Children's Must-Read Lists

  • AWI2 11 years +
    11 years +
    • £3.99
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    With her book A Wrinkle in Time, gifted children's author Madeleine L'Engle has created an absorbing science fiction novel that revolves around the likeable, misfit characters of Meg and her brother, Charles.

    Criticised by her teachers for doing badly at school and worried about her missing father, Meg is struggling with how wrong her life is when events take a mysterious turn. Together with Charles and her friend Calvin, she stumbles upon a gap in time through which the children embark on an amazing and dangerous adventure.

    A gripping read for any young adult fiction fan aged 11+ who have ever felt like the odd one out!
  • RJP2 11 years +
    RJ Palacio
    11 years +
    (13)
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    A poignant book that made all of us laugh and cry in equal measure, R.J. Palacio's Wonder is told using different voices but at its centre is the honest and courageous character of 10-year-old August, a boy who was born with a severe facial disfigurement.

    August is about to start middle school after being home-schooled by his mum for years. The challenge is a tough one for someone like August and he has to tackle bullies and childish cruelty in his journey. But August's resilience, humour and bravery really shine through, making this an uplifting novel that will linger in the reader's thoughts for a long time to come.
  • TMU2 11 years +
    11 years +
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    Winner of the Carnegie Medal, Tamar is Mal Peet's astonishing novel about love, lies and secrets in a time of war.

    When her grandfather dies, Tamar inherits a box containing a series of clues and coded messages. Out of the past, another Tamar emerges, a man involved in the terrifying world of resistance fighters in Nazi-occupied Holland half a century earlier.

    His story is one of passionate love, jealousy and tragedy set against the daily fear and casual horror of the Second World War. Unravelling it will transform the younger Tamar's life...
  • PYM2 11 years +
    11 years +
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    Nine-year-old Bruno knows nothing of the Final Solution and the Holocaust. He is oblivious to the appalling cruelties being inflicted on the people of Europe by his own country, his own father. All he knows is that he has been moved from a comfortable home in Berlin to a house in a desolate area where there is nothing to do and no one to play with. Until he meets Shmuel, a boy who lives a strange parallel existence on the other side of the adjoining wire fence and who, like the other people there, wears a uniform of striped pyjamas.

    Bruno's friendship with Shmuel will take him from innocence to revelation. And in exploring what he is unwittingly a part of, he will inevitably become subsumed by the terrible process.

    John Boyne's The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is poignant, heart-warming and illustrates how friendship knows no boundaries - a beautiful book!
  • FUL2 13 years +
    13 years +
    (7)
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    John Green, the author of Looking for Alaska and Paper Towns, is one of the most popular voices in contemporary young adult fiction and The Fault in Our Stars became an instant classic.

    You will probably have been in tears watching the big-screen adaptation that starred Shailene Woodley and Ansel Engort as the devoted teenage lovers Hazel Grace Lancaster and Augustus Waters and the book is just as heart-wrenching and poignant, but keeps a fine line in self-depreciating humour - especially from the wise-beyond-her-years Hazel.

    After meeting at a cancer support group, the cynical sufferer Hazel unexpectedly finds herself falling for the charms of Augustus and the novel follows the two as their relationship develops - taking in a romantic trip to Amsterdam in the process.

    Full of wit, sensitivity and observations about life and illness, this profound book will make readers of any age (especially teens) laugh and cry in equal measure.
  • 6DYG 11 years +
    11 years +
    (4)
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    Anne Frank's The Diary of a Young Girl is a haunting book that will stay with the reader for ever. Thirteen-year-old Anne spent two years in hiding during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Her diary combines honesty and humour with typical teenage enthusiasm, but ultimately it's a harrowing and poignant read as it ends abruptly when she and her family are discovered by the Nazis and taken to a concentration camp. Suitable for readers from 11+.

    This children's book has been hand-picked for you by Red House.
  • AYDLA 14 years +
    14 years +
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    A powerful and brave YA novel about what prejudice looks like in the 21st century. Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl's struggle for justice. Movie rights have been sold to Fox, with Amandla Stenberg (The Hunger Games) to star.

    Joint winner of the British Book Award Children's Book of the Year 2018

    This title has been shortlisted for 2018's CILIP Carnegie Medal.
  • AXZ2 11 years +
    11 years +
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    Joe has never been 'cool' or 'hot' - he'd rather slog over a brand new recipe than spend hours obsessing over an Instagram image. When dating app Mate Match is launched to connect with teens at other schools, suddenly Joe has got to learn the rules of the dating game and big sister Georgia and her boyfriend Aaron are on hand to teach him everything he needs to know. And it seems the trick to success is to lie - about being in a band, about his hobbies (no cooking to be mentioned!), even his name. But when Joe gets matched with self-obsessed stunner Tania, his lies look set to unravel fast. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+
  • DAM2 11 years +
    11 years +
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    For a pimples-and-all look at teenage life, The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 has it covered. Spots, embarrassing parents, unrequited love, bullies and bad poetry feature in abundance in Sue Townsend's modern classic.

    Loveable outsider Adrian Mole's pseudo-intellectual observations on all aspects of teenage life will have young adult readers in stitches, but there are some thoughtful and sensitive observations that will strike a chord, too.

    A simply fantastic and very funny book from the much-missed Sue Townsend that introduced one of the most-loved characters of recent times.
  • AAAWZ 11 years +
    11 years +
    (2)
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    When a baby escapes a murderer intent on killing the entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead. But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him - after all, he is the last remaining member of the family. A stunningly original novel deftly constructed over eight chapters, featuring every second year of Bod's life, from babyhood to adolescence. Will Bod survive to be a man?

  • HOZ2 11 years +
    Louis Sachar
    11 years +
    (2)
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    Award-winning author Louis Sachar is a terrific storyteller who always has an original and interesting perspective.

    Holes tells the story of Stanley Yelnats, whose family has a history of bad luck. Stanley's not too surprised when he's sent to a juvenile detention centre in Texas for a crime he didn't commit, but even he can't believe that all he and the other boys have to do is dig holes all day.

    Before long, Stanley realises that what he must actually uncover is the truth... Readers from 11+ who love a good story will find this totally unputdownable.
  • URI2 13 years +
    13 years +
    (1)
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    The narrator of Mark Haddon's The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is 15-year-old Christopher who has a form of autism called Asperger's Syndrome.

    His obsessive and unusual take on life creates lots of hilarious situations but also brings incredible poignancy to the story. Christopher finds it hard to relate to people, particularly their emotions and feelings, so when he finds a dead dog and decides to solve the mystery of its death, his quest leads him into a difficult and unfamiliar territory that threatens to upset his carefully ordered existence.

    This is an intriguing and insightful novel that will appeal to readers from 13+.
  • MCX2 11 years +
    11 years +
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    The winner of both the Carnegie Medal and Kate Greenaway Medal in 2012, Chaos Walking author Patrick Ness' A Monster Calls is an extraordinarily moving novel about the difficult subject of terminal illness and coming to terms with loss.

    Based on an idea by the late Siobhan Dowd, this is an unforgettable read. 'The monster showed up just after midnight. As they do...' is how the book begins, but it isn't the monster Conor's been expecting. He's been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he's had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments. This monster is something different - something ancient and something wild.

    Now an acclaimed film starring Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver and Liam Neeson, A Monster Calls is a heartbreakingly beautiful read.
  • NOU2 12 years +
    12 years +
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    Praised by Benjamin Zephaniah and widely regarded as one of the most inspiring and influential teen series of recent years, former Children's Laureate Malorie Blackman's Noughts and Crosses is a book that tackles prejudice, racism, distrust and terrorism.

    Sephy and Callum have been friends since they were both very young and despite their feelings for each other indicating they want something more, that's as far as it can go...

    However, romance cannot be stopped even in a world full of anger, division and separation. Their love story ends up leading them both into terrible danger...
  • AIIJK
    (2)
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    Stanley's dad hasn't been the same since his wife died and his eldest son went off to fight in the war. Now Stanley is either invisible to his dad or the object of one of his rages, and his only friend is his dad's prizewinning greyhound, Rocket. But one day Rocket escapes, and the result is a litter of non-thoroughbred puppies that Da says will all have to be drowned, even Stanley's favourite puppy, Solider. Stanley is so angry with his father that he runs away and enlists in the army to train as a messenger dog handler, and despite being far too young he's soon heading to France with a great Dane called Bones by his side. As the fighting escalates and Stanley experiences the horrors of war, he comes to realise that the loyalty of his dog is the one thing he can rely on. But his father hasn't given up on him, and extraordinary circumstances will bring them together once more ...
  • Red Queen Collection - 3 Books - Collection - 9781407251158 - Victoria Aveyard
    VICA 13 years +
    13 years +
    (1)
    • £5.99
    • RRP £23.97
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    • Just £2.00 per book
    Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen series is a young adult fantasy that will appeal to teens (and older readers!) who enjoyed The Hunger Games and Divergent.

    The world is divided by those who have red blood and those who have silver. Living under the leadership of the Silver elite (who have extreme powers), the Reds are commoners and Mare Barrow doesn't believe this way of life will ever change. This changes when she lands a job working in the Silver Palace. She's surrounded by people she hates and soon learns that she also has a deadly power of her own...

    With a rich world and compelling characters, this is a page-turning series of novels that are intelligent, full of surprises and sure to leave you eager to find out more.

    This collection contains books 1-3 in Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen series
    Format: paperback
  • FDR2 11 years +
    11 years +
    • £2.99
    • RRP £6.99
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    Friendship, love and dancing collide in Jenny McLachlan's Flirty Dancing - a book that will appeal to fans of Louise Rennison and Holly Smale's Geek Girl series.

    Shy but fiery Bea Hogg wants to sign up to the national dance competition Starwars when it comes to her school, but her best friend has agreed to enter with school bully Pearl Harris... Meanwhile, Pearl's boyfriend, the school hottie Ollie Matthews, decides to enter the competition with Bea. This couldn't possibly go wrong, could it?

    Very funny and full of Jenny's bubbly personality and highly observational style, the book's dancing theme means it may inspire reluctant readers, while the strong characters make it a great book for those who already love books.
  • MOX2 13 years +
    13 years +
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    • RRP £7.99
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    Monsters of Men is the concluding novel in Patrick Ness' bestselling and highly acclaimed Chaos Walking trilogy. This special edition of the novel comes with a bonus short story called Snowscape - which picks up the events shortly after the events of the book.

    Three armies are marching on New Prentisstown and they're all intent on destroying each other. Todd and Viola are caught in the middle with no chance of escape. Can they stop the fighting and find peace despite being hopelessly outnumbered?

    This is a heart-stopping read all about power, survival and the realities of war.
  • Noughts and Crosses Collection - 4 Books - Collection - 9780241324059 - Malorie Blackman
    MBNC 12 years +
    12 years +
    (2)
    • £6.99
    • RRP £31.96
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    • Just £1.75 per book
    With a BBC adaptation coming very soon, now is the perfect time for readers of all ages to get acquainted with Malorie Blackman's unforgettable and hugely important Noughts and Crosses series.

    Gritty, absorbing and dealing with themes of racism, terrorism and prejudice, these books follow Sephy and Callum - a duo who are divided by their colour but united by a forbidden love and a burning injustice. All they want is for the right to be together but they live in a dystopian State where strict race laws make their daily existence a matter of life and death...

    A hugely dramatic series full of harrowing moments and morals that teens and adults will both absorb and learn from. This is a brave story that deserves to be on every reader's bookshelf.
    Format: paperback
  • ABKNI 12 years +
    12 years +
    (2)
    • £6.39
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    Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight. Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences far beyond her own world...
  • NSD2 11 years +
    11 years +
    (2)
    • £6.99
    • RRP £12.99
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    Alex Rider is making a comeback - and things are more explosive than ever before in Anthony Horowitz's latest book in the hugely popular series

    Alex is still trying to piece his life back together after the traumatic events of his last mission. But even he can't fight the past - especially when it holds a deadly secret.
  • AADZH 11 years +
    11 years +
    • £3.49
    • RRP £4.99
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    Jane Austen's classic 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice has been adapted into an extremely popular BBC series starring Colin Firth, and an Oscar-nominated film starring Keira Knightley. Based in Longbourn in Hertfordshire, the story follows the provincial middle-class Bennet family and shows the folly of judging by first impressions. When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks he is arrogant and conceited, while he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she discovers Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever.

  • Power of Five Collection - 5 Books - Collection - 9781406371468 - Anthony Horowitz
    PWFV 12 years +
    12 years +
    (7)
    • £7.99
    • RRP £39.95
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    • Just £1.60 per book
    Raised in foster care, Matt Freeman has always known he has unusual powers. When he's sent on a rehabilitation programme in Yorkshire, he finds himself in the midst of sinister goings-on.

    As he starts to investigate, he uncovers a terrible secret - eight guardians are protecting the world from the evil ones who were banished long ago by five children. But now devil worshippers are determined to let the evil ones back in...

    This is the complete collection of bestselling author Anthony Horowitz's supernatural teen series, Power of Five. Focusing on children with special powers and featuring elements of witchcraft, these page-turners are the perfect next step for those who were hooked by Alex Rider.

    Format: paperback
  • ANGZK
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    Feyre's survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill - the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price ...Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre's presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever. The start of a sensational romantic fantasy trilogy by the bestselling author of the Throne of Glass series.