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Great Books Guide: For 8 to 9 year olds

Anisha Accidental Detective book cover

Here's a round-up of new children's books from the last year (2020), which we think any child aged 8 to 9 will love.

From incredible true life stories to mind-blowing non-fiction and brilliant adventures, there's so much to discover.

Discover the full Great Books Guide

  • The Undefeated

    Author: Kwame Alexander Illustrator: Kadir Nelson
    Publisher: Andersen press
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 8+

    An illustrated poem filled with stunning painted portraits, written to commemorate the birth of Alexander’s daughter and the inauguration of Barack Obama in 2008, The Undefeated remembers unforgettable, unafraid and unbowed, famous and overlooked figures from black history. While this is a book that would be best read with an adult who can give con…

  • Dr Maggie's Grand Tour of the Solar System

    Author: Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock Illustrator: Chelen Écija
    Publisher: Buster Books
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 7+

    Space scientist Dr Maggie invites readers to join her on a grand space tour using their imaginations. This fantastic, imaginative reference book would be a wonderful resource in the classroom and treasured by any young person with an interest in space.

  • The Iron Man

    Author: Ted Hughes Illustrator: Chris Mould
    Publisher: Faber & Faber
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Whether you’re already a fan of this classic children’s story or a new reader, this wonderful version is a real treat. Chris Mould’s mechanical Iron Man has a great deal of personality and this luxury hardback would be a delight to share at home or at school.

  • Glitch

    Author: Sarah Graley
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Izzy and her friend Eric just can’t wait for Dungeon City to arrive – until Izzy find that she’s sucked into the game. Sarah Graley’s fantastic and fun games-themed new comic novel is perfect for 8-11s, gaming-mad or not.

  • Rise Up: Ordinary Kids with Extraordinary Stories

    Author: Amanda Li Illustrator: Amy Blackwell designed by Kim Hankinson and Jack Clucas
    Publisher: Buster Books
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    A fantastic and inspiring book, sharing the stories of normal kids from across the world and their amazing achievements. After the biographical information, there are interesting suggestions for activities based on that child’s message or passion.

  • I, Cosmo

    Author: Carlie Sorosiak
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Cosmo is a dog with a passion for dance. When his family no longer have enough love to stay together, can he save them? This charming story brings together the fun of canine freestyle dance and the heartbreak of divorce into a single, moving story about families.

  • The Cloud Horse Chronicles: Guardians of Magic

    Author: Chris Riddell
    Publisher: Macmillan
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    The first in a wildly imaginative fantasy series, in which three brave youngsters join forces against those trying to destroy ancient magic. Packed with beautifully intricate illustrations full of character and passion, it’s absorbing and supremely entertaining. 

  • Strange But True: 10 of the World’s Greatest Mysteries Explained

    Author: Kathryn Hulick Illustrator: Gordy Wright
    Publisher: Frances Lincoln
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    There are many strange mysteries with the reputation of being unexplained. But could a scientific explanation help us understand the seemingly odd? It’s nice to find a book that respects children’s love of the strange and spooky but also looks at other angles.

  • Harriet Versus the Galaxy

    Author: Samantha Baines Illustrator: Jessica Flores
    Publisher: Knights Of
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 7+

    When Harriet is hunting for her hearing aid under the bed, the last thing she expects to find is an alien. Soon, she is working alongside her gran to defend the human race. A highly accessible story, laced with lively illustrations and lots of laughs. 

  • Gut Garden

    Author: Katie Brosnan
    Publisher: Cicada Books
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Microbes are tiny life forms you can only see with a microscope – but what do they do? And are they helpful, harmful, or both? Katie Brosnan describes a microscopic universe which marvels with its ingenuity, variety and scale. This is a wonderful and eye-opening guide to the smallest things in the world.

  • The Secret Time Machine and the Gherkin Switcheroo

    Author: Simone Lia
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 6+

    Marcus lands himself in trouble with his best friend Laurence when he claims his aunt has built a time-travelling machine - he'll either have to confess that he lied, or invent time travel. And he doesn't want to confess... A fantastically silly story.

  • Empire's End: A Roman Story

    Author: Leila Rasheed
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    In 207 AD, how will a young North African girl survive amidst the unpredictability of life at the furthest reaches of the Roman Empire? 

  • Planet Omar: Unexpected Super Spy

    Author: Zanib Mian Illustrator: Nasaya Mafaridik
    Publisher: Hodder
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 6+

    Omar's mosque is in danger of being closed down, so quick-thinking Omar holds a school talent show to raise the money needed for the emergency building repairs. When the money goes missing, it's up to Omar and his friends to become super spies to track down the culprit!

  • Charlie Morphs Into a Mammoth

    Author: Sam Copeland Illustrator: Sarah Horne
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    The third book in a hilarious series following Charlie, a boy with a most unusual superpower, as he tries to solve the mysterious disappearance of animals in the town.

  • Work It, Girl: Become a Leader Like Michelle Obama

    Author: Caroline Moss Illustrator: Sinem Erkas
    Publisher: Frances Lincoln
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 8+

    This beautifully illustrated introduction to Michelle Obama’s inspiring life is a must for anyone with a dream, and a reminder that with hard work and focus, everything is possible.

  • Willow Wildthing and the Swamp Monster

    Author: Gill Lewis Illustrator: Rebecca Bagley
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
    Interest age: 8-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Willow is in the garden when she meets the Wild Things: a small band of barefoot children with sticks and feathers in their hair. When they kidnap her dog Sniff, she must help them track the monster that has been invading their camp. This gentle adventure story celebrates going back to basics and children immersing themselves in imaginative play in the ‘wild…

  • Anisha, Accidental Detective

    Author: Serena Patel Illustrator: Emma McCann
    Publisher: Usborne
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 6+

    Anisha's ultra-dramatic Aunty Bindi is getting married tomorrow and the groom, Uncle Tony, has been kidnapped! Can Anisha and her best friend Milo track down the culprit - and Uncle Tony - in time for his wedding?

  • Pests

    Author: Emer Stamp
    Publisher: Hodder
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 6+

    A little mouse loses his grandmother but finds hilarious friends at a school for pests. Hilarious and full of warmth and humour, this adventure will appeal to all kinds of readers.

  • Super Happy Magic Forest and the Humongous Fungus

    Author: Matty Long
    Publisher: Oxford
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 6+

    It’s the day of the Frolic Festival in the Super Happy Magic Forest and everyone’s waiting for the Rainbow Dragon to appear, but something is very wrong. It's up to five unusual heroes – including Trevor, a small talking mushroom and Blossom the burping unicorn - to investigate.

  • The Big Book of Football

    Author: Mundial Illustrator: Damien Weighill
    Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    A great introduction to the beautiful game, featuring everything from the evolution of the football boot to players' hairdos and Drogba's perfect attacking headers.