Top 10 Tuesday: Children’s stand-alone novels

Last Sunday was International Children’s Book Day, so this week’s Top 10 Tuesday is, of course, about children’s books. There are lots of excellent series out there for children but sometimes stand-alone novels get left in the dust. Several publishers and editors have commented on the difficulty of selling a stand-alone novel due to lack of ‘shelf-presence’, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less worthwhile.

Here are ten of my stand-alone recommendations for children:


Bridge to Terabithia – Katherine Paterson

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Jess wants to be the fastest runner in his grade. He’s been practicing all summer and can’t wait to see his classmates’ faces when he beats them all. But on the first day of school, a new girl Leslie boldly crosses over to the boys’ side and outruns everyone.

Together they create Terabithia, a magical kingdom in the woods where the two of them reign as king and queen, and their imaginations set the only limits… until tragedy strikes.

Kim says: Imaginative and heart-wrenching. A book everyone should read.


The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett

Secret garden Orphaned Mary Lennox comes to live at her uncle’s great house on the Yorkshire Moors. At night, she hears the sound of crying down one of the long corridors and discovers an incredible secret.

Kim says: One of my all-time favourites, I’ve re-read this book more times than I can count.


The Hounds of the Morrigan – Pat O’Shea

hounds of the morrigan
A wonderfully written fantasy set in the west of Ireland, which tells of the coming of the Great Queen who is bent on bringing destruction to the world. Only Pidge and Brigit can stop her, and their task seems impossible as they’re constantly trailed by the queen’s hounds. But they’re aided in their quest by a host of willing helpers – a glorious array of unforgettable characters.
Kim says: Refreshing and different, with an ancient, impossible villain. Something for the myth-lover.

The Tulip Touch – Anne Fine

Tulip touch

The story of a strange and disturbing friendship seen through the eyes of Natalie as she gets to know Tulip Pierce, a deliquent girl most others go out of their way to avoid. At first, Natalie finds Tulip’s behaviour exciting and dangerous but as Tulip’s games become increasingly dangerous and sinister, she realises her friend is going too far. Way too far…

Kim says: Sinister and gripping, with an idea that will stay with you for years. An urban horror for children.


One – Sarah Crossan

One sarah crossan Grace and Tippi are conjoined twins, joined at the waist, defying the odds of survival for sixteen years. They share everything, and they are everything to each other. They would never imagine being apart. For them, that would be the real tragedy. But something is happening to them. Something they hoped would never happen. And Grace doesn’t want to admit it. Not even to Tippi.

Kim says: Emotional and enlightening book written in beautiful free-verse.


Goodnight Mister Tom – Michelle Magorian

good night mister tom
London is poised on the brink of World War II. Timid, scrawny Willie Beech is evacuated to the English countryside. At first, he is terrified of everything, of the country sounds and sights, even of Mr. Tom, the gruff, kindly old man who has taken him in. But gradually Willie forgets the hate and despair of his past. He learns to love a world he never knew existed, full of affection… and then a telegram comes.
Kim says: A story that has stayed with me ever since I read it at seven years’ old. A true classic.

The Carpet People – Terry Pratchett

carpet people
In the beginning, there was nothing but endless flatness. Then came the Carpet . . .That’s the old story everyone knows and loves. But now the Carpet is home to many different tribes and peoples, and there’s a new story in the making. Two brothers set out on an adventure to end all adventures when their village is flattened.
Kim says: My introduction to the late, great Sir Pratchett, which led to many years of Discworld joy.

Rebecca’s World – Terry Nation

Rebecca's World It was the eleventh day of the school holidays and Rebecca was bored. But events take a dramatic turn for the better (or worse) when she finds herself transported to a distant planet whose people are terrorized by jelly-like monsters called Ghosts.

Kim says: One of my first literary loves. Brilliant and funny adventure with great characters.


The Lie Tree – Frances Hardinge

the_lie_tree_front_cover Faith has a thirst for science and secrets that the rigid confines of her class cannot suppress. And so it is that she discovers her disgraced father’s journals, filled with the scribbled notes and theories of a man driven close to madness. Tales of a strange tree which, when told a lie, will uncover a truth: the greater the lie, the greater the truth revealed to the liar. Faith’s search for the tree leads her into great danger – for where lies seduce, truths shatter…

Kim says: Beautifully constructed mystery that deserves (and received) the 2015 Costa Book Award.


The Secret of Platform 13 – Eva Ibbotson

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A forgotten door on an abandoned railway platform is the entrance to a magical kingdom – an island where humans live happily with feys, mermaids, ogres, and other wonderful creatures. Carefully hidden from the world, the Island is only accessible when the door opens for nine days every nine years. A lot can go wrong in nine days. When the beastly Mrs. Trottle kidnaps the prince of the Island, it’s up to a strange band of rescuers to save him. But can an ogre, a hag, a wizard, and a fey really troop around London unnoticed?
Kim says: Fantastic feel-good story in the style of a long traditional fairytale. Not to be missed.

Have I missed any?

Let me know!

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