Books for reluctant readers (older children)

Free Lance and the Lake of Skulls

There's a book out there for every child, even the most reluctant of readers. Try a few of the books below to see if they click with your child and help them love reading.

There's fiction, non-fiction, rhyme and laugh-out-loud moments! Let us know which one works for your 9-12 year old.

See our list for 5-8s

See our list for teens

  • Look Both Ways

    Author: Jason Reynolds Illustrator: Selom Sunu

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

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  • Look Both Ways

    Author: Jason Reynolds Illustrator: Selom Sunu

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

    Ten short stories about that strange time when school finishes and children of a certain age (usually around ten years old) get to…

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  • Ghost

    Author: Jason Reynolds Illustrator: Selom Sunu

    Interest level: 12-16

    Reading age: 12+

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  • Ghost

    Author: Jason Reynolds Illustrator: Selom Sunu

    Interest level: 12-16

    Reading age: 12+

    Three years ago Ghost’s dad chased him and his mum down the road with a gun. His dad got ten years in prison, and Ghost learned ho…

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  • The Legend of Kevin

    Author: Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

    Interest level: 7-10

    Reading age: 7+

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  • The Legend of Kevin

    Author: Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre

    Interest level: 7-10

    Reading age: 7+

    Max longs for adventure in his life – then one day, a flying pony called Kevin crashes into his flat, blown in by a magi…

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  • Owen and the Soldier

    Author: Lisa Thompson Illustrator: Mike Lowery

    Interest level: 9-12

    Reading age: 8+

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  • Owen and the Soldier

    Author: Lisa Thompson Illustrator: Mike Lowery

    Interest level: 9-12

    Reading age: 8+

    A beautiful tale of a courageous young man who overcomes his fears when he finds an unlikely companion in a park statue. Complex i…

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  • Real Pigeons Fight Crime

    Author: Andrew McDonald Illustrator: Ben Wood

    Interest level: 6-10

    Reading age: 7+

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  • Real Pigeons Fight Crime

    Author: Andrew McDonald Illustrator: Ben Wood

    Interest level: 6-10

    Reading age: 7+

    Three hilarious illustrated stories featuring the Real Pigeons – a motley band of airborne crime fighters, whose mission is to sol…

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  • Danger is Everywhere

    Author: David O'Doherty Illustrator: Chris Judge

    Interest level: 7+

    Reading age: 7+

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  • Danger is Everywhere

    Author: David O'Doherty Illustrator: Chris Judge

    Interest level: 7+

    Reading age: 7+

    Just like this book says, danger is everywhere. Don't worry, though, because Docter Noel Zone (yes, Docter) is an experienced Dang…

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  • Peace Maker

    Author: Malorie Blackman Illustrator: Matthew Griffin

    Interest level: 8+

    Reading age: 8+

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  • Peace Maker

    Author: Malorie Blackman Illustrator: Matthew Griffin

    Interest level: 8+

    Reading age: 8+

    In Michela's world, aggression is forbidden - but sometimes fighting is the only way to keep the peace. This is a well-paced and i…

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  • Flesh and Blood

    Author: Chris Priestley

    Interest level: 10-13

    Reading age: 8+

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  • Flesh and Blood

    Author: Chris Priestley

    Interest level: 10-13

    Reading age: 8+

    Bill thinks his wish for a brother has come true when his family takes in a boy injured during a World War Two air raid - but is h…

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  • Blue Moon Day

    Author: Anne Fine

    Interest level: 9-12

    Reading age: 8+

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  • Blue Moon Day

    Author: Anne Fine

    Interest level: 9-12

    Reading age: 8+

    Covering an interesting and varied mix of situations, these enjoyable school stories are a satisfying read, with particular appeal…

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  • Seven Ghosts

    Author: Chris Priestley

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 8+

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  • Seven Ghosts

    Author: Chris Priestley

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 8+

    A chilling and unnerving ghost story that will have you convinced that, just beyond the corner of your eye, something unspeakable …

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  • Going Batty

    Author: John Agard Illustrator: Michael Broad

    Interest level: 8-12

    Reading age: 7+

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  • Going Batty

    Author: John Agard Illustrator: Michael Broad

    Interest level: 8-12

    Reading age: 7+

    Dyslexia-friendly, super-readable, illustrated story about a girl whose school project (and a hidden colony in the attic) makes he…

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  • Smart About Sharks

    Author: Owen Davey

    Interest level: 4-12

    Reading age: 7+

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  • Smart About Sharks

    Author: Owen Davey

    Interest level: 4-12

    Reading age: 7+

    Presenting an ever-popular topic, this fantastic, high quality illustrated book is fascinating and attractive.

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  • Mind Writer

    Author: Steve Cole Illustrator: Nelson Evergreen

    Interest level: 8+

    Reading age: 8+

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  • Mind Writer

    Author: Steve Cole Illustrator: Nelson Evergreen

    Interest level: 8+

    Reading age: 8+

    Luke has a secret, a hidden skill: he can read minds. But when Luke meets Samira, he can't read her mind at all. A gripping thrill…

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  • Hilda and the Troll

    Author: Luke Pearson

    Interest level: 6+

    Reading age: 7+

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  • Hilda and the Troll

    Author: Luke Pearson

    Interest level: 6+

    Reading age: 7+

    Blue-haired explorer Hilda has an uncanny ability to find weird and wonderful adventures and befriend peculiar creatures.

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  • The Funny Life of Pets

    Author: James Campbell Illustrator: Rob Jones

    Interest level: 8-11

    Reading age: 8+

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  • The Funny Life of Pets

    Author: James Campbell Illustrator: Rob Jones

    Interest level: 8-11

    Reading age: 8+

    Is it fiction or non-fiction? You decide! This highly interactive book mixes together real and made-up facts about pets, with hila…

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  • Mega Robo Bros

    Author: Neill Cameron

    Interest level: 8+

    Reading age: 9+

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  • Mega Robo Bros

    Author: Neill Cameron

    Interest level: 8+

    Reading age: 9+

    Brothers always find something to fight about. Alex and Freddy are no different - even though they're also the most powerful robot…

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  • A Different Dog

    Author: Paul Jennings

    Interest level: 9-12

    Reading age: 10+

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  • A Different Dog

    Author: Paul Jennings

    Interest level: 9-12

    Reading age: 10+

    A boy taking part in a running competition stops to help a van which has crashed - but the only survivor is a dog. This emotional …

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