Welcome to our handpicked collection of the best books for children aged 10.
We’ve carefully chosen these recommended books for 10-year-olds to make it easier for parents, teachers, and anyone searching for quality literature for young readers. Our reviewed and curated list covers a variety of genres and themes, ensuring a balance between entertainment and education.
Whether you’re seeking thrilling adventures for keen bookworms, relatable coming-of-age stories, or super-fun illustrated reads for more reluctant readers, our guide aims to simplify the process of finding the perfect book for your 10-year-old. Featuring true classics like The Chronicles of Narnia, action-packed adventure series like Percy Jackson and popular illustrated funny stories like Freddy Vs School, we’ve covered all tastes in our top 20 picks of recommended stories for 10-year-olds.
Five of our favourite books to share with children at Christmas time
As the festive season approaches and primary school classrooms are adorned with twinkling lights and tinsel, what better way to celebrate the magic of Christmas than by sharing stories together?
In this blog post, we share five recommended books that are just the ticket for Christmas cheer. These recommendations are designed to provide cosy read-aloud sessions – the perfect calming down time between the excitement of December’s festive activities! The books we’ve picked are among our favourites here at BooksForTopics HQ and can also be found on our Christmas Booklists and Printable Gift Guides.
Grab a blanket and hot chocolate and settle down to enjoy the magic of storytime in the run-up to Christmas.
Recommended for: A classic festive story about kindness and the joy of giving to others
Little Robin Red Vest is a charming picture book about the joy of giving that has the feel of a gentle Just-So story with a festive twist. Many readers will know author Jan Fearnley’s work from Mr Wolf’s Pancakes.
It is the week before Christmas and it’s getting chilly outside. Little Robin washes and irons seven warm vests to keep him cosy in the frosty evenings leading up to Christmas. As each day goes by, Robin encounters a different shivering animal and, full of compassion, he generously offers each animal one of his vests to wear.
Robin’s kindness may have prevented his animal friends from getting colder, but when Christmas Eve arrives he finds himself with nothing warm left to wear. Fortunately, a festive visitor in a red suit and a soft, white beard spots Robin and finds a joyous way to reward him for his kindness to others.
The tale is likely to inspire children to tap into the spirit of giving that Robin demonstrates so unreservedly.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the story’s publication, and to celebrate Nosy Crow has released a new deluxe edition of the bestselling Christmas classic. You’ll find this story nestled among our Christmas picturebook favourites on the BooksForTopics Christmas Books for EYFS and KS1 booklist.
Recommended for: A super-fun chapter book that is easy to read and provides plenty of humour and cheer
Sprinkled with seasonal goodwill and a good dose of ho-ho-ho, this is a perfectly heart-warming and humorous read for the festive season and is the first in a series of three fun Christmassy stories.
Holly Carroll and her family are super-fans of Christmas, but with a bit of help from an extraordinary new friend, Holly discovers that the festive season is not always as cheer-filled for everyone as she once thought. When the world begins to lose its sparkle, Holly finds a way to channel her inner Christmas spirit to embrace her community and make a real difference to those in need.
We thoroughly enjoyed this feel-good read with its loveable cast of characters, festive puns aplenty and themes of kindness, inclusion and sparing a thought for others in the community.
Leah’s Star by Margaret Bateson-Hill & Karin Littlewood
Recommended for: A nativity story told through the tender eyes of a young child.
We love this tender retelling of the Nativity story through the eyes of Leah, the innkeeper’s daughter.
The streets of Bethlehem are bustling with people and Leah’s family are rushed off their feet, housing travellers at her father’s inn. When a woman who is just about to have her baby arrives, Leah’s father finds them a place to rest in his stable.
Wide-eyed with wonder, Leah witnesses a series of extraordinary events, including some rather unusual visitors from afar. The story is full of humanity and at its heart it depicts a young girl’s personal encounter with the very special baby at the centre of the nativity story.
Illustrated with Karin Littlewood’s watercolour scenes, this beautiful picture book brings a familiar Christmas story to life through a fresh pair of eyes and is a worthy addition to your collection of nativity storybooks.
If you are looking for even more Nativity-based Christmas stories, try Usborne’s Twinkly, Twinkly Nativity with its light-up pages, Brian Wildsmith’s beautifully illustrated and engaging recount of the nativity in A Christmas Story or, for a lighter touch, Nicholas Allan’s funny retelling of the nativity through the eyes of a grumpy innkeeper in Jesus’ Christmas Party.
Recommended for: An entertaining musical-turned-chapter-book with novelty value
New for this year, The Boy Who Slept Through Christmas blends the enchantment of the festive season with the joy of music, and one that will appeal to the many children who love both. What sets this book apart is the addition of QR codes sprinkled throughout the narrative, linking to a musical soundtrack of songs that enhance the reading experience. Readers can fully immerse themselves in Leo’s world, with printed lyrics encouraging them to join in the musical adventure. If you fancy a class sing-a-long, this might be just the right Christmas story for you.
The Boy Who Slept Through Christmas recounts Leo, a big fan of all things Christmas, as he navigates the challenges of planning the perfect Christmas while his grieving family is coming to terms with the recent loss of his mother. Leo’s journey to create a magical Christmas for his family unfolds with unexpected twists and challenges, but with a sprinkle of Christmas magic, a happy ending might be around the corner. This story captures the hope that Christmas has to offer even in bleaker seasons of life, and a time to reflect on what matters amid busy Christmas preparations.
As an aside, fans of a certain Baked Potato may notice a little cameo in the catchy song “Chips”, which adds a playful touch for both children and adults.
Drawing on his comedy and musical theatre background, Matt Lucas injects a whimsical charm and a touch of originality into the crowded market of Christmas chapter books this year. The story has earned a spot on our Christmas Booklist for KS2, and the songs and additional activities are available via the author’s website.
Recommended for: A charming take on the origins of St Nicholas, with rich and detailed illustrations that appeal to all ages
Celebrated author–illustrator David Litchfield offers a magical and festive picturebook about generosity and Christmas spirit, which could be enjoyed at different levels across the primary age range.
Kid Christmas of the Claus Brothers Toy Shop is a fresh take on the origin story of Santa Claus (St. Nicholas). It is heartwarming and charming, while teaching about kindness, compassion and love. The illustrations detail Victorian street scenes and the magic of a toy workshop, as well as capturing facial expressions of delight and joy that allow the magic of Christmas to shine through.
When young Nicky discovers that young children are living on the streets and under bridges, he becomes determined to make sure that every child gets the toy they want for Christmas and to give them all a bit of joy in their lives. With the help of his uncles, he sets out on his mission and soon decides that every child in the world must get their most wished-for toy every year at Christmas. Thus the Legend of St. Nick was born.
Kid Christmas is a beautiful and enjoyable book with stunning, rich illustrations accompanying a unique and thoughtful story that will entertain and delight. Older readers in primary classrooms might go on to research the history of St Nicholas, while younger ones will enjoy all the magic of the toy workshop and present delivery drawn out in David Litchfield’s superbly detailed style.
Lift-the-Flap Fairy Tales: The Three Billy Goats Gruff is a fresh, modern and wonderfully witty take on the much-loved story, retold in a playful rhyme and accompanied by bright and funny illustrations.
Flaps to lift on every page bring to life the classic story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff and their perilous journey across the river. Take a peek under the bridge to see who’s hiding there, see the troll jump out at the goats, and watch him go tumbling down into the river – SPLASH!
Featuring a free audio reading, complete with music and sound effects! Just scan the QR code on the book with your smart device to hear the story. With this bonus audio feature, you can listen to the story wherever you are, and follow along with the book by turning the pages when you hear the chime.
Return to a Once Upon a Time where anything is possible . . . Rumaysa: Ever After is the enchanting sequel to Radiya Hafiza’s Rumaysa: A Fairytale – a gorgeously empowering and funny story that spins the classic fairytale to show that anyone can be a hero.
Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the fiercest one of all?
Ever since she escaped her tower, Rumaysa has been searching the land, far and wide, determined to find her long lost parents. But after she receives a mysterious invitation from Saira White, Queen of Bishnara, she is soon pulled into a dark, magical adventure, that threatens her own happily ever after . . .
This eagerly anticipated sequel enchantingly intertwines traditional stories of Princesses, Princes, Witches and Beasts with a fresh and empowering perspective, beautifully illustrated by Rhaida El Touny.
Aziza’s Secret Fairy Door and the Birthday Present Disaster is the third title in a fun and inclusive, young magical adventure series for readers of 6-8 from Lola Morayo. Inspired by fairies and magical creatures from world mythology it is gorgeously illustrated in black and white throughout by Cory Reid.
Aziza notices that the Secret Fairy Door in her bedroom is covered in a cute ribbon tied in a very messy bow. It’s a sure sign that she’s about to go on a new adventure.
Aziza opens the door and finds herself in the Palace just in time for Princess Peri’s birthday party. Tiko is organizing the party and wants everything to be just right for his friend. There are party games, delicious food and lots of friends ready to celebrate. It’s very exciting! But Peri needs Aziza’s help when some special presents go missing. . .
Packed with mischief, friendship and magic, Aziza is perfect for fans of Isadora Moon.
Look out for other titles in the series: Aziza’s Secret Fairy Door and the Mermaid’s Treasure, coming soon.
In a bustling marketplace in Iran, a traditional storyteller regales her audience with the tale of Prince Zal and the Simorgh. High up on the Mountain of Gems lives the Simorgh, a wise phoenix whose flapping wings disperse the seeds of life across the world. When King Sam commands that his long-awaited newborn son Zal be abandoned because of his white hair, the Simorgh adopts the baby and raises him alongside her own chicks and teaches him everything she knows. But when the king comes to regret his actions, Prince Zal will learn that the most important lesson of all is forgiveness.
In this special edition, the story has been set to music, with each instrument representing a different character. You can download music composed by Amir Eslami (ney), Nilufar Habibian (qanun), Saeid Kord Mafi (santur), and Arash Moradi (tanbur). The music accompanies Sally Pomme Clayton’s stunning narration of this classic tale from the Shahnameh.
The latest summary of findings indicates that 30% of children’s books published in 2022 feature a racially minoritised character, a significant and consistent increase from the 4% first reported in 2017.
This increase is also echoed in the upward trend of racially minoritised main characters up from 1% in 2017 to 14% in 2022 and a 5 percentage point increase on last year.
Variation Across Text Types
For the first year in its history, the report shows a decrease in minority representation in picturebooks and non-fiction for 2022. Only fiction titles showed an increase in racially minoritised presence, while there was a year-on-year decrease in presence for non-fiction and picturebooks.
Minoritised representation in fiction increased from 11% in 2021 to 15% in 2022, while representation in non-fiction dropped from 41% in 2021 to 30% in 2022, and picturebooks from 61% to 52% year on year.
Nonetheless, the increase in representative fiction was welcomed by CLPE as much needed and going some way towards closing the marked gap between the text types, but warns it will be important to continue to carefully monitor the gap to ensure that the gains made in recent years are not undermined through a regression of presence.
The commendable 26 percentage point rise in representation from the first report indicates that there are significantly more representative titles available to young readers now compared to 6 years ago.
What is Meaningful Representation?
The report also comments on some of the challenges to the research process, including identifying meaningful representations of character. This quality is often easier to analyse in illustrated titles, where the appearance of skin tone, physical characteristics, props and visual cues contribute to the character portrayal.
However, in non-illustrated fiction, the lack of text-based cues to support the identification of racially minoritised characters was raised as a difficulty. The report writers bring to light the question: Can a book be considered meaningfully representative and inclusive if the portrayal of racially minoritised characters is indecipherable?
With that in mind, the report praises work where character details are thoughtfully and authentically incorporated. The report writers direct readers to the world of creatives who “seemingly effortlessly achieve such standards” – naming several authors including Catherine Johnson, Patrice Lawrence, Varsha Shah and Sabine Adeyinka. The report says of these writers:
“What they all have in common is their ability to draw on their intimate knowledge of the realities, communities and cultures they seek to represent and a real dedication to carefully considered research. They in turn use this knowledge and research to shape well-crafted multi-dimensional characters with subtle details that provide enough insight to develop understanding, invite connection and paint a picture in the reader’s mind.”
This year’s report pays particular attention to the range and breadth of genres that have seen minoritised characters become a meaningful part of the literary mainstream. From Fantasy and Historical to Comedy, the report highlights and celebrates stories that include racially minoritised characters in multi-dimensional and nuanced ways. The report names quite a number of texts that exemplify the “quality of presence they hope to encounter in all representative books.”
Recognising the importance of teachers, booksellers, librarians, book champions and organisations that are doing excellent work on the ground on a day-to-day basis, the report writers reiterate the checklist of key questions from last year’s reports, particularly useful for those involved in children’s publishing, curation and book selection:
Determining Meaningful Presence
Do the characters of colour featured in the books we publish/stock reflect the UK population and the world at large, not as a tick box exercise but as a meaningful and accurate representation of the interconnected, diverse society within which our children are growing up?
Are characters of colour central to a broad range of narratives?
Do characters of colour exist across a range of genres and within both fiction and non-fiction?
Are there a variation and balance of themes explored in the titles in which characters of colour feature?
Have you been attentive to the position that a character of colour holds in the narrative? What position does the character hold? What is the dynamic within the cast? What is the extent of their agency and contribution to the plot?
Have careful research and consideration been exercised to ensure respectful, nuanced and layered portrayals of characters of colour?
Are characters of colour well developed and authentically portrayed? How effectively are their being and personality conveyed?
Ensuring Breadth and Balance
Are readers able to encounter varied portrayals of characters of colour, depicted with a range of personalities and represented as experiencing a full spectrum of emotions in the books you produce/ stock?
Is the content of our titles balanced, allowing for cultural specificity without reducing characterisations to derogatory stereotypes or one-dimensional shorthand?
Have we assessed the balance of our output/ stock to ensure that characters of colour are not predominantly defined by their struggle, suffering, exceptionalism or ‘otherness?
Valuing the Creatives
Is there a sustained investment in both established and new authors from a range of backgrounds who are able to paint characters and worlds with the integrity that the subject matter deserves? Does your output/ stock reflect this diversity of talent?
There is still some way to go before UK children’s books more accurately reflect the reality of the school population of England, but the speed of change serves to reinforce the benefit and tangible impact of the survey and a wide range of other initiatives across the publishing, charity and literature sectors. It is the intention of CLPE and their partners to continue to publish this survey, at least for the next few years.
Farrah Serroukh Executive Director of Research and Development said: ‘We welcome the increase in overall output and were pleased to encounter more variation in the breadth of realities reflected in the literature we reviewed. We encourage publishers and creatives to build on the traction of recent years and continue to strive towards improving the volume and quality of titles that meaningfully reflect realities available to young readers.’
To view the full version of CLPE’s Reflecting Realities Survey of Ethnic Representation within UK Children’s Literature click here.
Each Peach Pear Plum is a timeless picture book classic from the bestselling illustrator/author team Janet and Allan Ahlberg, creators of Peepo!. Each beautifully illustrated page encourages young children to interact with the picture to find the next fairy tale and nursery rhyme character.
In this book With your little eye, Take a look, And play ‘I spy’