We are constantly looking to fill our pre-teen shelves with literature that will inspire your kids to develop their love for books and more importantly, provide them with a rich reading experience. Here’s our latest hand-picked list which your kids can read to their heart’s content.
1. A Boy Called Hope by Lara Williamson
*For fans of “Wonder”!
“A boy called Hope” by Lara Williamson is a book about a boy, Dan Hope.
A story about his dreams and wishes, his fears and worries, and his search for hope. Because in life sometimes things are complicated and messy, not everyone is perfect, things can surprise us, they can make us laugh but they can also make us cry. This is Dan’s story, about what makes the world go round, what brings people and families together, and most of all, how hope helps you dream.
Sam Harper, age 10 – ‘This bitter-sweet book is fantastic, brilliant, funny and sad. It made me laugh and cry and I’ve never read a book which could do that before. You must read it.’
A Boy Called Hope is a joyous, heart-breaking and life-affirming story of one boy and his messy, muddled and madcap family. Dan Hope may be an ordinary boy, in an ordinary home, in an ordinary town but he has an extraordinary amount of hope in his heart particularly when it comes to his dad who has left the family home. Perfect for fans of Annabel Pitcher and Frank Cottrell Boyce.
2. How to Look for a Lost Dog by Ann M. Martin
11-year-old Rose is autistic and struggles to understand her classmates. But when her father gives her a stray dog, which she names Rain, the dog becomes her best friend, her anchor in a confusing world. So when Rain goes missing during a storm, Rose refuses to stop looking for him…A touching story from the bestselling author of The Babysitters Club.
Anastasia Abdian, age 11 – ‘How to Look for a Lost Dog is a truly amazing book. It gripped me the whole way and I could not put it down. Rose is a girl who likes these things: numbers, rules, words and her dog Rain. You will love it!’
3. A Dog’s Life by Ann M. Martin
*For fans of Michael Morpurgo
Best known for the Babysitters Club, Ann M Martin here tells the story of a dog, and with the warmth and understanding that made that series so popular. There’s nothing special about Squirrel, this isn’t a story of heroics, though she is brave when she has to be. Instead, it’s a story of finding your way, enjoying the good things and coping with the bad, and learning to trust and to love. Squirrel is a stray, and for most of the book has to manage alone; not till the very last chapters does she find somewhere safe to stay.
She tells her story calmly, without anger or bitterness when things go badly, and never asks for readers’ sympathy: she’s a dog, and she leads a dog’s life. It makes for a very touching story and one which will enthral readers.
“Heart-wrenching and heartwarming” – Kirkus
4. The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair by Lara Williamson
*One of our Books of the Year 2015 – Shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award 2016
All Becket wants is for his family to be whole again. But standing in his way are two things: 1) his dad, his brother and him seem to have run away from home in the middle of the night and 2) Becket’s mum had died before he got the chance to say goodbye to her. Arming himself with an armchair of stories, a snail named Brian and one thousand paper cranes, Becket ploughs on, determined to make his wish come true.
With tears and laughter – often both at the same time – Lara Williamson deals with family drama with a poignancy and a lightness of touch that is incredibly moving.
The humour comes from Becket’s idiosyncratic view of life, and the things he gets up to with little brother Billy, but also from the gap that exists between adults’ and children’s understanding of the world. Becket does find the answers to his questions, and ends the book happier and a bit wiser – readers will too.
5. The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo
The story of a young boy who rescues an orphaned white lion cub from the African bush. They remain inseparable until Bertie has to go away to boarding school and the lion is sold to a circus. Years later they are reunited until the lion gently dies of old age.
Amrit Bunet, age 15 – ‘Anyone will be able to read this heartwarming story and feel a smile creep across their face. This is one of Morpurgo’s great works and will always be one to remember.’