Great Books Guide 2021: For 8-9 year olds

The Night Bus Hero

Here's a round-up of new children's books from the last year (2021), 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.

  • Bunny Vs Monkey

    Author: Jamie Smart
    Publisher: David Fickling Books
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 7+

    Packed full of hilarious short stories, this bumper collection of cartoons covers an entire year of adventures for Bunny and Monkey. Off-the-wall characters, wacky storylines and hilarious comic-strip illustrations ensure there are plenty of laughs on every page.

  • Ways to Make Sunshine

    Author: Renée Watson Illustrator: Mechal Roe
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 7+

    Ryan Hart’s dad has lost his job and everything is changing. But with friends, family and a positive outlook, she can cope.

  • The Night Bus Hero

    Author: Onjali Q. Raúf
    Publisher: Orion
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 7+

    Hector is a bully who reports an innocent homeless man to the police because he thinks he's probably responsible for a spate of thefts - but when Hector discovers he's got it wrong, he must race to restore justice.

  • A Day in the Life of a Poo, a Gnu, and You

    Author: Mike Barfield Illustrator: Jess Bradley
    Publisher: Buster Books
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 7+

    A very unusual fact book with laugh-out-loud strip cartoons about everything from eyeballs to Bactrian camels.

  • Vi Spy: Licence to Chill

    Author: Maz Evans
    Publisher: Chicken House
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Thrilling, funny and inventive adventure featuring a wannabe spy, an evil supervillain and a secret weapon that could explode her Mum’s brain.

  • Llama Out Loud

    Author: Annabelle Sami Illustrator: Allen Fatimaharan
    Publisher: Farshore
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Yasmin is the quiet one in a really loud family, until Levi the magic toy llama comes along and forces everyone to listen to her.

  • Monster Max and the Bobble Hat of Forgetting

    Author: Robin Bennett Illustrator: Tom Tinn-Disbury
    Publisher: Firefly
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 6+

    Max is reigning in his monster behaviour to become a crime-fighting hero... but there's a suspicious kid who's determined to capture the beast!

  • A Mummy Ate My Homework

    Author: Thiago de Moraes
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Henry's just excited about starting Year 6 - little does he know he's about to end up getting pulled through a time portal to Ancient Egypt! Will he ever find his way back home? A real gem of a book mixing a fast-paced story with lots of facts about Ancient Egypt.

  • Planet Omar: Incredible Rescue Mission

    Author: Zanib Mian Illustrator: Nasaya Mafaridik
    Publisher: Hodder
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Omar and his friends launch a mission to rescue their favourite teacher and make a disturbing discovery: she has undoubtedly been abducted by aliens!

  • My Life as a Cat

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

    Leonard isn’t a cat; he is an alien who has fallen to earth and he needs to get home. So Olive sets out on a road trip to get her pet home to his family.

  • InvestiGators

    Author: John Patrick Green
    Publisher: Macmillan
    Interest age: 7-11
    Reading age: 7+

    Mango and Brash, two alligator detectives, have an assignment to go undercover at Batter Down bakery when chef Gustavo Mustachio goes missing - and when a customer orders a person-sized birthday cake, the mystery deepens!

  • Queen of Freedom

    Author: Catherine Johnson
    Publisher: Pushkin Press
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9+

    Set in Jamaica in the 1720s, this is the incredible true story of Queen Nanny, leader of the Maroons, a community of escaped slaves who have settled high up in the Blue Mountains. 

  • The Day The Screens Went Blank

    Author: Danny Wallace Illustrator: Gemma Correll
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    When all the screens in the world stop working overnight, Stella and her family embark on a hilarious rescue mission to save Grandma.

  • The Dragon Ark

    Author: Curatoria Draconis Illustrator: Tomislav Tomic
    Publisher: Magic Cat Publishing
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    In this stunning book, Curatoria Draconis - also known as the Dragon Protector - takes us on a journey around the world to meet different kinds of dragons and learn how we can protect them...

  • Shoe Wars

    Author: Liz Pichon
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    A madcap adventure packed with loathsome baddies, absurd inventions and heroic deeds from underequipped underdogs. Could the future of the world rest on the designs for a pair of flying shoes?

  • Dragon Mountain

    Author: Katie & Kevin Tsang
    Publisher: Simon & Schuster
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Billy Chan would rather spend his summer surfing than travelling to China for summer camp - but little does he know, he's about to become whisked off for a fantastic adventure involving dragons, magic, and a battle to save the world...

  • It’s Her Story: Rosa Parks

    Author: Lauren Burke Illustrator: Shane Clester
    Publisher: Sunbird Books
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 6+

    Rosa Park’s story is brought to life for a young audience in this wonderfully accessible picture book, with comic-style illustrations.

  • Anisha Accidental Detective: School's Cancelled!

    Author: Serena Patel Illustrator: Emma McCann
    Publisher: Usborne
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Can Anisha Mistry find out who sabotaged her science experiment and flooded the school with foam when all the potential suspects have alibis?

  • Britannica All New Children's Encyclopedia

    Author: Christopher Lloyd
    Publisher: What On Earth Books
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Exploring a wide range of topics with stunning illustration and real life photography, this brilliant encylopedia is divided into eight chapters: Universe, Earth, Matter, Life, Humans, Ancient & Medieval Times, Modern Times, and Today & Tomorrow. 

  • The Good Germ Hotel

    Author: Kim Sung-hwa and Kwon-Su-jin Illustrator: Kim Ryung-eon
    Publisher: What on Earth Books
    Interest age: 7-11
    Reading age: 8+

    A funny, fascinating, illustrated guide to the trillions of good bugs that live inside the human body and how they help to keep us healthy.