Good books for younger readers

Books in clear English, for young people from 3 to 103

Girl reading

A lot of my personal favourite books are for children or teenagers.

Reading English books for fun will give you a higher CEFR level. It's as good as two or even three years of study at school.

It's essential that the books are both interesting and a good level for you.

Here's a collection of great books in clear English. Click the pictures to see a sample page.


Section 1 - Books for Young Children


Section 2 - Books for Children and Younger Teenagers


Why read?

It's fun, natural and a great way to learn English.

For anybody who loves reading in their own language (French, Russian, Japanese, etc), reading in English is the best way to learn vocabulary and grammar.

Vocabulary: There's some interesting research on the website. The researchers say that if you want a large English vocabulary, the best way is to read a lot, especially between the ages of 4 and 15.

Grammar: If English is not your first language, then reading is almost the only way to learn to use prepositions, modal verbs, the perfect tense, continuous verb forms, catenative verbs, English idioms and more.

Books not in clear English

Of course, books for younger readers are not always in easy English. An English child aged 6 may already know 20,000 words. That's twice as many as an adult student of English at CEFR C1 (advanced) level. It's possible for that student to read classic books like The Hobbit, The Wind in the Willows, Moonfleet or The Children of the New Forest, but it's hard work. The student will need to use a dictionary all the time, and that's not much fun.

For example, here are the first two sentences of the great J R R Tolkien's book The Hobbit:

"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. Not a nasty, dirty, wet hole, filled with the ends of worms and an oozy smell, nor yet a dry, bare, sandy hole with nothing in it to sit down on or to eat; it was a hobbit hole, and that means comfort. It had a perfectly round door like a porthole, painted green, with a shiny yellow brass knob in the exact middle."

It's very nice, but it's not easy English. Where's that dictionary?