Oh I do like to be beside the seaside... 5 middle grade books to enjoy this summer

Published on: 23 May 2019 Author: Thomas Taylor

Thomas Taylor is the author of Malamander: a charming adventure story, with a classic feel, set in the fictional Eerie-on-Sea. Try out some of his suggestions below for any primary-age children looking for a great holiday yarn or a rainy-day, escapist seaside read.

1. The Skylarks' War by Hilary McKay

For Clarry, the summers she spends at her grandparents’ seaside Cornish home are a vital escape from the oppressive, gloomy London home she shares with an emotionally absent father. Where her life is deeply repressed by pre-war sensibilities about the proper life for a young lady, she finds pure joy in their carefree days at the beach and exploring the nearby nature. Despite the dark events of war playing out as the novel continues, those golden summer seaside days remain a beacon in Clarry, and the reader’s, memories.

Read our book review of The Skylarks' War

2. The Shiver Stone by Sharon Tregenza

A touching story of contemporary mystery set on the myth-rich Pembrokeshire coast. Carys and Jago must grapple with secrets and tensions in their own families as they race to prevent a bitter act of vengence. Filled with summer warmth and holiday friendship and the long shadows of Welsh folklore, The Shiver Stone is a delight to read.

3. Five on a Treasure Island by Enid Blyton

Though of course dated (this was first published in 1942), Five on a Treasure Island remains a timeless evocation of summer hols on the English coast. With an island and a shipwreck to explore, and lost treasure to find, Julian, Dick, Anne and their cousin George – with help from Timmy the dog – have plenty to do. And all with sand between their toes and sea spray in their hair.

Read our book review of Five on a Treasure Island

4. Our Castle by the Sea by Lucy Strange

Who can resist a story set in a clifftop lighthouse? Especially one that is a castle to Pet (short for Petra) and her anglo-german family during the Second World War. Ancient legends, wartime espionage and family drama combine in this beautifully written and evocative tale, set on the English coast.

5. The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle 

Fionn must face his fears, and his own magical legacy, in this entrancing tale of enchantment and belonging. Set on the Irish island of Arranmore, The Storm Keeper’s Island brings ancient Irish folklore to vivid life from the moment Fionn and his sister Tara step off the ferry.

Read our book review of The Storm Keeper's Island

Thomas Taylor is the author of Malamander, out now from Walker Books

See some of BookTrust's favourite seaside reads for children

Topics: Seaside, Features

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