Top 10 Best Classic Books for 11-year-olds

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

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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.