Ages 11 to 14 Reading List

Here are some books that our members recommend as suitable reading for ages 11 to 14 and you may find others on the 14+ page that you will also enjoy.

Digging Deep: How science unearths puzzles from the past

By Laura Scandiffio

This is a tremendous and very readable contribution to explaining how modern scientific techniques helped to unravel mysteries of the past. Chapters cover Ötzi the Iceman; death by plant poisons; lost cities of Cambodia; discovery of 19th century English ships lost in the Arctic whilst searching for the North-west passage; the lost grave of Richard III and analysis of his skeleton; cave paintings of Chauvet over 30,000 years old. Generously illustrated. Suitable for readers aged 11 and upwards with an interest in solving ancient mysteries.

Front cover of a book Digging Deep, How Science Unearths Puzzles from the Past by Laura Scandiffio

Medieval Realms 1066-1500

By James Mason

A richly illustrated journey through time from the Norman Conquest to the start of the Tudors.
Chapters on the Conquest and Norman government; Henry I, II and John; daily life in medieval villages & towns and agriculture; the wool trade; the Church; Scotland, Wales & Ireland; chivalry & warfare; the Black Death & the Peasants’ Revolt; printing; the Wars of the Roses.
Really excellent overview of almost 500 years of English history in 125 pages.

Front cover of a book on Medieval Realms featuring Richard II portrait

Richard III and the Plantagenets

An ‘All about History’  bookazine

A very attractively produced and lively introduction to medieval England with an emphasis on the 15th century and a sympathetic treatment of Richard III. A new 3rd edition was published in 2021

Front cover of a magazine on Richard III and the Plantagenets

Royal Murders: The Deadly Intrigue of Ten Sovereigns

By Elizabeth MacLeod

Cleopatra killed members of her own family. King Louis XVI and his wife had their heads chopped off. Vlad the Impaler was the inspiration for Dracula. Richard III grew up in violent times and fought in many battles. But did he kill the ‘Princes in the Tower’? No one knows.

front cover of a book: Royal Murder by Elizabeth Macleod

The Black Arrow

by Robert Louis Stevenson

Originally serialized in a periodical of boys’ adventure fiction, The Black Arrow is a swashbuckling portrait of a young man’s journey to discover the heroism within himself. Young Dick Shelton, caught in the midst of England’s War of the Roses, finds his loyalties torn between the guardian who will ultimately betray him and the leader of a secret fellowship, The Black Arrow. As Shelton is drawn deeper into this conspiracy, he must distinguish friend from foe and confront war, shipwreck, revenge, murder, and forbidden love, as England’s crown threatens to topple around him.

Front cover of a book: The Black Arrow by Robert Louis Stevenson

The Children of the King

By Sonya Hartnett

In World War II, 14 year old Jeremy and his 12 year old sister Cecily are sent from London to the countryside before the city starts being bombed. Jeremy desperately wants to help fight the war while Cecily, is happy to remain hidden away from all danger. The family take in another evacuee, young May. She has a secret which has made her old for her years. But she is not the only one. What does Uncle Peregrine know about the ruined castle nearby? And what does the old story he tells have to do with the two boys in old fashioned clothing who appear and disappear at the castle?

front cover of a book: The Children of the King's Man by Sonya Hartnett

The Order of the White Boar (Book 1)

By Alex Marchant

When I first started reading the Order of the White Boar, I realised it was something I normally wouldn’t pick off the shelf. But, I’m extremely glad I did read it. I can’t wait for the sequel!

For the first few chapters I was just getting my head around the medieval theme and it was good because it didn’t move into the story too fast, yet it also doesn’t take too long to get into the plot.

I also like how one of the main characters – Alys – is a girl who is strong-willed, a tomboy and definitely not a stereotype. I feel this is a great aspect to the book because it means that it isn’t just boys being knights and girls being princesses. Lastly, I like how Alys is being forced to marry someone who she doesn’t want to marry. It gives a great twist that doesn’t only affect Matthew.

Secondly, I like the animals in the book. I especially love the dog Murrey who sounds adorable and very loyal. I also love the falcon that Roger owns because of the way Alex describes him: “Roger stopped by a perch on which sat a small mottled-brown bird that bobbed up and down as he approached.” I was laughing by myself as I imagined a tiny bird just bobbing up and down. I think it’s great to include some humour into a book.

Overall The Order of the White Bear is a great book which I would recommend to anyone and think that I am lucky to have been given as normally I wouldn’t have picked this!

Front cover of a book: The Order of the White Boar by Alex Marchant

The King’s Man (The Order of the White Boar Book 2)

By Alex Marchant

Book Two opens at a vital point on the journey: Duke Richard’s arrival in Northampton.

As the party continues towards the capital, Matthew is required to provide company for the youthful Edward V. The author skilfully interweaves the tumultuous events of 1483 into the story of Matthew’s departure from the duke’s household and his apprenticeship with printer Master Ashley. Life in London allows the boy to hear, at first hand, the news that explodes throughout the capital as the young king is declared illegitimate and Duke Richard is offered the crown. Matt also learns of events through letters sent to him by his former friends,

Once again, characterisations are expertly drawn, and the reader learns to love and hate the many figures, real and imaginary, who populate Matthew’s life experiences. Affection is felt for the honest and reliable protagonist, sympathy and concern for the eager Edward of Middleham and admiration for the loyal and dutiful King Richard.

A well-researched and cleverly wrought sequel, The King’s Man continues the story of a brave and loyal youth, whose trials and tribulations are set to lead us into the third volume of this excellent trilogy

front cover of a book: The King's Man by Alex Marchant

The Sprig of Broom

By Barbara Willard

This second book in the Mantlemass Chronicles takes place a generation after the first book. It has a prologue set in 1485, at the time of the Battle of Bosworth, and then moves forward to 1507 and the accession of Henry VIII.
Medley Plashet is growing up in Ashdown Forest, the son of a stonemason and Jack-of-all trades. Medley knows that there is some secret his father has not shared with him, but he must accept that he and his mother are not to inquire into the past. He is best friends with Roger Mallory, the son of the owners of Mantlemass, but his own place in society is less than nothing. When some strangers come to the forest in search of his father, disaster follows. His father disappears and his mother, a woman who knows some about healing, is accused of witchcraft and killed. Medley is taken into the Mallory household and trained to be a secretary for the estate. But his growing love for Catherine Mallory has no future if he cannot prove that he is not from a disgraced origin. Medley goes in search of his father to find out the secret that destroyed his family.

This entry in the Mantlemass Chronicle has a relationship to the legend of Richard of Eastwell. Was there a lost Plantagenet heir and what would have happened to any who were a threat to Henry VIII’s claim to the throne? It gives an interesting picture of the life of commoners in the late Middle Ages. The characterization is strong. Recommended

front cover of a book: The Sprig of Bloom by Barbara Willard

Richard III: Black Guard Hall

By P.A. Kidd

A ferocious storm in two ages….
…a spectacular rainbow and a mysterious dog.
Hansy Igondi is to discover that there is more than just a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.
A series of dramatic events are triggered and Hansy, her new friend Guy and the dog are all dragged back through time to the City of York in 1463.
There the Wars of the Roses rage on, pitting the Houses of York and Lancaster against each other and not just on the battlefield. Hansy and Guy become embroiled in a kidnap plot. A malicious Lancastrian Lord is engaged in a battle of wits with Yorkist Lord Warwick ‘The Kingmaker’ and a ‘double agent’ friar has the power to alter events for better or for worse.
Can Hansy and Guy escape through the ensuing Battle of Black Guard Field…
…how will they return home?
Will they discover the secrets of Black Guard Hall in time?
“Set in our time and yet not in our time this novel impacts on many levels re-living our history and inspiring our imagination.”

Front cover of a book: Black Guard Hall by P.A. Kidd

Becket Bramble and the Princes in the Tower

By Stephen Begg

Becket is a 21st century orphan sent to live with his aunt in an old, mysterious house just outside York. He keeps being told by grown-ups “ you have been here before”. On his first visit to York Minster, after being shown round by a mysterious guide who was expecting him, he sees a statue that was not there before, gets a strange feeling and becomes faint. When he comes round he is in the Tower of London, it’s June 1483 and he is forced into the service of the two most famous boys in all of English history: Edward and Richard, the Princes in the Tower.

We are then treated to an eye-witness account of what may have happened to the boys,  which has been the subject of speculation for over 500 years.

You need to read it for yourself to find out….


Front cover of a book: Becket Bramble and the Princes in the Tower by Stephen Begg

Pitkin Series: Wars of the Roses

By Michael St John Parker

Small but Sumptuous. For those not interested in plying through dusty and dry old tomes but still wanting to find out a bit of our ‘glorious?’ history there is nothing quite like a Pitkin Guide. Twenty pages of colour and text that tells you all you need to know.

Front cover of a book: The Wars of the Roses. Pitkin Guides

Pitkin Series: Richard III

By G.O.W. Woodward

A potted biography of Richard III in under twenty pages, well-illustrated and suitably balanced on the issue of the Princes in the Tower and an overall assessment of his reign. The later vilification of his memory is largely discounted as Tudor propaganda.

Front cover of a book: Richard III. A Pitkin Guide