With World Book Day 2022 now behind us, we were thrilled to see how inspired kids can be from the stories they read. From being encouraged to follow their dreams, to appreciating the special bond between family, we’ve compiled our list of 10 Trending Kids’ Books of March ’22.
1. The Boy at the Back of the Class, Onjali Q. Rauf (2018)
There used to be an empty chair at the back of my class, but now a new boy called Ahmet is sitting in it.
He’s nine years old (just like me), but he’s very strange. He never talks and never smiles and doesn’t like sweets – not even lemon sherbets, which are my favourite!
But then I learned the truth: Ahmet really isn’t very strange at all. He’s a refugee who’s run away from a War. A real one. With bombs and fires and bullies that hurt people. And the more I find out about him, the more I want to help.
That’s where my best friends Josie, Michael and Tom come in. Because you see, together we’ve come up with a plan. . .
Winner of the 2019 Blue Peter Book Award, Onjali Q. Rauf’s The Boy at the Back of the Class is a child’s perspective on the ongoing refugee crises, highlighting the importance of friendship and kindness in an unfair world that doesn’t always make sense.
The story’s impactful message resonates with children around the world and has recently been added to UK curriculums to demonstrate the importance of compassion, empathy and togetherness. Its powerful message has even recently inspired primary school pupils in Bishop’s Stortford to complete a 10-mile walk in aid of Refugee Action, raising an impressive £1,000, as the importance of love and compassion continues to be spread around classrooms.
2. The Dream Team: Jaz Santos vs. The World, Priscilla Mante (2021)
Ola! I’m Jasmina Santos-Campbell (but you can call me Jaz). You’ve probably heard of me and my football team the Bramrock Stars before. No? Well, you will soon because we’re almost famous!
Forming the Stars was my genius idea – you see I need to prove to Mae (that’s my mum!) that I’m a football star so she’ll want to come back home.
The idea was the easy part, though. Now I’ve got a team of seven very different girls and we need to work together, to be taken seriously as footballers. We are the DREAM TEAM and we’re going to show the world that girls CAN play football!
February marked the conclusion of the inaugural Arnold Clark Cup, hosted by some of the UK’s largest football stadiums, celebrating the highest-ranked teams in the women’s game. England captain Leah Williamson lifted the trophy in front of tens of thousands of fans, simultaneously inspiring girls across the world to follow in her footsteps. With women’s football finally starting to get the long-overdue respect and coverage it deserves, Priscilla Mante’s first book in her brilliant Dream Team series looks to ignite the next generation of female footballing talent.
It features young Jaz Santos on her quest for footballing success with her newly formed team while battling the stresses of family life and society’s prejudices. Jaz shows that with passion, self-belief and teamwork anything is possible. With the second instalment of the Dream Team series due to be released in May 2022, there’s no better time to dive into the world of Bramrock Stars and follow Jaz on her hunt for glory.
3. Not That Pet!, Smriti Halls (2021)
Hooray! Mabel and her family are getting a pet! There’s no time to lose! But which kind of animal should they choose? Not the snake – it’s too scary. The elephant’s too big. The worms are too wriggly and the hyena too giggly. Then Mabel has the perfect idea. But will her family agree? A laugh-out-loud rhyming story about finding the perfect pet – with plenty of hilarious twists along the way.
Award-winning author Smriti Halls returns with another wonderful story, perfect for young animal lovers looking to explore the wonders of a furry best friend. The playful rhyming format coupled with the fun and mischief of Mabel’s search for the perfect companion makes this book ideal for family storytimes.
The hilarious twist and turns have cemented it as one of the most popular children’s books since its release. But just wait for the ending! Smriti Halls never fails to create fantastically engaging children’s stories, and works closely with the impressive Bedtime Stories Prison Project; aimed at keeping incarcerated parents connected with their children through storytelling.
4. White Bird, R J Palacio (2019)
To the millions of readers who fell in love with R J Palacio’s Wonder, Julian is best-known as Auggie Pullman’s classroom bully.
White Bird reveals a new side to Julian’s story, as Julian discovers the moving and powerful tale of his grandmother, who was hidden from the Nazis as a young Jewish girl in occupied France during the Second World War.
An unforgettable, unputdownable story about strength, courage and the power of kindness to change hearts, build bridges, and even save lives, from the globally bestselling author of Wonder.
Following the spectacular screenplay success of R.J Palacio’s heart-warming Wonder, this next instalment builds on the Auggie & Me collection by focussing on Julian, Auggie’s bully, as his grandmother tells him the story of being a young Jewish girl hidden away in Nazi-occupied France during the Second World War. R.J Palacio’s graphic novel debut powerfully encapsulates the intense tragedy of the holocaust, providing a touching but educational account of the resilient strength of millions of Jewish families during WW2.
White Bird is following suit by making the jump from page to screen, with a film starring Gillian Anderson and Helen Mirren set to hit our screens in September 2022. So there’s still plenty of time to appreciate this incredibly touching story in preparation for the big release.
5. Dogman, Dav Pilkey (2016)
Dr Dilbert Dinkle started his career as an ordinary, everyday evil genius/inventor/bank robber. But when he awakens one day transformed into a walking, talking puddle of pee, he vows to destroy every toilet in town. Will the devious Dr Dinkle and his conniving cat, Petey, ruin restrooms for the rest of us?
Sticking with adaptations of graphic novels; Dav Pilkey’s ever-popular award-winning Dog Man has recently hit the stage with its own musical. The Wharton Center in Michigan announced the comical family-friendly musical will aim to get kids engaged in musical theatre.
From the creator of Captain Underpants, Dav Pilkey has recently released the eighth instalment in the Dog Man series, and with murmurs of a potential screenplay adaptation also on the horizon, Dog Man is still trending high on our list. This outrageously hilarious series is a fantastic route into older kids’ reading, and brilliant for any reluctant readers.
6. Let’s Go! On a Digger, Rosalyn Albert (2020)
An educational yet entertaining adventure in the brilliant ‘Let’s Go!’ series, Rosalyn Albert knows first-hand the importance of engaging with diverse children’s books. Energised by her young daughters’ passion for travel and exploration, Rosalyn Albert was inspired to create her own book series aimed to encourage kids to follow their own interests and loves, no matter what they might be.
This story features a young girl, as she and her two friends drive a big yellow digger around a building site. But don’t worry if your little one doesn’t love diggers, the ‘Let’s Go!’ series also includes fabulous adventures on rockets, ferries, tractors and trains. So there really is a Rosalyn Albert story for everyone!
7. The Racehorse Who Learned to Dance, Clare Balding (2019)
Noble Warrior has certainly earned his name: he won the Derby against all odds and bested a bunch of nasty kidnappers. But now Noddy is facing his greatest challenge yet… Charlie’s best friend Polly is still recovering from an accident that left her almost paralysed. But Polly has a real talent with horses – and she and Charlie are determined not to let it go to waste. Can the two best friends find a way to make Polly’s equestrian dreams come true, and forge a new path for the racehorse who wouldn’t gallop?
With The Cheltenham Festival and The Grand National reigniting the horse racing calendar throughout March and April, broadcaster turned author Clare Balding’s third book in this brilliant series beautifully encapsulates the bond between animals and humans.
The series follows horse-mad Charlie and her best friend Polly as they try to fulfil their equestrian dreams. This heart-warming story has a real female-empowerment message throughout, perfect for inspiring kids to follow their passions and to never give up.
8. The Day I Fell into a Fairytale, Ben Miller (2020)
Lana loves stories. Especially the ones she and her brother, Harrison, share in their make-believe games. But when Harrison decides he’s too grown-up to play with Lana she finds herself feeling lonely. Until something magical happens… Hidden in the strange new supermarket in town, Lana discovers a portal to a fairytale world! But these aren’t the happy-ever-after fairytales that Lana knows, they are darker and more dangerous, and the characters need Lana’s help to defeat an evil witch. But she can’t do it alone. Can she convince Harrison to believe in stories again and journey to the world with her. . . before it’s too late?
A twist on traditional fairy tales, Ben Miller’s story within a story wonderfully captures the beautiful, yet sometimes challenging, relationship between brother and sister.
As with all multitalented Ben Miller’s books; the characters take inspiration from his own children, with Lana finding herself engrossed in a fairy tale world needing to convince her brother, Harrison, to believe in the power of stories once more.
This book is perfect for escaping into a magical adventure, but with a strong moral message around family bond and loyalty throughout.
9. The Bad Guys: Episodes 1 and 2, Aaron Blabey (2015)
They sound like the Bad Guys, they look like the Bad Guys… and they even smell like the Bad Guys. But Mr Wolf, Mr Piranha, Mr Snake and Mr Shark are about to change all of that – whether you want them to or not! Mr Wolf has a daring plan for the Bad Guys’ first good mission. The gang are going to break 200 dogs out of the Maximum Security City Dog Pound. Will Operation Dog Pound go smoothly? Will the Bad Guys become the Good Guys? And will Mr Snake please stop swallowing Mr Piranha?
This year marks seven years since the first publication of Aaron Blabey’s side-splitting potty-humour hit ‘The Bad Guys’ immersed readers around the world in this hysterical graphic novel. 14 books later, and with two more already confirmed to be on the way in 2022, Mr Wolf and the gang are finally getting their very own animated movie!
Set to be released in April 2022, the Universal Pictures comedy has a hit cast including Sam Rockwell and Richard Ayoade, and we certainly cannot wait! It goes without saying that The Bad Guys books are about to soar in popularity, so if your kids missed out the first time around, now is the perfect opportunity to jump into a truly hilarious series.
10. The What the Ladybird Heard Story Play, Julia Donaldson (2021)
The bestselling picture book What the Ladybird Heard by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks has been adapted into a special story play for World Book Day 2021 – so you can join in the fun! Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len are two crafty robbers with a cunning plan to steal the farmer’s fine prize cow. But little do they know that the tiniest, quietest creature of all has overheard their plot, and she has a plan of her own…
Any trending kids’ book list wouldn’t be complete without former Children’s Laureate and one of Britain’s most renowned children’s authors, Julia Donaldson. Having written over 200 books, Julia Donaldson has been consistently at the top of every kids’ reading list for as long as we can remember! The classic first book in the wonderfully funny ‘What the Ladybird Heard’ series was adapted into an engaging and easy-to-read story play for World Book Day 2021.
A year on and the adaptation is still as popular as ever, with kids still loving to share their parts with friends and family, and even planning their very own play. Another Julia Donaldson’s modern classic ‘The Gruffalo’ has recently inspired a multi-million-pound attraction at Twycross Zoo, with the four-acre ‘Gruffalo Discovery Land’ set to open this Spring. We can’t wait to see one of our all-time favourites come to life!
That concludes our list of 10 Trending Kids’ Books March ’22. How many of these are current family favourites in your home? Or perhaps we’ve inspired the next story-time adventure? Let us know your comments down below.