The Best Books for 8-Year-Olds: 40 Great Picks!

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Looking for the best books for 8-year-olds? We’ve got the perfect list for you!

Having raised 4 kids through this particular age, we are well-equipped to give suggestions for children with all kinds of book preferences. We’ve got suggestions for Harry Potter-loving fantasy fans and picture book suggestions for reluctant readers.

Below, you’ll find lots of great stories divided by category. Many of the books for 8-year-olds 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 8-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 Books for an 8-Year-Old

Best Fantasy Books for an 8-Year-Old

Tale of Magic and other books like Harry Potter for kids.

A Tale of Magic by Chris Colfer

Brystal Evergreen finds out that she can perform magic when reading a book from her library, but women aren’t supposed to read!

When she is sentenced to a correctional facility, she was quickly whisked away to an academy where she can learn magic! My kids devoured this middle-grade fantasy as quickly as Chris Colfer’s last series. While no correctional facility could be as bad as Azkaban, this series is a perfect pick for books like Harry Potter for kids.

Kingdom of Wrenly and more of the best books for a 9-year-old

The Kingdom of Wrenly by Jordan Quinn

This series of early readers has pictures on almost every page and easy to read language.  The Stories, however, are fun and full of adventure.

They are sure to keep your child engaged with fairies, trolls, and mermaids. With all the creatures in this series, these are perfect books like Harry Potter for kids.

dragon breath

Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon

Dragonbreath is a graphic novel that is funny, engaging and perfect for a little witch or wizard who would like to encounter dragons a little less menacing than the ones Harry encounters. If you love books like Harry Potter for kids, this is a perfect first graphic novel.

Love Fantasy Books? We do too! That’s why we created a list of Books Like Harry Potter and Books Like Percy Jackson!

Mystery Books for 8-Year-Olds

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

Encyclopedia Brown and more of the best books for a 9-year-old

Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J Sobol 

These are the same books from when you were a kid! They are great for any child who wants a quick fun read.  Each chapter presents a problem that Encyclopedia solves.  

It’s great for kids to see if they can figure out the answer themselves.  A similar choice to these would be the Choose your Own Adventure books.

Fabio the worlds greatest

Fabio The World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective: Mystery on the Ostrich Express by Laura James

My kids adored this beginning reader chapter book based on Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. The bright colors in the drawings and the clever storytelling will have your child thoroughly entertained.

The first in a series, these mystery books are perfect for an 8-year-old detective!

For more books like these, check out our list of Mystery Books for Tweens

Best Family Books for an 8-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

Cilla Lee

Cilla Lee-Jenkins: Future Author Extraordinaire by Susan Tan

My brother’s girlfriend recommended it to me because her friend wrote it! It did a great job of handling difficult topics in an age-appropriate manner with humor and grace.

Cilla is about to become a big sister, but she wants to become a world-famous author first so her family won’t forget about her. It also addresses coming from a bi-racial family and having difficulties reading. It’s truly a lovely realistic fiction story.

ramona quimby

Ramona Quimby Age 8 by Beverly Cleary

Ramona is another adorable character who is perfectly imperfect.  She is sweet and lovable and gets into her share of trouble.  Whether reading to boys or girls, every child can relate to Ramona.

Why We Love This Book: When it comes to first chapter books Ramona can’t be beaten! Cleary’s classic has stood the test of time.
Appropriate for ages 
Find this book in
Realistic Fiction / Books for 6-year-olds / Kids Audiobooks /

Best Audiobooks for an 8-Year-Old

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From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg

This classic middle-grade story is one the whole family will enjoy. Claudia and Jamie decide they want to run away to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

When a new statue arrives while they are hiding at the famed museum, they won’t rest until they solve the mystery of who created it! Will they solve the mystery before the museum staff? 

This story sparked some pretty fun conversations about how to properly prepare to run away and just where each member of my family would wish to escape to!

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

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

This story is quite the classic and it revolves around all things candy! With its creeptastic vibes, it’s also wonderful for Halloween.

Charlie is thrilled when he gets a golden ticket to see inside Willy Wonka’s amazing chocolate factory, but this is no ordinary candy factory. The machines and recipes behind the walls of the factory are what dreams are made of. This is a wonderful read-aloud book.

Find this book in Best Classic Books for Kids / Best Books for an 8-Year-Old / Read Aloud Children’s Books / Kids Food Books

For more books like these, check out our list of Family Friendly Audiobooks

Books for 8-Year-Olds Set at School

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?

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.

The wacky tales and backward ways of the students and teachers at Wayside will have your child in a fit of giggles.

my weird school 1 miss daisy is crazy by dan gutman

My Weird School by Dan Gutman

This school has the funniest and weirdest group of teachers. This series is funny and engaging and perfect for early readers!

With over 20 books in this series so far, your child will be entertained for months to come.

Love Back to School Books? We do too! That’s why we created the School Hub with all things school.

Best Spy Books for an 8-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

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.

Mac B. Kid Spy

Mac B. Kid Spy: Mac Undercover by Mac Barnett

Mac B Kid Spy is an adorable series about a kid spy who works for the Queen of England!

It’s a great series of books for an 8-year-old looking to step up their reading game. It’s almost a mix between a first-chapter book and a graphic novel.

Love these kinds of stories, then check out these spy books for kids.

Royal Books for 8-Year-Olds

from the notebooks of a middle school princess

From the Notebooks of a Middle School Princess by Meg Cabot

Meg Cabot, the author of the famed Princess Diaries, is back with a middle-grade book about Princess Mia’s half-sister, Olivia.

Olivia is an average girl who doesn’t know her father, until her half-sister, Mia shows up and asks her to move to New York to live with the royal family.

She chronicles her adventures in princess life in this charming book series!

the princess in black and the perfect princess party by shannon haledean hale

The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale

In this early reader, the princess has to fight monsters while trying to open her birthday presents.  

This adorable book is part of a series that is another cute and funny example of a strong female princess!

the paper bag princess by robert n munsch

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch 

This is a hilarious story about the princess who outwits a dragon, rescues the prince, and realizes she doesn’t need him to be happy!!!

It is a classic, wonderful story. Like most of Robert Munch’s books, it is funny and silly and the perfect read-aloud.

Love these kinds of stories, then check out these royal books for kids.

Picture Books for 8-year-olds

I walk with vanessa

I Walk with Vanessa by Karascoët

This simple yet powerful wordless picture book tells the story of one girl who inspires a community to stand up to bullying.

Inspired by real events,  I Walk with Vanessa explores the feelings of helplessness and anger that arise in the wake of seeing a classmate treated badly, and shows how a single act of kindness can lead to an entire community joining in to help.

creepy carrots

Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynoldir?source=bk&t=beyondth06 20&bm id=default&l=ktl&linkId=dbe83d4e901f65f9956099c8b8b21f23& cb=1570139442823

Both Creepy Carrots and its sibling book, Creepy Pair of Underwear, are favorites in my household. Jasper Rabbit loves carrots, but he soon thinks his favorite carrots are out to get him!

This funny tale is very Twilight Zone-inspired and it’s awesome. The underwear version is funny too and it glows in the dark!

Why We Love This Book: This is the perfect picture book for older kids. It is simultaneously funny and creepy
Appropriate for Ages: 5-8 * we think this book is appropriate for older children because it may scare smaller kids.
Find this book in Books for an 8-year-old / Book About Food for Kids

Ada twist

Ada Twist Scientist by Andrea Beaty

All three books in this “series” are amazing at encouraging passion and imagination.  (Have a look at Iggy Peck Architect and Rosie Revere Engineer). 

Ada is a thinker whose questions often lead to disasters in the house but, as a parent, how do you encourage your child’s outside-the-box thinking?

Animal Books for 8-Year-Olds

Howliday inn and other halloween books for kids

Howliday Inn by James Howe

Technically the sequel to Bunnicula, this read-aloud book can really be read as a stand-alone. Chester and Harold are being boarded while their family is on vacation, but they are convinced they are staying in a haunted hotel!

I remember laughing out loud as I read this middle grade mystery book as a child. This Halloween chapter book stands the test of time.

Eleventh Hour

Eleventh Hour: A Curious Mystery by Graeme Base

This interactive book for kids is a visual game of hide and seek. Horace the elephant is having a birthday party with his friends and someone has eaten the celebratory birthday meal.

With visually spectacular illustrations and rhyming text, you will have to find the clues to solve the mystery.

Why We Love This Book: Gorgeous illustrations, rhyming text, interactive element, mystery
Appropriate for Ages 6-11
Find this book in Interactive Books / Books for an 8-year-old

Mr. Popper

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater

This Newberry Honor book is a classic.  Originally published in 1938, it tells the story of a painter who finds himself in a house full of penguins. 

This hilarious tale is sure to keep the kids entertained. It is funny and sweet and has withheld the test of time.

Find this book in Best Classic Books for Kids / Read Aloud Children’s Books / Children’s Books About Winter

Classic Books for an 8-Year-Old


Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda is a magical little girl who loves books. Stuck in a family that doesn’t value education, her life is changed when she meets Ms. Honey at her new school.

But the principal, Miss Trunchbull hates children. When she terrorizes the kids at her new school, Matilda finds the power to fight back. The Netflix book adaption of this one is a musical!

Stuart little

Stuart Little by E.B. White

Adventure- Check. Animals- Check. Animals who can talk and wear clothes- Check check. This is a tale that everyone loves about a boy who also happens to be a mouse.  All my kids love this great story.

Find This Book in Read Aloud Children’s Books / Best Classic Books for Kids

Charlottes Web

Charlotte’s Web by E.B White

This is such a wonderful story of unconditional love and friendship.  When Fern saves the life of Wilbur, the runt of the pig litter, she promises to take care of him. As Wilbur grows, he befriends Charlotte, a spider, who ultimately saves his life a second time.

Why We Love This Book: This is such a heartwarming classic book for kids. We dare you to read it without crying.
Appropriate for ages 
Find this book in
Best Classic Books for Kids / Read Aloud Children’s Books / The Best Family Audiobooks

Sports Books for 8-Year-Olds

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!

Softball Surprise and more of the best books for a 9-year-old

Softball Surprise by Jake Maddox

Jake Maddox has long been known for stories about male athletes, but he has female athlete stories too!

This particular story is about Jo and her summer softball team. But Jo might need to make a choice about which team she will be on this summer.

little shaq

Little Shaq by Shaquille O’Neal

If your child likes basketball, they would love this story written by Shaq. It’s a perfect early reader story for kids that love sports and regular kid stuff.

It’s another perfect series of books for 8-year-olds.

Graphic Novels for an 8-Year-Old

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.

The Bad Guys and more of the best books for a 9-year-old

The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey

Aaron Blabey’s famed series about the bad guys is a favorite in our homes. This graphic novel series is perfect for early readers.

The series is all about 4 “bad guys” who are trying to become good guys by trying to save those around them in funny ways.

Dog Man

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

Dav Pilkey is THE author of books for reluctant readers. His graphic novels never disappoint. From Dog Man to Captain Underwear, these books will keep your kids laughing AND reading.

This particular story is about a half-man, half-dog hero.

Non-fiction Books for 8-Year-Olds

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 an 8-year-old looking to get into the non-fiction genre.

Who is and more of the best books for a 9-year-old

Who is Series… by Multiple Authors

The Who is Series is more than 200 books strong at this point. The series covers famous people, places, and historic events.

If your child is interested in any subject, we can almost guarantee there will be a book related to it in this series. The books are easy to read and interesting, making them the best non-fiction books for an 8-year-old.

The History of Pearl Harbor and more books for 8-year-olds

The History of Pearl Harbor by Susan Katz

Similar to the Who Is series, “The History of” series focuses on key moments in history told in a way that 6-9-year-olds can comprehend.

Books in the series include subjects like Pearl Harbor, the Titanic, The American Revolution, and The Civil War.

Historical Fiction Books for 8-Year-Olds

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

I Survived and more of the best books for a 8-year-old

I Survived by Laura Tarshis 

Each book tells about a disaster from the point of view of one child who survives.  The original books all had a boy on the front cover but, the newer books are told from female perspectives too!

The series has also recently started publishing graphic novels which are some of the best books for an 8-year-old reluctant reader.

Little house and more books for 8-year-olds

The Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I read this for our reading challenge and found it to be such a lovely book.  I love the details about life in the late 1800’s.  I understand that the language used in some of these books is no longer acceptable; however, this book is sweet and wonderful. 

I would have no qualms about reading it to my daughter as long as I provided her with the appropriate context.

Did you find any books for 8-year-olds to add to your home library? For more options check out our list of books for 7-year-olds or age up with our book suggestions for 9-year-old.

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