The Honest Truth
by Dan Gemeinhart
Publisher: Scholastic
Mark has cancer. He can't bear more doctors, so he runs away with his dog Beau for company. His personal mission: to climb Mount Rainier as he'd promised his grandfather, even if it's the toughest journey ever. Surviving mugging, half-drowning and facing a monumental storm, he refuses to admit defeat. Help arrives from unexpected sources and Beau's beside him, but odds are against him… Mark's best friend, Jess, is also desperate: police are searching, Mark's parents are frantic, but Jess has worked out where Mark's heading. Should she tell them his secret?

Beautifully plotted, as gripping as any thriller, Mark's voice - angry, despairing, stubbornly courageous - alternates with Jess's dilemma in this powerfully moving novel about real friendship - when time is literally running out.
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
by Joan Aiken
Publisher: 1
There are wolves outside the walls of Willoughby Chase, but for cousins Bonnie and Sylvia, the real danger lies inside. Their wicked governess Miss Slighcarp is working with a network of criminals, forgers and snitches to carry out a terrible plan. Bonnie and Sylvia must use all their wits if they are to escape their cruel governess - and the wolves.

Set in an alternative 1832, in which Good King James III is on the throne, and Britain is ravaged by wolves which have migrated through the newly-opened Channel Tunnel, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase is a brilliantly inventive and imaginative offering from classic children's author Joan Aiken. Young readers who enjoy this story will relish the other wonderfully idiosyncratic stories in this series, which continues with Black Hearts in Battersea.
by David Almond
Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
When a move to a new house coincides with his baby sister's illness, Michael's world seems suddenly lonely and uncertain. Then, exploring a ramshackle garage with new-found friend Mina, he finds something magical. A strange creature - part owl, part angel, a being who needs Michael's help if he is to survive.

With Mina's help, Michael nourishes Skellig back to health. The creature is ill-mannered, with questionable personal hygiene, but persevering in their kindness towards him, Michael and Mina find a bond forms between them that will change their lives forever.

This unusual and captivating novel from critically-acclaimed children's author David Almond won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread Children's Book Award. A contemporary classic, it has the power to captivate both adults and children alike.
Carrie's War
by Nina Bawden
Publisher: Puffin
During World War II, Carrie and her younger brother Nick are evacuated to Wales and billeted with the fierce old shopkeeper Mr Evans and his mousy sister, Louise. Unhappy in their new home, they are delighted to have the chance to visit fellow evacuee Albert Sandwich at Druid's Bottom, the strange household of Hepzibah Green, who knows magical stories, and Mister Johnny, who speaks a language all his own. But then Carrie makes a mistake - which has terrible, unforeseen consequences.

Inspired by Nina Bawden's own experiences of living as an evacuee in a Welsh mining valley as a child, Carrie's War is now considered a modern classic. Funny, sad and thought-provoking, it provides young readers with an insight into some of the complexities and ambiguities of the adult world - albeit with a heartwarming happy ending.
Artemis Fowl
by Eoin Colfer
Publisher: Puffin
Twelve-year-old criminal mastermind, Artemis Fowl, hatches an ingenious plot to steal all the gold in fairy land. Although a little dubious about the plan - indeed not even quite believing in the existence of fairies - his trusty bodyguard and companion, Butler, is on hand to help. However, they have not reckoned on Captain Holly Short, who as first female officer in the Lower Elements Police Reconnaissance unit, or LEPrecon, has much to prove. When she is kidnapped by Artemis, she is determined to stand her ground and protect the fairy secrets.

This hilarious and exciting adventure story is a deserving favourite with young readers. The unscrupulous Artemis Fowl is such a likable character that you will almost will him to succeed in his dastardly schemes - whilst also rooting for the bold Captain Holly. Colfer's explanations of the structure and technology of his spin on fairy land are absolutely believable, creating an amusing and highly imaginative vision of fairies, dwarves and trolls that is just right for 21st century readers.
by Frank Cottrell Boyce
Publisher: Macmillan Childrens books
Since the death of his mother, Damian has become obsessed by saints. In order to escape the trappings of the material world, he builds a hermitage out of cardboard boxes near the railway line.

One night, a bag containing £229,370 falls from the sky and flattens the hermitage. Damian is convinced it is a gift from God, and contemplates with his older brother Anthony the best way to spend it. But with only 17 days left before the national currency switches to Euros and the money becomes worthless, this proves to be much more difficult than they had anticipated...

Funny, thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining, this outstanding novel was a deserving winner of the 2004 CILIP Carnegie Medal.
by Roald Dahl
Publisher: Puffin
Matilda is not yet five years old, and already she is a very unusual child. Teaching herself to read, she works her way through all the books in the children's library and then gets started on the adult section, to the amazement of the librarian. Her narrow minded parents don't notice that they have a genius in their midst - but is soon becomes clear that underestimating Matilda is a big mistake.

When she starts school at Crunchem Hall, Matilda meets the frightening and bullying headmistress, Agatha Trunchbull, and witnesses her terrible temper. Soon, she puts her very special talents to work to get the better of Miss Trunchbull and the other unpleasant grown-ups around her - as well as to help warm-hearted class teacher Miss Honey.

This modern fairy-tale with a brilliantly inspiring young heroine is one of Roald Dahl's best loved stories. Full of magic and mischief, children will love witnessing Matilda pit her strength, courage and cool intelligence against the nasty and spiteful adults in her life, and ultimately coming out on top.
Flour Babies
by Anne Fine
Publisher: Puffin
As part of a Child Development project, each boy in Class 4C is given a 'flour baby', a sack of flour which must be looked after for three weeks, ensuring it does not get lost or dirty. Simon becomes unusually attached to his flour baby - and soon begins to appreciate some of the sacrifices his mother has made for him as a single parent. This funny story from former Children's Laureate Anne Fine is an established favourite of classrooms and homes everywhere. Thought-provoking and unusual, it cleverly balances episodes of laugh-out-loud humour with some very touching moments.
by Morris Gleitzman
Publisher: Puffin
Felix has lived in a Catholic orphanage for over three years but always hopes that his Jewish bookseller parents to come for him. Alarmed by the sight of what he assumes are official 'librarians' burning Jewish books in the orphanage, he sets off in search of his parents to warn them of the danger. On his travels Felix uses his natural optimism and storytelling gift to explain away the horrific events he witnesses in Nazi-occupied Poland. His stories bring hope to the children of a ghetto and ultimately comfort to them on their final train journey. Morris Gleitzman brings heart and humour to the difficult subject of the Holocaust in this ground-breaking children's book. Told in simple yet powerful language, his story reveals the redemptive power of stories and the potential for humanity and hope even in the most tragic times.
The Adventures of Tintin
by Hergé
Publisher: Egmont
Resourceful junior reporter Tintin embarks on a series of exciting international adventures, accompanied by his faithful dog Snowy, in this favourite series. Be sure to look out for other familiar characters such as Captain Haddock, the disaster-prone Thomson twins, and inventor Professor Calculus. Told in zippy comic strip-style, these entertaining, action-packed stories offer much to appeal to young readers. The meticulously-drawn pictures tell much of the story, in combination with a simple and engaging text. This volume brings together the two earliest Tintin adventures - 'Tintin in the Land of the Soviets' and the controversial 'Tintin in the Congo', first published in book form in 1931. The latter story reflects the colonial attitude of the period in its depiction of African people, and may cause offence to some readers.
Journey to the River Sea
by Eva Ibbotson
Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
This satisfyingly old-fashioned story is set in the early 1900s. Orphan Maia is thrilled to learn she is to live with relatives in South America. She cannot wait to experience the sights, sounds and smells of the Amazon and is particularly looking forward to meeting her twin cousins. When Maia arrives, however, the family is far from welcoming and she is saddened to see that they have blocked out all evidence of the rainforest from their stuffy home. Maia turns to her strict yet kindly governess, Miss Minton, for company, and strikes up some unusual and rewarding friendships. This enchanting story has all the trademarks of Eva Ibbotson's writing. Maia is a wonderful heroine, and Ibbotson weaves a charming, compelling and warm-hearted tale of friendship, our responsibility to those around us, and the importance of the natural world. As well as being an exciting adventure story, this award-winning contemporary classic will leave readers with plenty to think about.
Stig of the Dump
by Clive King
Publisher: Puffin
Barney is a solitary little boy who often wanders off by himself in the countryside. Exploring an old chalk pit, he finds himself in a cave where he meets a strange boy who wears a rabbit skin and speaks in grunts. His grandparents don't believe Barney when he tells them about his new cave boy friend - but nevertheless, the two enjoy plenty of fun together. This lovely story about the unlikely friendship between Barney and stone-age Stig has stood the test of time. Although it is now over 50 years old, contemporary children will love reading about the pair's lively adventures. Clive Kings' story is perfectly accompanied by Edward Ardizzone's classic illustrations.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
by C S Lewis
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's
When the Pevensie children - Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy - step through a wardrobe door in the strange country house where they are staying, they find themselves in the land of Narnia. Frozen in eternal winter, Narnia is a land of snow and pine forests, and its creatures are enslaved by the terrible White Witch. Tempted by the promise of endless Turkish Delight, Edmund becomes the White Witch's servant - and its up to his brother and sisters to release him from his enchantment and to rid Narnia of the witch. But just when it seems that all hope is lost, the Great Lion Aslan returns to help the children to save Narnia. This classic story is certain to capture young imaginations, cleverly blending elements of fairy-tale and fantasy to create a wonderfully engaging adventure. Adult readers will be quick to spot the Christian symbolism woven through C S Lewis's story, which some critics have found problematic - but children will enjoy the magic of this spellbinding adventure in its own right.
Goodnight Mister Tom
by Michelle Magorian
Publisher: Puffin
Willie Beech is evacuated to a tiny English village in the country just before the outbreak of World War II. A lonely and deprived child, he finds himself living with the reclusive, gruff old widower, Thomas Oakley. Although the two find it hard to adjust to their life together at first, they gradually develop a strong, mutual bond. Willie begins to enjoy life and make new friends in the village. However, everything is thrown into confusion when Willie is suddenly recalled to London by his neglectful and abusive mother. After several weeks with no letter from Willie, Tom Oakley becomes concerned for his welfare and sets out to London in search of him. Michelle Magorian's classic wartime story is a superbly written and deeply moving tale, which shows that even the most unlikely people can become exceptional parents.
Private Peaceful
by Michael Morpurgo
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Set during World War I, Private Peaceful charts eight hours in the life of Tommo, a young soldier at the Front, as he looks back over the formative events of his life: his father’s early death, his relationship with his loving mother and brothers, Big Joe and Charlie, and their beloved school-friend Molly – all set among an evocative and beautifully realised rural landscape. Passionate, beguiling and moving, this award-winning story is also an unflinching examination of the horrors of war and the injustice surrounding the execution of soldiers by firing squad, on the – often false – grounds of desertion or cowardice. Former Children's Laureate Michael Morpurgo uses all his superb storytelling skills to weave this powerful, poignant tale of the horrors of World War I, which will touch readers of all ages.
A Monster Calls
by Patrick Ness
Publisher: Walker Books Ltd
Connor's mum has cancer and life is irrevocably, disturbingly changing. First there is the nightmare, filled with screaming and falling; then there is school, where people avoid him (not knowing what to say), or persecute him. There is his enforced, combative intimacy with his distant, spiky gran. And then there is the Monster, immense, tree-like, mythic. He comes at night, makes Connor listen to un-story-like stories, pushes him to the edge of what is bearable - because 'you know that your truth, the one that you hide, Connor O'Malley, is the thing you are most afraid of'. Visceral, dark, sad, beautiful, hopeful and really, really angry, this is a beautifully structured, dense, layered novel about the monster that touches us all at some point. This extraordinary book was the first ever to win both the CILIP Carnegie and the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medals.
The Borrowers
by Mary Norton
Publisher: Puffin
The Borrowers are tiny people who live in the secret places of old houses - behind the mantlepiece, inside the harpsichord, under the kitchen clock. They borrow everything from humans, existing on the scraps they collect from the homes they live in. Arriety Clock's father, Pod, is an expert borrower, able to scale curtains using a hatpin, and bring back a doll's teacup without breaking it. Girls aren't usually supposed to go borrowing, but Pod makes an exception for Arrietty, who can't wait to explore the house and gardens that lie beyond her cramped home. But when she is at last allowed to accompany Pod on one of his borrowing expeditions, something terrible happens - she is 'seen' by a human boy. This beautifully-written story will enchant young readers, who will love the idea of the Borrower's hidden 'wainscot world'. Exciting, mysterious and with a hint of sadness, it has a deserving reputation as a classic of twentieth century children's literature.
The Borrowers
by Mary Norton
Publisher: Puffin
The Borrowers are tiny people who live in the secret places of old houses - behind the mantlepiece, inside the harpsichord, under the kitchen clock. They borrow everything from humans, existing on the scraps they collect from the homes they live in. Arriety Clock's father, Pod, is an expert borrower, able to scale curtains using a hatpin, and bring back a doll's teacup without breaking it. Girls aren't usually supposed to go borrowing, but Pod makes an exception for Arrietty, who can't wait to explore the house and gardens that lie beyond her cramped home. But when she is at last allowed to accompany Pod on one of his borrowing expeditions, something terrible happens - she is 'seen' by a human boy. This beautifully-written story will enchant young readers, who will love the idea of the Borrower's hidden 'wainscot world'. Exciting, mysterious and with a hint of sadness, it has a deserving reputation as a classic of twentieth century children's literature.
by Terry Pratchett
Publisher: Corgi Children's
'Outside! What's it like?' Masklin looked blank. 'Well,' he said. 'It's sort of big-' To the thousands of the tiny nomes who live under the floorboards of a large department store, there is no Outside. Things like Day and Night, Sun and Rain are just daft old legends. Then a devastating piece of news shatters their existence: the Store - their whole world - is to be demolished. And it's up to Maskin, one of the last nomes to come into the Store, to mastermind an unbelievable escape plan that will take all the nomes into the dangers of the great Outside... The first title in the Bromeliad trilogy, this is a funny and enchanting fantasy from favourite author Terry Pratchett. Young readers will be captivated by the world of the nomes and eager to follow their adventures after they leave their underground home in the sequels Diggers and Wings.
Swallows and Amazons
by Arthur Ransome
Publisher: Red Fox
It's the summer holidays, and the Walker children - otherwise known as Captain John, Mate Susan, Able-Seaman Titty and Ship's Boy Roger - are excited to set sail on their boat Swallow and camp on Wild Cat Island. Exploring their new territory, camping in the open skies, swimming in the lake and fishing for their dinner would be adventure enough - but then they meet two fierce Amazon pirates who challenge them to a war. Arthur Ransome's classic Swallows and Amazons stories begin with this first book, a delightful evocation of a wonderful summer of adventure, discovery and friendship. Inspired by the author's own real-life sailing adventures in the Lake District as a child, this enchanting story is accompanied by Ransome's simple but characterful black and white illustrations.
Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone
by J K Rowling
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books
After the misery of life with his ghastly aunt and uncle, Harry Potter is delighted to have the chance to embark on an exciting new life at the Hogwart's School of Wizardry and Witchcraft. Learning about magic and making new friends, he has the chance to use his new-found wizarding skills to unravel some of the mysteries of his own past - and to uncover some shocking secrets about his teachers. This brilliantly inventive, award-winning adventure story is the first in the phenomenally successful Harry Potter series. With shades of Diana Wynne Jones, Enid Blyton, Roald Dahl and Jill Murphy's The Worst Witch, this contemporary classic of children's literature is beloved by children and adults alike.
by Louis Sachar
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Stanley Yelnats' family has a history of bad luck, so he is not entirely surprised when a miscarriage of justice sends him to the Camp Green Lake Juvenile Detention Centre in the middle of the Texan desert. There is in fact no lake there at all and not much green either. Stanley soon discovers that his work at the camp will be to dig a deep hole each day, and to report back about anything he finds there. Stanley gets to work - but he soon discovers there's more to the task he's been given than merely an exercise in character-building. This witty, inventive and utterly compelling novel from Louis Sacharis a must-read for children and adults too. A deft mixture of seriousness and humour, it is told in a direct, simple style that belies the clever construction of Sachar's powerful narrative.
The Little Prince
by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Publisher: Egmont
An air pilot makes a forced landing deep in the Sahara Desert. There, he makes a mysterious Little Prince, who tells him a series of wise and enchanting stories. This simple, beautiful fable has captured the imaginations of both adults and children ever since it was first published in the 1940s. Now considered a contemporary classic, it is a book to share and to treasure.
Ballet Shoes
by Noel Streatfeild
Publisher: Orion Children's Books
Pauline, Petrova and Posy are orphans adopted by eccentric fossil collector and explorer Gum ('Great Uncle Matthew'). Leaving them in the care of his niece Sylvia, and Nana, her old nurse, at his London home on the Cromwell Road, Gum goes off to continue his exploring, saying he'll be back in five years time. But after five years come and go, and there is no sign of Gum, Sylvia's money begins to run out. When the family take in an engaging collection of lodgers to help make ends meet, one of them suggests that the three girls should attend Madame Fidolia's Children's Academy of Dancing and Stage Training, so that they can learn to support themselves and earn money on the stage. After some excitement, intense competition, occasional disappointments and some hard lessons, Posy proves herself a gifted ballet dancer and Pauline discovers a talent for acting, but Petrova - who loathes dancing and acting - remains true to her passion for mechanics and her dream to become a pilot. First published in the 1930s, this classic story of three very different girls who work hard to master their talents has captivated children's imaginations - particularly girls' - for decades. Pauline, Petrova and Pauline are brilliantly characterised and always believable: young readers will love following the ups and downs of this warm-hearted family tale.
The Hobbit
by J R R Tolkien
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's
This is the classic story of Bilbo Baggins - a home-loving hobbit who enjoys a quiet and contented life in his cosy hobbit hole and has no desire to travel afar. But then the wizard Gandalf and a band of dwarves arrive unexpectedly and enlist his services, and soon Bilbo finds himself part of an extraordinary expedition to raid the treasure-hoard of Smaug the Dragon - and on the way becomes the possessor of a very unusual ring. This well-loved fantasy has delighted both children and adults ever since its first publication in 1937. Full of magic, humour and adventure, it continues to offer plenty to entertain and engage today's young readers who are discovering it for the first time.
The Story of Tracy Beaker
by Jacqueline Wilson
Publisher: Vintage
Tracy Beaker is a funny, imaginative and articulate ten-year-old girl, but she can also be angry, impulsive and a bit violent too. Tracy lives in a children's home but constantly hopes that her absent, glamorous mum will come and take her away. One day Cam visits the home, to write a piece on the children. Tracy, being something of a writer herself, resolves to help out. The two form a bond and Tracy begins to wonder if Cam might represent a way out of the home for good. Tracy's story is told as a series of diary entries, liberally illustrated with doodles and drawings from the pen of Nick Sharratt. She is an endearing narrator and her bouts of temper serve only to make her seem more believable. Both funny and touching by turns, it is easy to see why Tracy's story has become a modern-day classic.
Witch Wars
by Sibéal Pounder
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Tiga Whicabim doesn't know she's a witch. Or not until a fabulous fairy shows up and whisks her down the sink pipes to the fabulous witch world of Ritzy City to compete in Witch Wars, a competition to become Top Witch! It's a madcap adventure full of spells, riddles, fantastic hats, cakes, and friendship. But does Tiga have what it takes to win? With the help of her newfound witch friends she just might.

Witch Wars is a delightful read and fun for young readers as well as adults. The illustrations are beautifully done and completely transport the reader to Ritzy City. There are good witches and bad witches, but all of them are fabulous and Pounder brings them to life through hilarious character descriptions and by putting them in wild and wacky situations. A completely fresh and fun take on witches, Witch Wars is for anyone who likes magic, adventure, fashion, or a fabulous story.
The Falcon's Malteser
by Anthony Horowitz
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Tim Diamond runs the world’s worst private detective agency along with his long suffering little brother Nick. They’re down to their last few pence and the gas is about to be cut off when Johnny Naples walks into their lives. He leaves them with a small package which could lead to three and a half million pounds and the end of their money problems… Trouble is, every big time crook in London is after it too.

Packed with comical, witty dialogue, fast plot twists that border on the incredulous and shady, larger-than-life characters, the Diamond Brothers series is one of those childhood gems that keeps the adults just as entertained as the kids.