Top 10 Best Historical Books for 11-year-olds

Discover the fascinating past with these engrossing historical books for 11-year-olds, packed with historical detail, enchanting characters and thrilling stories. Whether you're looking to embark on a Tudor adventure, be enthralled by tales set in World War II, or uncover the secrets of Victorian England, you'll find it all in these riveting reads.

1. The Book Thief

Markus Zusak

Set in 1939 Nazi Germany, this captivating story is narrated by Death and follows Liesel, an avid young booklover and determined book thief at a time when thousands of books were being destroyed. When Liesel has to help hide a Jewish boy in the basement, the power of words and books to enrich the soul is explored by both youngsters as they try to evade danger and even death. This spellbinding yet shocking story is a must for any young booklover.

2. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

John Boyne

In this poignant and heart-warming tale, 9-year-old Bruno is completely oblivious to the horrors of the Final Solution and the appalling cruelties being inflicted by his father. All he knows is that he's been moved to a house in a desolate area, where there's nothing to do and no-one to play with. But then he meets Shmuel, a boy who lives on the other side of the wire fence, and wears a uniform of striped pyjamas. Their friendship will take Bruno from naivety to revelation, but he will inescapably become subsumed by the terrible process of which he is unwittingly a part.

3. Treason

Berlie Doherty

Will Gaveston is page boy to the little Prince Edward, the son of King Henry VIII. But when his father is accused of treason and thrown into Newgate Prison, Will must go into hiding in the back streets of London. He makes friends with a poor boy, Nick Drew, and together, they must embark on a thrilling mission to try to gain pardon for Will's father, risking imprisonment and even death.

4. 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.

5. Goodnight Mister Tom

Michelle Magorian

This heart-breaking, illuminating tale follows Willie Beech, a deprived child who lives in London with his abusive mother. But when war breaks out and Willie is evacuated to the countryside, he is taken into the home of Tom Oakley, an old man who turns out to be kind and loving. Willie also makes a wonderful friend in Zach, who loves to go cycling. But what will happen when Willie's mother demands he come home - and tragedy strikes?

6. Hetty Feather

Jacqueline Wilson

This heart-warming, funny and fascinating novel will captivate young readers. London, 1876, and Hetty Feather is left at the Foundling Hospital when she is just a tiny baby. She goes to live with a foster family in the countryside, and, with her 'brothers' Jem and Gideon, she sneaks off to visit the travelling circus, where she is enthralled by Madame Adeline and her horses. However, when Hetty returns to the Foundling Hospital, she goes back to a tedious life of uniforms and horrible food. Could her real mother be the marvellous Madame Adeline? Or is the truth even more surprising?

7. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank & Otto Frank

Discover the heart-breaking story of Anne Frank, a 13-year-old girl who spent two long years in hiding during the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands. Anne writes candidly about her experiences with honesty, humour and enthusiasm - but this is ultimately a harrowing read that ends abruptly when she and her family are discovered by the Nazis and taken to a concentration camp. Children will be absorbed by this gripping true story.

8. The Girl in the Mask

Marie-Louise Jensen

In the world of Georgian England, 15-year-old Sophia is suffocated by the restrictions of a man's world. She has been forced by her father to sacrifice everything she loves and ordered to make a new life in Bath. By day, she is trapped in the social whirl of balls and masquerades - but by night, she swaps her ball gowns for breeches, and turns to highway robbery to get her revenge... However, when one man starts to take an interest in her, she must keep her distance, or risk revealing her secret life.

9. Carrie's War

Nina Bawden

Discover an evocative picture of life for evacuee children in World War II with this stunning classic novel. Carrie and her brother Nick are evacuated to Wales with severe shopkeeper Mr Evans and his gentle sister, Lou, whom he cruelly bullies. It's not long before the two children meet a cast of quirky village characters and become immersed in every aspect of village life - including a strange and unsettling mystery. Featuring suspense, intrigue and excitement, young history fans will love this wonderful story.

10. Anne of Green Gables

L. M. Montgomery

Anne is a feisty young girl with flaming red hair and a somewhat difficult attitude, which her new adoptive parents, Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, are quick to discover. But as she grows up on the farm in Avonlea, she becomes a highly intelligent and outgoing (but stubborn!) young lady. Follow Anne's journey as she makes friends, goes to college, and has a few misadventures along the way!

  • ACGOX 9 years +
    Jacqueline Wilson
    9 years +
    (3)
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    Warm, moving, funny and totally fascinating, this Jacqueline Wilson book, Hetty Feather, is the perfect gift for young readers aged 8 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.
  • ABAGX 9 years +
    Berlie Doherty
    9 years +
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    Will Gaveston is page boy to little Prince Edward, son of King Henry VIII. When his father is accused of treason and thrown into Newgate Prison, Will has to go into hiding in the back streets of London. He is befriended by a poor boy, Nick Drew, and together they brave imprisonment and death as they desperately try to gain pardon for Will's father.
  • PYM2 11 years +
    John Boyne
    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!
  • ADSYU 11 years +
    Marie-Louise Jensen
    11 years +
    • £6.89
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    Set in Georgian England, fifteen-year-old Sophia is trapped by the limitations of living in a man's world. Forced by her father to give up everything she loves, Sophia is ordered to make a new life in Bath. By day, she is trapped in the social whirl of balls and masquerades. By night, she secretly swaps her ball gowns for breeches, and turns to highway robbery to get her revenge ...When one man begins to take a keen interest in her, Sophia must keep her distance, or risk unmasking her secret life.
  • WHQ2 9 years +
    Michael Morpurgo
    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.
  • 6DYG 11 years +
    Anne Frank
    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.
  • AGUAX 9 years +
    LM Montgomery
    9 years +
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    My dislikes: Being an orphan, having red hair, being called 'carrots' by Gilbert Blythe. My likes: Living at the Green Gables with Marilla and Matthew, my bosom-friend Diana, dresses with puff sleeves. My regrets: Dying my hair green. Smashing a slate over Gilbert Blythe's head. My dream: To tame my temper. To be good (this is an uphill struggle). To grow up to have auburn hair! Includes exclusive material: In the Backstory you can find out about the real Green Gables, the plucky author and more! 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 Peter Pan 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.
  • MZK2 11 years +
    Markus Zusak
    11 years +
    (7)
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    Now a major motion picture starring Geoffrey Rush and Emily Watson, The Book Thief is a moving and breathtaking novel that young readers and adults will both be sure to devour.

    Set in 1939 Nazi Germany, the country holds its breath, waiting on the brink of war. Young Liesel's life is changed forever as she stands by her brother's grave and picks up The Gravedigger's Handbook from the snow, committing her first act of book thievery and changing her life forever... So follows her love affair with books in an increasingly dangerous time. When her foster family hide a Jewish boy in their basement her world is both opened up and shut down, but the power of words and the ability for books to feed the soul is explored and enjoyed by both youngsters.

    Superbly crafted and incredibly moving, children aged 11+ simply must read this award-winning tale which has proved to be one of the most enduring and respected of recent times.
  • GMR2 9 years +
    Michelle Magorian
    9 years +
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    In Michelle Magorian's classic Goodnight Mister Tom, a young Willie Beech is evacuated to the countryside due to the outbreak of the Second World War.

    A sad, deprived child, he slowly begins to flourish under the care of a kind old man, Tom Oakley. But then his cruel mother summons him back to war-torn London... Will Willie ever see his friend Mister Tom again?

    Full of characters to both love and hate, moments of grief and joy, and a marvellous, emotion-grabbing narrative, Goodnight Mister Tom will captivate adults and young readers aged 9 and over.
  • CWZ2 9 years +
    Nina Bawden
    9 years +
    (3)
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    Nina Bawden, award-winning author of The Peppermint Pig, creates an evocative picture of life for evacuee children in World War Two with her classic novel Carrie's War.

    Carrie and her brother Nick are evacuated to Wales and live with strict shopkeeper Mr Evans and his sister Lou. They quickly meet a host of quirky village characters and find themselves absorbed into every aspect of life in the village.

    With plenty of suspense and intrigue, this book will enthrall readers aged 9+, fans of Carrie's War may also enjoy Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian.