Books for Year 7 reading list for pupils in KS3 aged 11-12

Books for Year 7 – looking for a great book for the classroom, the school library or your child’s collection? The following Year 7 reading list contains books suitable for children aged 11-12 in secondary school KS3 classes. These titles consist of a range of fiction and nonfiction for all ability ranges including the more able. This list of books is updated termly and contains stories by Lisa Thompson, Gillian Cross, Malorie Blackman, Renée Watson, R.J Palacio, Philip Pullman and Michael Morpurgo.

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Books for Year 7: our recommendations

Freedom (1783) by Catherine Johnson

Nathaniel doesn’t want to go on a ship and leave his family behind in Jamaica. But this is 1783 and he doesn’t have a choice. He is a slave, and his master has decided for him. But there’s a sliver of hope that Nathaniel clings to – a chance of freedom once he reaches England. An emotive and passionate story about slavery and one child’s real experience, this novel is highly recommended for year 7 book clubs.

Freedom (1783) by Catherine Johnson

Artichoke Hearts by Sita Brahmachari

A spectacular coming of age story where different cultures collide and combine. Through evocative and lyrical prose, the reader will see Mira’s unlikely friendship with Jide, learn of tightly guarded secrets, and empathise with Mira’s awakening despite a difficult home life. An excellent book to create discussion, Artichoke Hearts is a great choice for a year 7 teaching text or class reader.

Artichoke Hearts by Sita Brahmachari

Kick by Mitch Johnson

Set in Jakarta, when Budi’s dreams of escaping poverty through football stardom abruptly end, his life spirals as he finds himself owing money to a very dangerous man. But through sheer force of will and determination, he resolves to put everything right. This fast-paced and gripping novel is an uplifting and inspirational story that will leave year seven pupils believing that anything is possible.

Kick by Mitch Johnson

Watership Down by Richard Adams

Possibly the best and most well-known animal adventure. Fiver has a sixth sense for danger and he persuades Hazel to lead a group of rabbits to escape certain disaster and search for a new home. This is an ideal book for more advanced readers in Year 7.
Read more about Richard Adams.

Watership Down by Richard Adams

The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

Matthew finds it almost impossible to leave his room and venture into the outside world due to his OCD and constant worries. But when a small child in the neighbourhood vanishes, he finds his heightened attention to detail an ideal tool when he turns detective to try and solve the mystery. Brilliantly written. A great book to promote discussion, this book would be ideal for year 7 reading groups.

The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson

The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

A thought provoking and atmospheric story about Amihan, who lives on an island affected by a leprosy outbreak. Forced to leave, she finds some unlikely allies in her quest to return home. An atmospheric book for year 7 readers, and one which is ideal for more confident readers.

The Island at trhe End of Everything by Kiran Millwood Hargrave - great book for year 7 class reading

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

In an alternative reality, King James III rules in 1832 and the country is plagued by wolves from the Channel Tunnel. But for Sylvia and Bonnie it isn’t clear whether it’s the wolves or their governess Miss Slighcarp they should be more afraid of.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

Robin Hood: Jet Skis, Swamps & Smugglers by Robert Muchamore

The third book in Robert Muchamore’s hit series for young teens sees a crack team of special forces hitmen sent to deal with Robin. Will our hero survive in the swamplands, or will the hi-tech surveillance and search teams prove to be his downfall? Another cracking page-turner for pupils in KS3. Read our review of Piracy, Paintballs and Zebras, the second book in the Robin Hood series.

Robin Hood: Jet Skis, Swamps & Smugglers by Robert Muchamore

Peter Pan by JM Barrie

The timeless classic story of the boy who never grew up, Wendy and her brothers, and Neverland, where the Lost Boys are in constant danger from Captain Hook.

Peter Pan by JM Barrie

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

Just prior to his 11th birthday, Will discovers he’s the last person left with the power of the Old Ones, and his mission is to guard the Light and drive out the Dark. A gripping and imaginative story. This is the first of a captivating series of titles for year 7 readers interested in fantasy and mystery.

The Dark is rising by Susan Cooper - great story for year 7 reading group and discussion

Wolf by Gillian Cross

A haunting story of terrorism, impending doom, confusion and not really knowing your closest family members as well as you thought you did. Cassy finds some questions are best left unasked.

Wolf by Gillian Cross - great book for reluctant readers in year 7

Some Places More Than Others by Renée Watson

Almost 12 year old Amara desperately wants to visit family in New York and find out more about her father’s roots. But when she finally gets there, the family relationships and situations are far from her idealised expectations. A great book to discuss in book clubs and study in classes for characterisation and dialogue.

Some Places More Than Others by Renée Watson

The Seeing Stone by Kevin Crossley-Holland

The stories of a young King Arthur are told in 100 short chapters. Ideal for reluctant readers in Year 7.

The Seeing Stone by Kevin Crossley-Holland

Boy and Going Solo by Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl’s hilarious autobiographies – Boy, charting his childhood and school days, and Going Solo chronicling his early adult life.

Boy and Going Solo by Roald Dahl

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

Anne Frank’s diary, written when she was 13-15 and living in hiding above an Amsterdam warehouse during World War 2. ‘One of the greatest books of the century’ – Guardian.

The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank

The Weirdstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner

Colin and Susan are saved from mysterious creatures by a wizard who has been searching for a lost magic stone for over 100 years. Can the two children defeat the dark forces at work?

The Weirstone of Brisingamen by Alan Garner

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Charles Wallace Murry’s father has disappeared and Charles sets out to find a wrinkle in time – a gateway to a parallel universe – to try and save him. A captivating and imaginative story. The first in a series of great novels for year 7 pupils interested in science.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle

Across the Barricades by Joan Lingard

Kevin and Sade live in Belfast, and the two of them being seen together isn’t an option. A gritty story of religious divide and distrust.

Across the Barricades by Joan Lingard

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

A gripping description of the horrors of war, told from the perspective of Joey, a horse, who sees the senselessness of war and the importance of friendships more clearly than the soldiers around him. An ideal class novel for pupils in Year 7.

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

Stone Cold by Robert Swindells

There’s a serial killer targeting the young and homeless and Deb, an intrepid undercover journalist is determined to catch the killer – using herself as bait. A thrilling book for year 7 pupils to read – ideal for book clubs.

Stone Cold by Robert Swindells - a gripping class reading book for year sevens

His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman

Northern Lights: when Lyra finds out there’s an expedition to find other worlds very different to her own, a chain of events catapults Lyra into several perilous journeys and a search for the truth. The Subtle Knife: Will has killed a man and is on the run in a parallel world. When he meets Lyra – with her cunning and his determination, they set out to find Will’s long lost father. The Amber Spyglass: Will and Lyra have become separated but must find each other to prevent dark forces from taking over their worlds, and every other world. A stunning conclusion to the trilogy. A highly recommended alternative reality series to get year 7 pupils hooked on reading at the start of secondary school.

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman - a great trilogy of books suitable for year 7 pupils

The Indian in the Cupboard Trilogy by Lynne Reid Banks

Omri is disappointed with his birthday present – a little red plastic Indian figure – until it comes alive and becomes a real person. An easier read for students in Year 7.

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff

Thousands of Roman Soldiers marched into the mist and were never seen again. Young Marcus Aquilla sets out to find out what happened to them. An engaging historical saga. Ideal for Year 7 children interested in historical fiction, this is also a useful text to spark creative writing ideas.

The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff

The Cay by Theodore Taylor

When World War II breaks out, 12-year-old Phillip and his mother embark on the S.S. Hato for a long voyage. But the ship is torpedoed, and Phillip is blinded by a blow on the head and left stranded on an island with a man named Timothy.

The Cay by Theodore Taylor

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend

A fictional diary charting the teenage angst and dreams of Adrian Mole. Very funny.

The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend

Cue for Treason by Geoffrey Trease

Two young runaways become actors in London, where they meet William Shakespeare. They then help foil a plot to kill the Queen. An ideal book for year seven pupils interested in history.

Cue for Treason by Geoffrey Trease

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer have made lots of money, but all Huck want is to escape from his guardian, Miss Sawyer. A great American novel and a more challenging read for pupils in Year 7.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

The Sword in the Stone by T.H. White

An entertaining fantasy adventure set in medieval England following the life of King Arthur. A great book for pupils interested in history.

The Sword in the Stone by TH White

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

One person from each district in the country is selected to fight to the death in a reality TV lottery. Katniss vows to win. A more mature series of novels for year 7 pupils to get hooked on.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Pig Heart Boy by Malorie Blackman

13 year old Cameron is dying and his only hope is a heart transplant. When there are no human hearts available his father find a doctor willing to use a pig’s heart. A great book to promote debate and consider ethics in Year 7.

Pig Heart Boy by Malorie Blackman - a thought provoking read for year 7s

Framed by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Framed tells the story of how paintings moved from the National Gallery in London to a cave in North Wales alter the lives of the village folk, especially Dylan.

Framed by Frank Cottrell Boyce

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Jack murders every member of a family except a child upstairs. When the child crawls to a graveyard nearby, Mr and Mrs Owens, both ghosts, decide to bring him up.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Garbage King by Elizabeth Laird

Mamo is from a very poor family where everyone has died except for him and his sister, Tiggist. Then a slave trader, who claims to be his uncle, kidnaps Mamo…

The Garbage King by Elizabeth Laird

Wonder by R.J Palacio

Augie wants to be like every other ten year old. But whenever anyone looks at him they treat him differently because of a terrible facial abnormality. Can he convince everyone that he’s just like them inside? Perfect to provoke discussion in Year 7 book clubs.

Wonder by RJ Palacio

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Narrated by Death, this book tells the story of a young girl in Nazi Germany hiding for safety in World War 2.

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Percy is a twelve-year-old boy who has been expelled from every school he has ever attended. When his class takes a field trip to the art gallery his Maths teacher Mrs Dodds attacks him.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

The Box of Delights by John Masefield

In this classic fantasy novel, Kay Harker receives a box from an old man called Cole which has magic powers, letting him shrink, fly and travel back in time. But Cole is followed… A more challenging novel for children in Year 7.

The Box of Delights by John Masefield

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Buck is stolen from his California home and shipped north to the Klondike to become a sled dog. Can he survive the cold, the work and the lead dog Spitz? A more challenging book for pupils to study in year 7.

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo

The emotive story of Thomas “Tommo” Peaceful, who is looking back on his life from the trenches of World War I in Belgium. Each chapter brings the reader closer to the present.

Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo

Holes by Louis Sachar

Stanley Yelnats IV’s family has been cursed since his great-great-grandfather’s time and Stanley has been wrongly accused of stealing the shoes of Clyde “Sweet Feet” Livingston, a star basketball player. An ideal class study option for Year 7 pupils.

Holes by Louis Sachar

Twelve Minutes to Midnight by Christopher Edge

Penelope Tredwell, aged 13, is the heiress to the bestselling magazine, The Penny Dreadful. But no-one knows that she is the real author of the deathly stories.

Twelve Minutes to Midnight by Christopher Edge

A Rag, a Bone and a Hank of Hair by Nicholas Fisk

Set in the future when the birth rate has dropped after a nuclear disaster, the human race has started recycling people. 12-year-old Brin observes a family of ‘reborn’ people who originally lived during WW2. Easy to read, this book has a stunning and unexpected ending and is ideal for reluctant readers and fans of The Hunger Games and The Maze Runner. A more challenging read for pupils in Year 7.

A Rag, a Bone and a Hank of Hair by Nicholas Fisk


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Try our Books for Year 6 reading list for the less able reader.

For even more books for 11-12 year olds, see this list.

Have a look at our Books for Year 8 reading list for the more able reader.

Year 7 books and KS3 book fairs via Scholastic.



About Tom Tolkien

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Tom Tolkien is an experienced teacher and educational consultant who taught for 20 years in primary and secondary schools, including Woodleigh School in North Yorkshire, where he was Head of English and ran a 4000 book prep school library for pupils aged 3-13. He now reviews books for children and teens. Social profiles: Twitter | Linkedin