Recommended children's booklists sorted by age or topic

Home > Give Me Five! > Books Featuring Epic Journeys

Books Featuring Epic Journeys

icon - give me 5
5 Books Featuring Epic Journeys
5 books featuring epic journeys, selected by author. Jenny Pearson

Jenny says, ‘I love a story involving a journey. I love that you can feel like you are on an adventure with the characters and that you are able to visit places you may never get a chance to see or visit, other worlds that can only exist in your mind. I am going to share with you some of my favourite books involving epic journeys. These really are classics and I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.’

Ian Serraillier
Chapter book
THE SILVER SWORD by Ian Serraillier is an unforgettable World War II survival story. Although the silver sword was only a paper knife, it became the symbol of hope and courage which kept the Balicki children and their orphan friend Jan alive through the four years of occupation when they had to fend for themselves. And afterwards it inspired them to keep going on the exhausting and dangerous journey from war-torn Poland to Switzerland, where they hoped to find their parents. Based on true accounts, this is a moving story of life during and after the Second World War.
Michael Ende
Chapter book

Plot spoiler – the book does actually end, but only after a journey that truly deserves the label of EPIC! Bastian escapes some school bullies and finds refuge inside a bookshop. There, he finds a book called The Never Ending story. Unable to resist, he is drawn into the magical world of Fantastica. Bastian journeys alongside Atreyu – a child warrior – to save the Empress and stop an evil entity called the Nothing. Michael Ende’s imagination is simply staggering and your journey will take you to places like the Desert of Colours, the Silver City of Amarganth and the swamp of sadness – which truly lives up to its name.

Katherine Rundell
Chapter book

Winner of the Costa Children’s Book Award 2017, ‘The Explorer’ is set in the Amazon and follows the story of Fred, whose plane accidentally crashes into the rainforest canopy.

The Explorer is an exciting and gripping adventure that sees four children learning to survive as they journey through unfamiliar and challenging circumstances. This book transports you to a richly drawn land and you will find yourself right there with the children as they follow a map to a lost city, eating tarantulas and swimming with river dolphins.

Katherine Rundell’s The Explorer is a perfect class read for children learning about rainforests, the Amazon, friendships, resilience and much more. Exquisite writing from Katherine Rundell; teachers report that the quality of discussions that ensued in classrooms was inspiring.

A must-read for children before they leave primary school!

Eva Ibbotson
 & Jamie Littler
Chapter book

Another novel on the theme of mountains, but this one is a more light-hearted choice, popular with lower KS2. Full of humour and imagination, this laugh-out-loud book tells the story of a young woman who is kidnapped by the Yetis of the Himalayan Mountains and given the tasks of bringing up their unruly children. Although this book is very funny, it also carries a strong message about caring for our planet.

Jenny Pearson
 & Rob Biddulph
Chapter book

This is a must-read for children who love funny books – or in fact for anyone who loves to laugh. Mates on a mission, mistaken identities, raw onion eating contests, taxi-driving-criminals-busting-through-the-rolling-Welsh-landscape and sheep aplenty are all thrown into a melting pot of gaff-a-minute adventuring and stirred through a warm-hearted narrative that focuses on themes of friendship, identity, family and experiencing grief.

Eleven-year-old Fred is heartbroken when his grandmother dies. When he finds a letter from her that reveals details of his own biological father, Alan Froggley (who abandoned his mother before Fred was born), Fred ups and leaves on a mission to seek out Alan for himself. With his two best friends in tow (both of whom have their own reasons for wanting to escape home for a few days), Fred heads to Wales on an adventure of a lifetime.

It’s not clear what Fred is expecting to happen when – or if – he finds his dad. Perhaps he wants an explanation, or simply a connection. Maybe it’s curiosity – or maybe his answer to the sense of loss he feels over his grandmother is to complete this particular part of his family puzzle. Either way, Fred is certain of one thing; he absolutely must find Alan Froggley. What follows is a slapstick romp across Wales, where a wild goose chase powered by a series of incredible co-incidences leads Fred and his friends to re-assess the things that really matter in life.

The narrative is full of fun – from humorous insights into the quirky characters (including the aspects of family life that drive them nuts) to the endless run of blunders by the trio of friends, like accidentally cooking their clothes and ending up on the news wearing superhero costumes. Jenny Pearson’s brand of observational humour is perfectly pitched for the 8-11 readership. But what gives the story a real edge for me is its heartfelt warmth – shown through the authenticity of the boys’ relationship and the value the story places on family life.

A frolic-filled laugh-a-minute tale that will no doubt be in high demand among KS2 readers.

Booklists you might also like...

Subscribe to our newsletter

Your Review

Stone Girl Bone Girl


Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Would you recommend the book for use in primary schools?


Curriculum links (if relevant)

Curriculum links (if relevant)

Any other comments

Any other comments