Wednesday, 6 April 2016

70+ Chapter Book Recommendations

Some time ago, I posted a list of chapter books for older children that my family have enjoyed. Over time, we have read more books and I realised that this list was quite undifferentiated and included some books which were really more suitable for young adults than the 7-12 year old crew. 

This new list is enlarged and is aimed at 7-12 year olds. Of course, families vary in what they consider appropriate for their children so if in doubt, ask or preread. 

In terms of genre, it is difficult to be pedantic. Some books fit into more than one genre. For example, Detectives in Togas could be historical fiction, adventure or a dectective novel. However, I have kept to a limited range of broad descriptions.

There are many lovely books that I haven't read so please let me know about any that you particularly enjoy. 

These are roughly in historical order with some series at the end.
  • Milad-the voyage to Ophir Nazan Anhar
  • Theras and his town Caroline Dale Snedeker
  • Lysis goes to the play Caroline Dale Snedeker
  • Detectives in Togas Henry Winterfield
  • Eagle of the Ninth series Rosemary Sutcliffe. Set of three books set over the course of the Roman occupation of England.
  • Legions of the Eagle Henry Treece
  • Outcast Rosemary Sutcliffe
  • Hostage Lands Douglas Bond
  • Beorn the Proud Madeleine Pollard Viking times
  • Single Shard Linda Sue Park. A fascinating book set in Medivael Korea.
  • Saint Patrick: Pioneer Missionary to Ireland Michael McHugh
  • Lord of the Forest BB
  • The door in the Wall Marguerite de Angeli Middle Ages
  • Woolpack Cynthia Harnett
  • The Little Duke Charlotte Young
  • Tales of Robin Hood Enid Blyton
  • King Arthur and his men Enid Blyton
  • When lightning Struck-the Story of Martin Luther Danika Cooley
  • Piet Prin's Struggle for Freedom series about the Eighty years war in the Netherlands.
  • Children of the New Forest Frederick Marryat
  • Crown and Covenant Bond Douglas Bond 
  • Little house on the Prairie series Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Children on the Oregon trail Van Der Loeff
  • Ned Barbara Coyle The fictional story of a Victoria boy living on the streets of London
  • Silver Sword Ian Serrailler
  • When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit Judith Kerr
  • The endless Steppe Esther Hautzig. Again, non-fiction, the story of a Jewish family taken to Siberia by the Russians in 1941 and their battle to survive.
  • Piet Prin's Shadow series about the Second World War in the Netherlands
  • Bronze and Sunflower Cao Wenxuan. Translated from Chinese and set in China during the Cultural Revolution. 
  • GA Henty historical books-there are loads of these for the avid reader.
  • Michael Morpurgo books: some of these are great but look at them first. There are some complex themes; for example, Private Peaceful deals with desertion in war and the treatment of deserters. Adolphus Tips is probably our favourite.
  • My story series published by Scholastic. Some have an element of romance usually obvious if you check the last few pages!
  • Our Island Story HE Marshall
  • The Great History of Britain Anne and Paul Fryer
  • Double Take series by Scholastic present both sides of historical events such as the Battle of Hastings and the race to the South Pole. Great for children who prefer non-fiction.
  • Trailblazers series published by Christian Focus. This is a series of biographies for children. There are one or two that I wouldn't have chosen to have written about but generally a helpful series with many titles for voracious readers.
  • Jungle Doctor series by Paul White. I was brought up on this series about a missionary doctor in Tanzania. The medicine is dated, and fascinating but more important, it deals with unchanging realities.
  • Patricia St John's books. Of these, Rainbow Garden was one of my favourite childhood books and Tanglewood secrets  is a tear jerker.
  • Louise A. Vernon's book The Bible smuggler about William Tyndale and Night preacher is the fictionalised story of Menno Simons. 
  • Mr Pipes  Douglas Bond-I get a bit irritated by some failures to depict UK culture correctly but otherwise they are a worthwhile read and a relaxed introduction to some hymn writers.
  • Return of the White Book and others by Rebecca Davis. These are stories about modern missions. I didn't think that the book about Columbia was as helpful as the rest of the series.
  • Facing Lions JR Williamson and RM Freedman

  • Mystery at Witchend series Malcolm Saville
  • Thirty nine steps by John Buchan
  • Railway childrenTreasure Seekers, Five children and it. E Nesbit
  • Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe
  • Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
  • The Ivan books by Myra Grant are the fictional adventures of a boy in Soviet Russia. Useful introduction to this period of recent history and very rapid reads!
  • Arthur Ransome books-not my favourites but would appeal to children who are fascinated by messing about in boats.
  • The Boy who biked the World Alastair Humphreys
  • Enid Blyton's Famous Five, Secret Seven and Adventurous Four series. The plots don't seem to change much but these have been great for children gaining confidence in reading and increasing reading speed.

  • Snow Fox  John Reynolds Gardiner a tear jerker although a very quick read.
  • Gentle Ben Walt Morey
  • Silver Brumby Elyne Mitchell
  • Black Beauty Anna Sewell
Childhood and growing up
  • Anne of Green Gables series by LM Montgomery
  • Little women series Lousia Alcott
  • Dimsie series by Dorita Fairlie Bruce are stories of a girl at boarding school between the Wars and the latter stories are set in Scotland during the Second World War.
  • What Katie did series Susan Coolridge
  • Caddie Woodlawn Carol Ryrie Brink
  • Family at One End Street series Eve Garnett. The hilarious doings of a large family. I can't read this aloud as it makes me laugh too much.
  • Heidi Joanna Spyri
  • Chronicles of Narnia CS Lewis
  • The Green Ember SD Smith
  • Redwall books by Brian Jacques. A long series!
  • Miss Read stories are really adult books but are gentle tales of life as a school mistress in an English village.
  • Around the world in eighty days by Jules Verne. One of my sons tells me that Twenty thousand leagues under the sea is better but I haven't read it myself.
  • Abbey books by Elsie Oxenham. This is a long school series of 38 books so useful for children who read fast!
  • Paddington Bear series Michael Bond

Please add your recommendations!
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  1. Wonderful list! Thank you for compiling it!

  2. I actually don't have time to really get into this list, but I intend to check it out thoroughly! My two oldest are in this age-range, so I would love to get some books that they can enjoy. Is your family both boys and girls? If you had both, did they all like these books equally or were there some that your girls/boys liked more?

    1. Elizabeth, I have both boys and girls. Many of the books, everyone has enjoyed. The girls have tended to prefer the books in the section Childhood and Growing Up. The boys have preferred the Jules Verne and the Redwall books.

  3. What a giant list! So many good books for pick from...Many favorites of mine from growing up as well. I'll bookmark this for when my littles are old enough. Thanks for compiling all of them in one place.

  4. Sarah, this is an excellent list! There are lots of books on here that we don't have, so I will be having a look for them. The Dimsie series sounds interesting, as I find it quite hard to find quality children's books set in Scotland. Thank you for sharing it :-)

    1. Dimsie is fun. The Crown and Covenant series is also set in Scotland.

    2. Yes, we have these! Our son really enjoyed them, although the last chapters of the one where they are captured, we found a little gruesome.

  5. What an amazing resource! I am always looking for chapter books for my boys who are 8 and 10. Thank you so much for this, I know it must have taken some time to compile! Sharing!

  6. What a great list!! I have two kids in this age range so this is perfect for me :) I pinned it so I don't lose the reference...thanks so much for sharing!!