Our recommended children’s books for ages 6-14

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

If you’re in need of book suggestions for your child, look no further! We’ve trawled through the latest releases, recalled tried-and-tested old favourites and even dug out a fresh off-the-wall suggestion or two to bring you a selection of our recommended children’s books.

In immersing themselves in exciting new worlds and stimulating new vocabulary, your child will be inspired as they continue their life-long love of all things literary. Happy reading!

 

Ages 6-8

Recommended new releases

Rocket Says Look up!, by Nathan Bryan. This lovely new book follows the adventures of young Rocket, who wants everyone to train their eyes on the stars and look up at a comet that is supposed to be visible tonight. Rocket’s passion for space and joy in the world around her is infectious. A great book for space- or science-mad youngsters.

The Golden Unicorn: Secrets and Legends, by Selwyn E Phipps. For all unicorn-loving readers out there, this one is a must. The 101st president of the Magical Unicorn Society has trawled through articles, newspapers and stories passed through generations and collated them all in this volume of pure unicorn magic!

Recommended old favourites

That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown, by Cressida Cowell. If your child is particularly devoted to their toy, this one might be for you. Emily loves her toy rabbit Stanley so much that when the Queen sends one of her footmen to take Stanley, Emily refuses. When the naughty Queen steals poor Stanley, Emily has to rescue him but also teach the Queen a thing or two about how to make a toy your own. This book is really fun, with great illustrations from Neal Layton.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney. If you have a child who claims not to enjoy reading, try this one. Greg Heffley is a normal kid and this is his diary, recording all the main events and his relationships with his friends and family. Greg’s always coming up with hare-brained schemes to become more popular – bodybuilding, drawing, becoming rich – but nothing works! The illustrated diary format makes this a really accessible read and we’ve never seen it fail to engage even the most reluctant readers.

Fantastic Mr Fox, by Roald Dahl. If your child is yet to sample the delights of Roald Dahl, this is a great starting point. Mr Fox’s battle with the dastardly Boggis, Bunce and Bean is exciting, fun, silly, includes a healthy dose of adventure and risk and is everything you want from a children’s book. A perfect introduction to the world of Dahl.

Something a little different!

The Clue is in the Poo and Other Stuff Too, by Andy Seed. This non-fiction picture book is jam packed with intriguing facts for any budding wildlife enthusiasts. It encourages them to become wildlife detectives and its humour makes it a lovely addition to any bookshelf!

 

Ages 9-11

Recommended new releases

The Good Thieves, by Katherine Rundell. The setting is prohibition-era New York and our protagonist is Vita Marlowe, determined to get her beloved grandfather’s family home back from the villain Victor Sorrotore. Finding help in the unlikeliest of forms, she embarks on a mission to restore her grandfather’s home to its rightful owner. This wonderful children’s adventure is a classic heist story, set against a backdrop of glitzy hotels, simmering undercurrents and smoky speakeasies. It’s thoroughly enjoyable!

Owen and the Soldier, by Lisa Thompson. A very accessible story, both light and complex. A young boy, Owen, finds someone he can finally open up to in a crumbling park statue. But the council want to remove the statue and Owen’s terrified of losing the one person he can talk to. Can Owen find it in himself to fight for his soldier before it’s too late?

Recommended old favourites

Once, by Morris Gleitzman. The story of a young Jewish boy who is determined to escape the orphanage he finds himself in to save his parents from the Nazis. A thoroughly engaging story and a fascinating way for children to learn more about World War 2 through the eyes of a very likeable young boy.

Millions, by Frank Cottrell Boyce. Damian, the protagonist of Millions, is quietly hanging out in his hermitage constructed entirely in cardboard when £229,370 falls out of the sky and lands in his den. The next days are filled with his hilarious and thought-provoking decisions about how best to spend that money to help other people. Millions is warm, funny and touching – a brilliant read.

Matilda, by Roald Dahl. This phenomenally popular novel is at his heart, a battle between good and evil, intelligence and stupidity, greed and goodness, but it’s also just a wonderful story about a gifted child who uses her intelligence and skills to outwit the awful adults in her life. Children with a fierce sense of justice will relish this book and their parents will no doubt enjoy revisiting it too!

Something a little different

The Arrival, by Shaun Tan. This graphic novel is a series of wordless images that speak a universal truth about immigration. The immigrant must find his way in a city that is bewildering, indecipherable, and peculiar. He is helped by sympathetic strangers, each with their own history in a story of struggle, survival and ultimately, one of hope. An absolutely beautiful piece of work that inspires deep conversations about immigration and humanity.

 

Ages 12-14

Recommended new releases

The Gifted, the Talented and Me, by William Sutcliffe. 15-year-old Sam considers himself neither gifted nor talented and at 15, he isn’t a vlogger and he’s still never gone viral. He’s ok with that, until his Dad becomes rich and the family move to London. Sam becomes a pupil at the North London Academy for the Gifted and Talented and from the outset, Sam knows he’ll never belong… A brilliantly funny coming of age story. Your teenager (and you!) will love it.

The Book of Dust Volume Two: The Secret Commonwealth, by Phillip Pullman. This came out this year and in it, our hero Lyra is 20 years old. If your child has grown up with Lyra, they’ll certainly want to read this. The narrative follows Lyra across countries as she attempts to unravel a mystery. It also takes in topics as broad as the refugee crisis and fundamentalism. Note that the book contains swearing and there are references to sexual assault; this is recommended for mature teenage readers.

Recommended old favourites

A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness.  Struggling with the consequences of his mother’s illness, Conor is repeatedly visited at night by a monster who tells stories. Throughout the book, we hear these stories and they are beautiful, angry, hopeful and dark. Ness explores the themes of loss, bullying, fear and grief in this fantastic, prize-winning novel.

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman. After his family is killed, Bod is brought up in a graveyard by a cast of ghosts from many different centuries who care for him and share their wisdom. Life in the graveyard might be safe, but Bod’s forays into the world of the living are fraught with danger as he is pursued by a sinister figure. This coming-of-age book is funny, original and poetic: a must read for any young reader.

How I Live Now, by Meg Rosoff. 15-year-old Daisy – smart, stroppy and outspoken – arrives in England from New York to stay with her cousins. The setting is an English country houses, idyllic, grand and pastoral. Yet further afield there is news of war and it is against the backdrop of large scale international war that Aunt Penn has to leave to help with international peacekeeping and the children are left to fend for themselves. Chaos, disorder and something else, something a bit magical, take over as the children lose and then find their way. A powerful, thought-provoking and incredibly imaginative tale.

Non-fiction

The Undefeated, by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson. A beautifully illustrated and powerful ode to the black American experience, celebrating key figures and their achievements throughout history. References to Martin Luther King, Langston Hughes and more are deftly woven in to this powerful writing. This book draws the reader back again and again.

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