40 of The Best Books for a 10-Year-Old

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Looking for the best books for a 10-year-old? We’ve got the perfect list for you! We know that finding a book for a 10-year-old to read can be a daunting task. Will my child like it? Is it appropriate? These are all questions we ask ourselves when we are helping our kids pick books we hope they love.

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.

Table of Contents

Looking for more options? We’ve got tons of genre-specific book lists for 10-year-olds!

*The books for 10 year olds post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions are our own.

Best Fantasy Books for a 10-Year-Old

Keeper of the Lost Cities

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! Meet Sophie Foster, a newly found elf living in the human world.

In book one of this ever-growing series, she’s taken back to the Lost Cities and sent to Foxfire Academy to learn to harness her powers as a Telepath. In the process, she is welcomed into a new family, makes loads of friends, and uncovers a secret organization trying to destroy the human world.

Why We Love This Book: All 5 of our children loved this series, and frankly, Jackie and I did too! It’s also a great family-friendly audiobook for long car trips. We’ve got a list of books like KOTLC if you have already read this series.
Appropriate for ages 
9-12
Find this book in
Secret Society Books / Fantasy Books for Tweens / Books for 11-year-olds / Books Like Percy Jackson / Kids Audiobooks

winterhouse

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. It’s such a fun hotel novel!

Why We Love This: 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 love a cozy mystery book for a 10-year-old, pick this one up!
Find this Book in Paranormal Books / Books for a 10-Year-Old / Books About Puzzles

Tristan Strong

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 middle-school fantasy 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. This is the perfect series of books for 10-year-olds that love books like Percy Jackson.

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!

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45+ Best Fantasy Books for Tweens and Middle Grade Readers

These fantasy books for 10-year-olds are sure to delight!

Mystery Books for 10-Year-Olds

The Mysterious Benedict Society and more books like Keeper of the lost cities

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

This is a middle grade mystery book for tweens that all adults should read but you can also find it on our list of books for 10-year-olds. It’s about a group of extremely gifted children who are sent to spy on an evil organization.

This is the first middle grade book in a series that is geared toward older kids. It was funny and interesting and extremely clever.

Mr. Lemoncello

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

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.

Why We Love This Book: If you are looking for great bedtime stories for kids, this series will hit the mark. It will get your kids engaged with one-of-a-kid puzzles and delightful twists and turns.
Appropriate for ages 9-11
Find this book in
Audiobooks for Kids / Netflix Book Adaptations / Middle Grade Mysteries / Books for 11-year-olds / Read Aloud Books / Best Puzzle Books

book scavenger

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 on our list of mystery books for 10-year-olds 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

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. ⁣

Why We Love This Book: We love that the Vanderbeekers’ story normalizes city living and a bi-racial family – something that’s hard to find in many children’s book series. You will fall in love with this cast of characters and as the series progresses you’ll come to regard them as family.
Appropriate for ages 7-11
Find this book in
Best Books for a 10-Year-Old / Best Family Audiobooks For Road Trips / Read Aloud Books / Realistic Fiction Books / Feel-Good Books

The Penderwicks

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 series of 5 books about sisters, this wonderful book for 10-year-olds is perfect to read aloud at night or listen to on audio for a family roadtrip.

Mystery books for tweens

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? This is one of the books for 10-year-olds that adults will enjoy too!

Historical Fiction Books for 10-Year-Olds

The Invention of Hugo Cabret and more of the best books for a 9-year-old

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. This is one of the must-read books for 10-year-olds.

Inquisitors Tale

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.

Winnies Great War

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 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.

Why We Love This Book: It’s the perfect chapter book for older readers, particularly those who love the Caldecott medal winner, Finding Winnie.
Appropriate for ages 8-12
Find this book in
Zoo animal books, books for 9-year-olds, books for 10-year-olds

Best Audiobooks for a 10-Year-Old

echo

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

I listened to this feel-good 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. The full-cast audiobook plays music so it is a full sensory experience. 

The story is three tales woven together in one with a magical harmonica at the center. 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 novels about music that is amazing for middle grade and adults alike. We even included it on our list of Books for 10-Year-Olds. This is a magical realism book everyone should read.

wishtree

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 tween book about welcoming immigrants and making a new friend.

THe Candymakers and more family audiobooks for road trips

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. This is the first in a series of middle grade books fr a 10 year old.

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 and more realistic middle grade fiction

Ban This Book by Alan Gratz

This realistic middle grade fiction story is so relevant to society today. 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 books’ power to unite everyone.

Wayside school

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 and a perfect read-aloud book.

The wacky tales and backward ways of the students and teachers at Wayside will have your child in a fit of giggles. Each chapter is about a different student in the school, so they can be read as individual short stories, making them perfect for bedtime reading.

This is the first in a collection of stories about Wayside School. While I recommend you start with this one, each book in the series is just as funny!

Why I Love It: Not all books from my childhood stand the test of time, but I enjoyed this story even more when I read it to my children. Hearing them giggle through the stories had me smiling. It certainly made for an entertaining bedtime tale.

Find this book in Short Stories / Bedtime Stories for Kids / Best Books for 10-Year-Olds / Family Audiobooks

the boy at the back of the class

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 and other mystery books for tweens

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.?

Why We Love It: The first in a 4 book series, this is a great book that is interactive too. There are hidden puzzles in pictures and a code for readers to break in this tween mystery book.
Find this Book in Best Puzzle Books

spy school and other mystery books for tweens

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 and is the perfect set of books for a 10-year-old.

Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation and more spy books for kids

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. We love that this genius from our list of mystery books for tweens is female!

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

Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

This coming-of-age story is 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 beautifully.

Why We Love This Book: This was one of the realistic fiction audiobooks for tweens I listened to with my kids and we all just adored it. I had tears streaming down my face at the end.
Appropriate for ages 9-12
Find this book in
Books for 10-year-olds / Audiobooks for Kids / Realistic Fiction / Coming-of-Age Novels

Kelly Yang 1

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.

Why We Love This Book: I loved learning from Mia and watching her problem-solve to help her family as they took over caring for the Calivista Motel. If you are looking for realistic fiction middle grade books that skew a little younger, check out this realistic fiction book.
Appropriate for ages 9-11
Find this book in
Coming-of-Age Books / Books for 10-year-olds / Audiobooks for Kids / Hotel Novels / Books about Poverty and It’s Impact

The Wild Robot and other books for a 10-year-old

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!

Middle Grade Books for Tweens

Ultimate List of Middle Grade Books for Tweens

Check out this post for a list of the best books for 10 year olds.

Animal Books for 10-Years-Olds

one and only ivan

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.

Why We Love This Book: This book will touch your heart. Even though it is partially a sad book, the ending will make it worthwhile. This is one of the best animal fiction books for middle grade and adults.
Appropriate for ages 8-10
Find this book in
Books for 9-year-olds, Zoo Books, Family Audiobooks, Animal Novels / Audiobooks for Kids

belly up and other mystery books for tweens

Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

After a hippo dies at FunJungle Zoo, it’s up to Teddy and his friend Summer to prove that the Hippo was murdered.

But investigating Hippo’s homicide is a dangerous affair. This funny story kept this former zoo employee quite entertained.

Why We Love This Book: A funny, clever story that’s the first in the FunJungle series by Stuart Gibbs.
Appropriate for ages 9-12
Find this book in
books for 10-year-olds, Zoo books, best middle grade books, best mystery books for tweens

A Wolf Called Wander and other books for a 10-year-old

A Wolf Called Wander by Rosanne Parry

Rosanne does a marvelous job of telling the true story of a wolf trying to survive when 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.

Why We Love This Book: My family was riveted by this story when we listened on a recent family road trip. Even though this is a middle-grade book, we love this for adults as well.
Appropriate for ages 8-11
Find this book in
Animal Novels / Middle-Grade Fiction / Audiobooks for Kids

Classic Books for a 10-Year-Old

The Egypt Game and more family audiobooks for road trips

The Egypt Game by Zilpha Neatly Snyder

This middle grade fiction 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 to this tween mystery book and also a sequel about gypsies!

The Westing Game and more family audiobooks for road trips

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

The tween book 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 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!

Why We Love It: This classic 70s book is still a must-read today! It has withstood the test of time.
Find this Book in Best Middle Grade Mystery Books / Books for 11-year-olds / Books About Puzzles

Harriet the spy and other mystery books for tweens

Harriet The Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Harriet the Spy has been a classic children’ book 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 realistic fiction 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 and other 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 and other books for a 10-year-old

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! This book for a 10 year old is an award winner!

The Crossover and other books for a 10-year-old

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 tween 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 and more books for 12-year-olds

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

I’m pretty sure this coming-of-age tween book is required reading for everyone! Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke outpaces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie’s house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia.

One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his family and the strength that Leslie has given him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief. This realistic fiction book set in the 70s is an award winner for a reason.

the miscalculations of lightning girl

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

My 3rd-grade math lover inhaled this tween 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 one activity, and read one book that isn’t math related. Can she do it?

my side of the mountain

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 one of my favorite books, 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

Chunk and other books 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 middle grade books for a 10-year-old reluctant reader! 

Roller Girl  and other books for a 10-year-old

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

This graphic novel is a Newbery Medal 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. Astrid may be strong enough to endure middle school. Snag this if you are looking for a book for 11-year-olds.

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. If you have middle schoolers, they should check out the Netflix book adaptation of this realistic fiction series.

Non-fiction Books for a 10-Year-Old

from an idea to disney

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

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

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.

Did you find any books for a 10-year-old to add to your home library? For more options check out our list of books for 9-year-olds or age up with our book suggestions for 11-year-old.

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Lists of Books for 10-Year-Olds

Looking for more books for 10-year-olds? We’ve got you covered!

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