40 of The Best Books for a 10-Year-Old
Looking for the best books for a 10-year-old? We’ve got the perfect list for you!
Having raised 4 kids through this particular age, we are well-equipped to give suggestions of books for 10-year-olds with all kinds of reading preferences. We’ve got everything for Harry Potter-loving fantasy fans and graphic novel picks for reluctant readers.
Below, you’ll find lots of great stories divided by category. Many of the books for a 10-year-old have links to book lists with even more recommendations, so be sure to poke around.
Looking for more options? We’ve got tons of genre-specific book lists for 10-year-olds!
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Best Fantasy Books for a 10-Year-Old
Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger
Move over Harry Potter, there is a new Middle-Grade Fantasy series poised to take your throne! After hearing all the kids in our area talking about this book series, I knew I had to listen to it with my kids.
We literally couldn’t stop reading this. I’m telling you, we were all stuck sitting around the speaker anxiously awaiting the next chapter. I’m so excited there are 8 books after this one!
Winterhouse by Ben Guterson
We like to listen to books as a family when we are in the car together or doing a puzzle. The standout book for me this month was Winterhouse.
This middle-grade mystery was as enthralling to me as it was to my boys. I loved the slight bits of magic in the story and the captivating setting of an expansive ski hotel on a snowy mountain at Christmas time. If you are looking for cozy mystery books for a 10-year-old, pick this one up!
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky by Kwambe Mbalia
Like me, my eldest is fantasy-book obsessed. After ripping through all of Rick Riordan’s books, he wasn’t sure what to read next.
Enter, Tristan Strong! This epic trilogy is based on African American folk heroes and West African mythology and it quickly engrossed my son. He finished the story and begged me to take him to the library for the next installment.
Tristan is grieving the loss of his best friend, Eddie when a mysterious creature shows up and tries to steal Eddie’s notebook.
As he tries to keep the notebook, Tristan accidentally punches a tree…opening a gateway to another world. Soon he’s in the middle of a battle and he needs to figure out a way to get back home.
Love Fantasy Books for 10-year-olds? We do too! That’s why we created a list of Books Like Harry Potter and Books Like Percy Jackson!
Mystery Books for 10-Year-Olds
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
This is a middle-grade book that all adults should read. It’s about a group of extremely gifted children who are sent to spy on an evil organization.
This is the first book in a series that is geared toward older middle-grade kids. It was funny and interesting and extremely clever. If you are looking for a book for a 10-year-old mystery lover, start here and then watch the adaptation on Disney+.
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
Another middle-grade story that adults will enjoy too. Mr. Lemoncello’s library is one of a kind. It’s full of holograms, logic puzzles, and hidden games.
To officially open the new library, a few lucky kids get to spend the night inside as they try to win Mr. Lemoncello’s game and be the first team to escape. This is another book for a 10-year-old that was made into a movie!
Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
The first of three books in the Book Scavengers series, this story is all about Emily and James. They are on the hunt to uncover the latest game by Garrison Griswold.
Griswold has recently entered a coma and it’s up to Emily and James to uncover who attacked him before they get attacked next. This pick in our list of mystery books for tweens is filled with fun and adventure.
For more books for a 10-year-old like these, check out our list of Mystery Books for Tweens
Best Family Books for a 10-Year-Old
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
This charming story is about a bi-racial family in Harlem with 5 kids who are about to lose their home because their reclusive landlord won’t renew their lease.
My entire family enjoyed this delightful tale of the siblings trying to win their landlord over so they don’t have to leave home. It was full of all the antics you would expect of a big family.
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
An imperfect family, the Penderwick family (consisting of the father, 4 daughters, and their dog) go spend their three-week summer vacation at a cottage they rented. Mrs. Tifton, a grumpy, snooty woman, and her son Jeffry own the cottage that is part of the Arundel estate.
The first in a 5 books series, this wonderful book is perfect to read aloud at night or listen to on audio for a family road trip.
Greetings from Witness Protection! by Jake Burt
What a fun story about an orphan girl tasked by the U.S. Marshalls to keep a family alive. As she enters into witness protection with them, she puts her street smarts and pick-pocketing abilities to good use.
But can she keep her new family safe? Will she be able to hide from her own past?
Historical Fiction Books for 10-Year-Olds
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
Don’t let the length of this book deter you. Even though it is on our list of long books, there are gorgeous illustrations on every other page and the writing is only a paragraph at a time.
This middle-grade mystery is an amazing story of Hugo Cabret who is an orphan in the Paris train station where he winds the clocks so that nobody will discover his secrets. Soon he discovers a drawing and a notebook that will lead him to the biggest adventure of his life.
The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz
All of my kids have read this book and they all loved it- devoured it in a day. In 13th century France, three children set out on a quest with their dog. Each of the children, and the dog, have a magical gift.
Somehow this book is able to combine historical characters and mythical tales of the 13th century with morals and lessons that are completely relevant today.
Winnie’s Great War by Lindsay Mattick and Josh Greenhunt
This book is based on the real story of the world’s most famous bear, Winnie the Pooh. From his beginnings in the forests of Canada all the way to the London zoo where he met the real Christopher Robin, this book mixes one part imagination and one part history to create Winnie’s first big adventure.
We have read the Caldecott Medal winner, Finding Winnie, so many times, this chapter book is perfect for older readers.
Best Audiobooks for a 10-Year-Old
Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan
I listened to this book and it was unreal. I want my son to read this so badly but, I also want him to listen to it as well. It is a story about music. The audio version plays to music so it is a full sensory experience.
The story follows a harmonica as it lands in the hands of Freidrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California set during WWII. Part fairy tale and part historical fiction, this is one of the books for 10-year-olds that adults need to read too. If you love this book, you can check out our post Powerful WWII Books for Kids.
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate
It is ultimately a beautiful story of love, friendship, and kindness. It is all told from the perspective of the tree.
Trees can talk, didn’t you know? After a few hundred years, the tree decides to intervene in the lives of those the sees every day. This is a great book for 10-year-olds about welcoming immigrants.
The Candymakers by Wendy Maas
This story appears on our list of books about candy! I decided to read this book with my boys prior to our visit to Candytopia.
It was a lovely take on life at a candy factory and felt almost like an updated version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 4 kids are competing to win a candy-making contest to have their creation mass-produced.
For more books for 10-year-olds like these, check out our list of Family Friendly Audiobooks
Books for 10-Year-Olds Set at School
Ban This Book by Alan Gratz
This is technically a middle-grade read. The heroine of this story is a girl whose favorite book was just banned from her school library. She starts her own locker library filled with more banned books from the school’s library.
As she stands up for her right to read, she challenges adults in her community and learns about the power of books to bring everyone together.
The Wayside School Collection by Louis Sacher
Louis Sachar’s hysterical collection of stories about the students of Wayside School is a true must-read for students.
The wacky tales and backward ways of the students and teachers at Wayside will have your child in a fit of giggles.
The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Raúf
This is the story of Ahmet, a Syrian refugee, who ends up in Mrs. Khan’s 4th-grade class. At first, the students are wary of the strange new boy.
Soon, they learn that Ahmet has been separated from his family when he was trying to escape the war. Soon the kids were banding together to help Ahmet reunite with his family.
My son cried while reading this book for 10-year-olds. The story touched his heart and evoked such compassion in him.
Looking for school books for 10-year-olds? Check out the School Hub with all things school.
Best Spy Books for a 10-Year-Old
Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett
When a famed Vermeer painting goes missing, Petra and Calder are thrust into the middle of a scandal! Can they solve an art mystery that’s stumped the F.B.I.?
The first in a 4 book series, this is a great book for 10-year-olds that is interactive too. There are hidden puzzles in pictures and a code for readers to break!
Spy School by Stuart Gibbs
The first book in Gibbs’s series is about Ben Ripley, a child CIA agent trying to defeat the evil organization Spyder. As he attends the secret junior CIA boarding school, he gets into loads of situations that put his espionage skills to good use.
In each book of the series, Ben and his fellow agents tackle a new problem. They take place at various new locations as the series progresses. It’s already 10 books deep.
Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation by Stuart Gibbs
Charlie Thorne is a child genius and the world’s best code breaker. So the CIA has dragged her into the hunt for Albert Einstein’s hidden code. She’s trying to get it before the Furies use it to destroy the world.
Charlie is hunting for something from Charles Darwin and Cleopatra in the subsequent sequels. Each story has her using her wits to outsmart everyone around her.
For more spy books for 10-year-olds like these, check out our list of spy books for kids.
Feel Good Books for 10-Year-Olds
Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
Wow. This was a story I listened to with my kids and we all just adored it. You know it’s good when a book for a 10-year-old has an adult in tears.
It’s a story about a deaf girl who is struggling to connect with her community and a whale named Blue 52 who can’t find his ocean community either. She sets out to connect with Blue 52 and along the way she finds her inner strength in a beautiful
Front Desk by Kelly Yang
This recently banned book tells the story of Mia and her family who are immigrants from China. Mia’s struggles to be successful in America are met with the divide between classes in her school, the racism she faces, and her family’s quest to make ends meet.
I loved learning from Mia and watching her problem-solve to help her family as they took over caring for the Calivista Motel. This is one of the books for a 10-year-old that adults will find meaning in too.
The Wild Robot by Peter Brown
Roz the robot is stranded on an island all by herself. With no idea of how she got there or what she was created for, she has one question. Can she survive?
Soon Roz is befriending the local animals and feels at home on the island. But what happens when her past arrives on the island? This one ends on a cliffhanger, but there is a second book!
Animal Books for 10-Years-Olds
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Based on the true story of Ivan, a gorilla trapped in a shopping mall, this feel-good story is one of the best family audiobooks for any road trip.
Stella, a young girl gets Ivan to start painting again and she realizes how lonely he is. Bob, a stray dog, works to help Ivan and Ruby, a baby elephant, garner the attention they need to be sent to a better home. This is another book for a 10-year-old that has a movie adaptation!
Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs
The first book in the FunJungle series shows Gibbs at his best – funny and clever!
After a hippo dies at FunJungle zoo, it’s up to Teddy and his friend Summer to prove that the Hippo was actually murdered.
But investigating Hippo’s homicide is a dangerous affair. This funny story kept this former zoo employee quite entertained.
A Wolf Called Wander by Rosanne Parry
Rosanne does a marvelous job of telling the true story of a wolf trying to survive when he is separated from his family. Without the protection of his pack, Swift must learn how to thrive on his own.
Swift’s journey takes him across 1,000 miles of forests, highways, and rivers with danger facing him at every turn. We were riveted to this story when he listened on a recent family road trip.
Classic Books for a 10-Year-Old
The Egypt Game by Zilpha Neatly Snyder
This story enchanted me as a young girl. The 6 “Egyptians” play in the back lot of an antique store, dressing up, performing rituals, and speaking with Oracles.
Then, a murder happens in the area and trouble comes to the lot. Don’t worry, there is a happy ending and also a sequel about gypsies!
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
The book for 10-year-olds that got me into mysteries as a child is great as an audiobook as well! When Mr. Westing dies, he leaves the residents of Sunset Towers are named in his will.
But they need to solve the mystery of his death in order to win control of his company and his vast fortune. Your family will love trying to work out what happened!
Harriet The Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Harriet the spy has been a classic for over 50 years. The 11-year-old is never without her notebook to write her observations in. When the notebook falls into the hands of her friends, they all get very angry with Harriet.
Will she be able to right her wrongs? There is a reason this book for a 10-year-old has been adapted repeatedly for the screen. It’s got life lessons for every child.
Sports Books for a 10-Year-Old
The Wizenard Series by Kobe Bryant and Wesley King
My boys and I started this series shortly after their basketball season began and they were on a losing streak. I thought this series about a group of kids and their magical coach sounded like the perfect book to inspire them.
The Badgers are the worst team in the league until Professor Wizenard comes to be their new coach. With his magical tricks focusing on teamwork and morale, the Badgers players learn more than just playing good ball.
Swim Team by Johnnie Christmas
Bree and her dad have just moved to Florida for her father’s new training program. She’s excited to join electives and make new friends until she realizes the only one she can join is swimming…and that makes her quite nervous.
Soon Bree begins counting on her neighbor Etta to give her swimming lessons, and ends up joining the swim team with the hopes of winning the big competition!
The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
Kwame Alexander has won many awards for his incredible proses. This book, the first in a series, is no exception having won both the Newberry and the Coretta-Scott King Award.
The Crossover is all about Josh Bell a basketball-loving middle-schooler who also loves to rap. He learns to grow up in this coming-of-ask story about Josh, his twin, and his family.
This is one of the many books for a 10-year-old being adapted soon. Look for the book adaptation starring LeBron James coming to Disney+ soon!
Coming-of-Age Books for 10-Year-Olds
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
After practicing all summer, Jess Aarons is convinced he will be the fastest kid in fifth grade, but then the new girl, Leslie, beats him. The race kicks off a fast friendship between Jess and Leslie. Soon, they are spending most of their free time in the woods behind Leslie’s house in their made-up world of Terabithia.
But when Leslie visits Terabithia alone, something awful occurs. Jess needs to learn how to grieve the loss of his friend using all the strength their friendship has given him.
The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty
My 3rd-grade math lover inhaled this book in 2 days. It’s all about a 12-year-old girl who was struck by lightning and became a math wiz.
She’s been homeschooled her whole life, but now her grandmother wants her to try to go to school just for one year. She has to make one friend, join an activity and read one book that isn’t math-related. Can she do it?
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
Welcome to my favorite book of my childhood. It’s not one that anyone who knows me would pick as my favorite, but maybe that’s why it’s so dear to my heart. This story about a 12-year-old boy who ran away to live in the wilderness spoke to me during a time when I needed to imagine an escape.
The thought of someone living off the land being able to survive and thrive captured my imagination. The sketches and notes about how he fashioned himself a home in a tree and a suit of deerskin only added to the allure of this story.
It’s the first book in a trilogy, and while the other two are great, this book for 10-year-olds is forever my favorite of the bunch.
Graphic Novels for a 10-Year-Old
Chunky by Yehudi Mercado
Hudi is trying to figure out what sport he likes to play because he needs to lose weight. He’s trying to be healthy because of a serious illness he had as a younger kid.
He invents an imaginary friend named chunky to help cheer him on. As he goes through sport after sport, the laughs roll in. But It’s not all fun and games, his dad loses his job and we get flashbacks of the medical problem that started his journey.
My son read this graphic novel in one sitting, while I listened to him giggling on the couch. I think it’s one of the perfect books for a 10-year-old reluctant reader!
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
This graphic novel is a Newbery Honor Award Winner and was an easy pick for a list of the best graphic novels of all time. Astrid and Nicole have done everything together until now. Astrid wants to go to roller derby camp.
And thus begins a summer of friendship, finding yourself, perseverance, and girl power. after all, Astrid may be strong enough to endure middle school.
Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin
The babysitters are back and updated for a new generation! I love that the stories in this series have been adapted into graphic novels.
The very first one, Kristy’s Great Idea, is about the formation of the Baby-Sitters Club and how the friends of the sitters developed.
Non-fiction Books for a 10-Year-Old
From An Idea To Disney: How Imagination Built a World of Magic by Lowey Bundy Sichol
This book tells the story of how Disneyland and the Disney company were created from Walt Disney’s imagination. It’s a fun non-fiction book that is the first in a series.
Other books in the series look at companies like Nike, Google, and Lego. It’s the perfect series of books for a 10-year-old looking to get into the non-fiction genre.
Kid Athletes: True Tales of Childhood from Sports Legends by David Stabler
This book tells the story of famous athletes in short chapters, complete with illustrations. This is the perfect book for kids who may not have the time or patience for longer books and any child who loves sports.
Kid Athletes has a mix of athletes from many different sports and includes legends like Babe Rith and Muhammed Ali as well as legends in the making like Gabby Douglas.
All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat
This is one of the books for a 10-year-old that is a multi-award winner. It won the 2021 Newbery Honor Winner, the 2021 Kirkus Prize for Young People’s literature, and so many other awards. It is the true story of the Thai cave rescue of the 12 boys and their soccer coach in 2018.
The boys and the coach had gone in to explore the cave and when they went to leave, the floodwaters left them trapped inside. Complete with pictures, this story is told in a style that makes you feel like you were there.