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Year 5: 50 Recommended Reads

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recommended books for year 5 ages 9 to 10

Best Books for Year 5 (Ages 9-10)

Looking for the best Year 5 books? Look no further than Our primary school reading experts have selected a list of the top 50 recommended books for children aged 9-10. There are so many books to love on this list, but do keep an eye out for houses that walk, alien cats, buried Roman treasure hoards and a good old polar bear rescue…

Our Year 5 recommended reading list features a diverse range of books from both classic and contemporary authors, carefully chosen to help develop reading fluency, vocabulary, and critical thinking skills. Our list includes popular Y5 books such as Percy Jackson, The Last Bear and Diary of a Wimpy Kid as well as lesser-known gems that are equally delightful, like Always Clementine and The Cooking Club Detectives.

Our team of experts at BooksForTopics considers several factors to ensure that our booklist features the very most suitable book recommendations for Year 5 children. In addition to evaluating the current popularity of books, we carefully assess each title’s appropriateness for the age group, quality of writing, engaging illustrations, and ability to stimulate imagination and creativity. Our curated booklists are compiled by specialists in children’s literature, and we take pride in presenting a diverse range of voices and catering to different types of readers, ensuring that there is something for everyone.

Our curated reading list is designed to capture the attention of Year 5 children, matching their developmental stages and interests. We have also provided accompanying resources to support parents and teachers, including a printable poster, a downloadable checklist, and the option for schools to purchase full sets of the 50 books through Peters.

Scroll down to find more purchasing options and printable resources.

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Favourite Storytime Books for Year 5

Lisa Thompson
 & Gemma Correll
Chapter book
A gripping, page-turning mystery adventure from the bestselling author of modern classic The Goldfish BoyWhen lonely Vincent is forced to go on an outdoor activity weekend with three other kids from his class, he's counting the seconds until he can escape home. But one of his classmates is hiding a secret: she's convinced there's pirate treasure buried deep within a nearby mountain. Suddenly, this boring trip becomes an exciting adventure! But a thief is hot on the trail, intent on stealing the loot for themselves... can the Treasure Hunters work together to stop them? for fans of Frank Cottrell Boyce's Millions and classic action adventure movie The Goonies funny, moving and a real page-turner a sensitive depiction of a hero with dyspraxia.
Hannah Gold
 & Levi Pinfold
Chapter book

A beautifully heartfelt and moving story with strong environmental themes. This story highlights the topic of global warming but also draws a picture of the wonderful connection that can develop between children and animals.

When April heads to a remote Arctic island with her father, who is there for scientific research, she’s not sure exactly what to expect. The trip to ‘Bear Island’ has the potential to be a very lonely trip – with endless summer Arctic nights, an isolated wilderness and, according to her father, no actual polar bears left on the island for April to spot despite its name.

Surprisingly, April encounters a real polar bear on the island when nobody else is around, and realises that the bear is in danger. With courage in the face of powerlessness, April embarks upon a quest to get the bear to safety in an adventure that she will never forget.

There’s something magical about this story – from the wonderfully evoked Arctic setting to the glorious friendship that develops between April and the bear. There often seems to be a direct connection and a deep instinct to care that exists between children and the natural world, a connection which is highlighted in the story through how April can make a difference to the plight of the bear despite her feeling of powerlessness. Many young readers who really do care about climate change will relate to April’s frustration at the inaction of many people, to her sadness at the plight of our precious planet and to her desire to make a difference, even through the smallest of actions.

This is a powerful and important story that will stir the heart through its gently unfolding message that places hope in the hands of the young to make a difference in the planet’s future.

Priscilla Mante
Chapter book

Jaz Santos vs the World is the first in a new series about a girl who gathers an unlikely group of friends together to make their own girls’ football team. This is an inclusive and empowering tale with a real-life feel that will appeal to fans of Cath Howe and Jacqueline Wilson.

Circumstances in Jaz’s life are starting to feel out of control. She has been in trouble at school, kicked out of dance club and is dealing with the growing cracks in her parents’ relationship, culminating in a house fire and her mum eventually moving out. There’s more on her mind too – Jaz loves football and often plays with the boys at lunchtimes, but is excluded from the school team because girls are not allowed to play.

When Jaz finds a leaflet advertising a girls’ football tournament, she seizes the opportunity to take back some control. Thinking carefully about how to sell the idea to her classmates, Jaz pours heart and soul into rallying a team of girls to prepare for the tournament. From fundraising to training, Jaz leaves no stone unturned – with her passionate hopes of proving that girls can be taken seriously in football matched only by her desire to get mum back. Deep down, Jaz wonders whether winning the tournament might magically solve all of the other problems in her life too, but some wise words along the way help Jaz to understand that life’s circumstances do not have to define her, and her own personal successes and failures don’t have to be tied up with the things in life that are simply beyond her control.

With girls’ football growing more popular than ever, this is an empowering book with a dynamic and entertaining main character who shows what can happen when somebody leads the way in a new sporting initiative. The discrimination against Jaz as a girl wanting to be taken seriously in football feels frustrating and unfair, but Jaz is passionate and triumphant to show what can be achieved with a little determination. Some of the other girls have no interest in the sport before Jaz recruits them to the team, but the story shows how beneficial the opportunity to join in is for them in different ways. The author Priscilla Mante says of the book, “Girls’ football and women’s football don’t get the attention they should do and it was really important for me, through Jaz, to challenge the status quo.”

This timely and heart-warming story about teamwork, self-belief and following your passions in the face of life’s ups and downs is likely to score big with readers aged 8-11.

Sophie Anderson
 & Melissa Castrillon & Elisa Paganelli
Chapter book

This is a wildly imaginative and highly unusual story (in the best of ways) brimming with wonder, magic, folklore and compassion. Marinka is a 12-year-old girl who lives with her grandmother, Baba Yaga. Together they live in a house with chicken legs and move around from place to place, fulfilling their role of ‘guardians of the gate’ by guiding the spirits of the deceased through the gateway between life and death. Before the spirits pass through the gate, Baba Yaga listens to their stories and celebrates their life with them. Marinka’s destiny appears to be already decided; she is to train to become a Yaga like her grandmother and this means that she is never allowed to go to school or make friends with the living. Increasingly Marinka realises that she does not want to live the life of a Yaga and begins to take big risks as she experiences a rising desire to make some real friends and sample a ‘normal’ existence. What follows is an emotive coming-of-age story that sees Marinka working to resolve the tensions between her own desires and the path she is expected to follow.

Sophie Anderson is a wonderful storyteller and has very skilfully crafted a compelling and believable magical world that is an enchanting amalgamation between traditional and modern. I really enjoyed how, through Marinka’s eyes, I found myself able to explore elements of a Slavic folk story in a fresh and relatable way, and how Anderson’s emotive narrative invites the reader to meet the characters and events with a large amount of compassion.

This is a magical and captivating narrative that dances its way through darkness and light, joy and grief and life and death and it is highly recommended for Years 5 and 6

Joan Aiken
Chapter book
In a period of English History that never happened, when Good King James III is on the throne, and the whole country is ravaged by wolves which have migrated through the newly-opened Channel Tunnel. When orphans Bonnie and Sylvia fall into the hands of evil Miss Slighcarp, they need all their wits - and the help of Simon the goose-boy - to escape unscathed, for the governess is more cruel and merciless than the wolves that surround the great house of Willoughby Chase. Filled with brilliantly-drawn Dickensian characters, it would make an excellent choice for strong preteen readers who like an old-fashioned story with a strong plot and good characterisation. This book often appears on lists of best-loved children's books.

Nizrana Farook
 & David Dean
Chapter book

Set in a Sri Lanka, this adventure story tells the story of a friendship between a boy and a bear.

During his work as a deliverer of books, a boy called Nuwan mistakenly comes to possess a valuable key that implicates him in a crime. On the run, he befriends a terrifying bear and before long the pair find themselves on a thrilling adventure during which they must unlock big secrets, stop the criminals and find their way safely home again.

I’m a huge fan of Nizrana Farook so when I was given the opportunity to review this new book, I pounced on it. I’ve read all of her other books and loved them! This one was no exception and it made me want a sloth bear to come live with me so that I can protect it! The way the bear’s character and personality were written helps the reader to develop empathy and see the bear in a different light, not just as a dangerous animal.  Nuwan’s journey is really one of self discovery as he realises that he is special and loved, not in the shadow of his older brother as he thought. The evocative settings pull you right into the story, whether it’s a bear cave, big city or rainforest, you’re there.

Highly recommended for classrooms, the super choice of a story covers themes close to the hearts of of KS2 children including animal protection, self-understanding and friendship.

Exciting Adventure Stories for Year 5

Vashti Hardy
Chapter book

This thrilling steampunk adventure follows siblings Arthur and Maudie Brightstorm as they try to find out what happened to their explorer father. Arthur, who has a prosthetic iron right arm, is a great problem solver and book lover, while his sister is good at fixing things. When they learn about a race to South Polaris, where their father was lost, they win a place onboard the Aurora, a fantastic sky-ship. Maudie’s talent with tools see her appointed as second engineer. Arthur is hired as cook’s assistant. On board Arthur adapts to draining tasks, although his iron arm is heavy and can cause him pain, while also learning new skills – making marsh cakes and communicating with thought wolves! The adventure continues in the sequel Darkwhispers.

Natasha Farrant
Chapter book

Bea and Raffy have lived at Ravenwood almost all their lives and for them, it’s not just a place – it’s like they’re ‘made of’ it. For their new friend, Noa, it’s a welcome refuge from turbulence at home. Between them, they are looking forward to a perfect Ravenwood summer when, without warning, it seems they will lose Ravenwood and all it stands for. Is there anything that children can do to change the ways of the world?

Each child in their own way, makes a choice: to fight for what is precious. Feisty Bea stows away on a train across Europe; gentle Raffy learns to find his inner courage while Noa doggedly works out who started the fire that made everything worse.

This book has the feel of a classic children’s story of friendship, courage and refusing to give up. It captures the idealism and excitement of childhood in an exquisitely crafted story that is a perfect mixture of classic and modern. The plot itself follows an appealingly familiar pattern, but the main characters, their inner thoughts and uncertainties reflect contemporary concerns about environmental protection, homelessness and the problems caused by family breakdown. Subtly the reader is asked to consider deep questions. Is it selfish to fight for your own home when so many in the world are displaced? How hard is it worth fighting for an ash tree, a nuthatch or a newt? (Should you not know your newt from your nuthatch, the lovely endpapers illustrate them for you). How can you find forgiveness for parents who have let you down?

If used as a class read, it could provoke many important discussions and yet it never feels preachy. It’s both full of hope and a joyously immersive read – pure delight, in fact, that is perfect to share with Upper KS2.

David Owen & George Ermos
Chapter book

Alex Neptune lives in the seaside town of Haven Bay, which is rather unfortunate as he thinks the sea is trying to kill him. He is not allowed to go anywhere near the sea; his grandad has forbidden it. However, this only makes Alex’s fear of water worse. Zoey Wu is Alex’s best friend and an inventor. She does have a tendency to blow things up or set them on fire though…
One day, their new friend Anil Chatterjee finds an octopus that takes a liking to Alex and seems to be trying to communicate with him. A whole host of other seaside creatures start acting rather strangely as well: Pinch the seagull, a group of sea otters and an army of crabs. The water in Haven Bay has recently turned foul and the locals are determined to find out why. Does it have something to do with a strange new building called the Station? And why do the animals seem to want Alex to visit the abandoned aquarium?

It’s not long until the annual ‘Water Dragon ceremony’ which celebrates the local legend of a mythical creature called the Water Dragon that supposedly created the bay. Alex, Zoey and Anil find themselves investigating the mysterious goings-on and uncovering more than they bargained for.

I really enjoyed the eco-themes mixed with magic in this book – a great combination! The humour and development of friendship between the characters were enjoyable elements as well. The friendship dynamics are something that children most likely will relate to, with Alex and Zoey being best friends and Anil being a new friend that comes along. ‘Alex Neptune’ will be enjoyed by fans of ‘Malamander’ and other legend-based adventures. It would also make a good class read for children in Year 5 or 6 and could link to a topic that covers pollution or be a good starting point for writing their own legends.

Cressida Cowell
Chapter book

An action-packed adventure that invites readers to imagine what might happen if the fantasy lands they dream up became real. Fans of Cressida Cowell’s previous series (How to Train Your Dragon and Wizards of Once) will delight in meeting new characters and joining them on their magical new journey in search of truth, love and family.

K2 and Izzabird come from a family of magical people: their mum and aunties are makers of potions and enchanted inventions. When their mum marries the Headteacher of the children’s school and they find themselves with a step-brother and step-sister, they are less than happy with their new family dynamic. That is, until they are terrorised by robotic monsters from other lands on their way to school and their adventure begins.

The children must now stick together and work out a plan between them to rescue their baby sister, who is abducted by a new foe and taken to another land. The children must also find their mum and aunties, who have set off on a secret mission of their own. The only way to enter these distant, other-worldly places is for K2 to draw a special map and mark a point with an X, which becomes a portal – the which way to anywhere. Through their adventure, the children find strength in each other and recognise that each have different but equally useful talents.

With many twists and turns, this book is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats. Ultimately this is a story of how everyone can be a hero in their own right and and how people, no matter how different, can collaborate together to make magical things happen.

Marcus Rashford & Alex Falase-Koya
 & Marta Kissi
Chapter book
The Breakfast Club Adventures is the first fiction book by England International footballer, child food-poverty campaigner and #1 bestselling author Marcus Rashford MBE, inspired by Marcus's own experiences growing up! Written with Alex Falase-Koya, it is the third title in the Marcus Rashford Book Club and is packed with tons of illustration throughout and is the perfect book for children aged 8-11.There's something fishy going on at school . . .When twelve-year-old Marcus kicks his favourite football over the school fence, he knows he's never getting it back. Nothing that goes over that wall ever comes back. But the next morning during Breakfast Club Marcus gets a mysterious note inviting him to join the Breakfast Club Investigators, and he is soon pulled into an exciting adventure with his new mates to solve the mystery and get his football back!

Recommended Funny Books for Year 5

Jack Meggitt-Phillips
 & Isabelle Follath
Chapter book

This story is full of fantastical treasures to keep a reader enthralled: a villain in need of redemption, a mischievous girl and an insatiable bone-crunching beast.

Ebenezer Twitch is five hundred and eleven years old. He has reached this astounding age due to an elixir of youth provided to him by a magical beast, which lives on the top floor of his house. Ebenezer adopted the creature when it was tiny and was thrilled to find that it could magically vomit up any item he desired in exchange for food. As the beast grew larger, so did its demands for unusual dishes, until Ebenezer’s reliance on it to continue living causes him to sacrifice some of the world’s rarest (and subsequently extinct) creatures. Now though, the beast wants to eat a child…

A laugh out loud tale with comic and sinister strands that Roald Dahl and Lemony Snicket fans will love.

Danny Wallace
 & Gemma Correll
Chapter book
Imagine if you got to be the boss of EVERYONE—even your dad! That’s just what happens to 10-year-old Joss in this hilarious comedy from bestselling author, comedian and presenter Danny Wallace, with illustrations throughout from Gemma Correll.Ten-year-old Joss’s greatest ambition is to be Class Monitor at school. But she’s about to go one step further. It’s Take Your Kid to Work Day, and Joss’s dad takes her to the games company he works for. When the boss calls a meeting and tells them he’s giving his job away to the person with the best idea for a company game-changer. Joss sticks her hand up. And the next thing she knows, Joss is the boss. Joss is thrilled. Dad is horrified: he’s going to have to be on his best behaviour all the time! As Joss whips everyone into shape, maybe they can all learn a lesson or two...even Joss herself.Warm-hearted and beautifully observed, with hilarious artwork from Gemma Correll, this family-centric comedy has massive wish-fulfilment appeal for kids and adults alike.
Jo Simmons
 & Lee Cosgrove
Chapter book
Home Alone meets Adrian Mole in this hilarious madcap adventure from the bestselling author of I Swapped My Brother on the Internet.Bob Bunyon is fed up. In a family full of artists and performers, he’s the one with no talent, the one bypassed by the creativity gene – and his four siblings just won’t let him forget it. Finally sick of being taunted for being so "normal”, Bob wishes that his family would all just disappear, but he doesn’t really expect his wish to come true!When he wakes the next day to find everyone gone, Bob’s initial delight quickly turns to worry. Does he have supernatural powers? Is he the only survivor of a zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion?Gathering all his courage, and employing survival skills learned from TV endurance shows, Bob sets out to find his missing family ...
Tom Nicoll
 & Anjan Sarkar
Chapter book
Videogame-obsessed Flo and her best friend, Max, get more than they bargained for when they find themselves INSIDE their favourite games!Crammed on a plane flying over the dramatic landscape of Last to Leave, Flo and Max get a shock as they are suddenly parachuted out. The game has begun! As they navigate challenging terrain and highly skilled players, they come face to face with an old enemy. With time running out, the friends have to decide who they can trust if they’re going to make it to the end. Can they complete the game and get back home? From the award-winning author of BOYBAND OF THE APOCALYPSE comes a laugh-out-loud adventure with a technological twist, perfect for fans of I SWAPPED MY BROTHER ON THE INTERNET, David Baddiel, Pokemon and Fortnite.
Frank Cottrell Boyce
 & Steven Lenton
Chapter book

A funny, inventive tale told in first person by Alfie Miles, a Year 7 boy who discovers a one-legged robot in an airport’s lost property. Alfie’s right hand was amputated in an accident and he has been given a state-of-the-art prosthetic hand, but he is struggling to accept the new limb and he has the feeling he’s forgotten something really important. A fast-paced adventure, inspired by a real-life robot. Steve Lenton’s illustrations are excellent and it is great to see Alfie and his friends positively depicted with their limb differences.

Popular Independent Reads for Year 5

Rick Riordan
Chapter book

This is a multi-million selling series that has also been televised with Disney and is hugely popular among fans of action and adventure. Percy Jackson’s modern world is turned upside when he finds out he is descended from Greek gods. What follows is battles with monsters and epic quests in an action-packed series that merges Greek mythology with the modern world. There are also Teachers’ Notes available to download from the publisher.

Anna James
Chapter book

Since the disappearance of her mother, Tilly has lived in a bookshop with her grandparents, where she has found comfort amongst the pages of her favourite books. When she discovers her special ability to wander in and out of books alongside her favourite characters, she realises this could hold the key to finding out what really happened to her mother. But she is unnerved by the appearance of the mysterious Enoch Chalk who turns up in the most unexpected of places, taking an unusual interest in Tilly and watching her very closely. Spellbinding and truly magical, the world of Pages & Co is enchanting for readers young and old.

Cath Howe
Chapter book

Ella on the Outside is a superbly honest debut from Cath Howe, with authentic characters and important themes of friendship, loyalty, self-acceptance and parental responsibility. For me this was a thoroughly enjoyable read and I’m convinced the characters will resonate strongly with lots of readers. As well as the themes of friendship and loyalty, the book also addresses issues of parental responsibility, childhood eczema, mental health and the impact of having an absent parent. This is a gripping and emotive read filled with heart and we recommend it for readers in upper KS2…

Jeff Kinney
Graphic Novel
Things aren't going well for Greg Heffley . He's been thrust into a new school where undersize weaklings share the corridors with kids who are taller, meaner and already shaving. Along with his friend Rowley, Greg's desperate to prove his new maturity, which only going up a grade can bring. But when Rowley's star starts to rise, will Greg be able to reach the same heights of popularity as his best friend?
Sophie Cleverly
 & Hannah Peck
Chapter book

A Victorian murder mystery that has plenty of twists and turns and is difficult to put down.

All Violet Veil has ever wanted is to be taken seriously and to become an apprentice in her family’s business, Veil and Sons’ Undertakers. Unfortunately, she is denied this opportunity simply because she is a girl. When there is a spate of killings, business appears to be good for Mr Veil. That is, until one rainy night when one of the dead bodies comes back to life! In the undertaker’s back room, Violet meets Oliver, a young boy who lives on the streets, and together they embark on an investigation to solve Oliver’s own ‘murder’. They are accompanied by Violet’s loyal greyhound, Bones, who has an affinity for the graveyard that lies next to the Veil’s house and business. In spite of her parents’ disapproval, plucky Violet vows to solve this mystery and Oliver is allowed to stay. When Violet’s father is later accused of these murders, Violet, Oliver and Bones must uncover the truth once and for all in a bid to save Mr Veil’s life.

This book has a strong female lead with a loveable sidekick. Violet’s headstrong nature and sense that justice must be done make her a character that you can’t help but root for. The story takes its readers along on the journey of the investigation and is nail-biting in places.

A must-read for lovers of detective stories, ghostly tales and historical fiction. There is a sense of dark adventure and foreboding throughout and this makes the spooky nature of the story very appealing. 

Honor and Perdita Cargill
 & Katie Saunders
Chapter book

Diary of an Accidental Witch is funny, quirky and super-readable. Think, The Worst Witch rebooted for a new generation, with a sprinkling of Amelia Fang and Wizard in Training stirred into the same cauldron.
When Bea Black’s Dad accidentally enrols her into the ‘wrong’ school, she learns more about magic than maths. Bea keeps a record of daily events, such as how surprisingly disgusting witch food can be. The entries are unusually precisely timed and peppered with crossings out, as though lifted from a real diary…

Neill Cameron
Chapter book

Mega Robot Bros is a long-running comic strip in The Phoenix and the ‘Freddy’ spin-off novels are based on the comic. The format is similar in style to Wimpy Kid and Tom Gates, but with a touch more text, so it’s a nice step forward for children who love the illustrated format and are ready for a slightly more complex story.

You will know a ‘Freddy’ in your class – a boisterous child who hasn’t quite got control of their limbs and personal responsibility yet. A child who always wants to do the right thing, but gets it horribly wrong on a regular basis – and perhaps they’ve got an older sibling who always seems to get it right. Now equip that child with deadly lasers, a jet pack, no sense of danger and some excellent sidekicks and you’d be right in thinking absolute mayhem ensues!

What makes Freddy vs School stand out is that Freddy learns and grows beautifully. He has to work hard to re-establish his friendships after disaster strikes, and to understand other people’s points of view. It’s so deftly done that it doesn’t feel preachy at all. Freddy is a popular choice for children in Years 4, 5 and 6 looking for a hilarious, feel-good read.

Graphic Novels for Year 5

Aoife Dooley
Graphic Novel

This graphic novel follows the story of Frankie and offers readers a delightful blend of humour, relatability, and empathy. Drawn from the author’s own life experiences, this is told from the perspective of Frankie, a girl with autism. Frankie tackles bullies, discovers her strengths, and gains a deeper understanding of herself.

Readers will cheer Frankie on in this wonderful graphic novel of growth and self-discovery illustrated in bright oranges and blues.

Cece Bell
Graphic Novel
El Deafo is a funny, deeply honest graphic novel memoir for middle graders. It chronicles the author's hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with a powerful and very awkward hearing aid called the Phonic Ear. It gives her the ability to hear--sometimes things she shouldn't--but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her, Phonic Ear and all. Finally, she is able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become "El Deafo, Listener for All." And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she's longed for.
Dan Sentat
Graphic Novel

A 245-page graphic novel by Caldecott Medal winner and New York Times bestselling author-illustrator Dan Santat. Sophia’s father, a marine biologist, was lost at sea when his research vessel sank. At the mercy of investors, the ‘Aqualand’ marine reserve he founded to protect sea life and continue their research is getting slowly but surely turned into a money-making theme park. One day, a strange being in an old fashioned diving suit emerges from the ocean searching for ‘Aqualand’. When they meet Sophia there, it is revealed that the suit is piloted by four friends from the ocean who, having found her father’s journal near his shipwrecked vessel, are wowed by the promise of a safe haven where they can be protected from the dangers of the ocean. Sophia becomes firm friends with these brave little creatures, and in their humorous adventures not only do they help Sophia with her science project, but together they save ‘Aqualand’ and make it into the haven it was always supposed to be.

Victoria Jamieson
Graphic Novel
Astrid has always done everything with her best friend Nicole. So when Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for a summer camp, she's sure Nicole will be right by her side - until Nicole signs up for ballet camp instead, with Astrid's biggest rival. So begins the hardest summer of Astrid's life, as she struggles to stay on her skates, to learn who she is without Nicole . . . and to find out what it takes to be a strong, tough, awesome roller girl.

Thought-Provoking Stories for Year 5

Zillah Bethell
Chapter book

The Song Walker is a soulful story that beautifully serenades the reader with themes of freedom, identity, music and heritage. Zillah Bethell’s writing always takes readers to new horizons.

The author’s previous book The Shark Caller was a real favourite here at BooksForTopics HQ and also among our community of teachers and librarians. The Song Walker is a new standalone adventure that shares a similar intensity of setting and an interweaving of gentle existentialist musings with relatable themes of making friendships and searching for identity in the face of cultural and familial expectations.

This time, the setting is the Australian Outback and the reader feels the blazing heat and dryness of the red, flat landscape that spans underneath a limitless sky. The main character, who is nameless at the start of the story, appears to have no idea how she got there or who she is. She carries a mysterious case and finds herself on a search for answers accompanied by her new friend, Tarni. Journeying deeper into the desert landscape, the girl has to dig deep into her inner self to find answers about who she is and who she wants to be. 

Tarni’s character adds real depth to the story. She is a First Country Australian girl from the traditional Alaywarre community. Tarni navigates the Outback using a traditional form of mapping – not with paper maps or satellite technology but with songlines, with which routes are passed from generation to generation by repeating the words of a song. The differences and similarities between the two girls become increasingly celebrated as the story progresses, showing how a bond between people from different cultural heritages and lifestyles can be mutually enriching. 

The story is philosophical and at times dream-like, with a melodic quality to the writing. The book is perfect for mature readers in upper kS2 who enjoy an immersive reading experience and a thought-provoking narrative with the potential to stir some very profound discussion questions.

Ewa Jozefkowicz
Chapter book

A gently unfolding detective story that delicately unpacks themes of food poverty, friendship and the importance of community spaces. Author Ewa Jozefkowicz says of the book, ‘The pandemic has had a huge impact on food insecurity, with as many as 2.3 million children now affected. So through my book, as well as telling a story, I wanted to highlight the importance of community and to show all readers that they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if they need it.’
This is a relatively quick read – but a deeply satisfying one – that will appeal to readers who enjoy true-to-life stories, a mystery to solve and gentle storytelling that explores real-world issues.

Carlie Sorosiak
Chapter book

Clementine is a mouse, born in a laboratory with her brothers and sisters, genetically altered to be super intelligent. One day, one of the researchers ‘rescues’ her and one of her brothers, leaving them to be looked after by an elderly man and his visiting grandson. The two humans have to think of a plan to keep the mice safe and prevent the lab from taking them back.

Written as letters Clementine sends in her head to the laboratory chimpanzee Rosie, the story gathers pace as Clementine realises what her fate might be if she is returned to the lab.

This is a wonderful book; I could not put it down. It is both an exciting adventure and a plea not to use animals in experiments. With echoes of Mrs Frisby and the Rats of Nimh (Robert C O’Brien) and even the Queen’s Gambit (Walter Tevis), the reader follows Clementine with bated breath and learns that while some humans are very bad indeed, others can be kind and good. This is a heart-warming story, filled with humour and love.

Ben Brooks

There seems to be a wealth of self-help for children books on the market at the moment and looking for a book that really considers the issue in a suitable way can be is quite overwhelming.

However, ‘You Don’t Have to Be Loud’ pitches itself perfectly in its mission through the gloriously simple yet innovative title.
The book cover looks appealing, with a huge mouth covering the page. The edges of the book itself are curved, rather than pointed, which make it rather soothing to hold.

The book is written in the first person and draws on the experience of the author. It is utterly refreshing to listen to the anecdotes; which are charming, funny and absolutely authentic. There is a balance between advice and support for children and young people who identify as shy, quiet or introverted and insights into Ben’s journey, navigating the world through his ‘quiet’ viewpoint.

There are also some amazing quotes from famous people, some of whom you may never have considered as being shy. Ben drops these into the narrative regularly and they are really effective in reminding the reader that a change of mindset can be helpful in reframing feelings of shyness. The illustrations are in a red, grey and white colour scheme and red is used perfectly; it highlights the shy characters on the page brilliantly.

The book would be a super addition to a Key Stage Two bookshelf and could be used as part of a mental health collection or as part of PSHE or citizenship.

Historical Fiction Books for Year 5

Ian Serraillier
Chapter book
THE SILVER SWORD by Ian Serraillier is an unforgettable World War II survival story. Although the silver sword was only a paper knife, it became the symbol of hope and courage which kept the Balicki children and their orphan friend Jan alive through the four years of occupation when they had to fend for themselves. And afterwards it inspired them to keep going on the exhausting and dangerous journey from war-torn Poland to Switzerland, where they hoped to find their parents. Based on true accounts, this is a moving story of life during and after the Second World War.
Tom Palmer
Chapter book Dyslexia-friendly

This well-researched and highly readable novel takes its title from the name of the medal that honours the Arctic Convoys during World War II. The story, with its concluding Author’s Note and accompanying online teaching notes available from Tom Palmer’s website, provides an exciting and informative classroom resource for the teaching of WWII as a curriculum topic, besides being a book many children will choose for the sheer enjoyment of reading. Winner of the BooksForTopics Book of the Year Award for Best Curriculum Support.

Emma Carroll
Chapter book

This story is set in 1922 around the time that Howard Carter famously excavated Tutankhamun’s tomb. Thirteen-year-old Lilian Kaye enjoys following the newspaper reports about Howard Carter’s progress. A mystery parcel raises lots of questions and soon after Lilian has an opportunity to join a voyage to Egypt. What follows is an exciting adventure that will take Lilian to the very heart of Howard Carter’s fascinating discoveries. Filled with historical intrigue and intelligently drawn characters, this is highly recommended for upper Ks2.

A. M. Howell
Chapter book

The Secrets of the Treasure Keepers is a wonderfully immersive story that takes the reader back to what life might have been like for one family at a particular moment in history. The story felt extra special as it is a rare example of fiction set in the Fens, near BooksForTopics HQ. I know that the author’s commitment to highlighting this area of the country will be warmly welcomed by schools both in the local area and also for those readers yet to discover the hauntingly beautiful geography of the Fens.

The story centres around the apparent discovery of some buried Roman treasure in the field of a struggling farming family. Ruth and her mum – a budding archaeology expert – visit the farm to discover more. What drives the story is the unfolding secrets and backstories of the various different main characters – all interesting and well-nuanced – making for an enjoyable mystery full of intrigue and due compassion for the desperation that can drive deceit.

I particularly enjoyed the well-drawn historical setting of post-war Britain. We see a lot of middle-grade stories set during the war, but the period immediately after the war had finished is just as interesting and much less widely considered in children’s books. How does a country get back on its feet after the devastation of the war? No stone is left unturned when it comes to incidental details that flesh out the time and place of the story’s setting. The country is still reeling from the war’s impact and the reader is given space to reflect on the difficulty this caused for different individuals – for example in terms of ongoing rationing, widespread poverty, the ‘make do and mend’ mentally, missing family members, the dawn of the NHS and the deeply-felt consequences of the war’s destruction on property, people and family relationships. A major theme of the story is embracing change and looking at ways to improve the future even during difficult times – a theme that is just as relevant today as it was in 1948. For me, this is the crux of what makes A.M. Howell’s writing so compelling; the stories feel so authentically and evocatively set in their time period while also being timeless in their themes.

Heartfelt and hopeful, this is a historical adventure not to be missed.

Richard O'Neill
Chapter book

A thoroughly enjoyable read set in 19th-century Sheffield. This book tells the story of Lijah –  a Romani boy living in a Traveller camp. Lijah enjoys collecting scrap with his dad and brother, travelling on the cart and listening to his dad’s stories by the fire.

One day, visitors from the Sheffield census come around and decree that Lijah has to start going to school. At first, he struggles with reading and writing and faces prejudice when some of the other children call him ‘gypsy’ or ‘tramp’, he soon discovers a fascination for a new game called football and finds a way to join in with the other boys.

Back home, Lijah’s dad is not happy about Lijah playing football, calling it a dinlo (foolish) game. His dad instructs Lijah not to play, but does accept a gift of a football for Lijah in order to make a good connection with a local businessman called Jack Davis. Over time, Jack bonds with Lijah over his passion for football and tells him about a famous Romani player called Rab Howell. Can Lijah follow in his new hero’s footsteps while still staying true to his roots and keeping peace with his dad?

Written by a Romani author, this quick and compelling read deals with big themes of heritage, family, changing times and prejudice in sport. As the author explains in his note to preface the story, “If you come from a marginalised community, you often have a number of challenges to overcome. Or to use a football analogy: you’re starting the game a couple of goals down.”   Near the end of the story, Lijah comes to the realisation that his upbringing has become an asset and instrumental to his talent, despite the prejudice he will no doubt encounter.

The story provides an original new angle into the stream of football storybooks available and it was interesting to consider the time when professional football was first becoming popular and the legacy of Sheffield in football history, as well as to learn about Rab Howell. Many young readers will relate to the difficulty Lijah encounters balancing cultural traditions with modern life, as well as the tensions between family expectations and following one’s own passions.

Phil Earle
 & Elisa Paganelli
Chapter book Dyslexia-friendly

The Dog That Saved the World (Cup) is a thoroughly enjoyable story of a dog and his family. Inspired by events of 1966, Phil Earle brings the legend of the Jules Rimet trophy theft up to date by placing his tale in a contemporary setting with contemporary problems. Being narrated by Pickles the dog, difficult – but real – issues of unemployment, single-parenting, poverty and homelessness are explored with an innocent honesty that makes them accessible and appropriate for younger readers. Despite the underlying struggles and heartaches, this is not a story of sadness, but it is a quick, positive read that is fun and uplifting.

After the ending of the story, there is an author’s note explaining the real-life inspiration behind the book. Fara Williams, England’s most capped women’s footballer, has shown that dreams can come true as she herself was homeless but never without hope because she had football in her life. Elsie is a reflection of Fara – full of hope, determination and undefeated by life’s challenges.

Printed on a dyslexia-friendly font on cream paper, the story is delightfully illustrated by Elisa Paganelli. The drawings are predominantly joyful. showing happy faces and the bond between a family who have lots of love even when they have little else.


A fun, super-readable story of football with much, much more besides.

Picturebooks for Year 5

Helen Ward
Once, the only sounds to be heard were the buzzing of bees in the grass, the murmuring of moles in the earth, and the song of birds in the sky. These warmed the hearts of those who cared to listen - until the others came to fill the sky with a cacophony of noise. With dramatically lit artwork and a spare, intriguing text, Varmints tells of a pastoral world in need of protection and of the souls who love it enough to ensure its regeneration.
Susan Hood
 & Sally Wern Comport

Every now and then you find a picture book that is so much more than just a book with pictures. This is one of those books, telling the true story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay through words and quite breathtaking illustrations. This book is complex enough for older children and deals with extreme poverty as well as the joy of music while the pictures, showing both light and shade, stay in the mind long after reading. The faces of the children linger; the contrasts of colour making everything vivid and snatching you into the book, giving the reader the tiniest glimpse of what life is like in one of the poorest slums on Earth. The problem is solved with the use of rubbish, turning something that is clearly blighting their lives into something of huge benefit. The reader is left with a sense of the enormous ingenuity that must have gone on to recreate the instruments the children needed to play. The very end of the book takes you into reality as the author explains the true story and there is even a photo of the children with their instruments.

This is a remarkable book because it has the scope to be used as the basis for so much different work in schools. The story alone is unusual, the illustrations show notable use of colour and shade. The topic of the book could be used in music or Geography, or recycling topics. I’d never heard of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay before, but this book has made me glad to learn that such a wonderful organisation exists.

Recommended Poetry for Year 5

Matt Goodfellow
 & Aleksei Bitskoff
A brilliant, prize-winning collection of poems by Matt Goodfellow which is funny, engaging and touching in turns.What if cats had flavoured fur or if you swallowed the sun? What if you were a special kind of badger or if you found a map to the stars? And what if your home was split during the week: one half at Mum's, the other half at Dad's?Packed with brilliant poems that explore a whole range of themes from the downright silly to the sensitive, this collection will delight, enthuse and resonate with children and adults alike. Winner of the 2020 North Somerset Teachers' Book Award for best children's poetry book.
Liz Brownlee, Matt Goodfellow & Laura Mucha
 & Victoria Jane Wheeler
Read about the Land of Blue, where it's OK to feel sad, find ideas for what to do with worries or how to slow down when your head is full of hurry. Give yourself time to chill out, find quiet voices in noisy places and discover kindness in yourself and others. Then maybe your own special thought machine will tell you, 'This is going well. You're doing great. You've got this!' And you have!This important and unique anthology of 45 poems by three leading poets, well known for their empathy and perception, speaks to the heart of what children think and care about, offering understanding, support and encouragement.With an endnote by leading clinical psychologist Karen Goodall.
Various authors
 & Various illustrators

Many classrooms have poetry book with the classics – which are fabulous – but this collection really celebrates modern, diverse poets and their poetry.

The poems in this book will directly relate to children’s experiences of life and the emotions they will have felt. Some poems tackle more challenging emotions that arise from bullying or sadness and one poem tackles an often unspoken emotion – embarrassment. Some of these poems may need to be introduced sensitively, but the language and range of poetry styles make them accessible to explore as well as providing useful springboards for the discussion of feelings.

Some of the poems lend themselves to being spoken out loud and poems such as ‘Stomp’ and ‘It’s like this’ in the collection almost demand performance. Others are well suited to quiet reflection. The poems are written by a wide and diverse range of poets and this collection makes it a good introduction to some of the great children’s poets of today.

At the back of the book, there are photographs and short biographies of each of the poets. What this makes explicit for children is the diversity of poets as well as their achievements. Many of the poems would work well as models for children’s own poetry writing, with clear patterns that could be followed. For example, the first poem ‘If you could see laughter’ asks us to see laughter as a colour and something we can visualise. Each poem is illustrated in a different style and children could easily identify their favourite illustration. This is a great collection for any classroom.

Recommended Non-Fiction Books for Year 5

Kate Hale
 & Andy Smith

Welcome to FACTopia!, a wonderland of crazily connected facts. Choose your own path through this hilarious world of 400 facts, all of which are verified by Encyclopaedia Britannica. Every fact in the book is connected to the next in an ingenious trail of information – making it a kind of ‘choose your own adventure’ of the fact world. From the attention-grabbing orange cover to the final recordbreaking endings, this book is a winner. It has an index, it has sources, it has picture credits, it has information about the author, illustrator and designer, it has a contents listing. But more, much more than these useful additions, it has facts, 400+ of them, presented so that readers can choose their own way through the book on the basis of what intrigues them most…

Katherine Halligan
 & Sarah Walsh
One of The Guardian's Best New Children's Books for Summer 2018.Longlisted for the North Somerset Teachers' Book Award.Instead of just studying history, let's think about HerStory too! In this uplifting and inspiring book, children can learn about 50 intrepid women from around the world and throughout history. Telling the stories of their childhood, the challenges they faced and the changes they made, each gorgeously illustrated spread is a celebration of girl power in its many forms. With a range of pioneering careers - from astronauts to activists, musicians to mathematicians and many more - young readers will be inspired to follow their own dreams and to make the world a better place. Compelling, motivating and brilliantly illustrated in equal measure, this is the perfect introduction to just some of the amazing women who have shaped our world.This is a lush non-fiction collection with beautiful illustrations, photos and interesting facts. Herstory celebrates fearless women from all over the world, and is sure to inspire young girls and women everywhere.
Nicholas O'Neill & Susan Hayes
 & Ruby Taylor
Learn about how different genres started - including classical, folk, jazz, gospel, rock 'n' roll, country, punk, grunge and pop. Discover the stories of maestros including Beethoven, Wei Liangfu, Django Reinhardt, The Beatles, Joni Mitchell, David Bowie, Maria Callas, Nina Simone, Louis Armstrong and Beyonce. Marvel at the orchestra with a huge illustration set in the Royal Albert Hall, and find out about ancient instruments from all over the world. Experience amazing musical moments from the first ever saxophone and early sound recording to the invention of the record and artificial intelligence. All this and more features in this richly illustrated timeline of music from 60,000 years ago to the present day.
Adam Skinner
 & Mai Ly Degnan
Slam the ball home with Michael Jordan. Scale mountain heights with Marielle Goitschel. Flip through the air with Simone Biles. Take a front-row seat and relive history's greatest sporting moments as they happened. This richly illustrated book showcases the defining moment of notable athletes from around the world in more than twenty sports, making it a treasure trove for all the family to share.
Macken Murphy
 & Dragan Kordic

Children’s films and books are full of nature’s duos: now it is time to learn about how pairs of animals and animal-plant combinations work together for mutual gain and survival in the real world.

Each double-page spread in this fascinating non-fiction book gives information about a different relationship. The reader learns how each member of the pair acts to benefit the other. For example: did you know that, in Columbia, there is a frog that babysits the eggs of a tarantula – stopping them from being eaten by ants – in return for being protected from predators such as snakes?

In addition to the main relationship, the reader is presented with plenty of interesting and delightful facts about each of the animals or plants themselves. Did you know that a skink lizard can make its tail fall off and grow again if it gets trapped? AND, sometimes, there is enough tail left over that the skink actually ends up with two tails!

The book covers a wide range of biomes and habitats: even the human scalp! All of the pages are beautifully illustrated to capture the reader’s imagination and make them want to discover more about the natural world. This book would be a welcome addition to any Key Stage Two non-fiction collection and could also be used as inspiration for fiction writing.

Michael Holland
 & Philip Giordano

An informative celebration of Plants Around the World that bursts with colour, information and appreciation of the natural world. The pages are playfully illustrated as a flying insect pops up frequently to guide the reader through. The book is split into four main parts: All About Plants, World of Plants, From Breakfast Until Bedtime and The Power of Plants. Sections within these parts range from covering large concepts such as plants’ roles in food chains and foodwebs down to the interesting details about how plants help us look after our teeth. There are various “DIY” investigations and experiments to try such as making invisible ink and creating bottle gardens. The content is varied and reaches well beyond the science curriculum. There is, for example, a section on how various world flags use plants as symbols and a different one on their role in musical instruments. All this before the more obvious pages you would expect in a book about plants, such as pollination and seed dispersal. This visually appealing book really is a gem that could be dipped into again and again in KS2.

Jasbinder Bilan
 & Nina Chakrabarti

India, Incredible India written by Jasbinder and brought to life by artist Nina Chakrabarti is a joyful celebration of India. For years the BooksForTopics inbox has received requests for recommendations of good books to support curriculum learning about India – and for the first time we really do have a book that hits the spot. Layered between the information is a story of the bond between Nanijee (Grandmother) and Thara (her granddaughter). Each night when Thara sleeps over, Nanijee lets her choose an object from her beautiful carved trunk. Each of the objects has been lovingly collected over many years and when it is taken out, Nanijee tells a story of the object and where it is from over a series of beautiful and informative double-page spreads.

Mia Cassany
 & Marcos Navarro
Which animal lives on top of the Everest? Where can you spot the majestic condor? How does the ibex climb up rocks?Mountains are home to 25% of terrestrial biodiversity and a multitude of fragile ecosystems. What if you could fly and discover those places and the incredible wild animals hidden at high altitude?This large format book transports you to inaccessible places and helps you discover the incredible fauna that live in these mountains, volcanoes, hills or valleys.Throughout the book is a search and find counting game enabling you to spot bats ready to take flight, sloths hanging from branches, wallabies and their babies, and butterflies aplenty.

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Guidance: About the Year 5 Booklist

Should Year 5 children read for pleasure?

Reading for pleasure is a very important part of children’s academic and personal development in Year 5. Research on children’s reading for pleasure shows that children who choose to read for enjoyment are more likely to achieve higher academic outcomes, have improved mental health and gain economic success later in life. What’s more, when children choose to open a book to read, they are able to discover new worlds beyond their own experiences, learn about different people and develop critical thinking and crucial empathy skills, as well as gain advanced language and vocabulary skills.

Whether it’s illustrated favourites Runaway Robot or Freddy and the New Kid, or gripping adventure stories like The Rescue of Ravenwood and Brightstorm, reading for pleasure in Y5 generates oodles of benefits for children. Getting this age group into reading is most successfully achieved when a wide range of appealing and age-appropriate books are available.

What books do 9 and 10 year olds like to read?

Getting the right book into the right child’s hands at the right time is absolutely key to sparking a love of reading. At the ages of 9 and 10, most children are able to read longer chapter books and handle stories with an increasing complexity of themes.

Popular with keener readers in this age group are thought-provoking books about relevant social issues, like The Last Bear with themes of environmental sustainability or Frankie’s World – a story about neurodiversity and parental separation.

Also popular hits with 9 and 10 year olds are books with highly illustrated elements. Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a well-known favourite, and for more stories with a high image-to-text ratio, we recommend Year 5 children should try the video-game-themed Level Up, the notebook-style Diary of an Accidental Witch series or Neill Cameron’s comic-inspired Freddy series.

Children in Year 5 are often seen reaching for fantasy stories like Alex Neptune and Which Way to Anywhere. You’ll also see flying off the Y5 bookshelves laugh-out-loud funny books – the dark humour in The Beast and the Bethany is sure to hook some of your Y5 readers, or try Danny Wallace’s The Boss of Everyone for a more lighthearted style of comedy. Also popular with Year 5 are graphic novels, poetry anthologies and non-fiction books on topics of interest, like space or sport.

As well as having a wide range of styles and formats to choose from for independent reading, an essential ingredient in developing a lifelove of books at this age is when adults protect shared reading experiences and continue to read aloud at storytime well beyond the age that children can read for themselves. We recommend that teachers and parents keep shared storytime alive all through Year 5 and beyond. Some books are extremely well suited for being read aloud – try The Treasure Hunters or The House with Chicken Legs for books with a real storytelling quality about them.

Which books are recommended for Year 5?

The books on our Y5 booklist feature 50 recommended reads for pleasure in Year 5. Some of the books in the collection are picked especially for making children laugh out loud, like the hilarious The Day My Family Disappeared or Frank Cottrell-Boyce’s Runaway Robot. Other stories have been picked especially for readers who appreciate a high image-to-text ratio, like the hugely popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid series or the information-packed Factopia stories, which features bitesize chunks of fun and interesting facts among illustration and photographs. Graphic novels are also popular with many children in Year 5, and we recommend trying El Deafo or Roller Girl.

Many children at this age start to enjoy stories that encourage thinking and discussion around social issues. Hannah Gold’s The Last Bear is a beautiful story that highlights the plight of polar bears affected by global warming, and Ewa Jozefkowicz’ The Cooking Club Detectives is a quick but deep read that explores the topics of food poverty and community action. 

Historical fiction also becomes popular around this age, with children able to draw on their increasing knowledge of history from their curriculum learning in Key Stage 2. We recommend A.M. Howell’s post-war adventure in the fens The Secret of the Treasure Keepers, or Emma Carroll’s Secrets of a Sun King, which is set at the time of Howard Carter’s discovery of the tomb of Tutankhamun. Another interesting addition to this year’s collection is A Different Kind of Freedom, which is a football-themed story set in a Romani community of 19th-century Sheffield.

Many children at this age enjoy fantasy stories to spark their imaginations. Fantasy adventures like Pages & Co and The Breakfast Club Adventures are popular choices, as are stories of perilous expeditions like The Boy Who Saved a Bear. Some stories in the collection explore the themes of technology and innovation, like Vashti Hardy’s wonderful skyship adventure Brightstorm or while others accentuate the benefits of sport, like the celebration of girls’ football in Jaz Santos vs the World.

If you are looking for classic stories suitable for 9-10 year olds, try The Wolves of Willoughby Chase or The Silver Sword. Popular poetry books to browse for pleasure are included in our Year 5 selection too, like Matt Goodfellow’s Bright Bursts of Colour or the emotion-based anthology My Heart is a Poem, which includes the work of some of the very best contemporary children’s poets.

Longer reads are not for everyone, and we’ve included a number of shorter texts in the selection too. For children looking for shorter chapter books, try Tom Palmers’s Arctic Star or Phil Earle’s The Dog that Saved the World (Cup), both of which are specially formatted to be accessible to dyslexic readers. For recommended picture books suitable for Year 5, we recommend Helen Ward’s Varmints or Ada’s Violin, which beautifully tells the fascinating true story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay.

What are the best non-fiction books for Year 5?

When choosing information books for Year 5, look for highly illustrated information books well structured into chunks of text, on topics that will pique the interest of young readers.

We’ve included a super selection of non-fiction to appeal to children in Year 5 on our recommended reading list,  from the intriguing exploration of the world of plants in I Ate Sunshine for Breakfast and the inspiring real-life stories in Herstory, to the incredible visual history of Music, which folds out into an impressive 8-foot-long timeline.

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 5 booklist?

What other booklists for children in Y5 are available?

Looking for more of the best booklists for 9 and 10-year-olds? BooksForTopics has got you covered. We have compiled a comprehensive selection of books catered to popular Year 5 curriculum topics, including Ancient Greece topic texts, recommended children’s books about the Victorians, science books about Plants and Trees, and books for a KS2 space topic. For children with a special interest, we have tailored lists such as stories about gaming and football books for children. Browse our KS2 topic booklists to explore our extensive collection.

To support a widening of reading for pleasure choices in Y5,  we offer guidance on alternative formats such as a primary school graphic novels booklist, picturebooks for older readers or poetry choices for upper KS2. Our selection of books for reluctant readers aged 9-11, a booklist for dyslexic readers and a Top-Notch non-fiction booklist provide more options to appeal to different types of readers in Year 5.

For diverse and inclusive children’s books showcasing a range of characters, cultures, and experiences, explore our Diverse and Inclusive Books for Upper KS2 collection.

Are your Y5 children avid fans of a particular author or series? Our Branching Out booklists offer a variety of books for fans of the most popular Y5 series, including books for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, books similar to David Walliams, and more books like Harry Potter.  Teachers and parents will also find help selecting storytime read-alouds for this age group on our Storytime Favourites for Ages 9-11 booklist.

To support the emotional and mental well-being of children in Year 5, check out our KS2 PSHE collection. We have booklists for Mental Health Awareness, stories about anti-bullying and children’s books about environmental sustainability.

A great place to start for reading for pleasure choices is our list of Best Books for 10-Year-Olds. Advanced Year 5 readers can look ahead with our list of Recommended Reads for Year 6.

Discover all of these resources and more by browsing the BooksForTopics website.

Can I download a printable version of the Year 5 Booklist?

All of our Year Group Recommended Read 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 5 Books PDF

y5 recommended reading list poster


Printable Checklist – Best Year 5 Books PDF

y5 recommended reading list checklist


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

Discover recommended books for each primary year group at BooksForTopics. Our expert team has carefully curated a collection of top-quality books for every Year Group, with input and evaluation from our school-based Review Panel. Each booklist features 50 recommended books and includes a printable poster and checklist. Plus, schools can purchase full sets of each Year Group list through our trusted partners at Peters.

Don’t miss out on our top reading lists for each year group. Here are the quick links:

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Year 5: 50 Recommended Reads

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