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