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You are here Library Top Ten Recommended Reads from our School Library (Reading Level: 12 years +)

Our school has a wonderful library with many excellent books. The following books are recommended by the school following consultation with pupils, teachers and Parents Council. We encourage pupils to read any or as many of them as they can. See also our Top 20 Books for 9 years - 12 years from our School Library.


The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman

(Newberry Medal Winner 2009)
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Synopsis: Nobody Owens, known to his friends as Bod, is a normal boy. He would be completely normal if he didn't live in a sprawling graveyard, being raised and educated by ghosts, with a solitary guardian who belongs to neither the world of the living nor of the dead. There are dangers and adventures in the graveyard for a boy-an ancient Indigo Man beneath the hill, a gateway to a desert leading to an abandoned city of ghouls, the strange and terrible menace of the Sleer. But if Bod leaves the graveyard, then he will come under attack from the man Jack-who has already killed Bod's family.

" by turns exciting and witty, sinister and tender, a tale of unforgettable enchantment." New York Times

Other recommended titles by this author: Coraline

Bog Child
by Siobhán Dowd

(Bisto Book of the Year 2009)

Synopsis: Digging for peat in the mountain with his Uncle Tally, Fergus finds something that makes his heart stop. Curled up deep in the bog is the body of the child. And it looks as if she's been murdered. As Fergus tries to make sense of the troubled world around him (it is 1980s Ireland), a little voice come to him in his dreams and the mystery of the bog child unfurls.

" a beautifully written and controlled novel, strong on dialogue.. the dual narrative is deftly done and Dowd is very good on family relationships and the atmosphere of the time." Carnegie Judges

Other recommended titles by this author: A Swift Pure Cry, The London Eye Mystery

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas
by John Boyne

(Irish Book Award Winner 2008)

Synopsis: Nine year old Bruno knows nothing of the Final Solution and the Holocaust. He is oblivious to the appalling cruelties being inflicted on the people of Europe by his country. All he knows is that he has been moved from a comfortable home in Berlin to a house in a desolate area where there is nothing to do and no-one to play with. Until he meets Shmuel, a boy who lives a strange parallel existence on the other side of the adjoining wire fence and who, like the other people there, wears a uniform of striped pyjamas. Bruno's friendship with Shmuel will take him from innocence to revelation. And in exploring what he is unwittingly a part of, he will inevitably become subsumed by the terrible process.

Just Henry
by Michelle Magorian

(Costa Children's Book Winner 2008)

Synopsis: It's 1949 and life is bleak for Henry. He misses his father who died a war hero, and he escapes from his annoying stepfather and stepsister whenever he can and goes to the cinema - his passion. One day in the cinema queue he meets Mrs Beaumont who also loves films, and lends Henry a camera for his school project. Henry is disgusted that he's been put in a group with Jeffries, the son of a man who went AWOL, and Pip, who was born illegitimate; but he's about to learn that tolerance and friendship are more important than social stigmas. Henry will need his new friends when he processes the film and makes an alarming discovery. Like a bomb waiting to explode, Henry's world is about to unravel.

"this is a thrilling, richly detailed story that rips along to a hair-raising climax" The Times

Broken Soup
by Jenny Valentine

(Shortlist Costa Children's Book Award 2008)

Synopsis: When the good-looking boy with the American accent presses the dropped negative into Rowan's hand, she's sure it's all a big mistake. But next moment he's gone, lost in the crowd of bustling shoppers. She can't afford to lose her place in the checkout queue, after all, if she doesn't take the groceries home, nobody else will. Rowan has more responsibilities than most girls her age. These days, she pretty much looks after her little sister single-handedly, which doesn't leave much time for friends or fun. So when she finds out that Bee from school saw the whole thing, it piques her curiosity. Who was the boy? Why was he so insistent that the negative belonged to Rowan?

"Broken Soup is one of this year's unmissable reads." The Guardian

Other recommended titles by this author: Finding Violet Park

The Carbon Diaries
by Saci Lloyd

(Shortlist C osta Children's Book Award 2008)

Synopsis: It's January 1st, 2015, and the UK is the first nation to introduce carbon dioxide rationing, in a drastic bid to combat climate change. As her family spirals out of control, Laura Brown chronicles the first year of rationing with scathing abandon. Will her mother become one with her inner wolf? Will her sister give up her weekends in Ibiza? Does her father love the pig more than her? Can her band - The Dirty Angels - make it big? And will Ravi Datta ever notice her?  In these dark days, Laura deals with the issues that really matter: love, floods and pigs.

'an uproarious, scathing and pathos-filled romp - Adrian Mole does the apocalypse.' Financial Times

by Laurie Halse Anderson

(US National Book Awards Finalist 2008)

Synopsis: As the Revolutionary War begins, thirteen-year-old Isabel wages her own fight...for freedom. Promised freedom upon the death of their owner, she and her sister, Ruth, in a cruel twist of fate become the property of a malicious New York City couple, the Locktons, who have no sympathy for the American Revolution and even less for Ruth and Isabel. When Isabel meets Curzon, a slave with ties to the Patriots, he encourages her to spy on her owners, who know details of British plans for invasion. She is reluctant at first, but when the unthinkable happens to Ruth, Isabel realizes her loyalty is available to the bidder who can provide her with freedom.

"a nuanced portrayal of a nation and a girl bound for freedom " The Washington Post

Other recommended titles by this author: Fever 1793

by Tanya Landman

(Carnegie Medal Shortlist 2008)

Synopsis: Siki is a 14 year-old Apache Indian girl living on the Mexican border. She is orphaned along with her 4 year-old brother Tazhi. When the Mexicans ride against the Apache, Siki witnesses Tazhi's brutal murder. In seeking revenge for her brother she has no choice but to become a warrior, overcoming all prejudice to fight as a woman alongside the men folk of her tribe.

Other recommended titles by this author: The Goldsmith's Daughter

The Other Side of Truth
by Beverly Naidoo

(Carnegie Medal 2001)

Synopsis: The moving, topical story of a Nigerian brother and sister fleeing oppression and seeking asylum in the UK. It skillfully blends fact and fiction to leave a lasting impression of real issues at work (political injustice, racism, fear) but with tangible emotional involvement through the eyes of its child characters, particularly Sade. The writing is gripping, powerful and evocative, the characters realistic and sympathetic. An important book which challenges the notion of 'truth' itself.

".an unforgettable novel" The Times

Other recommended titles by this author: No Turning Back


by Louis Sacher

(Newberry Medal Winner 1999)

Synopsis: Stanley Yelnats was given a choice. The judge said, "You may go to jail, or you may go to Camp Green Lake." Stanley was from a poor family. He had never been to camp before. Holes is the engrossing tale of a boy, who is mistakenly convicted of a crime and sent to Camp Green Lake, where he is forced, along with several other juvenile delinquents, to dig holes as punishment for breaking the law. All day long, the boys dig holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep, searching for a mysterious treasure that the camp's warden has been obsessed with finding for years.

"a dazzling blend of social commentary, tall tale and magic realism." Publishers Weekly

Other recommended titles by this author: Small Steps, There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom

A Few Other Very Good Reads!

Ostrich Boys
by Keith Gray

(Carnegie Medal Shortlist 2009)

Synopsis: Kenny, Sim and Blake are about to embark on a remarkable journey. Stealing the urn that contains the ashes of their best friend Ross, they set out to travel 261 miles from Cleethorpes on the English east coast, to the tiny hamlet of Ross in southern Scotland, in a bid to give their friend a proper send-off.

"A beautifully realised rite of passage novel, very strong on the relationships between its central characters and accurate about the emotions of teenage boys." Carnegie Judges


by Paul Dowswell

Synopsis: Although he lives in Poland, Peter is volksdeutscher (of German blood) and, with his blond hair and blue eyes, he looks like a perfect Aryan according to the criteria laid down by Nazi racial ideologues. When Peter's parents are killed by the Russian troops he is taken for adoption by a Berlin professor of eugenics. Longing to fit in and feel secure, Peter tries to like his adoptive family and to be a loyal member of the Hitler-Jugend but a friendship with Anna, whose parents have independent minds, opens his eyes to what is going on around him.

" a superlative, at times almost agonisingly compelling, piece of historical fiction. The climactic escape to freedom is pure muck-sweat tension ." The Financial Times

Other recommended titles by this author: Powder Monkey, Prison Ship