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Best Recommended Reading Books for 8 Year Olds

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Best Recommended Books For Children Age 8

Are you looking for good books for 8 year olds? Our collection of recommended children’s books for 8-year-olds is here to help guide you to find your eight year old’s next read. This reviewed and hand selected booklist has been put together by experts.

Children at the age of 8 often like books that entertain them and help them to understand the world around them. 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. Illustrated chapter books are extremely popular with this age group.

Whether you are looking for interactive choose-your-own style stories like The Monster Maker, exciting animal worlds like Varjak Paw or magical stories to whisk you away into fantasy worlds like The Worst Witch, our guide will help you to pinpoint recommended reads for 8-year-old children.

Featuring literary classics like Charlotte’s Web, thought-provoking favourites like The Wild Robot, popular graphic novels like Peng and Spanners and popular illustrated funny stories like Tom Gates, we’ve covered all tastes in our top 20 picks of the best books for 8-year-olds.

For more comprehensive booklists for this age group, browse our lists of 50 Best Books for Year 3 or 50 Best Books for Year 4.

Open the pages of the next chapter of your child’s reading journey with our age 8 recommended reading list below.

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Funny Books for 8 Year Olds

Nadia Shireen
Chapter book

Grimwood is a wacky, anarchic animal story, full of nonsensical mayhem. The story will certainly appeal to KS2 (although possibly not the most sensitive in this age group – as there are incidents of biting off heads, tails or feet!). There’s a dark and whacky humour to the story that will delight fans of Dahl or Mr Gum and plenty of discussion points such as the relationship between the fox cubs, the changes in their personalities and the desire to find refuge. The book could work as a class reader and a fun and quirky independent read for ages 7-11.

Liz Pichon
Graphic Novel

The Tom Gates books have been phenomenally popular with readers who enjoy laugh-out-loud illustrated stories exploring themes of school, family life and everything zany. Readers enjoy the notebook-style format and the Tom’s funny take on the ups and downs of family life and school, punctuated by the joys of forming a band and snacking on caramel wafers.

Liz Pichon’s instantly recognisable doodle style makes this a really enjoyable and accessible book that quickly hooks children in, which is extra fantastic because there is an impressively populated series to collect!

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.

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.

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!

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.

Mystery and Adventure Stories for 8 Year Olds

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.

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.

Gareth P. Jones
 & Louise Forshaw
Chapter book

How many of us remember the choose-your-own-adventure stories popular a few decades ago and find ourselves wondering why we rarely see new ones published today? Popular author Gareth P. Jones reintroduces the genre with ‘The Monster Maker’ – an imaginative detective story for readers looking for an interactive adventure, with hundreds of paths to choose from.

Haventry is a town where ghosts, zombie clowns, werewolves and vampires (amongst others) reside happily. That is, until Dr Franklefink’s Monster Maker machine is stolen and everyone becomes a suspect. It is then up to you to investigate and solve the mystery. Your detective partner and boss is none other than private investigator Klaus Solstaag, a yeti who is on a mission. Will you find the truth? What motive does your prime suspect have? Can you find the missing Monster Maker?

In this solve your own mystery story, readers will enjoy choosing which aspect of the crime to investigate next and sussing out who the real suspects are. For fans of the extraordinary and of detective mysteries, this is a must-read.

Caroline Lawrence
Chapter book

A gripping novel that provides plenty of background information about life in Ancient Roman times. The plot of The Thieves of Ostia centres around a young girl called Flavia who investigates the mystery of who is killing the dogs in the Roman port of Ostia. This is a popular choice for KS2 classrooms and is part of the well-loved Roman Mysteries series

Fantasy Stories for 8 Year Olds

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.

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.

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.

Classic Favourites for 8 Year Olds

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.

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.

Dick King Smith
Chapter book

A classic children’s book from beloved author Dick King Smith.

There’s something magical and original about this story, in which a girl called Harmony comes to own a magical 50-pence piece that will grant seven wishes. An exciting adventure ensues, with highs and lows that will make the reader feel truly invested in the story, as Harmony has to make choices about what to spend her wishes on and some of them have unforeseen consequences that make the phrase ‘Be careful what you wish for’ ring true.

Readers root for Harmony – who is likeable and relatable – as she deals with the frustrations of family life and learns to stand on her own two feet in facing the aftermath of her independent choices. Harmony’s magic coin helps her to think about appreciating the things that are dear to her and slowing down to consider the consequences of her decisions – both good lessons to learn as children grow up.

We love this charming story, which explores themes of family and responsibility with a sprinkling of thrilling magic realism.

Thought-Provoking Books for 8 Year Olds

Camilla Chester
Chapter book

Leo wants to talk but he can’t. He has all the words but fear means they won’t come out. When Risha moves in next door, he’s worried that when his new friend finds out his secret he’ll be left alone again. But when he learns her secret, he hopes to help her and make her a permanent friend,

This book sensitively explains selective mutism for young (and older) readers. Told beautifully over a hot summer, we are let into the world of a young KS2 boy who is often treated as though he’s not there. He really wants to participate in school activities and make friends, but anxiety stops him. As the story progresses, we’re taken on a journey as Leo takes steps to achieve his future dream of dancing in The Lion King. However, if his selective mutism stops him from dancing in the summer dance show how can he ever dance on the West End Stage?

As readers, children can develop empathy for others who may find it difficult to speak in front of them, and the end of the book gives tips to support classmates. The story explains some of the frustrations that classmates of those with selective mutism might feel, and how to be supportive. It also gives a voice to those who might feel that, particularly in the classroom, they have none.

As a teacher this was an excellent read, giving an insight into how pupils with selective mutism might navigate the world around them and giving tips on how you might support a child in your class to give them the same opportunities as others. It would be great for use in PSHE lessons exploring empathy.

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.

Non-Fiction Books for 8 Year Olds

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. 

William Grill
Graphic Novel

This is a brilliantly visual re-telling of Ernest Shackleton’s adventures from pole to pole, published to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Shackleton’s historic expedition. This engaging text is filled with diagrams, maps, infographics and fascinating facts that will both delight readers and transport them through an imaginary exploration of frozen worlds. We recommend Shackleton’s Journey as a good non-fiction text to use for engaging reluctant readers in KS2. There is also an accompanying activity book available from Amazon.

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Guidance: About the Age 8 Reading List

What should 8-year-olds be reading?

The age of 8 is a wonderful age during which independent reading really begins to take off for many children, as long as the right books are available.

At the age of eight, many children have learned to read short chapter books by themselves and begin to show preferences for individual genres or to enjoy collecting particular series.

Many children looking for independent reads at this age are first drawn towards highly illustrated chapter books like the 13 Storey Treehouse series and Tom Gates, or graphic novels like Peng and Spanners, while others simply love a story with plenty of laugh-out-loud humour like Grimwood and Pamela Butchart’s A Monster Ate my Packed Lunch.

Children aged 8 often develop a curiosity about the lives of other people and stories can be brilliant empathy-building tools for them. Try introducing books that will help children to understand what life is like for others, like the story of selective mutism in Call Me Lion or stories about navigating big emotions like Charlie Changes into a Chicken.

Animals stories are hugely popular books for 8 year olds too, and many children of this age enjoy fall in love with the ninja cats in the storytime favourite Varjak Paw. Non-fiction books also hold a charm over many 8 year olds, and we recommend getting stuck into the exciting polar expedition in Shackleton’s Journey.

In addition to independent reading,story time with adults remains very important at the age of 8, too – both at home and in the classroom. We recommend that adults do not give up on bedtime stories or classroom story time too early. There are many brilliant books for adults and 8 year old children to enjoy as a shared reading experience, including true classics like Charlotte’s Web or books that touch on wider social or environmental themes, like The Wild Robot.

What are the most popular authors and series for 8-year-olds?

The most popular authors for 8-year-olds include Liz Pichon, Roald Dahl, Dan Pilkey, Jamie Smart, Holly Webb, Laura Ellen Anderson, Pamela Butchart, Enid Blyton, Nadia Shireen, Tom Fletcher, David Walliams and Andy Griffiths.

The most popular series for 8-year-olds include illustrated series like the 13 Storey Treehouse and Tom Gates, funny series like Grimwood and The Trouble with Daisy, classic series like The Worst Witch and the Famous Five, animal series like Zoe’s Rescue Zoo and The Adventure Club, collectable fantasy series like Beast Quest, graphic novel series like Dog Man and Bunny vs Monkey and biographical series like Ultimate Football Heroes.

Where can I purchase the books on the BooksForTopics Best Books for 8-Year-Olds booklist?

Where can I find out about the best new books for eight-year-olds?

Check out the New Books section of our website, or sign up to our mailing list to keep on top of news and reviews from the children’s book world.

Each month we also feature our top five Books of the Month, highlighting new titles that our Review Panel recommend for primary school children.

What other booklists for eight-year-olds are available?

Looking for more of the best booklists for 8-year-olds? BooksForTopics has got you covered!

Here are a few:

If you like this booklist, try looking ahead to our list of best books for 9 year olds. For younger children, you may like our list of best books for 7 year olds.

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