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Report Shows Pupil’s Favourite Books

The “What Kids Are Reading” report for 2019 has been released and shows some interesting trends. Over 1 million children across 5,000 schools were surveyed on their reading habits and favourite books to compile the study which has been tracking pupil reading habits for over 10 years. 

Jeff Kinney and David Walliams remain popular, as does perennial favourite Roald Dahl, and there are plenty of new authors also making the list. Different age groups, naturally, have different favourite books. Overall Harry Potter is still most popular with all three most popular titles going to books in the series in primary school and the most popular book at secondary age being “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”.

In addition to simply noting how frequently books are read children were also able to rank books as “One of the best books I have ever read”, “A very good book”, “An OK book” and “Not a good book”. In younger age groups the numbers of children choosing to rank books were smaller, so the results are not as accurate, but give an interesting picture overall.

Year 1

Roderick Hunt is the most read author with both boys and girls in year 1 with “Village in the Snow” and “Castle Adventure” taking the top two spots, possibly due to children’s familiarity with his characters. Julia Donaldson is 10th most read with “The Gruffalo”.

The top three favourites were “All About Animals in Winter” by Martha E. H. Rustad, “Wonders of the World” by  Moana Ashley and “Shoe Baby” by Joyce Dunbar, none of which had ranked higher than 654th in 2018.

Year 2

The list of most read books is less focussed on one or two authors. “The Gruffalo” and “The Gruffalo’s Child” are the two most read books by both boys and girls, with “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michel Rosen, “Peace at Last” by Jill Murphy and “Don’t be Horrid, Henry! (Easy Reader)” by Francesca Simon 3rd, 4th and 5th respectively.

Again the favourite books results included ones previously less popular. Top of the list is “Olive and the Bad Mood” by Tor Freeman, second is “The Christmasaurus” by Tom Fletcher (previously 75th), and third is “Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers” by Dav Pilkey.

Year 3

Roald Dahl is amongst the most read authors in this year group with “The Magic Finger” being the most read book overall.  “The Twits” and “Fantastic Mr Fox” are also in the top five along with “The Gruffalo” and “Don’ be horrid, Henry!”.

J. K. Rowling is clearly popular with the top three voted for books being “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”, “Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets” and “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban”. In the top-twenty voted for books she takes another 5 spots. Cressida Cowell, Jacqueline Wilson and Tom Fletcher are also popular based on votes.

Year 4

Roald Dahl takes the top four spots in the most read books in Year 4, with “The Twits” being most read. David Walliams “Gangsta Granny” is the fifth most read book. For boys, Jeff Kinney “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” is amongst the top five most read books.

Seven of the top 10 spots are taken up with “Harry Potter” books in the year 4 results for most popular, but top of the list is Robin Steven’s “Mistletoe and Murder”. Robin Steven’s “Jolly Foul Play” is the 7th most popular book.

Year 5

David Walliams “Bad Dad” is the most read book in year 5 with “Gangsta Granny” in fourth place. Jeff Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series supplies the other three most read books for this age group.

Chris Colfer’s “The Land of Stories: World’s Collide” is the most popular book in Year 5, followed by “The Last Ever After” and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows”, which is the only J. K. Rowling entry for this year group.

Year 6

The top five for Year 6 is fairly similar to year 5, and overall the two lists look pretty similar. R. J. Palacio is the only book not by Walliams or Kinney to make it into the top twenty most read books, being in 20th position.

“Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” is the most popular book in year 6, but Rick Riordan is clearly also very popular as his books take up the next four positions in the list. 

Year 7

Walliams and Kinney are still widely read once children move up to secondary school, and “Gangsta Granny” is most read. Some old favourites such as “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (17th most read) and “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” (15th most read by girls) appear in the list as well.  

Recently released as a film, “Ready Player One” by Ernest Cline is top of the list in Year 7. Books written for the adult market are beginning to make their way onto the lists with “The Da Vinci Code” by Dan Brown being the fourth most popular title.

Year 8

The influence of the school curriculum can be seen in Year 8 with John Steinbeck’s “Of Mice and Men” being the 20th most read title. Kinney’s “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” is most read overall and “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins is on the list in 11th place.

“Ready Player One” is the third most popular book in Year 8, with new entrant “A Court of Wings and Ruin” by Sarah J. Maas being the most popular. In second place is “Winter” by Marissa Meyer.

Older Children

“Of Mice and Men” hits top spot for the year 9-11 age group, with “An Inspector Calls” by J. B. Priestly in second place. Third goes to “Diary of a Wimpy Kid”.

“A Court of Wings and Ruin” is most voted for in Years 9-11, and several other books by Maas are also in the list.


J.K. Rowling remains the most popular author with “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” being most popular overall in primary and “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” being most popular at the secondary level.

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