Children's books set in Wales

Carrie's War

Wales lends itself naturally to some brilliant stories, with its incredible, varied scenery: towering mountains and tumbling hills and gasp-worthy coastline.

It's also a country of storytelling, full of myths and legend: dragons and witches and tales of King Arthur. 

If you live in or are from Wales (or just going for your holidays), you may be looking for books set there to share with your child. After all, a familiar location can help them relate to the story and feel a bigger connection.

Here are just a few of our favourites for you to check out.

  • Me and Aaron Ramsey

    Author: Manon Steffan Ros
    Publisher: Firefly
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Sam and his dad love football. When an accident has long-lasting effects, everything at home changes. A moving depiction of a father-son relationship, set in Wales.

  • The Sleeping Stones

    Author: Beatrice Wallbank
    Publisher: Firefly Press
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Why are Gruff and Mat being irresistibly drawn towards the dangerous waters around their Welsh island? Can they right an ancient wrong? A gripping story of legend and magic, set in a close-knit community in Wales.

  • The Valley of Lost Secrets

    Author: Lesley Parr
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Jimmy and his little brother have been evacuated to a sleepy village in Wales to escape the bombs falling on London. When they find a mysterious artefact hidden in a tree, they begin to unravel its secrets.

  • Tales from the Celtic Countries

    Author: Rhiannon Ifans Illustrator: Margaret Jones
    Publisher: Y Lolfa
    Interest age: 6-13
    Reading age: 8+

    This unusual story collection features a total of 12 tales from the six Celtic countries. Fabulous, ethereal illustrations capture the magical nature of the narratives which, like all the oldest fables, are rather grisly but also hilarious and quirky.

  • The Blue Book of Nebo

    Author: Manon Steffan Ros
    Publisher: Firefly Press
    Interest age: 12-14
    Reading age: 12+

    The End came in the form of a nuclear disaster in Anglesey, and 12-year-old Dylan and his mum are surviving alone in their deserted town, six years on. However, soon tensions begins to surface. A slim book that packs a huge emotional punch.

  • The Clockwork Crow

    Author: Catherine Fisher
    Publisher: Firefly
    Interest age: 10-13
    Reading age: 10+

    Orphan Seren Rhys has been sent to live with her mysterious Godfather after living for 12 years in an orphanage. The possibility of her first happy family Christmas seems like it might finally be within her reach.

    On her solo journey to Wales, Seren is given a mysterious package to look after by a stranger and ends up feeling obliged to take it with her. But…

  • The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates

    Author: Jenny Pearson Illustrator: Rob Biddulph
    Publisher: Usborne
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Do miracles really happen? Freddie Yates isn’t convinced. Until the summer he goes on an unexpected journey with his two best friends.

  • Buried Alive!

    Author: Jacqueline Wilson Illustrator: Nick Sharratt and Sue Heap
    Publisher: Random House
    Interest age: 8+
    Reading age: 8+

    This humorous tale sensitively highlights issues such as friendship and bullying.

  • Wilde

    Author: Eloise Williams
    Publisher: Firefly Press
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 10+

    In the midst of an intense heatwave in the small Welsh village of Witches Point, mysterious notes claiming to be curses from a legendary witch cause a ‘blame game’ which seems certain to wreck at least one life.

  • Storm Hound

    Author: Claire Fayers
    Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Fast-paced and funny, this otherworldly adventure is a heartwarming tale of friendship and loyalty. With entertaining characters and a clever plot, it explores big issues with humour, sensitivity and a touch of magic.

  • Max Kowalski Didn’t Mean It

    Author: Susie Day
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    When Max meets Tal and his two dads, he learns that there are lots of different ways to be a man, and that his own dad’s expectations of him at such a young age aren't fair. An utterly remarkable book about families, being a boy and coping with loss. 

  • Margot and Me

    Author: Juno Dawson
    Publisher: Hot Key
    Interest age: 12-16
    Reading age: 12+

    A perfectly written family drama for teens, Margot and Me explores the developing relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter, who is just starting to understand that life, and love, is rarely straightforward.

  • Sweet Pizza

    Author: G R Gemin
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 11-15
    Reading age: 11+

    In a small Welsh town, a young man gets to reconnect to his Italian roots and explore his entrepreneurial streak, as he exchanges the joys of fried chicken and chips for fresh espresso and pasta puttanesca.

  • Dragon Gold

    Author: Shoo Rayner
    Publisher: Dragonfly
    Interest age: 7-10
    Reading age: 7-9

    This entertaining chapter book, with comical black-and-white illustrations, combines Welsh mythology with everyday life, friendship and trust. The first in a trilogy, it is sure to captivate independent young readers.

  • Mother Cary’s Butter Knife

    Author: Nicola Davies Illustrator: Anja Uhren
    Publisher: Graffeg
    Interest age: 7-10
    Reading age: 7+

    Inspired by traditional folk tales of mythical sea creatures, this other-worldly story of the savagery and beauty of the ocean will captivate readers. The ethereal illustrations, in a palette of watery blues, greens and greys, perfectly complement the poetic narrative.

  • The Four Branches of the Mabinogi

    Author: Siân Lewis Illustrator: Valériane Leblond
    Publisher: Rily
    Interest age: 7-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Enchanting, engrossing and beautifully illustrated, this is a wonderfully accessible retelling of the most ancient of recorded legends, and a great introduction to the ancient storytelling heritage of Wales.

  • Carrie's War

    Author: Nina Bawden
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 10+

    Inspired by Nina Bawden's own experiences of living as an evacuee in a Welsh mining valley as a child, Carrie's War is now considered a modern classic. Funny, sad and thought-provoking. 

  • The Owl Service

    Author: Alan Garner
    Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
    Interest age: 12+
    Reading age: 12+

    When Alison finds a curious dinner service in the attic, the discovery sets off a strange chain of events that look set to affect everyone's lives. This extraordinary and powerful story is a modern classic, blending together mystery, adventure and history.

  • Bitter Sixteen

    Author: Stefan Mohamed
    Publisher: Salt
    Interest age: 12+
    Reading age: 12+

    Funny, sharp and totally original, Bitter Sixteen is the beginning of a trilogy about a tremendously appealing smart-mouthed Welsh superhero (and his talking dog sidekick). Half action thriller, half coming-of-age story, with a wicked sense of humour.

  • Framed

    Author: Frank Cottrell Boyce Illustrator: Steven Lenton
    Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 9+

    The story centres on Dylan Hughes, the only boy left in a small Welsh mountain town called Manod. This is an immensely entertaining book, about the power of art to bring about change and to redeem.

  • The Seal Children

    Author: Jackie Morris
    Publisher: Otter-Barry Books
    Interest age: 4-9
    Reading age: 6+

    A tender and mythical exploration of the selkie myth in a family context, with a gentle and evocative use of watercolour, this breathtakingly beautiful book is one to treasure.