Great Books Guide 2021: For 10 to 11 year olds

Happy Here

Here's a round-up of new children's books from the last year (2021), which we think any child aged 10 to 11 years will love.

With everything from touching family dramas to thrilling adventures and stories to make you giggle, there are loads of wonderful titles to enjoy.

  • Voyage of the Sparrowhawk

    Author: Natasha Farrant
    Publisher: Faber & Faber
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9+

    12-year-olds Ben and Lotti each need to get to France in the aftermath of World War I; so in the middle of a dark night they set off aboard the barge Sparrowhawk. 

  • Amari and the Night Brothers

    Author: B B Alston
    Publisher: Farshore
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Amari is a scholarship student at a supernatural summer school, investigating magical crimes as she tries to solve the mystery of her brother’s disappearance. 

  • When the Sky Falls

    Author: Phil Earle
    Publisher: Andersen
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 10+

    It's the Second World War and while everyone else is evacuated to the countryside, 12-year-old Joseph ends up in the city with a woman who owns a zoo. A beautifully written historical adventure story, which will take readers on an emotional and exciting journey.

  • October, October

    Author: Katya Balen
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    October has a happy life living with her dad in the forest - but when Dad gets injured in an accident, she's forced to go and live with her estranged mum in the city, where nothing is natural and everything feels new and frightening. Can October let her mum into her heart?

  • The Lightning Catcher

    Author: Clare Weze
    Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    When Alfie moves to the village of Folding Ford, he is baffled by a series of strange occurrences. This exciting, science-packed novel is a cracking read and bursts with action, warmth and humour.

  • A Street Dog Named Pup

    Author: Gill Lewis
    Publisher: David Fickling Books
    Interest age: 10-13
    Reading age: 9+

    This hard-hitting, compelling story of life on the streets for an abandoned dog and his search for the boy who loves him. 

  • Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow

    Author: Benjamin Dean Illustrator: Sandhya Prabhat
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Archie’s mum and dad are splitting up because Archie’s dad is gay. Can a Pride parade give Archie’s family a way of coming together again?  

  • Happy Here

    Author: Various authors with an introduction by Sharna Jackson
    Publisher: Knights Of
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    In this important anthology, ten illustrated short stories from present day black authors and illustrators thrill readers with the stories they’ve been waiting for, featuring black protagonists at the centre of a huge variety of fictional worlds and situations.

  • White Bird

    Author: R J Palacio
    Publisher: Penguin
    Interest age: 12-16
    Reading age: 9+

    Now he’s a teenager, Julian wants to hear the details of what happened to Grandmère during her childhood in France in World War Two. A compelling graphic novel about courage in adversity, and how kindness and humanity can overcome evil. 

  • Amber Undercover

    Author: Em Norry
    Publisher: Oxford
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Shy, cool-headed Amber has just been chosen to be a spy by a mysterious agency - and before long she's sent to foil an evil cybercrime plot! Can she juggle friendship, family, and going undercover?

  • Noah's Gold

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

    Eleven-year-old Noah finds himself marooned on a deserted island that turns out to hold all kind of treasure. A book with a real sense of the absurd and a gentle message about the value we can find in things and people when we put our phones and laptops away.

  • The Boy Who Met A Whale

    Author: Nizrana Farook
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Edge-of-seat thrills contrast with the beauty and wildlife of a remote island nation as three youngsters must use their wits and determination to rescue lost treasure and escape a pair of murderous criminals.

  • Boy, Everywhere

    Author: A. M. Dassu
    Publisher: Old Barn Books
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    The story of Sami, a Syrian boy who is forced to leave his home with nothing when war strikes. 

  • Windrush Child

    Author: Benjamin Zephaniah
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9+

    This is the story of Leonard, who travels with his mother from Jamaica to England after the Second World War. Benjamin Zephaniah shares his story right up to 2018 and the Windrush scandal - when Leonard, as an old man, is denied citizenship in the country he has lived in his entire life. 

  • Twitch

    Author: M. G. Leonard
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 8-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Twitch is a kind, sensitive 12-year-old boy, who adores birds. He plans to spend the summer at his secret birdwatching hide, so is frustrated when his peaceful retreat is overrun with police officers on the hunt for an escaped prisoner. This engaging and uplifting tale about friendship, trust and the wonder of nature is seamlessly interwoven with an int…

  • When Life Gives You Mangoes

    Author: Kereen Getten
    Publisher: Pushkin Press
    Interest age: 10-14
    Reading age: 9+

    Twelve year-old Clara can’t remember what happened last summer, or understand why her best friend is so angry with her. What mysteries will she uncover this summer?

  • Life of Riley: Beginner's Luck

    Author: Simon James Green
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Following a badly timed sneeze at a funfair, Riley finds himself cursed - everything he does is doomed to be a complete disaster, whether it's wetting himself onstage or losing the school rabbit. Could his cool new friend Brad Chicago be the antidote?

  • The Haunting of Aveline Jones

    Author: Phil Hickes Illustrator: Keith Robinson
    Publisher: Usborne
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9+

    When Aveline finds a book about local ghosts in a second-hand bookshop, she is intrigued to learn that it once belonged to 11-year-old Primrose Penberthy, who mysteriously disappeared thirty years earlier. As Aveline is drawn deeper into the tales, events take an unsettling turn. This chilling chapter book is the first in a compelling series of ghostly myste…

  • SkyWake: Invasion

    Author: Jamie Russell
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 9-14
    Reading age: 10+

    This exhilarating futuristic adventure, the first in a trilogy, is a fast-paced, thrilling read, perfect for gamers and sci-fi fans.

  • Emmy Levels Up

    Author: Helen Harvey
    Publisher: Oxford
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Emmy lives some of the best bits of her life online and in her own head. A hard-hitting yet empowering story of bullying, friendship and finding the confidence and courage to be yourself.