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The Use of Story in Religious Education Or Spirituality in Children’s’ literature Part Two – recommended books

April 26, 2015

WATERSHIP DOWN Richard Adams (Puffin) 12+

A saga about rabbits which includes their own mythology of creation and salvation history, their encounters with danger &c. (Community, enemies, one’s on story, sharing)

GO SADDLE THE SEA Joah Aitken (Penguin) 11+

Orphaned Felix sets off to find his family. (Journey through life, determination, saying goodbye, belonging, danger)

BARRIERS Judy Allen (Sphere) 14+

Billy is a public schoolboy aged seventeen with everything going for him; he learns that his parents have been killed in an accident, then that he was adopted. (Bereavement, identity, disruption in lifestyle, quest, danger, privilege)

JEREMY MOUSE AND CAT Althea (Dinosaur) 5+

A mouse provokes a cat and has to hide. (Provoking dispute, enemies)

Facts and pictures about dinosaurs (creation, awe)

SOUNDER William Armstrong (Puffin) 10+

An ugly dog who is unable to protect the black family who owns him when the

father is accused of theft but who remains faithful. (Animals, racism, family love, coping with grave misfortune, courage)

A KIND OF WILD JUSTICE Bernard Ashley (Puffin) 11+

Ronnie is illiterate and lives in fear of London’s criminal underworld (fear, gangs, theft, racism, violence, loneliness)

ALL MY MEN Bernard Ashley (Puffin) 10+

A boy moves to a new town and finds it hard to settle into a new school. (New friends and relationships, the unknown, self—respect, taking charge of one’s destiny.

DODGEM Bernard Ashley (P3dffin) 10+

Simon’s mother dies and his father is depressed so seriously that he truants to look after him and ends up in care. (Understanding others’ problems, bereavemertt, friendship with people very different from oneself)

TERRY ON THE FENCE Bernard Ashley (Puffin) 10+

Terry gets involved in a school robbery and is accused. (Friendship, truth, compromise, being alone or being caught up in ‘structural sin’)

THE TROUBLE WITH DONOVAN CROFT Bernard Ashley (Puffin) 10+

Keith’s parents foster a West Indian boy who will not talk (racism, fear, belonging, friendship and love as means of helping others to find themvelues)

MOULDY’S ORPHAN Gillian Avery (Puffin) 7+

Mouldy brings a poor orphan home to an already crowded family. (Altruism is not always helping, families)

ONE MORE RIVER Lynne Reid Banks (Puffin) 14+

Lesley’s Canadian Jewish parents decide to emigrate to a kibbutz in Israel; she meets an Arab boy across the border river. (Judaism, quest, reconciliation, materialism, divided loyalties)

CARRIE’S WAR Nina Bawden (Puffin) 12+

War—time evacuees coming to terms with a different community and its characters.(Friendship, community, guilt, adventure the supernatural)

THE RUNAWAY SUMMER Nina Bawden (Puffin) 10+ Mary is staying at the sea with her aunt while her parents settle their divorce. She meets Simon and they hide an illegal, Kenyan immigrant. (Divorce, children ‘less well off’, race, fear and evil)

SQUIB Nine Bawden (Puffin) 10+ A girl tries to save a boy from what she believes to be a wicked aunt. (Telling lies, curiosity, fear)

THE WITCH’S DAUGHTER Nina Bawden (Puffin) 10+ (relationships) About a lonely girl who has no family. (Loneliness, prejudice-, blindness, relation

MANY WATERS Violet Bibby (Puffin) 10+

In medieval fen country, Dutch engineers come to drain the fens of Ely and arouse hostility because they threaten to change the whole pattern of life. (Change, foreigners, barriers and reconciliation)

SUPERFUDGE Judy Blume (Piccolo) 11+ A new baby in the family who changes their life. (Change, siblings and jealousy, bobbies)

TIGER EYES Judy Blume (Piccolo) 14+ Davey sees her own father shot dead in a robbery — the story goes through the cycle of bereavement grief. (Death and bereavement)

GANESH Malcolm Bosse (Puffin) 13+ Ganesh copes with his father’s death and cremation and takes his ashes to the Ganges. (Death and bereavement, identity, Hinduism)

A STRANGER AT GREEN KNOWE Lucy Boston (Puffin) 9+

An escaped gorilla is hidden in the woods behind this large house. (Animals, bondage and freedom, a sense of place — all the Green Knowe novels have a very strong sense of place in them).

NOAH AND THE SECOND FLOOD Sheila Burnford (Puffin) 9+

The threat of a flood as the result of exhaust fumes &c. heating up the earth and melting glaciers prompts Mr. Noah to prepare an ark. (Pollution, population explosion, world wildlife, waste)

THE HOUSE OF WINGS Betsy Byers (Puffin) 9+

Sammy stays in his granddad’s run—down house — his parents have ‘dumped him’ and the house is full of ‘pets’. (self—awareness, relationships, caring)


Sharing a holiday with another family (on coping with not being the centre of the universe, barriers and reconciliation, defence mechanisms)

GOOD—BYE CHICKEN LITTLE Betsy Byers (Puffin) 9+

Jimmie’s family is embarrassing; his uncle Pete is always doing reckless things. (Accepting others despite faults)

MADATAN Peter Carter (OUP) 13+

Set in C8th Northumbria during the Norse expansion, Madatan arrives and finds himself sheltered by the Church, the only bastion of learning in; a barbaric age. (Relationships, identity, will to survive, power struggles, reconciliation of conflict)

GRAN AT COALGATE Winifred Cawley (OUP) 13+

During the General Strike, Jinny is worried about her scholarship exam. and is sent to her gran’s where she taste the forbidden fruit of cinemas and fairs, a change from her puritan upbringing. (Struggle to interpret life’s complexity in terms of an all-seeing God, Methodism, industrial relations)

THE GUARDIANS John Christopher (Puffin) 11+

Set in the future when mankind is at peace and everyone of distant wars beyond the boundaries of ‘civilisation’ escapes and crosses the frontiers of Conurb to discover (Censorship, doping of the proletariat, self-knowledge, realise Utopia)


England in the future, after ‘The Great Disaster’ when life has returned to feudalism and machines are hated and men are more violent and superstitious than before. A priestly caste has arisen which rules the country by use of ‘magic’ – in fact the radios and machinery which nobody else understands and which all fear and hate. (Power, censorship, jealousy, structural evil)

See also

THE PRINCE AND THE PAUPER Samuel Clemens (Minster) 11+

Classic story of boys who look alike and change places. The royal heir discovers real poverty, violence &c. (Friendship, empathy, almost incarnation)


A series full of mystery about the fight to recover the Grail by evil men so that they can start their reign again. Merlin is reinarnated and a group of children on holiday get involved in trying to save the grail. (Journey through life, evil, trust, courage, time and eternity, the struggle between darkness and light)

SHADRACH Meindert DeJong (Lutterworth) 9+

Daie has longed for a rabbit for ages and it seems like a miracle each morning when he goes to see it after it has arrived – until it escapes. (Looking forward to things, loss, awe)

THE WHEEL ON THE SCHOOL Meindert DeJong (Puffin) 8+

stoks no longer visit this village in Holland because the roofs are the wrong shape for them to settle; people put wheels on the roofs of their houses so that they will return; the whole community have become involved in what started as a school project. (Wondering, emotions eg. fear, changing relationships, the handicapped, prejudice, community)

COME TO MECCA Farrukh Dhondy (Fontana Lions)

Six stories about children growing up in an inner-city, multi-racial part of London. (Race and prejudice, relationships)

THE DANCING BEAR Peter Dickinson (Puffin) 11+

Set in C6th Byzantium, a dancing bear is employed to celebrate a noble betrothal during which the barbarians attack, people are split uo and travel North. The bear turns out to be the most valuable member of the group. (Describes debates on Christology engaged in by servants and ends in an atonement theme whereby a king averts capital punishment and a slave is freed to marry)


Set in England of the future where people have returned to feudalism and are afraid of machines – a similar set-up to that in John Christopher’s trilogy ­Children get a boat engine working and are condemned as witches and escape to France, where everything is normal. Some Sikhs are condemned as pagans and the children help them to find a less hostile place to live and an American spy comes to England to investigate the Changes and the children have to help him escape. (Co-operation, bondage and freedom, supersitition, prejudice

DINOSAURS AND ALL THAT RUBBISH Michael Foreman (Hamish Hamilton/Puffin) 5+

A fantasy in which an ambitious man litters the earth and then abandons it, the dinosaurs wake after a long sleep and run the earth again; the man has souandered life on another planet and seeks a new planet, returns to earth but does not recognise it. (Pollution, progress, reverence for nature, exploitation, ruthless determination, selfishness, sharing)

THE TWO GIANTS Michael Foreman (Hodder & Stoughton) 5+

Two giants have an argument about something they find on the beach and go to war until they realise it isn’t worth it. (Peace and reconciliation, barriers, the arms race, relationships, sharing.)

THE DIDDAKOI Rumer Godden (Puffin) 10+

Kizzy is half-gypsy and is ostracised at school and later by her on family. Should she deny her roots and become a ‘gorgio’? Understanding people help her. (Loneliness, misery, fear, rebellion, prejudice, outcasts, barriers, unthinking cruelty, conforming, reconciliation, self-awareness and sensitivity to feelings of others, Romany customs, belonging, who is my neighbour?)

THE KITCHEN MADONNA Rumer Godden (Macmillan) 10+

Marta is unhappy, homesick for the Ukraine and her family want her to belong. They find out about the Ukraine and one of the children makes a copy of a famous ikon which has taken him hours. The icon is enthroned in the kitchen with a votive lamp and s he now feels she belongs. (Giving, belonging, the Orthodox Church, icons)

THE GREEN MAN Gail Haley (Bodley Head) +

The green man exchanges clothes with a nobleman who has gone for a swim so the nobleman has to be green man for a sear. (Empathy, harmony with nature, new life, taking things for granted)

KING OF THE KNOCKDOWN GINGERS Geraldine Kaye (Hodder and Stoughton) 9+

Billy is the middle one in the family and feels undervalued. (Search for identity)

MOONFLEET J. Meade Falkner (Puffin) 12+

I am particularly fond of this ‘classic of the Treasure Island genre) because I grew up within miles of the location in which it is set. It is about smuggling and the search for a jewel with the trouble its finding brings. (Relationships, journey through life, possessions, deception)

HARRIET THE SPY Louise Fitzhugh (Fontana Lions) 11+

Harriet imagines herself to be a spy and, to cope with her loneliness, writes about her peers in a secret notebook which is later discovered by them (Loneliness, how we see others and our false impressions, reconciliation, precocity, sensitivity)

EIDOR Alan Garner (Fontana Lions) 11+

Four children explore a ruined church and enter another world of evil. (Conflict between good and evil played out on two levels, parallel worlds and different time-scales, prophecy, danger, that there is more in life than that which can be verified empirically)

RED SHIFT Alan Garner (Fontana Lions) 11+

A Romeo and Juliet story in which the place stays the same but the time moves from Roman Britain, the Civil War and the present day. (A sense of place and time, the supernatural, roots, emotions stronger than those we can deal with, love) Any books by Alan Garner are worth reading; in ‘The Times’ it was written of him that, ‘in contrast to the deadweight tedium of so much ‘teenage’ fiction, the virtuosity with which he manages pace and dialogue is dazzling’.


This might be deemed to be a patronizing book but it has its uses. It concerns the life of a poor dustman’s family. (Poverty, materialism and happiness without possessions, rites of passage, understanding others)

JULIE OF THE WOLVES Jean Craighead George (Puffin) 10+

Miyax runs away from her eskimo family to become an American. Her journey takes her through the Tundra where only wolves are there to help or hinder her. (Journey through life, awe, nature and animal life, courage and tenacity)

MOUSE TIME Rumer Godden (Magnet) 5+

Like other mice, the mousewife makes a nest for her family and collects crumbs but she wonder about the world beyond. She discovers a dove caught in a cage and listens to her tales about the world beyond but refuses to believe in its existence. (Friendship, devotion, sacrifice, there is more to life than can be verified empirically.)

THE BOY WHO SAW GOD Ted Greenwood (Puffin) 13+

Leo lives in a small town. He doesn’t get on with his mother’s friend Rick and is annoyed at his bad treatment of her. He believes God has told him to sacrifice a sheep. (Relationships, change, obsessive delusion, consequences of our actions)

THE COURAGE OF ANDY ROBSON Frederick Grice (Puffin) 10+

His father has an accident and he is sent to stay in the country and is lonely. (Change, loneliness, courage, identity, disasters)

THE ENDLESS STEPPE Esther Hautzig (Puffin) 11+

Esther is ten when she and her family are sent to Siberia. (Journey through life, exile, taking things for granted, courage in adversity, solidarity of oppressed ‘here we have no abiding city’)

KES Barry Hines (Penguin) 14

School and life offers nothing to Billy; his relationship with a kestrel does. (understanding others, valuing gifts from unexpected sources)

THE KING OF THE BARBAREENS Janet Hitchman (Puffin) 10+

An orphan, longing for love, fostered by different families. She ruins her

chances of being loved by her defiant behaviour. (Defence mechanisms, relationships, identity, journey through life)

THE HOSTAGE Anne Holm (Magnet) 11+

Christopher is the son of a prime minister. He is kidnapped but things go wrong. (Relationships, befriending enemies, courage, love, reconciliation)

I AM DAVID Anne Holm (Puffin) 11+

David escapes from a concentration camp and searches for his mother. Having been ‘inside’ for as long as he can remember, he has to learn everything ‘from scratch’ and the book has many moving scenes — the sheer• discovery of colour, of what fruit tastes like, of halteringly establishing a relationship with the ‘God of the green pastures’ he had heard others talk about. (Journey through life, identify, relationship with God, awe and wonder, evil, quest, forgiveness, right and wrong, hope, love, freedom, reconciliation, new life, joy, barriers)

THE STRONGHOLD Mollie Hunter(Piccolo) 10+

The conflict between Druid priests and warrior chiefs of other tribes and their unity in the face of Roman invasions in the Orkneys. (Freedom, self—defence, reconciliation, barriers, superstition, change and progress, leadership, tenacity)

A SOUND OF CHARIOTS Mollie Hunter (Fontana Lions) 13+

Bridie is very close to her father and his death shatters her until she comes to terms with it and herself. (Death and bereavement, life’s transience, on not clinging to the past, sensitivity, justice, catharsis through writing)

WHO LIES INSIDE Timothy Ireland (Gay Men’s Press) 16+

An ordinary sixth former coming to terms with his homosexuality. It is a pity that this book was not publibed by a more reputable publishers so as to ensure a wider circulation, dealing as it does with the whole business of identity. (Understanding self and others, friendship) loneliness)

THE FLYING CLASSROOM Eric Kastner (Puffin) 11+

A boarding school play and a kidnapping. (Loneliness, understanding others, homesickness, poverty, being ashamed of one’s parents)

JET, A GIFT TO THE FAMILY Geoffrey Kilner (Puffin) 10+

A West Indian family obtain a greyhound and become obsessed by the idea of racing it. (Racism and prejudice, ambition)

THE NIGHT THE WATER CAME Clive King (Puffin) 10+

Apu’s island is flooded and he is rescued by helicopter and brought up in a ‘civilised’ place and adjusts. (Journey through life, roots, identity, what is civilisation? fear, relationships)

STIG OF THE DUMP Clive King (Puffin) 8+

Barry is a solitary who stumbles upon a caveman in a disused mine shaft. (Loneliness. reaching out to form relationships, inner world and reality)

TO KILL A MOCKING—BIRD Harper Lee (Pan) 14+

A Man is ostracised for his stand on negro rights in America (racism, prejudice, principles)

A WIZARD OF EARTHSEA Ursula LeGuin (Puffin) 11+

A powerful fantasy to feed the imagination. Ged tries out his magic powers before being able to deal with the consequences and has to find the evil he has released . (Quest, journey through life, good and evil, ceremonies, death, jealousy, light and dark, names, power, initiation, pride, fear, joy, temptation)

THE TOMBS OF ATUAN and THE FARTHEST SHORE complete the LeGuin trilogy.

JAFTA Hugh Lewin and Lisa Kopper (Dinosaur) 5+ ; also JAFTA-MY MOTHER and JAFTA- MY FATHER

A boy thinks about who he is and who his parents are – o poetic list of qualities (myself and others, parenthood,


Adventure stories of good and evil in which children step into a different world and take on different roles. Christian allegory is obvious to the adult and many complain that there is a heavy undercurrent of violence and aggression in these stories but many children enjoy and learn from this series. (Journeys, signs and symbols, good and evil, death, joy, love, reconciliation, suffering, sacrifice, courage, temptation, trust, new life, freedom, loneliness)


Kevin is a catholic, Sadie is a protestant in Northern Ireland. They fall in love and marry amidst hostility. (conflict, prejudice, love, journey through life, children, community, self-knowledge)

THE GHOST OF THOMAS KEMPE Penelope Lively (Puffin) 10+

A haunted house. (Good and eavill history and a sense of place, magic, exorcism, community)


Schools in chaos. (Community, right and wrong, people who are different and who challenge the system


A boy moves to a new village and befriends a boy obsessed by aeroplanes. (Friend­ship, change)

A BOOK OF GIANTS William Mayne (Puffin) 9+

These gaints are like people in ordinary life, mad, bad, temperamental, loving. (Different people)

A DOG CALLED NELSON Bill Naughton (Puffin) 10+

Set in 1920s Lancashire, it portrays the relationship between a sailor and his one-eyed dog and of two boys. (Friendship, trust, loyalties, ups and downs of family life)

MY MATE SHOFIQ Jan Needle (Fontana Lions) 13+

Bernard befriends a Pakistani boy and discovers what was missing in his life since his best fried was killed. (conflict, barriers, making sense of life, suffering, persecution, friendship, loneliness, families)

A SENSE OF SHAME and other stories Jan Needle (Fontana Lions)

Children growing up in a multi-racial community (Prejudice, hypocrisy, racism, crime)

MY NAME IS CELIN Rosemary Neve (Purnell) 10+

Set in Verulanium, Celin defies the Romans but discovers Christianity. (Conflict, change, superstition, community)

THE BUDDHA TREE Fumio Niwa (Peter Owen) 16+

A Buddist priest growing up and falling in love. (Identity, priesthood, Buddhism)

THE SHAPE OF THREE Lilith Norman (Fontana Lions) 10+

Greg discovers his double in an accident and they become .firm friends despite his conflic with his twin brother. (Identity, journey through life, friendship)


The adventures of a family of mice. (Family, journey through life, coping with danger, community, there is more to reality than we perceive)

CONRAD, THE FACTORY MADE BOY Christine Nostlinger (Beaver) 10+

Mrs. Bartolotti is always sending off coupons for free offers and receives a child made by a factory. (Identity, right and wrong, accepting people as they are)


An Indian girl who is abandoned on a desolate island and survives alone for eighteen years. (Loneliness, community, identity, animals, friendship)

IN THE BEGINNING Chain Potok (Penguin) 16+

An orthodox Jewish education in America;. (Identity, conflict between ethnic and surrounding community’s identity and being caught between the two, Judaism, what is knowledge?)

MY NAME IS ASHER LEV Chaim Potok (Penguin)16+

Asher belongs to a Hassidic family but become an artist. (Roots, identity, being oneself, family, love, betrayal, Judaism, art)

THE CHOSEN Chaim Potok (Penguin) 16+

After a bseball game, an orthodox Hasid Jew befriends a liberal Hew (identity, destiny, the holocasut, conflicting loyalties)

JACOB I HAVE LOVED Katherine Paterson (Puffin) 11+

Louise feels like Esau as her sister gets all the love and attention; only when. she leaves home and makes a name for herself does she feel truly valued. (family, identity, giving, self—sacrifice, community, belonging)

WHAT THE NEIGHBOURS DID and other stories Philippa Pearce (Puffin) 10+

Candid observations of life in different families on a small community. (family, community, learning to live with others despite their faults, a sense of place)

A DOG SO SMALL Philippa Pearce (Puffin) 9+

Ben longs for a dog and conjures one in his imagination and escapes with it into a fantasy world until he is released from this growing independence. “People get their hearth s desire and then they have to learn to live with it.” (fantasy world, loneliness, companionship, disappointment, resentment, growing up family)

MINNOW ON THE SAY Philippa Pearce (Puffin) 10+

A canoe turns up after a flood and the owner comes to get it and strikes up a friendship with David and they get involved in a treaure hunt. (Quest, friendship, coping with frustration of plans)

TOM’S MIDNIGHT GARDEN Philippa Pearce (Puffin)     10+

In quarenteen for measles, Tom stays with his aunt and lives in an old house converted into flats and discovers a time—warp and a family from the past. (a sense of place, growing up, change, the seasons, time, things glimpsed but not fully understood, loneliness, changing relationships, dreams)

THE PROMISE Chaim Potok (Penguin) la+

Sequel to The Chosen (see above for other POTOK novels) (Same themes as ‘The Chosen’

A BOY AND HIS BIKE Richard Potts (Puffin) 10+

Brock is the smallest boy in his class and the only one without a bike; having been promised one he-is disappointed when it arrives because it is so old-fashioned so he saves up for a new one. (Loneliness, shame, friendship, determination)

HOME FROM HOME Susan Price (Puffin) 12+

Paul is a troublemaker who is coerced into a community service scheme and develops a friendship with an elderly person. (shame, identity, friendship, growing up, change, altruism)

STEMM SURGE David Rees (Puffin) 12+

Storm and flood cause havoc in a community, people are stranded and their lives come to a turning point. (Community, disaster, identity, change)

IN THE TENT David Rees (Dobson) 16+

A group of teenagers go camping; one discovers his homosexuality, another his heterosexuality and the bock follows their fortunes through relationships and work. (Friendship, understanding others, identity, journey through life)

THE HOUSE THAT MOVED David Rees (Puffin) 6+

The Council are going to demolish a historic house which happens to have been a ‘secret place’ for children. (A sense of place, community, change)

CHARLEY Joan Robinson (Fontana Lions) 11+

A girl that nobody wanted lives a fantasy life in which she is royalty and after which she discovers she is loved and valued. (loneliness, identity, family)

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE J. D. Salinger (Penguin) 15+

A boy growing up at school and critical of adults. (identity, journey through life, change)

THE SILVER SWORD Ian Serraillier (Puffin) 11+

The Baticki family is split up in Nazi-torn Warsaw and the temporarily orphaned children display different skills in surviving, they meet a pickpocket Jan and eventually find their father. (Families, journey, relationships, search, joy, courage, hope, trust, suffering)

THE SURANGINI TALES Partap Sharma (Abelard-Schuman) 13+

A series of fables and moral tales from Pakistan. They convey various ideas of wisdom and have a haunting quality about them.

HILLS END Ivan Southall (Puffin) 10+

Children are searching for aboriginal drawings whilst adults are on a picnic when disaster strikes an Australian town. Children have to survive until help comes and discover inner reserves and their parents’ love. (Survival, disaster, relationships, teamwork)

JOHN Ivan Southall (Puffin) 10+

John stays with his aunt in a distant Australian town. (Change, growing up, differing communities and their mores)

LET THE BALOON GO Ivan Southall (Puffin) 10+

A spastic boy is over-protected by his mother; only after he is left alone and abuses his freedom can he make a fresh start and feel liberated and autonomous. The story portrays his inner feelings. (Handicap, freedom, self-pity, possessiveness growing up, identity, change)

THE GIVING TREE Silverstein (?) 8+

A boy grows up and frequently returns to a tree, of which he demands all. An allegory about the cross and of human greed and self-centredness. (Giving, love, a sense of place, .crowing up, selfishness)

ROBIN Catherine Stour (Puffin) 6+

Robin is patronized-by his older siblings until he finds a shell which changes his life. (Growing up, identity, family)

TWO COMPANY Catherine Storr (Patrick Hardy) 14+

Two girls have a holiday romance with two boys, one of whom is unable to love because he is gay and not adjusted because he is possessive towards the other boy. (Relationships, understanding others, possessiveness, identity)

WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE Maurice Sendak (Puffin) 5+

Max lets his imagination roam when sent to bed early; he is 14 a world where he can be even wilder than he was downstairs. (Security and freedom, identity, temper, different worlds and times)

THE BRONZE BOW Elizabeth Speare (Puffin) 10+

One of the few explicitly religious books I’ve incl ded. A boy grows up in Gist Palestine and hates the Romans. He encounters Jesus and the book gives a good picture of the zealot movement, of the Romans, or crucifixion of people unable to pay their taxes and of Jewish legalism. (Identity, conflict, loyalty, love)

MARIANNE DREAMS Catherine Storr (Puffin) 10+

Marianne’s drawings become real and she is able to step into her fantasy world. (Danger, problem-solving, that there is more to reality than can be seen, imagination)

RUFUS Catherine Storr (Faber) 10+

At a children’s home, kids invent parents and stories about them but Rufus cannot join in because his sister is also there and she knows the truth. (Being yourself, growing up, courage)

WARRIOR SCARLETT Rosemary Sutcliffe (Puffin) 10+

Drem has only one good arm so he cannot take his place among the men of his tribe. With fierce determination he attempts to overcome this obstacle. (Determination, handicap, growing up)

HARP OF BURMA Michio akeyama (Tuttle) 15+

A company of Japanese soldiers in the 2nd World War sing to keep their spirits up amidst danger and hardship. (Coping with new experiences, comrades, community, conflict, war, identity, being true to yourself)

THE CAY Theodore Taylor (Puffin) 11+

A boy is adrift at sea and rescued by a black man and lives on a deserted Caribbean island and is entirely depended on the black man. (Survival, prejudice, relationships, salvation)

THE OWL WHO WAS AFRAID OF THE DARK Jill Tomlinson (Puffin) 5+

Plop is scared to fly and meets a series of people who encourage him to spread his wings.(Fear, growing up, relationships, being yourself, facing up to new challenges)

GRUMBLE’S YARD John Rowe Townsend (also sequel, GOOD-BYE TO GRUMBLE’S YARD) (Puffin) 12+.
Three children set up a secret life and discover a criminal gang. (Facing dilemmas, relationships, co-operation)

THE INTRUDER John Rowe Townsend (Puffin) 13+

A teenager meets a man who claims to be him in order to get a legacy. (Identity, conflict, evil)

NOAH’S CASTLE John Rowe Townsend (Puffin) 13+

Inflation is rampant and a father stocks up a large house to survive but is unwilling to share with those in need. (Greed, selfishness, charity, loyalty, barriers, families, rich and poor, relationships, love, communication, neighbours, conflict, the third world)


An adolescent coming to terms with puberty and the failings of adults. (Growing up, divorce, children, siblings, identity, moral attitudes, looking down on people, on being your real self)

THE CHILDREN’S CRUSADE Henry Treece (Puffin) 13+

Based on the12th Century children’s crusade led by a boy and the inevitable tragedy which ensued. (pilgrimage and journey, trust, understanding other people, ego­mania, commitment, consequences of belief, the Crusades, neighbours)

THE DREAM TIME Henry Treece (Hodder & Stoughton) 10+

Crookleg is a stone-age artist and dreamer who sees into the future and wants to work for peace in a time of war. (Nuclear warfare seen from perspective of a time when the arms race could be said to have just begun, with spears, loneliness, vision, conflict, reconciliation)

AVALANCHE Rutgers van der Loeff (Puffin) 12+

A party of children from a Pestalozzi home go skiing and disaster strikes. (Disasters, death, homelessness, suffering, war, relationships, loneliness, orphans, salvation, friendship, tolerance, understanding others, identity, community, who is my neighbour?)

CHILDREN OF THE OREGON TRAIL Rutgers van der Loeff (Puffin) 12+

The Sager family are pioneers and the parents d ie on the way and the children face dangers from Red Indians and natural disasters. (Disaster, race, prejudice, death and bereavement, family, friendship, survival, journey through life, Christening, co-operation, compensating for weakness of others, identity, courage, endurahce, keeping faith with a dream)

REUNION Fred Uhlman (Fontana) 16+

A rich German aristocrat and a Jew are classmate at the age of sixteen but the war makes them enemies. (Identity, loyalty, Judaism, conflict, prejudice)

GREEN HILL FAR AWAY Peter Upton (Allen) 16+

Genocide and oppression in Paraguay, aided and abbetted by a Christian missionary. (Liberation theology, salvation, evil, conflict, oppression, morality, journey through life)

EXODUS Leon Uris (Corgi) 16+

The rebirth of the state of Israel after the holocaust. (War, conflict, determination, love, relationships, danger)

MILA 18 Leon Uris (Corgi) 16+

Life in the Warsaw Ghettoes in Nazi-torn Poland (Determination, Judaism, persec­ution, suffering and atonement, relationships)

THE WIND EYE Robert Westall (Puffin) 12+

The Studdart family are on holiday near Lindisfarne and discover a time-warp which takes them back to the times of St. Cuthbert. (There is more to reality than that which is empirically verifiable, selfishness, caring, saints, miracles, knowing yourself)

CHARLOTTE’S WEBB E. B. White (Puffin) 10+

A girl persuades her father not to kill a pig. (Animal rights, birth, growth and death, injustice, nature, awe, law of jungle, the seasons, miracles, loyalty, relationships, selfishness)


Deals with pioneers-and settlers in America — same themes as van der Loeff’s ‘Children of the Oregon Trail (see above) with, additionally, the folk myths- handed down which give people their sense of identity in a continuing community amidst change

TARKA THE OTTER Henry Williamson (Puffin) 10+

The life and dangers of otters told by one who has observed them meticulously. (Danger, community, identity, survival, nature, awe, death)

Part One is at

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