The list below was created from a survey run on Lovereading4schools where we asked Teachers and Parents to recommend books that they have found helpful in encouraging reluctant readers.
As with all Lovereading4schools book lists please treat this as a template and adapt it if you wish.
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The inspiring magic of a white lion brings friendship and hope to a lonely ten year old. Miserable at his boarding school, Bertie runs away. He is rescued by a kind old lady who tells him of how another Bertie, a little boy from a long time before, saved an orphaned lion cub in Africa. The symbol of the white lion becomes an emblem of hope as well as a link across generations. Michael Morpurgo is skilful in weaving together magical and real stories. ~ Julia Eccleshare The Lovereading view: One of our 'Must Reads'. We're told by the author that The Butterfly Lion grew from several magical roots: the memories of a small boy who tried to run away from school a long time ago; a book about a pride of white lions discovered by Chris McBride; a chance meeting in a lift with Virginia McKenna, actress and champion of lions and all creatures born free; a true story of a soldier of the First World War who rescued some circus animals in France from certain death; and the sighting from a train of a white horse carved out on a chalky hillside near Westbury in Wiltshire. A book to savour and to read and re-read time and time again. The whole family will be enthralled by its powerful and gripping story and will weep and cheer by turns.
The chilling Saga of Darren Shan, the ordinary schoolboy plunged into the vampire world. Darren goes to a banned freak show with his best mate Steve. It's the wonderfully gothic Cirque Du Freak where weird, frightening half human/half animals appear who interact terrifyingly with the audience. Darren - a spider freak - `falls in love' with Madam Octa - an enormous tarantala owned by Mr Crepsley. Darren determines to steal the spider so that he can train it to perform amazing deeds. But his daring theft goes horribly wrong and Darren finds himself having to make a bargain with a creature of the night. Something out of the ordinary is set against the background of children's normal lives to chilling effect. Atmospheric, funny, realistic, moving and... terrifying.
Kenny Wright is smart, polite, and really good at chess, none of which does anything to impress the kids at his new Middle School, which is one tough place. But when, he’s forced to teach one of his regular tormentors how to play chess and to their mutual surprise, they both learn some really interesting life lessons. As ever with Patterson, this is sharp and funny, first-rate page-turning fiction. He makes serious points about the importance of ensuring everyone in society gets a proper education, but without it every feeling preachy. Cartoons of Kenny in his would-be superhero guise of Stainlezz Steel add an extra layer to the plot and are great fun too. ~ Andrea Reece
This is the first of a brilliant and award-winning fantasy sequence. It's a book that grips you from the start and will transport you from your earth world to a world of fantasy. The characters are brilliantly imagined and the fantasy world so realistically described that you feel you're there. It's midwinter and Will Stanton, the seventh son of a seventh son, discovers his destiny on the eve of his birthday. Will must learn to harness the powers of the Old Ones and embark on a quest to vanquish the terrifyingly evil magic of the Dark, an evil entity that threatens the world's very existence. The Dark is Rising won the author numerous international awards, including the Newbery Medal. Whether you're 11 or 111 you'll love it. It's a novel that stands alone; however, there are sequels, four of them to complete the sequence. All five titles can be bought in one great value tome. From a 12 year old:I've never been fond of reading but when I was given this book I found it gripping, exciting and mysterious and written from a young teenage point of view. I devoured this one and the rest of the series and have not stopped reading since. So a note to all parents of reluctant readers - this is a must for all, Susan Cooper transports you to this strange world where things are never as they seem and there are dark undertones. Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
Michael Foreman woke up when an incendiary bomb dropped through the roof of his Lowestoft home. Luckily, it missed his bed by inches, bounced off the floor and exploded up the chimney. So begins Michael's fascinating, brilliantly illustrated tale of growing up on the Suffolk frontline during World War II. He tells how he and his friends and family coped with bombing raids and deadly doodlebugs, how gas masks were great for making rude noises, and how nothing could beat rabbit pie! ' ...vivid, humorous and touching' - Guardian .
Albert, Carrie and young Nick are war-time evacuees whose lives get so tangled up with the people they've come to live among that the war and their real families seem to belong to another world. Carrie and Nick are billeted in Wales with old Mr Evans, who is so mean and cold, and his timid mouse of a sister, Lou, who suddenly starts having secrets. Their friend Albert is luckier, living in Druid's Bottom with warm-hearted Hepzibah Green and the strange Mister Johnny, who can talk to animals but not to human beings. Carrie and Nick visit him there whenever they can for Hepzibah makes life exciting and enticing with her stories and delicious cooking. Gradually they begin to feel more at ease in their war-time home, but then, in trying to heal the rift between Mr Evans and his estranged sister, and save Druid's Bottom, Carrie does a terrible thing which is to haunt her for years to come. Carrie revisits Wales as an adult and tells the story to her own children.
A favourite of August 2011 Guest Editor Julie Hearn. To writing a moving and funny book, especially for children, about as serious a subject as cancer is a remarkable achievement. Two Weeks with the Queen is a remarkable example of such a thing. Sent away from his home in Australia to stay with his aunt ands uncle in London while his parents nurse his brother Luke through the final stages of cancer, Colin sets out on a mission. If only he can reach the Queen, he reasons, she’ll be able to put him in touch with the best cancer doctor in the world and Luke will be made well. But nothing is so straightforward. Instead, Colin meets some remarkable people and, through them, he is able to share some of the universal grief of loosing a person you love. Profoundly moving, deeply serious but also wickedly funny. Click here to see other Morris Gleitzman titles.
Zany, headlong adventure is kept under control – just! – in this hilarious adventure of Belinda, the Karate Princess. Belinda is bored and when she’s bored, her karate habit causes a great many things to get broken… Luckily, her uncle cannot find a prince strong enough to see off the man-eating MoNsta and win the hand of his daughter Taloola. Up steps the Karate Princess. The MoNsta proves to be just the kind of worthy match the Karate Princess loves. A satisfyingly riotous roller-coaster ride for all readers. Click here to view other Jeremy Strong titles Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
Mr Wonka's inventions are out of this world. He's thought up every kind of sweet imaginable in his amazing chocolate factory, but no one has ever seen inside, or met Mr Wonka! Charlie can't believe his luck when he finds a golden ticket and wins the trip of a lifetime around the famous factory.
Thirteen-year-old criminal mastermind Artemis Fowl has constructed a supercomputer from stolen fairy technology. In the wrong hands it could be fatal for humans and fairies alike. But no need to worry, Artemis has a brilliant plan. He's not going to use the computer; he's just going to show it to a ruthless American businessman with Mafia connections. His bodyguard, Butler, will be with him. What could possibly go wrong...?
File Note: Strictly Confidential - Authorised Personnel Only. Subject: James Bond. Description: Age 13. Dark hair; blue eyes; tall for age; surprisingly strong; fluent French, good German. Essential components: A Mediterranean mystery. One kidnapped girl - feisty, blond, superfit Amy Goodenough, sister of James' best friend Mark. One villainous pirate - Zoltan Magyr. Mysterious Latin-speaking men lurking near Eton. One fast car.
A fourth book about Nicholas and his family. Now that the twins (Cheese and Tomato) have been born, the family needs to earn more money. Dad starts to grow his own vegetables and keep a goat for milking - with disastrous results in exploding yoghurt. Then the twins audition for a nappy advert. They cause chaos, but when Cheese's bottom accidentally gets on the News programme, he's given the advertising job and the family's money problems are over.
A heart breaking and heart warming story of a special friendship that grows between Willie Beech, evacuated to the country to avoid the Blitz on London, and Tom Oakley, the reserved old man who takes him in. Willie has been lonely and neglected all his life as his mother lacks the ability to care for him. Under Mister Tom’s patient and kind guidance Willie grows emotionally and physically to become the boy he should have been. But then his mother wants him back home in London. Must Willie loose everything that has made him happy?
Shortlisted for the Laugh-Out-Loud Book Awards 2016, 9-13 years Category Dr Noel Zone is without doubt the world’s greatest dangerologist, and his books are required reading for anyone eager to avoid danger wherever it may lurk and, as we know from his first book, danger really is everywhere: toast, pets, birthday cake, bicycles EVERYTHING is a potential threat to wellbeing! Imagine the doctor’s horror therefore when danger is introduced into his house in the form of a yapping, shoe-chewing, pee-and-poop-doing havoc machine called Napkin (ie a small puppy belonging to his sister). This is another brilliantly funny survival guide, the kind of book readers carry around so that they can read favourite passages out loud to friends and family. Huge fun and great for dipping into. ~ Andrea Reece A message from the author, David O'Doherty: There is now 88% more danger in the world than when I was a kid, when there was just the odd bit of lightning and an occasional escaped zoo animal. Chris and I, via the delusions of the world's premier (only) dangerologist Docter Noel Zone, are delighted to get this opportunity from Puffin to terrify children with tales of awful made-up things that could happen. I mean, are you completely sure that your cat isn't a baby dinosaur?
When Tom hears the grandfather clock strike thirteen he is not prepared for what is going to happen. Outside the back door is a garden, which everyone tells him doesn't exist. But the magical place in which Tom finds himself is certainly a garden - his midnight garden. Tom's Midnight Garden won The Carnegie Medal when it was first published in 1958.
Dinah moves in with the Hunter family and starts going to the same school as her foster-brothers Lloyd and Harvey. It's not easy, as they seem to hate her, and school is really strange. Pupils suddenly talk like robots and do weird things - even Dinah finds herself acting oddly. She's sure the headmaster has some kind of power over them, and is determined to find out more. But the Demon Headmaster is equally determined to stop her. Gillian Cross has won the Carnegie Medal, the Whitbread Children's Novel Award, and the Smarties Prize, and is a highly-acclaimed author. Sales of her books exceed one million copies.
Two bothers, Damian and Anthony, are unwittingly caught up in a train robbery during Britain's countdown to join the Euro. Suddenly finding themselves with a vast amount of cash, the boys have just one glorious, appalling dilemma - how to spend it in the few days before it becomes worthless. Torn between the vices of buying a million pizzas and the virtues of ending world poverty, the boys soon discover that being rich is a mug's game. For not only is the clock ticking - the bungling bank robbers are closing in. Pizzas or World Peace, what would you choose? Two bothers, Damian and Anthony, are unwittingly caught up in a train robbery during Britain's countdown to join the Euro. Suddenly finding themselves with a vast amount of cash, the boys have just one glorious, appalling dilemma - how to spend it in the few days before it becomes worthless. Torn between the vices of buying a million pizzas and the virtues of ending world poverty, the boys soon discover that being rich is a mug's game. For not only is the clock ticking - the bungling bank robbers are closing in. Pizzas or World Peace, what would you choose?
This stunning spoof melodrama relates the dramatic and scary tale of how the evil Count Karlstein strikes a bargain with the Demon Huntsman. The price of the bargain? His nieces, Lucy and Charlotte, who look as if they will be trapped forever. With his pack of howling hounds, the Demon Huntsman terrorises the villagers but luckily, all does not go smoothly and Count Karlstein is shown up as a fraud as comes to a satisfying bad end. ~ Julia Eccleshare Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
Tinged with sorrow and sadness this is also a heart-warming family story full of wonder and magic. For his ninth birthday, Gwyn is given five unusual gifts by his grandmother. None of them is wrapped so he knows immediately that they are a piece of seaweed, a yellow scarf, a tin whistle, a twisted metal brooch and a small broken horse. Gwyn is ready to find out if, like his ancestors, he has the making of a magician. Tossing the brooch into the wind, Gwyn is led on an adventure which may also resolve the mystery of his missing sister and heal the pain of her disappearance. Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 Award-winning Neil Gaiman brilliantly weaves a spell-binding story taking readers up and away on a wild fantasy in which dinosaurs and space travel happily coexist. And all because…Dad has to go out and by the milk! Chris Riddell’s line illustrations capture the invention perfectly. Children of all ages (and lots of childish grown-ups) will be swept along laughing with glee as Dad tries to get the milk home...and possibly save the universe along the way! In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Fortunately, The Milk... a small number of children were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'a brilliantly funny and strangely weird time travel adventure.' Scroll down to read more reviews...
Dreaming of stardom? All the highs and lows of school life and the vital role of friends in it as a group of new students begin their first term at L’Etoile, School for Performing Arts, the best school for stars in the country. Twins Maria and Molly are agog to meet their new school companions. From the start, it is clear there will be a lot of very big egos to manage! .................... School for Stars: First Term at L'Etoile has become the UK's highest-selling children’s debut of 2013. Holly and Kelly Willoughby said "It was a dream come true writing our own children's book and we are thrilled children love it as much as we do."
Wildlife specialist Steve Backshall, presenter of the Award winning TV show Deadly, brings the threat tigers are under sharply into focus in this thrilling eco-adventure. Saker and Sinter are two teenagers on the run from the Clan, a brotherhood into which they have been recruited, take on the perilous but vital task of saving the majestic but deadly tigers from the tiger farms that profiteer from selling tiger organs for medicines. With enemies hot on their tail, the teenagers need very ounce of courage and cunning to survive and complete their mission. Exciting to read and vividly brought to life in the dramatic backgrounds of India and China, this is also an important story about protecting wild life.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 Martin Moone- one boy and a load of sisters! That means Martin is always in trouble of one kind or another. What would you do? When Martin asks his friend Padraic for advice about changing the gender balance in the Moone family home, Padraic suggest finding a IF – imaginary friend. Martin is hilarious as he tells of his search for a suitable choice. Just what a kind of a person should he pick? ~ Julia Eccleshare And you can catch Moone Boy in his own tv series on Sky 1 starring co-writer and Hollywood actor Chris O'Dowd - watch a trailer here!
A Richard and Judy Children's Book Club selection 2011 - Fluent Readers. Short-listed for Best Norwegian Children's Book 2007. Fuelled by farts, this is fast-paced and a delightfully ridiculous adventure from a debut children's writer but a well established and bestselling adult author Jo Nesbø who has been fairly compared to Stieg Larsson, the creator of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Newly moved into the neighbourhood, Nilly meets a strange old man who turns out to be Doctor Proctor, an almost famous inventor who is about to come up with a super-strength fart powder which can propel people into outer space. Can Nilly and his new friend Lisa help the mad professor and can they keep the fart powder safe from those who want to steal it?
The second in Chris Hoy’s cycling-with-a-touch-of-magic series sees Fergus and his friends Daisy, Callum and Minnie form their own cycling team, Hercules’ Hopefuls. They may not have brand new bikes, or fancy jerseys like their arch rivals Wallace’s Winners, but they’ve got lots of heart, and sometimes that what counts. It’s a classic children’s sports story, with a fun cast of characters, made even more lively by Fergus’s visits to a magical world, Nevermore. Not only does Fergus learn a lot about teamwork on his magical adventures, there’s also a clue as to the whereabouts of his dad, not seen since Fergus was a baby. A successful mix of pedal-action, friendship and fantasy adventure, this is a very satisfying story for newly confident readers. Clare Elsom’s lively illustrations add to the fun. There are more books in the series to come, and readers might also like Frank Lampard’s football-with-magic series Frankie’s Magic Football. ~ Andrea Reece Emma Matthewson, Editor, Hot Key Books, said: “Sir Chris has already provided a lasting legacy of inspiration to young people with his tremendous list of achievements. What drew me to Flyign Fergus was a genuine warmth and heart to the books and Sir Chris’s clear dedication to the next generation. We can’t wait to see young cyclists across the country enjoy reading about their new hero!”
Interest Age 9 -14 Reading Age 8+. Perfect for reluctant or struggling readers. This is an action-packed story involving a boy who dreams of being a football pro. Because fiction and non-fiction are interwoven together, it’s likely to attract less keen readers but readers who may have a passion for football. His heroes all have the No. 7 on their shirt. Can he get there too? This book is part of Barrington Stoke’s ‘fyi’ series of gripping stories interwoven with stacks of fun facts. Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here. A Dyslexia Friendly title.
Interest Age 9+ Reading Age 8+. Creator of the best-selling Mr Gum series, Andy Stanton delights again is this story of the importance of self-belief. 10 year old Matthew Buzzington badly needs some special powers when his family suddenly relocates to the Big City. Easily picked on by the biggest and meanest boy in his new school, Matthew needs to show how special he is. If only he could turn himself into a fly… When Matthew, his little sister and the big school bully are locked into school together Matthew finds that when everyone believes in him, he can do something rather special. And that is life changing… To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here. A Dyslexia Friendly title.
Interest Age 11+ Reading Age 8+. A comical mystery from one of the UK’s best known novelists, Terry Deary. Be prepared however, for fear will also run through your veins in a plot so sinister and frightening that you will be glued to the page. Fast-moving and with terrific climax, this novel is part of the absolutely excellent ‘reloaded’ series from Barrington Stoke that provides wide-ranging stories whilst introducing the reader to myths and legends from many lands and cultures. Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
Superfairies is a sweet new series about four little fairies, in which the emphasis is very much on kindness and helping others. In this springtime story the fairies are working together to clean their home inside the cherry blossom tree, when they get a call that one of their animal friends needs help. They climb into the fairycopter and fly to the rescue as always. Little Basil the bear cub has got into trouble in the river and things are scary until the fairies manage to help him out. With just the right amount of risk and reassurance, and a gentle message about the danger of playing near water, this will charm young readers. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from the Publishers, Curious Fox Growing up, I remember being enchanted by Cicely Mary Barker’s Flower Fairies (as was author Janey Louise Jones). I also had a wonderful illustrated book about the tooth fairy that included, most importantly, instructions on how to ensure my tooth was not missed in exchange for some pocket money. So when Curious Fox was introduced to Rose, Berry, Silk and Star, we knew we wanted to bring the Superfairies to the next generation of girls (and boys!) growing up with fairy friends.The Superfairies live in a cherry blossom tree in Peaseblossom Woods, alongside their animal chums. A celebration for the changing seasons and the beauty of nature is always round the corner, and with summer fairs, petal parades and winter feasts, their active social lives alone could keep their calendar full all year round. But nature also brings challenges. When the Autumn Queen flies over Peaseblossom Woods ushering in a storm, the animals’ habitats are in danger. The fairies are torn: how can they protect their friends and still respect Mother Nature?There are plenty of times, however, that the animals need no help at all to get themselves in sticky situations. Wonder, curiosity and refusing to back down from dares are the prime culprits in keeping the Superfairies on red alert. They are what I like to think of as ‘thoroughly modern’ fairies. Nature and technology harmoniously mix to aid animal rescues. When the Superfairies hear the bells ring, they check the Strawberry computer to see who’s in trouble and where. Then it’s straight into the fairycopter (because obviously they would get tired out flying long distances with just their wings), check key items like healing honey and the warming feather cloak are in the rescue pack, then it’s up and away to the rescue! Each fairy has a special power: Berry uses her super eyesight to scout for missing animals and Silk spins super strong webs to make ladders or catch falling friends. When they work together, they can solve any problem. This happy union is echoed by the author and illustrator, who are partners in crime and friends in real life. Following the success of her best-selling series Princess Poppy, Janey Louise Jones knew she wanted illustrator Jennie Poh’s super drawing skill to bring her fairies to life, and each spread features Jennie’s gorgeous colour artwork. Join the Superfairies on their rescues with books 1 to 4 available now, and books 5 and 6 publishing in August this year.
Part novel, part game, this is an adventure set deep in the caverns beneath Firetop Mountain where a powerful Warlock lives. The prospects of losing your way in the maze, having your strength sapped at the hands of a hideous Wight, or facing a grisly end in battle with Orcs all loom large. Ages 8 +.
Jiggy's new underpants won't come off. As if that wasn't enough, they seem to give him a peculiar sort of power over people. This is the second humourous adventure starring Jiggy McCue.
Interest Age 8 - 12 Reading Age 8+. Ghosts and history whizz through this hilarious story. Luke hates most things that happen at school – and he especially hates history. When his teacher sets the class a project to do on the Victorians he knows he is not going to enjoy it! But then Luke is visited by a ghost while he is in the bath (that’s pretty embarrassing!) and he soon finds out that history isn’t boring after all… Jeremy Strong is Barrington Stoke’s reading hero for 2012. Look out for events and competitions throughout the year. Mairi Kidd, MD of specialist publisher Barrington Stoke, says, “Jeremy Strong is a key advocate for the role of humour in education, and particularly in getting children reading. We are huge fans here at Barrington Stoke and are delighted not only to be publishing two new titles this month, but also to celebrate Jeremy’s amazing efforts for our readers over the years with a relaunch of much-loved backlist titles. To up the fun factor, we’ve also decided to make the jackets of The Ghost in the Bath and Living with Vampires glow in the dark!” To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here. A Dyslexia Friendly title.
Shortlisted for the Smarties Prize and the Kathleen Fidler Award. Oliver is struggling at school, and the other children laugh at him. What he really wants is a dog, a dog to love him loyally and uncritically; a dog to obey his word and never mind what Oliver can or can’t do at school. Though he has problems with his hearing and his sight, Flow is just such a dog, and when a time comes in which Oliver is in real danger, Flow stands by him. This is a lovely, satisfying story that delivers important messages about bravery and friendship. It will be enjoyed by any young reader who, like Oliver, longs for a dog and will speak to any who, like Oliver, struggle with dyslexia. A reissue, this book was shortlisted for the Smarties Prize on publication. ~ Andrea Reece