Posted by: Natalie | September 21, 2010

Children’s Choice

Last Saturday night I had a lovely visit from Kaye. Not only did we have a damn good catch up, plenty of pizza and a background distraction of Muppet’s Treasure Island, but we had a root through my children’s book selection. Kaye has recently begun her Primary PGCE with an initial assignment being to list ten children’s books with high interest level. Between us, and the vast selection my office room supplies, we came up with a great list which hits the whole age spectrum of Primary reading.

Here is what we picked – feel free to offer up more suggestions to inspire our budding teachers! Even though I have attempted to bracket them, there is nothing to say the younger books should be dismissed as a literacy stimulus for older children.

Young Readers

Tuesday by David Weisner. One of my absolute favourites, as you already know! For lesson ideas on this book, click HERE.

Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt. A fantastically funny and oh-so-cute book that I once bought for Steve. Melanie Watt is a genius and everyone should experience the Scaredy Squirrel way of life. For a full review click HERE.

The Trouble With . . . series by Babette Cole. This is not a series I am familiar with, but these illustrations are starting to spark some memory, so I probably read them when I was young. These books tell the unusual tales of one family and their ‘unique’ qualities be it witchcraft or monster hunting!

Middle Range Books

Roald Dahl’s The Twits, a perfectly disgusting instant read for most children – find me a child not entertained by filth and bogies!

The Firework Maker’s Daughter by Philip Pullman. Again, one of my favourite teaching ‘tools’. Thoroughly engaging with some bright characters. For lesson ideas click HERE.

Don’t watch the film. Please don’t. It is an atrocious Americanisation of one of the most beautifully written children’s books of all time. The Iron Man by Ted Hughes is truly wonderful – an accessible read for children and a master class in fiction writing (and teaching opportunities) for adults.

Older Readers

Goosebumps series by R. L. Stine etal the first step into horror fiction any self respecting child reader should take. Be ready to be disturbed! Not quite as frightening as the original Point Horror series.

Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan. A slightly more mature scare story for those not faint of heart.

Roald Dahl’s Matlida – such a pleasure of a read. For more detail click HERE.

For the top end / or more mature ten year old

Sally Gardner’s The Silver Blade the sequel to The Red Necklace. A brilliantly written magical mystery full of dark corners. Selected for the most mature simple due to a slight hint at two characters having sex. Obviously not appropriate for all, but most children of a more immature nature probably wouldn’t spot it anyway! For a full review, click HERE.



  1. Great list! I was wondering though, the movie you mentioned, The Iron Man, are you referring to the Robert Downey Jr. movies about Iron Man, or is there some other movie entitled The Iron Man?

    • Hi Elisa, hope you are well!

      Sadly this Iron man is nothing to do with the gorgeous Mr Downy Junior. The American animation of this was Iron Giant, but the book is so much better. Not to be too horrid on your fellow country folk, but film makers there have a habit of adding things in to a film that don’t exist in the book. In the case of The Iron Man, it doesn’t work. Depending on how you approach the book it can either be one of the most beautifully written children’s books, quite unnerving, or both. I may love it so much for the teacher who brought it to my attention as a child, but everyone should experience it, at least once.

      Thanks for reading!

      Nat x

  2. Hmm, I’ve never seen the animation, but I guess I’m not missing out, lol.

    Sadly it’s not the only children’s book they’ve (we’ve, the film industry has) made a mess of. I never saw the film, but from what I’ve heard, the movie “Where the Wild Things Are” destroyed one my most beloved children’s books.

    At least we have Mr. Downy to look at ;p

    • ** Dreamy stare into the distance over RDJ ** ahem. Yeah, I haven’t seen Wild Things yet, but I am a little dubious. It is such an institution as a book, I can’t see how they can possibly do it justice. I might have to conduct an experiment – will let you know the results!

      Nat x

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