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8 great reads for children aged 7-11

The importance of reading to support your child's learning cannot be underestimated. Reading is one of the most valuable resources we have at our fingertips and should be an experience that is both enjoyable and interesting for both child and parent. Choosing books together and discussing texts can have enormous, positive effects on learning and really help your child to expand their vocabulary and understanding.


Not sure which books to start with? Ms Susan, Junior Campus Librarian has hand-picked a list of 8 award-winning books suitable for children aged 7-11:

8 Must Reads for High School Students 2020 | British International School HCMC

1. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Winner of the New York Times Outstanding Books Award, Federation of Children's Book Groups Award, Whitbread Award, World Fantasy Convention Lifetime Achievement Award, Millennium Children's Book Award and Blue Peter Book Award.​​​​​​

A classic morality tale that is wildly entertaining. 

When Willy Wonka decides to let five children into his chocolate factory, he decides to release five golden tickets in five separate chocolate bars, causing complete mayhem. The tickets start to be found, with the fifth going to a very special boy, called Charlie Bucket. With his Grandpa, Charlie joins the rest of the children to experience the most amazing factory ever. But not everything goes to plan within the factory.

Recommended: 7+

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’ Engle

Winner of the Newbery Medal, the Sequoya Book Award, the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award, and was runner-up for the Hans Christian Andersen Award.

A Wrinkle in Time is a Science Fantasy book. It's the story of Meg Murry, a high-school-aged girl who is transported on an adventure through time and space with her younger brother Charles Wallace and her friend Calvin O'Keefe to rescue her father, a gifted scientist, from the evil forces that hold him prisoner on another planet.

Recommended: 9+

3. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White

Winner of the Newbery Honour, The George C. Stone Centre for Children's Books Recognition of Merit Award, the Laura Ingalls Wilder Award, The Massachusetts Children's Book Award, and The Horn Book Fanfare Award.

One of the all-time great classics of children's literature, this is a gentle story with its kindly wisdom about friendship and love.

Charlotte's Web is about a girl named Fern, a pig named Wilbur and a spider called Charlotte. They live on a farm and Fern is horrified when she finds out that Wilbur as a piglet is to be slaughtered. She rescues Wilbur only then to have him sent away from her to her uncle's farm where he is friendless and snubbed by the other animals except Charlotte, a spider, and this is where Wilbur's adventures begin.

Recommended: 8+

4. Hello Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

Winner of the John Newbery Medal for the outstanding children's book of 2017.

A story about a diverse group of middle school students and their unexpected encounters.

Told from four intertwining points of view—two boys and two girls—this novel celebrates bravery, being different, and finding your inner bayani (hero).

Recommended: 7+

5. Matilda by Roald Dahl

Winner of the Children's Book Award from The Federation of Children's Book Groups.

A touch of special powers and a sprinkle of humour, this book demonstrates how the fantasy genre entertains and amuses with touches of the unexpected.

In this book, Matilda discovers her love of books and by the age of three, has taught herself to read. At four she has read all the children’s stories in the library. She is oblivious to her brilliance and her parents are less than encouraging. “What’s wrong with the telly, for heaven’s sake?” her father demands, while her mother insists that brains never got a woman anywhere.

Recommended: 7+

6. The Underneath by Kathi Appelt

Newbery Honour Book and National Book Award Finalist.

A calico cat, about to have kittens, hears the lonely howl of a chained-up hound deep in the backwaters of the bayou. She dares to find him in the forest, and the hound dares to befriend this cat, this feline, this creature he is supposed to hate. They are an unlikely pair, about to become an unlikely family. Ranger urges the cat to hide underneath the porch, to raise her kittens there because Gar-Face, the man living inside the house, will surely use them as alligator bait should he find them. But they are safe in the long as they stay in the Underneath.

Kittens, however, are notoriously curious creatures. And one kitten's one moment of curiosity sets off a chain of events that is astonishing, remarkable, and enormous in its meaning. For everyone who loves Sounder, Shiloh, and The Yearling, for everyone who loves the haunting beauty of writers such as Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, Flannery O'Connor, and Carson McCullers, Kathi Appelt spins a harrowing yet keenly sweet tale about the power of love -- and its opposite, hate -- the fragility of happiness and the importance of making good on your promises.

Recommended: 9+

7. One Dog and His Boy by Eva Ibbotson

Winner of the children's category for the Independent Booksellers Week Book Award.

A moving book about the importance of love and friendship and the power of people and animals to provide it.

All Hal has ever wanted is a dog. His parents refuse to contemplate the idea; a dog would mess up their beautiful house and disturb their busy routine. When they discover Easy Pets, they hire Hal a dog for a weekend thinking that will do the trick. But Hal discovers Fleck has to be returned, so he runs away, and all the dogs from Easy Pets escape with him. Soon, there's a price on his head. How Hal makes his escape and the story of his adventures as a fugitive is both thrilling and moving.

Recommended: 9+

8. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

Winner of the Newbery Medal.

Inspired by the true story of a gorilla who spent 30 years alone in a cage at an indoor zoo in a mall.

This engaging story about a gorilla in captivity and his friendship with a baby elephant is unique in so many ways. Not only is it told from Ivan the gorilla’s perspective, but it draws readers in with humour and the touching friendship between two unforgettable characters.

Recommended: 8+

Top Tip

Discussing the stories your child is reading is a great way to check that they have understood. Use questions that encourage them to say more than ‘yes’ or ‘no’ such as "What was your favourite part of the story?" or "How do you think that character might be feeling?".

At the British International School Ho Chi Minh City, regular opportunities are provided for reading through sharing class texts, guided reading sessions and exploring books one-to-one. To find out more about how we actively engage in a language-rich and stimulating English curriculum that inspires children to read, write and speak with confidence, contact our primary admissions team today.

Key Stage 1 Reading at British International School Ho Chi Minh

6 book recommendations for ages 2-7

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