These books will suit the majority of children in the middle and senior years of Primary School. They are also some of my favourite books, so don’t let age be a barrier! For reluctant readers I would focus on books that are funny!
1. Louis Sachar: Dogs Don’t Tell Jokes
‘Why did the guy eat two dead skunks for breakfast?’ ‘Because dead ones squeal when you stick the fork in.’ Gary W. Boone knows he was born to be a stand-up comedian. It is the rest of the kids in the class who think he is a fool. Then the Floyd Hicks Junior High School Talent Show is announced, and he starts practising his routine non-stop to get it just right. Gary’s sure that this will be his big break – he’ll make everyone laugh and will win the $100 prize money. But when an outrageous surprise threatens to turn his debut into a disaster, it looks as if the biggest joke of all may be on Gary himself.
Try also: There’s a Boy in the Girl’s Bathroom by Sachar; The Boy who Lost his Face by Louis Sachar and Holes by Louis Sachar.
- 2. Sharon Creech
Walk Two Moons
Salamanca Hiddle is travelling across the United States with her eccentric grandparents. On her journey, she tells the story of her friend Phoebe, a girl of wild imaginings. But beneath Sal’s funny anecdotes is the deeper story of Sal’s mother, who left home and never returned.
Try also: Heartbeat by Sharon Creech. Keep reading Michael Morpurgo titles…like War Horse!
- 3. Michelle Paver
Chronicles of Ancient Darkness Book 1: Wolf Brother
Thousands of years ago the land is one dark forest. Its people are hunter-gatherers. They know every tree and herb and they know how to survive in a time of enchantment and powerful magic. Until an ambitious and malevolent force conjures a demon: a demon so evil that it can be contained only in the body of a ferocious bear that will slay everything it sees, a demon determined to destroy the world. Only one boy can stop it – 12 year old Torak, who has seen his father murdered by the bear. With his dying breath, Torak’s father tells his son of the burden that is his. He must lead the bear to the mountain of the World Spirit and beg that spirit’s help to overcome it. Torak is an unwilling hero. He is scared and trusts no one. His only companion is a wolf cub only three moons old, whom he seems to understand better than any human. Theirs is a terrifying quest in a world of wolves, tree spirits and Hidden People, a world in which trusting a friend means risking your life.
Have you tried the Darren Shan books?
4 Philip Reeve
Mortal Engines: Predator Cities 1
The Predator Cities quartet is a stunning blend of past and future technologies where the world of the traction era and mobile cities fight for survival in a post-apocalyptic future. The publication of Mortal Engines, the first in the quartet launched Philip Reeve’s brilliantly-imagined creation, sets the scene for a stunning quartet of action-packed novels set in a richly inventive world. Big cities gobble up smaller ones and London rules above them all. Tom Natsworthy, a third class apprentice in the Guild of Historians, has the adventure of his life after he sets out to try to find out what has happened to his parents. With a cast of inventive characters including Shrike, Anna Fang and Stalker, a deadly robot killer with a human brain, and cities whose imaginary and multi-layered architecture dazzles, this is a creation on a vast and imaginary scale.
Why Not Try: Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy; Harry Potter by J.K Rowling; The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper and Eva Ibbotson’s books.
- 4. Hilary Mc Kay: Saffy’s Angel
The four Casson children, whose mother, Eve, is a fine-arts painter, have all been given the names of paint colors. Cadmium (Caddy), is the eldest; then Saffron (Saffy); Indigo, the only boy; and Rose, the youngest. When Saffy discovers quite by accident that she has been adopted, she is deeply upset, though the others assure her that it makes no difference at all. Saffy is the daughter of Eve’s twin sister, who lived in Siena, Italy, and died in a car crash. Grandad brought Saffy, as a very small child, back from Siena.At Grandad’s death he leaves something to each of the children. To Saffy, it is “her angel,” although no one knows its identity. How Saffy discovers what her angel is, with the help of an energetic new friend, lies at the heart of this enchanting story. Unforgettable characters come alive in often deeply humorous and always absorbing events to be treasured for a long, long time.
Consider the Striker series by Nick Hale if you love football!