This morning I was stood in the playground looking at the Year 6’s and thinking they’re just a few short months away from Secondary School. These children look like giants compared to my 7 year old, but they’ll soon be making the leap to big school. The summer holidays are stretching ahead, and if you’ve got a Year 6 to entertain, I’ve picked out ten books to read before Secondary School which should entertain, enthrall and interest 11 year olds this summer.
Ten books to read before Secondary School
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne. Nine year old Bruno knows nothing of the Final Solution and the Holocaust until he meets Shmuel, a boy who lives on the other side of the adjoining wire fence and who, like the other people there, wears a uniform of striped pyjamas. Read the story of these two young boys who form an incredible friendship despite their different backgrounds, a box of tissues is essential!
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. When baby Bod escapes a murderer intent on killing the entire family, who would have thought it would find safety and security in the local graveyard? Brought up by the resident ghosts, ghouls and spectres, Bod has an eccentric childhood learning about life from the dead. But for Bod there is also the danger of the murderer still looking for him – after all, he is the last remaining member of the family. Everyone needs to read at least one Neil Gaiman book, and The Graveyard Book is an excellent place to start!
Northern Lights by Philip Pullman. Northern Lights is the first volume in Philip Pullman’s award winning His Dark Materials trilogy. Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live half-wild and carefree among the scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight. Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequences far beyond her own world.
Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge follows the story of a twelve-year-old orphan called Mosca Mye and her loyal companion, a cantankerous goose. Together they become the unlikely heroes of a radical revolution. Mosca is on the run, heading for the city of Mandelion. There she finds herself living by her wits among cut-throat highwaymen, spies and smugglers. With peril at every turn, Mosca uncovers a dark plot to terrorize the people of Mandelion, and soon merry mayhem leads to murder.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgeson Burnett, this is a true children’s classic and an absolute must-read for anyone. After losing her parents, young Mary Lennox is sent from India to live in her uncle’s gloomy mansion on the wild English moors. She is lonely and has no one to play with, but one day she learns of a secret garden somewhere in the grounds that no one is allowed to enter. Then Mary uncovers an old key in a flowerbed – and a gust of magic leads her to the hidden door. Slowly she turns the key and enters a world she could never have imagined.
Lockwood & Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathon Stroud. When Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career, she finds herself joining the smallest most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.
What Not To Do If You Turn Invisible by Ross Welford. Turning invisible at will is one way to cure your acne, but a far more drastic act than 13 year-old Ethel Leatherhead had initially intended when she tries a combination of untested medicines and a sunbed. When one day her invisibility fails to wear off, Ethel is thrown into a nightmare of lies and deception as she struggles to keep herself safe, to find the remedy that will make her seen again – and solve the mystery of her own birth. A gripping and very funny read!
Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz. Stormbreaker is the first book in the number one bestselling Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz. Fourteen year old Alex is forcibly recruited into MI6. Armed with secret gadgets, he is sent to investigate Herod Sayle, a man who is offering state-of-the-art Stormbreaker computers to every school in the country. But the secondary school aged spy soon finds himself in mortal danger.
Railhead by Philip Reeve. Railhead is the story of a petty thief, Zen Starling who is destined to ride the rails of the space train to nowhere special. That is until Raven, a strange and mysterious figure, persuades Zen to commit an elaborate robbery to steal the pyxis, is a mysterious box containing a shining black orb. Could this bring everything in this galaxy, and the next, to the end of the line?
I am Malala (Young Readers Edition) by Malala Yousafzai. Raised in a once-peaceful area of Pakistan transformed by terrorism, Malala was taught to stand up for what she believes. So she fought for her right to be educated. And on October 9, 2012, she nearly lost her life for the cause: She was shot point-blank while riding the bus on her way home from school. No one expected her to survive. This book documents her journey from village girl to Nobel Peace Prize winner, we hear firsthand the remarkable story of a girl who knew from a young age that she wanted to change the world – and did.