Bedrock’s recommended books for children aged 6-14

Great ideas including the latest releases, old favourites and fresh suggestions

If you’re looking for inspiration for book ideas for your own child or someone else’s, look no further! We’ve shortlisted the very best new releases, recommended some old favourites and provided inspiration for some reads a little different from the usual choices – sorted by ages 6-8, 9-11 and 12-14 for ease.

It’s been a challenging time for all our kids and we truly believe books can help us through the toughest of times. To that end, we’ve tried to include books that deal with issues such as loss, anxiety and mental wellbeing, as well as titles with diverse characters and creators. But reading is also about escapism and fun, so there are some mood-lifting reads in there as well!

Happy reading!

Ages 6-8

Recommended new releases

The Dragon Ark: Join the Quest to Save the Rarest Dragon on Earth, by Curatoria Draconis

Curatoria Draconis (also known as Dragon Protector) is on a mission to save the rarest dragon on Earth! In this fabulous adventure, the reader travels the seven seas looking for the most incredible dragons the world has to offer. From the Ice Dragons of Antarctica to the Parvula Dragons of the Amazon, if your child loves fantasy and adventure, this one’s a must.

Bad Nana: All the Fun of the Fair, by Sophy Henn
The second installment in this deliciously wicked series is just as hilarious as the first. Bad Nana recounts the unusual adventures of a granddaughter and her grandma (who wears a sparkly pink turban and, for good measure, always carries a whoopee cushion with her). A sparkly and joyful read with messages about family ties and the benefits of being unique and brave.

Fearless Fairy Tales, by Konnie Huq and James Kay
This fabulous collection recasts the old classics for a modern generation. The results? Trumplestiltskin, a gold-loving little man who will stop at nothing to become ever richer; Mouldysocks, a young boy who could do with focusing more on personal hygiene than his iPad and Sleeping Brainy who dreams of becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer to name but a few. A fun and vibrant collection that your children will come back to time and again.

 

 

Recommended old favourites

The Night Before Christmas, by Clement Clarke Moore
This narrative poem was written in 1822 and has become an international classic. It tells the story of a visit from Father Christmas and perfectly captures the anticipation and magic of Christmas. There are beautifully illustrated versions available that are sure to become treasured family possessions.

The Great Hamster Massacre, by Kate Davis

After a lot of persuasion, Anna and her little brother Tom are finally allowed a hamster, two in fact! Unfortunately, a massacre ensues, a terrible massacre, and it is up to the siblings to find the murderer! Silly and imaginative, this hilarious read will have your kids giggling non-stop!

The Accidental Secret Agent, by Tom McLaughlin

Another hilarious read  – Kevin Twigg is your average 13 year old who just happens to swap lives with a secret agent! It soon falls to Kevin to stop an evil supervillain and save the world. The only problem? Kevin’s plans never work out! A laugh-out-loud page turner that the whole family will enjoy.

Something a little different!

Your Mood Journal: feelings journal for kids, by Fearne Cotton 

If your child has struggled with recognising or managing emotions this year, this book could be a good idea. The journal is an activity book packed full of evidence based, interactive activities, tips and ideas to help children explore their emotions, communicate effectively and be creative.

Ages 9-11

Recommended new releases

Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright! – An Animal Poem for Every Day of the Year

This beautiful treasury of 366 animal poems – one for every day of the year –  includes work by Roger McGough, Ted Hughes, Grace Nichols, Lewis Carroll, Christina Rossetti and Emily Dickinson to name but a few. The incredible illustrations by Britta Teckentrup will delight the animal lover in your life; a beautiful gift and a collection to come back to time and again.

High Rise Mystery, by Sharna Jackson

In this first of an exciting series, sisters Nik and Norva form a very likeable detective duo determined to solve a terrible crime. Set on the estate where they live, the clues start to point in a very disturbing direction… It’s a fast paced, thrilling read with a fantastic cast of supporting characters.

 

The Girl Who Speaks Bear, by Sophie Anderson 

This sublime, wintry, folkloric tale sparkles with magic on every page. As a baby, Yanka was found abandoned in a bear cave and now, forced from home, she tries to find answers about who she truly is. Her journey takes her to unknown lands where she is kept company by an ever growing list of incredible friends. Lyrical and beautifully written, this novel is grounded in fairytale and folklore but feels timeless.

Recommended old favourites

The Red Tree, by Shaun Tan

This hopeful picture book feels particularly important this year. ‘Sometimes you wake up with nothing to look forward to…’ the protagonist muses as she wanders a world that seems confusing and overwhelming. But just when she feels all hope is lost, she finds it in the most obvious of places. A lovely book to reassure and soothe during these challenging times.

The Boy at the Back of the Class, by Onjali Q Raúf
This is a beautiful novel that touches on themes of kindness, refugees and prejudice. Ahmet is a nine year old who arrives in the class as a refugee from Syria. The novel explores the impact of Ahmet’s classmates on his life and the community at large and shows the importance of challenging prejudice wherever possible. It’s a warm and important read that should show young readers the importance of kindness.

Wonder, by R J Palacio 

“You could say I’m just like any normal kid. I have a family, I have a computer, I have an Xbox…My name is August. I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse” Wonder follows the life of Auggie Pullman who has been homeschooled since he was young but is just starting a new school. He wants to be a regular kid but his new classmates can’t get past the fact that he looks different.  Wonder is authentic in its depiction of children being both mean and incredibly kind, but at its heart it’s a feel good page turner, a wonderful read!

Something a little different

Build Your Dream Team: My Greatest Football Team Ever, by Tom Fordyce

For the football lover in your life, this activity book is created by Tom Fordyce, sports journalist and co-host of That Peter Crouch Podcast. In the book, you can pick your own players, draw your kit, plan your perfect formation, even decide on celebrations! A real cracker that’s sure to have your football-mad children entertained.

 

Ages 12-14

Recommended new releases

Serpentine, by Philip Pullman
A standalone novella from the genius mind of Pullman. Lyra and her daemon Pantalaimon have left the events of the past behind, but a return to the North to visit an old friend reveals that things might not be exactly as they seem… a must for any fans of his Dark Materials and a lovely stocking filler.

Love Frankie, by Jacqueline Wilson
Frankie is nearly 14 and with her Mum’s illness and problems with bullies at school, teenage life doesn’t feel easy. But could a burgeoning friendship with mean girl Sally develop into something more? A powerful and hopeful tale, the ever-brilliant Jacqueline Wilson delivers this coming of age novel, exploring first love and sexuality.

Cane Warriors, by Alex Wheatle
This new offering from Alex Wheatle is based on the true story of an 18th century uprising on the Jamaican sugar plantations. Hailed as his best work yet, Wheatle tells the story of Moa, a 14 year old who comes to fight for the freedom of all enslaved people on the nearby plantations. A gripping, tense and powerful read.

Recommended old favourites

The girl of Ink and Stars, by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Isabella, a young cartographer, lives with her family on the island of Joya. When her best friend disappears, Isabella follows her father’s map and an ancient myth to find her, but discovers a fiery legend is also stirring… Full of myth, lyricism and magic, this book is as beautiful to look at as the tale is to read.

Northern Lights, by Phillip Pullman
Northern Lights is the first book of Pullman’s ‘His Dark Materials’ saga and has rightly become a modern classic. The story follows the journey of  Lyra Belacqua to the Arctic in search of her friend and her imprisoned uncle who have been experimenting with a material called ‘Dust.’ Lyra embarks on a quest to understand this phenomenon and in doing so uncovers secrets about her family, betrayal and the universe itself. This is an iconic and unforgettable read, one that your young reader is sure to love.

The Other Side of Truth, by Beverley Naidoo
The Guardian wrote of this novel that ‘Naidoo breaks the rules, producing books for young people which recognize that they want to know about the real world.’  This is the story of 12-year-old Sade and her brother Femi who have fled to Britain from Nigeria because their father, a political journalist, is critical of the military rulers there. Sade and Femi find themselves alone in London and what follows is a tale of humanity found amidst terror, of love and of loss. A true YA classic.

Non-fiction

Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History, by Vashti Harrison

This beautifully illustrated book would be a lovely and inspiring addition to your child’s bookshelf. The book tells the story of 50 historic and contemporary black women and their achievements. We hear of Rosa Parks and Sojourner Truth, but also of lesser known women such as abolitionist Mary Prince. This book celebrates the achievements of black women but it also paints a picture of how hard work can lead to great change in our world.

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