STUCK for something to read? Unsure what to spend your Christmas book tokens on?

To inspire you, here’s our round up of the best reads, new and old favourites, for 2018.


I know nine-year-olds who still adore the Supertato stories. Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet are back with Supertato: Evil Pea Rules (Simon & Schuster), a delightfully daft tale of war in the supermarket freezers. It’s very funny, although it might put your children off peas for life. Also, one-to-watch picture book talent Claire Powell teams up with Michelle Robinson for Have You Seen My Giraffe? (Simon & Schuster), an endearing little story about a girl who wins a giraffe at a fun fair and then has to hide him at home.


Sara Ogilvie, she of Dogs Don’t Do Ballet fame, is back, this time teaming up with awardwinning author Pip Jones for Izzy Gizmo (Simon & Schuster), a brilliant and funny story about a young inventor who tries to help a crow with a broken wing. Rudyard Kipling’s Just So Stories remain a classic read (Macmillan) and for something a little bit different, introduce the kids to the genius of poet Roger McGough in Fish Dream of Trees (and Other Curious Verses), featuring vain dragons, hiccupping elephants and children-eating plants (Macmillan).


Dragon’s Green (Canongate) is the first children’s book (aimed at nine to 12-year-olds) from Scarlett Thomas and it has been described as the most exciting debut in the genre since J K Rowling introduced the world to Harry Potter. There’s magic in this one too as a young girl called Effie Truelove, a pupil at the Tusitala School for the Gifted, Troubled and Strange, tries to keep her grandfather’s magical books safe from danger. Who would have thought David Walliams would have been able to come up with consistently brilliant, funny and touching books for young children? After the success of the likes of Gangsta Granny and Awful Auntie, his latest – Bad Dad (Harper Collins) – is a fast and furious, cops and robbers adventure with heart and soul, all about a father and son taking on the villainous Mr Big…


Exciting news for fans of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy – 17 years on, there’s a new book, set in the same world. Book of Dust: Part One - La Belle Sauvage (Random House)is a story of survival, where two children, with everything at stake, find themselves pursued by a terrifying evil. In their care is a tiny child called Lyra…And talking of welcome returns, teen spy Alex Rider returns in Anthony Horowitz’s explosive new adventure story Never Say Die (Walker Books) Alex Rider is back in this brand new, explosive mission in the number one bestselling series. Once again, Alex is trying to get his life back on track, and once again, danger and deadly secrets thwart him at every turn…


Greenock-born author Lin Anderson, who co-founded crime writing festival Bloody Scotland, is back with a brilliant tale of murder in the mountains. Follow the Dead (Macmillan) is the twelfth book to feature Dr Rhona Macleod and this time, the intrepid forensic scientist is investigating a mysterious plane crash on Cairngorm summit – one for fans and new readers alike. Talking of thrilling reads from west of Scotland writers, check out A Necessary Evil by Abir Mukherjee, in which Captain Wyndham and Sergeant Banerjee of the Calcutta Police Force investigate the dramatic assassination of a Maharajah’s son in 1920s India.

A distinctly unsettling ghost story, The Silent Companions (Raven Books) by Laura Purcell is all about Elsie, newly-widowed and pregnant, living alone at her husband’s creepy, crumbling country estate. A locked room, a 200-year-old diary and a seriously spooky painted wooden figure which bears a striking resemblance to the heroine herself would have most people fleeing for the hills, but Elsie sticks it out and the result will send proper shivers down your spine.

If you liked the recent TV adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s brilliant book, The Handmaid’s Tale (recently re-issued in a beautifully designed hardback version by Penguin Random House) watch out for a new Netflix mini-series based on her classic Alias Grace (Bloomsbury), which has been re-issued in hardback. The thrilling story delves into the life of one of the most notorious women of the 19th century.


Who doesn’t love a new cookbook? Look out for Smitten Kitchen Every Day, from blogger Deb Perelman (Square Peg) which cuts through fussy ingredients and complicated claptrap to bring decent, no-nonsense recipes; and At My Table: A Celebration of Home Cooking (Vintage) by the mighty Nigella Lawson, back with a crowd-pleasing collection of dishes and intriguing-sounding ingredients. Aubergine Fattet, anyone?

Kick-start your 2018 resolution-keeping with a leaf through The Garden Farmer by Francine Raymond (Square Peg) a gentle journal and monthly guide to getting the most out of your garden; and rediscover the muso within with Allan Jones’s Can’t Stand Up for Falling Down (Bloomsbury), a poignant, powerful and sometimes hilarious romp through the former Uncut editor’s experiences as a music journalist.