Alex English's Favourite Adventure Stories

Published on: 20 July 2020

Sky Pirates author Alex English shares her favourite stories which take the reader on incredible adventures and daring escapades. Warning - swashbuckling ahead!

Author Alex English and the cover of Sky Pirates, illustrated by Mark ChambersAuthor Alex English and the cover of Sky Pirates, illustrated by Mark Chambers

I’ve always loved adventure stories that let me escape in to an exhilarating new world and experience the life of characters who are much braver than I am! Here are some of my favourites:

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell

I love books set in Paris because I live there, and this one is a whimsical and beautifully written story that’s also action-packed. Sophie wants to find her mother, and ends up on the run from the British authorities and on a quest across the Parisian rooftops to find her with her new friends, the street urchins or ‘rooftoppers’.

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The cover of Rooftoppers by Katherine RundellIllustration by Marie-Alice Harel

The Girl Who Stole an Elephant by Nizrana Farook

A fast-paced adventure with a brave heroine, wild bandits and a royal elephant – what’s not to love? Nizrana Farook really brings the Sri Lankan setting to life in vivid detail from the delicious jambu fruit to the icky leeches. I also love her plucky Robin Hood-esque jewel-thief heroine, Chaya.

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The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

An absolute classic, and one I’ve re-read many times. When Bonnie’s parents are lost on a sea voyage, she and Sylvia are left in the care of the horrible Miss Slighcarp. But the governess is after their inheritance and is soon selling the furniture and packing the girls off to a school for orphans. Will they escape? Of course they will! A rip-roaring adventure set in an alternative Victorian England.

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The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan AikenIllustration from The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken


The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club by Alex Bell

Stella Starflake Pearl and her merry band of explorers set out on an expedition in to the Icelands in this funny and inventive adventure. This book is such a joy, filled as it is with pet polar bears, frost fairies and (best of all) carnivorous cabbages. Fun from start to finish!

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Journey to the Riversea by Eva Ibbotson

Another classic adventure, set in the real world. Maia is sent to live with her odious cousins in the Amazon and, despite her finickity disinfectant-wielding aunt trying to stop her, sets out to explore the jungle. I love the vivid Brazilian setting and Maia’s plucky character. 

Malamander by Thomas Taylor

Full of humour and heart, this story is the first in a series set in gloomy, seaside town Eerie-on-Sea. Herbert Lemon is a lost-and-founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, and when orphan Violet Palma arrives, demanding Herbert help her find her lost parents, the pair are plunged into a fast-moving and danger-filled adventure. The second in the series, Gargantis, is also fabulous and I really hope there will be more!

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Malamander by Thomas TaylorIllustration by Tom Booth

What are some of your favourite adventure stories? Share yours in the comments or tell us on Twitter @BookTrust!

Topics: Adventure, Features

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