The best books for 11+ candidates

Owl Tutors

October 6th, 2020

Last updated: May 20th, 2022

The best books for 11+ candidates

In this blog, Emily offers some suggested reading matter for those students embarking on their 11+ journey. There are many more to come so keep an eye on the blog for any reluctant readers out there!

The single most important thing for any successful student is getting stuck into a good book.  I’ve met so many children over the years who claimed to be reluctant readers but they just hadn’t found the right book yet!  Here are some of my favourite reads for anyone heading towards that 11+ exam…


Gary Paulson

An easier read but loved by every boy I’ve ever taught.  A story of survival in the unforgiving Canadian wilderness, after a plane crash.  Your child will be wanting to build dens in the garden and certainly won’t be able to put this one down!

Northern Lights

Philip Pullman

A modern classic, this is an incredible story of magic, friendship, adventure and the fight for truth.  Set in an alternate yet recognisable world, this is the first of a trilogy that pulls you in and grips you until the very end.  Breathtaking.

The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tyler

Gene Kemp

I remember reading this when I was around 8 or 9 and was enthralled by such a colourful, unforgettable central character.  The twist at the end is the first time I ever remember being open-mouthed at the ending of a book!  A classic.

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas

John Boyne

Unforgettable in every way, this is a haunting and incredibly emotional book about the power of friendship…and hate.

A Monster Calls

Patrick Ness

Full of anger, hope, desperation and despair: as a book about terminal illness, this is a tough one to read.  I read it in a day, however, as I simply couldn’t put it down, and so I think it’s an important one to have on the shelf.

Animal Farm

George Orwell

A classic in every way, this novel can be enjoyed simply as a fable, or for the more discerning, a political satire.  What could be more appropriate in today’s world than to question ‘all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others’?!

Related subjects

11 Plus

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