As an avid reader since I was around four (before then it took kicking and screaming to read a word), I feel pretty confident in my recommendations to others, and so, here is my definitive list of Book Recommendations Through The Ages:

Age Four: Starting at four years old, since before then it’s rather unrealistic to be reading, we have Angelina the Ballerina by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig. This collection of standalone books feature a young mouse named Angelina, and her struggles with ballet, friends and family. It tackles problems relevant to young children, such as feeling left out in the playground, growing up too fast, jealousy and sibling drama. I loved these books as a child, and the darling illustrations add a touch of charm unparalleled by any other children’s book.

Age Five: My father was also a reader growing up, and I remember him being so excited for me to read The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy once I was old enough. It was a hit with my younger self, and I still listen to the audiobooks on long journeys for a touch of nostalgia here and there. Mildred, the most unfortunate witch around, attends Miss Cackles Academy for Witches, and there she learns how to become a promising young witch ready for the world. The character of Mildred is both relatable and refreshing, and the stories of her misadventures will doubtlessly keep a child entertained for hours.

Age Six: Enid Blyton is a staple in most British childhoods, so she should perhaps be expected on this list. I read almost all her series, The Famous Five, Magic Faraway Tree, St Clare’s, Secret Seven and more, but I can firmly say none of them match up to the good old-fashioned fun of Malory Towers. So, Malory Towers by Enid Blyton was a staple in my early years I must pass on, simply so the next generation can feel the same yearning I did for boarding school life. Darrel Rivers, the main character, is a great role model who is flawed yet hard working and great fun to read about.

Age Seven: The Chronicles Of Narnia by C.S Lewis are a perfect introduction to fantasy books, with accessible writing, background lore, and a series format which is easy to dip in and out of. The dynamic between the Pevensie siblings is one of the many highlights of the books, and sweet background characters such as Reepicheep and Mr Tumnus add to the appeal. As well as this, the connections to Christianity, although not necessary to think about whilst reading, are fascinating to discuss, especially since a seven year old would be studying religion in school.

Age Eight: Percy Jackson and The Olympians by Rick Riordan sparked a passion for Classics into many children across the globe, myself included, which makes it an easy and mandatory recommendation for this list. Percy, the main character, is charming and funny which makes the first-person narrative interesting and allows a younger reader to see the world from the perspective of a newcomer; everything is explained in clear detail which simplifies the sometimes complicated Greek myths.

Age Nine: Miss Peregrines Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs is an extremely well written book with an unique concept and an endearing cast of characters that make it perfect for a nine year old reader. The switch between modern day and the early twentieth century with a magical twist create an intriguing atmosphere and the ever unfolding story of Jake’s grandfather makes a great introduction to more mature books.

Age Ten: Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens is the story of Hazel and Daisy, two schoolgirls at a British boarding school (sensing a theme?) who become young detectives when they get thrown into a surprising amount of mysteries, which the two solve, Agatha Christie style. The contrast between Hazel’s traditional Chinese upbringing and Daisy’s English one make their friendship all the more intriguing, and Hazel’s struggle with her identity as a Chinese girl in England in the early twentieth century give insight into how many people feel today, a valuable lesson for a ten year old.

Age Eleven: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is a classic introduction to dystopia which teaches children to stand up for what they believe in and gives young girls a great role model in Katniss Everdeen, the face of the revolution.

Age Twelve: Renegades by Marissa Meyer segues nicely into young adult books with a trilogy that features Nova and Adrian, a supervillain and superhero who end up almost accidentally on the same side, and save their city together. The dynamic between the pair and the community around them makes this a great recommendation for younger teens.

Age Thirteen: The Selection by Keira Cass is easily the most addictive book series I’ve ever read, about a group of thirty-five girls competing to marry the Prince of Illea, with the whole country watching and a rebellion rising up behind the scenes.

Age Fourteen: The Grishaverse Books by Leigh Bardugo are currently split into three series; The Shadow and Bone Trilogy, Six of Crows Duology and The Nikolai Duology, all of which take place in the Grishaverse, a world similar to ours except ran by the Grisha, a magical species of human. The characters are full of life and personality, and the plots equally so, which makes them a must-have on all young reader’s shelves.

Age Sixteen: The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater completes the list, and takes top spot for me as my favourite book series of all time. It combines magic, trees that speak latin, bright orange sports cars and obnoxious private school boys in a poetic combination that can only be described as magical. All the characters have so much depth they’re almost real, and the relationships between them show the complexities of class and love and loss in a way that is both realistic and intoxicating to read about.