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Year 3: 50 Recommended Reads

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50 Best Books for Y3 (Children Aged 7-8)

NEWLY updated – April 2024!

We’ve selected 50 top recommended books for Year 3 (children aged seven and eight). Find the best books to level up your Y3 reading collections with our carefully selected list of storytime chapter books, independent reads, funny stories, picturebooks, poetry collections, graphic novels, non-fiction texts and more. There’s something for all tastes, but keep an eye out for ninja princesses, adventuring robots, animal rescues and the odd exploding dragon poo here and there, too…

As well as taking into account which reading trends are currently the most popular with Year 3 children, our team of experts at BooksForTopics loves to put each book through its paces. Each title on our booklist has been chosen based on its age-appropriateness, quality of writing, engaging illustrations and ability to inspire children’s imagination and creativity. Our booklists have been carefully compiled by experts in children’s literature, and we have taken care to ensure that we feature a variety of characters, themes and styles that hook in different types of readers.

This booklist includes popular Year 3 stories such as The Boy Who Grew Dragons, Charlotte’s Web and Varjak Paw, as well as the most popular read-it-yourself choices like Dog Man and The 13-Storey Tree House. We also included some lesser-known storytime delights that we recommend for Y3, like The Wild Robot, the wildlife rescue story A Rabbit Called Clover and the magical story of fairies and forests in Lola and Larch.

If you are looking for recommended reads to capture the attention of your Year 3 children, our specially selected reading list has got you covered with books that have been matched to the age, developmental stage and interest level of children in Year 3.

As well as the Y3 booklist below to browse, we’ve also got a printable poster and downloadable checklist for you, and schools can purchase full sets of the books via Peters.


year 3 recommended reads printable poster 2024

year 3 recommended reads checklist 2024












Browse the Y3 booklist below or scroll down to find more purchasing options and printable resources.

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Favourite Storytime Books for Year 3

Peter Brown
Chapter book

If you’re looking for a heartwarming and thought-provoking storytime read, The Wild Robot by Peter Brown is the perfect choice. This highly original story combines themes of technology and nature and is a sure-fire hit in the classroom.

The story follows a curious robot called Roz, who finds herself stranded in the wild on an island. Roz must learn to survive and earn the trust of the island’s animals.

This is a beautiful tale of acceptance, friendship and what it means to care about others. With short chapters and lovely illustrations, The Wild Robot is a delightful read for Year 3 and beyond.

Lucy Brandt
 & Gladys Jose
Chapter book

Leonora Bolt Secret Inventor is an entertaining STEM-themed narrative and a great story choice for Year 3 and above. The book follows a young female scientist named Leonora, who is passionate about creating new and ingenious inventions to solve the problems of those around her.  Gladys Jose’s illustrations enhance the storytelling experience, as does the good dose of humour woven through the narrative.

Leonora’s secret workshop serves as the backdrop for her endeavours, which become critical in her confrontations with her invention-stealing uncle. What follows is an imaginative adventure with quick-thinking Leonora using her STEM skills and natural wit to triumph.  Readers who love science and innovation will find this an engaging and entertaining storytime choice.

Andy Shepherd
 & Sara Ogilvie
Chapter book

Imaginative and charming, The Boy Who Grew Dragons is a wonderfully whimsical story that kept me smiling the whole way through. The first in a series, this hugely entertaining adventure about a small boy and his pet dragon makes a super read-aloud for Year 3.

Tomas is busy in the garden with Grandad, planning which fruits to grow that might be turned into delicious jams or tarts. When Tomas stumbles across a strange tree with curious-looking fruit, he never expects that what might emerge from the fruit is a real live dragon! This is an adventure that is humorous at every turn, but also full of heart. Tomas is a great positive role model for showing how young people can apply curiosity and creativity to the process of growing and nurturing plants and see ‘magic’ in the course.

Coupled with charming illustrations by Sara Ogilvie, this early chapter book makes a fantastic choice for newly confident readers just taking off with independent reading and it will also go down a storm as an entertaining story choice.

Tom Fletcher
 & Shane Devries
Chapter book

An adventure story that fans of Roald Dahl will enjoy. The story revolves around the plight of a girl named Lucy, who has been left distraught after her parents suddenly go missing. Lucy soon finds that all of the children on her street seem to be facing the same fate – with their parents disappearing as well. Consequently, the children embark on a rampage, causing havoc in houses and on the street, throwing toilet paper on trees, and creating a mess everywhere.

Lucy is a natural-born leader as well as an instinctive problem solver. Amid the chaos, Lucy takes it upon herself to investigate and locate the missing parents. In her quest for answers, she discovers a mysterious creature called Woleb from the world of Creakers, hidden under her bed. The strange state of the world she discovers leads her to wonder if the Creakers are responsible for the parents’ disappearance.

Lucy teams up with Norman Quirk, a smart and organized boy with multiple scout badges, to formulate a plan to rescue their parents.  Lucy Dungston is a likeable character whose curiosity and determination drive the story forward. Norman Quirk’s sharp wit and intelligence make him an excellent addition to the team. A thrilling adventure follows as the pair try to uncover the truth behind the strange happenings.

Most children have wondered at some time or other if there is another world under their bed, and this story makes a light-hearted fantasy out of a common fear. A brave adventure story coupled with likeable characters and good clean humour makes this a popular choice with Year 3 at storytime.


Karen McCombie
 & Anneli Bray
Chapter book

For those studying Ancient Egypt as part of the KS2 history curriculum, this would make a good (quick) class read. This short read from dyslexia-friendly publisher Barrington Stoke is a time-slip novel about a community of village children and their families who live, work and play by the banks of the Nile, the Pharaoh’s palace shimmering in the distance. Modern-day schoolboy Seth comes tumbling into their world, dragging himself out of the crocodile-infested river and coming face-to-face with a hyena.

The font style and overall design will also suit those with dyslexia, which is apt since main character Seth struggles at school. He can’t focus on lessons and thus begins a prank that lands him on the muddy banks of the Nile, far removed from his teacher Mr Ali, his baby sister Freema and his beloved cat Muppet. The way back isn’t at all clear, so, while he works it out, he’ll just have to muddle along with Mery, the Egyptian girl he first meets, and her family, who are soon busily preparing for Pharaoh Akhenaten’s visit to their neighbourhood. The exact details of their celebration – as well as other aspects of life in Ancient Egypt – has Seth questioning not just his knowledge of history, but also customs that seem quite shocking. As readers, we are offered some ‘facts behind the story’; insights into Seth’s experience which might just help others when learning is a little challenging.

Author Karen McComibie also visited our blog to tell us more about the inspiration for the story.

Caroline Binch

This text has become a classic that has earned its place in many primary school classroom book corners.

It tells the story of young Gregory as he sets about on his first day in Tobago with his grandparents. At first he can find nothing familiar or desirable, but as he begins to adjust to life in the Caribbean, he soon finds that it is possible to feel right at home in a new culture.

Thought Provoking Stories for Year 3

Adam Baron
Chapter book

Oscar wakes up to find his parents have been replaced by a lion. It’s not any old lion either; this one will indulge him with reading his favourite story over and over and letting him eat as many biscuits as he likes. Even stranger, it seems to be able to transform into different animals when it needs to. Best of all, it has a taste for fun.

With the lion as his guide, Oscar has adventure after adventure and the weekend of his life – all within a few miles of his house. Then, just as Benji has learned to trust and appreciate the lion, the weekend comes to an end and their exuberant partnership is over. This time it’s Oscar who is transformed. Now that he understands the world around him that little bit better, rather than grieving what is lost, he celebrates and cherishes what remains.

This is a moving book about seizing the day and looking for the wonder in the familiar weather in nature, museums or, most especially, people. It has the warmth of feeling of the best picture books. Adam Baron is a confident storyteller whose every word is measured and who can subtly manipulate his reader’s emotions without even seeming to try. Big themes are alluded to with such gentle hints that it’s up to the reader to decide how far to investigate them.

The episodic structure of the story would make this little gem a good read aloud for lower Key Stage 2 to help build emotional intelligence and resilience, especially in the face of loss and uncertainty.

Polly Ho-Yen
 & Sojung Kim-McCarthy
Chapter book
Ita is afraid of lots of things. She’s afraid of talking to her classmates at her new school. She’s afraid of walking through her new town. But most of all she is afraid of water.When one day she realises the river in her new town turns her into a fish, she is forced to face up to her fears. In doing so, can she bring her family together again?With themes of change, and deftly tackling the topic of fear for younger readers, this is another heart-warming and beautifully-written early reader by Polly Ho-Yen, filled with charming artwork by Sojung Kim-McCarthy.
Helen Peters
 & Ellie Snowdon
Chapter book

We highly recommend this gentle series of  animal stories for younger readers, which are standalone animal-rescue adventures featuring loveable character Jasmine Green. There are plenty of books to keep readers going in this series, each based on a different type of animal.

In this story, Jasmine finds a pair of lost rabbits and hopes to take care of the frightened creatures until they can be united with their owners.  Twists and turns mean that Jasmine has a number of challenges to face, especially when one of the rabbits called Clover proves to be very good at escaping.

Animal lovers and fans of collectible series will be keen to dip into this lovely story.

Chitra Soundar
 & Soofiya
Chapter book

This is a great first chapter book for readers aged 6 or 7, plus an engaging way of learning about India and Indian culture.

Nikhil and Jay got to India with their family over the Christmas and New Year period. They are sad to leave their cat but very excited to visit their relatives in India. The story tells you about Christmas in India and the New Year celebrations held as well. Traditions, stories, culture and food are also explored in the story so it brings alive the feeling that the family are away from home experiencing new things.

At the end of the book, there are activities, a glossary and some facts about elements referred to in the story. This is a really good way for younger children to learn about a different country and culture, or to explore their heritage.

Classic Stories for Year 3

E. B. White
 & Garth Williams
Chapter book

A classic book for children, this poignant animal story has been a treasured choice for 7-9 year olds for decades.

Inspired by the author’s own experiences looking after pigs on a farm, this book tells the story of farmer’s daughter Fern, who requests to save Wilbur, the runt of the litter of pigs, and keep him as a pet instead. Wilbur soon befriends a spider called Charlotte, who concocts a fantastic plan to save him when she hears his life is in danger.

Exploring themes of friendship, loyalty and animal life cycles, this beautiful book has earned its place as a classic of children’s literature and is a story that is well loved and not easily forgotten.

Ted Hughes
 & Chris Mould
Chapter book

A smashing classic read for Lower Key Stage 2. As you’d expect from a former Poet Laureate, this story about a mysterious metal giant who befriends a farm boy is gorgeously written and hauntingly strange.

The origins of the Iron Man are never fully explained – he just arrives one night, starts feasting on farm equipment, and after some initial misgivings is accepted into the local community.

The book was seen a few different editions and we recommend this version, superbly colour-illustrated in metallic hues by Chris Mould.  It has also been turned into a really lovely animated film.

Jill Murphy
Chapter book

The Worst Witch books have captured the imaginations of millions of young readers who enjoy stories about growing up and discovering magic.

Readers loved Mildred Hubble’s escapades as a trainee witch at Cackle’s Academy, where, however hard she tries, mishaps seem to come her way.

This is a classic chapter book series by Jill Murphy with a new memorable heroine to root for.

SF Said
 & Dave McKean
Chapter book

Varjak Paw has become a modern classic and an absolute staple of primary school storytimes. The eponymous feline is far from ordinary. Varjak is a Mesopotamian Blue, an exotic and ancient breed descended from the legendary adventurer and hunter, Jalal. As Varjak listens to his grandfather recount the mesmerizing tales of Jalal, the fabled ancestor begins to visit him in his dreams, inspiring the young kitten with his tales of bravery and daring.

But when a malevolent Gentleman and his two vicious black cats arrive on the scene, Varjak’s comfortable life is abruptly overturned. To save himself, his family, and his newfound friends, Varjak must master the long-forgotten Seven Skills in the Way of Jalal. – a sort of martial arts for cats.

This is a story of loyalty, courage and self-belief that will keep readers hooked from beginning to end and of course, it is a must-read for all cat lovers.

Recommended Funny Books for Year 3

Ben Miller
 & Elisa Paganelli
Chapter book

Lawrence, a big, bad, wolf, has just emerged from his den after a long, hard winter. He’s weak, tired and hungry and so embarks on a mission to get fit and find the ultimate, delectable treat: Little Red Riding Hood. But it’s not as easy as he thinks, for Lawrence is a lone wolf, without a pack and there is a pesky group of characters who keep getting in the way of his nefarious dinner plans… three little pigs, a woodcutter, a grandma and a mysterious old woman who brews concoctions in her gingerbread house all get in his way, tricking or outwitting him!

This is a fun and easy read that children will love. It’s funny, silly and the outcomes of Lawrence the Wolf’s actions are always hilariously predictable, making the story highly enjoyable. You can’t help but like and feel sorry for the misguided Lawrence, who struggles to see what is right in front of him.

The illustrations are endearing and add to the fun element of the story. There is a mixture of fonts and page layouts, which make the book appealing to reluctant readers.

A really enjoyable read which I would recommend to all pupils.

Steven Butler
 & Steven Lenton
Chapter book

We recommend this super fun chapter book series with an imaginative cast of characters!

The book is about a hotel, unseen by humans, which is for magical creatures only. Owner Frankie and his family are preparing for a very special royal guest. The Prince’s demands soon become a lot to handle, especially in a hotel for monsters where anything can happen.

This is a feel-good chapter book which is easy to read and lots of fun. The fantastical characters and the lighthearted humour make The Nothing to See Here Hotel a story-time delight for children aged 7-9.

Sam Copeland
 & Sarah Horne
Chapter book

We love this laugh-out-loud series with a tongue-in-cheek humour and plenty of funny asides, but also a poignant side about bullying, overcoming adversity and dealing with big emotions.

Charlie magically changes into animals when he is worried or stressed (not necessarily chickens, though). Charlie’s worries pile up, with a brother in hospital, parents bickering and a school bully to deal with. Riproaring and hilarious antics follow suit as Charlie navigates temporarily changing into a spider, a rhino, a pigeon, snake and more.

Children with a wacky sense of humour will find this story really funny, and it provides plenty of opportunity to think and discuss the deeper topics too.

Swapna Haddow
 & Sheena Dempsey
Chapter book
Dave Pigeon and his trusty sidekick, Skipper, are minding their own business in the garden shed when they see Mean Cat behaving very strangely. The arrival of some very cute kittens is disastrous news.  But then the kittens come under threat. Are Dave and Skipper coldhearted enough to leave them defenceless, especially when one looks a teeny, tiny little bit like Dave?Packed full of funny black-and-white illustrations, perfect for emerging readers.
Philippa Gregory
 & Chris Chatterton
Chapter book

Originally written by Philippa Gregory for her daughter, and now (20 years later) reimagined for her grandchildren, the Princess Rules stories are truly empowering for young girls.

These short story books are set in a classic fairytale world – but Princess Florizella is far from your classic fairytale princess. I adored the humour in these stories and I think this will appeal to an adult reading to a child too, especially the fact that Gregory blames the parents for not following the princess rules, with fabulous quotes like this: ‘The queen was particularly neglectful – she completely forgot to die and leave her daughter to a cruel stepmother to make her herd geese or sit in cinders’. Florizella, as a result, is left to grow into a sassy, confident princess who certainly didn’t want to sit around waiting for a prince to rescue her, or grow up to marry a prince.

In these tales, Florizella finds herself with sea serpents, a travelling circus, pirates and fairy godmothers to deal with.

The fantastic storytelling, together with Chris Chatterton’s beautiful illustrations,  makes this a very popular read for Year 3 and beyond.

Popular Independent Reads for Year 3

Sinead O'Hart
 & Rachel Seago
Chapter book

Lola and Larch Fix a Fairy Forest is an enchanting short chapter book perfect for independent readers aged 7 and up.

When Lola stumbles upon a mysterious rabbit in the middle of a storm, little does she know that it’s the beginning of an extraordinary adventure. With heartwarming moments, the story follows Lola and her new friend, Larch the tree fairy, as they embark on a quest to save the forest from the clutches of the evil fairy, Euphorbia Spurge, and her beetle army.

Filled with captivating illustrations, this book not only sparks the imagination but also teaches valuable lessons about friendship, bravery, and the importance of helping others. From the moment Lola discovers the tiny, grumpy fairy in place of the rabbit, readers are drawn into a magical world.

With its delightful characters and engaging plot, Lola and Larch Fix a Fairy Forest is sure to be a favourite among young readers who love adventure and fantasy. Join Lola and Larch on their journey as they navigate challenges, overcome obstacles, and ultimately, save the day. This book is a must-read for anyone who enjoys tales of courage, teamwork, and the magic of friendship.

Katie Tsang,Kevin Tsang
Chapter book
From the authors of the bestselling Dragon Mountain comes the first in a brand-new, action-packed, dragon-obsessed series.Twelve-year-old Lance Lo, his younger sister Zoe and new friends have enrolled at Camp Claw to learn all the skills they need to become protectors of the new world. But when the camp is mysteriously attacked and an evil plot exposed, it’s up to the latest recruits to prove they’ve got what it takes to save the day.
Paula Harrison
Chapter book

If you have children who enjoy a fractured fairy tale, then this fast paced, illustrated chapter book is one they’ll love. It’s got everything you want in a fairy tale – magical settings, mythical creatures, a magic carpet, a talking toad and the triumph of good over evil – with three strong female protagonists and some ninja moves mixed in for good measure!

Red, Goldie and Snow lead very normal lives, but Red longs for adventure beyond the bounds of their home town. One day, they discover that their dance teacher, Madame Hart, is more than she seems and she begins to teach them sword play and ninja moves under the guise of ballet. When young Prince Inigo goes missing and Madame Hart is framed for the crime, the girls head into the Shadowmoon Forest; where they must use all their courage, imagination and self belief to catch the real villain.

This fun story would make a great read aloud alongside a traditional tales topic and gives lots of ideas for creating your own tale with a twist.

Yasmine Naghdi,Chitra Soundar
 & Paula Franco
Chapter book

The first in a new inclusive series by Principal Ballerina Yasmine Naghdi and well-known children’s author Chitra Soundar.

Yara wants to become a professional ballerina. Her parents had signed her up for ballet classes at Shimmer and Shine and they even put on a show – but Yara learns that it couldn’t come at the cost of her school lessons.

Yara gets distracted with ballet practising for her lead in Sleeping Beauty. When she forgets to complete her homework or concentrate on her classwork, Miss Diamond and her mum explain that schoolwork is equally important to pursue a career in ballet. Yara’s passion for ballet at first distracts her from school work especially because she gets the lead part in a performance that had so much at stake. But with the help of her friends and timely advice from her teachers and her parents, Yara realises that it’s important to balance both without giving up one or the other.

We also see this through the experiences of her friends, Indu and Dante, too. Indu is not learning ballet because she wants to be a professional dancer. Her hobby might always remain a hobby, but that’s ok too. Dante on the other hand has two passions – football and ballet – while also focussing on his studies and he does make it seem easy to balance them.

This illustrated chapter book will appeal to Lower KS2 children who love dance.


Simon Mugford
 & Dan Green

We love the Football Superstars series, which is responsible for getting a lot of football fans reading!

Simon Mugford’s informative text set alongside Dan Green’s fun and realistic illustrations make for an engaging read that will leave children knowing a lot more about the history of football around the globe.

The text is designed in such a way that it can engage a range of children, including readers embarking on their first chapter books as well as older reluctant readers. Interspersed throughout the book are a range of jokes that children will enjoy. The text is displayed in a range of interesting ways, including speech bubbles, fact boxes and comic style sequences. The variety on layout keeps readers engaged, while the narrative is simple to follow.

This book is a member of a fantastic series of ‘Football Superstars’ books, showcasing the best modern-day footballers around. The books in the series lend themselves well to being collected, swapped and shared like football cards.

Illustrated Favourites for Y3

Sophy Henn
Chapter book

Pizazz vs Everyone is the fifth book in the Pizazz series, which is hilariously narrated by reluctant superhero Pizazz and brims with Sophy Henn’s distinctive illustrations and comic-style strips. Loveable Pizazz is a 9¾-year-old reluctant superhero whose comic- style adventures have become popular with readers in over KS2.

The stories are a great choice for newly independent readers aged 6-9, with themes of self-acceptance, standing up for what’s right and navigating school and family life when you feel a little bit different.

The high image-to-text ratio, comic-style panels and quirky-but-relatable characters have made this series an enjoyable hit in Year 3 classrooms. The series makes a perfect stepping stone that sits at the reading level between the style of the Isadora Moon and Kitty early reader phase and the fun, illustrated diary-style series popular in KS2 like Tom Gates and Dork Diaries.

Andy Griffiths
 & Terry Denton
Chapter book

The Treehouse books form an enormously popular children’s book series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton.

The series features a fun-loving pair of friends who live in an imaginative treehouse with lots of fun extra rooms. As the series progresses, the treehouse expands and before long contains everything from a movie theatre, dinosaur petting zoo, marshmallow-toasting volcano and a ninja snail academy.

Highly illustrated with comic-style line drawings, treehouse diagrams and speech bubbles, these books are wildly popular with children aged 7 plus. The high image-to-text ratio coupled with its wacky sense of humour have helped the series to earn its reputation for hooking children into reading.

Laura Ellen Anderson
Chapter book

I’m a really big fan of Rainbow Grey so I was really excited to review this first book in the new series from Laura Ellen Anderson. It certainly didn’t disappoint!

Marnie is a very young moth, who finally having gained her wings, is off to Mini Beast Academy to learn what being a mini beast is all about. She has always dreamed of visiting the moon like her hero Lunora Wingheart, who was lost on a mission to the moon. When she arrives at school, Marnie soon begins having visions and hearing Lunora calling for help. However, whenever she asks about the moon, the adults go quiet. Marnie and her friends Floyd and Star discover that their teacher Mr. Atlas has a devious plot to destroy the moon. Can they stop him in time and save Lunora?

I enjoyed how the characters lived in a world that was just like ours, except hidden from human sight. Marnie, Floyd and Star are brilliant characters. They have completely different personalities, but they become the best of friends. This is a fabulous book for ages 6-9 for teaching friendship, determination and resilience. The world building and descriptive language are exceptional, making it easy to picture the book in your mind; perfect for young readers. I think this is going to be a fantastic series for engaging young readers exploring short, illustrated chapter books.

Pamela Butchart
 & Thomas Flintham
Chapter book

There are few authors who can make my own children squeal with delight quite so readily as Pamela Butchart. As a teacher, I really appreciate the accessibility of the books too and always get a positive response when I recommend them to even the most reluctant of readers.

This story is about a class trip to cabins by a lake, where the children are sure there is a monster and a humorous mystery unfolds. 

Thomas Flintham’s illustrations are easily recognisable and perfectly capture the chaotic, wonderful humour of the series. A must-read!

Thomas Flintham
Graphic Novel

Press Start! is a series of books aimed at readers who are ready for their first chapter books or those who feel overwhelmed by longer chapter books.

‘Game On, Super Rabbit Boy’ is set in the game of Super Rabbit Boy Land, a platform game that is activated when the boy in the story presses start. For this book, Super Rabbit Boy has to save Singing Dog who has been captured by the game’s main enemy, King Viking. Once he starts the rescue, he is faced with the challenge of successfully completing six levels of increasing difficulty with only limited lives. As the game progresses, failure occurs and Super Rabbit Boy has to learn from his errors as he restarts a level. He has to remember what he has learned, apply his new knowledge, overcome his fears and go for the win. Not only must Super Rabbit Boy not give up, but nor should the boy who is playing the game – the theme of resilience and perseverance is very strong and would suit classroom conversations about not giving up.

Children who love gaming would very likely be attracted to the book – it reflects the visual style of Minecraft of Roblox, but it will appeal to a wide audience because of the level of detail, bright colours and range of illustrations page after page. The speech bubbles, relatively simple sentences, repetition and short paragraphs will make this work well as an independent reader for the more confident, as well as a shared reader.

Graphic Novels for Year 3

Dav Pilkey
Graphic Novel

The Dog Man books form a wildly popular children’s book series written and illustrated by Dav Pilkey. The series features a half-dog, half-human police officer who fights crime and saves the day in the city.

Written in a graphic novel format with comic-style illustrations and speech bubbles, these books are popular with children aged 6-9. The series has become known for hooking children into reading through visual humour and wacky storylines. Each story in the Dog Man series is told through several short chapters, and the books can be read in any order.

Readers who enjoy Dog Man might also like to explore our Branching Out list of more books like Dog Man.

Phil Corbett
Graphic Novel

This is a fast-paced and fun graphic novel series that is the perfect new read for fans of Bunny vs Monkey, Dog Man and the Beano.

The story follows two cats, who embark upon a hilarious monster-slaying quest to save their town from an attack of sea creatures. This funny graphic novel has Medieval weapons, bumbling wizards, rampaging monsters and wannabe warrior cats.

Steve Webb
Graphic Novel

This graphic novel is based on a very silly story and one that will go down a treat! Firstly, it’s about pizza – always a popular topic with children! Secondly, it stars two likeable, somewhat barmy characters (the good guys) and several creepy, villainous ones.

Its comic strip style is super appealing and colourful and the story is crammed with jokes and high jinks. The storyline is interesting (read fun, surprising, wacky, and inventive) and there’s a drawing tutorial at the end. Readers will be pleased to see the promise of future Peng and Spanners books.

This book will fly off the graphic novel shelf and is perfect for fans of the Investigators, Sparks and Cool Dude in KS1 and KS2.

Stuart Heritage
 & Vincent Batignole
Chapter book

When you start reading this book you think it’s going to be a typical super hero book – but it’s far from it! There are lots of things that scream a typical superhero comic but lots of things that make this younger graphic novel a unique and fun read for Lower KS2.

Invisidog has superpowers that mean he is invisible and he is desperate to use them to get rid of Captain Bad. The problem is he can’t help, because no one can see him. The other heroes, Quack Attack and Detective Octopus, continue to fight crime until they have a disagreement and Quack Attack decides to go it alone. All the time Captain Bad continues to devise a plan to destroy Planet Earth. Whilst trying to stop Captain Bad, Invisidog learns that when you believe in yourself you can have mighty powers and the importance of working in a team. Will they save Planet Earth?

This is a brilliant book for children who enjoy graphic novels or for those ready to be introduced to the format. The chapters are short, which makes it easier for children who are just reading chapter books to enjoy the story. Some entertaining chapters reflect the news reports and follow a more traditional comic strip format. The book is humorous and the author often talks directly to the reader, which offers extra insights to what is happening and excitement about what will happen next.

This is a brilliant start to a series of books about the ODD squad.

John Patrick Green
 & Pat Lewis
Graphic Novel

We are big fans of the InvestiGators graphic novel series. This pun-filled action series is a hit with younger fans of the graphic novel format and has hooked in lovers of Dog Man and The Bad Guys through its full-colour animal antics, funny cases to solve, and clever wordplay.

Now, a new standalone spin-off story featuring Cilantro the Chameleon has landed. Cilantro is a newly appointed Agent of S.U.I.T (Special Undercover Investigation Team), and as she faces her first big case involving a sheep revolt and an alien cover-up, she learns to step up and prove her place on the team.

We love the good, clean fun of this series, and parents and teachers know that young graphic novel fans are in good hands with these books. Author John Patrick Green said of the series, “Of all the comics I’ve created in my professional career, making InvestiGators has come closest to recapturing that feeling of being 11 years old, drawing comics in my bedroom, with the sole intention of making my friends and classmates laugh.” John’s commitment to child-centred visual humour and puns has clearly paid off and is reflected in the popularity of this series, which teachers and librarians tell us is flying off primary bookshelves at lightning speed. For children, the books are funny from the get-go, and pun-loving grown-ups like us can’t help but smile at the non-stop wordplay woven through the action scenes, too.

This new series of standalone adventures sees appearances from familiar faces from the previous InvestiGators books, while new characters are fleshed out too. The end of the book hints at adventures to be continued with new agents taking centre stage, and we’re already looking forward to the next mission.

Mystery and Detective Stories for Year 3

Vashti Hardy
Chapter book

This is the third book in the Harley Hitch series and it works as a standalone. Harley is an excellent role model, as a girl who is into STEM and fascinated by subjects such as palaeontology. She is smart and ecologically aware – and also has great hair!

Children who are starting on their reading journeys often love finding series they can devour and the Harley Hitch books entirely fit the bill. And just because it is aimed at younger readers does not mean they are talked down to – Vashti Hardy uses some great words (‘prodigious’ springs to mind), it is just a shorter and simpler story. The world-building is both imaginative and contains humour. Iron Regis was my particular favourite place name!  Everything is almost like reality, but not quite. George Ermos’s illustrations are lively and amusing and perfectly fit the story. Harley with her purple (sorry, violet) hair springs to life on the page, and the book has an almost cartoon-like quality. In fact, this would make an excellent animated series as it entirely lends itself to visual representation.


Hannah Peck
Chapter book

Kate on the Case is an absolutely gorgeous introduction to the mystery genre for young readers. This smaller-than-average chapter book is illustrated and a brilliant choice for readers just getting to grips with chapter books.

Kate is an aspiring reporter, and finds herself embroiled in a mysterious locked-room mystery about a train.

This is a really sweet story, with enough mystery to keep readers excited but nothing too scary. Readers will enjoy the animal and human characters, the moments of humour, the gently unravelling mystery and the unexpected twist in the tale. There’s also a Teachers’ Resource pack to download, that would make this book a great choice for guided reading in Year 3.

Jo Clarke
 & Becka Moor
Chapter book

Debut author Jo Clarke makes a triumphant entry to the lower middle-grade market with the start of a new detective adventure series about a travelling school, which will be illustrated by Becka Moor. The series promises adventures in different cities around the globe, and this first one is set in Paris.

The dreamy scenes of the Parisian skyline provide a backdrop for a detective adventure in which macarons are never far from the thoughts of the main characters. If you’ve never had the chance to fall in love with the sights, sounds and tastes of Paris, you will be charmed by the city’s delights after reading this story.

Just the right amount of peril for a younger audience combined with a fun boarding school element and enough clues to keep the predictions rolling makes for a perfect stepping stone into the detective fiction genre for the younger end of the middle-grade market.

The author’s expertise as a librarian and book blogger shines through in hitting just the right spot for the intended age of the book’s audience. With themes of friendship and loyalty, a positive tone and a good sprinkling of fun, the story is likely to be a big hit with lower KS2.

Recommended Poetry for Year 3

Brian Moses
 & Ed Boxall

This is a quirky, fun collection of poems from the brilliant Brian Moses. Covering topics as diverse as the eponymous komodo dragons to earwigs, vampires and librarians, there is a poem here to suit everyone. Some are crying out to be read aloud – such as Bang a Drum- while others, like The Moment, are worth reading quietly and savouring. Some will make you think (Custodian), and others will make you giggle (Labrador). Some rhyme, some don’t. My personal favourites have to be Lost in a Book and Librarians – celebrating the power of stories and the value of having someone to guide you through them. With a poem for every occasion, this book of poems is sure to be a hit in any classroom from Key Stage 1 upwards, whether it is used for reading for pleasure or as a basis for writing poetry.

Various authors
 & Various illustrators

A beautiful collection of poems about mindfulness from a diverse range of poets, suitable for all age groups. There are a few poems included that were familiar to me, but most were new to me and I enjoyed discovering them. I loved the illustrations bringing the poems to life and I thought these could also inspire follow-up work in the classroom.

This would be a great book to use for a whole-school focus on poetry as each year group could use a different poem. The poems could be used during PSHE lessons, during mental health week, or as inspiration for children’s own poems in KS2.

The biographies of all the poets and illustrators at the back of the book were a lovely touch and would encourage children to learn more about them.

Recommended Picturebooks for Year 3

The Fan Brothers

An original and intriguing picturebook, Ocean Meets Sky  is just fabulous. The more times you look at this stunning picture book the more lovely it seems. Dreamlike and ethereal.

This heartfelt and really beautiful story charts a boy’s fantastical journey to a land of dreams and stories that his late grandfather told him about – where the ocean meets the sky. He passes imaginary creatures, giant shells, wondrous islands and magical castles.

There’s so much heart and soul in the illustrations, which capture both the wondrous imagination and poignant longing of the child. The book could inspire artwork or story making, but equally is just a beautiful picturebook to pore over and enjoy.

Mac Barnett
 & Jim Klassen

This twisted retelling of The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Mac Barnett is humorous and engaging in equal measure.

The tone is set within the first few pages with disgusting troll details which children will love, like scraping ear wax and goop from his belly button. The story keeps to the traditional aspects of the tale at the same time as modernising it too. There is repetition of key phrases but with a focus on different ways of eating the goat, including curried or poached goat. The biggest twist of the story comes at the time the third goat is introduced and this is where discussion can be explored with children around the alternative ending.

The illustrations by Jon Klassen are a darker take than many of this tale but would give lots of opportunity for discussion, especially around the appearance of the troll. I believe children will enjoy this version as although it does keep the same structure of the more traditional versions, the language used and the illustrations make this a very different version of this classic tale.

Sophia Payne
 & Sandhya Prabhat

There’s so much to like about this colourful picturebook: the lively illustrations, including endpapers; the different fonts which are almost as expressive as the text and conjure up beautifully the scents and sounds of Caribbean culture, the warmth conveyed by artful storytelling, warmth which derives from Faruq’s relationship with the characters who shape his culinary (and boyhood) journey; not to mention the addition of a recipe for lime cookies.

This is a story to make your mouth and your eyes water – as if witness to the work of cooking up a sumptuous family feast and then finding yourself invited too. It’s a book that lends itself to being read aloud in class or at home (and even more so if the dialect sounds authentic). It would also work well in a nurture group setting, allowing the children a hand at making some of the food and as a celebration of different cultures.

Christina Balit

In Ancient Athens, a young slave is known only as ‘The Corinthian Girl’ in a reference to where she had been found, left by her father who couldn’t afford to keep her. She grows up learning to serve her new Athenian family by fetching, carrying, cleaning and scrubbing. Girls were unimportant; slave girls even less so. Very occasionally, she is able to play with the youngest son and her athletic talents are noticed by the master of the house, himself a famous athlete. He forms an ambitious plan for her – will it succeed?

This inspiring short story is based on the Heraean Games, a real event held every four years in honour of Hera and only open to female athletes. It is accompanied by gorgeously subtle but graphic watercolour illustrations that suit the subject matter perfectly both in style and colour palette. Readers who have enjoyed Escape from Pompeiiwhich has been used in classrooms for years alongside the Romans topics – will immediately recognise Christina Balit’s distinctive style.

I was pleased to see these lesser-known Greek games brought to light to counterbalance the male perspective which dominates the study of Ancient Greece. Although as a story it is plausible rather than likely, it’s stirring, and the factual pages at the back address potential misconceptions by explaining the context and introducing the small number of key sources. Much has to be imagined because of the limited evidence for the lives of women in Ancient Athens.

A highly recommendable picturebook to share alongside study of Ancient Greece.

Carol Ann Duffy
 & Jane Ray
Chapter book

This is a unique picturebook by celebrated poet Carol Ann Duffy and illustrated by Jane Ray.

A witch steals a girl’s sack of happy endings, which she has collected to carry through the forest before bedtime. Now, without the happy endings, children all around are sad and distressed because their bedtime stories are ending unhappily. Resourceful Jub finds a golden pen and creates her own happy endings instead.

With fairy tale motifs and an original concept, this fascinating picturebook is well suited for KS2.

Recommended Non-Fiction Books for Year 3

Charlotte Guillian
 & Yuval Zommer

A beautiful fold-out book that showcases the wonders of the earth beneath our feet and one with real wow-factor.

As a teacher, I used it to introduce Year 3’s ‘Under Our Feet’ topic and there were gasps from the children. Sublimely illustrated, its concertina-style pages fold out into a long cross-section of the Earth: in one side and out the other. It contains a wealth of information about geology and science – linking to topics of rocks and soils and awesome earth  – and opportunities for further questions from curious young minds.

Just stunning.

Dominic Walliman
 & Ben Newman

Professor Astro Cat is much loved in schools for non-fiction guides relating to space, atoms, human bodies and deep-sea voyages. Frontiers of Space was first published in 2013 as the starting book in the series and is now back with a new edition featuring eight new spreads and updated details about how rockets work, recent missions to Mars, space junk, black holes, and many more new insights into the ever-developing science of space and the outer reaches of the universe. There’s something new to learn about on every page.

Fictional guide Professor Astro Cat walks his readers through some of the key questions that children might have about the universe, and many more that they’ve probably never even thought about before. Where does our sun go at night? What are stars made of? If the Earth was a cherry tomato, what size would the other planets be (hint: Mars would be a pea and Jupiter a watermelon).

This is a beautifully designed non-fiction book with illustrations by an artist whose use of bold shapes and retro colours draws readers right in to enjoy soaking up the information. Each page has plenty of varied and interesting information to read and – coupled with the quality, durable feel of the book – the purchase of this text is a good investment as readers are likely to get a lot out of each sitting and still be left with plenty to come back and discover.

If you have yet to fall in love with the Astro Cat series, this is a great place to start.

Timothy Knapman
 & Nik Henderson
We look out of our window at the dark and twinkling sky.It's full of stars and planets and there's comets whooshing by.We want to go and see them, there's so much to explore.So let's count down and blast off - then we can find out more!Journey through space with 15 of the most iconic missions of all time, including the moon landing, Voyager 1's journey into interstellar space and Perseverance's exploration of Mars.
Shannon Stocker
 & Devon Holzwarth

An inspiring picture book true story of the inspiring life of deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie.

Evelyn began to experience hearing loss at ten years old. She loved music, and did not want to give up on her passion because of her deafness. Trying different instruments helped, and she switched to percussion, where the vibrations could help her to feel the music with her body. Over time, Evelyn became an award-winning percussionist and opened doors to making music education more accessible for others.

The beautiful and evocative artwork captures the optimistic tone of the story and highlights the idea of ‘feeling’ the music.

Marchella Ward
 & Asia Orlando
Chapter book

‘Beasts of the Ancient World’ is a phenomenal illustrated book, which will appeal to any child who loves to learn about history, animals or mythology. The book contains an array of stories about monsters from all over the ancient world, while including facts and illustrations about them.

From the very beginning of the book, the content page taps into the reader’s interests, by including subheadings for each group of stories. Are you interested in terrifying monsters? Then look at the ‘Our worst fears’ section. Love to hear about epic wars? ‘Battles with monsters’ is for you! A bit of a scaredy cat? There is also a section titled ‘Kind beasts’, which would suit the less brave!

The stories throughout claim to remind us that ‘things are never really as simple as brave human defeats monster’. They have been carefully selected from around the world and allow readers to learn about the creatures within them, as well as the cultures they came from. There are many unique features within it to help gain a breadth in children’s learning about mythology and cultural legends from around the globe. For example, there is a world map with a key, which explains where each of the mythical creatures was created by ancient storytellers. Interwoven through the stories are fact pages with beautiful illustrations of different creatures. There are snippets of non-fiction fact files, which include anything from beasts that fly, great guardians and creatures from under the sea. There is something in this book for everyone!

Mike Barfield
 & Jess Bradley

This colourful, cartoon-style reference book brings facts to life with humour and fun illustrations. Following on from the enormous success of its award-winning predecessors, this latest book in the ‘Day in the Life Of..’ series is packed full of information and facts about space, presented in an entertaining comic style that is a joy to read.

Readers will enjoy the variety of scientific information, which felt like a balanced view of different areas including science, technology, astrology and the history of space travel. This would be a great book for children who love a highly visual element to what they read. Readers could dip in and out of the various topics individually, or teachers could choose sections to share as a class when exploring related topics. When added to a classroom library, this series is sure to be in high demand during independent reading time. 

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Guidance: About the Year 3 Booklist

What books do Year 3 children read?

Year 3 children like books that entertain them and help them to understand the world around them. Year 3 teachers like to provide pupils with reading-for-pleasure choices designed to entertain and delight as well as books that open up a host of new worlds to curious children. Books provide children of this age group with opportunities to stretch their imagination as well as to consider what life might be like in a myriad of different settings and situations.

Children in Year 3 often enjoy stories about the lives of other people, like STEM-loving Leonora Bolt or the intergenerational cooking fun in Faruq and the Wiri Wiri. Stories like this can help children to develop empathy and understand emotionswhile at the same time increasing language skills and vocabulary.

Animal stories are hugely popular choices in Year 3 too, and many children of this age enjoy wildlife rescue adventures like A Rabbit Called Clover or stories about talking animals with their own secret lives, like the classroom storytime favourite Varjak Paw.

Funny books like Charlie Changes into a Chicken are very popular with this year group, as are short chapter books with highly illustrated elements like The 13 Storey Treehouse or A Monster Ate My Packed Lunch. Many parents and teachers report that books like this, with high image-to-text ratio and plenty of humour, are the ones that first hook their Year 3 children into reading independently.

In addition to independent reading, story time with adults remains important and treasured in Year 3, too – both at home and in the classroom. With shared storytimes, Year 3 children can handle more complex narratives or more deeply emotive tales that can be discussed together with adults, including true classics like Charlotte’s Web or books that touch on wider social or environmental themes, like The Wild Robot.

Should children read to themselves in Year 3?

Year 3 is a great age to encourage children to be reading independently and is often considered the year when independent reading really begins to take off, as long as the right books are available.

At the ages of 7 and 8, many children have learned to read short books by themselves and begin to exercise greater freedom of choice over their independent reads at school and home. Furthermore, research shows that reading for pleasure in childhood is a more powerful indicator of future educational attainment than parental socioeconomic status. In order to facilitate the enjoyment of reading, getting the right book into the right child’s hands at the right time is the key. 

Many children looking for independent reads in Year 3 first gravitate towards highly illustrated short books like Press Start! or graphic novels like Kitty Quest, while others simply love a story with entertaining characters like Dave Pigeon or Pizazz. Collecting a series is hugely appealing to children at this age, and series like Football Superstars and the 13 Storey Treehouse become popular in Year 3.

Every reader develops differently and some children will not quite be ready for the leap into independent reading yet. Where this is the case, providing plenty of opportunities to enjoy shared reading or storytime with trusted adults or older siblings is the best thing to do. Some books lend themselves brilliantly to being shared together, like marvelling at the impressive imaginary creatures in Beasts of the Ancient World or the fold-out non-fiction with wow factor, The Street Beneath My Feet.

Try to make plenty of books available to freely browse during independent times, too – even if the words are not all being read, remember that books can still be enjoyed in a myriad of wonderful ways.

Which are the best books for Year 3?

Year 3 children should be allowed to have time to choose from different styles, genres and formats. Make the most of library trips to find new books to read, or use our checklists and school bookpacks to help guide choices.

Our team has carefully selected a range of books especially picked for encouraging reading for pleasure in Year 3, both as independent book choices and for texts to be read aloud by an adult. Some of the stories in the collection will be especially appealing to children looking for an illustrated chapter book series, such as the Nothing to See Here Hotel series, the stem-themed Harley Hitch series and the Princess Rules books, which all have memorable characters and frequent visual elements to break up the text. A number of stories in the collection are brilliant choices for making children laugh out loud, like Diary of a Big Bad Wolf or Charlie Changes into a Chicken.

Other stories chosen for our Year 3 booklist are more tender-hearted and thought-provoking. We love Andy Shepherd’s story The Boy Who Grew Dragons, all about a young boy who finds a baby dragon hatching from a ‘dragon-fruit’ tree in the garden, or Peter Brown’s popular storytime choice The Wild Robot, which explores themes of technology and nature.  Not all of the stories on the list are longer reads – for excellent picturebook choices suitable for Year 3, we recommend the inspirational true story Listen, or the stunningly illustrated Ocean Meets Sky  More picturebooks for this age group can be found on our separate Lower KS2 Picturebooks booklist.

If you are looking for classic stories, you’ll find on our list some real favourites suitable for children aged 7-8, like Ted Hughes’ thrilling and mysterious story of The Iron Man or the poignant farmyard tale of friendship, courage and loss in Charlotte’s Web. Other stories in the collection are part of a much newer series, such as the Ballet Besties series, or Laura Ellen Anderson’s Marnie Midnight and the Moon Mystery.

You’ll find a variety of genres and formats included on our recommended Year 3 reading list, from poetry collections like Selfies with Komodos to the mindful and diverse poetry anthology Find Peace in a Poem. We’ve also included some Y3 graphic novels, such as Invisidog and Kitty Quest. If you are looking for a short chapter book for an ideal first step into independent reading, try the colour-illustrated detective story Kate on the Case or the video game-inspired Rabbit Boy series. For more ideas, be sure to check out our separate booklist highlighting recommended First Chapter Books.

What are the best non-fiction books for Year 3?

When choosing information books for Year 3, look for highly illustrated non-fiction texts with smaller chunks of text. Non-fiction books that are particularly well-suited to readers aged 7 and 8 include the comic-style fact book An Astronaut, Mars and the Distant Stars, the inspiring real-life story of deaf percussionist Evelyn Glennie in Listen and Yuval Zommer’s beautifully illustrated The Street Beneath My Feet, which provides a real wow-factor to shared reading experiences with its 2.5 metre fold-out spread.

If you are looking for books themed around a particular topic, head over to our KS2 topic booklists.

Where can I purchase the books on the BooksForTopics Year 3 booklist?

What other booklists for children in Y3 are available?

We offer a selection of resources and booklists catered to the age and stage of 7 and 8 year olds. To explore children’s books centred around popular Year 3 curriculum topics such as Stone Age to Iron Age topic texts, recommended books about Rocks & Soils or stories about Rainforests, or those that align with common interests such as animal stories or children’s space books, browse through the BooksForTopics KS2 topic booklists.

At this age, children usually establish a fondness for a particular series or author. To help parents and teachers discover new story characters that children might adore, our Branching Out booklists featuring a variety of books will come in handy. These carefully selected lists include stories for fans of Beast Quest, books similar to David Walliams’ stories and more books like Dog Man.

A great place to start for reading for pleasure recommendations is our list of Best Books for 7 Year olds. Not everybody is ready for longer chapter book stories at the Year 3 stage and some children will thrive on alternative formats. Take a look at our Lower KS2 Graphic Novels booklist or our selection of first chapter books featuring very short or colour-illustrated options for newly independent readers. Y3 children who have not yet caught the reading bug might like our booklist for reluctant readers aged 7-9 or our Top-Notch non-fiction booklist for more options to appeal to different types of readers.  Similarly, more advanced Year 3 readers can look ahead with our list of Recommended Reads for Year 4.

For children’s books showcasing a broader range of characters, cultures and experiences, our collection of Diverse and Inclusive Books for Lower KS2 is recommended for parents and educators seeking diversity and inclusivity.

Finally, we have a number of booklists in our KS2 PSHE collection designed to support the emotional well-being of children in this age group. Head over to our Mental Health Awareness booklist, our list of anti-bullying books, our selection of stories to develop Emotional Literacy or get ready for the next class move with our booklist for class transitions.

Can I download a printable version of the Year 3 Booklist?

All of our Year Group Recommended Reads lists come with a printable poster and checklist. Schools are very welcome to display the posters or to share the printable resources with their community.

Printable Poster – Best Year 3 Books PDF

year 3 recommended reads printable poster 2024

Printable Checklist – Best Year 3 Books PDF

year 3 recommended reads checklist 2024

Where can I find recommended reading lists for other primary school year groups?

In addition to the Year 3 booklist, you can also find more primary year group reading lists right here! BooksForTopics is a reliable source for discovering recommended books for each Year Group. Our team of experts at BooksForTopics has meticulously curated a selection of top-quality books appropriate for each primary year group, with input and evaluation from our school-based Review Panel. Each booklist includes 50 recommended books and includes a printable poster and checklist. Schools can purchase full sets of each Year Group list through our partners at Peters.

Here are the quick links to our other primary school booklists:

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Year 3: 50 Recommended Reads

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