English book suggestions

English book suggestions
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Whether your child’s school holidays are starting or ending, there is still time for them to do something productive and learn. It is best to build their vocabulary during the holidays as they have a lot of time. One of the ways to build their vocab is to read.

If your child does not like to read, they can start with books with pictures or a genre they like. Another option is to listen to audiobooks so that they can ”read” on the go or while they are doing mindless or light tasks (eg: tidying their room or doing chores).

Here are some books we recommend for primary school and secondary school children. These books can also be found in the library. You can check for the book’s availability via the national library search tool: https://search.nlb.gov.sg/#

Do note that the availability of audiobooks and ebooks only applies to national library availability. Other places such as amazon provide both audiobook & ebook versions.

Books for primary school children

The Night Diary – by Veera Hiranandani

the night diary book

  • 271 pages

  • 4.7/5 stars on Amazon (1013 ratings)

  • Subjects: family, refugees, diary

  • Also available in audiobook and ebook

    The story is about Nisha, a half-Muslim, half-Hindu girl as she and her family experience the partition of India. After Nisha’s mother dies, she tries to maintain a connection by writing letters to her in her diary

    The Night Diary is a heartfelt story of one girl’s search for a home, for her own identity…and a hopeful future.

The Girl Who Drank The Moon – by Kelly Barnhill

girl who drank the moon book

  • 400 pages 
  • 4.7 stars on Amazon (13,859 ratings) 
  • Subjects: witches, magic, friendship, fantasy 
  • Also available in audiobook and ebook 

Everyone is afraid of Xan the witch. They keep her at bay by sacrificing one baby a year to her. Xan is a good witch though, nourishing the babies with starlight before sending them off to good homes.

Until one day, when she makes an honest mistake. She accidentally feeds a baby with moonlight instead of starlight, and so decides to raise this girl, Luna, on her own. When Luna turns 13, the magic of her own emerges – with dire consequences.


Pax – by Sara Pennypacker

pax book

  • 288 pages
  • 4.7 / 5 stars on amazon (8225 ratings)
  • Subjects: human-animal relationships
  • Also available in audiobook & ebook

Peter rescued Pax as a kit and the two have been best friends ever since. When Peter’s father joins the army, he makes Peter return Pax to the wild and sends him to live with his grandfather.

There, Peter chooses loyalty and stops at nothing to be reunited with his friend, while Pax waits patiently for him.


Guts – by Raina Telgemeier

guts book

  • 224 pages
  • 4.8/5 stars on Amazon (10592 ratings)
  • Subjects: stress in children
  • ONLY available in a hardcopy book

This book is a comic instead of your usual wordy novel. This novel follows an anxious girl and the physical and psychological effects of anxiety on her. Guts is based on Telgemeier’s personal experience with anxiety and have already received rave reviews. Many kids have expressed how relatable the comic book has been for them.

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library – by Chris Grabenstein

library escape book

  • 336 pages
  • 4.7 / 5 stars on Amazon (2464 ratings)
  • Subjects: games, puzzle
  • Also available on e-book & audiobook in the library

When Kyle Keeley learns that the world’s world’s most famous game maker, Luigi Lemoncello, has designed the town’s new library and is having an invitation-only lock-in on opening night, Kyle is determined to be there! But the tricky part isn’t getting into the library-it’s getting out.

Because when morning comes, the doors stay locked. Kyle and the other kids must catch every clue and solve every puzzle to find the hidden escape route!

As Brave As You – by Jason Reynolds

as brave as you book

  • 432 pages
  • 4.8 / 5 stars on Amazon (740 ratings)
  • Subjects: courage, country life
  • Also available in audiobook and ebook

Genie’s summer is full of surprises. The first is that he and his big brother, Ernie, are leaving Brooklyn for the very first time to spend the summer with their grandparents all the way in Virginia-in the COUNTRY!

Genie realizes Ernie has no interest in learning how to shoot. None. Nada. Dumbfounded by Ernie’s reluctance, Genie is left to wonder-is bravery and becoming a man only about proving something, or is it just as important to own up to what you won’t do?

Books for secondary school children

The Pettiest by Brigit Young

the prettiest book

  • 309 pages 
  • 4.6 / 5 stars on Amazon (116 ratings) 
  • Subjects: friendship, popularity, beauty 
  • Available in Ebook only 

When a list appears online ranking the top fifty prettiest girls in the eighth grade, everything turns upside down. Eve Hoffman, ranked number 1, can’t ignore how everyone is suddenly talking about her looks. Sophie, the most popular girl in school, feels lower than ever when she’s bullied for being ranked number 2.

Nessa Flores-Brady didn’t even make the list, but she doesn’t care — or does she? The three girls band together to find out who made the list but their journey doesn’t lead them where they expect.

Theodore Boone: The Accomplice – by John Grisham

the accomplice book

  • 240 pages
  • 4.5 / 5 stars on Amazon (1965 ratings)
  • Subjects: suspense, adventure, thriller
  • Only available in hard copy book

Theo has been worried about his good friend Woody Lambert. Woody is struggling at school and making bad choices. But when Woody is arrested–an unwitting accomplice to an armed robbery — Theo knows he is innocent. Racing the clock while Woody sits in jail, Theo will do everything in his power to help his friend and save Woody from an unforgiving system where justice is not equal for all.

Tithe : A Modern Faerie Tale by Holly Black

Tithe : a modern faerie tale book

  • 336 pages 
  • 4.3 / 5 stars on Amazon (719 ratings)
  • Subjects: magic, fairy 
  • ONLY available in Ebook 

Sixteen-year-old Kaye is a modern nomad. Fierce and independent, she travels from city to city with her mother’s rock band until an ominous attack forces the sixteen-year-old back to her childhood home. There, amid the industrial, blue-collar New Jersey backdrop, Kaye soon finds herself an unwilling pawn in an ancient power struggle between two rival faerie kingdoms-a struggle that could very well mean her death.

Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott

5 feet apart book

  • 281 pages 
  • 4.8 / 5 stars on Amazon (7966 ratings)
  • Subject: romance
  • Available in audiobook & ebook 

Stella and Will both suffer from cystic fibrosis. Being together means they could pass an infection. Stella is waiting for a lung transplant; Will is on a clinical drug trial. The only way to stay alive is to stay apart. Staying six feet apart doesn’t feel like safety, it feels like punishment. Would five feet apart really be so dangerous if it stops their hearts from breaking too?

Lore by Alexandra Bracken


  • 466 pages
  • 4.4 / 5 stars on Amazon (1718 ratings)
  • Subject: mythology, revenge, clans
  • Only available in a hardcopy book

Every 7 years there is a hunt offering mortal descendants of gods the opportunity to claim their divinity by killing any of nine immortals made mortal for one night. Lore Perseus has no desire to participate in the Agon, embittered because her family was killed by a rival who then ascended to godhood. When a childhood friend asks her to help, and a wounded god offers an alliance, Lore overlooks the steep cost of this decision in exchange for vengeance.

We hope our suggestions can start your child into reading, and learn some new vocabulary during the remaining days of the school holidays. For children that are already interested in reading, we hope these suggestions can give them some new titles they can read and discover new genres.

Usually, 12-year-olds will be able to make sense of adult concepts, so you’ll still have to keep an eye on what they consume. Have you, or your kids, read any of these books? Do you have others you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments section.

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