Children’s Books for Dyslexic and Reluctant Readers

Children’s Books for Dyslexic and Reluctant Readers

Teen Fiction (12+ years)

The Night Raid – Caroline Lawrence

Retelling of an episode from Virgil’s Aeneid. Rye and Nisus disobey their Leader’s instruction and set out on a lethal mission.

Ghost Stadium – Tom Palmer

Horror. Three friends break into an abandoned stadium where a terrible accident took place – but the bad energy has hold of the place still.

Brock – Anthony McGowan

Powerful drama. Kenny doesn’t understand the stuff he gets into. When he goes along with some local thugs on a badger hunt, his brother Nicky steps in.

Pike – Anthony McGowan

Powerful drama. When Nicky and Kenny see a golden glint in the pond, they’re desperate to get it – and the cash they think will come with it – until local gangsters get involved.

I See You Baby – Kevin Brooks & Cathy Forde

Summer romance. Two teenagers meet at a music festival, yet neither one is exactly what they seem. There’s no harm pretending for one weekend, is there?

The Devil’s Angel – Kevin Brooks

Dark teen drama. Dean blazes into John’s life one summer. He’s scary, but exciting too, and soon the holiday seems set to be one they’ll never forget.

Dumb Chocolate Eyes – Kevin Brooks

Dark teen drama. You can be friends with someone and not like them, right? Two boys hang out all the time, there’s not much else to do, until their teen antics take a darker turn.

Moose Baby – Meg Rosoff

Hilarious take on teen parenthood. Jess and Nick knew parenthood would be tough – and that was before they had a moose.

At the World’s End – Catherine Fisher

Dystopian adventure. No one’s been outside for nine years, not since the Star came. Tensions run high when Caz and Will are banished, forced to try their luck on the frozen streets.

The Ghost Box – Catherine Fisher

Spooky thriller. A tormented ghost needs Sara’s help to free his soul. Sara turns to an unlikely source for help – her hated new Goth step-brother, Matt.

Jet Black Heart – Teresa Flavin

Time-travelling adventure. A Victorian moorland ‘letter-box’ opens a time-bubble where Dory meets Eli. He needs her help – but is he all he seems?

Gamer – Chris Bradford

Dystopian thriller. It’s every street kid’s dream: a bed in Vince Power’s home and a job testing video game Virtual Kombat. But Scott soon finds out it’s a nightmare.

Dream On – Bali Rai

Sporty teen. Baljit works in his dad’s chippy and dreams of a football career. But his parents have a different dream and his chances of playing professionally seem dashed.

Game On – Bali Rai

Sporty sequel to Dream On. Liverpool FC want Baljit for their youth squad, but local thugs and match-day troubles conspire against him.

The Return of Johnny Kemp – Keith Gray

Tense teen showdown. Dan grassed up Johnny Kemp. No one else was stupid enough to mess with Johnny. Just Dan. Now Johnny’s back, and he’s out for blood.

Soul Mates – L. A. Weatherly

Paranormal romance. Iris has dreamed of the same boy all her life and now she has come to LA to find him. But it seems they don’t exist in the same time.

Tilly’s Promise – Linda Newbery

Touching historical tale. WWI. Tilly’s brother Georgie is called up despite his special needs. Her sweetheart vows to care for him, but how can he keep his promise?

Pale – Chris Wooding

Dystopian adventure. Jed hates the Pales, the dead brought back to a sort-of life by the Lazarus Serum. But Jed has just been hit by a car…

Klaus Vogel and the Bad Lads – David Almond

Poignant and powerful. They call themselves the Bad Lads, but it’s all mischief; no real trouble. Until it is. And then German refugee Klaus arrives, and makes a stand.

Saved – Eleanor Updale

Ethical drama. Luke must choose between obeying his religious, medicine-hating parents’ orders and getting help for his sister when she is injured.

Under Attack – Jim Eldridge

Action-packed war story. Captain Joe tries to hold back Taliban fighters as Dr Sari performs life-saving surgery on a young girl in an Afghan village.

The Number 7 Shirt – Alan Gibbons

Football fiction with lots of facts. Jimmy gets out of bad habits on the football pitch with the help of his heroes in the Number 7 Shirt.

Torrent – Bernard Ashley

Thriller. The day after Tom nearly drowns in the Blue Dam, it bursts and floods the valley. Can Tom and his new friend make it to safety?

Brace Mouth, False Teeth – Sita Brahmachari

Warm and uplifting. Shy Zeni’s not too keen on her work experience in an Old People’s Home until she finds out some of the residents’ amazing stories.

Fiction for 8-12 years

Hagurosan – Darren Shan

Horror with a heart. When Hagurosan steals from the spirits in the shrine, the spirits punish him. But Hagurosan’s punishment is also a thing of wonder.

Rugby Academy: Combat Zone – Tom Palmer

First in a rugby trilogy. Woody’s dad sends him to a rugby-mad school when he’s deployed to a war zone. Only, Woody likes football. Can he make it work?

Rugby Academy: Surface to Air – Tom Palmer

Second in a rugby trilogy. The European Championships loom but the news from the war zone is bad and it’s hard for Borderlands to focus on the matter in hand.

Rugby Academy: Deadlocked – Tom Plamer

Third in a rugby trilogy. The Borderlands team has made it to the World Championships, but worry for their parents serving overseas puts a strain on the team.

Secret F.C. – Tom Palmer

Football fun. When a risk-averse head teacher bans football in the playground, a group of friends form Secret F.C. But will they be found out?

Over the Line – Tom Palmer

WWI fiction. The true story of Jack Cock – hero on the football pitch, in the trenches, and the Footballers’ Battalion of World War One.

Bulletcatcher – Chris Bradford

Action-packed adventure. They say you can’t outrun a bullet, but what if you could stop one? Troy survives an attack that should have killed him and now a secret organisation want him.

Young Merlin – Tony Bradman

Mythic retelling. Merlin has always known he’s different, but he never expected to meet a dragon and save the kingdom.

The Girl with the Sunshine Smile – Karen McCombie

Warm and funny pre-teen tale. Everyone misses Meg’s sunny smile, but is it any surprise it’s gone when Mum has moved them onto her new boyfriend’s grotty barge with his three sons?

Honey and Me – Karen McCombie

Warm and funny pre-teen tale. Kirsten’s facing a rough time and turns to her old friend Honey for help. They haven’t spoken in ages, but they’re ‘forever friends’ and nothing will change that. Because Honey isn’t like other girls.

Running from the Rainbow – Karen McCombie

Warm and wise pre-teen tale. Rosie Roberts is at a new school, trying to hide a big secret. But her mum has just started there too – as a teacher. How long can Rosie fly under the radar?

Candy Girl – Karen McCombie

Warm and funny pre-teen tale. Dixie’s got a work experience placement at Candy magazine. She thought she’d be interviewing celebs and hanging out with models, but instead she’s making tea.

Stars Shall be Bright – Catherine MacPhail

Based on a true story of a tragedy of WWI. After their mother’s death, three children set out to find their soldier father.

Meet the Weirds – Kaye Umansky

Comedy. Pinchton Primm is fascinated by the new family next door – the Weirds. But Mr and Mrs Primm are less impressed! First in a trilogy.

Prince Frog Face – Kaye Umansky

A hilarious retelling of The Frog Prince. Prince Valentine’s hobbies include wearing blingtastic suits, auditioning potential girlfriends and being rude to old women – until he gets turned into a frog.

The 13th Fairy – Kaye Umansky

Funny and clever spin on Sleeping Beauty. Grimbleshanks was peeved she didn’t get a christening invite, but the whole curse business just got out of hand.

The Unlikely Outlaws – Philip Ardagh

Hilarity abounds in this bonkers comedy. The entertaining escapades of young knight-to-be Tom Dashwood and his merry band of outlaws, with added activities and jokes galore.

The Story of Matthew Buzzington – Andy Stanton

Laugh-out-loud comedy. Matthew Buzzington needs a super power when his parents and a bully ruin his life – it’s a shame his doesn’t work. Or does it?

Sterling and the Canary – Andy Stanton

Laugh-out-loud comedy. Sterling Thaxton finds a talking canary to help him pursue the girl of his dreams, but friendship turns out to be the best thing of all.

Desirable – Frank Cottrell Boyce

Laugh-out-loud fun. When Granddad gives ‘loser’ George an old bottle of aftershave for his birthday, George’s life becomes more… desirable?!

Fox Friend – Michael Morpurgo

Countryside adventure. Claire’s life can be lonely and so she is delighted when she tames an injured fox club. But Claire’s dad says that foxes are vermin, and not welcome on his farm.

Who’s a Big Bully Then? – Michael Morpurgo

Contryside adventure. Class bully Darren is challenged to a face-off with Olly the bull. But Darren has no idea that Olly’s a gentle giant.

Wartman – Michael Morpurgo

Playground tale. Dilly would prefer a broken leg to the horrid wart on his knee. But Dilly finds the courage to come out from his brother’s shadow and stand on his own two feet.

Bright Star – Jenny Oldfield

Heartwarming horse story. Mum thinks a spell on her aunt’s ranch will help Morgan straighten out. Morgan doesn’t agree – until she meets damaged pony Bright Star.

Hostage – Malorie Blackman

Tense kidnapping tale. When Angela is kidnapped and held to ransom, she’s not convinced her dad will pay to get her back. But is she wrong about her dad?

Robot Girl – Malorie Blackman

Futuristic drama. How would you feel if your dad created a monster? Claire is upset by her dad’s new invention, and her best friend is struggling to help.

Living With Vampires – Jeremy Strong

Funny vampire story. Kevin hates Parents’ Night – his folks are so embarrassing. Plus, there’s all the blood to clean up when they bite the teacher…

How Brave is That? – Anne Fine

Warm and wise tale. Tom needs to pass his exams to join the army. But home is crazy, and Tom has the wrong kit on exam day. There is a girl’s uniform – is Tom brave enough to wear it?

Hook or by Crook – Jan Mark

Laugh-out-loud tales of Medieval Merry England. There’s mayhem and madness galore! A delightful romp featuring Robin Hood and an abbott who tricks a king.

Ninja: First Mission – Chris Bradford

Ninja adventure. Taka’s clan scrolls have been stolen by enemy samurai. Can Taka recover them and finally become a ninja? First in a trilogy.

Ninja: Death Touch – Chris Bradford

Ninja adventure. Samurai are about to attack the village and Taka wants to fight, not dig trenches or chop wood. But Grandmaster has a plan… Second in a trilogy.

Ninja: Assassin – Chris Bradford

Ninja adventure. Taka, Cho and Renzo set out for Lord Oda’s castle to take their revenge. But a secret there will change Taka’s life forever. Third in a trilogy.

Hat Trick – Terry Deary

Football tale with a twist. Jud steps in as goalie at the local football team. Jud’s dad is all for it, but mum isn’t convinced.

War Games – Terry Deary

Sport-related stories of WWII. A Jewish girl in the ghetto and an English evacuee find that their different sports are a lifeline as war ravages their lives.

I Never Liked Wednesdays – Roger McGough

Hilarious, mad-cap adventure. Two friends from Liverpool get into all sorts of mischief. Because when you’ve got a big sister, it’s your duty to stir up trouble.

If Only We Had a Helicopter – Roger McGough

Hilarious, mad-cap adventure. Viking treasure, daring adventures and a mischievous mutt all feature in this fun adventure story about two friends from Liverpool.

The School Spelling Dictionary – Christine Maxwell

Phonic dictionary. Find correct spellings by spelling the word phonetically and looking that up. Simple, accessible layout for use in school. Particularly useful for poor spellers and for consolidating dictionary skills.

Little Gems (5-8 years)

Mary’s Hair – Eoin Colfer

Mrs Doyle meets Horrid Henry in this fantastic caper. Mary Leary is in big trouble with Mammy for giving herself a haircut!

The Moonshine Dragon – Cornelia Funke

Delightful magical adventure. On a night of moonshine magic, Patrick wakes up to see a tiny dragon chased out of his storybook by a tiny knight.

The Bad Trousers – Ros Asquith

Charming island tale. It’s Robbie’s birthday and he knows what he wants: a sit-on tractor and a cat. But Granny has other ideas…

Cheesemares – Ross Collins

Bonkers comedy. Hal has terrible nightmares whenever he eats cheese and so he sets off to find out why, meeting some very evil cows on the way.

The Gingerbread Star – Anne Fine

Charming and delightful. A little grey worm called Hetty meets all sorts of people on a quest to find a light so she can be a glow-worm and read in the dark.

Ted Rules the World – Frank Cottrell Boyce

A laugh-out-loud tale with added politics. Ted’s life gets strange when a new prime minister seems to govern the country based on Ted’s own thoughts.

Snug – Michael Morpurgo

Countryside adventure. Snug is a real cat – hunting, fighting and staying out all night. But Lisa still loves him. Then one day, Snug doesn’t come home.

Minikid – Michael Morpurgo

Countryside adventure. Chris and Lisa’s holy terror of a cousin comes to visit from the big city, and struggles to adjust to farm life.

Good Dog Lion – Alexander McCall Smith

African adventure. Timo dreams of owning a dog, but he almost loses Lion as soon as he finds him when Lion is bitten by a snake in the African fields.

The Snake Who Came To Stay – Julia Donaldson

Charming animal story. Polly’s Holiday Home for Pets has just opened, and thanks to Doris the snake, it’s already having some big problems!

Mr Birdsnest and the House Next Door – Julia Donaldson

Charming adventure. Elmo and his sister love to play in the Jungle House – but then mean old Mr Birdnest moves in and things turn very odd indeed.

Skulduggery – Tony Robinson

Fun pirating adventure. Ben’s first day at pirate school is a big disappointment – there’s no piratin’ goin’ on! Fun prequel to Treasure Island.

Joe and the Dragonosaurus – Berlie Doherty

Charming countryside tale. Joe can’t have a pet due to his allergies, so he makes one up! But when a calf is born on a nearby farm, he soon forgets all about his imaginary beast.

The Smile – Michelle Magorian

Charming tale of new siblings and brotherly love. Josh is finding it hard to like his new little brother. A tender tale with family at its heart.

The Castle in the Field – Michael Morpurgo

Countryside adventure. Chris and Lisa and their friend Tom make a gang-hut in the old WW2 shelter, but then the local bullies find out.

The Rats of Meadowsweet Farm – Dick King-Smith

Animal Farm meets Shaun the Sheep in this darkly funny story. Grotty Farmer Green wages war on some very nasty rats. Well, one rat in particular – Ripper the King Rat.

The Monster from the Blue Planet – Cornelia Funke

Fun space story. Zaleb is fascinated by Earth and arrives looking to take home a pet human. But Izzy refuses to be anybody’s pet!

The First Third Wish – Ian Beck

Delightful fairytale. When a trainee fairy lets a wish loose in the world, a runaway princess and a fortune-hunting boy find all sorts of challenges await them!

The Fish in the Bathtub – Eoin Colfer

Sweet Christmas story set in Poland. The carp arrived alive, in a bucket, for Grandpa Feliks’ Christmas Dinner. But then little Lucja fell in love with ‘Mr Fishy’.

Monster Busters – Cornelia Funke

Fun monster tales. Rosa and Ivan take on creatures everywhere in their role as the Monster Busters! Quirky adventure of monsters good and bad.

The Big Fib – Ros Asquith

Charming island tale. Poor Robbie’s in trouble for fibbing. But he’s been spending time with Uncle Poached Egg who always tells tall tales and never gets in trouble! What’s Robbie to do?

My Friend’s a Gris-Kwok – Malorie Blackman

Fun story of friendship and family. Two friends looking after one little sister face an elephant when it turns out she’s a Gris-Kwok – she can turn into an animal!

Picture Squirrels (3-5 years)

Itch Scritch Scratch – Eleanor Updale

A rollicking, rhyming picture book. A gang of nasty nits are in town and no matter how much the mummies go mad with mayonnaise and nit-combs, they’re here to stay!

All I Said Was – Michael Morpurgo

A gorgeous and thought-provoking picture book about the power of books and imagination. A boy who wants to fly swaps places with a bird who wants to read a book.

Mad in the Back – Michael Rosen

Hilarious family picture book. Two siblings drive their mother to distraction on the car journey from hell, while Mum tries every trick in the book to get them to behave.

Freddy and the Pig – Charlie Higson

A laugh-out-loud picture book. An X-Box loving boy hits on a cunning plan to send a pig to school in his place. Soon the pig is Star Pupil and Freddy is growing ever more pig-like at home!

Wolfman – Michael Rosen

A terrific picture book romp with a hilarious punchline. Wolfman is on the loose and he is raging and rampaging through town like a terror. Even the Army has gone into hiding!