- Best children’s books for children aged 7+
- Best children’s books for children aged 8+
- Best children’s books for children aged 9+
- Best children’s books for children aged 10+
World Book Day, which takes place on Thursday 2nd March, is a celebration of writers, illustrators and storytellers. It’s a time to share the joy of getting your nose into a good book and get reading This fantastic celebration of all things story is marked in over 100 countries across the world. It encourages children to find joy in reading for pleasure. 📚🙌
So, how to ignite that fire? Here at GoStudent, we’ve put together a diverse list of some of the best children’s books for young readers aged 7 to 11. You’ll find some well-thumbed classics alongside an array of fresh adventures.
Best children’s books for children aged 7+
At this age, children may be beginning to outgrow the likes of Paddington and Pooh (although their affection for their furry friends will surely last forever!) Whether you’re reading together or letting them fly solo, we think you’ll enjoy these top titles!
- The BFG / Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl (Illustrated by Quentin Blake)
You can’t make a list of the best children’s books without including at least one book by the legendary Roald Dahl. We’ve snuck in two for good measure. You may disagree with our picks but that’s OK – everyone is entitled to their favourite Road Dahl story.
The BFG (Big Friendly Giant) is a story of friendship and adventure, following the BFG and his new friend Sophie. Together they set off to challenge the less-friendly giants. Full of silliness and jokes galore, children can’t help but giggle as they enjoy this timeless tale.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory follows Charlie Bucket, a young boy from a humble but loving family. Against all odds, Charlie wins a precious Golden Ticket to visit Mr Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. What follows is a colourful adventure that appeals to all the senses – featuring chocolate rivers, golden eggs and the unforgettable Oompa Loompas. 🍫🍭
- The Worst Witch – Jill Murphy
The Worst Witch series is about Mildred Hubble, a novice witch learning her spells at Miss Cackle’s academy. The stories follow the accident-prone young witch as she navigates wayward brooms, clumsy cats and arch enemies. Perfect for young readers who are developing their confidence in reading for pleasure, this funny and engaging tale has great characters, lots of light-hearted fun and great illustrations.🧹
- Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls – Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo
This beautifully illustrated book features mini-biographies of 100 great women from the worlds of history, science, technology, sport, politics, and the arts! Children can read about one life at a time, taking in the inspiring stories of real life heroines ranging from Ada Lovelace to Serena Williams. 🎾
- Stories for Boys Who Dare to be Different – Ben Brooks (Illustrated by Quinton Winter)
Covering everyone from Salvador Dali to Stormzy, this collection of extraordinary life stories can’t fail to inspire. Together with Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, these books are undoubtedly some of the best children’s books.
This quote from award-winning writer and musician Benjamin Zephaniah says it all: ‘This book can save lives. This book can change lives. This book can help bring forth another generation of boys who dare to be different.’
Best children’s books for children aged 8+
As young readers grow in confidence and start to branch out, they’ll find an ever-increasing range of books on offer. Whether they’re into real-life dramas or dangerous (and friendly) dragons, you can help them reap the benefits of reading. Encourage them to dive into things that appeal to their interests and to experiment with new genres. 📚
- The Story of Tracy Beaker – Jaqueline Wilson (Illustrated by Nick Sharratt)
A modern classic, The Story of Tracy Beaker follows the articulate and sometimes angry Tracy through her diary entries. Aged 10 and living in a children's home, Tracy lives in hope that her glamorous mum will return to get her. Full of doodles and drawings that help us understand Tracy’s day-to-day dilemmas, this book is full of humour and heart.
- How to Train Your Dragon – Cressida Cowell
This award-winning book follows the adventures of Hiccup. When sheer Viking brawn fails to save his village from a deadly threat, Hiccup uses a new-found knowledge of dragon-taming to save his friends and family. Full of humour, wit and striking illustrations – it’s the first in an incredibly popular series for young readers. 🐲
- Varjak Paw – SF Said
This is one for kids who love their furry friends. Varjak Paw, a house cat, lives with his family in comfort in the Contessa’s grand home. When the Gentleman moves in, along with his strange black cats, everything changes. Leaving the house for the first time in his life, Varjak embarks on a mission to find a dog to frighten away the intruders. However, his adventure takes him to new and exciting places. Along the way, Varjak learns more than he ever could have imagined about the world outside and the strength that lies within.
Best children’s books for children aged 9+
It’s hard to choose a handful of books all kids should read at this age, as there’s just so much wonderful stuff on offer. Let their imaginations take flight and help them discover new worlds with these picks.
- The Borrowers – Mary Norton
This classic and heart-warming tale will no doubt capture your child’s imagination. Living in secret in people’s houses, The Borrowers are tiny people who live in the most unusual places. The story follows Arrietty Clock and her family. They borrow what they need, exploring the world around them and going on adventures to unlikely places. The story is beautiful in its simplicity and in the way it can evoke wonder at the smallest of things.
- High-Rise Mystery - Sharna Jackson
Sisters Nik and Norva are a super-smart sibling duo living on a tower block estate. After their community art teacher is murdered, they decide to turn detective. With a gripping storyline and a snappy style, this fantastic mystery is the perfect ‘whodunnit’ for readers of this age. 🕵🏾♀️
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
While staying in an old house in the country, siblings Peter, Susan, Edmund and Lucy find a wardrobe that leads to another world. They arrive in Narnia, a magical land that has been cast into an eternal winter by the evil White Witch. When Edmund falls prey to her dark magic and is taken prisoner, his siblings must find a way to save him. This classic tale of adventure is brimming with magic and adventure. 🦁
- Wonder – R J Palacio
Ten-year-old Augie was born with a severe facial deformity. He can’t help but stand out when he just wants to fit in. As he enters mainstream education for the first time after being home-schooled, he has to navigate the maze of friendship, family and attending his first ever school. Told from multiple perspectives, this book is full of heart and carries a powerful message about the importance of human kindness.
Best children’s books for children aged 10+
There are so many old and new classics that could be considered some of the best children’s books for this age and upwards. As kids near the end of primary school, they’re able to explore and understand more complex and challenging topics. Encourage them to read, relate and empathise.
- The Boy at the Back of the Class – Onjali Rauf
This award-winning book centres on a group of children who welcome Ahmet, a refugee from Syria, into their world. Short on stereotypes and full of positive messages, this book encourages children to challenge prejudice and stand up for kindness. 💓
- The Girls of Ink and Stars – Kiran Millwood Hargrave
A modern classic, this tale of courage and wonder follows Isabella, a curious and brave adventurer. She leaves her island home for the first time to find her missing friend, Lupe. Following her father’s maps, she ventures into the unknown, encountering both monsters and magic. 🗺️
- Northern Lights – Phillip Pullman
This book is the first in Phillip Pullman’s multi-award winning His Dark Materials trilogy. Beginning in a world where everyone has an animal daemon, the story follows the adventures of a fearless young girl called Lyra. Together with her daemon Pan, she sets off to look for her missing friend, Roger. Her journey takes her to new and wondrous worlds beyond her own. Full of excitement and compelling storytelling, this book is a 20th Century classic.
- The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
Like nothing else your child will ever read, The Hobbit is a unique adventure through a richly written world. As Bilbo Baggins leaves the comfort of The Shire for the first time, he begins an epic expedition that leaves him in possession of a most unusual ring. With wizards, dwarves and dragons, there’s fantasy all over. The story is entertaining, humorous and magical - a classic that continues to appeal to readers young and old. 🧙🏼♂️
So there you have it – a by-no-means definitive list of the books all kids should read, but an exciting starting point nonetheless!
If you think your child would benefit from some support with English or any other subject for that matter, why not see if one of our expert tutors can help. For now, we wish you happy reading! 📖