Books for Year 7 – are you 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 A.M Dassu, Mitch Johnson, Lisa Thompson, Gillian Cross, Malorie Blackman, R.J Palacio, Philip Pullman, Catherine Johnson, Michael Morpurgo and more.
Books for Year 7: our recommendations
Fight Back by A. M. Dassu
13-year-old Aaliyah faces discrimination and bullying after a terrorist attack at a nearby concert changes how people see her. Choosing not to hide, she wears a hijab with pride and challenges stereotypes and misconceptions where she sees them. But when her resolve is tested she has a decision to make – to lay low or ‘Fight Back’. This gripping young adult novel explores themes of identity, resilience, and unity in the face of Islamophobia. A powerful call to positive action, it’s ideal to discuss in book clubs.
Racism | Family
Can You See Me? by Libby Scott & Rebecca Westcott
Follow 11-year-old Tally’s journey as she navigates the challenges of school, friendship, and self-discovery, providing readers with a unique and empathetic perspective on autism. Can You See Me is an empowering read and an excellent book choice for book clubs in lower KS3.
Autobiography | Autism
When I See Blue by Lily Bailey
12-year-old Ben is struggling with a new school, a complicated home life and OCD. With a brain that bullies him with intrusive thoughts, he finds himself counting to four and performing rituals to stop things from going wrong. But when he makes friends with April, he begins to see the world in new ways. This #ownvoices story offers an authentic portrayal of OCD and explores themes of family, friendship, and mental health. A moving read for middle-grade audiences, it encourages readers to empathise with the challenges of living with OCD.
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.
Historical fiction | Slavery
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.
Diverse | Coming of age
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.
Sport | Thriller
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 an impending disaster and search for a new home. This is an ideal book for more advanced readers in Year 7.
Animal story | Classic
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.
Inclusive | Mystery
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 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.
Classic | Adventure
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.
Peter Pan by J.M 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.
Classic | Adventure
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.
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.
Mystery | Family
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.
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.
Legend | Fantasy
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.
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
Anne Frank’s diary was 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.
Autobiography | Classic
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?
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.
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.
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.
Animal story | War
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.
Crime | Thriller
His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman
Northern Lights: Lyra finds out there’s an expedition to find other worlds very different to her own and a chain of events catapults her 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.
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 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 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.
Historical fiction | Classic
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.
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.
Adventure | Historical fiction
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer have made lots of money, but all Huck wants is to escape from his guardian, Miss Sawyer. A great American novel and a more challenging read for pupils in Year 7.
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.
Classic | Adventure
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.
Dystopia | Adventure
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 finds a doctor willing to use a pig’s heart. This is a great book to promote debate and consider ethics in Year 7.
Friendship | STEM
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 altering the lives of the village folk, especially Dylan.
Adventure | Art
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 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…
Friendship | Adventure
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.
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.
Historical fiction | Adventure
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.
Myth | Adventure
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.
Classic | Fantasy
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.
Animal story | Classic
Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo
The emotive story of Thomas “Tommo” Peaceful, who is looking back on his life in the trenches of World War I in Belgium. Each chapter brings the reader closer to the present.
War | Historical fiction
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.
Friendship | Mystery
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.
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.
Oxford English Dictionary for Schools by Oxford Dictionaries
Specifically tailored to the KS3 curriculum, this 928-page dictionary is ideal for the first three years of secondary school. It also features a useful writing guide explaining how to use language effectively, with advice from top writers including David Almond, Philip Pullman, William Golding, Anthony Horowitz and Beverley Naidoo. With synonyms, antonyms, usage tips and etymology there’s also plenty to keep students interested.
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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.