Recommended children's booklists sorted by age or topic

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Topic: Literacy

Best Verse Novels for Primary School Children

Verse novels offer primary school children a new and exciting reading experience. Appealing to both enthusiastic and reluctant readers, this format blends the melody of poetry with the joy of storytelling.

This booklist highlights the best verse novels for Key Stage 2, featuring captivating narratives told in a lyrical style. The verse novels in this booklist range from historial fiction to reimagined fairy tales, covering universal themes such as friendship and family which are bound to appeal to primary aged readers.

Poetry

List of Classic Children’s Books

Packed with delightful books that have more than stood the test of time, this hand-picked collection of classic tales welcomes readers into whimsical worlds filled with humour and adventure, imagination and intrigue.

Our youngest readers will love joining the intrepid explorers in We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, and laugh out loud at the timeless humour of Funnybones. Readers in Key Stage 1 will delight at the story of Dave and his favourite toy Dogger, and take comfort from the tale of The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark.

Those entering Key Stage 2 can soar through the sky on Mildred’s broomstick in The Worst Witch, or step into the magical land of Narnia in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Thrilling and enchanting in equal measure, Tom’s Midnight Garden and The Wolves of Willoughby Chase are among our picks for those at the upper end of primary school.

These classics, with their familiar characters and timeless themes, will build a love of reading that lasts a lifetime.

Recommended Fairy Tales and Traditional Stories for Children

This hand-picked list is a treasury of timeless stories passed down through generations, alongside more modern tales inspired by traditional stories and twisted fairy tales designed to entertain and amuse.

Many old favourites feature on this list, and young readers will love plotting their escape with Rapunzel, building a house with The Three Little Pigs or going to the ball with Cinderella. We’ve also picked some traditional tales from around the world, including BooksForTopics favourite Pattan’s Pumpkin, which is also one of our Recommended Reads for EYFS.

Alongside the traditional, this booklist features a number of fractured fairy tales that turn traditional stories on their head! There are hilarious twists on familiar stories, like Goldilocks and the Three Crocodiles and Cindergorilla, as well as tales told from new perspectives, like The Troll, The Pea and the Princess, and The Wolf’s Story: What Really Happened to Little Red Riding Hood.

For timeless tales and riotous retellings, look no further than our list of the best fairy tales and traditional stories for children!

Best Rhyming Stories for Children

On this booklist, we have picked a selection of rhyming books suitable for primary school classrooms. This hand-picked collection of rhyming stories will delight and entertain children throughout EYFS and KS1 and boost phonics learning and language development in Early Years classrooms.

Established classics like Each Peach Pear Plum, Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy and The Giant Jam Sandwich feature alongside relative newcomers like Nabil Steals a Penguin and The Gecko and the Echo, which are already proving themselves as ‘all-join-in’ favourites in classrooms across the country.

So jump on in, it’s not to be missed: the BooksForTopics Rhyming List!

 

Poetry

Best Graphic Novels for KS1 (Ages 5-7)

Graphic novels are longer stories written and illustrated in a comic style, combining a sequence of engaging visual elements that drive the plot, coupled with short pockets of text in the form of captions and dialogue. The format has seen a burst in popularity in recent years, and these books are seeing an increasing demand in primary schools.

Up until recently, most of the graphic novels available have been aimed at older children, but a newer demand for graphic novels suitable for younger readers in KS1 is now emerging. Whether you are looking for simple adventures like Max and Chaffy or comic tales of animal friends like Peanut Butter and Crackers, we’ve compiled a short list of the best graphic novels where the story content, length and text level are suited to children aged 5-7 in Years 1 and 2.

This list is aimed at readers in KS1. If you are looking for recommendations for graphic novels for older children, be sure to check out our Graphic Novels for Lower KS2 and Graphic Novels for Upper KS2.

Graphic Novel

Meet the most exceptional explorers of all time!

Which Viking voyager outclassed Columbus by 500 years?

Who cut Ferdinand Magellan’s round-the-world trip in half?

What got Amelia Earhart’s passion for piloting off to a flying start?

Uncover all this and more in Corpse Talk, the hilarious and mind-expanding chat show that brings the dead famous to life!

Non-fiction

Travel back 400 years to visit rowdy theatres and royal palaces to understand what it was like to live in Shakespeare’s Elizabethan England and the influence it had on his ground-breaking work. This book charts Shakespeare’s phenomenal talent and peeks behind the curtain at his most famous plays, from tragedies such as Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet to comedies such as A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Taming of the Shrew.

Picturebook

A captivating picture book retelling by Shakespeare’s Globe for very young readers.

William Shakespeare’s comedy about four lovers’ mishaps in an enchanted forest is unforgettably re-imagined by Shakespeare’s Globe as a picture book for very young readers. With exquisite and detailed illustrations from the acclaimed artist Jane Ray, who has been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway Medal, this captivating retelling is a magical way to introduce children to one of the best-loved works of the world’s greatest playwright.

Picturebook

Violet’s world has changed. Her voice has gone from a giggle to a whisper. So when her teacher casts her in the school play, she is filled with worry. How will she ever stand in front of a crowd and overcome her shyness? With the love and support of her family, Violet must find her inner confidence and turn that whisper into a roar!

Chapter book

Hamlet could NEVER make his mind up about ANYTHING. And one time he actually went to school in just his pants and got sent home because he couldn’t decide what to wear. When Izzy (star of The Spy Who Loved School Dinners) is asked to tell her friends some HILARIOUS and SCARY stories she knows exactly where to look: Shakespeare, the king of SUPER dramatic stuff.

After learning about Macbeth (a STRONG solider who ate four bowls of porridge and twenty pieces of toast every morning) her friends want more. So Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Romeo and Juliet all get the Izzy treatment. There’s blood and guts, ghosty stuff, and plenty of people wandering around in their nighties.

The perfect introduction to the Bard!

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