Books for bored children! This list of unusually interesting books for primary and secondary school children aged 5-14 (KS1, KS2, and KS3) contains particularly stimulating, imaginative, gripping, thought-provoking, or life-affirming books and activities to appeal to all reading abilities. We have picked a range of practical books, picture books, fiction, and nonfiction for children to read individually, discuss with family, share with siblings, or talk about online with friends. This list of reading suggestions is revised regularly and includes titles by Andy Seed, Robert Muchamore, Colin Furze, Liz Pichon, Jo Simmons, and Enid Blyton.
Our recommended books for bored children and teens
I’m (almost) Never Bored by Anna Milbourne
No screen time equals instant boredom for the disappointed girl in this illustrated hardback picture book. But after a while, she realises that her imagination is far more powerful and interesting than any screen. The clever use of cut-out holes makes this highly interactive book, a joy to read with younger children. This is a great book to inspire younger children to think creatively. Highly recommended, I’m (Almost) Never Bored will help children to see excitement, life and new possibilities wherever they look.
How to Chat Chicken, Gossip Gorilla, Babble Bee, Gab Gecko and Talk in 66 Other Animal Languages by Dr Nick Crumpton, illustrated by Adrienne Barman
Dr Nick Crumpton breaks down Animal Kingdom languages into phonetic noises that children will love to try out on their pets, in the countryside or at the zoo. Say ‘Burrr’ to your fish, ‘Irrup-Irrup’ to your cat and “Huoh, Huoh, Huoh” if you happen to know a gorilla. This is a uniquely fun book that will appeal to less confident readers, and as a brightly coloured hardback, would make an excellent gift for animal lovers.
National Geographic Kids Big Puzzle Book
With word-wheel anagrams, sudokus, word searches, spot the difference images and more, this 300-page puzzle book covers a range of topics including the natural world, music, dinosaurs, animals, history space, sport and under the sea. Suitable for KS2 aged children, this handy paperback is crammed with plenty of activities for a long journey or rainy weekend and it is equally useful for one child, or to discuss with siblings or families.
Amazing Animals: 100+ Creatures That Will Boggle Your Mind by Sabrina Weiss
This impressive large-format hardback treats the KS2 reader to 26 highly illustrated and factual spreads about the animal kingdom. Using a thematic approach, each section uses eye-catching graphics and infoboxes to explore extreme habitats, fascinating species and animal kingdom records to maintain maximum interest. It’s a thoroughly absorbing book. We particularly liked the open-out flaps and clever variation of landscape and portrait format. This is a wonderful book for children to use for topic work in classrooms, to share in pairs, or use as a reference text in a primary school library. Highly recommended.
Factopia! by Kate Hale
Did you know that starfish have no brains? With over 200 pages of fact-packed and engaging pages and linked topics, there’s something for everyone in this compelling and highly readable mini-encyclopedia. This brightly illustrated small hardback is an ideal resource for children to dip into and perfect for KS2 classroom libraries.
The Anti-boredom Book of Brilliant Things To Do by Andy Seed
A cure for boredom! Full of disgusting facts, startling quiz questions, strange situation dilemmas, and ‘which is worse’ queries. This book is ideal for bored siblings and families with children aged 5-11.
Never Get Bored Book by James Maclaine and Sarah Hull
This book includes lots of practical activities and crafts to try inside at home, from creating musical instruments to tying knots, performing with shadow puppets and solving puzzles and mind-bending riddles. Great for reading with primary aged brothers and sisters.
Gone (The Gone Series) by Michael Grant
The first in a stunning six-part young adult series of thrillers. Imagine you wake up one morning and all the adults have disappeared. That’s what happens to Sam Temple one morning in the small town in California where he lives. Can he and his friends survive and work out what has happened? It’s Stephen King for 13-year-olds – and it’s gripping stuff.
Two Weeks with the Queen by Morris Gleitzman
When Colin finds out his brother has incurable cancer, he won’t take no for an answer. He goes to London and demands to see the Queen and get it sorted out. A very funny yet thought-provoking story set to a backdrop of moving and heart-warming family themes. A great story for primary aged children.
Beyond the Sky: You and the Universe by Dara O Briain
The ultimate book of extreme wanderlust. This book explores space travel, looking at the why who, what, when, and how – all from the safety of your home. Ideal for children in KS2 and KS3 who are interested in space and science, this is a great book to share, and a great book to inspire bored children to read and find out more.
Colin Furze: This Book Isn’t Safe! by Colin Furze
The ultimate attention-grabbing book for bored children aged 8-13. 10 unlikely, mind-boggling, and incredible home inventions are described in detail, with instructions on how to make them with minimal tools and perhaps a little help from mum and dad. Written by the man who repeatedly broke the world record for the fastest mobility scooter.
Poo Bum by Stephanie Blake
A unique and unforgettable book about a rabbit with a vocabulary limited to one response to any communication. “Poo bum!” Once read, your children will never forget it. ‘Poo bum’ will burst the boredom bubble. It may well go viral among all your friends. Equally popular with toddlers and teenagers, don’t blame us if #poobum starts trending.
Crafty History Activity Book by Steve Weatherill and Sue Weatherill
A great activity book that will provide days of fun with curriculum-relevant material. Perfect for children aged 7-11, the activities include dressing up as a Viking warrior, designing and making Roman mosaics, and drawing and decoding Egyptian hieroglyphics.
Destroy This Book In The Name of Science: Galileo Edition by Mike Barfield
The perfect book for bored children who don’t like reading, the author invites the reader to cut up, pull out, tear off, and destroy the pages in the name of science. More seriously, the activities are ideally suited to children aged 8-12 and this is ideal fun for siblings.
The Secret Island by Enid Blyton
Enid Blyton’s first full-length story is still a wonderful book for children aged 7-11 to read independently. This is a great book to spark imagination, children’s own stories, writing projects, and individual artwork. The undemanding style also suits reluctant readers.
Odd One Out by Buster Books
This book is packed with fiendishly difficult and mind-bending visual puzzles. It’s a great book to share with family members of all ages – the puzzles often benefit from a second set of eyes.
Earthshattering Events! The Science Behind Natural Disasters by Sophie Williams and Robin Jacobs
A fantastic large-format illustrated nonfiction book that’s packed with facts and information. This is an ideal resource for KS2 and early KS3 school topic or geography projects at home, or for children who are fascinated by natural disasters. A favourite classroom book. We’ve written an in-depth review here.
Zim Zam Zoom by James Carter
A terrific book of punchy read out loud poetry. It’s perfect to read to younger children, for 7-11-year-olds to read and perform independently, or for older siblings to read to younger members of the family. The variety of forms and subjects is a great source of ideas to inspire KS2 children to write and deliver their own poems, musical raps, or spoken word performances – based on James Carter’s catchy material.
My Dad Used to Be So Cool by Keith Negley
Even though his dad isn’t sure he’s as cool as he used to be when he was younger – his son believes he’s the best dad in the world. A great picture book to read to younger children and help them think about another person’s point of view, whether it’s a son, a brother, sister, mother, father, or grandparent.
The Floor is Lava: and 99 more games to play at home by Ivan Brett
You will never think about the living room carpet the same way again. Packed with activities and addictive games for families of all ages, this book will liven up even the wettest, dullest, most boring days stuck inside.
The Ultimate Alphabet by Mike Wilks
A stunning and quirky book featuring amazing paintings each depicting a letter of the alphabet. Within each picture are hundreds of objects beginning with that letter. The challenge is to find them all! The book includes an answer key. Great for long train journeys.
Krindlekrax by Philip Ridley
With frizzy hair and thick glasses, nine-year-old Ruskin believes he is born to be a hero and sets out to prove it by rescuing Lizard Street from the evil Krindlekrax. A great high-interest rollercoaster-paced read for upper KS2 children.
Pop Out Art (Wreck This Activity Book) by Mike Barfield
A stunning activity book suitable for children aged 8-13 that explores the history of art through illustrated facts and graphics, and fun activities to pop out of the pages, develop further and colour in.
The Big History Timeline Wallbook by Christopher Lloyd and Andy Forshaw
A visually stunning book for children aged eight upwards that concertinas into a giant wall chart. Children can move around periods of history and read up on events in intricate detail. The artwork is superb and these timelines contain far more information than the average history book – presented in a way that will appeal to reluctant readers.
The Recruit by Robert Muchamore
The first of the hit “Cherub” series of books follows 12-year-old James as he joins a clandestine organisation of 10-17-year-old spies, tasked with saving the world from terrorists. Edgy, visceral, and sometimes controversial, these thrillers are perennially popular with young adults aged 12+ – and especially reluctant readers.
How To Train Your Parents by Pete Johnson
Louis’ high hopes for his new life at a new school are dashed when his parents become ultra-demanding about his grades. But then he meets Maddy who tells him she’s managed to train her parents to completely ignore her. Louis can’t wait to try it out – but things don’t quite turn out as he planned. A fun and thought-provoking story for children aged 8-12.
Tom Gates: Family, Friends and Furry Creatures by Liz Pichon
Part of the hugely popular Tom Gates series, this story follows Tom as he completes an epic school project. Mr Fullerman’s homework from the story could be a great starting point for a holiday or home-learning project away from school. With fun illustrations and bite-sized chunks of text, these books appeal to reluctant readers in primary and early secondary classes.
Faraway Fantasies: Journey to the land of colouring calm by David Newton
More challenging mindfulness and colouring in suitable for older children, by top illustrator and artist David Newton. With page designs inspired by Lewis Carroll, William Heath Robinson, William Morris, and Aubrey Beardsley, this book is ideal for imaginative minds armed with vibrant marker pens.
I Swapped My Brother On The Internet by Jo Simmons
The ultimate book for feuding junior school-aged siblings stuck in confined spaces. Johnny finds the ultimate website to solve all his problems – siblingswap.com – perfect to upcycle his annoying older brother! However, when the suggested substitutes are like an online grocery disaster he starts to regret his decision. How can he get his original brother back?
To buy all the books on this list, see our bulk order page.
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We also have lists of recommended reading books for children aged 3-11.
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