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You are here Library Top Ten Recommended Reads (Reading Level: 9 -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 10 Books for 12+ years

READING LEVEL 9 years - 12 years

by Ingrid Law

(Newberry Honor 2009)

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Synopsis: For generations, the Beaumont family has harbored a magical secret. They each possess a "savvy"-a special supernatural power that strikes when they turn thirteen. Grandpa Bomba moves mountains, her older brothers create hurricanes and spark electricity . . . and now it's the eve of Mibs's big day.As if waiting weren't hard enough, the family gets scary news two days before Mibs's birthday: Poppa has been in a terrible accident. Mibs develops the singular mission to get to the hospital and prove that her new power can save her dad. So she sneaks onto a salesman's bus . . . only to find the bus heading in the opposite direction. Suddenly Mibs finds herself on an unforgettable odyssey that will force her to make sense of growing up-and of other people, who might also have a few secrets hidden just beneath the skin.

"manages to convey pitch-perfect messages dealing with peers, guilt and growing up." The Children's Book Review

by Eoin Colfer

(Carnegie & Bisto Book Award Shortlist 2009)

Synopsis: Conor Broekhart was born to fly. In an age of discovery and invention, many dreamed of flying but for Conor, flight is more than just a dream - it is his destiny. In one dark night on the island of Great Saltee, a cruel and cunning betrayal destroys his life and steals his future. Conor must win the race for flight to save his family, and to right a terrible wrong.

" a rollicking read; a terrific tale of derring-do in which Colfer combines brilliant plotting with his customary humour and strong well-rounded characterisation." Carnegie Judges

Other recommended titles by this author: Artemis Fowl Series, Benny and Omar, Benny and Babe

Ways to Live Forever
by Sally Nicholls

(Waterstone's Children's Book Prize 2008)

Synopsis: Ways to Live forever is a remarkable account of an eleven year old boy's life and death. Sam has leukaemia which he faces with wit and dignity and a determination to make the best of whatever time he has left. The text is a scrapbook of Sam's life, lists, facts, drawings and Questions Nobody Answers . Sally Nicholls avoids any sentimentality and easy answers in this powerful, thought-provoking and very moving novel.

". an elegant, intelligent, moving and sometimes even funny book. Young readers (and brave parents, and teachers) will love it". The Guardian

Chronicles of Ancient Darkness
by Michelle Paver

(Parent's Choice Gold Medal 2005)

Synopsis: Six thousand years ago. Evil stalks the land. Only twelve-year-old Torak and his wolf-cub companion can defeat it. Their journey together takes them through deep forests, across giant glaciers, and into dangers they never imagined. Torak and Wolf are joined by an incredible cast of characters as they battle to save their world, in this first book in the "Chronicles of Ancient Darkness."

".. gripped me from the very first page.Attractive characters relentless pace and superb writing.a book that stands out from the crowd." Anthony Horowitz

by Frank Cottrell Boyce

(Carnegie Medal 2004)

Synopsis: It was a one-in-a-million chance. A bag crammed with cash comes tumbling out of the air and lands right at Damian's feet. Suddenly the Cunningham brothers are rich. Very rich. They can buy anything they want. There's just one problem - they have only seventeen days to spend all the money before it becomes worthless. And the crooks who stole the cash in the first place are closing in - fast.

"a master of comic pathos.the off-the-wall humour and comic language he employs here makes this a very funny book." Carnegie Judges

Other recommended titles by this author: Framed, Cosmic

Spilled Water
by Sally Grindley

(Smarties Gold Medal 2004)

Synopsis: When her husband dies, Lu Si-yan's mother is encouraged to sell her young daughter into domestic service. Lu Si-yan is just eleven when sold by her uncle. Nearly two years will pass before she can get back home to her mother and brother. In this powerful and compelling novel Sally Grindley portrays the life of a young girl in China, a young girl whose life is said to be like 'spilled water'. With a brilliant first-person narrative and a powerful description of time and place, this novel is gripping, heart-wrenching and utterly mesmerising.

Other recommended titles by this author: Broken Glass

Reading Level Ages 10 +

Parvana's Journey
by Deborah Ellis

(James Addams Award 2003)

Synopsis: This sequel to The Breadwinner easily stands alone. After her father's death, 13-year-old Parvana, disguised as a boy, wanders alone through war-torn Afghanistan looking for her mother and siblings who had disappeared in the tumult of the Taliban takeover of Mazar-e-Sharif. Early in her journey, Parvana comes across a baby, the only survivor in a bombed village. She takes him along, as both a burden and comforting company. Taking shelter in a small cave, she discovers an angry one-legged boy who is starved for both food and human companionship. Imagining treasure in their cave, they dig, only to find a cache of bullets-a scene that epitomizes what childhood has become for these young people.

Other recommended titles by this author: The Breadwinner, Mud City, The Prison Runner, Beyond the Barricade

The Wind Singer
by William Nicholson

(Smarties Gold Medal 2000)

Synopsis: "I hate school! I hate ratings! I won't reach higher! I won't strive harder! I won't make tomorrow better than today!" In the walled city of Aramanth, exams are everything -- not only for children, but for whole families. When Kestrel Hath dares to rebel, the Chief Examiner humiliates her father and sentences the family to the harshest punishment. Desperate to save them, Kestrel discovers that life in Aramanth was once different -- and if she can find the secret of the Wind Singer, maybe life can change for the better once more. So she and her twin brother, Bowman, set out on a terrifying journey -- to the true source of the evil that grips Aramanth...

Other recommended titles by this author: Firesong, Slaves of the Mastery, Seeker

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by JK Rowling

(Smarties Gold Medal 1999)

Synopsis: T he first novel in the Harry Potter series written by J. K. Rowling , featuring the young wizard , Harry Potter . It describes how Harry discovers he is a wizard, makes close friends and a few enemies at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry , and with the help of his friends thwarts an attempted comeback by the evil wizard Voldemort , who killed Harry's parents and tried to kill Harry when he was one year old.

"..funny, moving and impressive.... Like Harry Potter, [J.K. Rowling] has soared beyond her modest Muggle surroundings to achieve something quite special." The New York Times

Other recommended titles by this author: All the Harry Potter Series


Under the Hawthorn Tree
by Marita Conlon McKenna

(International Reading Association Award)

Synopsis: This is the first book in the famine trilogy. "The Great Irish Famine" brilliantly recreated through the story of three young survivors. Ireland in the 1840s is devastated by famine. When tragedy strikes their family Eily, Michael and Peggy are left to fend for themselves. Starving and in danger of ending up in the dreaded workhouse, they escape. Their one hope is to find the great-aunts they have heard about in their mother's stories. With tremendous courage they set out on a journey that will test every reserve of strength, love and loyalty they possess.

"A sublime story ... I don't know any child who will not find this book enthralling." The Irish Times

Other recommended titles by this author: Wildflower Girl, Fields of Home, Safe Harbour, Blue Horse

Reading Level Ages 9 +

Shadow Forest
by Matt Haig

(Smarties Gold Medal Winner 2007)

Synopsis: Samuel Blink is the hero of this story, but he doesn't know it yet. Right now, he and his sister Martha are in the back of his parents car. He has no idea a giant log is about to fall from the sky and change his life forever. He doesn't know that he and Martha will be forced to move to Norway and eat their Aunt Eda's smelly brown cheese. He hasn't the slightest clue Martha will disappear into Shadow Forest. It is a forest full of one-eyed trolls, the sinister huldre-folk, deadly Truth Pixies and a witch who steals shadows - a forest ruled by the evil Changemaker. It is a forest so dangerous that people who enter never return. No. Samuel Blink doesn't know any of this. So don't tell him. It might ruin the book ...

"A masterpiece". The Times

The Lightning Thief
by Rick Riordan

(CCBC Choice Award 2006)

Synopsis: What if the gods of Olympus were alive in the 21 st Century? What if they still fell in love with mortals and had children who might become great heroes - like Theseus, Jason and Hercules? What if you were one of those children? Such is the discovery that launches twelve-year-old Percy Jackson on the most dangerous quest of his life. With the help of a satyr and a daughter of Athena, Percy must journey across the United States to catch a thief who has stolen the original weapon of mass destruction - Zeus' master bolt. Along the way, he must face a host of mythological enemies determined to stop him. Most of all, he must come to terms with a father he has never known, and an Oracle that has warned him of betrayal by a friend.

"perfectly paced, with electrifying moments chasing each other like heartbeats" The New York Times

The Diamond of Drury Lane
by Julia Golding

(Smarties Gold Medal Winner 2006)

Synopsis: Set in 1790's Covent Garden this book whisks you back to a bygone era. The narrator's colourful slang and confident I-will-tell-you-how-it-really-is, makes the story sparkle off the page. It is the tale of Cat Royal, an orphan who lives at the back of the real-life theatre in Drury Lane. It contains a wonderful colourful cast of characters - awkward actors, on stage, and off, barrow boys in the grimy marketplace, street gangs fighting for territory...and it's packed with local colour and authentic detail. And of course there is the diamond mystery. What more could you want?

"An eminently satisfying and delightful read". Sunday Tribune

Other recommended titles by this author: Cat among the Pigeons, Cat O' Nine Tails, Den of Thieves

Snakes Elbows
by Deirdre Madden

(Eilís Dillon Award 2006)

Synopsis: When world famous concert pianist, Barney, returns to live in the place he was born, equally rich millionaire, Jasper, is worried that he'll be upstaged. He sets out to make life as difficult as possible for Barney - with hilarious and far-reaching consequences. Then a very special painting, the Angel, comes up for sale and Jasper is sure that buying it will reassert his position in the small town's society. But when he is outbid by Barney, Jasper is determined to exact his revenge...

"Quirky and delightfully humourous story of some strange goings-on in a small town." Irish Times

Journey to the River Sea
by Eva Ibbotson

(Smarties Gold Medal Winner 2001)

Synopsis : It is 1910 - Maia, orphaned at 13, travels from England to start a new life with distant relatives in Manaus, hundreds of miles up the Amazon. She is very unhappy with her exceptionally bizarre new family but befriends Finn, a mysterious English boy who lives with the local Indians and shares her passion for the jungle. Then Finn's past life catches up with him and they are forced to flee far upriver in a canoe, pursued by an assortment of brilliantly eccentric characters that only Eva Ibbotson could invent .

"A plot too exciting to put down. Sheer pleasure." The Times

Other recommended titles by this author: The Dragonfly Pool, The Star of Kazan

by Carl Hiaasen

(Newbery Honor Medal 2003)

Synopsis : Roy Eberhardt is recently, and unhappily, arrived in Florida. 'Disney World is an armpit compared to Montana,' he announces. Roy's family moves a lot so he's used to the new-kid drill - and to bullies like Dana Matherson. And anyway, it's because of Dana that Roy gets to see the mysterious running boy - who runs away from the school bus and who has no books, no backpack and, most oddly, no shoes. Sensing a mystery Roy starts to trail the runner - a chase that will introduce him to many weird Floridian creatures: potty-trained alligators, some cute burrowing owls, a fake-fart champion, a sinister pancake PR man and some snakes with mysteriously sparkly tails. Suddenly life in Florida is looking up!

""Yes, it is a hoot." The Washington Post

Ruby Holler
by Sharon Creech

(Carnegie Medal Winner 2003)

Synopsis: The "trouble" twins, Dallas and Florida look likely to stay in the orphanage for good until they are invited to live with an elderly couple in Ruby Holler. This is a beautifully written "over the rainbow" tale of discovery with a strong sense of place. Authentic dialogue gives the story an edge coupling the fairy tale quality with an air of reality. A story about love and trust and how the strength and goodness of human beings can overcome all the odds.

Other recommended titles by this author: Granny Torrelli Makes Soup, Walk Two Moons, The Wanderer

The Kite Rider
by Geraldine McCaughrean

(Shortlist Carnegie Medal 2001)

Synopsis: Set in 13th-century China, this is the gripping, adventurous, compulsive story of Haoyou, a boy who makes his way in the world by flying into the air, strapped to a huge kite. The story is full of both incredible adventure and personal drama, and has been received with universal acclaim.

" A masterpiece " The Times

Other recommended titles by this author: The Stones are Hatching, Not the End of the World, Six Storey House

Boy Overboard
by Morris Gleitzman


Synopsis: A story of adventure, ball control and hope. Jamal and Bibi have a dream. To lead Australia to soccer glory in the next World Cup.But first they must face landmines, pirates, storms and assassins.Can Jamal and his family survive their incredible journey and get to Australia? Sometimes, to save the people you love, you have to go overboard.

"Morris Gleitzman has a rare gift for writing very funny stories and an even rarer gift of wrapping very serious stories inside them. " The Guardian

The Witches
by Roald Dahl

(Whitbread Award and NY Times Outstanding Book Award 1983)

Synopsis: The Grand High Witch has a fiendish plan for getting rid of all the children in England. First, her fellow hags will take over all the sweet shops. Next, they will sell poisoned sweets and chocolate which turn children into mice! Then, make way for the mouse traps...This terrible plan is overheard by the young boy narrator of the story. Fortunately, his grandma knows something about witches. Unfortunately, before he has a chance to consult her, he is turned into a mouse himself. Will the witches triumph? Are the children of England doomed? And what exactly is the secret behind grandma's missing finger? This award-winning tale has all the answers.

Other recommended titles by this author: The BFG, Matilda, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

A Few Other Suggestions

Deep Trouble by Debi Gliori
Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snickett
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinnery

The Invisible Friend by Louise Arnold

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black Malory Towers by Enid Blyton