Indie Book Awards Shortlists

Independent Bookshop Week takes place this year between 20th and 27th June. The Indie Book Awards are a huge part of the celebrations. Chosen by independent booksellers, these are the shortlisted books for the children’s categories.

We are thrilled with these shortlists, showcasing quality writing, beautiful illustrations and stunning design. You can find out the winners during Independent Bookshop Week. Get your copies now and choose your favourites.

The List of Things That Will Not Change by Rebecca Stead

Perfect for fans of Jacqueline Wilson, this is a heartfelt and beautifully positive feel-good family drama about learning to be kind to yourself amid the ups and downs of life.

When Bea’s dad and his wonderful partner, Jesse, decide to marry, it looks as if Bea’s biggest wish is coming true: she’s finally (finally!) going to have a sister. They’re both ten. They’re both in fifth grade. Though they’ve never met, Bea knows that she and Sonia will be perfect sisters. Just like sisters anywhere, Bea thinks. But as the wedding day approaches, Bea makes discoveries that lead her to a possibly disastrous choice.

Bea is a wonderful creation. Written with an honesty that embraces a young teen’s big emotions, Bea is a fully believable and immensely loveable character. We were rooting for her from the start; following her journey and hiding behind our cushions as she made mistakes and walked head first into trouble.

Told retrospectively, and with a brilliant supporting cast of family and friends, we watch as Bea navigates her parents’ divorce and her dad’s new relationship with Jesse. Rebecca Stead writes with a brightness that lifts the characters from the page and colours their anxieties, jealousies, hopes and fears. Every emotion and injustice is haloed with intensity, as if felt for the first time by a young teenager learning to understand the new world she finds herself in.

A heartfelt and intimate celebration of love, families and friendship, this is a must read for those looking for honesty, positivity and happy endings. Perfect for 9+.

You can get your copy here.

The Lost Leopard by Jonny Marx and Xuan Le

This stunning picture book follows explorers Flora, Fauna and baby Bud on an exciting action-packed journey through beautifully illustrated environments in search of the elusive clouded leopard. They travel through varied habitats and encounter lots of wildlife, all labelled for the reader to identify.

The Lost Leopard is brilliantly interactive, with fun facts, lots to spot, flaps to lift and a beautiful gatefold pull out to enjoy as you share their adventure. As well as exploring habitats and the creatures that live there, The Lost Leopard gently encourages discussion about environmental and conservation issues, with a particular focus on litter pollution.

A beautiful book with gentle humour that reveals more with every read, this is one you will want to share over and over. Perfect for ages 5+ and environment topics.

About the book:

Join Flora and Fauna, the world’s greatest explorers as they embark on an extraordinary adventure in search of an elusive species of wild cat – the clouded leopard. With flaps and paper effects throughout who knows what marvellous things they’ll encounter along the way, or what their baby, Bud, may discover on this epic odyssey.

Hardback. You can get your copy here.

The Strangeworlds Travel Agency by L.D. Lapinski

The Strangeworlds Travel Agency is the stuff of dreams! The perfect book to escape into, it will take you on adventures to other worlds, with lush descriptions, imaginative characters and just the right amount of mild peril.

L.D. Lapinski has written a fantastic page-turner that is filled with adventure and magic, perfectly balanced by a grounding in family and friendship. There is beautifully casual inclusion of queer and non-binary characters, and the story is threaded through with an environmental theme, giving it the feel of a thoroughly modern future classic.

Their real strength is in creating incredible other-world adventures threaded through with universal truths. The Strangeworlds Travel Agency acknowledges that childhood isn’t always easy and care-free,  especially if your family is dealing with poverty and you are forced to take on adult responsibilities. But even in the hardest of times there is always room for wonder and adventure -and The Strangeworlds Travel Agency has plenty of both.

Perhaps, now more than ever, that is exactly what children need to see and read.


About the book:

Pack your suitcase for a magical adventure! Perfect for fans of Train to Impossible Places and The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club.

At the Strangeworlds Travel Agency, each suitcase transports you to a different world. All you have to do is step inside . . .

When 12-year-old Flick Hudson accidentally ends up in the Strangeworlds Travel Agency, she uncovers a fantastic secret: there are hundreds of other worlds just steps away from ours. All you have to do to visit them is jump into the right suitcase. Then Flick gets the invitation of a lifetime: join Strangeworlds’ magical travel society and explore other worlds.

But, unknown to Flick, the world at the very centre of it all, a city called Five Lights, is in danger. Buildings and even streets are mysteriously disappearing. Once Flick realizes what’s happening she must race against time, travelling through unchartered worlds, seeking a way to fix Five Lights before it collapses into nothingness – and takes our world with it.

A magical adventure for 9+ readers that will take you to whole new worlds.

You can get your copy here. Limited signed copies available here.

Gargantis by Thomas Taylor

At last! The much-anticipated sequel to Malamander is nearly here and we are SO happy to be sharing it with you all. We have SIGNED pre-orders available! Eek!

It’s a joy to be back in the world of Eerie-on-Sea amongst the characters and locations we know and love from our Malamander adventure. Dear Mrs Fossil, the delightful Erwin the cat, quirky Dr Thalassi, our beloved Jenny Hanniver, and of course, our heroes, Herbie Lemon and Violet Parma. It feels like coming home.

But there’s no time to get too comfortable amongst old friends because there are new mysterious characters appearing in Eerie-on-Sea, and a heavy dose of magic that seems to be spiralling out of control.

There’s a storm raging in Eerie-on-Sea. Has the mighty Gargantis come back from the deep…?

When an ancient bottle is found washed up on the beach after a ferocious electrical storm, all the residents of Eerie-on-Sea seem to want it … but should they in fact fear it? Legend has it that the bottle contains an extraordinary secret that spells doom for the whole of Eerie-on-Sea. Could it be true that the vast sea creature Gargantis has awoken from her slumbers, and is causing the large cracks that are appearing all across the town? Finding themselves entrusted with the bottle, Herbie and Violet discover they will need to ride the terrible storm and pacify the creature if they want to save Eerie-on-Sea from sliding into the ocean and being lost for ever.

Thomas Taylor is absolutely on form in this fantastic sequel. His clever word play is a delight to read and his world-building and character creation whisks you away in wonder.

Gargantis is an adventure mystery full of heart. It is packed with twists and turns, mysterious characters and magical beings. At its core is a story of friendship and courage, and of learning that you have the strength to face the world and to do more than you realise. It’s a celebration of children’s innate sense of justice and their belief in finding the good in the world. It is hopeful and happy and an absolute joy from start to finish.

With gorgeous cover art by the ever-talented George Ermos.

You can order your SPECIAL EDITION copy here.

Pretty Funny by Rebecca Elliott

This book is spit-your-drink-out and snort with laughter funny. And let’s face it, we all need a bit of that right now!

A riotous journey through school days and friendship dramas and surviving those horrendously embarrassing moments that feel like the end of the world, all whilst trying to break down gender barriers and break in to stand up comedy. Pretty Funny is here for you and all your self-care laughter medicine needs.

Does anyone ever really want to ‘fall’ in love? Knowing me I’ll just trip over it and graze my knee on the gravel of humiliation.
Haylah Swinton is fairly confident she’s brilliant at being a girl. 
She’s an ace best friend, a loving daughter, and an INCREDIBLY patient sister to her four-year-old total nutter of a brother, Noah. 
But she has a secret. She wants to be a stand-up comedian, but she’s pretty sure girls like her – big girls, girls who don’t get all the boys, girls who a lot of people don’t see – don’t belong on stage. 
That hasn’t stopped her dreaming though, and when the seemingly perfect opportunity to write routines for older, cooler, impossibly funny Leo arises . . . well, what’s a girl to do? But is Leo quite an interested in helping Haylah as he says he is? 
Will Haylah ever find the courage to step into the spotlight herself? And when oh when will people stop telling her she’s ‘funny for a girl’?!

We love this book!

It’s about families and first love and finding your true self… and then finding the strength to actually like and comfortably become your true self.

Rebecca Elliott has perfectly pitched the young teenage voice and created a painfully funny and realistic picture of the early teen years. It’s a joy to read and an absolute page turner.

Mostly, this is a tonic. A healthy dose of self-worth and confidence building. A hugely positive and powerful hug of a book. It shows young teens how resilient and awesome and brilliant they really are and how to hold on to that power and smash their way through life, smiling and laughing and loving themselves.

Perfect for fans of Girl Online, Tamsin Winters and Louise Rennison, and a book that should be in every secondary school library. Perfect for 12+ but there’s nothing here that wouldn’t be appropriate for discerning 10+ readers who need a good old belly laugh.

You can get your copy here.

Books That Feel Like a Big Hug

In times of uncertainty we try to find comfort in the day to day and one way many people find this is through reading.

Personally, the book I could return to time and time again is Moominland Midwinter by Tove Jansson. I am a big fan of the Moomins but there’s undoubtedly something very reassuring about being pulled into Moominvalley and exploring the magical snowy landscape with Moomintroll. The characters all feel like old friends and I know that if anything does go wrong, Moominmamma will make it all better somehow, either with her unerring patience and logic or with something useful stashed in her gigantic handbag.

Winnie the Pooh is another such book that welcomes me into a world of childhood innocence, joy and fun. The Hundred Acre Wood is the friendly yet slightly wild playground we all dreamt of and who else is of more comfort than Pooh himself? He’s a simple bear; surprisingly wise, completely at ease with himself and he always has honey on hand in case you feel a little peckish.

Another story for a slightly older audience that feels like a big hug is I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith. It’s the coming-of-age story of teenager Cassandra who lives in an old romantic castle with her eccentric family. The narrative style, relationships between characters and the romance that entails never fail to give me warm fuzzy feelings inside.

I asked our followers on social media which books brought them the greatest comfort and these either tended to be books loved at a young age which create feelings of nostalgia, stories read by adults with their children when they were little or those that had heart warming moments within providing the warm fuzzy feelings we all love.

The Harry Potter series was a very popular choice for many, especially Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. If you combine the escapism of the magical world, the excitement at rediscovering Hogwarts, the warm embrace of familiar characters like Hagrid and Dumbledore and the nostalgia associated with this series then it’s no surprise that this was the most widespread suggestion for ultimate comfort reading.

Other suggestions included books that made people laugh like Claude in the City by Alex T. Smith, magical classic picture books read repeatedly at a young age, more modern classics such as Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson or pure magical escapism such as The Enchanted Wood series by Enid Blyton.

If you’re in need of a comforting story at the moment then call the shop on 01273911988 or email us on info@booknookuk.com, talk to a member of staff and they’ll recommend something just for you. We can deliver free locally or post to anyone outside of Brighton and Hove.

Keep reading and keep safe!

Teenagers! Swap the doom and gloom for a belly laugh or two…

Are you a teenager who loves to read but is feeling the need for something light hearted? Maybe you’re a parent who thinks their teenager needs something less  gloomy to read.

We’re not saying that there’s anything wrong with sad and tragic tales of lost love and family upset, dark dystopian worlds, crazy cults or chilling crimes committed by or to teenagers  – they’re some of our bestselling YA books. In such a bizarre, and often jarring, time of self-isolation it’s feasible that you may be looking for something that might make you crack a smile or even belly laugh. If this is the case then keep reading…

Pretty Funny by Rebecca Elliot

In Haylah Swinton, Rebecca Elliot has created a loveable, flawed and fabulously feisty protagonist who’ll make you giggle and guffaw.

Haylah has always wanted to be a comedian but has never had the courage to perform. Somehow she finds herself staring out at an audience during an open mic night; oh, and the audience includes the boy she has a very big crush on.  When it all goes a little awry she is mortified but could this embarrassing situation lead to greater things?

If you’re looking for a strong and funny female protagonist, some hilariously awkward teenage exchanges and some truly endearing characters then this is the book for you.


Girl Out of Water by Nat Luurtsema

This is one of my go to recommendations for customers when they’re looking for a more light-hearted book to read.

Lou is one of the funniest narrators I’ve come across in YA books. I definitely snorted on public transport a few times whilst reading this. When her best friend Hannah sails through Olympic time trials Lou is left flailing in her wake. Her failure to qualify and the loss of her best friend sends Lou into a crazy world of underwater somersaults, talent show auditions, gossiping girls and one great big load of awkward boy chat. This is a thoroughly British teen comedy starring a hilariously flawed heroine with a quip for every occasion sure to make you giggle


Noah Can’t Even by Simon James Green

Meet Noah Grimes. He’s unpopular at school, his mother has a Beyoncé tribute act, his father is absent, he’s completely obsessed with Murder She Wrote and he has only one friend, Harry. When he gets the chance to work on a project with a popular girl, he figures this could be his chance to integrate with the normals, even get a girlfriend. However this plan comes crashing down when, instead of Noah kissing Sophie at a party, Harry kisses Noah. Cue chaos.

This book will make you laugh out loud repeatedly. Noah is endearing in spite of his many flaws and I found myself really wanting him to succeed in life. The journey he goes on with his sexuality and family feels completely natural and believable. It’s a funny and light read but the emotional moments still pack quite the punch.


Simon Vs The Homo Sapien Agenda by Becky Albertalli

Simon Spier is sixteen and trying to work out who he is – and what he’s looking for. But when one of his emails to the very distracting Blue falls into the wrong hands, things get all kinds of complicated. Because, for Simon, falling for Blue is a big deal … It’s a holy freaking huge awesome deal.

This book will give you lovely fuzzy feelings inside.  Simon is completely loveable and I spent the whole of the book just rooting for him. It is simultaneously hilarious and heart warming and I guarantee you will want to read it again.



We have stock of all of the above titles available at the moment however our staff are also able recommend a book for you or your teenager if you call the shop on 01273911988 or email us on info@booknookuk.com. Just let us know who the book is for and their age – it’s as easy as that.  

Draw Along A Lenton!

The brilliant Steven Lenton, Book Nook favourite and illustrator extraordinaire, has been keeping children young and old amused and creatively active with his #DrawAlongALenton series of ‘how to’ videos. So far these have featured a fun guide on how to draw amazing characters from his various books including Prince Grogbah from The Nothing to See Here Hotel series.

However, this week Steven has pulled in a few favours from his fellow illustrators and there will be a whole host of brilliant draw-along videos from different people including Chris Chatterton, Sophy Henn, Izzy Burton, Ben Mantle and Alice McKinley.

Make sure to follow #DrawAlongALenton on social media and get drawing. Hooray for illustrators!

We are OPEN online…!

We are OPEN online and you can reach us by calling 01273 911988, emailing info@booknookuk.com or visiting this website.

If there is a product you can’t find on our site please call the above number or email us on the above address and we will do our utmost best to source it for you.

We are adding new products daily including exclusive pre-orders for signed books and much more.

We have loved talking to our lovely customers this week and delivering/posting brilliant books out across the country.

“Books are a uniquely portable magic”