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A selection of books especially selected for children in Year 5 (9 - 10 year olds) of average reading ability for the 2020/21 academic year.
If your child is a competent reader or has read all these titles then try the books from the Year 6 list. Alternatively if these books are a little challenging try books from the Year 4 list. Our overall mission is to promote reading for pleasure with quality texts that are perfectly pitched for the age group and the curriculum. We have particularly avoided blockbusters, classic or set texts, known to everyone, so that we can include poetry, stunning information texts and inspirational books in which all children and young people can find themselves reflected.
Thanks to our partnership with Browns Books For Students we are able to offer all the books on this list at an exclusive price.
Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2020 | September 2020 Book of the Month | I challenge any reader, young or old, not to want to devour this book in one delicious sitting. Once started upon the story of Lotti and Ben, two orphans living in the aftermath of World War 1 and who could not be more different in temperament or background, it is impossible to put down. Initially and understandably wary, they gradually become each other’s best friend and staunch allies in their respective quests for family and a safe haven for an increasing number of dogs. Their odyssey takes them, in the faithful old narrowboat which has been Ben’s home, across the stormy channel to France, with a vengeful, deceitful uncle and a steadfast policeman hot on their heels. But there is nothing far fetched in their survival, they do need and even eventually welcome the support of friendly adults on both sides of the channel and they learn to work together and to counteract each other’s failings. They never lose hope in even the darkest moments and neither does the reader, despite some heart-stopping tension. These are characters who will dwell long in your memory and indeed leave you wanting to know more, including about some of the fascinating minor characters. The authentic period detail and dialogue captures the spirit of an age where children may seem, to a modern audience, to have a thrilling level of agency and independence, but only because they are largely ignored or neglected rather than protected by society. A standalone, middle grade adventure that is as well written as this, is pure gold dust with which to captivate young readers and a perfect class read. But be warned, they may not want to go home!
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | March 2020 Book of the Month | Iris takes refuge with her grandma, Mimi, to escape the chaos at home, caused by her two-year old twin siblings and her dad’s DIY repairs. There’s a different kind of disorder in Mimi’s house which is chock full of items collected over the years, chiefly boxes of photos she’s taken and developed. Among the photographs of other people’s weddings are family portraits and its one of these that sets Iris on a hunt to unravel an old mystery, even as Mimi’s memories are fading. The story is beautifully told, as much about Iris and her search for order and happiness as it is about Mimi and her struggle with dementia. A poignant, thoughtful examination of family relationships, memory and loss, that ends on a note of hope and renewal.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | No matter how exciting, zany and surprising the action, you can always be sure that Frank Cottrell-Boyce will build his stories on real human emotions, and that’s as true of this brilliantly funny, original and touching novel as of any of its predecessors. Alfie ‘swerves’ both school and the Limb Lab, where he should be going to learn how to control his state-of-the-art new hand, by hanging out at the airport. But everything changes when, through various happy accidents, he finds an enormous robot called Eric in Lost Property. Eric holds the Allen key to the book’s mysteries, both a generations-old legend, and the secrets that Archie is keeping from the reader and himself. Beautifully told and full of characters readers will love, this book will have you laughing out loud one minute, in tears the next. Robot Eric, unfailingly polite, kind and helpful and trying to explain himself through misremembered jokes is an iron man for our time. Unmissable. Once readers have finished this, point them in the direction of Frank Cottrell-Boyce’s other books including The Astounding Broccoli Boy and books by Ross Welford. Peter Brown’s story The Wild Robot is another great automaton adventure.
Larabelle Fox is an orphan, a tosher who searches the sewers for any ‘treasure’ she can find, in the sewer system under Kings Haven. She is ranged against rival toshing gangs who want to rob her, as well as the powerful King’s Witch who wants to revive the Evernight in a bid to gain total power for herself. Unbeknownst to Lara she has found exactly what the King’s Witch and her awesomely scary djinn Shadow Jack are looking for – a box, long lost in the sewers. Can Lara discover what she can do with the box and its contents before the world succumbs to the evil of the Evernight? This is a wild magical delight of a story. The bad guys are wickedly bad and seemingly undefeatable, whilst Lara and her friend Joe Littlefoot seem small and powerless. But they have quick wits and goodness on their side, as well as the witches, though it will mainly be down to Lara that a defence is put up to the Evernight.This is the sort of book that will create a buzz of enjoyment, the fantasy world is well built, believable, cinematic and child friendly. The magic is fun, the friendship believable, the story is refreshing, and the feisty heroine is a delight to follow. I shall look forward to more books in this series.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Steam-powered she may be, but the Highland Falcon is a fast-moving triumph of human ingenuity, as is this thrilling adventure story set on board. It stars young Harrison Beck, passenger on the train with his uncle as she makes her final journey. Harrison initially thinks trains are boring, but by the time the train steams into Paddington at the end of their three day trip, not only has he become a total train buff, he’s also hobnobbed with royalty, made friends with the crew, including the engine driver’s daughter, Lenny, indulged in some daredevil antics e.g. climbing along the top of the train while it’s in motion, and solved a high-profile crime. It all makes for terrific reading, authors M.G. ‘Beetle Boy’ Leonard and Sam Sedgman have created a classic train-set mystery, with all the elements that make that such a well-loved genre, while keeping it thoroughly fresh and modern for today’s young readers.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | January 2020 Debut of the Month | Nizrana Farook sets her story on the island of Serendib, now known as Sri Lanka, and transports readers to a vivid, larger-than-life world where young people can be bold, true and have some extraordinary adventures. Twelve-year old Chaya is a thief with a heart of gold, stealing from the king’s palace to help those in her village. She makes a mistake when she takes jewels from the queen’s bedroom though, triggering a series of events that leads to Chaya and two friends, villager Neel and merchant’s daughter Nour, fleeing into the rainforest on the king’s elephant. There are brushes with death, but great camaraderie too and it all ends with a much-needed righting of wrongs. Great stuff! Readers swept up in Chaya’s story – and who couldn’t be? – will also enjoy Costa Book Award winner Asha and the Spirit Bird by Jasbinder Bilan.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2019 | Emma Carroll brings her own Somerset countryside vividly to life in this enthralling tale and you can even detect the West Country tones of her spirited young heroine, Fortune Spicer, as you read. Fair Maidens Lane, where she lives, is a successful hamlet running well, despite an absence of men. But as the story opens a matriarch is arrested. An atmosphere of suspicion is spreading across the land from King James’ obsession with witches and unscrupulous men are using this as a weapon for financial gain. Sent away by her mother, disguised as a boy for her own protection, Fortune ends up as a servant at Barrow Hall only to find a master even more against witches than the king, but also happy to exploit the opportunity to raise funds for a terrible new trade in human beings. When the natural disaster overtakes them all, Fortune survives, but must fight torture and a trial for witchcraft to prove she is not to blame for the flood. The claustrophobic atmosphere of male oppression, corruption and real menace is wonderfully well done, and Fortune is a redoubtable heroine learning to have faith in herself and to seek her own destiny. As with all her novels this author wears her research lightly but provides a genuine learning experience and a genuine feeling for the period and for the characters she brings so memorably to life. .......................... Emma Carroll brings her own Somerset countryside vividly to life in this enthralling tale and you can even detect the West Country tones of her spirited young heroine, Fortune Spicer, as you read. Fair Maidens Lane, where she lives, is a successful hamlet running well, despite an absence of men. But as the story opens a matriarch is arrested. An atmosphere of suspicion is spreading across the land from King James’ obsession with witches and unscrupulous men are using this as a weapon for financial gain. Sent away by her mother, disguised as a boy for her own protection, Fortune ends up as a servant at Barrow Hall only to find a master even more against witches than the king, but also happy to exploit the opportunity to raise funds for a terrible new trade in human beings. When the natural disaster overtakes them all, Fortune survives, but must fight torture and a trial for witchcraft to prove she is not to blame for the flood. The claustrophobic atmosphere of male oppression, corruption and real menace is wonderfully well done, and Fortune is a redoubtable heroine learning to have faith in herself and to seek her own destiny. As with all her novels this author wears her research lightly but provides a genuine learning experience and a genuine feeling for the period and for the characters she brings so memorably to life. Joy Court
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | The children are once again front and centre of this author’s second book. But like multi-award winning The Boy at The Back of the Class, the foundations of the story are very dark indeed. In this case domestic violence and the murder of Aniyah and Noah’s beloved mother. But this is not a grim YA novel. it is a book from the perspective of ten-year-old Aniyah and written for children of the same age so you can be reassured that there is nothing gratuitous or explicit. Aniyah and Noah are in foster care with the remarkable Mrs Iwuchukwu, alongside the grumpy, manipulative teenage Sophie and Travis and Ben who are the same age as her. Aniya has always been fascinated by astrology and she believes that when special people die, they become shining stars in the heavens. When a new star is spotted and behaves in an unexpected way, she believes that this is her Mum and she makes it her mission to ensure that the public competition to name this amazing new star will recognise that truth. Even though Ben and Travis know what really happened to her Mum they are wonderful steadfast friends and they vow to help the mission and not let the awful Sophie ruin the plans. So the madcap adventure begins and every reader will be rooting for the children through one disaster and crisis after another. The children are beautifully depicted, and their relationship and their dialogue is natural and funny. The reader gets gradual hints from flashbacks of what really happened as realisation dawns on Aniya and the reader becomes all too aware of the emotional cost of living in a home soured by domestic violence. But this happens within a safe context. Aniya and Noah have found a haven and a future. Once again this author has given us a warm, funny and poignant read, with a thought provoking serious side, which is perfectly judged and accessible for its audience.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2021 | Winner of the Blue Peter Book Awards 2020, Best Book with Facts | Young people looking for inspiration will find it in the true stories told in this book. In punchy, direct text and eye-catching illustrations it introduces 29 young people who have each done something extraordinary and overcome the challenges facing them. Some of them are famous already, their names known across the world: Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg. Other names are less well known but their stories are just as inspirational: Ayesha Farooq, Pakistan’s first female fighter pilot; young Malawian inventor William Kamkwamba. Alongside their stories are tips for readers on how to get your voice heard or, accompanying stories of amazing physical feats, how to push yourself beyond what you think is possible. It’s a book to show just how much can be achieved with courage and determination.
Cultures and childhoods collide deep in the Peruvian rainforest as presented by the dual narratives of Maya- first world daughter of renowned scientists and activists and Raul- self-exiled from his beloved and threatened forest home. Both struck by tragedy and loss, deeply suspicious of each other but gradually realising they share the same passions and goals and discovering complimentary and surprising talents in each other. Both battling internal and all too real life demons and seeking answers and in Maya’s case, two missing parents. This is a nail bitingly tense and fast paced adventure as they pursue the criminals who have kidnapped Maya’s father and battle the corruption destroying precious habitats and homes. But it is also a powerful evocation of the magical wonders of life that simply cannot be explained by science and a really touching portrayal of family love and loss. Exciting, inspiring and thought provoking this is a really rewarding text from a Branford Boase shortlisted and Carnegie nominated author.
Winner of the Younger Readers' category of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2020 | Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | Longlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2020 | Sisters Nik and Norva would agree that they are slightly obsessed with murder mystery series on the television so, when a body is discovered in their block of flats, they are sure they are the right people to discover the truth. Balancing jokey dialogue and insights into the reality of city life, Sharna Jackson has written a very likeable, fast-paced book. Books in the High-Rise Mystery Series: 1. High-Rise Mystery 2. Mic Drop
Readers first met Louisiana Elefante in Kate DiCamillo’s unforgettable Raymie Nightingale, now she has her own story, and what a tale it is. Louisiana has always believed that her parents were high wire stars, killed in an accident when she was very young, but driven by terrible toothache and an urge to come to terms with her own past, her granny suddenly reveals that everything Louisiana knows about her life is a lie. Abandoned in a motel miles from her old home in Florida, Louisiana is left to decide who she wants to be. She is befriended by a boy called Burke Allen and his family including his seventeen cake baking mother, and the kindness of strangers helps her to new happiness and security. A story of grief and confusion becomes one of love, hope and resilience. DiCamillo writes with extraordinary sensitivity and perception, and readers of all ages will be touched and moved by Louisiana’s story. Readers who enjoy this book should also read The Road to Ever After by Moira Young.
Award-winner Katherine Rundell has already taken readers on thrilling journeys over rooftops, across the Russian steppes and of course deep into the forest. She understands absolutely children's longing for wild adventure and no-one is better suited to write new stories for Kipling's Jungle Book characters. This very handsome book, which features beautiful colour illustrations by Kristjana S Williams, tells five different stories, and with each perfectly-imagined episode adds to what we love about Kipling's unforgettable characters, including Bagheera, Baloo, Shere Khan and Kaa. It opens too with a story about one of the most interesting characters, Mowgli's fierce wolf-mother Raksha, who has long deserved more time in the spotlight. These are stories of bravery and cunning, full of excitement and danger, but most of all they are stories of loyalty and community, and by the time they reach the end, readers will be daydreaming themselves into the jungle family. Mowgli links all the stories, and has his own of course, and is exactly the same impetuous, selfish, boasting but warm-hearted, generous boy drawn so vividly by Kipling. In fact the book does exactly what sequels should but seldom manage - it tells us new stories that grow out of the originals, and enhance and enrich them.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | Rachel Rooney brings a class to life with poems for all the different characters. There is a rich vein of understanding of children here: never sentimental, always intriguing. Children will delight in the ways in which the styles and patterns of the poems enhance the exploration of each child. The wonderful illustrations draw readers into this magical anthology.
Join a group of school children on this voyage of discovery and discover the answers to lots of questions as well as fascinating facts about lighthouses and how they work. How Does a Lighthouse Work? provides a fascinating journey through the science and history of lighthouses around the world. Through history a lighthouse has been an important, in fact essential tool for sailors to navigate safely and this remains so today in order to protect all sailors from the dangerous coastlines and rocky outcrops out to sea that are found all over the world. Modern technology may have changed the way that lighthouses work but still their USP remains the same: to deliver a light as far as possible to forewarn sailors of potential dangers. This a terrific book to share with inquisitive children and the combination of stunning illustrations and interesting text makes this a well worthwile read both at home and to use in the classroom.
This is an absolutely stunning book. Not only is it an absolute treat visually but it's also a feast for the imagination for lovers of fairy tales and the ever elusive happy ever after. Hilary has brought her own unique touch to well known and loved fairy-tales. Fairy-tales that we know so well and yet with her refreshing, imaginative touch have been made new for us. The ten retellings including Rapunzel, Cinderella, Red Riding Hood , The Princess and the Pea, Rumpelstiltskin, The Pied Piper of Hamelin, The Swan Brothers. Hansel and Gretel, amongst others.This is a selection that lovers of fairy tales, old and young, will love to read again and again. Combined with beautiful illustrations by Sarah Gibb, this will be a collection to treasure. ~ Shelley Fallows - You can also find Shelley here.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | A sequel to the award winning Aubery and the Terrible Yoot, Horatio Clare tells an entertaining new story about his hero Aubery, who this time wants to get away from his parents’ fighting – and gets involved in trying to save the world while he is about it. Aubery’s special gift is that he can talk to animals and understand everything that they say so, when a spider invites him to help her save the world, he sets off on an amazing adventure across time and space. From the animals Aubrey learns much about relationships the vagaries of and about how everyone must share if the world is to be a better place.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2017 Book Award | Award-winning David Almond tells a lively story which captures the exuberance of a trio of lads and one girl who set off one hot summer morning to run from their homes in Newcastle to South Shields. There’s no training, no special kit, no crowds – just the gang enjoying the freedom to run and the kindness of many who keep them fed and watered along the way. And it is a distance of thirteen miles so exactly half a marathon. Old Harry, now walking with a frame and on his way to a care home, tells young Liam, a boy in the present who has just got a place in the junior Great North Run, all about the trip and the magic of it. In doing so he shows a slice of a different kind of childhood set in David Almond’s home ground of Newcastle and the surrounding area. In this beautifully produced new edition, Salvatore Rubbino’s illustrations also capture the period and the sense of place brilliantly. ~ Julia Eccleshare
Shortlisted for Children’s Book Award 2016, Books for Older Readers category Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2014 The Costa Judges described Morpurgo's novel, which begins in May 1915, as "a captivating, utterly transporting war novel that lives on powerfully in the memory". | A beautiful and captivating tour de force of family, love, war and forgiveness, this is a major new novel from the author of War Horse and Private Peaceful, Michael Morpurgo and is set in World War One on the Isles of Scilly. A tale in which things that were lost may still wash up, once again, on the shore. As ever with Michael it is always a story of family and stories.
Winner of the UKLA Book Awards 7-11 category 2014 | A whimsical fairy tale that will appeal to fans of Maurice Sendak, Dr Seuss and Hans Christian Andersen, The Story of the Blue Planet is a critically acclaimed global hit being published in the UK for the first time. It's the story of two children who live on a planet inhabited only by children who never grow old but in other ways it's a world not unlike our own. There's a powerful underlying message about caring for our environment whilst at the same time telling a wonderfully entertaining story that is combined with bright, magical illustrations.
Shortlisted for the Galaxy Children's Book of the Year Award 2011. | Award winning Eva Ibbotson’s poignant and beautiful last book celebrates a boy’s passion for a dog. All Hal has ever wanted is a dog but his parents refuse to contemplate the idea. A dog would mess up their beautiful house and disturb their busy routine. When they discover East Pets, they hire Hal a dog for a weekend thinking that will do the trick. But they don’t know Hal! Hal takes matters into his own hands. Soon Hal and all the dogs he has released from Easy Pets are out on the road – with a price on their head. How Hal makes his escape is both thrilling and moving as it marks his growth from sadness to great happiness. ***Eva's son, Toby Ibbotson, is now continuing the tradition of storytelling with his debut novel Mountwood School for Ghosts which is based on an original idea by Eva Ibbotson.
A moving and convincing child-eye view of what happened to the children of Poland after the Germans invaded. Felix has been placed by his parents in an orphanage for safe-keeping but, when the Germans come and burn the books in the orphanage library, Felix knows he must set out to return to his parents who are booksellers and make sure they are safe. Felix’s journey is dangerous and desperate but also full of courage and hope in a world where friendships and loyalty are the glue that hold things together.
This is a book that is enduringly funny, wonderfully poignant and at times quite rude. Beautifully described through stunning illustrations and hand written text is the story of the bogey men – and in particular Fungus - who live underground and whose day starts as we all go to bed, is a story that will live long in the memory of all those who read it, or indeed dip into from time to time. Living long in my memory is the food eaten by them – Scab and matter Custard, Snot and Bogey Pie, Dead Dog’s Giblets, Green Cat’s Eyes – how can one ever forget names like this!!!