Reading Suggestions

Reading list – Easter Holidays 2017

Classic Readsbooks that have stood the test of time

The Enchanted Wood

by Enid Blyton

When Joe, Beth and Frannie move into a new home, they discover a mysterious wood on their very doorstep.

A Bear Called Paddington

by Michael Bond

Paddington, the brown bear from darkest Peru, is found by the Brown family on Paddington Station with his hat, duffel coat and marmalade sandwiches.

The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook

by Joyce Lankester Brisley

Milly-Molly-Mandy lives with her mother, father, uncle, aunt, grandmother and grandfather in a ‘nice white cottage with a thatched roof’.

Flat Stanley

by Jeff Brown

Stanley Lambchop wakes up one morning to find he is only half an inch thick

Michael Morpurgo (2013)
The naughty puppet’s story is retold from his own perspective in imitable fashion by Michael Morpurgo, with lovely drawings by Emma Chichester Clark.

How to Train Your Dragon
Cressida Cowell (2010)
The first in the successful series, which has been adapted for the cinema, is set in a fictional Viking world in which dragons are trained as pets. Perfect for tricky boy readers, as the action scenes are first-class.

Charmed Life
Diana Wynne Jones (1978)
A world of magicians and enchantments but also of castles, top hats and blue serge suits. Wynne Jones’s marvellous Chrestomanci series, flavoured with Victoriana, has been vastly influential — on J K Rowling, in particular.

The Abominables
Eva Ibbotson (2014)
Based on a draft found after the author’s death in 2010, this loveable story concerns a girl stolen from her Himalayan campsite by a yeti and taken to a secret paradise in a volcanic crater.

Mal Peet (2003)
The ultimate football novel: Mal Peet’s extraordinary debut unfolds as an interview between a sports reporter and the world’s best goalkeeper.

Emil and the Detectives
Erich Kästner (1929)
Unusually for a children’s book of the time, this charming whodunnit is set in a contemporary, realistic Berlin peopled with fairly rough types.

James and the Giant Peach
Roald Dahl (1961)
As sensuous as anything Dahl ever wrote: who could forget James eating his way into the sweet, giant peach, or his perfectly named aunts — Spiker and Sponge?

Paddington Races Ahead
Michael Bond (2012)
A recent collection of stories. Great to read to a child at bedtime, or for young readers to try for themselves.

Five on a Treasure Island
Enid Blyton, illustrated by Eileen A Soper (1951)
It was a close run thing between the Famous Five and Malory Towers, but the prize must go to the adventures of George and co. This is the first book in the series.

The Little White Horse
Elizabeth Goudge (1946)
A fantasy about a young orphan girl, Maria Merryweather.

A Wrinkle in Time
Madeleine L’Engle (1962)
Another fantasy, the first in the series about Meg Murry and the search for her missing father.

The Greengage Summer
Rumer Godden (1958)
Or try The Peacock Spring by the same author. Both are exquisite coming-of-age stories, the first set in France and the second in India, to be read by a girl in her teens.

The Knife of Never Letting Go
Patrick Ness (2008)
The first novel in the much-awarded Chaos Walking trilogy, set in a dystopian world wherein all creatures can see and hear each other’s thoughts.

How I Live Now
Meg Rosoff (2004)
Set in a future England under occupation, Meg Rosoff’s brilliant novel predated the current vogue for dystopian teenage fiction but has yet to be bettered.

The Silver Sword

by Ian Serraillier

Based on a true story, Serraillier’s book doesn’t flinch in recounting the adventures of four children as they struggle to stay alive in Nazi-occupied Europe and their desperate, epic journey from Poland to Switzerland in search of their parents.


 by David Almond

“A story of love and faith, written with exquisite, heart-fluttering tenderness. It is an extraordinarily profound book, no matter what the age of the reader,” was the verdict of the Whitbread judges who gave this the Children’s Book of the Year Award. You can’t disagree. An instant modern classic.

The Owl Service

Alan Garner

The Owl Service tells the story of Alison, Roger and Huw who discover a mysterious dinner service in the loft. This is only the first of the strange events and happenings that lead to the old Welsh legend of Blouedd (who was made of flowers and then turned into an owl after she killed her husband).

The National Trust: 50 Things to Do Before You’re 11 ¾ 

Written by Tom Percival and Illustrated by Tom Percival

It’s four years since the National Trust challenged young children to get off their sofas and do something more exciting outside, and this handy guide/scrapbook is just the thing to encourage exactly that this spring/summer.

100 Most: Unexplained Mysteries on the Planet

Written by Anna Claybourne

Think 21st century humans have explained pretty much everything there is to explain? Think again!

The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron  (Author)

Read the adventures of Chuck and David, two boys who travel to the alien planet, Basidium, in their homemade spaceship. This timeless series is a classic that is sure to be read over and over again.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Douglas Adams

Mere seconds before the Earth is to be demolished by an alien construction crew, journeyman Arthur Dent is swept off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher penning a new edition of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.”

Year 8
Hel is the daughter of a giant and a goddess, sister of a snake and a wolf, part human body, part rotting corpse. She is the Norse Queen of the Dead and this is her story. It is told with black humour and sarcasm. it is revolting, fascinating and funny- a thoroughly modern myth.
The astonishing story of a young man's quest to find justice for his father, from the Carnegie Medal-winning author of Buffalo Soldier. This is a heart-stopping tale of a young man's attempt to clear his father's name. When his father is arrested and transported to the Colonies, Caleb is left alone. After a desperate journey in search of an aunt he's never met he receives a strange, cold welcome. Then a body washes up on the nearby beach and Caleb is caught up in a terrifying net of lies and intrigue. Soon he and his new family are in mortal danger. This powerful story holds the reader in suspense as it charts the growth of a frightened boy into a brave young man.
The" New York Times "bestseller" A Long Walk to Water" begins as two stories, told in alternating sections, about two eleven-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The girl, Nya, is fetching water from a pond that is two hours walk from her home: she makes two trips to the pond every day. The boy, Salva, becomes one of the "lost boys" of Sudan, refugees who cover the African continent on foot as they search for their families and for a safe place to stay. Enduring every hardship from loneliness to attack by armed rebels to contact with killer lions and crocodiles, Salva is a survivor, and his story goes on to intersect with Nya’s in an astonishing and moving way."
Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life . . . until now.
Suddenly Willow s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.
In the tradition of Wonder, and Mockingbird, this is an intensely moving novel about being an outsider, coping with loss, and discovering the true meaning of family.
The 5th Wave is the first book in the bestselling series from award-winning Rick Yancey. Perfect for fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent and Maze Runner*

After the1st wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After 4th wave, only one rule applies: trust no one.


On a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs.
Runs from the beings that only look human, who have scattered Earth’s last survivors.To stay alone is to stay alive, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan may be her only hope.

Now Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. 13+

Year 7
Award-winning Neil Gaiman shows all his story telling skills in this gripping fusion of familiar fairy tales told in a dark-hearted version with some original characters. Especially a bold-hearted queen. Not far from where the queen lives, a princess is under the spell of an enchantress who has put a whole country to sleep. Despite it being the eve of her wedding day, the bold queen decides to take action. Slipping into her mail shirt she arms herself with her sword and sets off out of the palace accompanied by the three dwarves who will lead her through the tunnels…The dark magic, great courage and spell-binding imagination that power this story is perfectly realised in Chris Riddell’s awesome illustrations.
When Pierrot becomes an orphan, he must leave his home in Paris for a new life with his Aunt Beatrix, a servant in a wealthy household at the top of the German mountains. But this is no ordinary time, for it is 1935 and the Second World War is fast approaching; and this is no ordinary house, for this is the Berghof, the home of Adolf Hitler. Quickly, Pierrot is taken under Hitler's wing, and is thrown into an increasingly dangerous new world: a world of terror, secrets and betrayal, from which he may never be able to escape.
'It's impossible to put down: devastating and devastatingly good, one of my top three children's novels of the year so far ... A difficult story to pull off, but with his perfect pacing, lack of sentimentality and refusal to submit to a neat end, Boyne has won me over - all over again' The Times
The trip of a lifetime - that's what it was supposed to be, paid for with money Gran left thirteen-year old Sam in her will, but when the small plane taking Sam and his Dad back to the airport crashes in the jungle, Sam is left alone and terrified. As time passes with no sign of rescue, Sam grows weaker and has to dig deep to find levels of resolve and resourcefulness he never knew he had in order to survive. Desperate and close to giving up, Sam's spirits are lifted by the arrival of an otter cub whose companionship and loyalty give Sam the strength he needs to keep going. But when disaster strikes, Sam has to make the hardest decision of his life. Can Sam save his friend and make it out of the jungle alive?
Denizen Hardwick is more of an orphan that the other orphans at Crosscaper. At least they know where they come from. He only has his birthday and his name. Until a visitor arrives that changes everything. Brilliantly written, with a nuanced and loveable supporting cast, and terrifying yet three-dimensional monsters, Knights of the Borrowed Dark is the kind of book you push on other people so you can talk about it more. The characters feel actively real, and their struggles and heart-breaks, human and fantastical stick with you. A darker, creepier Harry Potter, perhaps?
The captivating debut children's novel from popular television historian Lucy Worsley is an exciting and charming glimpse behind the scenes of the Tudor court. Eliza Rose Camperdowne is young and headstrong, but she knows her duty well. As the only daughter of a noble family, she must one day marry a man who is very grand and very rich. But Fate has other plans. When Eliza becomes a maid of honour, she's drawn into the thrilling, treacherous court of Henry the Eighth ...Is her glamorous cousin Katherine Howard a friend or a rival? Can a girl choose her own destiny in a world ruled by men?
The Crossover is original and absolutely stunning, both visually and emotionally, it’s also an award winner, and deserves to be. First published in the United States in 2014 and described perfectly as a novel-in-verse, this is a story about basketball playing twins, Josh and Jordan. This is a remarkably beautiful and accessible read, at times to even read out loud, the sounds resonating and rolling from the page. This style really encourages feeling and understanding ,leading to full immersion in the story. Fresh, funny and heart achingly sad, ‘The Crossover’ is a dynamic, vital and gripping story,

Year 6
This story of a young orphan girl feels part of a tradition going back to Eva Ibbotson, or even Frances Hodgson Burnett. It’s 1912 and Idie is a fierce young woman – with no parents she’s had to be – and she’s more than able to cope when she is suddenly called ‘home’ from England to the Caribbean Humming Bird Island, and installed as mistress of a grand old house. At first her closest companions are her horse and parakeet, but she soon makes friends with the people of the house and island, and they help her unravel the mystery of her family and past. With a cast of eccentric characters, a beautiful, exotic setting and drawing on overlooked but fascinating stories from history too, this is a rich and rewarding read.
Welcome to a world where nothing is quite as it seems. If you enjoy adventure, mystery and an avalanche of magic, then you've come to the right place! This is an uncommonly good and magical tale of Ivy's adventures in Lundinor, a spellbinding city underneath London where ordinary objects have amazing powers. It is the first in a planned fantasy trilogy called The Uncommoners for anyone with a Hogwarts-shaped hole in their life. Are you ready for an uncommon adventure?
Deeply moving and utterly gripping, Bubble Boy is a stunning novel that makes you laugh and cry…and think. Joe lives in a sterile world. Wired up to monitors and drips, he can’t remember ever having left his hospital room. Even his visitors are a potential risk in case they bring in infections. Everyone cares for Joe by keeping him as enclosed as it is possible to be. But then he has a visitor who has a quite different view of what Joe’s life should be like. Suddenly Joe’s world is full of information about the world outside and his dreams of going out grow bigger and bigger. Can Joe ever fulfil his dream? Debut author Stewart Foster carries off an astonishing feat of storytelling in this exceptional book.
Classic fantasy adventure of the sort that Lene Kaaberbøl has created here fulfils our deep-rooted need for stories of heroism and bravery, of the underdog finding the strength to defeat enemies apparently much stronger. A strange encounter with a huge black cat changes Clara’s life and opens up a whole new world for her as a wildwitch. It isn’t easy and Clara resents her new obligations, until an encounter with evil forces her to reach inside herself and discover her real powers. It’s a thrilling story, well told, the action and Clara’s growing understanding of herself woven cleverly together
Moll Pecksniff and her friends are living as outlaws in a secret cave by the sea, desperate to stay hidden from the Shadowmasks. But further along the coast lies the Amulet of Truth, the only thing powerful enough to force the Shadowmasks back and contain their dark magic. So, together with Gryff, the wildcat that’s always by her side, and her best friends Alfie and Sid, Moll must sneak past smugglers, outwit mer creatures and crack secret codes to save the Old Magic. With more at stake than ever before and the dark magic rising fast, can Moll and her friends stop the Shadowmasks before it’s too late?
'Reminded me of the very best of the Harry Potter books' Piers Torday, author of The Last Wild
11-year-old Rose is autistic and struggles to understand her classmates. But when her father gives her a stray dog, which she names Rain, the dog becomes her best friend, her anchor in a confusing world. So when Rain goes missing during a storm, Rose refuses to stop looking for her...A touching story from the beloved author of The Babysitters Club.
11-year-old Caitlin lives on a tiny island in the middle of nowhere with her mother (a former marine biologist) while her dad (a famous astro-biologist) goes on book tours around the world. The kids in her class don’t like her and she can’t reveal to her parents that she’s not as smart as they are and gets terrible grades.
So when Caitlin finds a tiny alien after a terrible storm and meteor shower, she is absolutely delighted. Even though the alien is small, covered in strange symbols and is capable of growing extra limbs and doubling in size, she thinks it’s her chance to have the little brother she’s always wanted and decides to teach him everything she knows. The only problem is that Perijee won’t stop growing and when he gets angry or scared, problems really begin….
Ross Montgomery’s standalone novel is an absolute gem – warm, witty and sharp in its observations about how human nature can match darkness with kindness. Caitlin is a delightful character, kind but lonely and terribly afraid of letting down her high achieving parents and she is mirrored in the wonderful Perijee who is similarly frightened and lonely and desperate to go home.

Year 5
Ned’s Circus of Adventures don’t come more action-packed than Ned’s Circus of Marvels and anyone who enjoys Harry Potter will find that it hits the spot. Our hero Ned is very like Harry, an apparently super-ordinary boy, who discovers that he has special powers and great strength of character. Just as well too as he’s called on to be a real hero when he’s snatched away from home and into a strange world full of magical creatures. In between battles and narrow escapes, there’s some humour.
The day the Melkerson family arrive on Seacrow Island, it's a bit of a shock to their system. It's so quiet there-none of the shops and bustle they're used to. And the cottage they've rented for the summer is a little bit well ...basic. But what Seacrow Island does have is woods to wander in, fish to catch, boats to sail in, and all kinds of animals. And before long they find it has even more important things, too-adventure, fun, exploration, friends. Perhaps it's going to be leaving that's the really hard thing?
Perfect for fans of Wimpy Kid and Barry Loser, the third book in Stephan Pastis's bestselling Timmy Failure series sees Timmy striving for greatness once more - with unexpected consequences! Hilarious drawings add to the humour and make this book ideal for boys and girls aged 9+. Timmy's detective agency is on the verge of global domination. Global riches. Global fame. And yet the gods are throwing him curveballs: for starters, he's on a trial period at school and to keep his place he has to get good grades and really behave. The fabled Miracle report will be the key to his success. It's dirty business. It's best you know nothing. But one thing is for sure - Timmy Failure will be triumphant again!
The Blythes are a big, warm, rambunctious family who live on a small farm and sometimes foster children. Now Prez has come to live with them. But, though he seems cheerful and helpful, he never says a word.Then one day Prez answers the door to someone claiming to be his relative. This small, loud stranger carries a backpack, walks with a swagger and goes by the name of Sputnik.As Prez dithers on the doorstep, Sputnik strolls right past him and introduces himself to everyone in the household. Prez is amazed at the response. The family pat Sputnik on the head, call him a good boy and drop food into his mouth. It seems they all think Sputnik is a dog. It's only Prez who thinks otherwise. It turns out that Sputnik is writing a guidebook to Earth called Ten Things Worth Doing on Earth, and he takes Prez on a journey to discover just those ten things. Each adventure seems to take Prez nearer to the heart of the family he is being fostered by. But they also take him closer to the day that he is due to leave them forever . . .
A touching tale...with wild humour and panache (The Telegraph)

Year 4
This is a delightful, funny and exciting story about a special friendship between two people from different worlds – a giant and a child. As the story develops it shows how trust and love develops between them. It also shows that bullying must not be tolerated and Dahl is at his might best here by eventually ensuring the big bad giants get their comeuppance whilst the big friendly giant wins the day alongside the little girl Sophie. The text is perfectly complemented with illustrations by Quentin Blake.
A wonderful selection of 27 holiday stories to read and share by one of the world's best-loved children's authors, Enid Blyton. School's out! So go on a picnic, visit the seaside or throw coconuts at the fair in this enchanting collection of stories perfect for summer holidays
Walter Brown and the Magician's Hat is a magical story bursting with adventure and excitement. Walter is woken on his 10th birthday by his cat Sixpence, and as he opens his presents he receives a rather special hat, with some rather special abilities. When some video game monsters run amok in Walter’ house, he needs all the help he can get! Black and grey illustrations bring the story to life, and Sixpence in particular looks very real and more than a little mischievous. Amusing, imaginative and entertaining, this story is a perfectly magical treat.
At a time when children are accused of disconnecting from the natural world Julia Green’s story of kids protecting their patch of wilderness is particularly important. The scruffy woods at the end of his street mean a lot to Noah. It’s more than just a place for him and his friends to play away from adult supervision. Noah needs that connection to the wild world, and when he sees a For Sale sign go up he feels physically sick. His friends feel just as strongly and a war against the developers breaks out before the children discover that the law can protect what matters to them. An exciting, often funny story, with a lovely sense of why nature is so important for us all.

Year 3
This lovely story is about a little girl who finds the courage to go on an adventure and learns about animals, making friends and being brave. Tiger Days is nervous when her mum and dad tell her that her grandmother May Days has invited her to stay in her new house. May Days has been living in Africa since Tiger was a baby and they’ve never met. Her house is unusual too, May has lots of work to do on it and when Tiger arrives she discovers they’ll be sleeping in a tent in the garden. There are more surprises, including a baby warthog who needs looking after, and a cheeky white cat too. There’s lots to learn from animals and Tiger gets braver and happier as the days go by. The start of a new series this is gentle, touching, funny, just right for young animal fans.
In four words: secret worlds - adventure – magic There are echoes of Narnia in this exciting adventure which begins with two children finding a door into another world, not in a wardrobe, but in an abandoned workshop full of old railway paraphernalia. Behind the door Ella and Leo find a magic steam train, powered by squirrels and driven by a young man called Barty Buckle. The children are vital to the kingdom of Izzambard: only if they can find missing special objects will its magic return. The story is full of intriguing and original scenes and will sweep readers along while Ella and Leo are thoroughly appealing characters.
(EASY 7+)
Chickens ... we've got a cobra problem!
Danger is looming over Cluckbridge Town. A cobra has escaped from the local zoo and is after the local birdlife. And if that isn't bad enough, the dastardly Most Wanted Club are back and causing trouble, too.
Can Agent Cluckbucket and the Elite Chicken Squad vapourise the cobra's venom and keep the birds of Cluckbridge safe?
From the award-winning author of the Atticus Claw series.

Laugh-out-loud. (Sunday Times)
A magical new series with a twist as much-loved fairy tale characters such as Jack, Rapunzel and Red come together for gentle adventures in the imaginative and evocative world of the Deep Dark Woods. Engaging illustrations help bring the story of trolls and other fairy tale familiars to life. Younger readers new to chapter books will soon lose themselves in the stories, as will those adult readers longing for more Magic Faraway tales!

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