Top 10 Best Classic Books for 11-year-olds

Discover an exciting range of the very best classic books for 11-year-olds in the list below, featuring unforgettable characters and spellbinding stories, perfect for sharing with children.

1. The Secret Garden

Frances Hodgson Burnett

If you're looking for mystery, adventure, secrets and friendship, you'll find it all in this beautiful classic novel. Spoiled orphan Mary Lennox is sent to live at the isolated Misselthwaite Manor in Yorkshire - but she will discover a magical world she could never have imagined on the other side of a locked garden door. She decides to bring the neglected garden she finds there back to life, and in doing so, will change the course of her own destiny forever.

2. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

Joan Aiken

Long ago, in a time that never happened, England was teeming with wolves. However, Bonnie and her cousin Sylvia quickly realise that danger often lies closer to home. Their new governess, Miss Slighcarp, is horrible. She shuts Bonnie in a cupboard, fires the faithful servants, and sends the cousins far away, to a place they'll never be found. Can they outsmart the spiteful Miss Slighcarp and her network of dodgy dealers? This gripping adventure will captivate young readers.

3. Great Expectations

Charles Dickens

Join little orphan Pip on all his adventures in this riveting classic. Pip couldn't imagine how a terrifying encounter with a convict would later transform his life. But he's even more troubled by his visits to the strange old Miss Havisham, whose house full of memories disturbs him, and the beautiful Estella, who makes him feel ashamed of his country manners and coarse hands. Surely a young blacksmith's apprentice could never dream of winning Estella - but little Pip's future may not turn out quite as he expected...

4. Swallows and Amazons

Arthur Ransome

In this unforgettable tale, the Walker children - Captain John, Mate Susan, Able-Seaman Titty and Ship's Boy Roger - set sail on their dinghy, the Swallow, and head for Wild Cat Island. There, they camp under starry skies, swim in clear water and fish for their dinner. But their bliss is disturbed by the Blackett sisters, otherwise known as the fierce Amazon pirates. The Swallows and Amazons must battle it out, and so begins a summer of incredible adventures.

5. The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole

Sue Townsend

This fantastically funny fictional diary stars Adrian Mole, a spotty teenager who faces a host of typical teenage troubles. Featuring embarrassing parents, unrequited love, bullies and bad poetry, this modern classic will enchant children approaching their teenage years.

6. Black Beauty

Anna Sewell

Black Beauty is a handsome, sweet-natured animal with a strong and courageous spirit. He lives an idyllic life in fresh green pastures with his mother, Duchess, and their kindly master. But when his owners are forced to sell him, Black Beauty goes from a tranquil life of comfort to one of hard labour and cruelty. Can he survive in the hands of men who treat animals so heartlessly? Horse fans will love this treasured classic.

7. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Frank L. Baum

This beloved book follows young Dorothy Gale, a girl from Kansas whose house is whisked away by a cyclone to the weird and wonderful Land of Oz. In order to get back home, she must follow the Yellow Brick Road, find the Wizard of Oz and ask for his help. On her way, she goes on a marvellous adventure with a Scarecrow, a Cowardly Lion and a Tin Woodman, and must take down the Wicked Witch of the West. Kids will love this much-loved classic tale.

8. War Horse

Michael Morpurgo

In this gripping tale, a horse named Joey witnesses the deadly reality of battle from both sides of the trenches in the First World War. He will come to understand the chaotic power of war, and the boundless beauty of peace. His owner, Albert, is determined to bring his beloved horse home safely. This engrossing story is a favourite with kids, parents and teachers alike, and has been adapted for film and stage.

9. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Lewis Carroll

Kids can immerse themselves in a dreamlike world with this exciting and magical book. Follow the white rabbit down the rabbit hole and topple into a world where all your normal worries disappear, and you must instead contend with the grinning Cheshire Cat, the nonsensical Mad Hatter and the cruel Queen of Hearts. Full of wonderful wordplay and perplexing puzzles, children will love this riveting read.

10. Bridge to Terabithia

Katherine Paterson

Jesse Aarons is determined to be the fastest runner in class, so when a new girl named Leslie turns out to be faster, he's not happy! But over time, these two misfits develop a close friendship. They embark on all sorts of fantasy adventures in the imaginary land of Terabithia in the woods, but it can only be reached by a rope-swing across a river. What will happen when tragedy strikes whilst Jesse is away? Uplifting and heart-breaking, this book will stay with you long after you turn the final page.

  • AEVFK 9 years +
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    Swallows and Amazons for ever!' The Walker children - also known as Captain John, Mate Susan, Able-Seaman Titty, and Ship's Boy Roger - set sail on the Swallow and head for Wild Cat Island. There they camp under open skies, swim in clear water and go fishing for their dinner. But their days are disturbed by the Blackett sisters, the fierce Amazon pirates. The Swallows and Amazons decide to battle it out, and so begins a summer of unforgettable discoveries and incredible adventures. See inside: Crack the Swallow's code and learn all about the real locations that inspired the adventurous author.
  • OUG2 9 years +
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    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!
  • WHQ2 9 years +
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    In War Horse, award-winning children's author Michael Morpurgo allows readers to understand the horror of the First World War by recounting the experiences of a farm horse who is commandeered to join the front line.

    The unbeatable storytelling skills of Michael Morpurgo make War Horse a stunning, unputdownable tale that won't fail to move all readers from 9+. As Steven Spielberg's epic film version gained a whole new audience for this stunning piece of literature, there's never been a better time to read the book.
  • DAM2 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.
  • ALBQB 9 years +
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    The handsome horse Black Beauty begins his life in a happy home, until a change of circumstances leads him to learn about a crueller side of life. Black Beauty is the ultimate classic novel for horse fans of all ages.
  • ALBSU 9 years +
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    When Alice follows the White Rabbit down a rabbit hole, she finds herself in an enchanted world, filled with creatures like the Mad Hatter, the disappearing Cheshire Cat, and the Queen of Hearts. Alice quickly finds out that nothing is as it seems in the wild world of Wonderland...
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    What are you looking for?

    Friendship! Mystery! Adventure! Secrets!

    When spoiled, selfish orphan Mary Lennox is sent to live at lonely Misselthwaite Manor in Yorkshire, she discovers a magical world on the other side of a locked garden door. Mary decides to bring the abandoned garden she finds there back to life; and in doing so, changes her own forever.

    Written by Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden is a children's classic that has enchanted generations.
  • AJDXO 9 years +
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    'Hold your noise! Keep still, you little devil, or I'll cut your throat!' Little orphan Pip scarcely imagines how a terrifying encounter with a convict on the lonely marshes will later transform his life. Pip is more troubled by his visits to strange old Miss Havisham - her decaying wedding dress and the house full of memories - and the beautiful girl Estella who makes him ashamed of his country manners and coarse hands. A blacksmith's apprentice could never hope to win Estella, but then, young Pip's future might not turn out quite as expected...Includes exclusive material: In 'The Backstory' you can learn about Victorian convicts and the alternative ending to Great Expectations! Vintage Children's Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
  • AOHWL 9 years +
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    Jess Aarons wants to be the fastest boy in the class, but when a girl named Leslie Burke moves into the neighbouring farm his life changes forever. Even though she runs faster than him, Jess begins to think Leslie might be okay - she's clever and funny and not a bit soppy. And it is Leslie who invents Terabithia, the secret country on an island across the creek where he can escape his troublesome family. The only way to reach Terabithia is by rope-swing where Jess and Leslie become King and Queen, defeating giants, sharing stories and dreams, and plotting against their enemies. They are invincible - until tragedy strikes. It is more dreadful than anything Jess had ever dreamed of, but as he struggles to cope with his grief and anger, he finds that his family value him more than he'd thought and that, still King, he could even save Terabithia for the future.
  • AQJVP 9 years +
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    What are you looking for? Friendship! Fantasy! Adventure! Excitement! Dorothy and her friends know there's only one person who can help make their wishes come true and that's the Wizard. But as they set off to find him, the Wicked Witch is never far behind ...Oxford Children's Classics present not only the original and unabridged story of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz in a stunning new edition, but also help you to discover a whole world of new adventures with a vast assortment of recommendations and activities.