Books to help your child get ready for the big move to secondary school

You Must Be Layla book cover

The transition to secondary school can be both exciting and difficult.

These books aimed at 11-13 year olds contain themes around friendships and overcoming a variety of challenges, as well as starting at a new school. Many of them are also empowering and affirming, recognising a range of experiences. Lastly, and most importantly, they’re all fantastic reads, sure to encourage children to love books.

 

  • Jelly

    Author: Jo Cotterill

    Interest level: 9-12

    Reading age: 9+

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  • Jelly

    Author: Jo Cotterill

    Interest level: 9-12

    Reading age: 9+

    Angelica – Jelly for short – is the ‘Funny One’ at school, known for her clever impressions and comedy sketches. But being funny i…

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  • The Crossover

    Author: Kwame Alexander

    Interest level: 10-14

    Reading age: 9+

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  • The Crossover

    Author: Kwame Alexander

    Interest level: 10-14

    Reading age: 9+

    Dynamically-illustrated graphic novel version of a bestselling, award-winning story of twin basketball players and their coming-of…

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  • Speak Up!

    Author: Rebecca Burgess

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

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  • Speak Up!

    Author: Rebecca Burgess

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

    Mia is a secret superstar musician, writing song lyrics that her friends love. But in real life she’s bullied for being different.…

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  • Ella on the Outside

    Author: Cath Howe

    Interest level: 8-11

    Reading age: 8+

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  • Ella on the Outside

    Author: Cath Howe

    Interest level: 8-11

    Reading age: 8+

    Ella's going through a lot of changes - a new home, a new school, and a big family secret to keep under wraps. But how f…

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  • The Amazing Edie Eckhart

    Author: Rosie Jones Illustrator: Natalie Smillie

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

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  • The Amazing Edie Eckhart

    Author: Rosie Jones Illustrator: Natalie Smillie

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

    Edie Eckhart is a feisty, funny 11-year-old who has cerebral palsy. She has to make some new special relationships when she moves …

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  • You Must Be Layla

    Author: Yassmin Abdel-Magied

    Interest level: 9-12

    Reading age: 9+

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  • You Must Be Layla

    Author: Yassmin Abdel-Magied

    Interest level: 9-12

    Reading age: 9+

    Layla's first week at her new school isn't going well - she's the only child there to wear a Muslim headscarf, and she's already b…

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  • Roller Girl

    Author: Victoria Jamieson

    Interest level: 10-14

    Reading age: 9+

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  • Roller Girl

    Author: Victoria Jamieson

    Interest level: 10-14

    Reading age: 9+

    It’s really exciting to be starting at Roller Derby summer camp, but less so when Astrid finds herself doing it alone. A fantastic…

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  • Awkward

    Author: Svetlana Chmakova

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 12+

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  • Awkward

    Author: Svetlana Chmakova

    Interest level: 12+

    Reading age: 12+

    Awkward perfectly captures the secondary school experience – friendships, rivalries, secrets, eccentric teachers, and also wh…

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  • Talking to Alaska

    Author: Anna Woltz Translator: Laura Watkinson

    Interest level: 10-13

    Reading age: 11+

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  • Talking to Alaska

    Author: Anna Woltz Translator: Laura Watkinson

    Interest level: 10-13

    Reading age: 11+

    It only takes one day at their new school for Parker and Sven to become mortal enemies. Parker’s had a terrible summer and just wa…

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  • Find Your Girl Squad

    Author: Dr Angharad Rudkin and Ruth Fitzgerald Illustrator: Sarah Jennings

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

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  • Find Your Girl Squad

    Author: Dr Angharad Rudkin and Ruth Fitzgerald Illustrator: Sarah Jennings

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

    This excellent self-help guide, co-written by a children’s author and a clinical psychologist, is centred around Poppy - who sends…

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  • Finding her Feet

    Author: Eve Ainsworth Illustrator: Luna Valentine

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 8+

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  • Finding her Feet

    Author: Eve Ainsworth Illustrator: Luna Valentine

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 8+

    Can Lily’s talent for football help her overcome the challenges of starting at a new school? This dyslexia-friendly story is inter…

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  • A Good Day For Climbing Trees

    Author: Jaco Jacobs Illustrator: Jim Tierney Translator: Kobus Geldenhuys from Afrikaans

    Interest level: 11-14

    Reading age: 11+

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  • A Good Day For Climbing Trees

    Author: Jaco Jacobs Illustrator: Jim Tierney Translator: Kobus Geldenhuys from Afrikaans

    Interest level: 11-14

    Reading age: 11+

    Thirteen-year-old Marnus finds himself at the centre of a protest when he and a girl named Leila camp out in a tree to preven…

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  • Finding My Voice

    Author: Aoife Dooley

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

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  • Finding My Voice

    Author: Aoife Dooley

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

    When Frankie starts secondary school, she wants to make friends and be cool, but also be herself and not be too different. How can…

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  • Run Wild

    Author: Gill Lewis

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

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  • Run Wild

    Author: Gill Lewis

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

    Looking for somewhere secret to practice skateboarding, Izzy and Asha ignore the ‘Danger! Do Not Enter’ signs posted around the de…

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  • Can You See Me?

    Author: Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

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  • Can You See Me?

    Author: Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott

    Interest level: 9-11

    Reading age: 9+

    Starting secondary school is a daunting time for any 11 year old – and Natalia is no exception. This is a powerful, readable …

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  • Show Us Who You Are

    Author: Elle McNicoll

    Interest level: 9-12

    Reading age: 10+

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  • Show Us Who You Are

    Author: Elle McNicoll

    Interest level: 9-12

    Reading age: 10+

    When 12 year old Cora meets Adrien, they become inseparable. But when Cora starts to visit Adrien's dad's company - which creates …

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  • Check Mates

    Author: Stewart Foster

    Interest level: 12-14

    Reading age: 12+

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  • Check Mates

    Author: Stewart Foster

    Interest level: 12-14

    Reading age: 12+

    When his Granddad decides to teach Felix to play chess, Felix will do anything to get out of it... but it soon leads him to some s…

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