Top Ten Books for Confident Readers 2013

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Jinx, the Wizard's Apprentice by Sage Blackwood

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Going to work for the rather scary wizard Simon Magus seems a better bet to young Jinx than staying at home—which just goes to show how horrid stepparents can be. But is Simon kindly and generous, or cruel and wicked? Full review...

The Child's Elephant by Rachel Campbell-Johnston

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A wonderfully written story about the bond between a child and an animal, this unforgettable debut novel also tells the reader much about traditional African culture and the horror of the lives of child soldiers. Full review...

Ethan's Voice by Rachel Carter

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Ethan lives on a canal boat with his parents. It’s an exciting, different life, and if it were mine I’d never stop talking to my friends about it. But Ethan is different, because he doesn’t have friends and he also doesn’t talk. Ever. His parents have got used to this. They ask him questions he can nod or shake his head to. They took him out of school and teach him at home so he doesn’t have to suffer the curious looks and mean words of other kids. They have a nice, simple life, just the three of them, and it’s all ok thank you very much. Full review...

Young Knights of the Round Table by Julia Golding

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When the Fey stole Rick, centuries before, they told him he had been abandoned by his parents. All his life he has been trained to believe that humans are the enemy. Now there's a rumour that the Knights of the Round Table are re-forming to defeat Avalon, and he is sent to stop them. Once there he faces two challenges: firstly he discovers that the Fey have been lying to him — and secondly, he has to cope with being a modern teenager. There's also a 5* sequel. Full review...

The Red Fairy Book (Hesperus Fairytale Books) by Andrew Lang

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Beautiful edition of one of Andrew Lang's world famous series collating fairy stories. One read could never be enough. You'll return to them over and over again. Full review...

The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson

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A memoir by one of the youngest people on Oskar Schindler's list of Jews saved from the Nazis. Simply, but evocatively and heartbreakingly told, this is something that should be read by children and adults alike. Full review...

The River Singers by Tom Moorhouse

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Four young water voles are forced to abandon their home and set off on a dangerous and eventful journey to find a safe place to live. Along the way they encounter many challenges and difficulties as they learn the importance of bravery, loyalty and true friendship. This charming book has a classic feel to it. Full review...

The Burning Shadow (Gods and Warriors Book 2) by Michelle Paver

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This second book in the Gods and Warriors sequence is exciting, interesting and, well, just super. The characters move forwards and the animal character is wonderful. And of course, it's beautifully researched. The first book in the series was also a 5* read. Full review...

Goblins vs Dwarves by Philip Reeve

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The goblins of Clovenstone are under attack by dwarves, and although fighting is one of their absolute favourite activities (after eating and stealing) the only-just-contained chaos of their lives means they haven't a chance against the efficient and determined underworlders. Once again Skarper the goblin and Henwyn the not-quite-a-hero are called upon to save the day. The first book in the series was also a 5* read. Full review...

The Sleeping Army by Francesca Simon

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Freya's England is much the same as ours, except that people still worship the old Norse and Anglo-Saxon Gods. Feeling bored as she waits for her father to finish his shift at the British Museum one evening, Freya blows the ceremonial horn which stands behind the Lewis Chessmen, and suddenly she finds herself being frogmarched to Asgard. She is in BIG trouble. There's also a 5* sequel. Full review...

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