8 books for children about stories of survival

Published on: 11 December 2018 Author: Jamie Smith

Jamie Smith, author of Frostfire, talks about the sort of books that have children on the edge of their seats and rooting for the characters to survive, against all the odds...

Sounds like your child's sort of thing?

Here are 8 children's books to try

1. Hatchet

Gary Paulsen, Macmillan

Though it’s many years since I read it, this tale of peril out in the wilderness is still with me. The ingenuity the main character Brian displays in overcoming nature’s dangers feel almost like magic, despite it being a book grounded in reality, in the sense that you are transported to the Canadian wilds with him.

2. The Secret Deep

Lindsay Galvin, Chicken House

A recent arrival to this list and owner of the coolest delivery method to a deserted island you’re likely to see, this adventure has all sorts in it. Want danger, DNA manipulation and a dash of merfolk? This one might be for you.

Read our book review of The Secret Deep

3. The Day of the Triffids

John Wyndham, Penguin

How would you deal with a world gone blind and plagued with giant, walking, stinging plants? That’s the question the characters have to answer as they navigate this broken society in the hopes of finding a place of safety.

4. The Book of Dust 1: La Belle Sauvage

Philip Pullman, Penguin

As the flood waters rise, this prequel to the classic series really kicks off. All the books of His Dark Materials have had at least a small survival element, but as England disappears under water, you really feel the characters have been transported to a new world even beyond the one they are already in.

Read our book review of La Belle Sauvage

5. Mortal Engines

Philip Reeve, Scholastic

It’s the survival of cities at stake in this imaginative series. Towns put on caterpillar tracks hunting each other down to rip off the useful parts – you won’t read anything else quite like it, and you’ll meet some incredible characters along the way. 

Read our book review of Mortal Engines

6. Alex Rider

Anthony Horowitz, Walker

A main character always in peril, dastardly villains and amazing gadgets, what more could you want from a spy series? Every adventure will keep you on the edge of your seat as you turn the page to find out how Alex can possibly get out of this predicament.

Read our review of Stormbreaker, the first Alex Rider book

7. Boy X

Dan Smith, Chicken House

Deadly danger on a tropical island where all of nature seems out to get you – plus a few human foes besides. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a race against time, with the fate of millions at stake. Edge-of-your-seat excitement!

8. The Explorer

Katherine Rundell, Bloomsbury

How would you survive as a child lost in the amazon, and not an adult in sight? Especially when you’re stuck with strangers, and the jungle holds all sorts of unexpected trials. A thoughtful tale of coming through adversity stronger, with a message worth listening to.

Read our book review of The Explorer

Frostfire by Jamie Smith (Chicken House) is out now

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