Kids' picks

Friends often ask me for book recommendations for young readers, but rather than post the children’s books I’ve enjoyed lately I thought it would be more useful to focus on titles my kids have recently loved or books their friends have been excited to tell me about (which happens a lot). Some of them are for the younger end of the 8-12 year-old middle grade bracket, some for the upper end - not just in terms of more sophisticated language but because of the more complex and challenging content. It’s always worth taking the time to make sure it’s the right fit for the child you have in mind - covers can be deceiving. (If in doubt, make time to visit your local library. Lists can be a good guide but I’m a firm believer in finding stories that kids will enjoy and children’s librarians are the best at helping you and your young reader find what they might like and more besides. Signing up for a library card of their own is also a great way to foster engagement.)

Some of these are funny, some are heartbreaking, some are historical, some are windows into other worlds and cultures but all of them had my kids turning the pages, wondering what might happen next.

Kids' picks

These recommendations come from two sisters in Boston, MA. Kearney is 10 and Nola is 12. They had a lot of good reads they wanted to share, here are 8 of their recent favourites:


Kids' picks


Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer

by Kelly Jones

“I really liked this book. It’s written in the form of letters which I thought was neat!”

Recommended by Jane, aged 11, Maryland.


Chester and Gus

by Cammie McGovern

“Chester and Gus has a cool story line about a dog that helps an autistic boy. It’s written from the point of view of the dog!  I really liked this one too.”

Recommended by Jane, aged 11, Maryland



by Sharon M. Draper

“This is one of my recent favourites. It’s an amazing book. It’s about racial equality.”

Recommended by Hannah, aged 11, Maryland


Page by Paige

by Laura Lee Gulledge

“This is an amazing book too. It’s about finding confidence.”

Recommended by Hannah, aged 11, Maryland


Wonder and Auggie & Me

by R.J. Palacio

“I also really loved these two. Wonder is about finding confidence in differences and Auggie & Me is about growing up.”

Recommended by Hannah, aged 11, Maryland.

New kids' picks corner

I am often asked what my kids are reading or what would I recommend to a friend. There are lots of reading lists and recommended books out there, but I thought about posting books in this corner that my own children have loved or that friends of theirs are recommending to them. Some of them are classics, some of them are on reading lists, some of them aren’t, but they are all books they haven’t been able to put down.

Here are a few we’ve enjoyed lately:


The Parker Inheritance

by Varian Johnson

“I loved The Parker Inheritance because it brought in elements of mystery and southern history, especially themes of social justice and social conflict. I love how the author gave you a chance to solve the clues before making the main characters actually solve them. I found it very exciting. I really loved this.”

- Recommended by Eloise, aged 11, Colorado.


The Vanderbeekers of 141st St

by Karina Yan Glaser

“I loved this book because I found it very funny and entertaining. I loved the way every Vanderbeeker has a different personality and the way they join together to try and save a place they love. I recommend this book for anyone who liked The Penderwicks.”

- Recommended by Eloise, aged 11, Colorado.


The Land of Stories

by Chris Colfer

“I have just finished this book and I really liked it because it’s SO EXCITING and I couldn’t put it down.

I’m 8 but I reckon other 8 year-olds who love to read would love it too. But my sister read it when she was 10. It’s great.”

- Recommended by Will, aged 8, Colorado


Geronimo Stilton and The Temple of the Ruby Fire

by G. Stilton

“ I loved this book. I love all the Geronimo Stilton books, there are lots of them. They are funny and exciting. And once, I met Geronimo at a book festival.”

- Recommended by Will, aged 8, Colorado