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Suzanne's Ultimate Reading List


These books are for children who are used to hearing text read out to them and can concentrate for longer. The language might be more old-fashioned, or the plot more complicated, but I have chosen books which come highly recommended, not just by me, but by many academics and educationalists.

Frances Hodgson Burnet A Little Princess A Little Princess at Amazon
A Little Princess at AbeBooks
The Secret Garden The Secret Garden at Amazon
There are films of both of these, but watch them after you have read them. Amazing books.
Lucy M Boston The Children of Green Knowe
Possibly hard to find, but oh, so worth it.
The Children of Green Knowe at Amazon
There are other titles in the series even harder to find, sadly.
Zizou Corder Lionboy Lionboy at Amazon
Lionboy: The Chase Lionboy: The Chase at Amazon
The Truth (Lionboy) Lionboy: The Truth at Amazon
Exciting and fast-paced; a great read great for boys as well.
Susan Coolidge What Katy Did
and the others in the series
What Katy Did at Amazon

E. Nesbit The Railway Children The Railway Children (at Amazon)
Five Children and It Five Children and It (at Amazon)
The Would-Be-Goods The Would-Be-Goods at AbeBooks
The Phoenix and the Carpet The Phoenix and the Carpet (at Amazon)
The Amulet The Story of the Amulet (at Amazon)
Start with the Railway Children. All of them are brilliant and extremely funny, but the language is old-fashioned and more complex. Worth it though they rank among some of my children's all-time favourites.
A. A. Milne Winnie the Pooh Winnie-the-Pooh (at Amazon)
These books use wonderful rich language and subtle humour. Read the real thing, not a Disney version.
Michael Morpurgo Kensuke's Kingdom Kensuke's Kingdom (at Amazon)
The Butterfly Lion The Butterfly Lion (at Amazon)
The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips (Amazon)
War Horse War Horse (at Amazon)
King of the Cloud Forests King of the Cloud Forests (Amazon)
The Dancing Bear Dancing Bear (at Amazon)
Basically anything by Morpurgo is worth reading; just have tissues to hand if you are easily upset by a sad story! This is a just a selection of his many wonderful books.
Kenneth Graham Wind in the Willows The Wind in the Willows (Amazon)
The Reluctant Dragon The Reluctant Dragon (Amazon)

Mark Twain The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Amazon)

C. S. Lewis The Narnia Series The Chronicles of Narnia: All seven Chronicles bound together
The Chronicles of Narnia (1) - The Magician's Nephew
The Chronicles of Narnia (2) - The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
While these are great stories, they can be quite heavy going, so I would read one, then move onto something else. My favourite is the Horse and His Boy but to read them in order makes sense.
Johanna Spyri Heidi
Read the unabridged if you can.
Heidi (Unabridged)

Eleanor Porter Pollyanna
Why do the Americans do such great stories of girls of character dealing with difficult situations? This is a gem. Watch the movie after reading it!
Pollyanna (at Amazon)

L. Montgomery Anne of Green Gables
In the same mould as Pollyanna, but funnier. A total must read and a classic. Read the rest of the series too.
Anne of Green Gables (Amazon)

Philippa Pearce Tom's Midnight Garden
This is a wonderful book. My only criticism is the first two chapters seem slightly un-promising. Please don't give up on this one though, as it is a fabulous story. She has written many other books so do try them, but this one stands out.
Tom's Midnight Garden (at Amazon)