Suited for kids from around Year 6/7 up, these reading books are suited to readers who like fantasy, war, humour, adventure and historical fiction. Many of the books complement the Australian Curriculum and all of the books are interesting, engaging and well-written. We hope you enjoy them!

Across The Roman Wall

Theresa Breslin

The minute that Marubetta meets Lucius, she hates him – pompous, stuck-up nephew of a Roman official! He thinks that, as a Briton, she is terribly provincial and she finds him arrogant and big-headed. But the year is 397 AD and life in Roman Britain is getting dangerous. And when Marinetta’s home, close to Hadrian’s Wall, is raided, Marinetta and Lucius are forced to act together.

A Christmas Carol

Charles Dickens

Scrooge just wants to be left alone until the “humbug” of Christmas is over. But four ghostly, visitors, his partner Marley, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Yet to Come, show him the error of his ways, and by the time Christmas Day dawns, Scrooge is ready to enjoy it! An oldie but a goodie. It might seem like a story for the youngsters, but it’s an enjoyable and engaging read.

Behind the Bedroom Wall

Laura E. Williams

It’s 1942. Thirteen-year-old Korinna Rehme is an active member of her local Jungmadel, a Nazi youth group, along with many of her friends. She believes that Hitler is helping Germany by instituting a program to deal with what he calls the “Jewish problem,” a program that she witnesses as her Jewish neighbors are attacked and taken from their homes. Korinna’s parents, however, are members of a secret underground group providing a means of escape to the Jews of their city. Korinna is shocked to discover that they are hiding a refugee family behind the wall of her bedroom. But as she comes to know the family, her sympathies begin to turn. When someone tips off the Gestapo, loyalties are put to the test and Korinna must decide what she really believes and whom she really trusts.

Boy: Tales of Childhood

Roald Dahl

An autobiography is a book a person writes about his own life and it is usually full of all sorts of boring details. This is not an autobiography’ – Roald DahlBoy is the story of Roald Dahl’s very own boyhood, including tales of sweet shops and chocolate, mean old ladies and a Great Mouse Plot – the inspiration for some of his most marvellous storybooks in the years to come.Like his stories, Dahl’s childhood tales are unmissable. This book is written slightly differently to most of Dahl’s other classics, but it is still a cracker. Enjoy!

Casting the Gods Adrift

Geraldine McCaughrean

A thriller set in ancient Egypt between 1351-1354 BC. Tutmose and Ibrim’s father, the animal dealer, is commanded by the new pharaoh Akhenaten, to bring him animals – lots of animals – for his new capital city. The boys’ father is delighted. But he has no idea what the pharaoh’s strange new religion will mean for all of them..

Chinese Cinderella : the secret story of an unwanted daughter

Adeline Mah

A young girl is rejected by her family after the death of her mother and her father’s re-marriage. This is the story of her struggle for acceptance and how she overcame the odds to prove her worth.

Dragon Keeper

Carole Wilkinson

This is the first book in a series, set in Ancient China during the Han Dynasty. Slave Girl Ping accompanies the last emperial dragon as he makes his slow, painful way across China to the sea, where he will die. Ping is carrying a mysterious stone, which must be protected.


Christopher Paolini

When Eragon finds a polished stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself. Overnight his simple life is shattered and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.


Louis Sacher

As further evidence of his family’s bad fortune which they attribute to a curse on a distant relative, Stanley Yelnats is sent to a hellish correctional camp in the Texas desert where he finds his first real friend, a treasure, and a new sense of himself.

I Am David

Anne Holm

Having escaped from the eastern European concentration camp where he has spent most of his life, twelve-year-old David struggles to cope with an entirely strange world as he flees northward to freedom in Denmark.

Jaguar Warrior

Sandy Fussell

Jaguar Warrior is Sandy Fussell’s sixth novel for children, following the success of her “Samurai Kids” series and also “Polar Boy” which was short-listed for CBCA Book of theYear forYoung Readers 2009. Imprisoned in a box, Atl waits for death. He is not afraid. Anger burns too deeply within him. Then, unexpectedly, Atl is released. Released to deliver an urgent message. But it is not the mission that sets him running. It is the sudden chance for freedom. Nothing can stop this Jaguar Warrior. Not even the one who hunts him.

Macbeth and Son

Jackie French

Luke lives in modern-day Australia with his mother and stepfather, Sam. He is burdened by a guilty secret: Sam has helped him to cheat in an entrance exam for a prestigious school.Lulach lives in ninth-century Scotland with his mother and stepfather, Macbeth. Macbeth becomes a great king and restores peace to the land.Luke dreams about Lulach and Macbeth at night. He is also studying the play Macbeth at school and in Shakespeare’s version, Macbeth is a villain who murders the rightful king.Why did Shakespeare lie about who Macbeth really was? When is it okay to lie and when should you tell the truth? Similarly to Hitler’s Daughter, Macbeth and Son challenges the reader to consider the actions of people, both in the past and present, and from a seemingly simple storyline, Macbeth and Son arrives at the morally complex question of ‘What is Truth?’

Mao’s Last Dancer: Young Readers Edition

Cunxin Li

One day, not so very many years ago, a small peasant boy was chosen to study ballet at the Beijing Dance Academy. His mother urged him to take this chance of a lifetime. But Li was only eleven years old and he was scared and lonely, pushed away from all that he had ever known and loved. He hated the strict training routines and the strange place he had been brought to. All he wanted to do was go home – to his mother, father and six brothers, to his own small village. But soon Li realised that his mother was right. He had the chance to do something special with his life – and he never turned back . . .

More Than Gold

John Heffernan

This is the story of Raiko Stenkovic, a refugee from Bosnia who now lives in a small Australian country town with his mother and haunting memories of his father. Raiko runs. In the few years that he’s been in Australia he has already made a name for himself in middle distance events such as cross country and steeplechase, and now has his sights set on the biggest prize of all, the Olympics. This novel follows Raiko’s quest for Gold. But in doing so, it also looks behind the scenes, at all the other people in Raiko’s life. So More than Gold is not just a sports story. It’s many stories. There’s a story of ambition and determination. There’s a story of personal struggle, of leaving an old life and starting anew. There is also one of friendship and loyalty, and one about loss and grief. And through it runs a story about growing up. The book weaves together the tales of one boy, of two best friends, of a mother and son, and of a whole community that stands behind them

Northern Lights

Phillip Pullman

Fantasy fiction. Winner of the Carnegie Medal, the first volume in Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy, has been acclaimed as a modern masterpiece of children’s literature. The story of Lyra, her daemon, and the mysterious alethiometer has thrilled many millions of children around the world. (I read this book when I was in my 20’s and LOVED it!)

Only the Heart

Brian Caswell

From the chaos and the fear of post-war Saigon, and the terror of pirates on the open ocean, to the triumph and tragedy of a new life, Only the Heart, is the story of Toan and Linh, and a family that endures the nightmare, in search of the dream.


Deborah Ellis

ased closely on real life, this is the exciting and inspiring story of Parvana, a young girl growing up in Afghanistan, as she struggles to make a life for herself and her family under the harsh rule of the Taliban.

Pharaoh: The Boy who Conquered the Nile

Jackie French

The people call Prince Narmer ‘the Golden One’ – a boy with the brightest future ahead of him. Handsome and talented, he is destined to be King of Thinis, the greatest town in Egypt and, for Narmer, the centre of the world.Then his whole life changes overnight. A devastating accident forces him to give up his right to the throne and sends him journeying across the ancient Middle East with the mysterious Trader, the crippled Nitho and a tamed wildcat called Bast. And as he travels through the desert and visits the great cities of Punt and Sumer, he learns that Thinis is actually a very small place indeed. But can he ever truly forget his homeland? When he decides to pay one last visit to Thinis, he will discover what it really means to be a leader, and will find his destiny fulfilled beyond his wildest expectations.Set in a time before the pyramids and based on real historical events, Pharaoh will sweep readers along on a fascinating journey through a part of the world we hear so much about today

Ramose: Prince in Exile

Carole Wilkinson

Someone is trying to kill Prince Ramose. Only if the murderers think he is dead will he be safe. Spoilt, selfish and very much alive, Prince Ramose lives in secret in the Valley of the Tombs. How will this pampered prince survive such a brutal place?

Sally’s Story

Sally Morgan

My Place is Sally Morgan’s rich, zesty and moving story of her childhood and growing up in Perth, Western Australia. It tells how she gradually came to realise the truth about her family and their heritage. In its original edition, My Place was warmly and enthusiastically received by readers and critics. This new edition has been adapted for younger readers.

Secrets in the Fire

Henning Mankell

‘It was the most dangerous thing she could have done. But Sofia was only playing – pushing and shoving and laughing with her sister as they ran out to the fields one pearly dawn. Sofia didn’t mean to step off the path. She didn’t mean to tread on the monster, the monster that lurked, waiting, under the ground… Secrets in the Fire is based on the true story of an indomitable young girl in war-torn Mozambique. In beautifully spare, unsentimental language, Henning Mankell tells how Sofia transcends the brutality and horror that have shattered her childhood, and builds a new future out of the ruins of her life. But if it hadn’t been for the strength she drew from the fire, from the secrets she saw in the flames, Sofia might not have found the courage to survive. A deeply moving and unforgettable story.

Soldier Boy

Anthony Hill

On 28 June 1915, young James Martin sailed from Melbourne aboard the troopship Berrima – bound, ultimately, for Gallipoli. He was just fourteen years old. Soldier Boy is Jim’s extraordinary true story, the story of a young and enthusiastic school boy who became Australia’s youngest known Anzac. Four months after leaving his home country he would be numbered among the dead, just one of so many soldier boys who travelled halfway around the world for the chance of adventure. This is, however, just as much the story of Jim’s mother, Amelia Martin. It is the heartbreaking tale of the mother who had to let him go, of his family who lost a son, a brother, an uncle, a friend. It is about Amelia’s boy who, like so many others, just wanted to be in on the action.

Someone Like Me

Elaine Forrestal

Tas leads an ordinary life – until Enya and her mysterious Irish family move in next door. The violence Enya thought she had left behind catches up with her and changes Tas’s life for ever. The twist at the end of the book is amazing!

The Babylon Game

Katherine Roberts

The second in a series of books that weave fantasy and ancient history, based on the seven wonders of the world. Tia discovers dragons between the double wall that acts as Babylon’s defence against invaders. The magic they grant her could be the key to win the war against the Persian king.

The Gathering

Isobelle Carmody

When Nathanial and his mother move to the quiet, safe streets of Cheshunt, he immediately senses something wrong.  Violent gangs patrol the streets, feral dogs roam at night, and the oppressive stench from the abattoir lingers over the school.Soon Nathanial learns that his presence is no accident.  As he uncovers the dark secrets of Cheshunt’s past, and event spiral desperately out of control, he and his new friends must confront phantoms from their past in the battle to stop the Gathering and its terrifying creator.

The Giver

Lois Lowry

In a rigidly structured society where weaklings, dissenters and the aged are removed, and stirrings of individuality are nullified with drugs, children undergo special ceremonies annually until, after eleven years, they face the Ceremony of Twelve, when the Community of Elders assigns them the tasks which will take them through their adult life. But when Jonas is selected to be the Receiver of Memory, he discovers that the honor of selection is nothing compared to the loneliness and physical pain he must endure as he searches for a way to free his community from the spiritless life it has developed for its members. Be aware that some concepts in this book will require deeper explanation so your child should be a mature reader to tackle this one.

The Great Pyramid Robbery

Katherine Roberts

With a compelling mix of myth, magic and legend, The Great Pyramid Robbery is the first book in the exciting new series The Seven Fabulous Wonders. This one is set in Ancient Egypt and based around one of the Ancient Wonders of the world.

The Heaven Shop

Deborah Ellis

Binti was the child star of a popular radio program in Malawi. But now she is nothing special. Both parents dead, separated from her brother and sister, ostracised by the rest of the family and treated like a servant. Binti is just another AIDS orphan. Facing this challenge, Binti discovers she must look outside herself and find a new way to be special.

The Red King

Victor Kelleher

The Red King controls his forest kingdom not just by force of arms, but by spreading disease. All who question his authority are infected with the deadly red fever. Who would dare oppose such a man? Only a tiny band of entertainers- a magician, an acrobat, a monkey, and a bear.

The silver sword

Ian Serraillier

A historical novel set in war-torn Europe; this is the story of three Polish children, Ruth, Edek and Bronia, who have been separated from their parents in Warsaw. The last they saw of their father was when he was taken away and imprisoned by German soldiers. Their Swiss mother was also captured and sent to a labour camp in Germany. Amongst the rubble of Warsaw they meet an orphan boy called Jan who possesses a small silver sword. The three children recognise the sword as once belonging to their father. Jan informs them that it must have been their father (who had escaped from prison and returned to Warsaw) that he met two years earlier. He tells the children that their father had decided to go to Switzerland. Together with Jan, the three children also decide to find their way to Switzerland. They begin a hazardous journey across Poland and Germany in search of their Parents.

The Year of the Tiger

Alison Lloyd

Two very different boys, both dreaming of glory. One year in their lives will be more dangerous than they ever imagined … Where the Great Wall meets the Yellow River, Hu’s family struggles on the edge of starvation. The arrival of an imperial battalion in Beicheng brings new money to the town, but also new risks. The battalion’s Commander has brought with him his unhappy son, Ren. The two boys meet under strange circumstances and combine forces to train secretly for an archery tournament: for Hu the competition offers an escape from poverty, for Ren an escape from his strict Confucian tutor and recognition from his father. Just as they seem to have a chance of winning, the tournament is suspended. A barbarian spy has been found, hit by a stray arrow from the contest! Fearing imminent barbarian attack, the Commander requests reinforcements and authority to attack from the Emperor. And things for Ren and Hu go horribly wrong. Ren is sent away and Hu is arrested under suspicion of stealing supplies. But then Ren discovers his tutor has been undermining the Commander and escapes back to Beicheng. But before he can warn his father, Ren tries to rescue Hu and they stumble across the barbarian army – waiting just outside the wall, ready to attack. Together, Ren and Hu race through the night to recover the Commander’s orders … But can they escape the barbarian soldiers? And get back in time? Or will the Commander lose the Battle for Beicheng?

They Came on Viking Ships

Jackie French

This is the story of a Scottish wolfhound called Snarf and his owner, Hekja, whose simple but happy lives change unrecognisably when their village is raided by Vikings.As a puppy, Snarf is fortuitously rescued by a young girl called Hekja when he is badly injured. Both are then captured by raiding Vikings and transported to ‘Vinland’ with Freydis Ericsdottir, half-sister of Leif Ericson (who is usually credited with ‘discovering’ America. Both Freydis and Leif are the children of Eric the Red, who founded the Greenland colony.) This page-turning story is set against an historical backdrop and the book is both fascinating and historically informative.

Walking the Boundaries

Jackie French

Martin lives in the city with his mum. He′s come to walk the boundaries of the farm that′s been in his family for generations. It sounds easy, especially as he′ll own the land when he gets back. Martin′s great-grandfather, Ted, doesn′t even want him to walk around the farm′s fences, just up the gorge and along the hills. But up in the gorge Martin meets Meg from almost a century ago and Wullamudulla from thousands of years in the past. Despite their differences they discover that they′re all on the same journey … and that walking the boundaries means more than following lines on a map.


 (Please make sure you check the book is suitable for your child’s own personal reading and comprehension levels before purchasing. Kids in Adelaide aim to provide you with as much guidance as we can, but we cannot accept responsibility if the book has concepts that do not suit your own child. Any feedback is welcome.)