The following books have been highlighted by a group of experienced teachers, authors, tutors and parents as great stories for children.
The stories vary widely in tone and reading difficulty, but they have been arranged loosely into four groups to help guide you to discover something wonderful for your child.
These books are specifically for kids extending themselves beyond picture books to text.
Please feel free to comment below and add your own suggestions.
1. Younger Primary – General
Johnny Danger: DIY Spy by Peter Millet
Running with Horses by Alision Lester
13th Story Treehouse Series by Andy Griffith
The story follows Andy and Terry, who live in an incredible ever expanding treehouse, struggling to finish their book on time while being continually distracted by all the amazing things going on around them. According to book 1, the 13-story treehouse has "a bowling alley, a see-through swimming pool, a talk full of man-eating sharks, an underground laboratory, a vegetable vaporizer, and a marshmallow machine that shoots marshmallows into your mouths when it detects that you are hungry”. Wonderfully illustrated throughout by Terry Denton and loads to keep the kids interested in this fun and imaginative world!
Wilderness Fairies by Jodie Wells- Slowgrove
A tiny world of magic in the Australian bush, beautifully illustrated by Kerry Millard. The series features Daisy as the main character, and book one starts with her earning her fairy wings, with subsequent books following her adventures further afield. Sweet little fairy stories and intrinsically Australian touches with a Gum Tree Grove and Mother Wattle . Great for beginner readers with larger text.
Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey.
Perfect for beginning and chapter book readers, this series appeals to younger readers with a story based around two fourth grade school boys from Ohio, best friends & class clowns George and Harold. Their superhero creation “Captain Underpants” accidentally comes alive and regularly has outrageously funny action packed adventures.
The Adventures of Tintin by Georges Remi
An oldie but a goodie. This is a series of comic albums originally published in a Belgian magazine in 1929 and then formalised as a series with 24 albums in all. The story features the main character Tintin and his faithful friend Snowy the fox terrier, and their adventures and misadventures. Written comic book style with wonderful coloured illustrations, it is something “old school” which has remained relevant to the current “young reader”.
2. Younger Primary - Advanced
Clarice Bean by Lauren Child
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
The old classic is narrated from the perspective of the horses. The text is a regular size and the story is filled with a few lengthy descriptions, but it is a real winner for a horse or animal lover. It has a strong moral compass and encourages the reader to think about kindness to others. A lovely tale for an established, younger reader.
Alice Miranda by Jacqueline Harvey
The bestselling Alice-Miranda series follows a perpetually positive seven-and-a-quarter-year-old with a lot to say! A truly optimistic heroine, she is funny, kind, and able to solve pretty well any problem. The series starts with her heading off to boarding school, and each book continues her adventures with complete stories, so they don’t have to be read in order to make sense. Particularly popular with established 7 year old readers. No pictures, and books are substantial reads at around 280-300 pages in length.
3. Older Primary – General
Boy by Roald Dahl
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
Flora and Ulysses by Kate De Camillo
The most exciting book I’ve read in ages that I think could be great for able young readers is Flora and Ulysses by Kate De Camillo. It’s so funny and sweet and heartfelt and wonderfully written. In fact, her stuff would be great for this bracket of readers. Another that springs to mind is Because of Winn Dixie - Davina Bell author.
Because of Winn Dixie by Kate De Camillo
The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
Harry Potter by JK Rowlings
The story follows the adventures of a young wizard, Harry Potter, and his best friends Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, all of whom are students at the fantastical Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The main story revolves around Harry's quest to defeat Voldemort, the Dark Wizard, and features a wonderfully imaginative world of witches and wizards, and good and evil forces at play. Be warned it can be quite dark and scary in parts, particularly in the later books, so better suited to the older end of “young readers”.
4. Older Primary - Needing Support
Zac Power Series by corporate pseudonym H.I.Larry
An Australian series that have had huge success because they tackle older kids who struggle to read and do it well. Based on the adventures of twelve year old Zac Power and his fifteen year old brother, Leon as secret agents for the ficticious intelligence agency GIB they have many adventures saving the world. The language and storylines are simple and concise, but they aren’t dumbed down and use all the right lingo to have genuine appeal.
Our Australian Girls Series
An exciting new collection of books. Each story in the series is set in a particular era of Australian history, yet reads nothing like a history lesson. All written by highly acclaimed Australian authors, they feature strong plots, colourful and varied characters and terrific heroines. Perfect for those starting there first 'big' book. Limited images and good size text.
Tashi by Anna Fienberg and Barbara Fienberg
Tashi books are fantastic for boys and girls and particularly suit the newly confident reader and older reader. The storylines are fantasy based and feature some sort of villain that is always overcome by the likeable hero Tashi. There are also fabulous, detailled illustrations by Kim Gamble. Some of the series is available in larger text.
The Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
The Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder is a fantastic find for boys. Set in Wisconsin, America in the 1800's about a family making a life in the woods. There is plenty of hunting, adventure and interesting facts set amongst moral family life. The text is larger for the reader just starting novels and there are a few pencil illustrations.