Can't decide what books to get your kids to read? Then let us help
Getting little ones to enjoy reading isn’t always the easiest task, but once you’ve got them hooked on a book or series they love then they’re sure to get the reading bug and never look back.
We’ve rounded up the ultimate list of books that we think suit children between the ages of about 6-12, but obviously this guide fluctuates depending on your child and what you think is appropriate for their age.
From classics that will take you back to your own childhood like What Katie Did and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory to more modern offerings like Diary Of A Wimpy Kid and Gangsta Granny, we think all these books are must-reads for your family.
In fact, some of them are so good that we’ve enjoyed reading them ourselves alongside our little ones. Make an occasion out of story time with hot chocolate, a snuggly blanket and dimmed lights to help them get on board with how relaxing it can be to hunker down with a good book. You’ll love the quality time you get together (and the break from the TV!) and they’ll love getting one on one attention for a little while. You could even take it in turns to read, to give them a little break if they’re a bit young for novels.
So, click through the following slides to see what books we think are essential reads for kids of all ages. And we’d love to know what you think too, if there’s a classic you think we’ve missed off don’t be shy! Let us know in the comments box below or leave us a post on our Facebook page.
The Author: Jeff Kinney
What’s it about? Greg starts a new school where the weaklings share a corridor with the tall, mean kids. He makes friends with Rowlay who becomes popular and Greg uses this to his advantage, telling his story in his own words…
Why will kids love it? This hugely popular series follows the life of Greg Heffley, who doesn’t instantly fit in at school thanks to the taller, meaner kids in his year. The entertaining plot is sure to ensure this is one your kids’ friends have read too – which should encourage yours to read it too. Told through cartoons, even reluctant readers will love the format and the funny style Jeff Kinney brings.
The Author: Meg Cabot
What’s it about? Mia Thermopolis is a normal 14-year-old, that is until her family reveal she’s actually called Amelia and heir to the throne in Geneovia… and she’s not happy about it!
Why will kids love it? Hilariously written, they’ll laugh out loud at the reluctant princess.
The Author: Lemony Snicket (AKA Daniel Handler)
What’s it about? Dark, funny and scary, this is one for those who love grim and gruesome things. The Baudelaire children are sent to live with their evil count Olaf after their parents are killed. Strangeness follows and a whole ‘series of unfortunate events’!
Why will kids love it? These stories are quite dark in places, but aimed at 9 to 12-year-olds, they seem to really appeal to this age group. If your kids have seen the popular films, which starred Jim Carrey, then they’re likely to enjoy the books, and there’s 12 of them so they’ll be kept busy for a while!
The Author: Eoin Colfer
What’s it about? Artemis Fowl is 12 and the most ingenious criminal mastermind in history, this book follows his adventures.
Why will kids love it? Artemis is young and the book is a great mix of fantasy, magic and the everyday as he tries to help fairies resolve conflicts across the world.
The Author: Sarah Chauncey Woolsey
What’s it about? After being involved in a terrible accident, Katy must find the courage to achieve her old daydreams of being beautiful and as sweet as an angel.
Why will kids love it? It’s a classic novel with a lovely moral undertone.
The Author: Anna Sewell
What’s it about? A beautiful horse who is taken away from his mother. Throughout we wonder, can he ever escape? Black Beauty is a wonderful story, full of hope and perfect for horse-lovers
Why will kids love it? The life of Black Beauty is told by the horse himself which lends an interesting angle. Children are sure to enjoy the tales of courage, kindness and bravery in this classic. Perfect for animal lovers.
The Author: Roald Dahl
What’s it about? Charlie Bucket finds a golden ticket to meet chocolate-making wonder Willy Wonka and his life is transformed.
Why will kids love it? The combination of chocolate, oompa loompas and Willy Wonka is irresistible and the magic seems never ending. A timeless classic.
The Author: Enid Blyton
What’s it about? The adventures of Julian, Dick, Anne, George and Timmy as they solve all sorts of mysteries during their summer holidays from school. With picnics aplenty and a good dose of old fashioned English mannerisms thrown in, this is a taste of days gone by.
Why will kids love it? This timeless classic is full of fun, adventure, danger and the joy of being a child.
The Author: JK Rowling
What’s it about? We probably all know the story by now but for those who have missed it, Harry Potter lives in a cupboard under the stairs until an owl appears with a letter inviting him to wizard school. The book follows his adventures along the way.
Why will kids love it? It’s how every child would love school really to be. While the later books in the series might be a little advanced for young readers, Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone makes a great starting point. The school’s minister Nick Gibb once said that children should be able to read the Harry Potter books by age 11 – and if they’re hooked to the films, we think they’ll be gripped to the books too.
The Author: Jacqueline Wilson
What’s it about? Jacqueline Wilson tells the story of two sisters who feel their roles shifting as they move to a new area of town with their family.
Why will kids love it? Aimed at slightly older children, probably from 10+, these books are a lovely way of touching on issues children may be experiencing at school but aren’t ready to talk about yet.
The Author: Phillip Pullman
What’s it about? The heroine of these books Lyra Belacqua discovers she has a shape-changing demon and gets involved in a magical and dangerous world.
Why will kids love it? The magic is hard to resist and they’re sure to get caught up in the story for hours at a time. You might even have a job on your hands to get them to put this one down.
The Author: JM Barrie
What’s it about? Wendy and her Lost Boys meet Peter Pan one night and they are all transported back to Neverland where children never grow up. Along the way they meet Captain Hook and Tinkerbell, too.
Why will kids love it? They learn how to fly alongside Peter, meet fairies and an evil pirate. Brilliant!
The Author: Clive King
What’s it about? Barney falls down a pit near his house and makes a strange discovery one day. That strange discovery happens to be Stig, as Barney actually falls through the roof of this Caveman’s house when he tumbles into the pit.
Why will kids love it? Barney and Stig get on like a house on fire and children will love imagining the adventures they could have with their very own caveman best friend!
The Author: CS Lewis
What’s it about? Siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are sent away to an old country manor during the war evacuations. While playing a game of hide and seek Lucy the youngest discovers Aslan a talking lion and the world of Narnia through the back of a wardrobe, and brings her siblings along for the fun.
Why will kids love it? They’ll join the three children as they get caught up in fulfilling the prophecy of Narnia, trying to save themselves and the land. There are talking lions, secret doors and ice queens galore.
The Author: Philippa Pearce
What’s it about? Tom is expecting a boring holiday at his aunt’s until the clock strikes 13 and he discovers a secret garden in the grounds of her house.
Why will kids love it? A timeless classic about Tom’s adventures in his secret, midnight garden. Full of magic and ghosts this is a story every child wishes would happen to them.
The Author: Robert Louis Stevenson
What’s it about? Jim Hawkins discovers a map that will lead him to Treasure Island – gold, sea battles and pirates follow.
Why will kids love it? Pirates are endlessly fascinating and this is the daddy of all stories. A real classic, and even one you could enjoy reading alongside them.
The Author: Roald Dahl
What’s it about? This book is a childhood classic, written by one of our best loved authors. Join James on his escape from his two wicked aunts in this action-packed adventure on board a giant peach – there’s a film version, too!
Why will kids love it? There are fantastic fantasies aplenty that children will adore and in classic Roald Dahl fashion there are plenty of laughs to be had along the way, too.
The Author: David Walliams
What’s it about? When Ben is made to stay with his granny, he prepares himself for endless Scrabble games. However, little does Ben know that granny has been a jewel thief all her life and needs him as an accomplice for her next wicked crime.
Why will kids love it? The wicked sense of humour and unexpected twists and turns in this book will have both you and them in fits of giggles. Although be warned, they may never look at their granny in the same way again!
The Author: Francesca Simon
What’s it about? The clue’s in the name – these books are all about Horrid Henry and the naughty tricks he’s always getting up to.
Why will kids love it? Children will love the Horrid Henry series as he’s always getting himself into some kind of mischief, especially when he has to compete with his squeaky clean brother, Perfect Peter.
The Author: Ann M. Martin
What’s it about? These books follow a group of school girls as they hold their ‘baby sitter club’ where they talk about issues affecting them at the time, while also organising baby sitting jobs for local families.
Why will kids love it? The Baby-Sitters Club books have been a popular read for decades and this revamped series is sure to be a hit.
The Author: Guy Campbell
What’s it about? This survival expedition guide teaches vital skills for any adventurer, such as how to tie knots, build a survival shelter, send an SOS and even survive a snakebite.
Why will kids love it? If your child loves Bear Grylls, this is the ultimate book for them. They’re not going to want to put it down!
The Author: Elizabeth Dutton
What’s it about? Hannah and Joey have always been best friends. Then Paul turns up – Joey’s new foster brother. Hannah has her whole world turned upside down while she struggles to save her drowning friendship with Joey.
Why will kids love it? This lovely novel deals with a friendship between a pair of children, issues around difference and not fitting in and has a bit of a twist at the end.
The Author: David Bedford
What’s it about? This story is aimed at 5 to 8 year olds and is about a boy who can’t work out why he’s not good at football.
Why will kids love it? Harvey and his team enlist the help of one of their professors who comes up with all manner of weird and wonderful inventions to try and help the team win. Let’s just say they don’t often do what they say on the tin. Kids will love the slapstick humour and waiting for things to go wrong!
The Author: Adam Blade
What’s it about? An evil wizard has enchanted the magical beasts of Avantia – only a true hero can free the beasts and stop them from destroying the land.
Why will kids love it? The Beast Quest books have become popular recently, with many parents claiming their children, who were once reluctant readers, have become gripped with the series.
The Author: N/A
What’s it about? The Guinness World Records is full of lots of bizarre, interesting facts every year that they won’t believe are true.
Why will kids love it? Some kids really won’t be into fiction, but this is another great way to get them reading.
The Author: Roald Dahl
What’s it about? A Roald Dahl classic, children will love the story of Matilda – the girl who uses her supernatural powers to get revenge on her wicked parents.
Why will kids love it? Matilda’s charming character and sweet relationship with her teacher Miss Honey is captivating.
The Author: Robert Swindells
What’s it about? George is fascinated by World War II – until a trip to a museum sends him back in time and he learns the reality of being a child at the time of the blitz.
Why will kids love it? Exploring history through the eyes of a child will give your kids an exciting new take on World War II and should pique their interest in reading at the same time.
The Author: Robert Westall
What’s it about? Chas McGill loves collecting war souvenirs from crashed planes and bombs found around his town. Set in the 1940s, one day Chas makes the best find of all – a machine gun with live ammo in it.
Why will kids love it? This title has been described as the best book ever written for children about World War II, giving detailed descriptions about what life would have been like for a child then.
The Author: Jill Murphy
What’s it about? Mildred Hubble is a witch who has a lot to learn. She’s always getting into scrapes at her boarding school by accident.
Why will kids love it? Kids like to be cheeky, so they’ll definitely love the tales of Mildred Hubble, the worst witch at Miss Cackle’s Academy who can never seem to get her spells right. Another great book for younger readers.
The Author: Bel Mooney
What’s it about? This series of Kitty books follow the stroppy character through a series of life lessons.
Why will kids love it? Witty and endearing, it’s a great place for young readers to start and with so many in the series, it’ll keep them hooked.
The Author: Paul Shipton
What’s it about? Giz is a monkey in a zoo who knows nothing of the outside world until another monkey, the mischievous Skink, arrives one day with all sorts of stories about what life’s like beyond the zoo gates.
Why will kids love it? Kids will fall in love with all the animal characters they meet along the way.
The Author: Georgia Byng
What’s it about? Orphan Molly Moon finds an old book of hypnotism, and discovers she can do all sorts with a flash of her bright green eyes.
Why will kids love it? Is there anything better than a tale of a child overcoming the horrible adults in her life for kids? We didn’t think so – they’ll love this!
The Author: June Oldham
What’s it about? This story follows Rigby who, while on a search for his missing Grandad, learns lots of secrets about what happened to him in World War II.
Why will kids love it? This book is best suited for ages 9-12 with some serious topics covered about the hardships of war. Children will love learning about how different life was back in the war years.