Books To Inspire

Reading lists to inspire the next generation of world changers...

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Asterix in Britain written by René Goscinny illustrated by Albert Uderzo
Baby Goes to Market written by Atinuke illustrated by Angela Brooksbank
Coraline written by Neil Gaiman illustrated by Chris Riddell
Dr Maggie’s Grand Tour of the Solar System by Maggie Aderin Pocock
Funky Chickens by Benjamin Zephaniah
Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
How to Train Your Dragon series by Cressida Cowell
Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love
Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers
Overheard in a Towerblock written by Joseph Coelho illustrated by Kate Milner.JPG
Pig Heart Boy by Malorie Blackman
Pippi Longstocking written by Astrid Lindgren translated by Tiina Nunnally illustrated by Lauren Child
Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo.JPG
So Much written by Trish Cooke illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
The Boy at the Back of the Class written by Onjali Q Rauf illustrated by Pippa Curnick
The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver
The Complete MAUS by Art Spiegelman
The Diamond Brothers series by Anthony Horowitz
The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
The Illustrated Mum written by Jacqueline Wilson illustrated by Nick Sharratt
The Little Prince written by Antoine de Saint Exupery translated by Katherine Woods
The Lorax by Dr Seuss
The Lost Words written by Robert Macfarlane and illustrated by Jackie Morris
The Promise written by Nicola Davies illustrated by Laura Carlin
The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
The Truth Pixie written by Matt Haig illustrated by Chris Mould
The Way Things Work by David Macaulay and Neil Ardley
When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
You're a Bad Man Mr Gum! written by Andy Stanton illustrated by David Tazzyman
Aarhus39
Crongton Knights by Alex Wheatle
Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama
Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates
Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods
Goggle Eyes by Anne Fine
His Dark Materials series by Philip Pullman
How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
Mabinogion by Anon
Nothing by Janne Teller
Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
Odyssey translated by Emily Wilson by Homer
On the Road by Jack Kerouac
Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence
Small Island by Andrea Levy
Tape by Steven Camden
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox
The Wheel of Surya by Jamila Gavin
Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh
We Are Displaced   My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World edited by Malala Yousafzai
White Teeth by Zadie Smith
Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal by Jeanette Winterson
Wonder by RJ Palacio
You Got This by Bryony Gordon
Zoom! by Simon Armitage

It's no secret we love books. Opening access to books for young people, and promoting the importance of reading for pleasure, is a big part of what we do here and around the world.

In our 32nd year, we've partnered with our friends at TES to create a list of 32 books that we believe will inspire the next generation - one list for primary schools, and one for secondary - drawn for hundreds of public nominations online.

These are the books we think every library and school should have on their shelves because they are full of engaging perspectives and important stories for young people to encounter. Take a look and share your additions to the lists online now using #BooksToInspire.

Book now to see a star-studded panel of writers and thinkers discuss the selections live at Hay Festival Wales on Monday 27 May.

Primary List

  • Dr Maggie’s Grand Tour of the Solar System by Maggie Aderin-Pocock more info
  • Baby Goes to Market written by Atinuke, illustrated by Angela Brooksbank more info
  • Pig Heart Boy by Malorie Blackman more info
  • The Snowman by Raymond Briggs more info
  • Overheard in a Towerblock written by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Kate Milner more info
  • So Much written by Trish Cooke, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury more info
  • How to Train Your Dragon (series) by Cressida Cowell more info
  • Matilda written by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake more info
  • The Promise written by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Laura Carlin more info
  • Coraline written by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Chris Riddell more info
  • Asterix in Britain written by René Goscinny, illustrated by Albert Uderzo more info
  • The Truth Pixie written by Matt Haig, illustrated by Chris Mould more info
  • The Diamond Brothers (series) by Anthony Horowitz more info
  • Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers more info
  • When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr more info
  • Pippi Longstocking written by Astrid Lindgren, translated by Tiina Nunnally, illustrated by Lauren Child more info
  • Julian is a Mermaid by Jessica Love more info
  • The Way Things Work Now by David Macaulay and Neil Ardley more info
  • The Lost Words written by Robert Macfarlane and illustrated by Jackie Morris more info
  • Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo more info
  • A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness more info
  • The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness (series) by Michelle Paver more info
  • The Boy at the Back of the Class written by Onjali Q Rauf, illustrated by Pippa Curnick more info
  • Harry Potter (series) by JK Rowling more info
  • The Little Prince written by Antoine de Saint-Exupery, translated by Katherine Woods more info
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak more info
  • The Lorax by Dr Seuss more info
  • The Complete MAUS by Art Spiegelman more info
  • You're a Bad Man, Mr Gum! written by Andy Stanton, illustrated by David Tazzyman more info
  • The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien more info
  • The Illustrated Mum written by Jacqueline Wilson, illustrated by Nick Sharratt more info
  • Funky Chickens by Benjamin Zephaniah more info

Secondary List

  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie more info
  • Mabinogion by Anon more info
  • Zoom! by Simon Armitage more info
  • The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood more info
  • Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates more info
  • Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman more info
  • Tape by Steven Camden more info
  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky more info
  • Girls Are Coming Out of the Woods by Tishani Doshi more info
  • Goggle-Eyes by Anne Fine more info
  • The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox more info
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank more info
  • The Wheel of Surya by Jamila Gavin more info
  • You Got This by Bryony Gordon
  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon more info
  • Odyssey by Homer translated by Emily Wilson more info
  • Dr Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation by Olivia Judson more info
  • On the Road by Jack Kerouac more info
  • Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence more info
  • Small Island by Andrea Levy more info
  • Dreams from My Father by Barack Obama more info
  • Wonder by R. J. Palacio more info
  • His Dark Materials (series) by Philip Pullman more info
  • How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff more info
  • White Teeth by Zadie Smith more info
  • Nothing by Janne Teller more info
  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas more info
  • Trainspotting by Irvine Welsh more info
  • Crongton Knights by Alex Wheatle more info
  • Why Be Happy When You Can Be Normal? by Jeanette Winterson more info
  • We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World edited by Malala Yousafzai more info
  • Aarhus 39 Quest & Odyssey: Stories of journeys from across Europe by various more info