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Best Recommended Reading Books for 9 Year Olds

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Best Children’s Books For Children Age 9

Welcome to our collection of recommended children’s books for 9-year-olds. This handpicked booklist will help you to find good books for children aged 9.

As children reach this age, finding the right books can make a big difference in keeping them excited about reading. Our reviewed and expertly curated selection covers a variety of genres and themes, from classic favourites to newer titles, ensuring there are good reading options to suit different tastes.

Whether you are looking for stories about exciting adventure quests like Brightstorm, heartwarming animal tales like The Good Bear or marvellous stories to whisk you away into fantasy worlds like Pages & Co or Peanut Jones, our guide aims to simplify the process of finding the next read for your 9-year-old.

Featuring literary classics like Pippi Longstocking, all-time favourites like Matilda, best-selling graphic novels like Bunny vs Monkey and popular illustrated funny stories like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, we’ve covered all tastes in our top 20 picks of the best books for 9-year-olds.

For more comprehensive booklists, browse our lists of 50 Best Books for Year 5 or 50 Best Books for Year 4.

Dive in and find the perfect books for 9-year-olds to read for pleasure…

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Adventure Stories for 9 Year Olds

Vashti Hardy
Chapter book

Brightstorm is a cracking adventure story with flying ships, intrepid explorers, identity quests, sapient animals and the most wonderful cast of characters.

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!

Stories about explorers and expeditions are always popular in primary classrooms and this one, with its fresh take on the adventure quest and its convincing world-building, is sure to fire up imaginations and become a firm favourite with budding adventurers across KS2.

Nizrana Farook
Chapter book

An exciting new middle-grade adventure from Nizrana Farook filled with atmosphere, suspense and adventure with elements of Robin Hood and Arabian Nights.

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

Loyally, Neel takes the blame for Chaya’s actions and is sentenced to death. Chaya knows that she must act quickly if she is going to save him and a gripping and adventurous escape begins. Along the way, they meet Nour, a young girl from a wealthy background who opts to join their cause.

Before long, everyone they know seems to have come under threat as a result of their actions. The King will stop at nothing to capture them, especially as they have stolen his prize elephant as well. Will these young protagonists be able to save the ones that they love and escape death? Or will it mean the end for all of them?

This is a KS2 must-read with an evocatively drawn setting, perfect for anyone who loves adventure stories.

Jenny McLachlan
 & Ben Mantle
Chapter book

This story is full of imagination, adventure and excitement and makes for a perfect read-aloud choice for storytime. Land of Roar is an instantly gripping adventure where childhood games become a reality for two twins. I raced my way through it, wondering what dangers twins Rose and Arthur were going to encounter next, whilst simultaneously wanting to visit Roar myself!

Land of Roar makes for a fantastic portal story where you can’t help but be dragged into this magical land of make-believe in a story full of adventure, magic and friendship. I love the idea of childhood games coming to life and the idea appeals well to the imaginations of children aged 8  to 10 – old enough to remember make-believe games from a younger stage but still young enough to allow themselves to be swept away by imagination and magic.

Land of Roar is the kind of fantasy adventure that grips you from the first page to the last and keeps you wanting more…so it’s a good thing there’s a sequel!

Graphic Novels and Funny Stories for 9 Year Olds

Jamie Smart
Graphic Novel

The Bunny Vs Monkey series by Jamie Smart has become a popular favourite with children. The stories started as part of the Phoenix Comic and have now been made into a book series of their own. Teachers are seeing what a big hit these funny graphic novels have been in the classroom and the books have also seen success in bestseller lists and book award shortlists.

The stories follow the whacky tales of Bunny and his friends Weenie the Squirrel, Pig (the pig), Action Beaver and Skunky the Inventor, who all lived a peaceful life in the forest until Monkey’s rocket crash-landed and he decided to take over. What follows is a riot of chaotic adventures and mayhem that unfolds through a funny comic strip format.

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.

Tom Fletcher
Chapter book

Can the worst band in the world become the best band in the universe? This is the strap line for Tom Fletcher’s latest story and is the premise behind Space Band.

Music-loving George wants his band, The Earthlings, to be the best. Along with friends Bash and Neila, George prepares to play in his school’s Battle of the Bands, despite their lack of confidence and talent. However, when they are transported across the universe to another planet, they must play to save not just themselves, but also the whole of planet Earth.

This is ultimately a story of friendship, belonging and believing. The Earthlings have to work together to try and win the Intergalactic Battle of the Bands and defeat the dastardly Megavolt. Yet when they form friendships with the bands from other planets, they face a huge dilemma when they realise that defeating other bands also means destroying their home planets.

This is a fun story with plenty to keep the reader entertained. The space information appears to be well-researched and adds lots of factual detail. George’s song lyrics are included and, by scanning a QR code or visiting the nominated website, you can link to various music providers and listen to the songs, as recorded by McFly. This adds another dimension to the story and could link in some music appreciation along the way.

Andy Stanton
Chapter book

The Mr Gum books have become absolute classics for children who love funny books and appeal to those with a wacky style of humour.

You’re A Bad Man Mr.Gum is a stonkingly funny read from Andy Stanton, full of pure silliness and with a track record of delighting children aged 7-10. Mr Gum is mean, untidy, grumpy and grizzly, but he is very good at keeping his garden neat. When an excitable giant dog called Jake makes a mess in Mr Gum’s garden, Mr Gum’s mean streak comes out in hilarious and, fairly ineffective, ways.

Children enjoy the randomness of the dialogue, the unpredictable plot, the funny character names and the author’s witty asides. Illustrations capture the madcap tone of the book and add to the fun.

Jeff Kinney
Chapter book

The Wimpy Kid books are well known for turning reluctant readers into book fans, enjoyed for their easy-to-read style, laugh-out-loud humour and integrated cartoon-style illustrations.

​The books follow the ups and downs of middle school life as Greg navigates starting a new school, finding friendships and dealing with bullies.

Fantasy and Mystery Stories for 9 Year Olds

Anna James
Chapter book

Here’s one for the booklovers! Pages & Co: Tilly and the Bookwanderers is a middle-grade adventure where classic children’s characters wander from the pages of their books out into a bookshop, where they lead 11-year-old Tilly back into their fictional worlds.

Tilly lives with her grandparents in their bookshop, ‘Pages & Co’. Tilly’s mum mysteriously disappeared when she was very small and she knows very little about her dad. Often lonely, Tilly finds solace among the pages of the wonderful books in the bookshop. One day, things take a thrilling turn when Anne of Green Gables appears in the shop, soon after followed by Alice in Wonderland. Tilly’s world is turned upside down when she realises that not only can characters from the books leave their stories and come into her world, but she can wander right into theirs too. Tilly is a bookwanderer!

Along with her best friend Oskar, Tilly embarks upon a bookwandering adventure beyond her wildest imagination. But among the sheer joy of visiting fictional worlds, questions begin to emerge about bookwandering. Is there a network of other bookwanderers like her? Why is the mysterious Enoch Chalk always loitering nearby? Can bookwandering help Tilly solve the mystery of what really happened to her mother all those years ago? Do her grandparents know more than they have let on about the world of bookwandering?

This is a clever story with a high appeal to booklovers. Readers with prior knowledge of the classic book characters will get the most out of this book, but this is by no means a prerequisite for enjoying the story with its convincing characterisation, creative world-building and enjoyable plot twists and turns.  A delightful story set to charm readers young and old.

Serena Patel
 & Emma McCann
Chapter book

This is a delightful book celebrating family and friendships and is part of a very popular series. Anisha is a funny and resourceful character, whose love of STEM and eye for detail makes her the perfect detective in this humorous series of mysteries.  Anisha has an extended family that proves to be strong and supportive when things go wrong. There are authentic cultural references exploring Anisha’s Indian heritage, particularly around food and family.

The illustrations by Emma McCann help to reflect the humour in the story and the text is often broken up with lists and diagrams, making the book particularly appealing to children who may be daunted when faced with full pages of text. 

Rob Biddulph
Chapter book

National treasure Rob Biddulph, whose record-breaking illustration events during lockdown gained an army of fans young and old, publishes his first illustrated chapter book this month. Peanut Jones is a wonderfully imaginative story with likeable characters and plenty of action and adventure.

Pernilla Jones (Peanut to her friends) isn’t having the best time. Her dad suddenly disappeared over a year ago, her mum is moving on and dating someone Peanut can’t stand and she has been made to move schools, leaving her beloved Melody High behind in favour of St Hubert’s School for the Seriously Scientific and Terminally Mathematic. Peanut is paired with Rockwell Riley as part of a study buddy scheme to help new students settle and she couldn’t be more disinterested.

One day, when she finds a magic pencil which has the power to make drawings a reality, Peanut sets out to find out what really happened to her dad. She takes Rockwell and her little sister, Little Bit, along for the ride in this alternate dimension where there is always danger and surprise around the corner. The story follows her journey into a hidden world where she must think quickly and use her drawing powers to save herself, her friends and the people she meets from those who wish to destroy all creativity – all the while, searching for the truth about her dad.

Throughout the book, there are superb, detailed drawings which are in black, white and orange, giving the book a unique style. This is the first in a trilogy about friendship and creativity. The short chapters make it easy to read and I look forward to the next instalment.

A triumphant entry into the chapter book world from Rob Biddulph.

Classic Favourites for 9 Year Olds

Roald Dahl
 & Quentin Blake
Chapter book

Matilda by Roald Dahl has earned its place as a classic of children’s literature, with the character of Matilda being iconic. The story has seen popularity for decades, boosted by two film versions and a hit musical.

Matilda, who is unusually smart and self-sufficient for her age, is ignored and undervalued at home, and mistreated at times. When she starts school, she befriends a kind teacher called Miss Honey – the first person to ever take the time to appreciate and understand book-loving Matilda. Meanwhile, a cruel and villainous headmistress called Miss Trunchball casts a dark shadow over Matilda’s school. Matilda harnesses her inner powers and with a little help from her friends, begins a revolution that will soon see the children empowered and Miss Trunchbull’s dark regime overturned.

Roald Dahl is the master of creating devious villains and Miss Trunchbull is one of his most memorable, here representing the repressive forces in Matilda’s life that threatened to dampen the lamp of childhood joy. There’s something thrilling in seeing Matilda’s mastery of her telekinetic powers and her quiet ways of outsmarting the adults who wrong her. The edge of magical realism provides balance and comic relief against the more serious aspects of Matilda’s mistreatment.

In true Dahl style, the resolution is happy for the protagonist and the villains get their just desserts.

Astrid Lindgren
 & Lauren Child
Chapter book
This flagship gift edition illustrated by Lauren Child is a glorious celebratory tribute to the strongest girl in the world.Pippi Longstocking is nine years old. She has just moved into Villa Villekulla where she lives all by herself with a horse, a monkey, and a big suitcase full of gold coins. The grown-ups in the village try to make Pippi behave in ways that they think a little girl should, but Pippi has other ideas. She would much rather spend her days arranging wild, exciting adventures to enjoy with her neighbours, Tommy and Annika, or entertaining everyone she meets with her outrageous stories. Pippi thinks nothing of wrestling a circus strongman, dancing a polka with burglars, or tugging a bull's tail.Generations of children have fallen in love with Pippi Longstocking. Just like Tommy and Annika, readers are instantly charmed by her warmth, strength and sense of fun.

Thought-Provoking Stories for 9 Year Olds

Sarah Lean
 & Fiona Woodcock
Chapter book

The Good Bear is a superb story to snuggle up with in the winter months, exploring themes of families, relationships and ‘togetherness’ through the tale of a young girl and a life-changing visit to the Norwegian winter. Thea, the main character, retells her story as a first-person narrative and sets the scene for the action to come through the first chapter, where she is beginning to settle down to tell her tale to her daughter as a part of a long-standing Christmas tradition.

In her story, set 30 years before, Thea receives an invitation to spend the Christmas holidays with her estranged father, who works as a carpenter and lives with his wife and her children in Norway. As she arrives, there is news that a bear has escaped from a circus and may be hiding in the forests near to where she is staying.

Thea’s complex emotions towards her father are sensitively and honestly written; particularly Thea’s anger towards Henry’s new family and their seemingly perfect life. Thea’s relationship with the bear is central to the story and gives the book a sense of Christmas magic that is warm and gentle; a welcome contrast to the more overtly tinsel-filled Christmas books.

A beautiful story brimming with winter magic.

David Almond
 & Marta Altés
Chapter book

A simple but punch-packing new tale from storytelling master David Almond.

When a brand new boy called George starts at school, Daniel and his best friend Maxie are looking forward to getting a chance to enjoy the company of a new classmate. Daniel agrees to keep an eye on the new boy, although he has to admit there are few unusual things about George. Whether it’s the way that Miss Crystal watches his every step and makes ongoing observations in her notebook or the way that George can answer complicated maths questions without having to think about them, yet doesn’t seem to have an understanding of some of the very basic chatter between Daniel and his friends, something seems amiss.

Daniel’s chance to get to know George better arrives when the adults in school ask Daniel to invite George round for tea. But it comes with a caveat: Miss Crystal must come too, and George must only eat a few drops of olive oil and a small piece of dry bread. Welcoming George with warmth and hospitality, it’s as clear to Daniel’s Mum as it is to Daniel that there’s something unusual about this new boy. Every experience seems new to him, whether it’s meeting Kushko the cat or hanging out to chat in Daniel’s bedroom. A series of questions without answers begins to unravel – like why George is ushered unwillingly into a black van at the end of the play date, or why the teachers seems to have a weird response to George in class, or why there’s a sudden announcement that George will leaving the school. And what exactly is inside that tall box that is wheeled into assembly the following week…?

This is an innovative story that weaves themes of compassion, hope and community as well as what it means to be alive. Martha Altés’ illustrations bring out the characters brilliantly and provide extra hints and clues along the way. The dignity and compassion with which Daniel and his friends treat George is beautiful. I also loved the characterisation of Daniel’s mum, who is full of love, acceptance and a happy dose of Geordie warmth. Her dedication to protecting Daniel’s childhood innocence clearly has an impact that Daniel passes forward in the way he cares for George, recognising the importance of playing out in the wild, enjoying songs and stories together as well as providing a safe space for George to make decisions for himself. The way people have been treated in the family home often naturally affects how they treat strangers, and Daniel is a prime example of this. The dangerous impact of technology on children is touched upon, but so is its potential to enhance human experience when treated sagely, with respect for human experience kept at its heart. Equally, the school system is shown to be able to make children feel like robots or cogs in a machine, but can also be wonderful, life-affirming and experience-bringing, as embodied in the music teacher Mrs Imani, whose positive impact also rubs off on the way the children treat George when they play together.

True to style, David Almond weaves a thought-provoking tale with hints of darkness, plenty of hope and pause for reflection on what it means to be alive.

Carlie Sorosiak
Chapter book

This is a super-engaging story about an alien who gets to spend a month in the body of a domestic cat. We were totally charmed by this middle-grade novel by Carlie Sorosiak. A witty, moving and thought-provoking story about finding and claiming your place in the world. Animal lovers in Key Stage Two will no doubt fall in love with this other-worldly adventure.

Onjali Q. Rauf
 & Pippa Curnick
Chapter book

This is a truly lovely story with themes of refugees and inclusion, pitched just right to build empathy, promote kindness, and encourage readers to challenge stereotypes and question opinions that may not be based on fact. The story is filled with so much warmth and truth, pitched perfectly for stimulating some really great discussions with youngsters.

Ahmet is a refugee, and is given a previously empty seat at the back of the class when he starts a new school. He is befriended by the narrator of the story. Through the story, we learn about Ahmet’s background and the ups and downs of integrating into a new school. Kindness and friendship triumph, and the story develops empathy and encourages human connection. A good story for KS2 children to read and discuss.




Elizabeth Laird
 & Peter Bailey
Chapter book

This story from award-winning author Elizabeth Laird is a great choice for KS2. When young Finn takes a dive in the water near his fishing village, he is delighted to find dolphins to swim with. However, the dolphins face a terrible threat due to the masses of rubbish floating around in their water. It is up to Finn to find a way to save the sea creatures and prevent their natural environment from becoming ruined. This is a topical and thought-provoking novel.

Non-Fiction Books for 9 Year Olds

Kate Hale
 & Andy Smith

A fun non-fiction book with a difference.

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 record-breaking 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, and it has a content page. 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…

Loads of fun!

 & Steve Noon

This wow-factor history book takes the reader on a 12,000-year journey to find out the story of a single UK street, showing the street during a different historical period on each page. I’m incredibly nosy – I think most young readers are too – and so I love any non-fiction books that explore or peep behind closed doors. A Street Through Time does this in the best possible way and over thousands of years. You can see what people’s kitchens and bedrooms (and loos!) looked like from the Romans to the Victorians (Roman toilets I’d avoid….!). I also love how busy this book is so many brilliant details to explore again and again and how it shows the change in a single place over a long time period.

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Guidance: About the Age 9 Reading List

What books should 9-year-olds read?

Encouraging children aged 9 to enjoy reading is both essential and delightful, given the growing selection of excellent books for this age group. Providing age-appropriate, high-quality literature fosters enjoyment and develops imagination, empathy, language skills and comprehension.

Many 9-year-olds have reached a stage where they can read chapter books independently and express preferences for various styles, themes, and formats. Fantasy adventures such as The Land of Roar and Brightstorm are particularly appealing options for avid readers in this age group, while illustrated books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Bunny vs Monkey also hold popularity, especially for those less inclined towards lengthy texts. Classic stories like Pippi Longstocking and Matilda have also stood the test of time as popular reading choices for children aged nine.

It’s important to offer diverse stories that help children understand different perspectives and experiences, such as The Boy at the Back of the Class or The Girl Who Stole an Elephant. Providing a wide selection of animal tales, fantasy adventures, humorous narratives, graphic novels, and illustrated chapter books is crucial as 9-year-olds are still shaping their reading identities. Including non-fiction texts on subjects like science or history, such as exploring Factopia or delving into the past with A Street Through Time, adds depth to the reading experiences of 9-year-olds.

Additionally, reading aloud by adults remains a cherished aspect of the reading-for-pleasure journey for children at this age, so we highly the continued prevalence of bedtime stories and classroom reading time for this age.

What are the most popular authors and series for 9-year-olds?

The most popular authors for 9-year-olds include Hannah Gold, Jeff Kinney, Holly Webb, Laura Ellen Anderson, Cressida Cowell, M. G. Leonard, Michael Morpurgo, Serena Patel, Tom Fletcher, Roald Dahl, David Walliams, Liz Pichon and Jamie Smart.

The most popular series for 9-year-olds include illustrated series like Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Tom Gates, adventure series like Dragon Mountain and How to Train Your Dragon, classical series like The Worst Witch and the Famous Five, magical and fantasy series like Harry Potter and Pages & Co, mystery series like Anisha Accidental Detective and biographical series like Ultimate Football Heroes.

Where can I purchase the books on the BooksForTopics Best Books for 9-Year-Olds booklist?

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

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

You can also 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.

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

Looking for more of the best booklists for 9-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 10 year olds. For younger children, you may like our list of best books for 7 year olds.

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