Recommended children's booklists sorted by age or topic

Home > Year Group Recommended Reads > Recommended Reads for Year 5: New Additions for 2024

Recommended Reads for Year 5: New Additions for 2024

Icon Award

Recommended Reads: New Additions for Year 5

If you’ve previously purchased our 50 Recommended Reads pack for Year 5, then this list is for you! Update your collection with this special list of books which have been newly added to our 50 Recommended Reads list for Year 5.

SAVE 20% with Peters

New Additions to our Year 5 List

Guy Bass
 & Alessia Trunfio
Chapter book

This is gripping science fiction for a new generation. Guy Bass takes the idea of robots programmed to serve humanity and extrapolates what might happen when some of them revolt. What would be the driving force of a robot society? Would they, could they, ever become indistinguishable from humans?

The action happens on Somewhere 513, a planet prepared for human habitation, but now in the control of robots. Their original Maker is long gone and only her children survive, in hiding, the other humans having fled. So what are Paige and Gnat to do? And how will finding the King of the Robots (K1-NG) help?

Shot through with humour, interspersed with illustrations that could be stills from a film, and brim-full of action, this is a story that zings off the page. I loved the chapter introductions, giving us extracts from ‘Memoir of a Mechanical Major’, or one of the Fargone Corporation’s adverts, or the legally-worded laws (‘suggestions’) governing robot existence. I loved the characterisation too, especially of Mortem the shovel-bot, as well as the way hearts (and cores) are won over, not by force but by kindness and sacrifice. I very much look forward to reading the next instalment and, meantime, will certainly be recommending this to Year 4 upwards.

Alastair Humphreys
 & Pola Mai
Non-fiction Short story collection

This magnificent book is utterly absorbing and jam packed with extraordinary, inspirational figures who have shown courage, self-belief, curiosity, determination and a sense of humour in the face of adversity. The graphic style is both engaging and accessible, with comic strip illustrations, maps, quotes, diary extracts and timelines drawing the eye and leading the storytelling.

Adventurer and author, Alistair Humphreys, not only opens the book with his thoughts on adventure and what success means when facing setbacks, but also comments on each of the 20 figures chosen explaining which of their many qualities have inspired him personally.

We liked the diversity of the adventurers chosen – figures from all around the world, with some well-known figures such as Matthew Henson, to lesser-recognised adventurers such as Juanita Harrison. It shows those who have overcome setbacks whilst on their adventures and those facing adversity even before adventure has begun, due to prejudice and discrimination.

Importantly, Humphreys recognises there are still many voices not heard or omitted from history and reminds the reader to remember these and seek them out where possible for their own inspiration.

Olaf Falafel
Chapter book

Trixie Pickle is an arty ‘sort-of-superhero’ and this is her second adventure (the first being Trixie Pickle, Art Avenger). Trixie and her best friend, Beeks, have a lot going on in their lives. First, there is the latest edition of their comic, Blammo, to work on. Then there are the ‘mean girls’ to avoid or they will cause all sorts of trouble for Trixie and Beeks. There is also a new mystery illness doing the rounds; nicknamed ‘Wormwood fever’, it makes the patient very ill and can be briefly summed up by the words ‘it’s coming out both ends’. Could the mystery illness have anything to do with someone Trixie sees dumping toxic waste in the local reservoir? Who is it and can they be stopped? Trixie has a comic to finish, a mystery to solve and enemies to get revenge on . . . but all in an artistic way of course and with plenty of scope for mishap.

Full of fantastic, detailed fact files of the real artists who inspire Trixie and fully illustrated by the author, it was great to discover some artists I hadn’t been aware of before. This is a fast-paced, funny, fact-filled book which will appeal to art lovers, adventure lovers and humour lovers. It would also lend itself extremely well to a variety of art projects based on the artists featured.

Dr Sheila Kanani

Have you ever wondered why frogs are green? Or if the sun is really yellow? Or maybe why the sea is blue? Well, this colourful science compendium suitable for KS2 may hold the answers!

Written by author and astronomer, Dr Sheila Kanani, this fascinating book starts by explaining what colour is and how we see it, before taking us on a journey of big colour questions. Each section is based on a colour of the rainbow (plus some added extras ‘beyond the rainbow’ such as black, white and fluorescent colours) and, after an introduction to that colour, asks five colour-based questions. Red, for example, explores why blood is red, why Mars is known as the red planet, why flamingos are pink, why some monkeys have red bottoms and why hippo’s sweat is red.

Each question is explained clearly, with lots of added information and ‘did you know’ sections to keep the reader engaged. This all leads to the big question of the book: Can you Get Rainbows in Space? As well as being a captivating read, it is the design, layout and illustrations that will get children picking up the book and delving in.

Unsurprisingly, in a book about colour, every spread is full of glorious images that celebrate each colour in turn. A feast for the eyes as well as the mind, I would highly recommend this engaging text for bookshelves in every school library.

Nikesh Shukla
 & Rochelle Falconer
Chapter book
A funny and heart-warming story for readers aged 6-9 from award-winning author Nikesh Shukla.Vinay, Musa, Inua and Nish are best friends. Nothing can separate them… until one day when Vinay’s cousin comes to invade his bunk bed haven (i.e. share his room). When a prank war starts, can the friends remember what really matters?Filled with fun illustrations by Rochelle Falconer, The Council of Good Friends is full of both hilarious mayhem and caring moments of friendship.

Katie Tsang & Kevin Tsang
Chapter book

A dragon-filled adventure and the first book in an exciting new series by Katie and Kevin Tsang, co-authors of the popular Sam Wu books.

12-year-old Billy Chan has been sent from his home in California – where he’d much rather be surfing – to a Chinese Summer Camp deep in the shadows of a mysterious mountain in China. In between learning Mandarin, martial arts and cooking, there are to be team challenges, the first of which takes Billy and his new friends (Charlotte, Ling Fei and Dylan) into an area that is out of bounds. Ling Fei loses her necklace and they are forced to return to the area. When his new friends disappear, Billy bravely enters the mountain to find them, but comes face to face with four dragons! As each of the children forms an unbreakable bond with a dragon, they discover that Ling Fei’s necklace is more than it appears to be and with the power it bestows, along with other magical pearls, the four small humans are tasked to save the whole dragon and human realms!

This was an amazing start to the Dragon Realm series and I was quickly hooked. Filled with legend, magic and, of course, dragons, this would sate any young fantasy lover’s reading appetite. There’s excitement around each corner – from magical objects to out-of-bounds adventuring. I also loved that each of the children was so different, but managed to form a loyal team, exemplifying how you don’t have to be friends with only people who are similar to you.

This is a beguiling start to a promising adventure series, filled with humour, warmth, action and magic.

Joseph Coelho
 & Freya Hartas
Chapter book Poetry

We love a fairy tale with a twist and so eagerly welcomed the arrival of this new illustrated middle-grade series from poet Joseph Coelho and Freya Hartas, with this first instalment placing a deviously dark twist on the Rumpelstiltskin – told in verse.

Coelho’s treatment of the story – which adds a Frankenstein twist to a traditional tale – is as delightfully amusing as it is deliciously dark. After years of Disneyfication and a ‘softening up’ of well-known fairy tales for a generation who often find their stories served up with a little more happily-ever-after and a little less goriness, Coehlo’s series takes a direct step in the colder and creepier direction that you might expect from Roald Dahl’s fairy tales or the original Grimm stories.

There’s plenty to shock and also an enjoyable streak of dark humour and plenty of wit in both the author’s free verse and Freya Hartas’ stylishly expressive black and white illustrations.

Dan Freedman
 & Kajsa Hallstroem
Chapter book

Lenny Brown is a beautiful, emotionally uplifting and powerful story. It focuses on Lenny who, due to his mum changing jobs, has to move house and school. In the story, Lenny not only navigates the rollercoaster of change that comes with a new school and new friendships but tackles this as a child who only will speak to his mum and his dog, Rocky.

The book is so sensitively written. The characters draw you in and allow you to consider Lenny’s situation and how he decides to overcome his own challenges. It celebrates friendship and tolerance…and football.

It is a wonderful novel and would be perfect for a lower KS2 class reader. Many children will share a class with a child like Lenny or have to face their time at primary school with selective mutism. I am Lenny Brown recognises this group of children and opens the conversation about this condition.

Joshua Seigal

Popular children’s poet Joshua Seigal brings a brilliant new book of entertaining poems, offering a great selection of poems to make you laugh, make you think or just let you enjoy for the sheer delight of it.

Using challenging vocabulary and a range of poetry styles, these short poems are perfect for children who like a giggle without having to look too hard to find one. Seigal writes about a range of relatable topics from school to friendships, about pets and even their fleas. The collection will fly off the classroom bookshelf in KS2 and is perfect for dipping in and out of during independent reading time or for teachers to read aloud to a class during spare moments of the day.

With such a range of fun poems, there are lots of opportunities to look at different forms of poetry, playing with words and experimenting with rhyme.

Chris Bradford
 & Charlotte Grange
Chapter book Dyslexia-friendly

This book is an action-packed sci-fi survival story where a young reader can step into the shoes of the central character, aptly named Luna.

When events take a turn for the worse, she is the only person left stranded on the moon’s surface. Tension builds as she faces challenges in harsh conditions and with dwindling supplies, it is a race against time to somehow escape before night draws in. The story is told through Luna’s eyes which immediately hooks the reader in; making them feel part of the action as it unfolds. Despite her age, she has many responsibilities while living on the moon with her father (a Moon Miner). She has undertaken intensive training – which comes in handy later in the book! A meteorite warning threatens the safety of the team and in a rush to evacuate, Luna is separated from everyone. In a mission to reach the far side of the moon, she must use her scientific knowledge to solve a range of problems in the hope that she will be reunited with her father.

The gripping moments and dilemmas, including the risk of running out of oxygen, keep the reader on the edge of their seat as they take the journey with her. The quick-witted comments from Luna are a fun aspect and many children, including reluctant Upper KS2 readers, will enjoy this humorous aspect of the book; particularly the mention of nappies and exploding eyeballs! Sci-fi enthusiasts and those interested in Earth and Space will enjoy the scientific details mentioned throughout.

As a short, dyslsexia-friendly chapter book with tinted pages, spaced text and comic book-style illustrations, it is ideal to engage children who may need a little encouragement and support to build fluency.

Jess French
Chapter book

Kayla, Alethea and Rustus could not be more different and, growing up in different parts of the kingdom, they could not be less likely to meet, let alone become friends. But when circumstance throws them together, their individual quests become entwined and they soon realise that the fate of the whole kingdom could lie with them. Can they overcome the evil upon them or will they fail like others expect them to?

Jess French is a vet, zoologist, entomologist, naturalist and TV presenter. Her knowledge of animals has made her a successful children’s author, producing several books that make understanding animals and the importance of protecting them easily accessible and enjoyable to even the youngest readers. This appears to be a new departure into middle school fantasy writing for French, although her knowledge is still interwoven into the fantasy world.

The text neatly flips per chapter to continue the story from each of the lead character’s perspectives, which works really well and she builds up the story behind each character and what leads them to come together, building tension and the desire to read on. The first half of the book evolved naturally and the second half gallops along to the end point – a springboard to the next novel. The story leads to great discussion points about bullying and family expectations, as well as what it looks like to have preconceived ideas about other cultures.

This story is aimed at an audience of UKS2 with a love of fantasy or animals, who will enjoy the quest and look out for the next one in the series.

Helen Rutter
Chapter book

A hilarious book that will have Upper Key Stage 2 readers gripped.

Reggie Houser finds it hard to make friends, and it doesn’t feel very good to be him – the popular kids think he is strange and he thinks the answer is to change himself to be more like them. He thinks that he has found the answer to all of his problems when he discovers that he is able to influence the minds of others (cue some rather amusing antics!) but in doing so, he forgets the importance of knowing his own mind.

This is a sensitive story about the difficulties of dealing with neurodiversity, the importance of remaining true to yourself and the value of real friendship. There are also a few mind-controlling tricks to try at home thrown in for good measure!

This is a cracker of a book that really is difficult to put down.

Radiya Hafiza
 & Kaley McKean
Chapter book

Aya has always loved stars ever since she can remember and is extremely excited when the Perseids meteor shower is supposed to happen right by her house. Aya and her best friend (Naznen) plan to sneak out in the middle of the night to see the meteor shower up close. Their plan is going well but just as they start to enjoy watching the stars, Aya gets struck by a shooting star, and this is where her simple life starts to unravel as she develops special star powers which are beyond her control.

At the yearly royal ball, on a quest to find someone to cure Aya of her powers, Aya and her mother witness the royal family being taken hostage and the evil Abnus takes over the region of Alferra and she is looking for the star’s power with the help of the bhoot monsters. Will Aya be able to defeat the evil and fulfil the prophecy before being consumed by her own powers?

This story takes its origins from Bengali folklore, which shines through in different ways as you read the story. The story is easy to read and very hard to put down as the story starts to unravel and you start to learn the secrets of Alferra and Aya’s family. The story starts to take a dark turn when Aya and Abnus meet up towards the end and the story reaches a dramatic – if a little scary – crescendo that will keep readers hooked.

The book draws on the author’s South Asian cultural heritage, It was enjoyable to read and there are black and white illustrations dotted throughout the pages. Upper Key Stage 2 children will enjoy listening to this as a class reader.

Rob Wilsher
 & Sophie Williams

Stones and Bones: Fossils and the Stories They Tell is a captivating non-fiction text, perfect for independent readers in UKS2. Its curriculum links to rocks and soils and the Stone Age makes it a good text for teachers or parents to read aloud to younger readers.

Stones and Bones is like having a friendly guide to show you around Earth’s past. You’ll learn how fossils are made and what life was like during different periods of history. Each page is full of exciting discoveries waiting to be uncovered. It is full of stunning illustrations, accessible language and rich content, making it sure to ignite a spark of curiosity for Natural History.

With amazing pictures that make dinosaurs and ancient worlds come alive, this book is packed with fun facts and cool stories.

Jenny Pearson
 & Katie Kear
Chapter book

Told with Jenny Pearson’s care and attention to detail, this new story set in Scotland weaves humour through complex themes of grief, friendship and moving on from things lost to the past.

When Benji and Stanley’s parents go missing at sea, they have to go and live with their Uncle Hamish, whom they have never met. Uncle Hamish lives with his dog, Mr Dog, on the shores of Loch Lochy and Benji soon realises that all is not ok for Uncle Hamish. When he meets local girl Murdy, Benji sets out to prove that the Loch Lochy Monster is real, so that tourists will come back to Loch Lochy once more.

There are lots of laughs in this story, mainly around Benji and Murdy’s attempts to capture an image of the Loch Lochy Monster. Their friendship is a strong focus, particularly Murdy’s support for Benji after what he has been through, along with their relationship with Mr Dog, who also provides the emotional support that pets are sometimes able to do in their own special way.

Sitting alongside the humour there are darker undertones that provide depth and complexity to the narrative. On the surface, Benji is a fun-loving boy who wants to help Uncle Hamish’s business to survive. But underneath, has he really come to terms with the loss of his parents? His brother, Stanley, is facing his own battles – he was on the boat when it capsized and his parents went missing. Uncle Hamish is facing the loss of his business, which has been in the family for years. Murdy is the target of local bullies. Yet this is a story with a lot of heart and, ultimately, with messages of hope.


Katherine Rundell
Chapter book

As a lover of Katherine Rundell, I had high hopes for this, and dare I say, I think it may be her best yet!

Full of adventure, mythical creatures and character growth, it is perfect for a school library. The story follows a boy’s adventures when he discovers a cluster of magical islands on which all sorts of mythical creatures are really alive. He teams up with a local girl on a magical quest to save the islands.

The two main characters have a lot of grit and their adventure would be appealing to a lot of readers. It is an emotional journey, but one I think children would enjoy.

The world-building is exceptional, with detailed descriptions of the different creatures and exciting descriptions of the places along the journey,  allowing you to picture the settings in your mind. This is the kind of book that feeds children’s imaginations with wonderful and exciting ideas in a way that only the best children’s stories can do.


Amy Sparkes & Ben Mantle
Chapter book

A fast-paced, giggle-filled delight, The House at the Edge of Magic is made for sharing.

The story follows the desperate existence of Nine, an Oliver Twist-like character who is orphaned and abandoned. Living in The Nest, Nine must work as a purse-snatcher to please Pockets, the grizzly, revolting, leader of the thieflings. Nine is strong, wilful, resourceful and independent, but above all, she is a child who needs to be loved and deserves to be cared about. The only comfort in Nine’s lonely life is the sanctuary she seeks from the derelict library under of the care of the exasperated librarian, Mr. Downes. Having stolen a mysterious object from a young lady in a scarlet dress, Nine is whisked to a world of quirky houses, frogs’ tongues, relocating toilets and sugar bowls with attitude. It is impossible not to laugh at the crazy antics of the goings-on in the house in which Nine now finds herself.

The characters we meet on this crazy, quirky journey are vivid and surreal. Eric is a troll with a penchant for boiled sweets and who keeps house for Flabberghast – a wizard with a flamboyant dress sense. Only in this house would you think that a kilt-wearing spoon was ‘normal’!

The inhabitants of the house must rid their home of a curse cast by a wicked witch and, with the offer of immeasurable riches as a reward, Nine finds herself determined to help. What follows is a whirlwind of hysterical, action-packed occurrences. Something surprising lurks behind every door. There is a cupboard under the stairs of which I am envious – a locked tea cupboard whose handle magically transforms anyone who touches it and only in the garden of this house would you find giant bats with fizzing, sizzling corrosive poo!

Despite the madcap, zany exploits, there is also a gently beating heart at the centre of this tale. Nine emerges wiser and in some ways richer by the end. She learns that, despite Pockets’ cynical view, life can indeed bring you strawberries and that not all treasures are of the material kind.

J.J. Arcanjo
Chapter book
Such a brilliantly clever and unique twist on the boarding school genre, with complex characters and a great plot.

Gabriel has never really felt like he fits in. Abandoned by his parents as a baby, he’s lived with his ‘grandma’ ever since but they have moved house so many times that nowhere really feels like home. Why have they moved house so many times? The answer is that Gabriel has a habit of getting into trouble. Wherever he goes things seem to disappear and he always gets the blame. Until one day, when he picks the pocket of the wrong person (or should that be the right person?) and finds himself enrolled at Crookhaven – a school specifically aimed at honing the skills required of crooks but only so they can use them to put the world right. His lessons include Deception and History of Crookery. He quickly makes friends and throws himself into lessons. But the biggest challenge of the year is the Break-in. The aim? To break into the headteacher’s office and steal something that won’t be missed. Can Gabriel pull it off? And can he do it alone? Also, who are his parents and why did they abandon him?

An exciting start to what promises to be a brilliant series following Gabriel through his years at Crookhaven. The plot is full twists and turns and endearing characters. Just brilliant storytelling – I can’t wait to read the next one.

Esme Higgs, Jo Cotterill
 & Hannah George
Chapter book

Introducing Summer… a horse-mad girl whose best friend is a horse, she sees in a field on her way to school.

Summer leads a lonely life, having moved home and school, she is struggling to find friends. Until she meets Jessie, who just happens to ride at the riding stables where her favourite horse is. Together Summer and Jessie set about the jobs at the stable but something strange is bubbling under the surface of stable life and it’s the Starlight Stables Gang who are determined to solve the mystery of the missing horse…

The perfect book for a horse-mad child who prefers books with a more mature theme.

Matt Ralphs
 & Dieter Braun

This is an all-encompassing review of aviation history with beautiful illustrations, making it attractive to all ages in primary (and beyond!).

It can be read as a whole, but each double-page spread also stands independently, making it easy to apply the book to various related topics, particularly World War 2. The writing style is detailed but accessible, with a glossary for the more challenging technical vocabulary.

This book is essential for an aviation topic and a brilliant addition to the school library. There’s enough detail to satisfy those who are already interested in the topics covered and the broad range will spark new interests across topics in science, engineering and history. The book includes some references to air disasters, including the Hindenburg and Concorde, and discusses the deaths in crashes of several aviation pioneers, making it more suitable for older KS2 readers.

The balance between science and history is handled particularly well, placing exciting aviation developments in context. This would be ideal for an upper KS2 class and many sections are also accessible to younger readers due to plentiful illustrations and concise explanations.

Ally Sherrick
Chapter book

Utterly compelling, totally immersive, and completely inspired, Ally Sherrick’s latest historical novel is unputdownable. Set in Britain under Roman occupation, the story stars Vita, the daughter of a Roman magistrate. When tragedy strikes her family, she is confronted with a different world to the one she has known, as she experiences what life is like for those who are conquered, rather than the conquerors.

As Vita struggles to solve the mystery of who murdered her father, she must also decide where her allegiances lie. Through her journey, she discovers that people – like Brea, her gladiator friend – are not always what they seem at first and that there is often more that unites us with than divides us from our enemies.

Vita is a very relatable protagonist; honest about her fears and confusion, yet brave and fiery in moments of crisis. Young readers who are aspiring writers will also enjoy the fact that Vita’s passion is for stories – both hearing them and creating them – and that this is a central theme running through the novel.

‘Vita and the Gladiator’ is a perfect book to complement a study of Roman Britain for stronger readers in KS2, exposing them to a thrilling and gripping taste of what life under occupation might have been like. Pupils will recognize and enjoy the depiction of the gladiator arena, as well as the references to Boudica and her revolt against the empire. All in all, this read is highly recommended.

Bill Bryson
 & Emma Young

This is a book jam-packed full of scientific fact and fascinating, often amusing detail. It is presented in an appealing way with ‘bubbles’ of information spread across each page so that the reader does not feel overwhelmed with the amount of content squeezed onto every page.

Bill Bryson’s chatty, informal tone enables new concepts to be accessible as he takes the reader on an enthralling journey around the human body. Starting small with information about cells and DNA, we then journey through the body starting at the head, stopping off for a look at the senses and then travelling inside to explore the internal organs. Kids will love the page about poo and wind!

All topics are covered, including puberty and death- in an honest but approachable style. As well as scientific facts, there are nuggets of historical anecdotes which add interest, amusement and amazement. Who knew that Chevalier Jackson collected things that had been swallowed – a collection that included a toy trumpet, a meat skewer and miniature binoculars?

This is a book that covers every aspect of the human body; it uses comparative facts to allow readers to fully appreciate the scale – a pair of lungs would cover a tennis court if they were smoothed out. The illustrations are eye-catching and add interest whilst not being overly technical. It is great to see a diverse representation of scientists .This is the sort of book that kids will dip in and out of; it will inform curious minds, help with homework, provide amusement and add a sense of awe around the fascination topic of the human body. A must for the school library!

Kate Winter

The Fossil Hunter by Kate Winter is a gem of a book. It is a splendid addition for any child learning about Mary Anning, fossils, dinosaurs and what life was like for a working-class woman 200 years ago. The book is hardback, large and begins with a timeline of Mary Anning’s life with page numbers corresponding to different eras.

This eye-catching book is full of facts and perfect to dip into or read altogether. Topics are highlighted such as the challenge of being a woman, where recognition for scientific discovery did not happen and the unfairness of this, and why her story is important. Text is broken up into sections; there are very few large sections of text and is therefore inclusive for all types of readers. The glossary at the end of the book is accessible and interesting. Every page has watercolour illustrations which can spread across whole pages and there are beautiful panoramic fold-out pages where you find out more facts about fossils, dinosaurs or a look into Mary’s cabinet.

This is a great book to share with children (or any age!) about the inspirational Mary Anning and highly recommendable.

SAVE 20% with Peters

Booklists you might also like...

Subscribe to our newsletter

Your Review

Stone Girl Bone Girl


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?


Curriculum links (if relevant)

Curriculum links (if relevant)

Any other comments

Any other comments