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
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.
A horse’s life: from the meadow, to an extravagant carriage, to a workhorse’s cab.
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
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.
Fern and a clever spider join forces to save Wilbur the pig from his fated destiny on the farm.
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
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
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
The legends of King Arthur and his knights, and their encounters with magic, witchcraft and battles in Camelot.
The tales of sisters Meg, Jo, Amy and Beth, as their family falls on hard times.
A Monster Calls
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
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
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 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
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.
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
An epic fantasy, chronicling the magic, creatures and battles that commence in the world of Narnia.
His Dark Materials
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
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
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
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.
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.
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 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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
An allegory of the holocaust in the form of a graphic novel, with Nazi cats and Jewish mice.
The Hunger Games Trilogy
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
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.
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
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
The hardships of the Baudelaire children, who fall on bad times when a villain tries to cheat them out of their fortune.
The hilarious and moving autobiography of Roald Dahl’s childhood.
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
A book about the upbringing of Bod, raised by ghosts in a graveyard after his family is murdered.
The Book of Lost Things
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
The monstrous Dracula travels from Trannsylvania to London, stalking his victims with his deadly, vampiric curse.
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.
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
Baskerville Hall is haunted by a mysterious beast and it is down to Sherlock Holmes to solve the mystery.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
A master of gothic fiction, Edgar Allan Poe tells suspenseful horror and detective stories.
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde
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
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 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.
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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.