Best books ~ picked by kids for kids

Every term, as part of my workshops at CWC, my students and I read and discuss fourteen books. This year I thought I would share the books that we studied in my “Junior Novel” class. We always rate the books out of 10. Here’s the list of our books, in order of preference, based on the average score. All the books are worth checking out! You’ll notice that the lowest average score was 7.0.

The Great Good Thing.

1: The Great Good Thing by Roderick Townley
Just what do characters get up to when they are not being read? This book is a must-read for anyone who likes to write!
Average score: 9.0

* * *

Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes

2: Peter Nimble and his Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier
This lengthier book is told in a classical fashion—and a marvellous first line (oh, how I love good first lines). The author provides some delightful illustrations.
Average score: 8.7

* * *

An Elephant in the Garden
3: An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo

One of my favourite authors indulges in his favourit subject: animals in the midst of World War II.
Average score: 80.5

* * *

The Familiars

4: The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobsen
This book rated very high with my older students—even though I thought it would be for a younger audience (my younger class, by contrast, had some very rancorous response!).
Average score: 8.0

* * *

The Lemonade Crime

5: The Lemonade Crime by Jacqueline Davies
An engaging and thought-provoking sequel to The Lemonade War. Generally for the Grade 4 set, but my older kids obviously liked it well enough.
Average score: 7.6

* * *

Messenger.

6: Messenger by Lois Lowry
Another favourite author and a companion novel to The Giver. This book didn’t rate as high with the students as the other companion novel they studied last term, Gathering Blue.
Average score: 7.6

* * *

The Mystery of the Whistling Caves

7: The Mystery of the Whistling Caves by Helen Moss
In the grand tradition of the Hardy Boys comes this book told in a classical, straight-forward fashion.
Average score: 7.5

* * *

No Such Things as Dragons

8: No Such Things as Dragons by Philip Reeve
A well-told story about the thrilling hunt for an elusive beast . . . will you root for the hunter or the hunted?
Average score: 7.4

* * *

The Wee Free Men

9: Wee Free Men by Terry Pratchett
This is one of my personal all-time favourites; I wish my kids would have agreed! But they found the dialogue of the Feegles challenges (Ack! Crivens! Ye Ken?).
Average score: 7.3

* * *

The Unluckiest Boy in the World

10: The Unluckiest Boy in the World by Andrew Norriss
This is one of my new favourite books. I wish my students loved this one as much as me!
Average score: 7.25

* * *

The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman.

11: The Secret Life of Ms. Finkleman by Ben H. Winters
My students felt this book’s secret wasn’t much of a secret after all, but I loved the musical plot.
Average score: 7.2

* * *

The Edge Chronicles: Beyond the Deep Woods

12: The Edge Chronicles: Beyond the Deep Woods by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
This book was introduced to me by a student from a writer-in-residence experience I led at a school on the Sunshine Coast—I wished it would have rated higher with this class. The vocabulary is rich and the illustrations are amazing.
Average score: 7.15

* * *

The Tiger Rising

13: Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo
One of my favourite authors delivers a compelling tale about a boy with a fascinating secret.
Average score: 7.1

* * *

Project Mulberry

14: Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park
This is my favourite book by this author, as it features one of my favourite foods (kimchi). The author also uses an interesting device to take us into the heart and mind of her central character.
Average score: 7.0

3 thoughts on “Best books ~ picked by kids for kids

  1. So glad you enjoyed The Unluckiest Boy in the World. Perhaps your students will enjoy another of Andrew Norriss’s books more – Ctrl-Z has a laptop that lets you go back in time, and I Don’t Believe It, Archie! Is sure to make them laugh! Lots of info about Andrew Norriss’s book on my website.

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