With the announcement of the very first Children’s Laureate Wales, Eloise Williams, and Literature Wales launching a new category for Children and Young People for Wales Book of the Year, this has been an exciting year for children’s writing in Wales. Many brilliant books didn’t make it to the Top 10, but here’s our list for this year’s best Welsh books for young people.
The Velvet Fox by Catherine Fisher (Firefly Press)
A sequel to the award-winning The Clockwork Crow by one of Wales’ best-loved children’s authors. Full of suspense, sinister magic and mystery, this will certainly appeal to Fisher’s many fans.
Tom by Cynan Llwyd (Y Lolfa)
A gritty portrayal of contemporary urban life by a new young writer. The novel does not shy away from topics such as bullying, violence and illness. This realistic novel for young adults will reach a new demography of Welsh-language readers.
A breathtakingly clever adaption of the hugely successful The Lost Words, this “llyfr lledrith” will bring magic and beauty to many more readers. And thanks to a successful crowdfunding campaign by the publisher, a copy will be sent to every primary school in Wales.
The Book of Dust Volume Two: The Secret Commonwealth by Philip Pullman (David Fickling Books)
With its dark themes, thriller-like pace, and complex political background, this is arguably not a children’s book at all. But those who grew up with Lyra and Pantalaimon will no doubt love the book’s expansion of Pullman’s epic universe.
Max Kolawski Didn’t Mean It by Susie Day (Puffin Books)
Max said to himself: Max, you muppet, there’s no such thing as dragons. Then he heard the roaring, and the rocks began to move.
This is a thrilling new book by the Penarth-born author hailed for her inclusive and diverse books for children.
Chwedlau’r Copa Coch – Yr Horwth by Elidir Jones and Huw Aaron (Atebol)
The first in a new series of fantasy books aimed at young people, this book merges action, adventure and humour and is additive reading from the first sentence. The illustrations are as integral to the storytelling as the text.
Earth Stories by Lily Dyu (Nosy Crow)
An important book by the author, journalist & trail runner from the Brecon Beacons about the climate crisis, and featuring inspirational stories about our modern-day heroes, including Greta Thunberg, David Attenborough and Isatou Ceesay.
Y Cwilt by Valérianne Leblond (Y Lolfa)
Beautifully illustrated and written by the French-born author and artist who now lives in Ceredigion. This is a subtle but moving story about poverty, emigration, and hope.
The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson (Usborne Publishing)
Ancient storytelling with a Russian twist comes to life in this magical tale of love and belonging by the Welsh-born author, who won widespread acclaim for her first novel The House with Chicken Legs.
The Comet and the Thief by Ruth Morgan (Gomer)
The Children’s Laureate Wales, Eloise Williams, called this book “A sweeping, theatrical and darkly atmospheric adventure.” Thrillingly set in the 18th century, the Penarth-based writer has created a world so gripping you will not be able to put the book down.