Best kids' books by best-selling adult authors
Up in the Tree by Margaret Atwood
The Handmaid's Tale author wrote this playful, rhyming picture book for preschool children in 1978. A simple message about the importance of choice and freedom is communicated through the story of two children who make their home up in the branches of a tree. When the ladder they rely on to get back to the ground is destroyed, some of their freedom disappears, too – until they have an ingenious idea...
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Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson
One of the biggest-selling writers of all time, James Patterson is the author of hugely popular series like the Alex Cross novels and Maximum Ride. A partner of the National Literacy Trust, he is passionate about encouraging both adults and children to read and his "middle grade" illustrated books about Rafe Khatchadorian's everyday school life are laugh-out-loud-funny and perfect for encouraging reluctant readers.
Theodore Boone by John Grisham
John Grisham has sold over 275 million books worldwide, and his legal thrillers aren't just for adults. Thirteen year old Theodore Boone dreams of becoming a great lawyer and knows every judge, policeman and court clerk in his small town. When he's dragged into the middle of a sensational murder trial, only Theo can make sure justice is done – but can this half-boy, half-lawyer pull it off? Pacy, page-turning reading.
Polly and the Puffin by Jenny Colgan
(£5.99, Little, Brown)
Fantastic, fully-illustrated 'early reader' stories, the Polly and the Penguin books will be pored over again and again by newly confident independent readers. Polly and her rescued puffling Neil live by the sea and have everyday adventures together, with recipes, jokes, activities and fun facts at the end of each book to complement the story. Fans of Jenny Colgan's best-selling romantic novels for adults will recognise puffin Neil from the Beach Street Bakery books.
The Wee Free Men: A Tiffany Aching Novel (Discworld Novels) and The Time-Travelling Caveman by Terry Pratchett
(£7.99, Corgi Childrens) / (£14.99, Puffin)
Introduce children to the work of Sir Terry Pratchett, the creator of the global bestselling Discworld series, with the first book in the Tiffany Aching Series. We meet Tiffany at age 9 – she wants to be a witch when she grows up, and she's resourceful and determined enough to get the pointy hat she craves. But first there's a battle to fight (and a horde of unrule fairies to deal with)... Funny, engaging and a great entry book into the comic fantasy universe of Discworld.
Or why not try out Pratchett's trademark humour and imaginative world-building with a brand-new collection of short stories, fully illustrated by Mark Beech? From the highest mountains to the deepest depths of the sea and even off-planet, there are adventures galore for readers of The Time-travelling Caveman (£14.99, Puffin).
Charlie the Choo-Choo by Stephen King (writing as Beryl Evans)
Best-selling horror writer Stephen King's book for children is a timeless, touching story – not a terrifying clown in sight! Engineer Bob has a secret: his train is alive! Their friendship highlights the importance of teamwork, loyalty and hard work and this book is a great addition to the bookshelf of any young train enthusiast (adult King fans will recognise Charlie the Choo-Choo from The Dark Tower).
The Rover Adventures by Roddy Doyle
No grown-ups will turn down the chance to read some Roddy Doyle out loud and the bonkers, entertaining adventures of Rover the wonder-dog and the eccentric but lovable Mack family will become a firm favourite for bedtime. Expect silliness and a whole lot of poo!
Chase by Linwood Barclay
(£6.99, Orion Children's Books)
New York Times best-selling author Linwood Barclay is known for crime thrillers packed with suspense, plot twists and wit, and his first kids' novel wouldn't disappoint his fans. Chipper is a special dog, part of a top-secret, multi-million dollar spy technology experiment. When he escapes from the compound where he was created he crosses paths with twelve-year-old orphan Jeff Conway, and soon dog and boy find themselves tangled up in the most dangerous game of chase imaginable...
My Granny is a Pirate by Val McDermid
(£6.99, Orchard Books)
My granny is a pirate!
She's sailed the seven seas.
She captured many pirate ships
But was always home for tea.
Best-selling crime novelist Val McDermid's first children's book is a rhyming, witty and wonderful joy to read. Find out about the exploits of a swashbuckling gran and her dog, Jolly Roger – from singing sea shanties to fighting off ghosties, this fierce and funny pirate makes a big impression.
Mummy Fairy and Me: Mermaid Magic by Sophie Kinsella
Global best-selling author Sophie Kinsella's series for 5 to 7 years olds is packed with magic (and mayhem!). Ella's Mum has a big secret – she's a fairy! Her amazing spells mean delicious cupcakes and perfect birthday parties, but can also go a bit wrong and cause chaos at the supermarket! That's when Ella comes to the rescue... In the latest title in the series Mummy Fairy and Ella decorate the kitchen with magic colouring pencils, catch a criminal on Ella's school trip and swim with real mermaids!
Duckling: A Fairy Tale Revolution by Kamila Shamsie
(£12.99, Vintage Children's Classics)
Kamila Shamsie, acclaimed author of the Women's Prize for Fiction 2018-winning Home Fire, explores life as an ugly duckling in feminist fairy tale Duckling.
Reimagined for modern boys and girls, the story of the "ugly duckling" is about "...a duck unlike other ducks. A raincloud-duck, with the heart of a lion, who struck out into the world on her own…"
Cast out from the flock, the odd duckling will need all her bravery and curiosity to survive. Her journey is a search for belonging, and her reward is the discovery that she has the right to be different.
Other authors in the Vintage Classics Fairy Tale Revolution series include Jeanette Winterson, who leads her readers into the woods with Hansel and Greta.
Where Snow Angels Go by Maggie O'Farrell
(£14.99, Walker Books)
An enchanting, silvery-cold modern fairy tale from best-selling and multi-award-winning author Maggie O'Farrell in her debut picture book for children. Accompanied by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini's gorgeous illustrations, this magical, snowy-day story is a comforting read for children aged 5 to 8.
Beautifully written, Where Snow Angels Go will linger in your mind long after you've read it with your child.
WILD SYMPHONY by Dan Brown
Dan Brown, internationally best-selling author of The Da Vinci Code, makes his children's book debut with a musical picture book. WILD SYMPHONY features music composed by the author, which you can access through a free app which uses augmented relaity to play the compositions for each page. Your guide is Maestro Mouse, and you'll meet whales, cheetahs, beetles and swans, all with some wise words to share. Susan Batori's beautiful illustrations complete a wonderful read-along experience.