Books

Top 5 books to read before you're 12 – as chosen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Save Queen Victoria from naughty alien invaders or revel in the delightful retelling of the legend of King Arthur in these books to read before you're 12, as chosen by children's author Catherine Gilbert Murdock

Top 5 books, Library with top 5 books to read before 12

The Sword in the Stone
TH White

This delightful retelling of the legend of King Arthur includes a plucky orphan named Wart, a hapless Merlin, a forest outlaw named Robin Wood (Wood, mind you; not Hood)… a delicious platter of medieval treats.

Ordinary Jack
Helen Cresswell

The first book in The Bagthorpe Saga, Ordinary Jack features a family of eccentric geniuses with one ordinary brother. When Jack sets out to raise the morale of a dog named Zero, his plans go up in smoke. And flames. One of my favorite books from childhood.

Watership Down
Richard Adams

Another fave. Adams writes an epic of Homeric scale about rabbits seeking a place to call home. The final battle is as gripping as any story ever told.

Larklight
Philip Reeve

Young Art and bossy sister Myrtle travel the solar system by steampunk spacecraft to save Queen Victoria from naughty alien invaders. Pirates and space spiders only add to the fun. The first in a series.

The Book of Boy
Catherine Gilbert Murdock

This one’s by me! In the year 1350, the goatherd Boy – so he’s named – finds himself employed by a fierce and mysterious pilgrim headed for Rome. The pilgrim, it soon emerges, is actually a thief toting a sack of priceless relics. But Boy has secrets of his own, secrets that could get them killed… as well as a mysterious power that might just save their lives.

The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock is out now (Chicken House, £6.99)

Support the Big Issue

For over 30 years, the Big Issue has been committed to ending poverty in the UK. In 2024, our work is needed more than ever. Find out how you can support the Big Issue today.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Parasol Against the Axe by Helen Oyeyemi review – electrifying, experimental writing
Books

Parasol Against the Axe by Helen Oyeyemi review – electrifying, experimental writing

The Hearing Test by Eliza Barry Callahan review – a droll insight into a year of loss
Books

The Hearing Test by Eliza Barry Callahan review – a droll insight into a year of loss

Top 5 books about the British seaside, chosen by crime writer William Shaw
Books

Top 5 books about the British seaside, chosen by crime writer William Shaw

The Other Valley by Scott Alexander Howard review – the moral conundrums of coming of age
Books

The Other Valley by Scott Alexander Howard review – the moral conundrums of coming of age

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Cost of living payment 2024: Where to get help now the scheme is over

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know