Book list

Real life books

This section covers a huge range of material. It covers children behaving badly, bullying etc, or quite ordinary children caught up in real events which are too big to handle.

All books

Fly Me Home by Polly Ho-Yen

Far from home, in a strange and uncomfortable new country, Leelu finds a little bit of magic to help her settle in with her family and new friends.

What not to do if you turn Invisible by Ross Welford

Feeling a bit invisible? Acne and loss of confidence? Well you could try doing what Ethel Leatherhead does. But it won't help.

The Children of Castle Rock by Natasha Farrant

Boarding school Great Orienteering Challenge offers multiple opportunities to argue, fall out and make as a team, earn a magnificent Finder’s Fee for a stolen artwork, and save the school from closure.

Contagion by Teri Terry

Missing person hunt bumps into much bigger, sinister, deadly epidemic, end-of-the-world scenario. Seriously disturbing.

The Explorer by Katherine Rundell

Courage, resourcefulness and teamwork...yes obviously, required to survive in the Amazon jungle. But also a sense of passing wonder at the beauty of it all.

Gone Wild by Robert Muchamore

Reality TV teenage stars grow up in the spotlight. Antics and anguish.

The Recruit by Robert Muchamore

Child intelligence agents operating in an adult world of crime and terrorism. Dangerous work.

Stung by Joss Stirling

Is there a mole in the Young Detective Agency? Are Kate and Nathan on the same side? And can they find the answers?

Gone by Michael Grant

A world with no adults...just children, some with superpowers. How long will they last?

Flash Flood by Chris Ryan

Ben finds himself in dangerous waters when London floods.

Turbulence by Jan Mark

Sandor Harker crashes round the Winchester family like a loose cannon on a rolling pitching deck.

Hurricane Force by Malcolm Rose

Jake Patmore discovers some uncomfortable truths about scientific research when he delves into the past in search of the real story of his father's untimely death.

Hite by K Saksena

Lee needs to build up his self-confidence so that he can deal with the bullies in his life.

The Wrong Hands by Nigel Richardson

Graham Sinclair, BOY HERO, hits the headlines and needs a support team to help him cope. Unfortunately he's not very good at choosing, perhaps because nobody's ever treated him properly, on account of his deformed hands.

Glint by Ann Coburn

Ellie has to be brave to search for her missing brother, so she does what Argent would do, their favourite fantasy character from childhood games.... Two stories in one.

Noodle Head by Jonathan Kebbe

Marcus King, Noodle Head,takes on the establishment.

Divided City by Theresa Breslin

You can either adopt the bigotry of your culture, handed down through the generations. Or not.

Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci

Is Egg a loner or lonely? And does she even know the difference?

Boy Soldier by Andy McNab and Robert Rigby

Danny gets his military training the hard way - on the run with his ex-SAS grandfather.

The Diamond Girls by Jacqueline Wilson

The Diamond Girls need someone with a heart of gold more than they realize...

Freaky Green Eyes by Joyce Carol Oates

Something's going on in Franky's family, and Franky is in denial.

Underworld by Catherine MacPhail

Work as a team with your own worst enemy? Would you? Could you? If your life depended on it?

A Kind of Wild Justice by Bernard Ashley

Ronnie's on his own. He lives in a kind of No Man's Land of fear and bewilderment.

Best Friends by Jacqueline Wilson

Can Gemma and Alice's friendship survive their separation? Another Jacqueline Wilson special.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Autistic boy deals with life head-on when he solves a murder mystery in his own street.

Bullies at School by Theresa Breslin

Siobhan is being bullied, but she's also only a breath away from becoming a bully herself.

Predator's Gold by Philip Reeve

Compelling sequel to Mortal Engines. Love, jealousy, betrayal, anger, loyalty and bravery. Brilliant!

Midnight by Jacqueline Wilson

Violet learns how to stand up for herself.

Ryland's Footsteps by Sally Prue

Is Ryland bound to follow in his father's footsteps, or is there another way?

Warehouse by Keith Gray

It's a place to go, when you need some space and time to sort yourself out. No questions asked.

The Changeover by Margaret Mahy

Well, the story is magic, but the romance is real.

Lola Rose by Jacqueline Wilson

The bitter-sweet end of family life, seen through the eyes of Jayni.

Last Chance by Patrick Cave

Julian quietly collapses under the burden of looking after his sisters after his father walks out.

The Crew by Bali Rai

Local crew solve mystery on their own doorstep, but not in your averageFamous Five style. A tougher kind of world.

Bud Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

America in the Depression. Bud on the road, searching for his father.

Carried Away by Michael Harrison

Easily led boy follows mad girl into trouble.

Happy by Keith Gray

Will dreams of success as a performer/songwriter, but what makes anyone decide to pursue their dreams?

Stop the Train by Geraldine McCaughrean

There's no point settling a township in the middle of the desert if the train won't stop at your station . . .

Going For Stone by Philip Gross

Star-struck, young, on the streets: they're all desperate to get to the Academy. But who, exactly, runs the Academy? And why?

Secrets by Jacqueline Wilson

You need a friend, to tell all your secrets to. And to help you keep a big secret . . .

The Devil's Toenail by Sally Prue

It's that old conundrum - if the devil himself were to pop up and offer you a bit of help with your earthly problems, would you really want it?

Starseeker by Tim Bowler

Luke is in trouble. His father's dead, his mother would like to remarry, and he's in with the wrong sort at school. And that's just what's going on outside his head. Inside, there's a lot to master before his musical genius can really take off. Brilliant book!

Mondays Are Red by Nicola Morgan

Luke, weak and confused by his recent illness, is almost consumed by his own determination to survive and recover.

Goodbye Marianne by Irene N Watts

Marianne escapes from Germany to Britain as a refugee just before the outbreak of the Second World War, but has to leave her parents behind.

Daisy Chain War by Joan O'Neill

Growing up pains in Ireland during the Second World War.

In the Middle of the Night by Robert Cormier

Denny lives with guilt. But it isn't his own guilt, it's his father's. Every year the phone calls come, seeking to remind Denny's father of the tragedy which triggered the calls. This year, Denny wants it to be different . . .

The Killer's Cousin by Nancy Werlin

David's a killer, by accident. He's nervous now. Nervous of ghosts, nervous of his strange cousin and the limits that she might push him to. But most of all, he's nervous of himself. A terrifying read.

Fly, Cherokee, Fly by Chris d'Lacey

Darryl finds an injured racing pigeon hiding under a bush in the local park, and takes it home. As he cherishes the damaged bird, he learns a lot about life, bullies, pigeon fanciers and pigeons.

Remembrance by Theresa Breslin

A love story and a horror story, beautifully told, about life and death during the Great War.

Not Just Rescuing by Helen Flint

How to make the most of life if you find yourself spending a summer holiday in an animal rescue station.

Feather Boy by Nicky Singer

Bully victim learns that courage in one particular matter can have a big effect on other difficult relationships in life.

Up On Cloud Nine by Anne Fine

Stolly lives his life up on cloud nine. Most of the time, it's just funny, but when he goes too far and thoughtlessly injures himself, it is time to stop and think about who is hurting most - Stolly, or his friends and family.

You Don't Know Me by David Klass

John's mind games help him to survive the brutal treatment he receives from the man who is not his father.

Hitler's Daughter by Jackie French

If Hitler had really had a daughter, how could she have loved him? And how could she live a normal life after his death at the end of the war?

Harpies by David Belbin

On holiday on a Greek island, Cassie becomes pre-occupied by the mythical harpies. Have they really come back to seduce the boys away, including her own brother, or is she just feeling left out of the action? And where is Ben anyway?

Dustbin Baby by Jacqueline Wilson

April has nothing to link herself with her real mother, not even her name. The only way she can feel she is close to her mother is to work her way back through her early memories to the point when they were separated. On her fourteenth birthday she finds herself standing in the dustbin alley, where it all began . . .

The Skin I'm In by Sharon G Flake

Maleeka's life at school is a misery. She's even taunted by the black kids for being black. Here's a story about finding the strength to rise above it, and learning how to make the right friends.

Georgie by Malachy Doyle

Georgie desperately needs help to overcome his terrible past and start living a normal life again, but who is brave enough to help him?

The Girl Who Knew by Sandra Glover

Injured in a hit-and-run accident, Kits learns more about her best friend than she ever knew before. She learns that her friend is in danger, and she knows that she is the only one who can help.

Daddy-Long-Legs by Jean Webster

A trustee of the orphanage offers to send Judy Abbott to college. But he insists on anonymity. All he asks is that she write a letter to him once a month to let him know of her progress through college. She is to address him as JohnSmith, and she is to expect no reply. So, you see, it is a rather one-sided correspondence!

True Believer by Virginia Euwer Wolff

Verna La Vaughn, still sees college as her way out of the poverty trap, but finds it's easy to slip on a banana skin if you keep your eyes too firmly fixed on the horizon.

Heathrow Nights by Jan Mark

Excluded from a school trip, where best to hide out for a week than in the middle of a huge crowd of people, all busy going somewhere? But a week gives plenty of time for reflection on what's gone wrong . . .

Coram Boy by Jamila Gavin

You need a lot of luck to survive the accident of birth in the eighteenth century, especially if you are born into poverty, or illegitimate, or if your path crosses that of Otis Gardiner, Coram man, trader in babies, blackmail and despair . . .

And The Stars Were Gold by Gaye Hicyilmaz

In 1940 a young Polish boy is dragged from his bed, given thirty minutes to pack, and transported with his mother and brother thousands of miles acrossEurope to Kazakhstan.

The Wreck of the Zanzibar by Michael Morpurgo

Every day is a struggle for survival on the tiny island of Bryher in the Scilly Isles, but storms and wrecks can bring bounty as well as hardship.

Milo's Wolves by Jenny Nimmo

Laura doesn't believe that Gwendal is her long-lost brother. But what else could he be? He seems to have enemies, but he seems to have powerful friends too . . .

Joe's Story by Rachel Anderson

Short story about the choices which Joe faces when his family is threatened by illness, and worse.

Storm by Suzanne Fisher Staples

How could the loyalty of a childhood friendship withstand the onslaught of adult hypocrisy and racism?

Walkabout by James Vance Marshall

Stranded in the Australian desert after a plane crash, Mary and Peter go on a reluctant walkabout with an Aboriginal boy.

The Leap by Jonathan Stroud

Charlie has lost her best friend Max. He drowned at the mill pond. Or was he bewitched? And can she really fetch him back?

Music on the Bamboo Radio by Martin Booth

Hiding out with Chinese friends for the duration of the war after Hong Kong surrenders to the Japanese Army, Nicholas Holford becomes useful both to the Chinese Communist guerrillas and the British Army, who are working together against the Japanese.

The Friends by Rosa Guy

Two girls from different class and culture grow slowly to understand what true friendship is.

Pictures in the Dark by Gillian Cross

The otter is many things to many people. To Charlie it is a challenge, to photograph in its natural habitat. To Peter it is wild and free, something whichPeter isn't. And to Peter's father it is vermin, and must be exterminated.

Flour Babies by Anne Fine

Actually it's a 3 kg bag of flour. Simon loves his flour baby, but it is a real strain looking after it. How much worse is the real thing?

Face by Benjamin Zephaniah

Martin suffers terrible facial injuries in an accident. Can he still be his old self when he goes back to school afterwards?

The Eclipse of the Century by Jan Mark

Keith dreams about a strange place, Quantoum. But when he seeks out the place and visits, his dream becomes a nightmare.

Dreaming in Black and White by Reinhardt Jung

How it was to be a disabled child in the Third Reich.

Dead Guilty by David Belbin

Disturbing story of false accusation and betrayal. Bewildered and isolated,Jon confesses to a crime that he did not commit.

Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian

Away from his deprived and brutal background in London, Willie Beech is thrown a lifeline when he is evacuated to the country.

I Have Lived A Thousand Years by Livia Bitton-Jackson

The memoir of Elli Friedman, who recounts what it was like to be one of the few teenage inmates of Auschwitz.

I Am David by Anne Holm

Escaping from a concentration camp, David learns to live life as he tramps across Europe.

Greg by Dirk Walbrecker

Greg wakes up one morning to discover he has turned into a gigantic caterpillar!

Friedrich by Hans Peter Richter

A tale of two boys in Hitler's Germany - one boy is German, the other is a German Jew.

The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier

The silver sword, a little paper-knife, is a symbol of hope to four children as they make their way across the wastes of post-war Europe from Warsaw to Switzerland in search of their parents.

Zarconi's Magic Flying Fish by Kirsty Murray

Gus, dumped on grandparents he didn't know he had, in a travelling circus that he's never heard of, finds to his surprise, that it's where he belongs.

The Machine-Gunners by Robert Westall

Children capture a German machine-gun, but their dream of defending their fortress against the German invasion turns into a nightmare.

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

Anna and her family try to make a new life for themselves as refugees in Europe in 1933.

Carrie's War by Nina Bawden

Life as an evacuee with the difficult Mr Evans is bad enough. But did Carrie also bring down a curse on those she loved, living at Druid's Bottom?

Daggers by Roger J Green

Could Caroline's great Aunt Clara really have killed a man once?

Dosh by Robert Swindells

Bullying only works because the victims don't fight back - right? So, what happens if the victims join forces, and do fight back? Push and Pull, settle their differences.

Girl in Red by Gaye Hicyilmaz

Frankie is captivated by the Romanian gypsy girl who comes to live in his council block, but his mother leads the opposition fight to get them evicted.

The Cay by Theodore Taylor

Can a blind boy really survive alone on a desert island without a fresh water supply and without food save what can be fished from the sea?

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

A true story about a young American Indian girl left behind by her people when they move from their remote island home to the mainland.

Undercurrents by June Oldham

The receding water level in the reservoir reveals a submerged village. But long-submerged emotions also reappear . . .

Kensuke's Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo

Michael is washed up onto a lonely desert island, only to find it is already occupied . . .

Raider by Susan Gates

Working together on a school project, Maddy and Flora discover the truth about a forty-year-old lie, and some truths about each other.

Humanzee by Susan Gates

Chingwe, the Missing Link, (maybe), rescued from a freak show, becomes an object of interest to scientists and fundamental Christians. Both sides feel they have a point to make. But Nemo, flea handler extraordinaire at his parent's flea circus, just wants Chingwe to enjoy a quiet old age . . .

The Sighting by Jan Mark

A family bust-up fifty years ago. What was it all about? Did uncle Tom really see aliens at the bottom of the garden?

The Shark Callers by Eric Campbell

Two boys. One calls up the sharks intentionally to hunt them, one calls them up unintentionally, and finds himself hunted.

Make Lemonade by Virginia Euwer Wolff

Two young girls caught in the poverty trap both realize that life has handed them a lemon.

Tag by Michael Coleman

Motto looks after Pete. Pete looks after Motto. Except neither of them is very good at the job. And tagging really isn't the answer to anything.

Kiss the Dust by Elizabeth Laird

One day Tara is an ordinary schoolgirl, next day she is fleeing for her life to an Iranian refugee camp as an enemy alien. And where next?

Tell Me No Lies by Malorie Blackman

Gemma really likes Mike and wants to be his friend, so why does she bully him?

Zlata's Diary by Zlata Filipovic

An eleven year old's life in Sarajevo during the civil war.

Little Soldier by Bernard Ashley

It's bad enough, losing your family in a civil war. How can you put all your memories to one side and start a new life, in a different country?

Junk by Melvin Burgess

Leave home at fourteen. Life over at twenty. Not dead though, still having to live it. Heroin addiction.

Elephant Ben by Geoffrey Malone

Real-life safari adventure. Ben and his gamewarden father rescue a baby elephant from a swamp. One good deed deserves another . . .

Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah

Agonizing childhood as an unloved and unwanted daughter.

Blind Beauty by K M Peyton

The horse is a winner. The girl is a loser. Can the horse make anything of her? All the excitement of the Winner's Enclosure at the Grand National.