Stories about family and friends
The topic might feel familiar, but Wendy's selection shows that the strangest, funniest and surprising things can happen in the most familiar of settings.
Stories about families and friends for 6–7 year olds
- Girl Wonder and the Terrific Twins by Malorie Blackman (Random House)
One of a series of feisty adventure stories about fearless Maxine and her twin brother. Entertaining and accessible.
- Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown (Egmont)
Stanley is an ordinary boy with a big problem—one night a giant pinboard falls on him, leaving him flat enough to be sent through the post in a large envelope. I love his brother’s idea to solve the problem.
- Azzi In Between by Sarah Garland (Frances Lincoln)
An unusual graphic novel for all primary-aged children. Azzi’s family have to leave their home and country to be safe. The book tells of their arrival and early days in their new country, dealing with a new home, school, language, and way of life. A beautiful story of hope.
- Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman, illustrated by Caroline Binch (Frances Lincoln)
A great picture book that reminds readers that girls can do anything. Look out for other stories about Grace as she goes on to meet her African family.
- Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel (HarperCollins)
This collection of five Frog and Toad stories is brilliant as they are perfect for beginner readers, warm and about real things. Frog and Toad are great characters.
Stories about families and friends for 8–9 year olds
- Eating Things on Sticks by Anne Fine (Random House)
Harry is in trouble. He’s burnt down the kitchen so must spend the summer with his uncle and new girlfriend Morning Glory on a remote island. Great fun—and, of course, things don’t quite turn out as expected.
- Angels Next Door by Karen McCombie (Puffin)
Life is tough for Riley when her best friend moves away. Things begin to look up when the three mysterious Angelo sisters move in next door.
- Waffle Hearts: Lena and Me in Mathildewick Cove by Pip Jones, illustrated by Ella Okstad (Faber)
A story of love, friendship, and growing up, set in Norway. Chapters can be read rather like short stories, but readers will get hooked and want to read the whole thing. Gives a wonderful picture of life and customs in another land.
- My Mum’s Going to Explode by Jeremy Strong (Puffin)
The story of the arrival of a new baby in the family as you’ve never heard it before. Totally hilarious.
- The Happy Prince
by Oscar Wilde
The Happy Prince is a wonderful, classic tale of the love and friendship between the statue of a prince and a swallow. They give everything to those in need in this sad but uplifting story. The Jane Ray picture book version is stunning but you get more Oscar Wilde stories in the book illustrated by P.J. Lynch !
Stories about families and friends for 9–12 year olds
- Little Women by Louisa M. Alcott (Oxford)
Little Women was first published in 1868/9 and is still popular. There have been plays, films, and musicals, but the book tells the story of the four March girls, Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy, more memorably than any of them. Probably best for the upper end of this age range.
- Skellig by David Almond (Hodder)
A book like nothing you have read before. Michael’s baby sister is very ill and in the midst of family drama, he finds Skellig, a down-and-out creature with a love of Chinese food, in the garage. Who is he? What is he? Does he mean to help or to harm? The story is magical and moving and must be read.
- The Quigleys by Simon Mason (David Fickling Books)
Simon Mason writes about everyday things, people, and events and shows just how interesting and funny they can be. The book contains four stories about the Quigleys: Mum, Dad, Will, and Lucy. The characters are really well developed, and if your child is eager to read more, look out for The Quigleys at Large.
- Saffy’s Angel by Hilary McKay (Hodder)
The first of a series of stories about the Casson children who live a somewhat crazy life with an eccentric mother and an often absent father. The children all star in their own book. In this story, Saffy thinks she is the second child, but is she? When her grandfather leaves her a stone angel in his will, she must go on a journey to discover the truth of her past. Wonderful!
- Tiger Moth by Suzi Moore (Simon & Schuster)
Alice is adopted, and is shocked when she discovers that her mother is having a baby—will her parents still love her? In Zack’s life, tragedy strikes, but when he meets and begins to make friends with Alice, they both realize that a friend can help when life is tough.