Bad Dad by David Walliams, HarperCollins.
When Dad is jailed for a bank robbery, Frank decides to break him out of prison so they can return the money. But evil crime boss, Mr Big, tries to stop their daring plan. This rollicking caper is also a heartwarming portrayal of a loving father-and-son relationship. Ages 8-12.
The Thunderbolt Pony by Stacy Gregg, HarperCollins.
Evie believes she can control her anxieties if she follows certain rituals. But when an earthquake destroys her home, the 12-yearold must bravely set off alone on horseback on a dangerous 45km journey to the rescue ship in Kaikoura. A riveting read for ages 9-plus.
The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell, Hachette.
Xar, a young Wizard, and Warrior girl Wish, are supposed to hate each other, due to historic battles over the use of magic. But they join forces to save their ancient world. The How to Train Your Dragon writer again combines humour and derringdo in this thrilling new series. Ages 8-plus.
Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend, Hachette.
Sassy Morrigan Crow is blamed for everything from a fire to a fatal heart attack. Destined to die on her 11th birthday, she is rescued by the eccentric Jupiter North and taken to magical Nevermoor, where she can escape death if she passes four dangerous trials. An enchanting adventure for Harry Potter fans aged 9-plus.
The Ice Sea Pirates by Frida Nilsson, Gecko Press.
When her little sister is stolen by a cruel pirate captain to slave in the arctic coal mines, Siri sets out on a rescue mission aboard a cargo ship bound for the Ice Sea. The spirited Siri faces abandonment, wolves, dastardly villains and near death in this thrilling novel for readers aged 9-plus.