Emily Bearn offers a selection of the best children’s books and young adult fiction of the year. From rollicking adventures to charming picture-books, these are sure to keep even the most restless kids entertained

A First Book of the Sea by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Emma Sutton ★★★★★

With a trove of classic picture books about the sea still in print, from Kermit the Hermit (Bill Peet) to Lucy and Tom at the Seaside (Shirley Hughes), it is easy for parents to ignore new titles. But this summer has washed up a particularly delightful anthology of poems by Nicola Davies, which embrace seaside nostalgia while sounding a gentle warning about our toll on the environment.

It is fair to say that…