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Best Books from around the world in 2012/13 

Deborah Hallford selects some of the best books
 published in 2012/2013


You can download this list by clicking on the PDF 




Under 5

Ernest and Celestine series:
Ernest & Celestine  (2012)
Ernest & Celestine The Picnic  (2013)
Ernest & Celestine Merry Christmas  (2013)
Gabrielle Vincent
Translated from French by Sam Alexander

These heart-warming tales about Ernest and Celestine by Belgian author and illustrator Gabrielle Vincent were first written in the 1980s and went on to become a classic series around the world. With a new translation in English they are now available for a new audience to enjoy.

Poo Bum
Stephanie Blake
Translated from French by Linda Burgess
Gecko Press, 2012

Stephanie Blake has created a very funny, irreverent story that will be enjoyed by both children and parents.  The surprise ending in particular, will create a lot of giggles and even some chuckles from adults too. There are two further titles in the series Stupid Baby and A Deal’s a Deal.

Topsy Turvy World
Flying Eye Books, 2013

Everything is the wrong way round in this amazing quirky picture book.  There are mice chasing cats, penguins up a palm tree and a zoo keeper in a cage eating a hot dog while a lion sits placidly outside. Topsy Turvy World is a cleverly conceived, somewhat bizarre role reversal wordless picture book by German illustrator Atak. His surreal illustrations are truly a visual feast with their riot of colour across the double-page spreads.


Hot Air
Sandrine Dumas Roy
Illustrated by Emmanuelle Houssais
Translated from French by Sarah Ardizzone
Phoenix Yard Books, 2013

The animals know that something is wrong with the climate. The ice is melting even faster than usual and the planet is definitely heating up so they want to find out what the problem is and do something about it. What the animals discover comes as rather a surprise! An unusual, thought-provoking and delightful tongue-in-cheek look at global warming.


The Circus and Other Stories
Samuil Marshak
Illustrated by Vladimir Lebedev
Translated from French

Tate Publishing, 2013

This collection contains four remarkable children’s books that were published in Russia during the 1920s – ‘The Circus’, ‘Ice Cream’, ‘Yesterday and Today’ and ‘How the Plane Made a Plane’.  All are written in verse by Samuil Marshak accompanied by the distinctive Avant-garde artwork by Vladimir Lebedev.


New York in Pyjamarama
Michaël Leblond and Frédérique Bertrand
Translated from French

Phoenix Yard Books, 2012

Who could ever believe that wearing striped pyjamas could cause so much adventure; but these are no ordinary pyjamas … or stripes!  This is Pyjamarama animation and New York as you’ve never seen it before with images of the city coming alive as if by magic. It’s an animated picture book with a difference; French artists Michaël Leblond and Frédérique Bertrand have created an exciting, mesmerising interactive book that children (and adults) will not be able to put down.

Welcome to Mamoko
Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinski
Translated from Polish

Big Picture Press, 2013

The world of Mamoko is where the reader becomes the storyteller. Welcome to Mamoko is an amazing wordless picture book from Poland.  Each double-page spread has a mass of intricate activity within the vibrant, rich pen and watercolour illustrations that children will have fun following as they travel through the pages.


The Adventures of Shola
Bernardo Atxaga
Illustrated by Mikel Valverde
Translated from Spanish by Margaret Jull Costa
Pushkin Children's Books, 2013

Shola is a feisty little dog with attitude. She has big ideas and is out to prove that no adventure or challenge is too tough for her.  The Adventures of Shola is a charming collection of four short stories written by Basque writer Bernardo Atxaga.  Children will definitely be giggling at Shola’s antics. Winner of the Marsh Award for Children's Books in Translation.


Marguerite Abouet and Mathieu Sapin
Translated from French by J. Taboy
Flying Eye Books, 2013

Akissi is a popular French-language comic that follows the adventures of a mischievous West African girl who is always getting into trouble!  Bold, brash and full of confidence, with a real sense of mischief, Akissi is one feisty little girl. The humour in the text is complimented by the vibrant and colourful illustrations by Mathieu Sapin that capture the emotion in the facial expressions of the characters and African life so well.

A House Without Mirrors
Marten Sanden
Translated from Swedish by Karin Altenberg
Illustrations by Moa Schulman
Pushkin Children's Books, 2013

A House Without Mirrors is a hauntingly, beautiful tale from one of Sweden’s bestselling children’s authors, Marten Sanden.  Thomasine has spent months living in her great-great-aunt Henrietta’s rambling old house with her dysfunctional family. There is something odd about Henrietta’s house - there are no mirrors anywhere but when Thomasine’s cousin discovers a wardrobe full of mirrors through which you can step into a different world, everything changes. 


Bartolome: The Infanta's Pet
Rachel Van Kooij
Translated from German by Siobhán Parkinson
Little Island, 2012

Bartolome is a highly memorable novel that was inspired by a real painting, on display in the national art gallery in Madrid. Ten-year-old Bartolomé has restricted growth, deformed feet and kyphosis (curvature of the upper back, then known as a ‘hunch back’).  The historical detail is exacting, the translation by Siobhan Parkinson smooth and sinuous and the narrative powerful and enthralling.  This is a poignant story but tinged with a defiant sense of hope.

Ursula Poznanski
Translated from German by Judith Pattinson
Allen & Unwin, 2012

‘Enter. Or turn back. This is Erebos’.  These are the daunting words that confront Nick Dunmore as he loads a brilliant and absorbing computer game. An international bestseller by Ursula Poznanski, this suspenseful novel is an unusual thriller that is hard to put down.  A cleverly woven contemporary story about the technological age combined with the fantastical world within the computer game of Erebos itself. 

In the Sea there are Crocodiles
Fabio Geda
Translated from Italian by Howard Curtis
David Fickling Books, 2012

This is the remarkable true story of Enaiatollah Akbari’s five-year journey from Afghanistan to Italy.  Abandoned in Quetta, Pakistan by his mother, ten-year-old Enaiat is left to fend for himself.  He endures unimaginable hardships and hazardous challenges along the way as he travels from Quetta across into Iran.  Told in the first person narrative, this is a revealing testament of the experiences faced by a young asylum-seeker.  Italian author, Fabio Geda captures Enaiat’s voice brilliantly as he puts some of their conversations into the narrative. 

Chrissie Keighery
Templar, 2012

Demi is fifteen and struggling to adapt to life at a new school.  However, alongside all the usual trials and tribulations involved in starting any new school, Demi has an additional challenge to come to terms with – she has recently found herself profoundly deaf after having contracted Meningitis. Demi’s pain and bitterness in trying to cope with her sudden loss of hearing are raw and almost tangible. What makes this book so fascinating and indeed effective is the way in which it illustrates the whole spectrum of different experiences of deafness. 


Vango: Between Sky and Earth
Timothée de Fombelle
Translated from French by Sarah Ardizzone
Walker Books, 2013

Vango: Between Earth and Sky is the brilliant new novel from French author Timothée de Fombelle. Falsely accused of a crime he hasn’t committed, Vango must flee Paris where he was about to be ordained as a priest. Set in the 1930s interwar years, this is a gripping mystery that spans Europe. For Vango it becomes a race against time in order to prove his innocence and uncover the secrets of his past.

Non Fiction

For the Love of Books: A Book Lover's Guide for Those Who Don't Much Like to Read
Françoize Boucher
Translated from French

Prestel, 2013

Here is a completely wacky book that children (and adults) will love. It says it all in the title – ‘A Book Lover’s Guide for those who don’t much like to read’. Filled with completely ridiculous tips and daft advice, French author, Françoize Boucher’s hilarious comic-style book about reading is a riot.

The Reason I Jump
Naoki Higashida
Translated from Japanese by KA Yoshida and David Mitchell
Illustrations by Kai and Sunny

Sceptre Books, 2013

This is a non-fiction book from Japan dealing with Autism. What makes this book particularly effective is the fact that the author, Naoki Higashida is not only on the autistic spectrum himself, but also wrote the book when he was just thirteen. As such, a book like this is a lifesaver for parents and other family members endeavouring to understand an autistic child. 


All the links to Amazon from our website have been checked. Where there is no book available we will mark it as out of print, although it may be available from other sellers.



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