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A selection of books especially selected for children in Year 7 (11 - 12 year olds) of average reading ability for the 2018/19 academic year.
If your child is a competent reader or has read all these titles then try the books from the Year 8 list. Alternatively if these books are a little challenging try books from the Year 6 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 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2020 | In this mind-blowingly beautiful book comprising twenty-five tales, visionary artist and writer Shaun Tan turns his attention to the relationship between humans and animals in varied urban contexts. A rhino on a motorway. An owl at the side of a hospital patient. An eagle spied at multiple international airports. Giant snails declared “indecent” by the public. Dreamlike, mysterious and poignant, this is a book to pore over. Both words and illustrations lend themselves to multiple readings, each experience unearthing alternate interpretations, new discoveries, fresh ways of seeing the world. What a sublimely strange feat this is.
Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2018 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2018 |One of our 2018 Books of the Year | Award winning Hilary McKay tells a captivating and deeply moving story of three young people growing up in the years before and during World War One. How their lives were totally changed by the War, how what really happened to the soldiers could never be talked about and how a girl like Clarry suddenly had opportunities because of the war are all touched on in a story that is also about universal adolescent relationships and the timeless concerns of being a teenager. Following their mother’s death at her birth, Clarry and her older brother Peter live a joyless life with their gloomy father. The pair live for their summer holidays in Cornwall with their grandparents which they share with their older cousin Rupert. Here, the trio are free to be themselves and to begin to break away from the constraints of family expectations. When war is declared Rupert enlists: his family is horrified and Clarry and Peter are left trying to work out where he might be, how they themselves should react to the war and, above all, whether Rupert is safe. Hilary McKay has a rare gift for novels about families and their interplay. Here, she weaves her story round one of the most powerful backdrops in history. And she does so with the lightest of touch which makes her history come alive. The Costa Judges said: ‘Chime, resonance and sparkle – a truly great read.’
July 2018 Debut of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2018 | Swept along by the wind and sea and suffused with magic and mystery this is an ebullient adventure story that compels its readers to believe just as the young hero Fionn begins to do. Sent to stay on the wild Arranmore Island with his reclusive grandfather, Fionn enters a world dominated by the forces of magic – and by water which has always terrified Fionn. Gradually, Fionn begins to understand his grandfather’s now fading power as to accept and embrace his own new destiny. Catherine Doyle has a lightness of touch as a story-teller that makes the impossible convincing.
Shortlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2019 | One of our 2018 Books of the Year | Of all the books about the campaign for women’s suffrage in this the centenary year of some women being given the vote, David Roberts’s is the most beautiful to look at. In full page illustrations, vignettes and individual portraits, he brings the movement alive, portraying vividly the women and men involved, as well as the drama, frustration and endurance, violence and cruelty that were all part of the struggle. And though he’s best known for his illustrations, the text is as every bit as powerful as the pictures, meticulously and graphically detailing the words and the deeds that finally brought about change, and the roles of the many different people who played a part. The story he tells is one of the most inspiring of our times, still relevant today, and this book is a brilliant way to discover it.
One of our Books of the Year 2017 | Shortlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award May 2017 Book of the Month | In a nutshell: beautifully written, totally original, mesmerising storytelling | In the summer of 1727 a group of men and boys, there to harvest birds and eggs, were stranded on Warrior Stac, a pinnacle of rock that pitches out of the Atlantic, ‘as black and fearful as one horn of the Devil himself’. It was nine months before anyone came to collect them. Geraldine McCaughrean has taken these bare facts and imagined the story of those terrible months and the characters of those who endured them. Yes, it’s a mesmerising story of survival, but McCaughrean takes it in different and surprising ways too and, both terrifying and full of dark comedy, it becomes an elemental story of love and faith; of myth and imagination. Indeed, in the hands of one of our very finest writers this bleak, isolated rock becomes a microcosm for the whole world and all its stories. Unmissable. Readers should also seek out Geraldine McCaughrean’s novels The White Darkness and The Stones are Hatching and will also enjoy David Almond’s A Song for Ella Grey. ~ Andrea Reece
Witty, tender and full of insights into life love and politics, this is a brilliant book in its own right as well as a worthy tribute to E. Nesbit’s classic Five Children and It. The year is 1914. Anthea, Robert, Jane and Cyril, who has just enlisted, are now grown up, the Lamb is a schoolboy and even Edie, an addition to the family since the original, is old enough to meet the extraordinary and magical Psammead when he re-enters their life. All the children are longing for some new adventures but has the Psammead still got his magical powers? As befits the serious times, the Psammead plays an invaluable role in helping the family understand the First World War while also sorting out problems from his own past. Action-packed, funny and thoughtful this is a book to fall in love with.
UKLA Longlist Book Awards - 2019 | Shortlisted for the Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award 2018 | This second solo collection from Joseph Coelho, Overheard in a Tower Block, explores further some of the themes from Werewolf Club Rules (which won the CLiPPA in 2015). More suited to an older reader than that first collection, this is an extraordinarily powerful and moving book. Each poem offers us glimpses into the life of the main character as he grows, over the course of the collection, from young boy through adolescence to adulthood. The ingenious threading of fantasy, story, myth and magic throughout the poems only illuminates further the challenges and hardships of this young man’s life, but ultimately concludes in moments of optimism, joy and possibility.
Winner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2011 | A welter of emotions engulf Mira in this touching pre-teen story about secrets and how to keep them and share them. Strongly set in a busy family, Mira’s life is full of the ups and downs of family, friends and school; most particularly there is sadness in knowing that her beloved grandmother is dying and happiness as her interest in a mysterious boy in her class blossoms. Mira tells her story with appealing directness.
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | Shortlisted for the 2018 Blue Peter Awards - Best Story | Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2017 | Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | Kiran Millwood Hargrave follows up her award-winning debut The Girl of Ink and Stars with a story set in the real world, though one still filled with a sense of wonder and the extraordinary. Set in the Philippines at the beginning of the last century it tells the story of a girl forcibly removed from her mother, as many were, because her mother has leprosy, or as those with the disease preferred, is touched. With the help of her friends Ami makes her way back to her mother and it’s a story of love, courage and hope, all of these symbolised by the butterflies that fill the pages and that are so important to the story. It’s passionately told, full of memorable scenes and characters, and the writing is beautiful.
Prize-winning author Philip Reeve gives a brilliant new take on the legend of King Arthur. Myrddin rides with Arthur spinning tales for and about him but what is the truth and can Gwyna discover it? Bridging the past and present Here Lies Arthur is the story of how heroes and the legends about them are made. Winner of the prestigious 2008 CILIP Carnegie Medal. On winning the CILIP Carnegie Medal he said “I didn’t believe it at first, but as I got over the shock and it began to sink in, I felt totally honoured. It is very special to win the CILIP Carnegie Medal. It has such a history and I admire so many past winners’ work it is quite humbling to be ranked alongside them.”‘Here Lies Arthur is an outstanding book, and deserving winner,’ said Tricia Adams, Chair of the 12 strong librarian judging panel. ‘Reeve’s is a consistent story-telling voice that brings us a subtle and credible retelling of the King Arthur myth. It is both a page turning adventure story and a clever historical novel. It also has clear political resonance for our times, demonstrating humanity’s need to sustain hope and optimism, and our tendency to favour myth over reality to achieve that end.’
Winner of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2016. A deluxe edition of the thrillingly reimagined fairy tale by the magical partnership of award-bedecked, bestselling Neil Gaiman and Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell. | Award-winning Neil Gaiman shows all his story telling skills in this gripping fusion of familiar fairy tales told in a dark-hearted version with some original characters. Especially a bold-hearted queen. Not far from where the queen lives, a princess is under the spell of an enchantress who has put a whole country to sleep. Despite it being the eve of her wedding day, the bold queen decides to take action. Slipping into her mail shirt she arms herself with her sword and sets off out of the palace accompanied by the three dwarves who will lead her through the tunnels…The dark magic, great courage and spell-binding imagination that power this story is perfectly realised in Chris Riddell’s awesome illustrations.
Shortlisted for the CLPE Children’s Poetry Award (CLiPPA) 2017 | Nick is football mad, finding more poetry, more to stimulate him on the soccer field and with a ball at his feet than he ever does in books. This doesn’t go down well with his father, a linguistics professor with ‘chronic verbomania’, but at least his best friend understands. Cody and Nick are on opposing football teams but the same side for everything else, including facing up to the school bullies. When he’s hit by the twin blows of an injury and the news that his parents are separating however, Nick is surprised to find real comfort in books. Booked is written in free verse, like the author’s previous novel The Crossover, and the form brilliantly catches the energy and ups and downs of Nick’s life, giving his story an immediacy that helps make this irresistible reading. If Booked sends readers looking for more verse novels Sarah Crossan’s The Weight of Water is also excellent while Pete Kalu’s Silent Striker books are great on football and teen life. ~ Andrea Reece
Winner of the 2012 Branford Boase Award for an outstanding debut novel | Heartbreaking and funny in equal measure, 10-year-old Jamie's direct and wide-eyed account of the emotional chaos he and his family live through following the death of his sister in a terrorist attack is poignant and warm-hearted. Beginning a new life in the Lake District with his older sister and his father, who mourns his daughter through alcohol and a wild rage against her killers, Jamie knows he should feel sadder than he does. The truth is, he can hardly remember his sister; and what is happening with his new school and new friends, especially Sunya, is more urgent – as is his yearning for his absent mother. Emotionally charged, this is a wonderfully touching story which never slips into worthiness.
Shortlisted for the 2015 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal - Shortlisted for the 2015 CILIP Carnegie Medal Award-winning Sally Gardner tells a gripping, bloody and bold story drawing on the traditions of fairy stories of all kinds and especially Hans Christian Andersen’s The Tinder Box. Tinder tells how a young and romantic soldier finds true love by overcoming every kind of magic and trickery in the world through a mixture of bravery and cunning while also trying to hold fast to goodness and truth. Behind him and almost all he meets lie the horrors and the excitement of serving as a soldier; all of them long for a peaceful life they cannot resist the heady excitement of living with danger an urge that leads them all into violence with all the terrible attendant consequences. ~ Julia Eccleshare
Winner of the 2012 Carnegie Medal | Winner of the 2012 Carnegie Medal AND 2012 Kate Greenaway Medal. This is the first time one book has won both prizes! Prize-winning Patrick Ness displays brilliant new skills of sensitivity in this hauntingly touching story of how a boy deals with the looming threat of his mother’s death from cancer. Haunted by a monster in his dreams, denied much information by his family and treated as a weirdo by his class mates and a ‘special case’ by his teachers, Conor struggles to get to grips with the devastating emotions which threaten to overwhelm him. How he finds the courage and strength to face the end when it happens is both utterly shattering and deeply satisfying. Costa Award winner Patrick Ness spins a tale from the final idea of much-loved Carnegie Medal winner Siobhan Dowd, whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself. Winner of the Red House Children's Book Award 2012. Winner of the Galaxy Children's Book of the Year Award 2011.
Shortlisted for Children’s Book Award 2016, Books for Older Readers category - Shortlisted for the Waterstone's Best Fiction for Teens Award 2015 | Kieran watches the world carefully. He’s good at noticing things that others don’t which makes him an excellent detective. Born with learning difficulties and living with a violent stepfather, Kieran has a lot to contend with but his inner resilience gives him great strength as he sets out to solve some of the many mysterious that are intertwined around his life. An evocative and compelling debut for fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time.
The harsh realities of 18th century life, of slavery, of prejudice, of tragedy, of corruption, of the haves and the have nots are woven together incredibly intricately and yet quite simply told too. Rest assured this book will have significant impact on a teenager, just as it will an adult and I do urge you the parent to read it as well for it won't disappoint, in fact you'll find it wonderfully exciting and totally unputdownable. It was a well-deserved winner of the Whitbread Children's Book Award in 2000.
Longlisted for the Guardian Children's Fiction Book Award 2014 | When sixteen-year-old Laureth’s father vanishes she is determined to track him down. So determined that she flies to New York to find him. But Laureth doesn’t go alone; she takes her seven year old brother with her because she needs him. Laureth is blind and Benjamin is essential as her guide. Award-winning Marcus Sedgwick tells a pell-mell adventure as the children unravel the mysteries of obsession and coincidence as they solve the riddle behind their father’s disappearance.
Shortlisted for Children’s Book Award 2016, Books for Older Readers category - Shortlisted for the Waterstone's Best Fiction for Teens Award 2015 - June 2014 Debut of the Month | Kieran watches the world carefully. He’s good at noticing things that others don’t which makes him an excellent detective. Born with learning difficulties and living with a violent stepfather, Kieran has a lot to contend with but his inner resilience gives him great strength as he sets out to solve some of the many mysterious that are intertwined around his life.
Winner of The Little Rebels Children's Book Award 2014 - Longlisted for the Carnegie Medal 2014 - Shortlisted for the Leeds Book Awards 2014, 11-14 age category & Longlisted for the 2013 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize | Award winning Gillian Cross takes a brilliant ‘what if’ as the premise for this gripping and thought-provoking adventure. The British economy has collapsed. Civil disobedience sets family against family as raids for the scarce food leads to violent attacks. After Matt’s Dad and grandfather are killed, his Mum is determined to keep the family going by growing food and by storing all she can. Soon they are attacked as ‘scadgers’ for hoarding. The only solution is to flee to France where British refugees are allowed to live in camps. Matt and those around him survive in the alien environment of the camp by adopting new behaviours that bring out their best – and worst – characteristics. Gillian Cross creates believable characters who’s choices matter to her readers.
Sympathetic, touching, and surprisingly funny, Ways To Live Forever is a fantastic debut from Sally Nicholls. Sam loves facts. He wants to know about UFOs horror movies and airships and ghosts and scientists, and how it feels to kiss a girl. And because he has leukaemia he wants to know the facts about dying. Sam needs answers for the questions nobody will answer. This diary account of a young boy dying of Leukaemia will pull on heartstrings and have you in fits of laughter at the same time. Winner of Glen Dimplex Prize for New Writers 2008 Winner of Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize 2008 Winner of Luchs Prize (Germany) for best children’s book published in Germany in the last year Longlisted for Branford Boase Award 2009
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. Winner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2011. A welter of emotions engulf Mira in this touching pre-teen story about secrets and how to keep them and share them. Strongly set in a busy family, Mira’s life is full of the ups and downs of family, friends and school; most particularly there is sadness in knowing that her beloved grandmother is dying and happiness as her interest in a mysterious boy in her class blossoms. Mira tells her story with appealing directness. ~ Julia Eccleshare