Recommended children's booklists sorted by age or topic

Home > Recommended Reads 2021 Archive > Year 4: 50 Recommended Reads 2021

Year 4: 50 Recommended Reads 2021

Icon Award
best books for y4

Best Books for Y4 (Ages 8-9) in 2021

Our experts have selected a range of recommended books for children aged 8-9. Find the best books to top up your Y4 book collection with our hand-picked list of storytime favourites, thought-provoking tales, funny books, picturebooks, comic-style reads, poetry collections, non-fiction texts and more. We hope that there will be something for everyone, but do keep your eyes open for magical cats, crime-busting pigeons, wish-granting fifty-pence pieces and the odd day of the week that mysteriously vanishes from memory…

Scroll down to find more purchasing options and printable resources.

Jenny McLachlan
 & Ben Mantle
Chapter book
The first in a new children’s fantasy adventure series, full of imagination, humour and heart, and with echoes of Peter Pan , The Chronicles of Narnia , The Neverending Story and Jumanji . The Land of Roar is perfect for children aged 8 to 12, and can sit on their bookshelf next to Nevermoor , Wizards of Once and How to Train Your Dragon . Readers can bring their fantasy world to life and meet dragons, unicorns, mermaids and more in this beautifully illustrated children’s book. Believing is just the beginning … When Arthur and Rose were little, they were heroes in the Land of Roar, an imaginary world that they found by climbing through the folding bed in their grandad’s attic. Roar was filled with things they loved – dragons, mermaids, ninja wizards and adventure – as well as things that scared them (including a very creepy scarecrow…) Now the twins are eleven, Roar is just a memory. But when they help Grandad clean out the attic, Arthur is horrified as Grandad is pulled into the folding bed and vanishes. Is he playing a joke? Or is Roar … real?
Dominique Valente
 & Sarah Warburton
Chapter book
The first book in a spellbinding children’s fantasy series, with beautiful black-and-white inside illustrations by Sarah Warburton. Willow Moss, the youngest and least powerful sister in a family of witches, has a magical ability for finding lost things – like keys, or socks, or spectacles. Useful, but not exactly exciting … Then the most powerful witch in the world of Starfell turns up at Willow’s door and asks for her help. A whole day – last Tuesday to be precise – has gone missing. Completely. And without it the whole universe could unravel. Now Willow holds the fate of Starfell in her rather unremarkable hands… Can she save the day – by finding the lost one? Step into Starfell, a world crackling with warmth, wit and magic, perfect for readers aged 8-12.
M. G. Leonard & Sam Sedgman
 & Elisa Paganelli
Chapter book

A full-steam-ahead adventure that had me hooked from the get-go. The Highland Falcon Thief is a middle-grade mystery story set on a steam train. With a high spirit of adventuring and a good-and-proper mystery that unfolds with clues and red herrings along the course, this is a brilliantly fun story that is sure to be on track to find itself set among the very best in the children’s mystery genre.

Harrison Beck (Hal) ends up aboard the last-ever journey of a famous royal steam train ‘The Highland Falcon’, unwillingly accompanying his travel-writer uncle while his parents are occupied in hospital having a new baby. Hal doesn’t think much of steam trains – and he is even less impressed when he finds there are no other child passengers on board and no electricity to charge his devices. Before long, Hal finds himself caught up with entertainment of a more old-fashioned kind. A mystery begins to unravel among the passengers – with valuable items disappearing including the princess’s diamond necklace – and Hal begins to record what he notices in his sketchbook. What’s more, Hal befriends a secret stowaway girl called Lenny and the pair set to work to solve the mystery before The Highland Falcon reaches the end of its last-ever journey.

Nizrana Farook
Chapter book

An exciting middle-grade adventure from Nizrana Farook filled with atmosphere, suspense and adventure with elements of Robin Hood and Arabian Nights.
Set in the dazzling landscapes of Sri Lanka, The Girl Who Stole an Elephant is the story of a girl called Chaya and her friends Neel and Nour. Quick-fingered Chaya is a young version of Robin Hood; she steals from the rich to help the poor in her village. However, when she steals the Queen’s jewels, things begin to go horribly wrong. Not only does she put herself in grave danger, but her actions also bring harm to her best friend Neel and the people of her village…

Sophie Williams & Robin Jacobs
Non-fiction
An atlas of the most extreme meteorological and geological disasters that nature has to offer! We humans take our domination of the planet for granted, but sometimes nature reminds us that this is an illusion. Tectonics rip open the earth, vast waves sweep away coastal towns, magma spews from volcanoes and hurricanes lay waste to entire countries. This book explores nature at its most destructive. Clear, coherent explanations break down the science behind phenomena including hurricanes, tornadoes, avalanches, earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanoes, alongside fascinating facts about the biggest and the worst. Informative, accessible illustrations by Sophie Williams make this so much more than your standard geography book.

Guidance: About the Year 4 Booklist

The growing range of excellent books for this age group makes the task of encouraging reading for pleasure in Year 4 as delightful as it is essential. It is indeed an essential task – as children’s laureate Cressida Cowell puts it, ‘Decades of research show a reader for pleasure is more likely to be happier, healthier, to do better at school, and to vote – all irrespective of background’. When children choose to read, they gain access to a host of exciting ideas and worlds and this helps to flex the muscles of the imagination, develop empathy and better understand the lives of others, as well boosting language skills, vocabulary and comprehension.

In order to facilitate the enjoyment of reading, the provision of books that are age-appropriate, high quality and appealing is key. At the ages of 8 and 9, most children have learned to read short chapter books by themselves and have gained enough experience of books to articulate preferences about styles, themes and formatsAnimal tales, fantasy adventures, funny stories, comic-style books and illustrated chapter books are popular at this age, as are non-fiction texts covering topics of interest like science or history. In addition to a wide choice of independent reads, stories being read aloud by adults continue to be an important – and much-enjoyed – aspect of the reading for pleasure journey at this age.

With these factors in mind, our team has carefully selected a range of recommended books for reading for pleasure in Year 4. Many of the books in the collection are well-known for getting children hooked on reading due to their humorous style and highly illustrated elements, like the comic-style Dog Man books, the pie-chart filled Planet Stan and Liz Pichon’s fabulously relatable Tom Gates series. Other stories featured in the Y4 collection have been chosen especially for making children laugh out loud, like the gag-filled Alien Invaded My Talent Show or Frank Cottrell-Boyce’s Cosmic.

Many children at this age have developed the ability to make connections within a story and spot finer details in the text, and this enables them to enjoy a good mystery story. For a cracking mystery adventure, we recommend the Highland Falcon Thief, the Lori and Max series or, for a set of head-scratching mysteries from the real world, try the award-winning Real Life MysteriesAnimal rescue stories also remain popular with Year 4, with Jess Butterworth’s exciting Himalayan adventure When the Mountains Roared or Michael Morpurgo’s poignant story of animal companionship in The Butterfly Lion being excellent choices. Dragons feature heavily in the Y4 collection too, and readers looking for fantasy adventures will be happy to let their imaginations feed on The Land of Roar, the spellbinding Starfell series or Cressida Cowell’s hugely popular How to Train Your Dragon books.

Not all of the stories on the list are longer reads. For readers looking for shorter texts, try Vashti Hardy’s short chapter book The Griffin Gate (specially formatted for reluctant and dyslexic readers), the graphic novel style picture book Kai and the Monkey King or dip into the short stories featured in David Long’s truly exciting tales of real-life Survivors. For picture books suitable for Year 4, we recommend Town is by the Sea, Colin Thompson’’s playful How to Live Forever or the thought-provoking The Barnabus Project, which is stunningly illustrated by the Fan Brothers.

If you are looking for classic stories suitable for 8-9 year olds, you’ll find among the collection some favourites that have been entertaining children for generations, like The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe or Dick King Smith’s The Queen’s Nose. Poetry books that are proven hits with Year 4 are well represented in the collection too, and in particular we love Daydreams and Jellybeans, Josh Seigal’s humorous collection Welcome to my Crazy Life and the beautifully illustrated nature poems in The Lost Words.

We’ve also included a handful of favourite non-fiction books for Year 4,  from printmaker James Brown’s visually appealing global tour in A World of Cities, to William Grill’s fascinating illustrated retelling of Shackleton’s Journey, to the wonderfully interactive illumanatomy, which comes with a magic lens to help readers delve deeper into the different systems that make up the human body.  If you are looking for books themed around a particular topic, head over to our KS2 topic booklists.

Where to purchase:

Downloads

Year 4 Checklist (2021)

50 Recommended Reads Year 4 (2021)

Booklists you might also like...

Year 4: 50 Recommended Reads 2021

Related Resources

Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Read More
Previous
Next
[["Printable Poster","https:\/\/www.booksfortopics.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/50-recommened-reads-y4-poster-768x530.jpeg","https:\/\/www.booksfortopics.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/2021-50RecommendedReadsYear4.pdf"],["Printable Checklist","https:\/\/www.booksfortopics.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/50-recommened-reads-y4-checklist-768x539.jpeg","https:\/\/www.booksfortopics.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/20121-Year4checklist.pdf"],["Purchase Full BookPack","https:\/\/www.booksfortopics.com\/wp-content\/uploads\/Screenshot-2022-11-24-at-14.28.38.png","https:\/\/peters.co.uk\/book-page\/9789990207354\/-BooksforTopics\/Year-4-Recommended-Reads-Pack-2022?search=eyJzdGFuZGFyZEZpbHRlcnMiOnsiYm9va0xpc3QiOnsiMTMyOSI6eyJjaGVja2VkIjoxfX0sIm1haW4iOnsiYWx0ZXJuYXRpdmVFZGl0aW9ucyI6eyJjaGVja2VkIjoxfX19LCJzb3J0SXRlbXMiOlt7InNvcnQiOiJyZWxldmFuY2UiLCJzb3J0T3JkZXIiOiJkZXNjIn1dLCJtYWluIjp7ImFsdGVybmF0aXZlRWRpdGlvbnMiOnsiY2hlY2tlZCI6MX19LCJwYWdlIjoxLCJzb3J0IjoicmVsZXZhbmNlIiwic29ydE9yZGVyIjoiREVTQyIsImxpbWl0IjoxMDAsImRpc3BsYXlGcm9tIjoxLCJleGNsdWRlT3JkZXJlZCI6MCwiZXhjbHVkZU9yZGVyZWRGb3IiOm51bGx9"]]

Subscribe to our newsletter

Your Review

Stone Girl Bone Girl

review

Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Year group(s) the book is most suitable for:

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Does the book contain anything that teachers would wish to know about before recommending in class (strong language, sensitive topics etc.)?

Would you recommend the book for use in primary schools?

yes

Curriculum links (if relevant)

Curriculum links (if relevant)

Any other comments

Any other comments