Books for 8 yr olds

As a kid I loved to read – I always had my head tucked away escaping to some adventure or place far away. I devoured them as a teenager and managed to keep it up as an adult when I was working before smart phones stole away any spare time I always had my head in a book on a bus or train. Rob loved to read too and so of course all we want is for our kids to know and love reading too.

And that sometimes isn’t as easy as we’d like it to be. Reading doesn’t come naturally to some kids – it takes time to work how how to “read in your head” then Enid Blyton might not necessarily capture your kids imagination. But when you can find the “right” book – the “right” time and all the stars align and you see your kid engrossed in a book, in paper (not a screen!) well there’s nothing better!

Daisy, who just turned 8, has been a reluctant reader (she’s quite good at it) but never really has her head in one. Every night though she has reading time in bed (5-20 minutes depending on how tried or into she is) and we are getting there slowly. After just being through Christmas AND a Birthday she has a heap of new books, in fact, that’s pretty much all we gave her for both celebrations and she seemed fine with it.

I thought I’d compile some of her favourites to use as gift ideas for giving to nieces or nephews, grandchildren or your own kids. Some have worked better than ever, but we are getting there and hopefully fostering a love of books along the way. Here are a selection of the best that have worked over the past year.

1. The comic style books


Rob got Daisy her first Tintin book around this time last year and she loved it! Bingo! Whether it was the comic book style, the great illustrations or adventure within she devoured them pretty quickly and was keen to get her hands on some others. I think at this stage (7-8) pictures are still needed to help with the story (well for us anyway) and this does just that. We took away 2 of Rob’s step mum’s original comics when we went OS (they were thin and easy to pack) and easy enough to pick up where you left off from.

You can see a selection of Tintin books from Booktopia online here.

2. The history style books


Oh you will see Frank the puppy’s penchant for book covers here. See the corner? He cannot resist and has a nibble whenever he is left home alone. Our Daisy LOVES history and fact (apparently she wants to be a historian when she grows up) which mainly comes from a love of Horrible Histories on TV and her beloved Merlin. Rob got her a subscription to National Geographic for her birthday last year (when she turned 7) and I have given my nephew’s (turning 9) one for his birthday this year. Kids love the photos, being able to find out a little more if they want, and the fact that they have their own magazine. She got the Horrible Histories annual for Christmas, and the 2 other great books as birthday presents from friends – really great selection of stuff that she can read if she doesn’t feel like reading fiction before bed.

National Geographic subscription details can be found online here.
Big book of When can be found online here.
A selection of world history books can be found online here.
Horrible Histories 2015 Annual can be found online here.

3. The Australian style book


These 2 Australian books also cover off a little history but Daisy seems to love them. My place is actually my original from when I was a girl that I got for Christmas – an extended picture book that has since been made into a Television series it gives a great insight into Australian history (particularly Sydney).

My place can be found online here.
The Light Horse Boy can be found online here.

4. Fiction style books

IMG_5937 IMG_5948

Here’s a dump of some of her favourites from the past 12 months. In particular for us the Anh Do Weirdo Series were ADORED, you could hear her laughing away to herself in bed at night (what more could you ask for?!) and read quickly. I also think that kids love the feeling of getting through so many pages…feels like they are accomplishing a lot…and that series ticks all the boxes. Andy Griffiths and anything he writes is also a hit – the Tree Storey series have all been loved and she is currently working her way through the latest (52 Storey) that she got for Christmas. The Grace Stories are from Our Australian Girls Series are a gorgeous selection of stories about little girls living in Australia at different times: some history and a good story AND little girls = winner! And she has finally got Diary of a Wimpy kid (after watching the movies) and loving them. I actually put the wrong book in the picture thinking that the Dork Diaries was Dear Dumb Diary which she loved.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid series can be found online here.
The Tree House series can be found online here.
Horrible Histories series can be found online here.
Our Australian Girl series can be found online here.
Anh Do Weirdo Series can be found online here.
The day my bum went Psycho can be found online here.
Dear Dumb Diary can be found online here.
Gangsta Granny can be found online here.

5. The classics


We started off reading these to the girls each night before bed, Rob would get a chair and do the voices and the kids just loved the stories. You can’t go past Roald Dahl for some fun, enid for old school fun and adventure (and lashings of ginger beer) and Daisy was just given this Heidi version for her birthday (how gorgeous is the cover by Rifle Paper co?). They are classics for a reason, they work just as well today as they did when my parents were little, when I was little, until now.

Roald Dahl books can be found online here.
Heidi (this Rifle Paper co edition) can be found online here.
Enid Blyton books can be found online here.

6. The Series style books


We gave Daisy Harry Potter for her birthday and while she is yet to crack one I know we will get there at some stage this year. She loves the movies…I hope she loves the books even more!

The Harry Potter series can be found online here.

So there you have it, what’s on the shelf and being read right now by my 8 year old. I’ll look to do one for my 5 year old too, who is only just discovering the joy of reading (I’m on level 4 now MUM!). I’ve just used the links to Booktopia (not because there are any kick backs or affiliates for me, I just use them and like them: cheap and very quick delivery). We have also got some of these books from the book club set up at school.

So tell me do your kids love reading?
How have you helped them ignite the passion?
Got any other great recommendations?


  1. Our bookshelves look very similar to yours Beth – all the usual suspects…. my kids just love Horrible Histories, as does Mr Chardy. Harry loves the Weirdo books, and the boys also love the “Story Tree House” books. Clancy hears and then repeats “The day my bum went psycho” from ABC 3 and thinks it is so funny. My favourites as a kid were the Enid Blyton books and what about The Babysitters Club….did you ever read those? Claudia and the Phantom Phone Call….Oh I loved them….

  2. Jan Fawke says

    Well done Beth! As a Teacher/Librarian (and a book-a-holic),I know the importance of encouraging a love of reading early in a child’s life. And I’ll check back on this post for suggestions for my young Grand-Niece and Nephew. They know that “Umpy Jam” (which is what they call me) will always buy them books for birthdays.

  3. What a fabulous varied selection, that’s so important. She’s sure to find the ones that truly grab her amongst those. Great job!!

  4. I don’t have kids but when I was 8 I read a lot of The Baby Sitters Club and Baby Sitters Little Sister books. CLASSICS!

  5. Hi there
    Just wondering how far in the Harry Potter series Daisy has seen? I’m a bit wary about letting my 7yo boy read and watch all the way through the series. I have to confess I got quite scared myself reading the fourth book and haven’t read any further. What do people think? Is there other growing-up stuff in the later books/movies (we haven’t done The Talk yet!)?

    Thanks for the list of books! Will def get the Anh Do ones. Plus have you see the website A Mighty Girl? Has book recommendations specifically for growing strong girls – eg. Paperbag Princess for younger readers but lots more for all ages, plus a daily or weekly Women in History post that Daisy may like plus a Women in Science one too. US-oriented but not always.
    : )

  6. I have been holding off on Harry Potter, I think my 6yo, who turns 7 in 3 weeks, might find them a bit freaky. I’m planning on reading them to her once we’ve got through all Roald Dahl’s books.

  7. Thanks for that Beth. My almost 9 year old daughter been reading historical Jackie French books. Loves them.

  8. Hi.
    Great list. I loved Enid, Roald and Jo! Still do.
    I see others got recommending before me regarding Baby Sitters and Jackie French. But if Daisy likes history and maybe a bit of fantasy, try Tamora Pierce. Her books are mediaeval fantasy, with girls as the main leads.

  9. Goodness our 8yos sound very similar! Lil ADORES Horrible Histories, she really loves finding out about great people in history too. Last year we got her a book of 100 great people and it is a firm favourite.
    Like Daisy, Lil is a good but reluctant reader and we’re doing the reading in bed thing each night too to encourage her.
    I’m going to order the Ahn Do book now!

  10. My 9 & 8 year old’s are thankfully great readers, and the selection above looks very familiar! Airlie is currently into the fairy school dropout series, and Paddy just read a book called Peter Nimble that he LOVED and I reckon it might be right up Daisy’s alley. Maisie has memorised “My Dad’s the Coolest” and “reads” it every night which is much too cute.

  11. Lisa Mckenzie says

    I love reading,my daughter reads but my son doesn’t!

  12. I have 2 girls 10 (just) and 7. Thankfully both love reading and books are given for birthday, xmas, rewards etc. They are the one thing I will never say no to if there’s something that spikes their interest. The 10 year old has pretty much been through all of these. She’s only now getting into the babysitters club books. I gave them to her a couple of years ago but something put her off and she refused to consider them, but I left them in her bookcase. She picked one up the other week and is now devouring them, each one lasting only a day (night) or two. I only just gave her the first 3 Harry Potters at Xmas which she read in the summer hols and loved. I held off giving them to her as I wanted her to really connect with the stories, not just read the words. She’s now looking forward to the chronicles of narnia. My 7 year old has just finished the go girl series (both girls loved the deconstruction of social situations) and is moving on to ivy and bean.

  13. My grade 2-er is working through all my old hardback versions of Enid Blyton currently. We read Charlotte’s Web as a bedtime serial to both our kids (the other is in Prep), and the big girl has it on her pile (she has a pile!) to re-read, together with a few “our Australian girl” series, and Black Beauty, which I loved.
    We’ve given her some beautiful hardback “classics”- The Chronicles of Narnia, Wind in the Willows, Secret Garden, a compendium of Lewis Caroll, Roald Dahl, Little Women each birthday from birth, and we hope she’ll be into them soon.
    Whilst I loathed the cookie-cutter formulaic plot of the Rainbow Fairies in their various incarnations, they got her started on “big” books.
    I read “Trixie Belden” books around this age, which probably shows my age;)
    The other thing we have like to do is borrowing/downloading audio books for long drives. We did the Simpson Desert and NT last year, and completely loved listening to a couple of the Harry Potter books narrated by the gloriously talented Stephen Fry. Filled a more than a few days of long highway travels for a kid who can’t read in the car because of motion sickness. Even hubby, who has only seen the movies, couldn’t wait for the next chapter.

    • Such a great tip – the audio book. I tried when the girls were a bit little for them…will try again over the Easter break I think!

  14. I love reading, so does my 13 year old girl. My 10 year old boy is dyslexic, reading doesn’t come naturally to him. But comics have been his lifesaver, he loves Tin Tin and Astrid and has recently got into drawing and writing his own stories.
    As a teenager I read Sweet Valley High- I gave one to my daughter who read it in about half an hour and said “Jessica’s a mean girl, Elizabeth’s a nerd and Todd’s just lame” Guess in
    2015 they don’t really have the same appeal lol

  15. mrshanksy says

    You’ve got to get her onto the Nanny Piggins Series- I read that to my kids at bed time (even the nearly 15yr old used to come in and lie on one bed and listen) Now they are re-visiting them by themselves. Funny and silly hi-jinx from a pig that is a Nanny but used to be in the circus!

    My kids also loved Anh Do (and I loved his Happiest Refugee) and the Treehouse Books and I just took them to see the Stage Show of the Treehouse at the Opera House in the holidays. Look out for the $15 hamburger though – it’s about the size of a postage stamp!

  16. mrshanksy says

    Also “Flowers in the Attic” I bought the whole series for my nearly 15yr old and she was equal parts horrified and bored and is refusing to read them. I think I’m going to have to give them another go, to see if they were as good as I remembered. I was obsessed but can’t remember how old I was. I just bought my 11yr old boy, books on mind bending tricks and Optical Illusions, it was tough to get them away from my husband to wrap them! He’s also been enjoying (?) books on Cyclone Tracy and Don Bradman! Go figure! (the kid not the husband, he’s too busy on his phone with SuperCoach. *le sigh*

  17. Has she read “The Unbelievable Secret Diary of a Pig”? Santa picked up a copy for my nearly 8 year old this year and he loved it! Heap of fart humour – right up an 8 year olds ally. After watching him read it in fits of giggles his younger sister asked if I would read it to him. I could hardly keep a straight face and now my hubby is enjoying a little fart humour himself!!

  18. My daughter and I are both avid readers. When she was young we discovered a book store which specialised in UK authors. I highly recommend the “Delilah ” series and the “Charlie Bone” series by Jenny Nimmo. Also the Pongwiffy books (a witch of dirty habits”) by Kaye Umansky. When it’s book week at school Pongwiffy is a great character to dress up as (and easy too). I think that both of your girls would enjoy them.

  19. Donna Rawlins says

    Thanks you for your kind words about My Place. I’m glad Daisy enjoyed it. Cheers

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