Great Books for Children aged 8 -12

There are many brilliant things about being an English teacher.

One of the very best has to be sharing a love of words, of books, of language.

I’m a voracious reader, and that’s very much something I like to share with my students.

I currently teach two classes for English, focusing on readers in KS2.  Recently they have asked me for some suggestions on what to read next, so I made them some bookmarks full of quality reads!  In the real world I trimmed these and laminated, and gave each child a copy to have with them next time they are stuck for a read.  I thought I’d share them here in case they were of use to someone else with a bunch of bookworms!

Mrs R’s Challenge
List (c. 8-10)

How many have you
read?  How many
can you read?

Carrie’s War – Bawden

How to Train Your Dragon – Cowell

The Tales of Despereaux – DiCamillo

Artemis Fowl – Colfer

The Borrowers – Mary Norton

The Demon Headmaster – Cross

Matilda – Dahl

A Bear Called Paddington – Bond

Swallows and Amazons – Ransome

Flour Babies – Fine

My Naughty Little Sister – Edwards

Finn Family Moomintroll – Jansson

The Adventures of Tintin – Hergé

The Queen’s Nose – King-Smith

Holes – Louis Sachar

Stig of the Dump – King

Pippi Longstocking – Lindgren

Mister Magnolia – Blake

Goodnight Mr Tom – Magorian

Little House in the Big Woods – Wilder

Mrs R’s Challenge
List (c. 10-12)

How many have you
read?  How many
can you read?

Skellig – Almond

Wolf Brother – Paver

Millions – Frank Cotrell Boyce

Keeper – Peet

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase – Aiken

Eating Things on Sticks – Fine

The Witches – Dahl

Sparks – Kennen

Once – Gleitzman

Friendly Matches – Ahlberg

Journey to the River Sea – Ibbotson

Charlotte’s Web – White

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – Lewis

The Arrival – Tan

Private Peaceful – Morpurgo

The Hobbit – Tolkien

Truckers – Pratchett

The Little Prince – de Saint-Exupery

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone –

Ribblestrop – Mulligan

Note: these are not meant to be exhaustive, but are more a stepping stone in a readers’ journey.  I’d say most of the titles could be enjoyed by both age groups, but a few of the books on the older list might be a little too advanced in theme and approach for younger children.

I’ll be making new ‘challenge lists’ (my classes are competitive and love anything competitive!) next term.  Which books would you add?


  1. Siobhan Mac
    17th November 2014 / 10:53 am

    This is so helpful. With a ten year old nephew who is a voracious reader I am super-keen to find out what I can get him for Christmas! Thanks!

    • Claire
      18th November 2014 / 11:37 pm

      Happy to help 🙂

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