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.
Whilst personalised books for kids are all the rage, we’ve instead opted for classics that will take you back to your own childhood like What Katie Did and Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. Then there’s more modern offerings like Diary Of A Wimpy Kid and Gangsta Granny, which we think are must-reads for the whole 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.
Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, £4
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. 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 Princess Diaries Collection, £25.99
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! Hilariously written, they’ll laugh out loud at the reluctant princess.
A Series Of Unfortunate Events, £34.99
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’! 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!
Artemis Fowl, £5.94
Artemis Fowl is 12 and the most ingenious criminal mastermind in history, this book follows his adventures. 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.
What Katy Did, £6.05
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. It’s a classic novel with a lovely moral undertone.
Black Beauty, £2.25
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. 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.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, £4
Charlie Bucket finds a golden ticket to meet chocolate-making wonder Willy Wonka and his life is transformed. The combination of chocolate, oompa loompas and Willy Wonka is irresistible and the magic seems never ending. A timeless classic.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, £4.50
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. 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.
His Dark Materials Series, £14.99
The heroine of these books Lyra Belacqua discovers she has a shape-changing demon and gets involved in a magical and dangerous world. 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.
Peter Pan, £2.50
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. They learn how to fly alongside Peter, meet fairies and an evil pirate. Brilliant!
Stig Of The Dump, £6.30
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.
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 Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe, £5.89
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.
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.
Tom’s Midnight Garden, £5.89
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. 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.
Treasure Island, £6.29
Jim Hawkins discovers a map that will lead him to Treasure Island – gold, sea battles and pirates follow. Pirates are endlessly fascinating and this is the daddy of all stories. A real classic, and even one you could enjoy reading alongside them.
James And The Giant Peach, £5.76
his 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! 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.
Horrid Henry Complete Collection, £23.49
The clue’s in the name – these books are all about Horrid Henry and the naughty tricks he’s always getting up to. 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 Baby-Sitters Club, £48.45
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. The Baby-Sitters Club books have been a popular read for decades and this revamped series is sure to be a hit.
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. Matilda’s charming character and sweet relationship with her teacher Miss Honey is captivating.
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. 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.
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. 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.