The world of children’s books outside of picture books is one of the most magical, most exciting places there is. Anything is possible in children’s fiction.

This list is for children who may be beginning to read for themselves, for those aged about 7-12.

In no particular order, and there may be some overlap with ‘older’ books – although I might not recommend it for younger readers, I remember reading Pride & Prejudice aged 11 – this is my list of favourite books and authors for readers aged from about 7-12.

  1. Enid Blyton – The Famous Five, Five Find-Outers and Dog, Malory Towers, St Clare’s, numerous tales of fairy-lands, Magic Faraway Tree. Take your pick, really.
  2. Dick King-SmithHarry’s Mad, Emily’s Legs, The Sheep-Pig (AKA Babe), Lady Daisy, The Water Horse
  3. Jenny Nimmo – particularly the Children of the Red King series
  4. Debi Gliori –the Pure Dead series
  5. When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr
  6. The first three Harry Potter novels by JK Rowling (the last two I think are better suited to an older audience and four and five a bit long-winded)
  7. Roald Dahl – The BFG, Matilda, Danny the Champion of the World, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  8. Carrie’s War by Nina Bawden
  9. Tom’s Midnight Garden  by Phillipa Pearce
  10. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

Some of these I still enjoy today – in fact, I still own copies of all of these authors or books, waiting for the day when my children can read them. A good children’s book can be enjoyed by child and adult alike. Coming up with this list has made me feel quite nostalgic for these books.

What would you give your child, just starting to read on his or her own? What do you remember enjoying at that age?