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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Heroism or cowardice? A stunning story of the First World War from a master storyteller. Told in the voice of a young soldier, the story follows 24 hours in his life at the front during WW1, and captures his memories as he looks back over his life. Full of stunningly researched detail and engrossing atmosphere, the book leads to a dramatic and moving conclusion. Both a love story and a deeply moving account of the horrors of the First World War, this book will reach everyone from 9 to 90.
The first part of the chilling Saga of Darren Shan, the ordinary schoolboy plunged into the vampire world. THE SAGA OF DARREN SHAN BOOK 1 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 tarantula 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. The spider bites Steve and Darren has to sell his soul to Mr Crepsley - a member of the vampire clan - to get the antidote. Something out of the ordinary is set against the background of children's normal lives to chilling effect. Atmospheric, funny, realistic, moving and... terrifying.
This is, according to the worldwide publishers the biggest new publishing phenomenon of 2007. Well, that’s quite a statement, and although we don’t go quite that far yet, mainly because it is only published in the fourth month of the year, Skulduggery Pleasant is something that’s more than just a bit different from anything else on the market. Yes it has a weird, you could say warped, storyline but it will have you in a vice-like grip from page one and keep you there until the final page. See below for what one of our children's reading panel thought of it.One of the best novels I have read. With the witty catchphrases and punchy action scenes, it had me glued to every page. My favourite part was when they rescue Skulduggery and he says ‘well it’s going rather fabulously so far’. It reminded me of my friend, saying completely the wrong thing for that time. You discover so much about all of their characters: Stephanie tries to be brave but she is really scared of all the magic, Skulduggery just wants revenge on Serpine for what he did to him in life. You become such close friends and they are inside your head all day and you in theirs. I am really looking forward to the sequel and finding out about Stephanie’s new powers. It was a brilliant read and I loved every minute of it.Hugh (11)Also don't forget to check out the brilliant video that you can 'personalise', and send to your friends - your message appears on a gravetone in the video! - just click the image below Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
Christopher is 15 and lives in Swindon with his father. He has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism. He is obsessed with maths, science and Sherlock Holmes but finds it hard to understand other people. When he discovers a dead dog on a neighbour's lawn he decides to solve the mystery and write a detective thriller about it. As in all good detective stories, however, the more he unearths, the deeper the mystery gets - for both Christopher and the rest of his family.
Having got rid of their human master, the animals of Manor Farm look forward to a life of freedom and plenty. But as a clever, ruthless elite among them takes control, the other animals find themselves hopelessly ensnared in the old ways. Orwell's chilling story of the betrayal of idealism through tyranny and corruption, is as fresh and relevant today as when it was first published in 1945.
An attention grabbing title and an arresting opening ensure Morris Gleitzman has his audience hooked. And they will be well rewarded for being so. But alongside its effortlessly entertaining introduction, Bumface is also a thoughtful and serious book about the responsibilities that many children take on. Angus longs to be a pirate. He dreams of being bold, brave, wild and, above all, free. Instead, he is almost fully occupied looking after his younger brothers and sisters and he is pre-occupied by thinking of ways to stop his mother having another baby….When Angus meets Rindi, he finds that he is not alone. An entertaining and realistic view of contemporary childhood. ~ 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.
The first explosive book in Charlie Higson's bestselling Young Bond series. The dark waters around a remote Scottish castle hold a sinister secret. One man with a thirst for power will use it - whatever the cost. SilverFin is DANGEROUS SilverFin is the FUTURE SilverFin must be DESTROYED Bond. James Bond. The legend begins with SilverFin.
A powerful story about the physical skills and the mental strength that is needed to survive. Brian has grown up in the city. That’s where he’s comfortable. But on his very first visit to his father following his parents divorce, the small plane he’s flying in crashes. Brian is alone in the Canadian wilderness. All he has with him is the hatchet his mum has given him when he left her. Brian’s thoughtful, careful tactics enable him to find food and shelter and to survive the scarier aspects of the forest, including coming face to face with a bear. But Brian’s survival is also an inner journey of self discovery which makes Hatchet a book of great depth as well as a great adventure. Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
When a move to a new house coincides with his baby sister's illness, Michael's world seems suddenly lonely and uncertain. Then, one Sunday afternoon, he stumbles into the old, ramshackle garage of his new home, and finds something magical. A strange creature - part owl, part angel, a being who needs Michael's help if he is to survive. With his new friend Mina, Michael nourishes Skellig back to health, while his baby sister languishes in the hospital. But Skellig is far more than he at first appears, and as he helps Michael breathe life into his tiny sister, Michael's world changes forever . . .
Who can resist a goddess? The most famous war in history is brought to life through the eyes of two sisters. Marpessa is gifted with God-sight, Xanthe has the healing touch. But then Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, decides to play with their hearts...and contrives for them to fall in love with the same young warrior.
Action packed adventure in this taut thriller in which Danny sets out to find out what really happened to his grandfather in the Columbian jungle. When Danny’s turned down by the Army because of his missing grandfather’s reputation as a traitor all his dreams are shattered. Can it be true? When Danny sets out to discover the truth someone else is not far behind and Danny’s life is soon in extreme danger. Thrilling stuff! Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
Sephy is a Cross - a member of the dark-skinned ruling class. Callum is a nought - a 'colourless' member of the underclass who were once slaves to the Crosses. The two have been friends since early childhood. But that's as far as it can go. Against a background of prejudice, distrust and mounting terrorist violence, a romance builds between Sephy and Callum - a romance that is to lead both of them into terrible danger . . .
Alem is on holiday with his father for a few days in London. He has never been out of Ethiopia before and is very excited. They have a great few days togther until one morning when Alem wakes up in the bed and breakfast they are staying at to find the unthinkable. His father has left him. It is only when the owner of the bed and breakfast hands him a letter that Alem is given an explanation. Alem's father admits that because of the political problems in Ethiopia both he and Alem's mother felt Alem would be safer in London - even though it is breaking their hearts to do this. Alem is now on his own, in the hands of the social services and the Refugee Council. He lives from letter to letter, waiting to hear from his father, and in particular about his mother, who has now gone missing...A powerful, gripping new novel from the popular Benjamin Zephaniah
Sold to a drunken farmer, Joey, a beautiful red-bay foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, finds a friend in the farmer's son, Albert. His father brutally demands Joey work or be sold, so Albert gently trains him to pull the plough. But it's not enough. When war breaks out, Albert's father, needy for money for his struggling farm, sells Joey to the army, where he, like the soldiers around him, must try to cope with the horrors of the First World War. Joey and another thoroughbred horse, Topthorn, lead in a terrible cavalry charge towards the machine guns of the enemy's lines. Joey is captured by the Germans and for while he is lovingly cared for by Emilie, a young French girl and her grandfather. But he and Topthorn must pull a heavy gun, battling through the mud until Topthorn dies of exhaustion. Joey wanders in no man's land, back towards the British trench, but despite a joyful reunion with Albert, Joey is not out of danger. First tetanus threatens his life, and even then Emilie's grandfather has to bid to save him from the butcher. The old man promised his granddaughter when she died he would find the horse she loved and buy him, but recognising Albert's love for Joey, he sells Joey back to Albert on condition he will love for him all his life - for the princely sum of one English penny.
Fourteen-year-old Jimmy Kelly is Fat Boy Fat, the largest kid in his Scottish community, who' s made to feel useless at everything. Only his family knows he' s a whiz in the kitchen, and Jimmy is determined to keep it that way.So when GI Joe, the toughest coach at school, finds out his secret, Jimmy is sure he' s doomed. But Coach proposes a deal: If Jimmy helps him, Coach will help Jimmy to swim. He knows there' s more to Jimmy than meets the eye. Now it' s time for Jimmy to stop hiding and realize it himself.
Shortlisted for the 2015 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal - November 2013 Book of the Month Award-winning Marcus Sedgwick has teamed up with authors and illustrators to create a page turning, apocalyptic story told in a striking black and white comic book form. Set in a dark future with England in a state of physical collapse as the waters rise and cities are destroyed by gangs and political collapse as politicians have been discredited, it tells of a world ruled by dangerous religious sects which violently control all aspects of the citizen’s lives. Christy, a fearless bike rider and fighter for freedom, is wanted for a murder she did not commit. How she must escape on a wild ride across the country but who can she trust? And how can she survive? A roller coaster of a read and thought provoking with it. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for Dark Satanic Mills a small number of readers were lucky enough to be invited to review this title. Here's a taster....'it is thrilling and I love the fact that it is futuristic too. I can tell that a lot of hard work has been put in this book because the pictures and the writing is perfect!' Scroll down to read more reviews...
A fabulous story that crackles with suspense and daring and shows that a bit of cheek will take you a very long way. Alex Rider is fourteen when his whole world is turned upside down. Already an orphan, his guardian is killed in suspicious circumstances and Alex is finds himself forcibly recruited into the MI6 to train as a super spy. He performs deeds of unimaginable daring, faces terrible danger – and lives to tell the tale. A great, pacy read. Some of our readers, new to the Alex Rider series, put themselves forward to read and review all ten titles. Check out their reviews below and if you click on the link 'Read full review' you will be able to view the reviews for all 10 titles.
Winner of the 2013 Leeds Book Award 11-14 age category. A Piece of Passion from the Publisher: We at Scholastic Children’s Books are very proud to be publishing Socks Are Not Enough by Mark Lowery. It genuinely takes a lot to make me laugh – especially out loud. So it may have surprised my colleagues when I spent an entire afternoon at my desk snorting with amusement. “What is SO funny?” they enquired. I proceeded to read them extract after extract of the “really hilarious submission” I was reading. Yes – that submission was the wonderful SOCKS ARE NOT ENOUGH, Mark Lowery’s debut novel. The protagonist, Michael Swarbrick, is the ultimate geek. But every reader of Socks Are Not Enough will very much identify with him. I know I certainly did. Anyone who remembers being 14 will recall the same cringe-worthy embarrassment at their parents’ or best friend’s behaviour as Michael does on coming home to discovering his parents are secret nudists – and ready to go public! Sure, my parents weren’t nudists like Michael’s. But my dad did drop me at school on the back of his vintage motorbike which constantly backfired! Any book that makes the reader recall their formative teenage years with so much laughter is one that mustn’t be missed – you’ll even enjoy it if those years are still to come. Also shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize 2012. ................................................................... A Review by Katy Poulter, aged 12 Socks are not enough is a fun, light read that made me laugh out loud. Michael is so unfortunate and everything seems to happen to him, this makes him an incredibly easy character to relate to. I really enjoyed it as it was funny and tackled some topics, which are usually avoided, in a light-hearted way but still got across the impact that they have on people’s lives. I wanted to read this book first as I was drawn to it because of the cover, which is bright and quirky, and the blurb, which is intriguing and unusual. I love funny books but you don’t usually see them in award lists so I think that it is brilliant that this list has one in. Katy Poulter is a member of the Lovereading4kids Reader Review Panel but she has reviewed this novel in the first instance for the Leeds Book Award as it is one of the 2013 shortlisted titles. The organisers have kindly agreed to let us also make use of Katy's review. ..................................................................... For further information on the the 2013 Leeds Book Award Award click here.
Even virtual worlds need real heroes...It's the near future. Jonah Delacroix spends most of his life inside The Metasphere - a global computer based virtual reality. It feels like a kind of freedom, but it has a price. Combining the best of reading and video-gaming it's chock full of excitement and action. Computer gaming teenagers will love it.
October 2011 Guest Editor Roddy Doyle: "Boys in jail – a great idea. The jail has no roof and they have to dig huge holes in the baking sun all day – it’s getting even better. I read Holes in hospital a few years ago. I wasn’t ill, and was only there for the day. I actually forgot I was in hospital, the book was so good. I had about ten pages left when a nurse told me I could go home. I was half-hoping she’d tell me I’d have to stay longer, so I could finish the book." Wholly original and brilliantly plotted, Holes is a funny and poignant story about surviving. When Stanley Yelnats is falsely accused of stealing a pair of trainers, he is sent off to Camp Green Lake which is not a camp, not green and not near a lake but a boys’ detention centre in the middle of the desert. Every day every boy has to dig a hole five foot deep and five foot across because, the Warden says, it’s good for them. How Stanley survives and proves that the Warden has a different and far more sinister motive for wanting so many holes to be dug unravels in unexpected and wholly satisfying ways. Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
In Holes, best-selling author Louis Sachar showed his understanding and compassion for a group of boys who have got outside the system. In There’s a Boy in the Girls' Bathroom, he shows the same sensitivity to Bradley Chalkers, one boy whose behaviour has increasingly alienated him from his teachers and his peers. Bradley seems unable to change but then Carla arrives. Carla believes in Bradley; gradually Bradley begins to believe in himself. Without preaching and with his familiar humour, Sachar tells a heartwarming story. Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 7 Ben hates being a new boy. Even with a new hair cut and contact lenses instead of his usual glasses, he feels like a misfit. Until the girls start noticing him! Ben seems to attract admiring glances wherever he goes but is that only because they think he is the actor from a top TV show? Ben can’t see any problem with going along with their mistake but gradually, things begin to get a little out of control! An entertaining story about identity and confidence.
Interest Age teen - Reading Age 8+ Bali Rai hits hard in this dark and haunting teen novel. Nothing has gone well for Sam since he and his mother were forced to leave their comfortable home after his dad’s disappearance under unpleasant circumstances. When a beautiful girl befriends him in the middle of a freak snowstorm on the grim estate where he lives, he feels his life will take a turn for the better. But Cassie is no ordinary girl; soon Sam finds himself on a trail of revenge with the most dangerous consequences.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8+ Hilarious sequel to Diary of an (Un)teenager, from the author of the best-selling How to Train Your Parents. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
Award-winning writer Cathy Macphail, master of the unexpected twist, leads readers into a tense and sometimes violent story before revealing the truth. Newly arrived on an estate in Glasgow, Logan is thrilled when he finds a friend. Baz seems cool and assured and brave. All the things that Logan is not. Their families are also very different – Baz’s family seem to care for him a lot; Logan is in perpetual conflict with his mother and stepfather. Being friends with Baz gets Logan in with a cool group and provides some action. A LOT of action. When things begin to go very wrong for the boys Logan has to rethink just who Baz is. And he is surprised by the answer.
Interest age 14+, Reading age 8+. Deeply moving, Wasted is a hard hitting story about survival and self belief. Luke’s life is a mess; his mum is never sober, schools a wash out. The only thing that keeps him going is playing his guitar and his dream of being a rock star. When his mum turns really violent, Luke has to take care of himself. But, life on the streets is too dangerous when you are only a kid. Luke has to take the bravest decision of his life and, when he does so, things begin to look up. Maybe he will fulfil his dream after all? ~ Julia Eccleshare Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic teen readers. Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
One of the best books ever about the realities of young boys forced into fighting in rebel armies and the effect it can have. Back home, Kaninda has been trained to carry a gun and use it. When he is taken from Africa by aid workers and brought to a different life in London he finds there are tribes and loyalties of a new kind. Unwillingly Kaninda gets drawn into local conflicts while he longs to return home and take revenge. A moving and thoughtful exploration of the scarring effect of violent conflict. Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.
Winner of the Branford Boase Award 2007. | A superb first novel, beautifully written, deeply moving and full of heartbreak. When Shell Talent’s mother dies everything around her begins to fall to pieces. Tired of looking after her younger brother and sister and bored by the routines of school and church, Shell skips school and hangs around with her friends smoking and cracking jokes and looking for chances that will confirm their growing up. But what follows is not a simple transition into adulthood but the tragedy of Shell’s hidden pregnancy and the stillbirth of her baby. Siobhan Dowd writes without judgement but with enormous sympathy and understanding capturing Shell’s confusion and the hypercritical and chaotic thinking of the small Irish community in which she is growing up.
Award-winning novelist Kevin Brooks made his mark with this, his debut novel. A black comedy is something of a rarity in children’s books but here Kevin Brooks shows how it can be done. Martyn hates his father – and he has good reasons to do so – but he never meant to kill him. And maybe he didn’t anyway. But there’s a body to be got rid off and a story to tell. Martyn finds keeping up the stories gets more and more difficult as the lies get crazier. Martyn’s pessimistic view of the world takes a darker turn but there’s a kind of mad humour to it, too. Perfect for Reluctant Readers as well as keen readers. To view other titles we think are suitable for reluctant readers please click here.