Which books should be in the perfect junior school library?

My sons’ school recently converted from an infant school into a full primary. They have a good selection of books for younger children, but their library hasn’t quite developed a full range for junior school children (aged 7-11). Keen to ensure my boys and their friends have a good mixture of books to read I volunteered to look into which would be best to buy for them. They already have most of the classics (Harry Potter, Roald Dahl, CS Lewis etc) so I’m looking for more modern books that children will love.

I want books that inspire them and nurture a love for reading so I’ve spent a wonderful weekend researching ones that teachers, booksellers, librarians and (most importantly!) children recommend.

Here’s what I found!

Age 7+

The Brilliant World of Tom GatesMadame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible EdiblesCorby Flood (Far-Flung Adventures)A Dog Called Grk (A Grk Book)

The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by Liz Pichon (s)

Madame Pamplemousse and Her Incredible Edibles by Rupert Kingfisher

Corby Flood by Chris Riddell

A Dog Called Grk by Josh Lacey (s)

Compton Valance The Most Powerful Boy in the Universe (Compton Valance)The Stick Man With a Big Bum: A children's book for ages 7-12Monster and Chips (Monster and Chips, Book 1)Spy Dog

Compton Valance The Most Powerful Boy in the Universe by Matt Brown (s)

The Stick Man With a Big Bum by Jonny Staples (s)

Monster and Chips by David O’Connell (s)

Spy Dog by Andrew Cope (s)

Clarice Bean: Clarice Bean Spells TroubleFortunately, the Milk . . .The Strongest Girl In The World (MAGICAL CHILDREN)

Clarice Bean Spells Trouble by Lauren Child

Fortunately, the Milk . . . by Neil Gaiman

The Strongest Girl In The World by Sally Gardner (s)

Age 9+

The Girl with the Broken WingMission Survival 1: Gold of the GodsIgraine the BraveThe Boy Who Biked the World: On the Road to Africa

The Girl with the Broken Wing by Heather Dyer

Gold of the Gods by Bear Grylls (s)

Igraine the Brave by Cornella Funke

The Boy Who Biked the World by Alastair Humphreys

LionboyMidnight for Charlie BoneStig of the Dump (Puffin Modern Classics)Truckers: The First Book of the Nomes

Lionboy by Zizou Corder (s)

Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo (s)

Stig of the Dump by Clive King

Truckers by Terry Pratchett (s)

RatburgerDoctor Proctor's Fart Powder

Ratburger by David Walliams

Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder by Jo Nesbo (s)

Age 11+

Fablehaven (Fablehaven (Pb))Young Knights of the Round TableKrindlekraxArtemis Fowl

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull (s)

Young Knights of the Round Table by Julia Golding (s)

Krindlekrax by Philip Ridley

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer

SilverwingStoneheart: 1: StoneheartThe MenagerieThe Secret of Platform 13

Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel (s)

Stoneheart by Charlie Fletcher (s)

The Menagerie by Tui Sutherland (s)

The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson

The Edge Chronicles 4: Beyond the Deepwoods: First Book of TwigMy Best Friend and Other EnemiesMortal Engines (Predator Cities)

Beyond the Deepwoods by Paul Stewart

My Best Friend and Other Enemies by Catherine Wilkins

Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve (s)

Note: (s) means this book is the first in a series

What do you think of my selection?

Which other books do junior school children really enjoy?

Which books would you buy for a school library?

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  1. I can definitely back up the choices Stig of the Dump, Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. And one of my nephews is a big fan of David Walliams so that’s a good shout. Beyond those, I can only recommend what I loved at that age (so not quite so new!): Brian Jaques’ Redwall series, Colin Dann’s Animals of Farthing Wood series, Barbara Sleigh’s Carbonel series, Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch series, anything by Dick King-Smith or Judy Blume. But I’m sure there’s loads of newer books I’ve not heard of. What a wonderful project to be part of!

    1. Jackie says:

      Nose in a book, What fantastic suggestions! I’m currently half way through reading Redwall to my oldest and am LOVING it! It is packed with long words though, so I worried it might be too much for most 11 year olds? I think the school already have The Worst Witch and some Dick-King-Smith, but will have a check. I’ve not heard of the Carbonel series – will look into it :-)

  2. What good suggestions Jackie. It’s great that they let you do the research as well. Hope your boys like the new school.

    1. Jackie says:

      Thanks Diane! I’m enjoying all the research, although it means I now have a massive list of books I want to buy for my boys!

  3. Annabel says:

    A lovely selection there – many of my own faves including Chris Riddell and Paul Stewart – see also Riddell’s own Ottoline books (more for girls), and Goth Girl.

    Sally Gardner’s magical children series are lovely and David Melling’s Goblins series are great fun, plus you’ve not got Millions or any of the others by Frank Cottrell Boyce there – they’re fantastic.

    1. Jackie says:

      Annabel, Thank you for the suggestions! I have a definite bias towards boys books so it is nice to have some suggestions that might appeal to them more. I’ll add them to the list :-)

  4. Although I read a lot of teen books, I’m less familiar with books for this age group. But one that I have read and would highly recommend is Wonder by R.J. Palacio. The main character is a 10-year-old born with severe craniofacial abnormalities and has been home-schooled, but is about to begin middle school. He is funny, confident, and inspiring. It was just wonderful.

    1. Jackie says:

      threegoodrats, I wasn’t a big fan of Wonder, but you’re right about it being perfect for this age group. I’ll add it to the list!

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