Reading Lists (ages 9-14)

 

The following are lists of recommended fiction books for children from 9-14 years old. This list is by no means exhaustive, and I would thoroughly recommend exploring your local bookshops and libraries. Many of the authors on this list have written many more books that I urge you to explore and enjoy. On this list is a mixture of classic storybooks and more modern releases, and also a mix of books for you to read to your children and books that they can attempt to read themselves.

 

 

The Animals of Farthing Wood

 

book-cover
By Colin Dann
Published by Egmont

An animal survival story about woodland creatures who are on a quest to seek out a nature reserve, so that they can escape the drought that occurs once their own woods are bulldozed.

 

 

Black Beauty

book-cover
By Anna Sewell
Published by Puffin

A horse’s life: from the meadow, to an extravagant carriage, to a workhorse’s cab.

 

 

The Borrowers

book-cover
By Mary Norton
Published by Puffin

The Borrowers are tiny people who live in hidden corners of houses, collecting small items. Normally, girls are not allowed to go borrowing but Arietty is an only child, so her father permits her to break this rule. On her borrowing, she befriends a human boy.

 

 

The Call of the Wind

book-cover
By Jack London
Published by Puffin

Buck the dog is stolen from his family home in California and sold to gold traders, but he is rescued by a new master and develops a bond as they go through adventures and dangers together. However, Buck’s wild instincts start to call him to the wilderness.

 

 

Charlotte’s Web

book-cover
By E.B. White
Published by Puffin

Fern and a clever spider join forces to save Wilbur the pig from his fated destiny on the farm.

 

 

Chinese Cinderella

book-cover
By Adeline Yen Mah
Published by Puffin

A tear-jerking autobiography about the childhood of an unwanted daughter. She is born to a Chinese family who thought she was bad luck because her mother died in child birth.

 

 

The Diary of a Young Girl

book-cover
By Anne Frank
Published by Puffin

The diary of Anne Frank, who tells of her experiences as a Jewish girl living in hiding from the Nazis, during World War Two.

 

 

The Jungle Book

book-cover
By Rudyard Kipling
Published by Puffin

The classic tale of a young boy called Mowgli and his adventures living with the wild animals of the Indian jungle.

 

 

King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table

book-cover
By Roger Lancelyn Green
Published by Puffin

The legends of King Arthur and his knights, and their encounters with magic, witchcraft and battles in Camelot.

 

 

Little Women

book-cover
By Louisa May Alcott
Published by Puffin

The tales of sisters Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth, as their family falls on hard times.

 

 

A Monster Calls

book-cover
By Patrick Ness
Published by Walker Books

One night, a monster comes to Conor’s bedroom window. They befriend each other but the monster is dangerous and creates disaster everywhere. However, it will not go away until it gets what it wants from Conor, and what it wants it the truth.

 

 

The Neverending Story

book-cover
By Michael Ende
Published by Puffin

Bastian Balthazar Bux discovers an old book full of magic and enchantment. However, the world of the book is falling apart and it is up to Bastian to save it.

 

 

Stig of the Dump

book-cover
By Clive King
Published by Puffin

Barney finds a caveman called Stig living in an old quarry within the woods behind his grandparents’ house, and they embark on many adventures together.

 

 

Peter Pan

book-cover
By J.M. Barrie
Published by Puffin

Peter Pan flies into the home of Wendy, John and Michael from Never, Never Land, on the search for his runaway shadow. He takes the children back with him to his world to meet Tinkerbell the fairy, Captain Hook and his pirates, mermaids, Native Americans and the Lost Boys.

 

 

The Adventures of Robin Hood

book-cover
By Roger Lancelyn Green
Published by Puffin

The legends of Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men, telling of their adventures in Nottingham Forest, and their quest to outwit the Sherriff as they rob from the rich to feed the poor peasants.

 

 

Inkheart Trilogy

book-cover
By Cornelia Funke
Published by Chicken House

Maggie and her father Mo, a bookbinder, are visited by Dustfinger. Dustfinger reveals Mo’s remarkable secret: he can breathe life into any book. So with this discovery, the adventures begin.

 

 

The Chronicles of Narnia

book-cover
By C.S. Lewis
Published by Harper Collins

An epic fantasy, chronicling the magic, creatures and battles that commence in the world of Narnia.

 

 

His Dark Materials

book-cover
By Philip Pullman
Published by Everyman

Lyra and her daemon go on an adventure, discovering the mystical qualities of Dust. On their quest they meet a boy called Will and they all become caught up in a celestial battle.

 

 

The Secret Garden

book-cover
By Frances Hodgson Burnett
Published by Vintage

Mary Lennox is lonely and bored at her uncle’s home, until a robin helps her discover the key to a beautiful garden.

 

 

The Railway Children

book-cover
By Edith Nesbit
Published by Puffin

Roberta, Peter and Phyllis are devastated to see their father led away in the night by two strangers. However, the railway near their cottage brings them many adventures that instils some happiness to their lives.

 

 

Tom’s Midnight Garden

book-cover
By Philippa Pearce
Published by Oxford

Tom lies awake at night and hears the old grandfather clock striking to thirteen. He gets up to see what is going on and when he ventures outside, he discovers a magical garden that he never knew existed.

 

 

Watership Down

book-cover
By Richard Adams
Published by Puffin

Fiver the rabbit has a vision that he must flee his warren to a new place called Watership Down. His fears are confirmed when his fellow rabbits discover an imminent housing development on their land, so they set out in search of the place he has dreamed of.

 

 

Treasure Island

book-cover
By Robert Louis Stevenson
Published by Wordsworth

Jim Hawkins sets sail on The Hispaniola to an island with hidden treasure. However, he must compete with the notorious pirate Long John Silver, in order to beat him to the gold.

 

 

The Hobbit

book-cover
By J.R.R. Tolkein
Published by Harper Collins

The Hobbit Bilbo Baggins is visited by Gandalf the Wizard and thirteen dwarves, who bring him with them on a quest to seize treasure from the deadly Smaug the Dragon.

 

 

The Weirdstone Trilogy

book-cover
By Alan Garner
Published by Harper Collins

One day, Colin and Susan are rescued from evil creatures by a wizard and in return they help him seek out the magic Weirdstone of Brasingamen, which he needs to retrieve from the evil Morrigan.

 

 

The Harry Potter Series

book-cover
By J.K. Rowling
Published by Bloomsbury

The popular and much loved adventures of Harry Potter, half muggle and half wizard, with his magical friends from Hogwarts.

 

 

Journey to the River Sea

book-cover
By Iva Ibbotson
Published by MacMillan

Maia joins her relatives in the Amazon, where she is captivated by the beauty and the mysteries of the rainforest.

 

 

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

book-cover
By Joan Aiken
Published by Vintage

Bonnie and Sylvia must flee the evil Miss Slighcarp. The twists and turns of their flight through Victorian England take them on excitement and adventure.

 

 

Holes

book-cover
By Louis Sachar
Published by Bloomsbury

Stanley Yelnats is sent to the detention centre Camp Greenlake, for a crime he didn’t commit. Forced to dig holes, he starts to unearth a truth behind the camp and the deadly warden, with snake-venom nail varnish, who runs it.

 

 

I, Coriander

book-cover
By Sally Gardner
Published by Orion

Set in 17th Century London, Coriander is a young girl whose mother dies. However, her life takes a positive turn when she discovers a magic pair of silver shoes that take her to an enchanted world.

 

 

Kensuke’s Kingdom

book-cover
By Michael Morpurgo
Published by Egmont

Michael is washed up on a desert island with no means to survive. He curls up on the beach to die but when he wakes up, he discovers some food and water has been left for him. He realises he is not alone, and so the adventures begin…

 

 

Noughts & Crosses

book-cover
By Malorie Blackman
Published by Corgi

A Romeo and Juliet tale that allegorises the situations of racial segregation and class systems that have existed in the modern world. Sephy, a Cross of the dark-skinned ruling class and Callum, a colourless Nought of the underclass, are best friends who fall in love in some of the most challenging of circumstances.

 

 

Stormbreaker

book-cover
By Anthony Horowitz
Published by Walker Books

Alex Rider is a fourteen year old boy recruited by MI6, trained by the SAS and equipped with top-secret, high-tech gadgets before being sent on his first mission to Cornwall. There, he must investigate the state-of-the-art Stormbreaker computers that are being donated to every school in England by a Middle Eastern tycoon, which have more to them than a gesture of good will.

 

 

Artemis Fowl

book-cover
By Eoin Colfer
Published by Puffin

Artemis is a thirteen year old criminal mastermind who sets out to steal fairy gold from the fairy underworld. However, these are not the fairies of folklore. They are armed with high-tech gadgets and weapons, and they are very dangerous.

 

 

Gone

book-cover
By Michael Grant
Published by Electric Monkey

The first in a series of books in which all humans older than fifteen disappear from the face of the Earth. Those who remain learn to survive, with some developing new super-powers. A contemporary Lord-of-the-Flies scenario.

 

 

Spud

book-cover
By John Van De Ruit
Published by Penguin

The diary of a thirteen-year-old boy at an elite boarding school in 1990s South Africa, recounting the mischief and mayhem of his escapades.

 

 

Maus

book-cover
By Art Spiegelman
Published by Penguin

An allegory of the holocaust in the form of a graphic novel, with Nazi cats and Jewish mice.

 

 

The Hunger Games Trilogy

book-cover
By Suzanne Collins
Published by Scholastic

The Hunger Games is a television show in which twelve boys and twelve girls must compete in a live fight-to-the-death, where they must kill or be killed.

 

 

The Traitor Game

book-cover
By B.R. Collins
Published by Bloomsbury

Michael and Francis are best friends who have bonded over the fantasy world that they have built together: Evgard. However, when Michael believes that Francis has betrayed him, he refuses to help him when he is violently attacked in real life. The trials of their friendship are mirrored in the trials of the characters in their fantasy world, told in alternate chapters.

 

 

Exposure

book-cover
By Mal Peet
Published by Walker Books

A contemporary spin on Shakespeare’s Othello, telling the tragic downfall of the relationship between successful footballer Otello and his pop-star girlfriend Desmerelda.

 

 

The Little Prince

book-cover
By Antoine De Saint-Exupery
Published by Wordsworth

The classic, French tale of a stranded pilot who meets a little prince in the Sahara. The boy tells a series of out-of-this world adventures that are fables on the values of life.

 

 

A Series of Unfortunate Events

book-cover
By Lemony Snickett
Published by Egmont

The hardships of the Baudelaire children, who fall on bad times when a villain tries to cheat them out of their fortune.

 

 

Boy

book-cover
By Roald Dahl
Published by Puffin

The hilarious and moving autobiography of Roald Dahl’s childhood.

 

 

Cherub Series

book-cover
By Roger Muchamore
Published by Hodder

Ryan is a Cherub, recruited as a teenage spy by a top-secret organisation to help defend the country from contemporary threats to human existence, such as terrorism.

 

 

The Graveyard Book

book-cover
By Neil Gaiman
Published by Bloomsbury

A book about the upbringing of Bod, raised by ghosts in a graveyard after his family is murdered.

 

 

The Book of Lost Things

book-cover
By John Connelly
Published by Hodder

After the death of his mother, David hides away in a fantasy world of fairy tale heroes and villains. This world starts to turn from a fantasy to a nightmare though, with the arrival of The Crooked Man.

 

 

Mortal Engines Series

book-cover
By Philip Reeve
Published by Scholastic

Set in a dark, industrialised future where cities travel through the country, digesting other cities in their paths, taking on the inhabitants as slaves who must run the engines that drive them.

 

 

My Swordhand is Singing

book-cover
By Marcus Sedgwick
Published by Orion

Thomas and his father Peter travel to the village of Chust to start a new life as woodcutters. Thomas does not know why. However, his focus shifts from these unanswered questions to the arrival of gypsy travellers in the area, who turn out to be a band of vampire slayers.

 

 

The Machine Gunners

book-cover
By Robert Westall
Published by Macmillan

Chas McGill wants the best collection of WWII artefacts in his local town of Garmouth. The discovery of a German bomber and the gun inside promises this. However, it also promises danger when following his discovery, Chas is drawn into a war all of his own.

 

 

Recommended for advanced and mature reading

 

Animal Farm

 

book-cover
By George Orwell
Published by Penguin

A revolution takes place on Animal Farm when the farmland animals overthrow their tyrannical farmer. However, as a new hierarchy is established, the liberation of the animals does not last long. A classic fable of revolution.

 

 

The Day of the Triffids

book-cover
By John Wyndham
Published by Penguin

Bill Mason awakes in hospital and removes his bandages after an incident that threatened to leave him blind. When he removes them, he discovers he is now the only one who can see- and what he can see is people all around him, who have been blinded by a meteor shower. He can also see the triffids. Great plants that walk and feed on human flesh.

 

 

Brave New World

book-cover
By Aldous Huxley
Published by Vintage

World Controllers have created a utopian society fuelled by genetic engineering, brainwashing and recreational intoxications. However, Bernard Marx has had enough.

 

 

Our Man in Havana

book-cover
By Graham Greene
Published by Vintage

Wormold is employed to perform some espionage in Cuba. Tempted by the extra money, he takes on the post. However, rather than conduct his duties, he simply produces fake reports. Yet they suddenly start to come true.

 

 

The Catcher in the Rye

book-cover
By J.D. Salinger
Published by Puffin

Holden Caulfield, expelled from his fourth school, decides to take a tour of New York, where he encounters the real and the phonies. This rite of passage novel brilliantly narrates the comic and satirical view on the world of a boy on the edge of a breakdown.

 

 

Dracula

book-cover
By Bram Stoker
Published by Penguin

The monstrous Dracula travels from Trannsylvania to London, stalking his victims with his deadly, vampiric curse.

 

 

Frankenstein

book-cover
By Mary Shelley
Published by Penguin

Doctor Frankenstein collects the body parts of murdered criminals and brings them together to create life- but it soon proves to be more monstrous than human.

 

 

Great Expectations

book-cover
By Charles Dickens
Published by Penguin

Pip’s search for the life of a gentleman leads him on encounters with the famous Dickensian characters of the criminal Abel Magwith, the eccentric Miss Haversham and the beautiful Estrella. On his search, he discovers more of his own identity too.

 

 

The Hound of Baskervilles

book-cover
By Arthur Conan Doyle
Published by Penguin

Baskerville Hall is haunted by a mysterious beast and it is down to Sherlock Holmes to solve the mystery.

 

 

Rebecca

book-cover
By Daphne Du Maurier
Published by Vintage

A young bride marries the charming and wealthy Maxim de Winter in Monte Carlo. He whisks her back to his magnificent home, Manderley. However, the ghost of his dead wife starts to drive them apart and a deadly mystery starts to unfold.

 

 

The Kraken Wakes

book-cover
By John Wyndham
Published by Penguin

Fireballs begin to rain down from the heavens into the oceans, then tanks emerge from the waters to claim human lives.

 

 

A Kestrel for a Knave

book-cover
By Barry Hines
Published by Penguin

Billy Casper is a Northern lad fated to fail school and follow his father down the mines. However, his spirit is lifted and his wild nature is mastered when he discovers Kes and learns to tame her.

 

 

Lord of the Flies

book-cover
By William Golding
Published by Penguin

A group of young boys are stranded on an island and with the absence of parents and social boundaries, they start to revert to the wild instincts of the island. Savagery unfolds.

 

 

Fahrenheit 451

book-cover
By Ray Bradbury
Published by Flamingo

Guy the fireman is employed to burn forbidden books. Those who keep books in their homes and read them are considered menaces to society. However, Guy starts to fear that his wife might have some lurking in his very own house too.

 

 

Of Mice and Men

book-cover
By John Steinbeck
Published by Penguin

Clever George and his friend Lenny search for work in the valleys of California. Lenny is physically strong but suffers mental challenges and he is unaware of his own strength, which leads to a tragic outcome for the friendship of the pair.

 

 

The Murders in the Rue Morgue and Other Tales

book-cover
By Edgar Allan Poe
Published by Penguin

A master of gothic fiction, Edgar Allan Poe tells suspenseful horror and detective stories.

 

 

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

book-cover
By Robert Louis Stevenson
Published by Penguin

London is plagued by a series of murders reminiscent of Jack the Ripper. Do they have any connection to the monstrous loss of self that Dr Jekyll experiences when he takes a deadly yet addictive formula?

 

 

The Turn of the Screw

book-cover
By Henry James
Published by Penguin

A young governess comes to a country manor, to care for two children: Miles and Flora. The governess sees the figure of late Peter Quint the groundskeeper recurrently appearing in an upstairs window, and she thinks he is after the children.

 

 

White Fang

book-cover
By Jack London
Published by Puffin

White Fang lives in Canada, during the gold rush. White Fang is a wild dog and he decides to escape the violence of the wilderness for a life of domestication. However, he sadly discovers that humans can have an equally wild and violent nature too.

 

 

Wuthering Heights

book-cover
By Emily Bronte
Published by Puffin

Cathy falls in love with the wild, gypsy-boy Heathcliff and they descend into a tempestuous relationship reflected in the wild, moorland surroundings of Cathy’s home, Wuthering Heights.

 

 

Regeneration

book-cover
By Pat Barker
Published by Penguin

At the Craiglockhart hospital, psychiatrist W.H.R. Rivers cares for shell-shocked soldiers from the battlefields of World War One. At Craiglockhart, we encounter established World War One poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen.

 

 

The Time Machine

book-cover
By H.G. Wells
Published by Penguin

A Victorian scientist travels far, far into the future, to the year 802, 701 AD. There, he discovers beauty and peace unlike any he has ever known. However, the creatures who inhabit this peaceful Earth are threatened by the Morlocks who live below the ground they walk on. The Morlocks are a particular threat to the earthly beauty because they are descended from Earth’s ultimate threat: humans.

 

 

To Kill a Mockingbird

book-cover
By Harpur Lee
Published by Random House

An African American is accused of violently assaulting a white woman in Southern America, at the height and centre of racial segregation and discrimination. A lawyer decides to defend him. The tale is told through the innocent, honest eyes of his children Scout and Finch.

 

 

The War of the Worlds

book-cover
By H.G. Wells
Published by Penguin

A shooting star rains down from the sky and this sparks the start of an alien invasion from Mars, ready to overpower mankind.

 

 

Things Fall Apart

book-cover
By Chinua Achebe
Published by Penguin

Okonowo is a powerful tribal leader but he is a proud, violent-tempered man. When his tribe is threatened by outsiders, will pride come before a fall?

 

 

The Kite Runner

book-cover
By Khaled Hosseini
Published by Bloomsbury

In Afghanistan, 1975, twelve year old Amir sets out to win a kite fighting competition. However, his childhood happiness is brought into upheaval by Russian invasion and the family’s flight to America. He visits Afghanistan in his adulthood though, once the country is under the rule of the Taliban, to return to his past.

 

 

Life of Pi

book-cover
By Yann Martel
Published by Canongate

A sixteen year old boy named Pi is afloat on a lifeboat with a hyena, a zebra, an orangutan and a tiger, following the sinking of a cargo ship. They are the only survivors. In their unusual situation, they start to weave a story.

 

 

The Little Stranger

book-cover
By Sarah Waters
Published by Virago

Doctor Faraday is called out to the old mansion of the Ayers’ family, whose home, he discovers, is haunted by an unusual and terrifying force.

 

 

The Book Thief

book-cover
By Markus Zusak
Published by Black Swan

A novel narrated by Death himself, about a young girl in Nazi Germany called Liesel, who makes it her occupation to steal books.

 

 

I Capture the Castle

book-cover
By Dodie Smith
Published by Vintage

Cassandra narrates the life of her family in a dilapidated castle through her diaries. American heirs arrive to the castle and a romance unfolds for Cassandra.

 

 

The Outsiders

book-cover
By S.E. Hinton
Published by Penguin

Two gangs in America, the rich Socs and the poor Greasers, are at loggerheads with each other. Ponyboy becomes caught in the middlewhen things go too far.

 

 

A Prayer for Owen Meaney

book-cover
By John Irving
Published by Black Swan

Eleven year old Owen Meaney strikes a ball at a baseball game but kills his best friend’s mother in doing so. This book tells howw his life unfolds following the tragic incident.

 

 

The Ruby in the Smoke

book-cover
By Philip Pullman
Published by Scholastic

Sally Lockhart receives a letter, informing her that her father has drowned at sea. Determined to discover the truth of his death, she must search through the Victorian underworld and the mystery of a deadly jewel soaked in blood to find out what really happened.

 

 

The Lord of the Rings Trilogy

book-cover
By J.R.R. Tolkein
Published by Harper Collins

An epic fantasy tale set in Middle Earth, in which Frodo Baggins the hobbit must destroy the dark force of the ring in the Cracks of Doom, before it possesses his soul.

 

 

A Christmas Carol

book-cover
By Charles Dickens
Published by Wordsworth

Miserly Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three spirits of Christmas past, present and future. They are sent to save his soul by his late, money-grabbing colleague Jacob Marley, a ghost shackled bu his own greed. Scrooge must learn the true meaning of Christmas, before it is too late.