10 Favourites from the 2021 Top 50 Kids’ Books for Older Readers

10 Favourites from the 2021 Top 50 Kids’ Books for Older Readers

2021 was a fantastic year for older readers, with old favourites and new contenders in our annual Top 50 Kids’ Books. We had Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone take the number one spot, still sparking imagination almost 25 years since its release. We also have some new favourites on the list including The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell, and Invisible Boys by Holden Sheppard, a book that tackles important and relevant issues for teens.

Whether it be kids starting to read independently, or young teens looking for a foray into more adult reading, here are 10 of our favourite picks for older readers from the 2021 Top 50 Kids’ list:

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

Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Then, on Harry’s eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

Ages 9+

Invisible Boys by Holden Sheppard

On the surface, nerd Zeke, punk Charlie and footy wannabe Hammer look like they have nothing in common. But scratch that surface and you’d find three boys in the throes of coming to terms with their homosexuality in a town where it is invisible.

Ages 12+

Nevermoor #1: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

A breathtaking, enchanting new series by debut Australian author Jessica Townsend, about a cursed girl who escapes death and finds herself in a magical world – but is then tested beyond her wildest imagination.

Ages 8+

Percy Jackson #1: Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief by Rick Riordan

The first bestselling book in Rick Riordan’s phenomenally successful Percy Jackson series. Half boy. Half God. All Hero. Look, I never asked to be the son of a Greek God. I was just a normal kid, going to school, playing basketball, skateboarding. The usual. Until I accidentally vaporized my maths teacher. Now I spend my time battling monsters and generally trying to stay alive.

Ages 9+

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

The unforgettable, life-affirming and internationally bestselling story of August Pullman – a boy who’s desperate to blend in, but is destined to stand out because of the way he looks. Now an Oscar nominated film starring Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Jacob Tremblay.

Ages 9+

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White & Garth Williams

This is the story of a little girl named Fern who loved a little pig named Wilbur and of Wilbur’s dear friend, Charlotte A. Cavatica, a beautiful large grey spider. With the unlikely help of Templeton the rat, and a wonderfully clever plan of her own, Charlotte saves the life of Wilbur, who by this time has grown up to be quite a pig. A time-honoured classic favourite.

Ages 6+

The Wizards of Once #1 by Cressida Cowell

From the bestselling author of How to Train Your Dragon comes an exciting high-adventure series – set in an ancient, magical time, full of Wizards, Warriors, Giants and Sprites. This is the story of a young boy Wizard and a young girl Warrior who have been taught since birth to hate each other like poison; and the thrilling tale of what happens when their two worlds collide.

Ages 8+

Tomorrow, When The War Began by John Marsden

Somewhere out there Ellie and her friends are hiding. They’re shocked, they’re frightened, they’re alone. Their world has changed, with the speed of a slamming door. How strong can you be, when the world is full of people trying to kill you?

Ages 13+

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda Wormwood’s father thinks she’s a little scab. Matilda’s mother spends all afternoon playing bingo. And Matilda’s headmistress Miss Trunchbull? Well, she’s the worst of all. As for Matilda, she’s an extraordinary little girl with a magical mind – and now she’s had enough.

Ages 8+

Anne of Green Gables by L.M Montgomery

Kieran Elliott’s life changed forever on the day a reckless mistake led to devastating consequences. The guilt that still haunts him resurfaces during a visit with his young family to the small coastal community he once called home.

Ages 9+


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