Top Tips: Books to inspire struggling readers

This list is compiled from our community to share their favourite books to hook readers who may be struggling to get into reading, especially boys.

Phil Kettle – Too Cool series, Boyz Rule, Get Real, Girlz Rule series

Dr Seuss books

The Cat in the Hat

Green Eggs and Ham

Oh the Places You’ll Go

Fox in Socks

The Lorax

Hop on Pop.

Magic Tricks Books – 101 Cool Magic Tricks Book, Great Big Book of Magic Tricks

John Flanagan – Rangers Apprentice Series

Steve Backshall – Deadly 60 books

Helen Moss – Adventure Island Series

Dav Pilkey – Captain Underpants Series and Dog Man Series

Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver – Hank Zipzer series, including:

Niagara Falls, or Does It?

I Got a “D” in Salami

Day of the Iguana

The Zippity Zinger

The Night I Flunked My Field Trip

Help! Somebody Get me out of Fourth Grade!

Summer School? What Genius thought That Up?

My Secret Life as a Ping-Pong Wizard

My Dog’s a Scaredy-Cat: A Halloween Tail

The Curtain Went Up, My Pants Fell Down

Barfing in the Backseat: How I Survived My Family Road Trip

Who Ordered This Baby? Definitely Not Me!

Life of Me

A Tail of Two Tails

Dump Trucks and Dogsleds: I’m on My Way, Mom!

A Brand-New Me!

Morris Gleitzman

The Other Facts of Life

Two Weeks with the Queen

Misery Guts

Worry Warts (sequel to Misery Guts)

Puppy Fat (sequel to Worry Warts)

Blabber Mouth

Sticky Beak (sequel to Blabber Mouth)

Gift of the Gab (sequel to Sticky Beak)

Second Childhood

Belly Flop

Water Wings (sequel to Belly Flop)

Loose (sequel to Water Wings)


Wicked! (co-written with Paul Jennings)

Toad Rage

Toad Heaven (sequel to Toad Rage)

Toad Away (sequel to Toad Heaven)

Toad Surprise (sequel to Toad Away)

Self Helpless

Adults Only

Deadly (co-written with Paul Jennings)

Boy Overboard

Girl Underground (sequel to Boy Overboard)

Worm Story

Aristotle’s Nostril

Teacher’s Pet


Then (sequel to Once)

Now (sequel to Then)

After (sequel to Now)


Doubting Thomas

Give Peas a Chance (short story collection featuring characters from many of his other books)

Tickled Onions (more short stories, including some from Give Peas a Chance)

Pizza Cake (more short stories, including some from Tickled Onions)

Too Small to Fail

Extra Time

James Clancy Phelan – The Last 13 series for teens (for those who loved Zac Power)

Zac Power series of books

Jeff Kinney’s Diary of a Wimpy Kid series

J K Rowling’s Harry Potter Books

Philip Ardagh

Awful End

Dreadful Acts [The Eddie Dickens Trilogy] (2001)

Terrible Times [The Eddie Dickens Trilogy] (2002)

Dubious Deeds [The Further Adventures of Eddie Dickens]

Horrendous Habits [The Further Adventures of Eddie Dickens]

Final Curtain [The Further Adventures of Eddie Dickens]

The Fall of Fergal [Unlikely Exploits]

Heir of Mystery [Unlikely Exploits]

The Rise of the House of McNally [Unlikely Exploits]

Stinking Rich and Just Plain Stinky [Grubtown Tales)

The Far From Great Escape [Grubtown Tales]

The Year That It Rained Cows [Grubtown Tales]

Trick Eggs and Rubber Chickens [Grubtown Tales]

The great pasta disaster [Grubtown Tales]

Paul Jennings










Quirky Tales

Tongue Tied

Funniest Stories

Spookiest Stories

Weirdest Stories

Trickiest Stories.

Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton – the Tree House series – lots of laughs (and sniggers)! the BAD BOOKS, the JUST! Series, the FLAT CAT & BIG FAT COW series… a huge catalogue that can be viewed at

James Patterson – Middle School series

David Walliams

Raj’s Shop

The Boy in the Dress

Mr Stink

Billionaire Boy

A Granny’s Blog


Bindi Irwin – Wildlife Adventure series and Behind the Scenes series

Go Girl! series

Michael Sedunary – AFL Kids series

Frances Ann Ladd – Scooby Doo Phonics series

Lego books (these are readers for reluctant reader boys yr 1- 4) including Ready for Takeoff by Sonia Sander

Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen – Magic School Bus books

Shamini Flint books, especially:

Diary of a Champ

Diary of a Taekwondo Master

Diary of a Soccer Star

Geronimo Stilton series of book (loved by kids everywhere, especially those who hate reading)

Judy Blume – great books for the middle years

Felice Arena – Andy Roid series

Rick Riordan – The 39 Clues series

Pamela Graham – A Crocodile Ate my Homework

Steve Barlow – Crime Team series (You crack the case books)

Kyle Mewburn and Donovan Bixley – Dinosaur Rescue series

Mates: Great Australian Yarns series by various authors (funny chapter books for newly independent readers)

David Orme – Boffin Boy books

Goosebumps series

After Dark series

Duncan Ball – Selby series (Selby is a talking dog)

Mac Park – Boy vs Beast series

Gary Paulsen – Hatchet (Brian’s Saga) Series (a little harder)

The Rip Rap series of novels by Judy Keen (for students in Grades 4-9 with lower than average reading ability).

Paul McNeil and Barry Divola – M is for Metal: The Loudest Alphabet Book on Earth

Ahn Do

WeirDo series

Hot Dog series

Puffin Pixels series of known classics

Kate Forsyth – The Impossible Quest series

Russell Robinson – Diary of a Minecraft Zombie

Kazu Kibuishi – Amulet series

Herge – Tin Tin series

R J Palacio – Wonder

Sally RippenHey Jack

Pat Flynn – Stuff Happens series

Elena Favilli – Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls

Aaron Blabey – Bad Guys series

Stephan PastisTimmy Failure series (for those who like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Bad Guys series).

Suzanne Collins – Hunger Games

Raymond Feist Books (read in chronological order)

Jessica Townsend – Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow

Rick Riordan – The Trials of Apollo

Rick Riordan – Percy Jackson

Rick Riodan – The Kane Chronicles

Robert Muchamore – Robin Hood and Cherub Series

Bella Forest – Harley Merlin Series

Philip Reeves – Mortal Engines

James DashnerThe Maze Runner Series and The 13th Reality Series

Christopher Paolini – Eragon from The Inheritance Cycle Series

David Eddings – The Belgariad and The Mallorean

Peter Bunzi – Cogheart

S.M. WilsonThe Extinction Trials Series

Andrzej Zapkowski – The Witcher Series

Anthony HorowitzAlex Rider Series

Garth NixThe Keys to the Kingdom Series

Philip PullmanHis Dark Materials Series

Asterix & TinTin Books

Astrid Lindgren – Pippi Longstocking

Laura Ingalls Wilder – Little House on the Prairie

Chris Colfer – The Land of Stories Series

Mick ElliotSquidge Dibley Series

Cressida CowellHow to Train Your Dragon Series

Anh Do Books – WeirDo, Ninja Kid and Wolf Girl

James Rallison – The Odd 1s Out

Brandon Mull  – Fablehaven, Candy Shop Wars, Dragon Watch and Five Kingdoms Series

Jackie French – The Matilda Saga Series

Bren MacDibble books

Felice Arena & Gary LyonSpecky Magee Series

Jocko Willink – Way of the Warrior Kid (podcasts too!)

Liz PichonTom Gates Series

Matt Stanton Funny Kid Series

David Wallace – Fartboy Series

Luke Sharpe – Billy Sure Entrepreneur Series

Roald Dahl Books

J.R.R Tolkien Books

Brandon Sanderson Books

Choose Your Own Adventure Books

Anna & Barbara Fienberg – Tashi

Donald J. Sobol – Leroy Brown Detective books

Guiness Book of World Records

Ripley’s Believe it or Not

Enid Blyton – The Magic Faraway Tree

Tui T. Sutherland – Wings of Fire Series

Tim CahillTiny Timmy Series

Cathy & David MacPhail Books

Michael Wagner – The Undys Series

Other reading inspirations

Comics, surf magazines, Farmers’ Weekly, motor bike magazines, car/truck magazines, fishing magazines, pet magazines, horse magazines, craft magazines, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated Kids magazine, FarFaria App, 

A teacher’s tip on audio books

One of the parents in our Facebook community told us that her son’s Year 5 teacher had suggested that they get an audio book and hard copy version of the same book. She then let her son listen to the first chapter of the audio book, and then he had to read the next chapter from the printed book, and so on. He is apparently now ‘hooked’ on reading!

Many libraries offer free audio book lending facilities, using apps like BorrowBox, so it need not cost a cent.

Download file: ReluctantReaderList