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Summer reads for 8-12s

Pea's Book of Holidays

Here are our suggestions for summer reads – and there's something for every child, aged 8-12 years old. New books; old books; books about summer; books to get lost in; and books that come in series, so they won't have to stop reading this summer! 

  • The Wild Book

    Author: Juan Villoro Translator: Lawrence Schimel
    Publisher: Restless Books

    When Juan goes to spend the summer with his strange uncle Tito, the last thing he expects is to be sent on a quest in his labyrinthine library. This quirky, magical adventure is a must for book-lovers everywhere.

  • The Storm Keeper’s Island

    Author: Catherine Doyle
    Publisher: Bloomsbury

    Fionn and his sister Tara are spending their summer on the remote island of Arranmore, off the coast of Ireland, staying with their grandfather. Readers will be swept away by the setting, atmosphere and magic of Arranmore as Fionn discovers its history and secrets. 

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days

    Author: Jeff Kinney
    Publisher: Puffin

    Greg's idea of a perfect summer holiday is to sit indoors and play computer games but for some reason his Mum thinks fresh air and 'family togetherness' are a much better plan.

  • McTavish Goes Wild

    Author: Meg Rosoff Illustrator: Grace Easton
    Publisher: Barrington Stoke

    The Peachey family have a rescue dog called McTavish – but McTavish is pretty sure he's there to rescue THEM. So when the family go camping, McTavish decides to bring the family closer together. Gentle, funny and affectionate, with well-drawn characters.

  • First Class Murder

    Author: Robin Stevens
    Publisher: Corgi

    A detective duo pounce into action en route to their holiday when a woman is murdered on a train.

  • Kidnap in the Caribbean

    Author: Lauren St John
    Publisher: Orion Children's Books

    The second Laura Marling mystery has all the elements of an old fashioned adventure story, action packed with friends rallying to fight an evil enemy

  • Spangles McNasty and the Fish of Gold

    Author: Steve Webb Illustrator: Chris Mould
    Publisher: Andersen Press

    Both ludicrous and funny, join Freddie on the greediest, goldest and fishiest escapade of the summer. And remember, where there's fish, there's always chips!

  • Roller Girl

    Author: Victoria Jamieson
    Publisher: Puffin

    It’s really exciting to be starting at Roller Derby summer camp, but less so when Astrid finds herself doing it alone. A fantastic full-colour graphic novel about friendship and awesome, strong girls, this a genuine joy to read. 

  • The Great Ice Cream Heist

    Author: Elen Caldecott
    Publisher: Bloomsbury

    Shy Eva lives a quiet life with her protective Dad - until the noisy McIntyre family move in next door.

  • The Island at the End of Everything

    Author: Kiran Millwood Hargrave
    Publisher: Chicken House

    Amihan lives happily on the island of Culion in the Phillipines with her mother, her Nanay, who has leprosy, and in a wider community where some people are "touched" with the disease, and some are not.

  • Swallows and Amazons

    Author: Arthur Ransome
    Publisher: Red Fox

    It's the summer holidays, and the Walker children are excited to set sail on their boat Swallow and camp on Wild Cat Island.

  • Eddy Stone and the Epic Holiday Mash-Up

    Author: Simon Cherry Illustrator: Francis Blake
    Publisher: Usborne

    Fast-paced and very funny, this inventive re-working of a pirate's tale buzzes with sharp one-liners, inventive language and oddball details. Highly entertaining and swashbuckling!

  • Rules of Summer

    Author: Shaun Tan
    Publisher: Lothian Children's Books

    An excellent book illustrating 'what I learned last summer' that would be an inspiring addition to any bookshelf.

  • Freddie Mole, Lion Tamer

    Author: Alexander McCall Smith Illustrator: Kate Hindley
    Publisher: Bloomsbury

    Freddie can't believe his luck when he's offered a holiday job at the circus, but is alarmed when he's asked to take on the challenge of lion taming. This entertaining tall tale is ideal for confident independent readers.

  • Pea's Book of Holidays

    Author: Susie Day
    Publisher: Red Fox

    Susie Day returns with another hugely fun installment of the delightful Pea's Book series.

    Whether or not they've read about Pea's previous adventures, young readers will enjoy the gentle humour of this entertaining contemporary spin on the classic family story.

  • The Wilderness War

    Author: Julia Green
    Publisher: Oxford University Press

    For Noah and his friends, the empty lot in front of their houses is incredibly special - and they will fight to keep it. An enjoyable tale of friendship, bravery and hope.