Recommended Reading List for G1

I’ve been trying to cultivate G1’s reading interest and get him to broaden his reading choices. Unfortunately, I’m not particularly well-read so my recommendations are limited to whatever I can find on Commonsense Media. I struggle to keep up with his reading so I can’t even pre-read books to check if the content is appropriate before I give it to him. So I asked his teacher and these books are what the librarian recommended.

The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

A sinister Problem has occurred in London: all nature of ghosts, haunts, spirits, and specters are appearing throughout the city, and they aren’t exactly friendly. Only young people have the psychic abilities required to see – and eradicate – these supernatural foes. Many different Psychic Detection Agencies have cropped up to handle the dangerous work, and they are in fierce competition for business.

In The Screaming Staircase, the plucky and talented Lucy Carlyle teams up with Anthony Lockwood, the charismatic leader of Lockwood & Co, a small agency that runs independent of any adult supervision. After an assignment leads to both a grisly discovery and a disastrous end, Lucy, Anthony, and their sarcastic colleague, George, are forced to take part in the perilous investigation of Combe Carey Hall, one of the most haunted houses in England. Will Lockwood & Co. survive the Hall’s legendary Screaming Staircase and Red Room to see another day?

There are currently five books in this series of Lockwood & Co:

The Child’s Elephant by Rachel Campbell-Johnson

When a baby elephant is abandoned on the African savannah, a young boy named Bat takes her back to his village and cares for her. But Bat’s grandmother explains that Meya cannot stay with them forever – the call of the wild will always be sounding in her soul.

Then frightening rumours arrive at the village; rumours of kidnapping, suffering and war. Bat and his friend Muka are snatched, and catapulted into a new life of unimaginable terror. Will the bond between Bat and Meya strong enough to save them?

The Accidental Time Traveller Janis Mackay

Winner of the Scottish Children’s Book Award 2013 Younger Readers (8-11 years) category.

I’m not mad, ok? I know this sounds off the wall, but I was just walking to the corner shop and this girl almost got hit by a car. She grabbed hold of me and told me her name’s Agatha Black and she’s here from the past. At first I thought she was nuts but maybe it’s true. She doesn’t get traffic, she’s freaked out by photos and she’s terrified of TV. And she knows about the past — body snatchers, making fires, and pet monkeys. Her dad does a bit of time travel. But obviously, he’s not very good at it. I mean, he got her lost. Now it’s me that has to get her back … to 1812!

This pacy, time-travelling adventure from Janis Mackay, author of the Magnus Fin series, is full of funny misunderstandings and gripping action.

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

Winner of the Blue Peter Book Award and the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, and shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal.

Already being proclaimed a classic in children’s literature and compared to the likes of Roald Dahl and Eva Ibbotson, Katherine Rundell’s Rooftoppers merges fantasy and historical fiction with sophisticated lyrical prose and vivid imagery that will delight middle-grade readers, tweens, teens, and parents and teachers alike.

Readers who enjoyed the Lemony Snicket books, Ellen Potter’s The Kneebone Boy, Cornelia Funke’s The Thief Lord, and Sally Gardner’s I, Coriander will want to put Rooftoppers on their “Must Read” list.

Everyone thinks that Sophie is an orphan. True, there were no other recorded female survivors from the shipwreck that left baby Sophie floating in the English Channel in a cello case, but Sophie remembers seeing her mother wave for help. Her guardian tells her it is almost impossible that her mother is still alive—but “almost impossible” means “still possible.” And you should never ignore a possible.

So when the Welfare Agency writes to her guardian, threatening to send Sophie to an orphanage, she takes matters into her own hands and flees to Paris to look for her mother, starting with the only clue she has— the address of the cello maker.

Evading the French authorities, she meets Matteo and his network of rooftoppers—urchins who live in the hidden spaces above the city. Together they scour the city in a search for Sophie’s mother—but can they find her before Sophie is caught and sent back to London? Or, more importantly, before she loses hope?

Breathe by Cliff McNish

Jack is not a normal boy. He can talk to ghosts. In his new home, an aging farmhouse, he meets the Ghost Mother, a grief-stricken spirit who becomes very attached to him: too attached. He learns that the Ghost Mother is preying in the cruelest imaginable way on four child ghosts who are trapped in the house, stealing their energy to sustain her own. Before Jack can figure out how to help them, the Ghost Mother takes possession of his real mother’s body. Jack wants to fight back, but he has severe asthma and risks fatal attacks with any physical exertion. It will take all his resources, and his mothers as well, to fight off the Ghost Mother and save the ghost children from a horrible fate.

Escape by Paul Adam

‘My mum killed my dad, then dragged his body all the way along the beach …I don’t believe a word of it.’ Max Cassidy is a teenage escapologist, so good he’s nicknamed the Half-pint Houdini. His father disappeared two years ago and his body has never been found. His mother is now serving a life sentence for her husband’s murder. Max’s mission to learn the truth about his family takes him on a thrilling journey, from London to the horrors of the terrifying Shadow Island in central America. Escapology is dangerous but not nearly as dangerous as real life…

This is the first book in Paul Adam’s fast and furious Max Cassidy thriller series.

Magyk by Angie Sage

G1’s already read this series and loved it.

Septimus Heap, the seventh son of the seventh son, disappears the night he is born, pronounced dead by the midwife. That same night, the baby’s father, Silas Heap, comes across an abandoned child in the snow—a newborn girl with violet eyes. Who is this mysterious baby girl, and what really happened to the Heaps’ beloved son Septimus?

The first book in this enthralling series by Angie Sage leads readers on a fantastic journey filled with quirky characters and Magykal charms, potions, and spells. Magyk is the original story of lost and rediscovered identities, rich with humor and heart.

Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo

As the enemy lurks in the darkness, Thomas struggles to stay awake through the night. He has lived through the terror of gas attacks and watched friends die by his side. But in the morning, Thomas will be forced to confront an even greater horror.

As the minutes tick by, Thomas remembers his childhood spent deep in the countryside with his mother, his brothers, and Molly, the love of his life. But each minute that passes brings Thomas closer to something he can’t bear to think about–the moment when the war and its horrific consequences will change his life forever.

Sky Hawk by Gill Lewis

There’s a secret hidden on Callum’s family farm, a secret nestled in the forest, above the dark waters of the loch. Callum and Iona make a pact to guard the secret together and keep it safe from harm. From mountain peaks and glittering lochs to vast skies and mangrove swamps, the promises made by Callum will change his world for ever.

Ways To Live Forever by Sally Nicholls

1. My name is Sam.
2. I am eleven years old.
3. I collect stories and fantastic facts.
4. I have leukemia.
5. By the time you read this, I will probably be dead.

Living through the final stages of leukemia, Sam collects stories, questions, lists, and pictures that create a profoundly moving portrait of how a boy lives when he knows his time is almost up.

After Tomorrow by Gillian Cross

What if you woke up tomorrow and everything had changed? Money is worthless. Your friends are gone. Armed robbers roam the streets. No one is safe. For Matt and his little brother, Taco, that nightmare is a reality. Their only hope of survival is to escape through the Channel Tunnel. But danger waits on the other side. Stay or go – what would you do?

The Recruit by Robert Muchamore

CHERUB agents are highly trained, extremely talented–and all under the age of seventeen. For official purposes, these agents do not exist. They are sent out on missions to spy on terrorists, hack into crucial documents, and gather intel on global threats—all without gadgets or weapons. It is an exceptionally dangerous job, but these agents have one crucial advantage: adults never suspect that teens are spying on them.

James is the latest CHERUB recruit. He’s a bit of a troublemaker, but he’s also brilliant. And CHERUB needs him. James has no idea what to expect, but he’s out of options. Before he can start in the field he must first survive one hundred grueling days of basic training, where even the toughest recruits don’t make it to the end.

The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd

When Ted and Kat watched their cousin Salim get on board the London Eye, he turned and waved before getting on. After half an hour it landed and everyone trooped off – but no Salim. Where could he have gone? How on earth could he have disappeared into thin air?

Since the police are having no luck finding him, Ted and Kat become sleuthing partners. Despite their prickly relationship, they overcome their differences to follow a trail of clues across London in a desperate bid to find their cousin. And ultimately it comes down to Ted, whose brain works in its own very unique way, to find the key to the mystery.

Shadow by Michael Morpurgo

With the horrors of war bearing down on them, Aman and his mother are barely surviving in an Afghan cave, and staying there any longer will end horribly. The only comfort Aman has is Shadow, the loyal spaniel that shows up from places unknown, it seems, just when Aman needs him most.

Aman, his mother, and Shadow finally leave the destroyed cave in hopes of escaping to England, but are held at a checkpoint, and Shadow runs away after being shot at by the police. Aman and his mother escape – without Shadow. Aman is heart-broken.

Just as they are getting settled as free citizens in England, they are imprisoned in a camp with locked doors and a barbed wire fence. Their only hope is Aman’s classmate Matt, his grandpa, and the dream of finding his lost dog. After all, you never lose your shadow.

The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce

  • From the award-winning author of Millions
  • Winner of the 2012 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize
  • Winner of the 2012 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize

When two Mongolian brothers inexplicably appear one morning in Julie’s sixth-grade class, no one, least of all Julie, knows what to do with them. But when Chingis, the older of the two brothers, proclaims Julie as their “Good Guide” – a nomadic tradition of welcoming strangers to a new land – Julie must somehow navigate them through soccer, school uniforms, and British slang, all while trying to win Shocky’s attention and perhaps also an invitation to her friend Mimi’s house. At times funny, this moving and simply told novella tugs at the heart – a unique story of immigration both fierce in its telling and magical in its characters.

Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans

Stuart Horten – ten years old and small for his age – moves to the dreary town of Beeton, far away from all his friends. And then he meets his new next-door neighbours, the unbearable Kingley triplets, and things get even worse.

But in Beeton begins the strangest adventure of Stuart’s life as he is swept up in quest to find his great-uncle’s lost workshop – a workshop stuffed with trickery and magic. There are clues to follow and puzzles to solve, but what starts as fun ends up as danger, and Stuart begins to realize that he can’t finish the task by himself.

The Island of Thieves by Josh Lacey

“Only boring people get bored. Interesting people can always find something to be interested in.”

That’s what Tom Trelawney’s father says, anyway. Tom shouldn’t have been interested in playing with matches but he was bored. Now the shed is in ashes and strange Uncle Harvey is the only one willing to have him stay while his parents are on vacation.

Tom soon discovers Harvey is going to South America on a treasure hunt and though nephews aren’t invited, he manages to tag along. Before it’s over he’ll drive a car, fire a gun and run for his life. Tom realizes that life may be about following the rules, but survival may be about breaking them.

Lost Christmas by David Logan

Ten-year-old Goose is lost. It’s Christmas, his parents are dead, he’s turned to petty thievery to support his increasingly addled Nan, and now his dog Mutt has gone missing.

As Goose searches the streets of Manchester on Christmas Eve for any sign of his dog, he encounters a strange man named Anthony, who seems to know an awful lot about everyone he meets but almost nothing at all about himself. Anthony’s special skill is to help people who have lost something – and everyone’s lost something, according to Anthony.

As they roam the streets together, they meet a wide variety of people, all of whom are searching desperately for something missing from their lives. As the mysterious Anthony proves again and again to have the power to reunite the seekers with the sought-after, Goose begins to wonder if Anthony may be able to help him find one of the precious things he’s lost.

Run Rabbit Run by Barbara Mitchelhill

Lizzie is lucky. Her dad refuses to fight in the war unlike the other dads in her street. ‘I won’t kill anyone,’ he says ‘War is wrong.’ But she knows that lots of people don’t agree with him and when Dad is threatened with prison, he takes Lizzie and her little brother, Freddie, on a long and adventurous journey hiding from the authorities. Even when they are separated and all seems lost, Lizzie’s special star in the night sky gives her hope that one day her family will be together again.

Dark Lord: the Teenage Years by Jamie Thomson

Thirteen-year-old schoolboy, Dirk Lloyd, has a dark secret – in fact, he is a dark secret. Dirk – according to his own account – is the earthly incarnation of a Dark Lord, supreme ruler of the Darklands and leader of great armies of orcs and warriors, intent on destruction and bloody devastation. Following a colossal final battle between the forces of good and evil, the Dark Lord was defeated and hurled by his arch foe’s spells into the Pit of Uttermost Despair. At the bottom of the Pit lies a supermarket car park in the municipal town of Whiteshields, somewhere in modern day England. And when he is found and tries to explain that he is the Dark Lord, people think he means Dirk Lloyd. The fact that he’s trapped in the puny body of a schoolboy doesn’t help. And so begins Dirk’s battle to recover his dignity, his power, and his lands…Along the way he faces the inconvenience of being fostered by a do-gooding family, the Purejoies; the torture of endless hours of drudgery at the Whiteshields Brainwashing Centre (aka school); a vengeful Headmaster; two interfering Psychotic Persecutors (psychotherapists); and constant laughter and disrespect when he attempts to marshall his lackeys and lickspittles (friends) to do what he wants them to. Dirk makes friends with the son of his foster family, Christopher, and the local Goth Girl, Sooz, and together they attempt to cast a spell that will transport Dirk back to his homeland. Inevitably, not everything goes to plan. But that’s for book 2

The Ultimate Truth by Kevin Brooks

When Travis Delaney’s parents die in a car crash, Travis is devastated. In a bid to pull himself out of his grief, he starts to look into the last case they were investigating at the private investigation agency they ran.

What starts as a minor distraction soon becomes a sinister, unbelievable mystery – and Travis is determined to solve it. Why were his parents looking for a missing boy when the boy’s family says he isn’t missing? Where is the boy himself? And why would a man who is in surveillance photos taken by Travis’s parents turn up at their funeral?

As Travis searches for answers, he starts to have the chilling realization that the question he should be asking is the one he most wants to avoid: Was the accident that killed his parents really what it seemed?

Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen

When they first arrived, they came quietly and stealthily as if they tip-toed into the world when we were all looking the other way.

Ade loves living at the top of a tower block. From his window, he feels like he can see the whole world stretching out beneath him.

His mum doesn’t really like looking outside – but it’s going outside that she hates. She’s happier sleeping all day inside their tower, where it’s safe.

But one day, other tower blocks on the estate start falling down around them and strange, menacing plants begin to appear.

Now their tower isn’t safe anymore. Ade and his mum are trapped and there’s no way out . . .

The Executioner’s Daughter by Jane Hardstaff

All her life, Moss has lived in the Tower of London with her father, who serves as the executioner for King Henry VIII. Prisoners condemned to death must face Pa and his axe—and Moss catches their severed heads. Her father insists he has no choice: if he leaves the Tower, he will be killed. But Moss can’t bear to be the executioner’s daughter any longer. When she finally finds a way out of the Tower, she discovers the river holds more dangers than she imagined—including the Riverwitch’s curse. The Riverwitch once helped Moss’s family in exchange for a terrible bargain; now she expects Moss to pay the debt.

A Boy Called Hope by Lara Williamson

“I’m Dan Hope, and deep inside my head I keep a list of things I want to come true.

I want to be the first eleven-year-old to land on the moon.

I want my dog to stop eating the planets and throwing them up on the carpet.

And finally, the biggest dream of all, I want my dad to love me.”

Since his dad ran off with the lady from the chip shop, Dan Hope’s life has gone a bit topsy-turvy. So Dan decides to sort out his messy, muddled, madcap family, starting with getting his dad back. But as one genius plan after another goes pear-shaped, Dan starts to realize that your real family aren’t always the people you share your name with. Thought-provoking and laugh-out-loud funny, A Boy Called Hope is a bold and astonishingly moving book about family life in all its shapes and sizes.

Thirteen Chairs by Dave Shelton

“Pull up a chair … if you’re feeling brave enough.”

Jack stands in the dark on the landing of the old house, and looks at his feet. He has been here for minutes, his hand on the door handle, debating whether or not to go in. A high-ceilinged room lit only by candles. Thirteen chairs, one empty. Twelve mysterious storytellers, waiting to begin.

Come in! Take your place. We have been expecting you. Do you dare to listen to our stories? Do you dare to tell your own? Jack is a curious boy. Are you curious too?

Scarlet Ibis by Gill Lewis

Red asks, ‘Will we always be together?’

‘Always,’ I say. ‘Just you and me in that little boat, watching the scarlet ibis flying back to the Caroni Swamp.’

Scarlet’s used to looking after her brother, Red. He’s special – different. Every night she tells him his favourite story – about the day they’ll fly far away to the Caroni Swamp in Trinidad, where thousands of birds fill the sky. But when Scarlet and Red are split up and sent to live with different foster families, Scarlet knows she’s got to do whatever it takes to get her brother back.

How to Fly with Broken Wings by Jane Elson

‘If Finn Maison shouts jump you jump or you are dead.’

Twelve-year-old Willem has Aspergers Syndrome and two main aims in life: to fly and to make at least two friends of his own age. But all the other boys from the Beckham Estate do is make him jump off things. First his desk – and now the wall. As his toes teeter on the edge, Sasha Bradley gives him a tiny little wink. Might she become his friend?

Bullied by Finn and his gang the Beckham Estate Boyz, Willem has no choice but to jump. As he flies through the air he flaps his arms, wishing he could fly and escape into the clouds. Instead he comes crashing down and breaks his ankle.

Sasha, angry with herself for not stopping Finn and his Boyz, is determined to put things right. And soon, while the gangs riot on their estate, Willem and Sasha form an unlikely friendship. Because they share a secret. Sasha longs to fly too.

And when Magic Man Archie arrives with stories of war-flying spitfires, he will change the lives of the kids on the Beckham Estate forever. And perhaps find a way for Willem and Sasha to fly.

Touching on themes such as friendship and bullying, this is a charming tale about overcoming obstacles and finding friendship in unlikely places.

Joe All Alone by Joanna Nadin

When thirteen-year-old Joe is left behind in Peckham while his mum flies to Spain on holiday, he decides to treat it as an adventure, and a welcome break from Dean, her latest boyfriend. Joe begins to explore his neighbourhood, making a tentative friendship with Asha, a fellow fugitive hiding out at her grandfather’s flat.

But when the food and money run out, his mum doesn’t come home, and the local thugs catch up with him, Joe realises time is running out too, and makes a decision that will change his life forever.

An Island of Our Own by Sally Nicholls

From one of the brightest talents in children’s fiction and the winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book prize comes a new novel about family and friendship. Siblings Jonathan, Holly, and Davy have been struggling to survive since the death of their mother, and are determined to avoid being taken into care. When the family’s wealthy but eccentric Great-Aunt Irene has a stroke, they go to visit her. Unable to speak or write, she gives Holly some photographs that might lead them to an inheritance that could solve all their problems. But they’re not the only ones after the treasure.

Since their mum died, Jonathan, Holly and Davy have struggled to stay out of care. They need a sanctuary. A dying aunt has one. A real treasure island. It could solve all their problems.

But they’re not the only ones looking for it…

The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell

Feo could not remember a time when she had not known and loved the wolves. It was impossible not to love them.

She could howl, her mother used to say, before she could talk. Wolves made sense to her; wolves, Feo thought, were one of the few things worth dying for.

A story of revolution and adventure, about standing up for the things you love and fighting back.

My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons

Luke is comic-mad, and his only mistake is to go to the toilet right at the wrong time.

While he’s gone, an alien gives his undeserving, never-read-a-comic-in-his-life brother superpowers and then tells him to save the universe.

Luke is massively annoyed about this, but when Zack is kidnapped by his arch-nemesis, Luke and his friends have only five days to find him and save the world.

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine

You are cordially invited to attend the grand opening of Sinclair’s department store!

Enter a world of bonbons, hats, perfumes and mysteries around every corner. Wonder at the daring theft of the priceless Clockwork Sparrow!

Tremble as the most dastardly criminals in London enact their wicked plans! Gasp as our bold heroines, Miss Sophie Taylor and Miss Lilian Rose, crack codes, devour iced buns and vow to bring the villains to justice.

Related:

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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