Children's Must-Read Lists

Books with Strong Female Characters

  • Anne of Green Gables Collection - 3 Books - Collection - 9780349010632 - L.M. Montgomery
    AOGG 9 years +
    L.M. Montgomery
    9 years +
    • £4.99
    • RRP £20.97
    • Save £15.98
    • Just £1.66 per book
    L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables is a classic run of children's books that has recently been adapted into a popular Netflix series. This collection, presented in a cute slipcase, includes the first three books in the series.

    In Anne of Green Gables, the scrawny, freckled girl with bright red hair arrives on Prince Edward Island and takes Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert by surprise. They were expecting a quiet boy to help them with their farm work, but instead they welcomed a chatty girl full of hope and wonder.

    Anne of Avonlea takes place five years later and finds Anne starting a job as a teacher at her old school. She's not much older than the pupils and has so much to prove. Can she inspire a love of learning?

    Finally, there's Anne of the Island, a story that finds her leaving Green Gables for university. She's always dreamt of this moment but her feelings are bittersweet - she's excited to see the world and broaden her horizons but also anxious about leaving her home, family and friends behind.
    Format: paperback
  • What Katy Did Collection - 3 Books - Collection - 9780349010649 - Susan Coolidge
    WKTD 9 years +
    Susan Coolidge
    9 years +
    • £4.99
    • RRP £20.97
    • Save £15.98
    • Just £1.66 per book
    Originally published in the late 1800s, the lively nature of the What Katy Did trilogy has inspired so many classic children's books - with Jacqueline Wilson stating it's one of her favourite stories.

    The original story introduces Katy Carr; a girl who has grand plans to be beautiful, graceful and ladylike - but all of that can wait. She's now happy to have tangled hair and to wear a torn dress. She's got a wild imagination and is always up to mischief. However, when she's involved a terrible accident, it takes a lot of courage - and patience - to keep her dreams alive.

    What Katy Did at School finds Kay and her sister Clover leaving for boarding school, but they're weighed down by worries that their father won't cope without them; and What Katy Did Next has Katy exploring the beautiful sights of Europe.

    Presented in a slipcase, these are beloved stories your children and you will both enjoy in equal measure.
    Format: paperback
  • Little Women - Paperback - 9780141321080 - Louisa May Alcott
    LWN2 9 years +
    Louisa May Alcott
    9 years +
    (1)
    • £3.99
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £3.00
    Little Women is the warm and touching tale of the four March sisters: sensible Meg, tomboy Jo, shy Beth and fiery Amy and the trials they face struggling to make ends meet while their father is away from home. This classic tale is perfect for reading aloud to youngsters or ideal for confident young readers aged 9+ to tackle independently.

    Little Women is narrated by Jo, who is fiercely independent and desperate to become a writer, but she and her sisters' ambitions are frustrated by lack of money and a series of misfortunes. Absorbing and inspiring, Little Women is a must-read classic that is guaranteed to make you laugh and cry.
  • Chrestomanci Collection - 7 Books - Collection - 9780007967636 - Diana Wynne Jones
    CHRE 9 years +
    Diana Wynne Jones
    9 years +
    (2)
    • £9.99
    • RRP £48.96
    • Save £38.97
    • Just £1.43 per book
    Guardian Award winner Diana Wynne Jones was the author of Howl's Moving Castle and her fantasy books were a huge influence on the likes of Neil Gaiman. This collection, with absolutely stunning jackets, contains all seven books from her hugely acclaimed Chrestomanci series.

    Everyone always tells Gwendolen Chant that she is a gifted witch with astonishing powers so it suits her when she's taken to live in Chrestomanci Castle. However, her brother Eric (better known as Cat), who has no magic skills, is not so keen on this move...

    When they finally arrive, they quickly come to realise that life with the great enchanter is not what either was expecting and things start to get interesting... Meanwhile, the British government office is responsible for supervising the use of magic in Southern England. But can they be trusted?

    Published between 1977 and 2006, these books are full of laugh-out-loud humour, magic and all sorts of alternative worlds that correlate with children's hopes, dreams and fears.
    This collection includes books 1-7 in Diana Wynne Jones' Tales of Chrestomanci series
    Format: paperback
  • New Dork Diaries Collection - 12 Books - Collection - 9781471168642 - Rachel Renee Russell
    DKDI 9 years +
    Rachel Renee Russell
    9 years +
    (3)
    • £13.99
    • RRP £83.88
    • Save £69.89
    • Just £1.17 per book
    Meet Nikki Maxwell and prepare to read some truly a-dork-able stories with this 12-book collection of Dork Diaries stories by Rachel Renee Russell.

    Written in a fun-filled diary format, these books offer an insight into the life of the tween dork, Nikki. When she moves to a new school she decides it's the perfect time to leave her old lame ways behind - but things are never that simple.

    With fun sketches and doodles, the diary entries find Nikki opening up her heart as she battles with her arch-nemesis Mackenzie over her dreams of becoming a pop star and tackles the subject of love with hilariously dorky consequences.

    These books will be enjoyed by any child aged 9 or over who enjoys (or endures!) the sparklier side of tween life.
    Format: paperback
  • EAK2 9 years +
    Jacqueline Wilson
    9 years +
    (1)
    • £3.99
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £3.00
    The Story of Tracy Beaker introduces Jacqueline Wilson's most popular character ever!

    Ten-year-old Tracy lives in a care home but frequently escapes from her annoying surroundings with the help of a vivid imagination.

    Accompanied by brilliant illustrations from Nick Sharratt, The Story of Tracy Beaker is essential reading for children from 9+.
  • Geek Girl Collection - 6 Books - Collection - 9780007968039 - Holly Smale
    GKGI 11 years +
    Holly Smale
    11 years +
    • £9.99
    • RRP £35.94
    • Save £25.95
    • Just £1.67 per book
    Partly inspired by her own experiences growing up in the fashion industry, former model Holly Smale's Geek Girl is a bestselling and award-winning series that will appeal to any child who is a proud geek that also appreciates the glitzier side of life.

    Harriet Manners is the font of all knowledge when it comes to facts. She knows a cat has 32 muscles in each ear and that the average person laughs 15 times a day, but boys remain a mystery.

    When she's spotted by a top modelling agent, her world is turned upside down. She believes this could be the start of something special, but her eyes are opened by just how cruel the fashion industry can be... Will she be able to hold everything together and stay true to herself?

    Funny, feisty, smart and sassy, this collection of books has a strong message at its heart and is very entertaining.
    Format: paperback
    This collection includes books 1-6 in Holly Smale's Geek Girl series.
  • EIL2 9 years +
    Neil Gaiman
    9 years +
    • £3.99
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £3.00
    Widely regarded as a modern classic of children's literature, and also the inspiration for a major film adaptation directed by Henry Selick, this is a special tenth anniversary edition of Coraline.

    Written by the bestselling Neil Gaiman, this edition comes complete with a new foreword from the author, as well as visually striking illustrations from Children's Laureate Chris Riddell.

    There's something strange about Coraline's new home, and it's not the constant mist or the cat that keeps watching her, it's the other house... The one behind the old door in the drawing room, where a mother and father with black-button eyes and papery skin want Coraline to join them. But if Coraline steps through that door, she knows she may not come back...

    A gripping and dark contemporary fairy tale with just the right amount of creepiness.
  • GGG2 7 years +
    Chris Riddell
    7 years +
    • £6.99
    • RRP £10.99
    • Save £4.00
    Deliciously dark but also ghoulishly good, Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse is a Costa Children's Book Award-winning and CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal-shortlisted novel from the Children's Laureate, Chris Riddell.

    Ada Goth lives unhappily with her father, Lord Goth, in the gigantic Ghastly-Gorm Hall. The Lord believes that children should be heard but not seen, so Ada is forced to wear clumpy boots so he can hear her coming... this makes it hard for her to make friends.

    When William and Emily Cabbage come to stay at the Hall - along with a ghostly mouse called Ishmael - Ada is relieved to have some company and find her loneliness drifting away. But that's just the start, soon, the new friends find themselves unravelling a dastardly plot that the gamekeeper has planned...
  • HEDI 7 years +
    Johanna Spyri
    7 years +
    (1)
    • £3.99
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £3.00
    Go on a journey high up into the Swiss Alps with Heidi, one of the most lovable characters in children's fiction and a long-time favourite with every member of the Red House team!

    When little Heidi goes to live with her grandfather in his lonely hut high up in the Alps, she loves her new life tending the goats and making new friends. But her strict aunt decides to send her away again to live in the town. Can Heidi manage to escape and return to the mountains and her happy life with her grandfather?

    This Puffin Classics edition features an introduction by Eva Ibbotson, further reading ideas, questions to consider and a gorgeous cover. Definitely one for every child's bookshelf!
  • Hetty Feather - Paperback - 9780440868354 - Jacqueline Wilson
    HET2 8 years +
    Jacqueline Wilson
    8 years +
    (3)
    • £3.99
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £3.00
    Warm, moving, funny and totally fascinating, Hetty Feather by Jacqueline Wilson is the perfect book for young readers aged 9 and over.

    It's London, 1876, and Hetty Feather is just a tiny baby when her mother leaves her at the Foundling Hospital. The Hospital cares for abandoned children - but Hetty must first live with a foster family until she is big enough to go to school. Life in the countryside is hard but with her 'brothers' Jem and Gideon, she helps in the fields and plays imaginary games. Together they sneak off to visit the travelling circus and Hetty is mesmerised by the show, especially Madame Adeline and her performing horses. But Hetty's happiness is threatened once more when she is returned to the Foundling Hospital. The new life of awful uniforms and terrible food is a struggle for her. But now she has the chance to find her real mother. Could she really be the wonderful Madame Adeline? Or will Hetty find the truth is even more surprising?

    Jacqueline Wilson will surprise and delight old fans and new with this utterly original take on a historical novel. Set in Victorian times and featuring a brand new feisty heroine, Hetty Feather, this is a Tracy Beaker-esque tale that will thrill young readers.
  • MTV2 9 years +
    Roald Dahl
    9 years +
    (1)
    • £3.99
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £3.00
    From the genius mind of Roald Dahl, Matilda Wormwood is a heroine with a love of books and some truly magical powers. Her parents may call her terrible things all the time, but the truth is she's a very special little girl.

    Forming a special bond with her caring teacher Miss Honey, both her parents and the angry, spiteful headmistress Miss Trunchbull soon find out they were wrong to underestimate Matilda so much...

    In 1996, this magical book was adapted into a popular film directed by and starring Danny DeVito and it's also now an award-winning musical across the world. Complete with Quentin Blake's illustrations, Matilda is a timeless classic that will be returned to again and again.
  • OSS2 9 years +
    Jacqueline Wilson
    9 years +
    (2)
    • £3.99
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £3.00
    In Candyfloss, Red House favourite Jacqueline Wilson looks at the painful decisions faced by heroine Floss when her mum moves to Australia. Choosing to stay in England with her dad isn't an easy decision but things get even tougher when his business is declared bankrupt and the pair are made homeless. Can Floss help her dad make a new life? Jacqueline Wilson has created a witty and sensitive story that readers from 9+ will adore.

    This children's book has been hand-picked for you by Red House.
  • The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - Paperback - 9780099456636 - Joan Aiken
    OUG2 9 years +
    Joan Aiken
    9 years +
    (2)
    • £3.99
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £3.00
    In The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, award-winning author Joan Aiken has created a wild, imaginative adventure that follows the fortunes of cousins Bonnie and Sylvia who have been turned out of their home by a sinister governess. The novel is set in 1832 and England is plagued by droves of ravaging wolves. The cousins must get help, but their future looks grim...This is a nail-biting, suspense-filled adventure with witty and likeable heroines. Readers from 9+ will be gripped!

    This children's book has been hand-picked for you by Red House.
  • World Elite Dance Academy Collection - 3 Books - Collection - 9780603574054 - Kimberly Wyatt
    WEDA 9 years +
    9 years +
    • £4.99
    • RRP £20.97
    • Save £15.98
    • Just £1.66 per book
    Written by former pop star and Celebrity MasterChef winner Kimberly Wyatt (in collaboration with Girl Online author Siobhan Curham), the World Elite Dance Academy books will appeal to children who love nothing more than dancing to the beat.

    Billie and her friends all come from very different backgrounds but that doesn't stop them from coming together in an empowering way as they express themselves through dance. They're not on the lookout for fame and fortune, but do want to have fun!

    Diverse in the truest sense, these books will appeal to fans of everything from Malory Towers to Holly Willoughby's School for Stars series.

    Format: Paperback
  • AAJME 4 years +
    Ludwig Bemelmans
    4 years +
    • £7.89
    • RRP £7.99
    • Save £0.10
    'In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines lived twelve little girls in two straight lines...' Pepito lives next door to Madeline and her friends. When he moves to London, he pines for the twelve little girls terribly. So Miss Clavel and her charges pay him a visit in London...and come home with a new friend! This title features the small but feisty heroine, Madeline, and her charming Parisian world.
  • ABKNI 11 years +
    Philip Pullman
    11 years +
    (2)
    • £6.39
    • RRP £7.99
    • Save £1.60
    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...
  • ADGHR
    Suzanne Collins
    (2)
    • £6.39
    • RRP £7.99
    • Save £1.60
    This title is first in the ground-breaking "Hunger Games" trilogy. Set in a dark vision of the near future, a terrifying reality TV show is taking place. Twelve boys and twelve girls are forced to appear in a live event called The Hunger Games. There is only one rule: kill or be killed. When sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen steps forward to take her younger sister's place in the games, she sees it as a death sentence. But Katniss has been close to death before. For her, survival is second nature.
  • AWZ2 9 years +
    9 years +
    (1)
    • £2.99
    • RRP £5.99
    • Save £3.00
    A beautiful Oxford Classics edition of Lewis Carroll's inspired fantasy Alice in Wonderland. This surreal story has truly enduring appeal and is a must-read book for all readers aged 9 and above.

    On an ordinary summer's afternoon, Alice tumbles down a rabbit hole and an extraordinary adventure begins. In a strange world, she meets some even stranger characters including a grinning cat, a rabbit with a pocket watch and a queen who plays croquet using hedgehogs and flamingos!

    Packed full of nonsense poems and songs, quirky characters and bizarre goings-on, Alice in Wonderland is a timeless classic!

    Please note this edition does not contain any illustrations.
  • APNZZ 6 years +
    LF Baum
    6 years +
    • £5.59
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £1.40
    The classic story by L. Frank Baum, retold for children growing in their reading confidence and ability, sumptuously illustrated by Mauro Evangelista. When Dorothy is whizzed to Oz in a tornado, she lands in a place where nothing is quite as it seems. Can she find the Wizard, defeat the Wicked Witch of the West, and be granted her wish to return to Kansas? Usborne Young Reading has been developed with reading experts from Roehampton University. The audio CD includes a dramatic listen-along recording with music and sound effects, followed by a read-along version with prompts for page turns.
  • BGKXU
    Stefan Petrucha
    • £7.19
    • RRP £8.99
    • Save £1.80
    Nancy Drew is with her father, lawyer Carson Drew, on a business trip in Istanbul, Turkey when an ancient statue comes to life, revealing a hidden past to a forgotten city. But new revelations pose threats for Nancy, her father, and the world! Can Nancy solve the case before history repeats itself? Both parts of "The Secret Within" are collected in this this volume.
  • ACKKN 8 years +
    Cornelia Funke
    8 years +
    • £6.39
    • RRP £7.99
    • Save £1.60
    Meggie loves stories, but her father, Mo, hasn't read to her since her mother disappeared.

    When a stranger knocks at their door, Mo is forced to reveal an extraordinary secret - when he reads aloud, words come alive, and dangerous characters step out of the pages.

    Suddenly Meggie is living the kind of adventure she has only read about in books.

    Cornelia Funke's Inkheart is a magical story for fans of Harry Potter. It was adapted into a 2009 film starring Brendan Fraser.
  • ADBOK 3 years +
    Babette Cole
    3 years +
    • £5.59
    • RRP £6.99
    • Save £1.40
    Princess Smartypants does not want to get married. She enjoys being a Ms. But being a rich and pretty princess means that all the princes want her to be their Mrs. Find out how Princess Smartypants fights to preserve her independence in this hilarious fairy-tale-with-a-difference. 'Babette Cole is ...funny, unrestricted and totally unforgettable' - "Independent on Sunday".
  • ADUXM 9 years +
    Jacqueline Wilson
    9 years +
    • £4.89
    • RRP £4.99
    • Save £0.10
    I'm Sadie and I'm nearly nine. Mum's a childminder, but she doesn't have to mind me. I can mind myself, easy-peasy. Lucky for Mum, because now she's got the flu, so I've got to mind her - and help with all the babies!