Educating your daughter

Her education begins at home and continues with playgroup, school, college and perhaps university. Decisions, decisions...

Contemporary children's fiction - is it just for kids?

Should children’s fiction be left just for children to enjoy? Like the classics, contemporary children’s and young adult fiction has appeal on many different levels – whether you are sharing a story with a younger child, or creating a shared experience or talking point with your teenage daughter or simply enjoying a great story for yourself.

We asked the MyDaughter panel to tell us about the contemporary children’s book they had read most recently and why they enjoyed it. Below are a selection of their recommended reads for different ages, and their views on what makes them work for young and old alike!

Nation Terry Pratchett

“Two teens on a desert island – a great adventure story that is funny, humane and quirky. Will get the imagination working overtime…”

The Declaration, Gemma Malley

“A dystopian survival story of a girl who finds the truth and herself. Gripping and well written with several sequels – perfect for fans of The Hunger Games…”

A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness

“The subject matter is certainly challenging – a young boy’s experience of his mother death from cancer – but it is made extraordinarily moving by the glorious allegory of the monster in the tree in his garden. It is written in a straightforward manner but very powerfully and contains haunting illustrations. Fantastic.”

Noughts & Crosses – Malorie Blackman

“A believable story which tackles prejudice and equality in a thrilling storyline. Well written, relevant, thought provoking, realistic.”

Black Heart Blue, Louisa Reid

“ A teenage/ cross-over fiction based on Gothic themes. At times a dark and emotional book, it has really vivid characterisation and superb description – I can’t get it out of my head!”

War Horse, Michael Morpurgo

“A wonderful read! Sensitively handled but so exciting too. Emotionally gripping with great empathy developed through characters and situations. Excellent!”
“I enjoyed this book very much as I read it to my daughter. It provided us the opportunity to discuss the many issues surrounding war, and the horrors of war.”

Girl Missing, Sophie McKenzie

“My daughter loved it and recommended it to me. I enjoy crime / mystery fiction and this book was a very satisfying read. A great one to share with your daughter…”

Chocolate Cake with Hitler, Emma Craigie

“A powerful and tragic story that gives a new slant on World War 2 and a child’s view of Nazi Germany and the end of Hitler’s life.”

My sister lives on the Mantelpiece. Annabel Pitcher

“I absolutely loved it – it was a real page-turner. Great characterisation andwonderful themes of friendship and family. The ending, although incredibly sad, was beautifully written.”

Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins

“A fantastic concept and lots of interesting moral dilemmas – captivating, and shocking”
“Absolutely loved it – a mixture of Big Brother and Total Recall. Loved the characters, ingenious plot and story line.”
“The girls love these books – a female lead character, strong storylines with challenge, suspense and engagement – who could ask for more?”

Tobermory Cat – Debi Gliori

“A moral tale cleverly disguised in humour, detailed illustrations and a ginger tom cat called Tobermory who just wants to be special…”

Tiddler – Julia Donaldson

“The story of the smallest fish who tells the tallest tales! Julia Donaldson never fails to please – this one has terrific catchy rhymes and the usual brilliant Alex Scheffler illustrations.”

Pirate Cruncher

“Beautifully illustrated, nicely crafted and with a sea-shanty style that adds to the pirate flavour. Plus it has a clever twist in the tail…”

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

“Great humour, amusing illustrations and I loved seeing the pleasure it gave my nephew whilst he was reading it to me. An enriching shared experience!”

With thanks to the Heads and staff at Brighton & Hove High School GDST, Francis Holland School, Regent’s Park, Heathfield School, Howell’s School Llandaff GDST, Luckley-Oakfield School. Merchant Taylors’ Girls’ School, Northampton High School GDST, Notre Dame School, The Queen’s School Chester, St Margaret’s School Hampstead, St Mary’s Calne, St Mary’s School Cambridge, Tormead School

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