerdwerds.wordpress.com

“A great read for everyone but it will join my list of reads for boy, particularly those finding reading an effort aged 12-16” – The School Librarian

“An imaginative, thrilling novel with strong characters and a brilliant plot.” – The Bristish Book Nerd

Peppa Pig: 123 with Peppa

Peppa Pig: 123 with Peppa

Based on the award-winning animated series, this picture book includes colourful pictures of Peppa Pig with simple text that is perfect for helping your child develop their reading skills. Ideal to read aloud together, you can count with your little one and learn the numbers as you read.

“123 with Peppa is a cute book to use to introduce counting from 1 to 10 with Peppa (and George).” – AMumReviews.co.uk

“This chunky first board book fits perfectly into your little trotters. And it’s full of lovely colour pictures and easy examples. Oinky, curly-tailed fun.” – Scholastic Book Clubs

Sticker Dolly Dressing Fashion Designer Spring Collection – Fiona Watt and Stella Baggott

Sticker Dolly Dressing Fashion Designer Spring Collection – Fiona Watt and Stella Baggott

The Dolly Dressing Fashion Designer Sticker Collections are very popular with young fashionistas, With over 350 stickers that can be used to create outfits for the dolls, including some blank ones that can be customised yourself, your little one can really let their creativity shine with this sticker book. The Spring Collection is full of fresh and colourful designs to try out.

“Budding designers can colour, create and customise to their heart’s content.” – The Bookseller

“How cute is this for little girls!!!?? Harper’s favourite book! X vb” – Victoria Beckham, via Twitter

“Even I can’t resist a little go at designing the ultimate outfit for one of the models (if and when my daughter allows me too!)” – Babyworld

Little Miss Hug – Roger Hargreaves

Little Miss Hug – Roger Hargreaves

In 2014 we saw another addition to the Roger Hargreaves Mr Men & Little Misses with Little Miss Hug. Pink with an adorable bow in her hair and a love for giving hugs, Little Miss Hug is an adorable character to introduce your little ones to.

Pink and girly, we love her already!” – Reveal

I thought this story was a great addition to the Little Miss series and loved reading it with Little Miss A – there are plenty of opportunities for hugs whilst reading!” -MummyOfTwo.com

Whether you collect Little Miss books or not, Little Miss Hug is a lovely feel good book and would be great for any child – or adult – to enjoy.” – WhatTheRedheadSaid.com

The Diary of Dennis the Menace – Steven Butler

The Diary of Dennis the Menace – Steven Butler

In 2014 we celebrated the 75th birthday of The Beano, making this new book from hilarious writer Steven Butler a perfect way to catch up with favourite characters Dennis and Gnasher. Full of the cheeky pranks and tricks that we expect from Dennis the Menace, little ones will love reading more about Beanotown and Dennis in the first book in this new series.

“In a climate that constantly suggests the contrary, the overriding message of Dennis the Menace is that childhood is there to be enjoyed.” – The Guardian

“In most children’s books a bad child gets made good. But the great thing about Dennis is he never gets better” – Michael Rosen

“I read it together with my mum. I liked all of the book. It was really rude! I have never read such a rude book! I like Dennis the Menace because he saved the day. Softies won’t enjoy the book very much because Dennis is quite rude about them. Menaces will love it. I really liked the games in the book too – like the word search.” – Rowan, aged 7, for Toppsta

Heroes of Olympus: The Blood of Olympus – Rick Riordan

Heroes of Olympus: The Blood of Olympus – Rick Riordan

The final book in the Heroes of Olympus series was one of the biggest children’s books of 2014, as fans of the series desperately waited to find out what would happen to the seven united demi-gods and whether the earth goddess Gaea would awaken. The epic conclusion to the series was well worth the wait although of course fans were disappointed that their favourite series had to end.

“An astounding adventure” – Telegraph Weekend

“The complete package for young readers and their parents alike” – Sunday Express

“Enchantingly clever, funny and exciting” – The Times

“This is the stuff of legends” – The Guardian

“Blood of Olympus is an action/adventure that stayed true to form and didn’t relent in the pace from the very beginning.” – Hypable.com

Dork Diaries: Holiday Heartbreak – Rachel Renee Russell

Dork Diaries: Holiday Heartbreak – Rachel Renee Russell

The Dork Diaries series and 14 year old character Nikki have become incredibly popular with teens in recent year with books around the hilarious daily dramas of school life. With the help of her two daughters, author Rachel Renee Russell has created an imaginative and funny world that many teens can identify with. In this 2014 book from the series – Holiday Heartbreak – Nikki hopes that her crush Brandon will ask her to the biggest dance of the year, but as all teens know – life is never that simple!

“The Dork Diaries series is fast becoming my favourite for younger readers… More please!” – Wondrous Reads

“Nikki is such a drama queen, she makes me laugh heaps.” – Nayu’s Reading Corner

“Hits the spot with teenager girls worldwide” – The Sun

Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl – Rainbow Rowell

Fangirl wonderfully captures the experience of coming out of your shell with her misfit character Cath. One half of a pair of identical twins, Cath has navigated life so far with her reserved personality by doing absolutely everything with her twin Wren. But now at university and forced to break away from Wren, Cath is forced to deal with the world around her and step outside of her comfort zone. An adorably awkward but relatable character, readers are instantly charmed by Cath and the scenarios she finds herself in.

“Though the theme of a young writer finding her voice may be familiar, Rowell brings to it fresh humor, heart and more than a few surprises.” – Jessica Bruder, The New York Times Book Review

“Rowell challenges readers to love characters who are loyal, vulnerable and funny—but also realistically flawed.” – Kirkus Reviews

Divergent – Veronica Roth

Divergent – Veronica Roth

The first book in the action-packed series by Veronica Roth was released on film in 2014, driving many teens to pick up the book and read the original. In Divergent we meet Tris just before the ceremony that will determine the community – or faction – that she will go on to live with. She can stay with her parents in her own faction, or she can join one of the other four factions and embrace her true personality. What follows is a whirlwind of experiences, revelations and dangers for Tris and the people she meets.

“Divergent is a captivating, fascinating book that kept me in constant suspense and was never short on surprises. It will be a long time before I quit thinking about this haunting vision of the future.” — James Dashner, author of The Maze Runner

“Well written and brilliantly executed, Divergent is a heartpounding debut that cannot be missed. Tris stands out in her action-packed, thrilling, and emotionally honest journey to determine who she wants to be in a society that demands she conform. It’s dystopian fiction at its best!” — Kiersten White, author of Paranormalcy

The Scarecrows’ Wedding – Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

The Scarecrows’ Wedding – Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler

Julia Donaldson and Alex Scheffler are the ultimate dream team for picture books, creating hilarious stories, captivating illustrations and characters that will stay with your children long after. In 2014 we met scarecrows Betty and Harry as they made preparations for their wedding along with their farm animal friends. But when nasty scarecrow Reginald Rake tries to woo Betty while Harry is away, readers will be glad to see him get his just deserts!

“Donaldson’s ever-recitable tumpity-tump verse is complemented by Scheffler’s shaggily detailed illustration. There’s huge warmth in every word, every drawing. There’s also a tiny Gruffalo cameo for the sharp-eyed to spot. An irresistible delight.” – James Lovegrove for FT.com

Mortal Instruments: City of Heavenly Fire – Cassandra Clare

Mortal Instruments: City of Heavenly Fire – Cassandra Clare

The Mortal instruments series has been incredibly popular among teens and many adults too, and has even been adapted for the big screen. Cassandra Clare has created a complex fantasy world filled with near enough every creature you could imagine, including shadowhunters Clary and Jace. In 2014 we saw the release of the book that fans had been eagerly waiting for, the sixth and final book in the series, as Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends travel to the realm of demons in at attempt to stop Clary’s evil brother Sebastian.

“The Mortal Instruments series is a story world that I love to live in. Beautiful.” – Stephenie Meyer

“Cassie’s writing makes my toes curl with envy. She is the rare writer who can write fast-paced dramatic fantasy with gorgeous language and memorable characters that you grow to love and worry about, as well as really funny bits that will make you honestly laugh … It is rare too find someone who can do any one of those things well; to find someone who can do them all is just dangerous.” – Holly Black

Mortal Instruments: City of Heavenly Fire – Cassandra Clare

Dragons at Crumbling Castle: And Other Stories – Terry Pratchett

Sir Terry Pratchett inspired the imaginations of children and adults alike for many, many years with his fantasy stories, and readers were devastated when his family sadly announced his death in March 2015. Dragons at Crumbling Castle was released in 2014 to fantastic reviews, including 14 hilarious stories for children to devour up, including the inconvenient invasion of Crumbling Castle whilst King Arthur’s knights are either visiting their grannies or on holiday.

“A splendid collection . . . rumbustious, irreverent and hilarious.” – Booktrust

“A good choice for the chapter-book set, this is highly recommended for reading aloud to younger children as well . . . Pratchett’s vast, all-ages fan base will be intrigued by these early offerings, while their accessibility and skillful storytelling will pull in young newcomers to the masterful author’s work.” – Booklist

Tom Gates: A Tiny Bit Lucky – Liz Pichon

Tom Gates: A Tiny Bit Lucky – Liz Pichon

The 7th Tom Gates book saw the return of one of the most popular kid’s characters in recent years as he practises for the Rockwekly BandBattle Audition. Winning the Road Dahl funny prize and the Blue Peter Best Story Book Award, A Tiny Bit Lucky once again impressed readers with its doodle-style illustrations and fun adventures.

“Once again, Liz Pichon always takes a step further when creating books. She is extremely creative, which I like, and the nice little illustrations are really equivalent to the words. Gosh, she is so creative, even I am jealous with the book’s ‘doodles’.” – Kids-bookreview.com

“Pichon’s books are bursting with humour and you can tell it comes from real experiences and observations.” – Martin Chilton, The Telegraph

“Tom Gates can easily be seen as a British cousin to Jeff Kinney’s Greg Heffley. … The book is typeset in a handwritten-looking font, accompanied by Tom’s doodles and text that he’s embellished for emphasis. … [R]eaders who like their fiction heavily illustrated and their heroes mischievous should find it diverting.” — Publishers Weekly

The LEGO Movie Ultimate Sticker Collection (Ultimate Stickers)

The LEGO Movie Ultimate Sticker Collection (Ultimate Stickers)

When The Lego Movie came out last year, children around the UK loved seeing some of their favourite toys brought to life with fun characters, an action-packed story and infectious songs.

This Lego sticker collection includes over 1,000 reusable stickers featuring colourful and attractive images of all the favourite characters from the movie, proving incredibly popular for fans of Lego and fans of the film alike.

“The Lego Movie is an uproariously funny family adventure” – Robbie Collin, The Telegraph

Opal Plumstead – Jacqueline Wilson

Opal Plumstead – Jacqueline Wilson

Set in the early 1900’s, 14 year old Opal’s dreams of university are swapped for a tough job in a sweet factory after her father is sent to prison. Opal’s life at the factory is a struggle, until she meets the factory owner’s handsome son Morgan, who may very well be her soulmate. But on the cusp of the First World War, things are about to change for everyone. Jacqueline Wilson OBE is one of the best-known and best-loved authors in recent years, and has proven once again with her 100th book her ability to connect with children and respect their intelligence whilst developing their love for reading.

“Her ability to create interesting, lovable characters who navigate 9 to 12-year-olds through key moments in history is unmatched” The Times

“Has a rare gift for writing lightly and amusingly about emotional issues.” – Bookseller

If I Stay – Gayle Forman

If I Stay – Gayle Forman

Mia was brought to life by Chloe Grace Moretz in the well received film adaptation of If I Stay in 2014, and many teens fell in love with the heartbreaking and poignant story that unravelled on the screen. At 17, Mia’s life is full of loving friends and family and hope for her future when an awful accident leaves her in the clutches of a devastating decision.

“Original and exciting, it is a novel about relationships, life and the people involved in both. The characters are tangibly real, the plot is fascinating and will cause the pages to turn rapidly. Teens and adults will find themselves falling in love with Forman’s stunning novel.” – VOYA

“A touching and emotional examination of love in all its forms … and the choices, and sacrifices, we sometimes have to make for love. Incredibly sad, but life affirming and heart warming, everyone who has ever had to make a difficult choice involving things they love should read this book. I challenge any of you not to cry on the final few pages.” – The Bookbag UK

The Maze Runner – James Dashner

The Maze Runner – James Dashner

The film release of The Maze Runner last year captivated young teens with the mysterious and action-packed dystopian story of a teenage boy who finds himself trapped in a lift with no memory apart from his first name. When the lift doors open, the boy – Thomas – is introduced to the Glade, an imposing stone maze where a group of teenage boys are surviving, and trying to escape. With so many teens gripped by the thrilling story brought to life on the big screen, the 2009 original book and the subsequent sequels became incredibly popular reads for 2014.

“Take a deep breath before you start any James Dashner book.” — Deseret News

“Anyone looking for “the next Hunger Games” would do well to get lost in Dashner’s maze.” – Rebecca Hawkes for The Telegraph

“A fast-paced narrative….Dashner’s suspenseful adventure will keep readers guessing until the very end.” – Publishers Weekly

Loom Magic!: 25 Awesome, Never-Before-Seen Designs for an Amazing Rainbow of Projects – Becky Thomas and John McCann

Loom Magic!: 25 Awesome, Never-Before-Seen Designs for an Amazing Rainbow of Projects – Becky Thomas and John McCann

If there was ever a playground trend to rival Frozen in the last few years then loom bands may be it. Those colourful little bands had little ones creating fantastic jewellery and charms in 2014, weaving intricate designs that you would never imagine were made from tiny little loops of elastic. But as with all creative hobbies, sometimes we need some inspiration to get us going, and soon crafty-types began sharing tutorials for new and exciting designs. The Loom Magic book collects together 25 ‘never-before-seen- designs to get little ones practising their loom band skills.

Disney Frozen Sticker Scenes

Disney Frozen Sticker Scenes

If you’ve been within a mile of a child in the last 2 years then you may be aware of a fairly popular Disney film called Frozen. The film received glowing reviews and multiple awards, but most telling of its success was the reaction from the children. Frozen took over bedrooms, birthday parties and toys and games, and there wasn’t a day that went by without someone singing ‘Let it Go’. Children fell in love with princesses Anna and Elsa, and the fun characters that came with them, not least of all Olaf the snowman.

In this hugely popular sticker book, children can complete scenes from the Disney film using fun and colourful stickers, creating wonderful images that will have them singing the infectious songs as they go along (sorry parents!).

The Pointless Book: Started by Alfie Deyes, Finished by You – Alfie Deyes

The Pointless Book: Started by Alfie Deyes, Finished by You – Alfie Deyes

In 2014, it was Alfie Deyes’ announcement of a book release that catapulted vloggers into the spotlight. Vloggers were no longer just youngsters filming videos in their bedrooms, but household names making TV appearances for events such as Band Aid and the Comic Relief Great British Bake Off. While adults scratched their heads in confusion at the emergence of this youtube star turned mainstream celebrity, teens celebrated the success of the internet star that they had been following for so long. The Pointless Book instantly hit the top of bestseller lists upon release and his initial signing events were shut down after around 8,000 fans unexpectedly turned up. A fun and whimsical activity book with elements of a journal, The Pointless Book is filled with fun challenges and games such as a ‘people-watching challenge’ and ‘write a diary about a week of your life’. Readers customise the book with drawings, poems, diary entries and much more, allowing fans to join in with the ‘pointless’ challenges that Alfie has become known for on his vlog.

Minecraft: The Official Construction Handbook: 4 – Egmont UK Ltd

Minecraft: The Official Construction Handbook: 4 – Egmont UK Ltd

The award-winning game Minecraft is one of the best-selling video games of all time, allowing players to create, explore and socialise in an online world made up of little cubes. With so many possibilities for things to build, handbooks have become incredibly useful for Minecraft fans, and the 4th official handbook which focused on construction has been very popular. Offering advice and step by step instructions from the master build team FyreUK, the handbook provides lots of interesting and inspiring tips to try out. From houses to floating islands to rollercoasters, this handbook has it all.

“Minecraft is by far one of the most fascinating and progressive games ever made, both in terms of its leanings towards procedural generation and emergent gameplay, and the way it has been so openly developed.” – Sean Bell, The Telegraph

What was your favourite children’s book from 2014? Let us know in the comments box below.