What We Are Reading Right Now: Fab New Books to Look Out For in 2014…

Once a year PanMacmillan South Africa pulls out all the stops and invites the best of the rest of their book agents to show off the new kids reads for the year ahead. If you live in a home that is filled with many passionate young readers, where everyone is mad about kids books then this is the invitation of the year…

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Just as in previous years, I headed into the city to hear all about the latest and greatest and the books of note for 2014. My notebook is stuffed with lists and scrawls, and many “Watch out for” and “NB’s,” literally dozens and dozens of books… and these are the best of the rest.


Priddy Books

As usual Priddy Books Stole my heart: This is why… the books are chunky, timeless and adorable. Heaps of fun, beautifully crafted and packed with photographs so lively that you feel that you are literally right there with them. There is only one thing to say about these books…. love, love, love. They think of everything: chalkboard books; sweet and amazing Alphaprint books; the busy busy play town book, where the story is hiding under the flaps…; A must have: The Cardboard Box Book – look out for it, it is to die for; and the Dinky Doodle Books are just that – dinky… and I don’t think I would share them with my kids.

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What can I say lots more loveliness from the authors and illustrators that we have come to love and adore… The will be more Julia Donaldson, more Emily Gravett, more Chris Riddel, and Paul Stewart, more Zoe and Beans… we are certainly looking forward to this one.

You can look forward to lots of books celebrating fabulous anniversaries – how can the Gruffalo be fifteen already, and the Gruffalo’s child ten? Remember last year’s Get into Art… with the series is expanding – just can’t wait!!! And we absolutely love Sam Angus so, and looking forward to a new one…

Lots of lovely easy chapter books and pleasantly surprised that not all the Young Adult Reads were dystopian… have to say our kids will be enjoying a lot of new reads for teens this year.

Hachette Books

The goal, quite simply, for Hachette books is to get kids reading – anyway, anyhow… heaps of “Quest” series for boys and well, pink series for girls… what can I say my beginner chapter readers power their way through these and move on to better things fairly quickly. Famous Five is being revived and a whole series of “Famous Five: Short Stories” have been made into easy readers. Just in time for some of our readers who are about to launch their reading career. There are some magical series worth a mention: More How to Train a Dragon and look out for a gift book for fans: “The Incomplete World of Dragons”; More Cherub by Robert Muchamore… my older three kids love reading these.

In picture books Hugless Dugless will be having a birthday and his “health and safety” conscious side-kicks, the Funny Bunnies will have their own books this year. The Delightful Kipper will be 25 Years Old… And there will be a little more of the gentle Wibbly Pig as well.

Tease by Amanda Maciel looks like a very interesting teen read… A suicide, a bully, moral ambiguity, criminal charges, this so could be a true story and written from the bullies perspective. I am looking forward to seeing the “teen-take” on this topic.

And in Non-Fiction – the “Go Figure Series” looks fab – a series of math books that take you on a journey exploring real and applied math problems. Packed with info-graphics, which are a massive hit in our house… Then there is the Book of Languages, everything you could imagine about heaps of different languages, coming out and “Keep Your Cool” which is a toolbox/guide for managing stress.

Walker Books

Just saying our friend Alex Rider will be Fifteen, and there will be more Judy Moody and her little brother Stink – YAY… more and a Kate DiCamillo Collection. But more important… there is going to be more Timmy Failure!!!

Heaps and heaps more, including our friend Where’s Wally… and would you believe “We Are Going on a Bear Hunt” is going to be 25 years… and you can join the bear hunt over here…

Once a year these lovely book agents arrive in Cape Town, open their bags of loveliness and show us tons of stunning books and then all too quickly they pack their bags and they are gone – honestly I am always sorry to see them go.


Thank you PanMacmillan South Africa for the invitation, we look forward to reading tons of new children’s books this year.

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