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Great Books Guide: for 10 to 11 year olds

To Night Owl From Dogfish

Here's a round-up of new children's books from the last year (2019), which we think any child aged 10 to 11 years will love. We definitely do!

Check out the full Great Books Guide

  • Football School: Star Players

    Author: Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton Illustrator: Spike Gerrell
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Featuring 50 outstanding football players, this is a who’s who guide to the footballing world, from Eniola Aluko to Zinédine Zidane. Players included come from all around the world and from across the last century.

  • When Good Geeks Go Bad

    Author: Catherine Wilkins
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 10+
    Reading age: 10+

    Everyone thinks Ella is such a goody two-shoes, but Ella's had enough of toeing the line. Yet will she really break the bigger rules, just to be in with the "in crowd"? A heartwarming and humorous story that deals wittily with everyday teenage angst. 

  • High-Rise Mystery

    Author: Sharna Jackson
    Publisher: Knights Of
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    High-Rise Mystery is the perfect ‘whodunnit’. As the two girls sift through red herrings and reveal a series of tower block secrets, short snappy sentences and sparkling dialogue will keep readers turning the pages. A mystery as hot as the summer heatwave in which it’s set!

  • Call Me Alastair

    Author: Cory Leonardo
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 12+
    Reading age: 12+

    Alastair the parrot poet dreams of freedom, blue skies and palm trees. His sister Aggie yearns to go home with animal-loving Fritz. Can their different wishes be reconciled? Heartwarming, heartbreaking, eccentric, original and stunningly good.

  • Doctor Who: The Secret in Vault 13

    Author: David Solomons Illustrator: Laura Ellen Anderson and George Ermos
    Publisher: Penguin/BBC
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9-12

    A dark secret locked inside an ancient vault; three long-lost keys; an evil alien intent on destroying the universe. Oh, and a talking plant. This talking begonia’s cry for help reveals that the galaxy is in dire peril, and naturally only Doctor Who (Jodie Whitaker’s incarnation specifically), along with her friends Yaz, Ryan and Graham, can save the day.

  • Secrets of a Sun King

    Author: Emma Carroll
    Publisher: Faber
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 9+

    This is a glorious historical adventure with a nimble, thrilling 1920s tale, as well as a wonderful subplot set back in Ancient Egyptian times. Somehow that all does work perfectly, due to artful weaving by Emma Carroll. A totally thrilling read.

  • Runaway Robot

    Author: Frank Cottrell-Boyce Illustrator: Steven Lenton
    Publisher: Macmillan
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Alfie has one hand; Eric has one leg. Can a small boy and a giant, police car-crushing robot ever be friends? And do bad things in your past have to destroy your future? Hilarious, complex and hugely satisfying.

  • To Night Owl From Dogfish

    Author: Meg Wolitzer and Holly Goldberg Sloan
    Publisher: Egmont
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 9+

    Told entirely in emails and letters, this sensitive, often funny book examines what it means to be a family, and what happens when families change. Strong and vivid characterisation makes us feel we really know the characters. 

  • Little Badman and the Invasion of the Killer Aunties

    Author: Humza Arshad and Henry White Illustrator: Aleksei Bitskoff
    Publisher: Puffin Books
    Interest age: 10-13
    Reading age: 10+

    Humza Khan is an 11-year-old who devotes most of his energy into trying to be a cool rapper, AKA Little Badman. A perfect read for Tom Gates fans: prepare for big belly laughs and great advice on how to be yourself.

  • This Book is Not Rubbish: 50 Ways to Ditch Plastic, Reduce Rubbish and Save the World

    Author: Isabel Thomas Illustrator: Alex Paterson
    Publisher: Wren & Rook
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 9-12

    There are some worrying realities in the world at the moment when it comes to the environment. Luckily, this readable gem is full of ideas for kids to take charge of their home’s impact on the environment. 

  • Step Into Your Power: 23 Lessons on How To Live Your Best Life

    Author: Jamia Wilson Illustrator: Andrea Pippins
    Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 6+

    In this wonderful and timely book, aimed at older primary or younger secondary school children, author Jamia Wilson and Andrea Pippins give a series of practical tips and explanations about ways that we can live our best lives.

  • The Last Zoo

    Author: Sam Gayton
    Publisher: Andersen Press
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 9+

    Pia lives on the last zoo: a floating armada that houses the strangest collection of creatures the world’s ever seen, from genies to mirror-orangutans to hummingdragons. Collectively called ‘voilas’, they each have a special ability, and everyone hopes these will help save the world from environmental catastrophe.

  • Managing Your Money

    Author: Jane Bingham and Holly Bathie Illustrator: Nancy Leschnikoff and Freya Harrison
    Publisher: Usborne
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 9+

    This clear, concise non-fiction guide to managing money for young people explores a range of topics, including setting a budget, opening a bank account and managing debt. Well-designed and easy to navigate.

  • Asha and the Spirit Bird

    Author: Jasbinder Bilan
    Publisher: Chicken House
    Interest age: 8+
    Reading age: 8+

    Asha’s quest across India to find her father brings her into danger before love, faith and friendship finally provide a happy ending. A warm, comforting story that tackles some dark subjects with a constantly reassuring tone.  

  • Ghost

    Author: Jason Reynolds Illustrator: Selom Sunu
    Publisher: Knights Of
    Interest age: 11+
    Reading age: 11+

    Three years ago Ghost’s dad chased him and his mum down the road with a gun. His dad got ten years in prison, and Ghost learned how to run. Ghost has never thought of athletics as a sporting option – basketball is his thing. But now, after challenging a sprinter to a race at the local track, he’s won himself a place on an elite running team.

  • The Good Thieves

    Author: Katherine Rundell
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    If you try to steal back something that has been taken from your family by trickery, is that a crime or is it justice? A thrilling adventure, set in 1920s New York, rich in period detail and tensely dramatic moments.

  • The Clockwork Crow

    Author: Catherine Fisher
    Publisher: Firefly
    Interest age: 10-12
    Reading age: 10-12

    Orphan Seren Rhys has been sent to live with her mysterious Godfather after living for 12 years in an orphanage. The possibility of her first happy family Christmas seems like it might finally be within her reach.

    On her solo journey to Wales, Seren is given a mysterious package to look after by a stranger and ends up feeling obliged to take it with her. But…

  • The Middler

    Author: Kirsty Applebaum
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 9+

    In the town of Fennis Wick, there are two rules: eldests go to military camp when they turn 14, and you don’t talk to wanderers, like Maggie. This dystopian novel, set in a seemingly idyllic town, will send a shiver down the spine. 

  • The Boy at the Back of the Class

    Author: Onjali Q Raúf
    Publisher: Orion Children's Books
    Interest age: 7-11
    Reading age: 10+

    This is the story about how four classmates have a massive impact on the life of Ahmet, a boy that comes to their school as a refugee from Syria. An inspiring and sweet tale that should help children be the best they can be and realise the power of kindness.

  • Diver’s Daughter: A Tudor Story

    Author: Patrice Lawrence
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 9+

    This is a thrilling tale, with the expertly described Tudor world brought to hideous, harsh life with the same verve as Patrice Lawrence’s award winning teen books Indigo Donut and Orangeboy