We invited a panel of teachers, literacy and reading experts, book reviewers and editors – see right – to choose their top 11 best books for under 11s. From picture books to older fiction, together they make an exciting and varied list of recommended reads for children from three to 11.

Paula Hubbard, Springboard Stories

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone

by JK Rowling (Bloomsbury)

This book could be the start of a beautiful relationship.


by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Macmillan)

Touching, clever and it makes you want to hunt out pictures of great art on the internet. A brilliant class read.

The Silver Sword

by Ian Serraillier (Red Fox)

This book was read to me by Mrs Taylor as a class read when I was ten – it literally changed my life.

The Book With No Pictures

by BJ Novak (Puffin)

This book with no pictures needs no words!

Harvey Slumfenburger's Christmas Present

by John Burningham (Walker)

A perfect festive read.

The Tale of Despereaux

by Kate DiCamillo (Candlewick Press)

A new old-fashioned fairytale.

What Happened When in the World

by various (DK Children’s)

This is a brilliant dip in book.


by Mick Inkpen (Hodder)

This sweet, sweet tale will tug at your heart strings but don’t hold that against it. It’s a beautiful story, you will love it.

Songs and verse

by Roald Dahl (Puffin)

This is a great, subversive, hilarious, clever book.

Duck in the Truck

by Jez Alborough (HarperCollins)

More rhyming with this classic that’s great to read aloud.


Each Peach Pear Plum

by Allan and Janet Ahlberg (Puffin)

This is really the perfect book for reading to pre-schoolers. The pictures offer lots of opportunities for guessing what comes next and the introduction of familiar characters gives lots of opportunity to springboard into other books.

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