Classic Books That Every Child Should Read Before They Leave Primary School

Summer is over and children are back at school in some form or other and as everyone settles back into the school term, it is important to remind parents that they must keep their children’s literary knowledge up to a standard that ensures their future progression. We have gathered a list of classic books that children should read before they leave primary school and help parents build up their children’s library at home.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

The story follows the lives of the four March sisters—Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy—and details their passage from childhood to womanhood. It is loosely based on the lives of the author and her three sisters.

Charlie and The Chocolate Factory- Roald Dahl

The story features the adventures of young Charlie Bucket inside the chocolate factory of eccentric chocolatier Willy Wonka.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe- C.S. Lewis

Narnia…the land beyond the wardrobe door, a secret place frozen in eternal winter, a magical country waiting to be set free.

Black Beauty- Anna Sewell

Black Beauty is one of the best-selling books of all time.

The BFG-Roald Dahl

Kidsnatched from her orphange by a BFG (Big Friendly Giant), who spends his life blowing happy dreams to children, Sophie concocts a plan with him to save the world from nine other man-gobbling cannybull giants.

A Bear Called Paddington- Michael Bond

Mr. and Mrs. Brown first met Paddington, a most endearing bear from Darkest Peru on a railway platform in London. A sign hanging around his neck said, “Please look after this bear. Thank you” So that is just what they did.

Treasure Island- Robert Louis Stevenson

Treasure Island’s timeless tale of pirates, lost treasure maps and mutiny.

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn- Mark Twain

boy from a Mississippi River town recounts his adventures as he travels down the river with a runaway slave, encountering a family involved in a feud.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter, a young wizard who discovers his magical heritage on his eleventh birthday, when he receives a letter of acceptance to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Matilda- Roald Dahl

‘Matilda’ is about a very smart girl who is ignored by her parents. Matilda learns she has a special power and uses it to help teachers and students at her school

The Railway Children- E. Nesbit

The comfortable lives of three well-mannered siblings are greatly altered when, one evening, two men arrive at the house and take their father away. With the family’s fortunes considerably reduced in his absence, the children and their mother are forced to live in a simple country cottage near a railway station. There the young trio—Roberta, Peter, and young Phyllis—befriend the porter and station master.

Oliver Twist- Charles Dickens

The story centres on orphan Oliver Twist, born in a workhouse and sold into apprenticeship with an undertaker. After escaping, Oliver travels to London, where he meets the “Artful Dodger”, a member of a gang of juvenile pickpockets led by the elderly criminal Fagin.

The Wind in the Willows- Kenneth Grahame

The book focuses on four anthropomorphised animals: Mole, Rat, Toad, and Badger. They live in a pastoral version of Edwardian England.

The Jungle Book- Rudyard Kipling

Most of the characters are animals such as Shere Khan the tiger and Baloo the bear, though a principal character is the boy or “man-cub” Mowgli, who is raised in the jungle by wolves.

Charlotte’s Web- EB White

The novel tells the story of a livestock pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte.

The Hobbit -J.R.Tolkien

Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, is persuaded into accompanying a wizard and a group of dwarves on a journey to reclaim the city of Erebor and all its riches from the dragon Smaug.

The Secret Garden- Frances Hodgson-Burnett

Mary, returns to England from India, having lost both her parents in a cholera epidemic, she is given to the care of her uncle Archibald Craven, whom she has never met. She travels to his home in Yorkshire. Once when he’s away from home, Mary discovers a charming walled garden which is always kept locked.

The Little Prince Antoine De Saint-Exupery

The story follows a young prince who visits various planets in space, including Earth, and addresses themes of loneliness, friendship, love, and loss.

Anne of Green Gables- L.M.Montgomery

Anne Shirley, an 11-year-old orphan girl, is mistakenly sent to two middle-aged siblings, who had originally intended to adopt a boy to help them on their farm in the fictional town of Avonlea. The follows Anne through life with the Cuthberts, in school, and within the town.

 Little House on the Prairie- Laura Ingalls Wilder

Written by Laura Ingalls Wilder, based on her childhood and adolescence in the American Midwest between 1870 and 1894.

War Horse  Michael Morpurgo

The story recounts the experiences of Joey, a horse purchased by the Army for service in World War I in France and the attempts of young Albert, his previous owner, to bring him safely home.

The Sword In The Stone T. H. White

A fantasy of the boyhood of King Arthur that combines elements of legend, history, fantasy and comedy.


*This article was first published on Nasher News

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