What to read when you've finished the 8-11 SCBA shortlist

Thousands of pupils across Scotland are getting ready to vote in the Scottish Children’s Book Awards. If you've still to vote, remember the deadline is next Friday, 7 February! If you loved the 8-11 shortlist and are wondering what to read next, Scottish Book Trust’s schools team are on hand to help out with some suggestions. You can also check out our further reading recommendations for 3-7!

If you and your pupils enjoyed the 8-11 SCBA shortlist this year, one of your first questions will probably be, what should we read next? This year’s shortlist was an eclectic mix of action, adventure, fantasy and sci-fi; so, as always, there’s something for everyone. We thought it might be handy if we provided you with some recommendations to fan the flame of reading for pleasure, if you’ll excuse the grandiosity.

Black Tide by Caroline Clough is a tense thriller which is bound to appeal to those with a taste for action and adventure. It’s the sequel to Red Fever, and once you’ve read both books, there are plenty of other places to go in search of excitement! Barry Hutchison’s Invisible Fiends series is a gripping assortment of survival horror tales – it’s not for the faint hearted, mind. And if you like rooting for a survivor, Michelle Paver’s Chronicles of Ancient Darkness books are great: they follow a young boy whose late father has sent him on a quest to vanquish a terrifying evil spirit (there’s even an audiobook version narrated by Ian McKellen, and we defy anyone to resist that soulful baritone). Finally, for further action and excitement, check out books by Charlie Higson and Eoin Colfer: you also can find great video events by both these authors in our Authors Live Watch on Demand section. For more suggestions, try our Great Adventures book list.

The Accidental Time Traveller by Janis MacKay is the tale of Agatha, a young girl who has (accidentally) time travelled 200 years into the future in a time-travelling contraption fashioned by her father. Agatha must seek help from a boy named Saul to return to the 19th century. It’s no surprise that inventions are often a cornerstone of children’s entertainment (anyone remember Inspector Gadget?). If you’ve got a taste for innovation, give Hugo Pepper by Chris Riddell and Paul Stewart a try, and don’t forget The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick! If you like looking into the past, try the Slightly Jones series by Joan Lennon, or The Blackhope Enigma by Teresa Flavin. And if you enjoyed Agatha’s lilting Scots dialect, you might enjoy Alexander McCall Smith’s Precious and the Puggies (translated into Scots by James Robertson) or Geordie’s Mingin’ Medicinetranslated by Matthew Fitt. Our Peek Into the Past book list will give you some more potential reads.  

Really Weird Removals.com is Daniela Sacerdoti’s first novel for this age group, and it’s a cracking read which is bound to reel in fans of the supernatural and fantasy genres. We’ve seen similar books on the SCBA shortlist before – Zac and the Dream Pirates by Ross MacKenzie was a winner in 2011. Marcus Sedgwick’s Raven Boy and Elf Girl series is in the same vein as Really Weird Removals.com, featuring two unlikely forest-dwelling partners in their fight against a whole host of weird creatures. Cressida Cowell’s How to Train your Dragon series is another great fantasy read (again, we’ve got a great video featuring Cressida) and Janis Mackay’s Magnus Fin books star a boy who is half human, half selkie, so a natural next step for fans of Really Weird Removals’ melange of mystical villains. For more supernatural suggestions, have a look at our Fairies, Dragons and other Fabled Beasts book list.

We love to see children following up on their involvement with SCBA by discovering a whole new world of books, so if you’re looking to start a reading journey, we hope you find a gem in the selection of books mentioned in this blog! We also have teaching resources (written by teachers for teachers, as we're fond of saying) for a number of the books mentioned: why not browse our resources section to see what's available?