Illustrated books for older children

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made

Your child is likely to love books with pictures well into primary school (if not all the way through and beyond).

There's nothing wrong with this at all: illustration is beautiful, fun and accessible, and offers another way to read a story!

If you're struggling to find illustrated books for older children (mid- to upper primary), then try some of the books below: all brilliant stories that are brilliantly illustrated...

Time to Read: why we want families to keep reading together

  • Nightlights

    Author: Lorena Alvarez
    Publisher: Nobrow
    Interest age: 8+
    Reading age: 10+

    A remarkable, haunting and beautiful graphic novel for younger readers, Nightlights is a magical fable about creativity and believing in yourself. With a 'Studio Ghibli' feel and some sumptuous artwork, this is a wonderful read and a visual treat.

  • Scavenger: Chaos Zone

    Author: Paul Stewart Illustrator: Chris Riddell
    Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books
    Interest age: 9+
    Reading age: 9+

    The second in the Scavenger series, Chaos Zone finds York and his robot Zoid friend Belle exploding from a ventilation tube into a strange forest. A thousand years into space, the animals and plants aboard the city-sized Biosphere spaceship have mutated. But what has happened to the humans on board the ship?

  • Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth

    Author: Judd Winick
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 6+
    Reading age: 6-10

    Colourful, action-filled and laugh-out-loud funny, with plenty of burps, farts and catchphrases, HILO is the first in a bestselling US graphic novel series for younger readers. It's also a genuinely well-told, gripping sci-fi story.

  • Claude in the City

    Author: Alex T Smith
    Publisher: Hodder Children's Books
    Interest age: 7+
    Reading age: 7+

    Claude is no ordinary dog - he leads an extraordinary life! When Mr and Mrs Shinyshoes set off for work, Claude heads for the city, where pigeons, beret shops and robberies await.

  • Greta Zargo and the Death Robots from Outer Space

    Author: A.F. Harrold Illustrator: Joe Todd Stanton
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9-12

    Greta Zargo is the key to protecting planet Earth from space robots - but is she too busy tracking down a cake thief to notice? A silly joy of a book that mashes up The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy with The Great British Bake Off.

  • Bad Mermaids

    Author: Sibéal Pounder Illustrator: Jason Cockroft
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    Interest age: 7-11
    Reading age: 9-11

    Beattie, Mimi and Zelda will change the way you see mermaids forever as they attempt to save their home of Swirlyshell in this delightfully silly story from the author of Witch Wars.

  • Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made

    Author: Stephan Pastis
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 7+
    Reading age: 8+

    Meet Timmy Failure - a terminally over-confident middle school pupil attempting to make millions by solving local mysteries, such as who ate his classmates’ unattended Halloween candy.

  • Grandpa Bert and the Ghost Snatchers

    Author: Malorie Blackman Illustrator: Melanie Demmer
    Publisher: Little Gems
    Interest age: 6-9
    Reading age: 7+

    When Grandma Gertie visits Anna and Kasper from Barbados, they discover that the ghost of Grandpa Bert is in her handbag! Meanwhile, some ghost snatchers are determined to capture him. Fast-paced and funny.

  • Hilda and the Hidden People

    Author: Stephen Davies and Luke Pearson
    Publisher: Flying Eye Books
    Interest age: 7-10
    Reading age: 7+

    An illustrated chapter book based on Luke Pearson’s brilliant Hilda graphic novels, Hilda and the Hidden People is a fun and pacey adventure combining a contemporary heroine with a gentle mythological element. 

  • The Legend of Kevin

    Author: Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre
    Publisher: Oxford University Press
    Interest age: 7-10
    Reading age: 7+

    Max longs for adventure in his life – then one day, a flying pony called Kevin crashes into his flat, blown in by a magical storm. Mayhem, friendship and a brilliant cast of characters combine in this fabulously funny tale.

  • The Wizards of Once

    Author: Cressida Cowell
    Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Wish is a girl from a warrior tribe and Xar is a boy from a wizard tribe, living in a world loosely based on Ancient Britain at the beginning of the Iron Age, but where magic is real. A fabulously imaginative, funny and unpredictable adventure. 

  • Sam Wu is Not Afraid of Ghosts

    Author: Katie and Kevin Tsang Illustrator: Nathan Reed
    Publisher: Farshore
    Interest age: 7-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Sam Wu is scared of many things but is determined not to let anyone find out. However, after an unfortunate incident in a space simulator on a school trip, he becomes a target for class bully Ralph, who nicknames him Scaredy-Cat Sam.