Best Books for Children Under 11 as Voted by You

Best Books for Children Under 11 as Voted by You

Scroll down to find out which books made your top 20 and to read your recommendations.

#20 Hetty Feather – Jacqueline Wilson & Nick Sharratt

Hetty Feather is a feisty redhead who was abandoned at the foundling hospital as a baby. Placed in a foster home with Peg and John Cotton, Hetty bonds with the couple’s biological children and the other foster kids who live there, and is oblivious to the fact that at the age of 5 she must return to the hospital to start education. The hospital is a harsh place to live and once there Hetty fixates upon finding out who her biological mother is as a way to escape.

“All the Jacqueline Wilson books were a big hit with my daughter at that age #jacquelinewilson. #hettyfeather. #tracybeaker” – Caroline Crossan

Hetty leads a hard but adventurous life and although she often finds herself in trouble she is kind-hearted and means well. A perfect character for children aged 9-11, Jacqueline Wilson’s creation offers a feisty heroine who many children have found comfort with.

#19 The Secret Seven – Enid Blyton

Enid Blyton’s juvenile detective series The Secret Seven – or The Secret Seven Society – follows a group of children who investigate local mysteries. Featuring Peter, his sister Janet, Jack, Barbara, George, Pam and Colin, the group even have badges and secret passwords to ensure their exclusivity.

“Anything from Enid Blyton – the Magic Faraway Tree, Famous Five, Secret Seven.” – Sheri NeeTodd Mullen

Enid first introduced us to The Secret Seven in her short story ‘At Seaside Cottage’ published way back in 1947. The first full length novel – titled ‘The Secret Seven’ – was published two years later, followed by another book each year for the next 14 years to create a fantastic series for children to read.

#18 Horrible Histories – Terry Deary & Martin Brown

The Horrible Histories series might be the only non-fiction series to make our top 20, but it has certainly earned its place with over 60 books to empower children with knowledge. The books present history in a funny and tongue-in-cheek way that brings the characters and events to life in a way that many classrooms fail to do.

“David Walliams any and also horrible histories #WHSbookmarks #BooksForU11s” – Amanda Clayden

Perfect for reluctant readers, the books have short chapters that allow children to pick them up and put them down whenever suits them. With great story telling and plenty of gore, these books entertain before they educate and provide a fantastic means of getting kids genuinely interested in history.

#17 Esio Trot – Roald Dahl

The story of clever old Mr Hoppy who tricks Mrs Silver into believing her pet tortoise Alfie is growing dramatically bigger every week has been a Roald Dahl favourite for many children. With a sense of magic and trickery to it, kids love being in on Mr Hoppy’s trick and delight in reading his clever “magic spell” – ‘Esio Trot, Esio Trot, Teg Reggib Reggib!’

“Esio trot and the giraffe the pelly and me by Roald Dahl are recent favourites. When my girls were younger they loved the hungry caterpillar by Eric carle and going on a bear hunt and room on a broom #whsbookmarks #booksforu11s” – Laura Jackson

As many of you have confirmed in your votes, Roald Dahl is a master of children’s books and his funny tales nurture many children’s passion for reading throughout primary school.

#16 Demon Dentist – David Walliams

Since David Walliams demonstrated his talent for children’s literature with his first release ‘The Boy in the Dress’ back in 2008, he has received many favourable comparisons with Roald Dahl for his humour and whimsy. Having worked with Quentin Blake and later Tony Ross, the books are perfectly tailored towards the same age range and make ideal books to add to a Roald Dahl fan’s bookshelf.

“Demon Dentist by David Walliams all his books are very funny with great illustrations #WHSbookmarks #BooksforU11s” – Jane McClelland

Demon Dentist was released in 2013 and was immediately a huge hit as children delved into the mystery of who was leaving creepy crawlies under children’s pillows after they left a tooth there the night before.

#15 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

Perhaps one of the best known Roald Dahl books, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has been adapted into two hugely successful films and had many children dreaming of the day they’d find a golden ticket.

“The first book my children (Jacob age 6 & Grace age 4) got really excited about and couldn’t wait for the next chapter was – Charlie and the chocolate factory Roald Dahl it will always be a special book for me now because I will always picture their excited faces as they got involved in the story 🙂 Roald Dahl seems to be a very popular choice in a lot of house holds and rightly so. #WHSBOOKMARKS #BOOKSFORU11S” – Laura Gaskell

From ever-lasting gobstoppers to the intriguing Oompa Loompas, there are so many wondrous things for children to marvel at in this story.

#14 Winnie the Pooh – A. A. Milne

First published in 1926, Winnie the Pooh has become a classic children’s character and a must-have on many children’s bookshelves. A bit naive, friendly and humble, Winnie the Pooh is an easy character to love, but it is many of his friends that children love to read about; whether it’s the energetic Tigger, gloomy Eeyore or shy little Piglet.

“@WHSmith #WHSBookmarks It has to be Winnie the Pooh. It brings out giggles and smiles every time we read it x #BooksForU11s” – Dee Daffy Duck

“@WHSmith #WHSBookmarks #BooksForU11s and I will never not love A. A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories (especially when read by Peter Dennis).” – Callum Paterson

Pooh is a big fan of food and often gets himself into trouble during the pursuit of his favourite – hunny, leading to plenty of funny and heart-warming moments for children to enjoy.

#13 Matilda – Roald Dahl

Every child dreams of having special abilities and Matilda’s ability to control objects with her mind is especially exciting. An intelligent little girl who turns to books for comfort when her family neglect her, Matilda is an inspiring character despite all the nasty adults in her life.

“All Roald Dahl books without a doubt, best being Matilda #WHSBookmarks #BooksForU11s” – Vicky Elloway

“@WHSmith we love anything by Roald Dahl or Enid Blyton, favourite atm is Matilda! #WHSBookmarks #BooksForU11s” – Mymummyspennies

Although Matilda is a great character to get to know, it’s the terrifying Miss Trunchball and the ‘chokey’ that often sticks in children’s minds. With practical jokes, adventure and engrossing characters such as Miss Honey and the Wormwood family, Matilda is a book that will be read again and again.

#12 The Twits – Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl is clearly a huge influence in our children’s lives, making an appearance four times in our top 20. The Roald Dahl book to rank the highest is one that we must admit to being huge fans of even as adults, with its cheeky humour and naughty practical jokes, it is of course The Twits.

“Roald dahl’s The Twits. Even as an adult I still love to relive my childhood by reading his books to my daughter…. ‘A person who has good thoughts cannot ever be ugly. You can have a wonky nose and a crooked mouth and a double chin and stick-out teeth, but if you have good thoughts it will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely’ – Danielle Zara Kenny

Mr and Mrs Twit are a horrible pair who play nasty tricks on each other and mistreat the family of monkeys that live in their garden. Wonderfully imaginative and full of tricks such as worm spaghetti, the glass eye in the drink and the horrible prank where Mr Twit convinces Mrs Twit that she’s shrinking, there is more than enough to have children in fits of giggles in this book.

#11 The Famous Five – Enid Blyton

Enid Blyton’s adventurous group of child detectives – Julian, Dick, Anne, George and their dog Timmy – have charmed many a child with stories of exploring the countryside together, often solving mysteries along the way.

“The famous five – Enid Blyton, were my favourite childhood books xx #WHSBookmarks #BooksForU11s” – Jo Lee

“@WHSmith #WHSBookmarks #BooksForU11s The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton (the old ones are the best)” – Bryony Hellen

The series is one of the bestselling ever written and was so popular that Enid was convinced to write three times as many books as she originally intended. First published in 1942, the books are just as popular today and Enid’s characters continue to enthral children of all ages.

#10 Gangsta Granny – David Walliams

And so as we begin the top 10 with a second appearance by David Walliams with the incredibly popular Gangsta Granny. Little boy Ben couldn’t be more reluctant to go stay with his Granny who has a fondness for cabbage and scrabble. But soon Ben discovers that there’s more to his Granny than meets the eye, and now she needs his help to pull off a huge stunt.

“@WHSmith My twin girls both read and loved Gangsta Granny by David Walliams Its their favourite book! #WHSBookmarks #BooksForU11s” – Chris Harte

The book was the second by David to be adapted into a film to be aired on the BBC and proved to be successful on the screen as well as in print.

#9 Beast Quest – Adam Blade

The Beast Quest books are part of a greatly successful series of fantasy children’s books. Written by various authors under the name Adam Blake, the books are filled with adventure and exciting characters to keep children’s attention.

“A poll with the boys in our house said Beast quest series (age 7), Richard Scarry series (age 5) and slinky malinki (age 3). We love reading anything by Julia Donaldson or Giles Andreae as a family #WHSbookmarks#BooksForU11s” – Helen Gardner

“My children love so many books but at the moment my 8 year old loves the Beast Quest series. #WHSBookmarks#BooksForU11s” – Tara Ferrington-Crammond

Perfect for reluctant readers, the books are clear and simple in order to build confidence, while the action-filled story will keep them glued to the page.

#8 Tom Gates – Liz Pichon

Liz Pichon’s creation Tom Gates is a funny and relatable character who tells his stories in a diary format complete with lots of cartoon drawings. Often landing himself in trouble with his pranks and dislike of school, Tom is more interested in music and his band and sometimes struggles to conform to his parent’s expectations.

“Tom gates – genius for the reluctant reader” – Kara Myhill

“#WHSBookmarks#BooksForU11 Tom gates for my son, doesn’t normally read but since he got a Tom gates book I can’t stop him reading” – Keri Thompson-carey

Presenting many of the difficulties that school children learn to deal with (embarrassing parents, popularity, homework…) these books are perfect for engaging children who might not have a big interest in reading.

#7 The Chronicles of Narnia – C. S. Lewis

Where do we begin with the chronicles of Narnia? A seven book series of fantasy novels, these classic children’s books have transported many children away to the world of Narnia, where there’s mythical beings and magic in abundance.

“My favourite book at age 7 was The Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. I was mesmerised when our teacher read it to us.” – Debbie Upson-Salacuri

“We will read anything we can get our hands on in our house, however, we are reading The Narnia Chronicles to our 6 year old at the moment (love them!) and she is enjoying reading The Worst Witch (one of my personal faves!) to us! #WHSBookmarks #BooksForU11s” – Janine Parkes

“#whsbookmarks #booksforu11s The Chronicles Of Narnia by C S Lewis. I loved these books as a child, so much imagination and adventure, not to mention brilliantly written.” – Amanda Rose

Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy are the main human characters in the story and stumble upon Narnia in the first book after discovering an entrance at the back of a wardrobe. Aslan the lion is the only character to appear in all seven books and appears as a reassuring figure of authority in the story.

#6 Rainbow Magic: The Rainbow Fairies – Daisy Meadows

Narrowly missing out on the top 5, the Rainbow Magic Fairies are incredibly popular characters for children under 11. Written by various authors under the collective name Daisy Meadows, the books are based around main characters Kirsty Tate and Rachel Walker, and their fairy friends. Each fairy has their own colour and symbol and the books are colourfully illustrated to bring them to life.

“#Whsbookmarks #BooksForU11s. My 8 year old loves the rainbow magic books” – Lorraine Bromley

“Rainbow fairies, my daughter loves them. WHSBookmarks #BooksForU11s” – Kerry Jane Dyke

Full of adventure and fun, this series is great for building up confidence in independent reading.

#5 The Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton

Enid Blyton has made the top 5 with her fantastic series of Faraway Tree books. When Jo, Bessie and Fanny move near the Enchanted Woods, they come across the magical Faraway Tree and a set of fantastic characters who live there. Moon-Face, Silky the Fairy, the Saucepan Man, Dame Washalot, Mr Watzisname and the Angry Pixie are unforgettable characters that enchant young readers with their magical personalities.

“@WHSmith At the minute we are reading Enid Blyton books to my twin boys they especially love Up The Faraway Tree #WHSBookmarks #BooksForU11s” – Christy spencer

“I loved Enid blyton and the the folk of the faraway tree! And the wishing chair!! I have bought then for my daughter to read when she is older!#WHSbookmarks #BooksForU11s” – Gemma Smart

“Enid Blyton – all the Faraway tree series! My 6 year old son loves them! #WHSBookmarks #BooksForU11s” – Layla Woollard

At the top of the tree there is a ladder that leads the children up to a magical land which is different every time. Young readers love to read about each new land and to explore them along with the characters.

#4 The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

He’s appeared at #2 in your list of books for babies and toddlers, #1 in your list of books for children under 5 and here he is now at #4 in your list of books for children under 11. The Gruffalo is clearly a favourite character among our followers.

“My 8 years old favorite book in the gruffalo and my 10 year old loves anything by Roald Dahl” – Gemma Hill

“#WHSBookmarks #BooksForU11s the Gruffalo is a must for younger readers and the BFG never gets old.” – Claire Booth

“Got be The gruffalo! And room on a broom every time! #WHSBookmarks #BooksForU11s” – Paula Hardy

Created by the unstoppable team Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, The Gruffalo is a book that children can grow up with, perfect for reading to a baby, reading together with a young child and for independent reading as your child grows older.

#3 Horrid Henry – Francesca Simon & Tony Ross

Horrid Henry and his brother Perfect Peter are fun and hilarious characters for little ones to read about. Naughty Henry is always causing trouble, whether it’s waking up Peter by splashing him with water or simply refusing to share with other children, whereas Peter always does what he is told and is full of good deeds.

“My son, who is a good boy (most of the time) loves anything with naughty boys in like Horrid Henry & Dirty Bertie. I just hope he doesn’t get too many ideas!” – Georgina Warwick

Kids love reading about the naughty things that Henry gets up to, but equally there are good messages to be taken from Francesca Simon’s stories and little ones learn that being naughty doesn’t always get you what you want.

#2 Harry Potter – J. K. Rowling

J. K. Rowling’s fantasy series about one of the most recognisable character names of all time has been a huge success with children, teens and adults. The best-selling series in history, the seven books have caused pandemonium in bookshops upon release and spoilers during those first few days of reading were always a tricky course to navigate.

“Early Harry Potter. My daughter has completed these over the last year and has been absolutely captures in their magic. Also she loves Jacqueline Wilson, any of her books come recommended. #WHSBooksmarks#BooksForU11s xxx” – Rebecka Jane

“Harry Potter is always a good choice. So many cliffhangers it’s hard to put down as a bedtime story!” – Emily Graupner

The world of Harry Potter is one that many parents eagerly anticipate sharing with their children.

And the Best Book for Children Under 11 as Voted by You is…


#1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Jeff Kinney


And it’s Jeff Kinney who claims the top spot with his fun and relatable character Greg Heffley. Formatted as a diary with handwritten notes and drawings, Greg narrates us through his day-to-day life, including the struggles of his embarrassing family and school life.

“My 9 yr old loves diary of wimpy kid. Dork diary and tom gates. #WHSBookmarks #BooksForU11” – Roisin Bunting

“Diary of a wimpy kid (the full set) my daughter is 8 and she loves them 😀 #WHSBookmarks #BooksForU11s” – Teresa Clarke

“#whsbookmarks#BooksForU11s my 10 year old loves diary of a wimpy kid and he’s read the same book 3 times” – Rachel Eglen

“#whsbookmarks #booksforu11s I used to love roal dahl books but my kids are into Diary of a wimpy kids, and horrible histories :)” – Kellylouise Enisz


A fantastic character that children can relate to, Greg’s adventures are imaginative and fun and the simple diary structure makes these books ideal for readers of all levels to engage with.


Take a look through the top 150 books that you recommended as the best books for children under 11 here:

1 . Diary of a Wimpy Kid – Jeff Kinney

2 . Harry Potter – J. K. Rowling

3 . Horrid Henry – Francesca Simon & Tony Ross

4 . The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

5 . The Magic Faraway Tree – Enid Blyton

6 . Rainbow Magic: The Rainbow Fairies – Daisy Meadows

7 . The Chronicles of Narnia – C. S. Lewis

8 . Tom Gates – Liz Pichon

9 . Beast Quest – Adam Blade

10 . Gangsta Granny – David Walliams

11 . The Famous Five – Enid Blyton

12 . The Twits – Roald Dahl

13 . Matilda – Roald Dahl

14 . Winnie the Pooh – A. A. Milne

15 . Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl

16 . Demon Dentist – David Walliams

17 . Esio Trot – Roald Dahl

18 . Horrible Histories – Terry Deary & Martin Brown

19 . The Secret Seven – Enid Blyton

20 . Hetty Feather – Jacqueline Wilson & Nick Sharratt

21 . The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle

22 . We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury

23 . Room on the Broom – Julida Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

24 . Stick Man – Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

25 . Hairy Maclary – Lynley Dodd

26 . The BFG – Roald Dahl

27 . Dork Diaries – Rachel Renee Russell

28 . Dirty Bertie – Alan MacDonald & David Roberts

29 . Mimi and the Mountain Dragon – Michael Morpurgo & Helen Stephens

30 . The Tiger Who Came to Tea – Judith Kerr

31 . Goosebumps – R. L. Stine

32 . Malory Towers – Enid Blyton

33 . The Witches – Roald Dahl

34 . The Boy in the Dress – David Walliams

35 . George’s Marvellous Medicine – Roald Dahl

36 . Winnie the Witch – Valerie Thomas & Korky Paul

37 . Mr Men and Little Miss – Roger Hargreaves

38 . Fantastic Mr. Fox – Roald Dahl

39 . The Wishing Chair – Enid Blyton

40 . The Dinosaur That Pooped… – Dougie Poynter, Tom Fletcher, Garry Parsons

41 . Guess How Much I Love You – Sam McBratney & Anita Jeram

42 . Percy Jackson – Rick Riordan

43 . A Series of Unfortunate Events – Lemony Snicket

44 . Alice In Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

45 . The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

46 . Frankie’s Magic Football – Frank Lampard & Mike Jackson

47 . Paddington Bear – Michael Bond

48 . Goth Girl – Chris Riddell

49 . Skulduggery Pleasant – Derek Landy

50 . The Worst Witch – Jill Murphy

51 . Goodnight Mister Tom – Michelle Magorian

52 . Mr Stink – David Walliams & Quentin Blake

53 . Aliens Love Underpants – Claire Freedman & Ben Cort

54 . Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter

55 . Awful Auntie – David Walliams

56 . Artemis Fowl – Eoin Colfer

57 . Kensuke’s Kingdom – Michael Morpurgo & Michael Foreman

58 . The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame

59 . The Land of Stories – Chris Colfer

60 . The Fault in our Stars – John Green

61 . The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien

62 . Dennis the Menace

63 . Tracy Beaker – Jacqueline Wilson & Nick Sharratt

64 . The Heroes of Olympus – Rick Riordan

65 . Discworld – Terry Pratchett

66 . My Naughty Little Sister – Dorothy Edwards & Shirley Hughes

67 . Barry Loser – Jim Smith

68 . Captain Underpants – Dav Pilkey

69 . The Giving Tree – Shel Silverstein

70 . Will Gallows – Derek Keilty

71 . Stig of the Dump – Clive King & Edward Ardizzone

72 . Jonathan Livingston Seagull – Richard Bach & Rachel Munson

73 . The Butterfly Lion – Michael Morpurgo & Christian Birmingham

74 . Harry and the Dinosaurs – Ian Whybrow & Adrian Reynolds

75 . Danny The Champion of The World – Roald Dahl

76 . How to Train Your Dragon – Cassandra Cressida

77 . Nancy Drew – Carolyn Keene

78 . The Hardy Boys – Franklin W. Dixon

79 . James and the Giant Peach – Roald Dahl

80 . Mr Gum – Andy Stanton & David Tazzyman

81 . Mission Survival – Bear Grylls

82 . I Was a Rat – Phillip Pullman & P. Bailey

83 . Arsenic for Tea – Robin Stevens

84 . Daisy – Kes Gray & Nick Sharratt

85 . Middle School – James Patterson

86 . Football Academy – Tom Palmer

87 . Hattie B – Claire Taylor-Smith

88 . Clarice Bean – Lauren Child

89 . In the Night Garden – Andrew Davenport

90 . Just William – Richmal Crompton

91 . Pollyanna – Eleanor H. Porter

92 . Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte

93 . The Dreamsnatcher – Abi Elphinstone

94 . Animal Magic – Holly Webb

95 . Boy in the Tower – Polly Ho-Yen

96 . Stitch Head – Guy Bass & Pete Williamson

97 . There’s No Such Thing as a Dragon – Jack Kent

98 . The Diary of a Young Girl – Anne Frank

99 . The Naughtiest Girl – Enid Blyton

100 . The Wizard of Oz – L. F. Baum

101 . Billionaire Boy – David Walliams

102 . Charlotte’s Web – E. B. White

103 . The Cat in the Hat – Dr Seuss

104 . My Father’s Dragon – Ruth Stiles Gannett

105 . Dixie O’Day – Shirley Hughes & Clara Vulliamy

106 . Ella Bella Ballerina – James Mayhew

107 . Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

108 . Ballet Shoes – Noel Streatfield

109 . Green Eggs and Ham – Dr Seuss

110 . The Toilet of Doom – Michael Lawrence

111 . Guinea Pigs Online – Amanda Swift & Jennifer Gray

112 . My Granny is a Pirate – Val McDermid

113 . Little Manfred – Michael Morpurgo

114 . Eragon – Christopher Paolini

115 . Amelia Jane – Enid Blyton

116 . The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me – Roald Dahl

117 . Percy the Park Keeper – Nick Butterworth

118 . Little Women – Louisa May Alcott

119 . Princess Evie’s Ponies – Sarah KilBride & Sophie Tilley

120 . The Kane Chronicles – Rick Riordan

121 . Dinosaur Cove – Rex Stone & Mike Spoor

122 . Heidi – Johanna Spyri

123 . My Sister the Vampire – Sienna Mercer

124 . Paper Dolls – Julia Donaldson & Rebecca Cobb

125 . Sky Hawk – Gill Lewis

126 . Mariella Mystery – Kate Pankhurst

127 . The Book with No Pictures – B. J. Novak

128 . The Septimus Heap – Angie Sage

129 . The Nine Lives of Montezuma – Michael Morpurgo

130 . Island of the Blue Dolphins – Scott O’Dell

131 . Mrs Pepperpot – Alf Proysen & Hilda Offen

132 . The Rithmatist – Brandon Sanderson

133 . Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians – Brandon Sanderson & Patrick Knowles

134 . Emily Windsnap – Liz Kessler & Sarah Gibb

135 . Poppy’s Planet – Russ Brown

136 . Stick Dog – Tom Watson

137 . The School for Good and Evil – Soman Chainani

138 . The Last Dragon Chronicles – Chris D’Lacey

139 . The Butterfly Club – Jacqueline Wilson & Nick Sharratt

140 . Roof Toppers – Katherine Rundell

141 . The Hundred Mile an Hour Dog – Jeremy Strong

142 . Gregor the Overlander – Suzanne Collins

143 . Ruby Redfort – Lauren Child

144 . Harvey Angell – Diana Hendry

145 . Frogspell – C. J. Busby & David Wyatt

146 . The Legend of Spud Murphy – Eoin Colfer

147 . Ottoline – Chris Riddell

148 . Fluff the Farting Fish – Michael Rosen

149 . Pumpkin Soup – Helen Cooper

150 . The Little Grey Men – B.B & Denys Watkins-Pitchford

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