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Best Books of the Year

Looking for something really great to read? Staff in Birmingham Libraries have chosen their favourite books published over the last year to recommend to you.

Choose from picture books, story books for children or fiction for young people. To reserve a book, just click on the link and you can pick it up from your nearest library!

Picture Books

Cave Baby by Julia Donaldson and Emily Gravett
Julia ‘Gruffalo’ Donaldson and Emily ‘too many brilliant picture books to mention’ Gravett team up for the first time. What could go wrong? Nothing, it is fantastic!
Reserve Cave Baby

Morris the Mankiest Monster by Giles Andreae and Sarah McIntyre
Totally gross story about a really, REALLY manky monster. The illustrations are really clear and colourful.
Reserve Morris the Mankiest Monster

Christopher Nibble in a Tale of Dandelion Derring-Do! by Charlotte Middleton
Lovely environmentally themed picture book about what happens when the guinea pigs of Dandeville eat all the dandelions.
Reserve Christopher Nibble

April Underhill, Tooth Fairy by Bob Graham
Charming story about two young tooth fairies going on their first assignment. Detailed illustrations make this one to pore over.
Reserve April Underhill

My Mum has X-Ray Vision by Angela McAllister and Alex T Smith
Funny story about Milo and his mum who always seems to know what he is up to… is she a superhero?
Reserve My Mum has X-Ray Vision

Dogs Don’t Do Ballet by Anna Kemp
Biff doesn’t behave like other dogs, he doesn’t want to catch sticks or scratch his fleas, he wants to do ballet!
Reserve Dogs Don't Do Ballet

Books for Children

The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh
Cold, creepy story set in a medieval monastery. William leads a hard, boring life with the monks in Crowfield Abbey until two unusual events occur… First he finds an injured ‘hob’, an odd little creature ‘neither animal nor man’. Second a very strange hooded and masked man appears with his even stranger servant. This is a very atmospheric and enjoyable read.
Reserve The Crowfield Curse

Flyaway by Lucy Christopher
Thirteen year old Isla and her dad share a love of swans and are out watching them one day when he collapses and becomes seriously ill. On her visits to the hospital she befriends Harry, a young man with cancer. He shares her love of nature and together they try to help a trapped swan that they can see from his room. A beautiful and uplifting story about coping with the difficulties that life can throw at you.
Reserve Flyaway

The Death Defying Pepper Roux by Geraldine McCaughrean
Pepper Roux is predicted to die on his fourteenth birthday so in order to avoid this fate he sets off on a series of increasingly bizarre adventures. This starts with him impersonating his father and becoming captain of a ship and ends with him… well you will just have to read it. Odd, funny, a bit heart warming and a bit confusing, but all in a good way! (Cover reproduced by kind permission of Oxford University Press. Published 2010)
Reserve The Death Defying Pepper Roux

Lob by Linda Newbery
Lucy and her grandfather can see Lob, a little green man who helps in the garden. This story describes a year in the life of Lucy and Lob with poetry and pictures making it a great choice for younger readers.
Reserve Lob

Tall Story by Candy Gourlay
Andi is mad about basketball but very short, her long lost half brother Bernardo is so tall that the people in his Philippines village think he is a giant from village folklore. Told by both characters this story is about the clash of cultures and relationships between brothers and sisters.
Reserve Tall Story

Books for Young People

The Dead by Charlie Higson
Prequel to 2009’s The Enemy which featured a world where everyone over 14 has either died of a mysterious virus or become a cannibalistic zombie creature. This is exactly as gory and horrible as it sounds, so be warned…
Reserve The Dead

Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper
The story opens with desperately poor Grace burying the tiny body of her baby in a rich lady’s coffin. Whilst at the cemetery she meets two people that will change her life. Amazing detail about Victorian life makes this book a must for lovers of historical stories.
Reserve Fallen Grace

Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
One for Twilight fans; Scarlett and Rosie March are werewolf hunters in this modern story inspired by Little Red Riding Hood. The sisters team up with handy axe-man Silas to deal with the increase in werewolf activity, but Rosie starts to fall for him...
Reserve Sisters Red

White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick
Rebecca moves to the coastal village of Winterfold and is befriended by a strangely intense girl called Ferelith. Meanwhile we are also told through old diary entries about a doctor and a rector who did some very sinister experiments in the village back in the seventeenth century. As usual from Marcus Sedgwick this is unputdownable quality.
Reserve White Crow

The Island by Sarah Singleton
Three friends go on a gap year trip to Goa in India. Otto is attracted to worldly traveller Maria but when she is found murdered on the beach the next day he is a suspect. His friends sensible and practical Charlotte and dreamer Jen must help him clear his name and find out what really happened. For older teens.
Reserve The Island

iBoy by Kevin Brooks
Sixteen year old Tom lives a harsh life on a violent housing estate. When an iphone is thrown from a tower block part of it becomes embedded in his skull and he develops some very strange powers. Will he use them for good or will he become just as bad as the people that he is trying to bring to justice?
Reserve iBoy

Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness
Final instalment in the amazing Chaos Walking trilogy. Set in a world where the thoughts of men and animals can be heard out loud; war has now come and everything must be resolved. Start with The Knife of Never Letting Go if you haven’t read it and don’t be put off if you think you don’t like sci-fi, these books are for everyone!
Reserve Monsters of Men

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar
Brilliant quirky read for fans of Holes and those who like something that makes them think about life. Alton Richards has to spend the summer looking after his elderly bridge playing Uncle Lester. In case you don’t know, bridge is an incredibly complicated card game. Yep, he thinks it is going to be really boring too…
Reserve The Cardturner