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Best Books for 8 Year Olds

Updated on April 6, 2014

Best books for 8 year olds

The best books for 8 year olds are books which are fun to read to encourage further reading. Reading ability to vary greatly from child to child at this age but if there are books they are not quite ready to read alone yet, they still enjoy being read to and parents, teachers and other adults can share their favorite books this way.

When looking for the best books for 8 year olds, here are some tips:

Fun and enjoyable - It should be a pleasure for kids to sit down and enjoy a book. This could still mean looking at the visual pictures, being read to or reading the book themselves. When kids are forced to read something they don't enjoy, they will start to think reading is boring and not want to do it.

Check out the library / bookstore - 8 year olds will enjoy exploring books with their hands and eyes, so take them to the library and let them choose a book they will enjoy for free.

Check out reviews on amazon and other websites - There are lots of book reviews you can read all over the Internet. Amazon is a great place to start as there are lots of great reviews. Check out bestseller lists to see what's popular with other kids at the moment.

Ask their friends and other parents - Some of the best book suggestions I have had for my children have been from other parents. The Beast Quest series recommended below was recommended by a parent of an 8 year old boy who couldn't stop reading the series once he'd started!

The article below has lots of suggestions of the best books for 8 year olds including classic books, non fiction books as well as suggestions of the best books for 8 year old boys and the best books for 8 year old girls.

Classic Books for 8 Year Olds

Books that have stood the test of time are sometiimes the best books for 8 year olds.

A classic book are ones which feature unforgettable characters, events and places that are etched into your memory and never leave you. They can help children discover the magic of stories and literature and lead them to a lifelong love of reading.

There are many children's classics which adults may remember from their own childhood. It amy be parents can share the classics with their children by reading to them. Or if the children are advanced enough readers they can read them on their own.

Here are four of my top picks below.

Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web

Charlotte's Web is a classic that I remember our school teacher reading to us when we were 8 and the whole class was enthralled.

It tells of the unlikely story of a pig and a spider and how the spider turns out to be not just a great friend but a real hero.

 
James and the Giant Peach
James and the Giant Peach

Roald Dahl is one of my favorite authors of all time and is certainly instrumental in encouraging me to read. There are so many Roald Dahl books I could insert here. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG and the Witches to name a few. I have featured James and the Giant Peach as the main character is an 8 year old boy.

 
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Narnia)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Narnia)

What child can fail to be enthralled by a group of children who find a secret door to a secret and magical land (Narnia) through a wardrobe door.

They find Narnia a land where it is always Winter and where they meet Aslan, The Great Lion.

 
Harriet the Spy
Harriet the Spy

Harriet the Spy is another classic book. Harriet keeps a notebook, spying on other people and making notes about other people's behaviour in an attempt to make sense of life's absurdities. However, her classmates find the notebook and are not too happy about the notes she has made. Some of what she has written is quite awful. Can Harriet make friends again and put her life back together?

 

Good Books for 8 Year Old Boys

The books opposite will appeal to 8 year old boys. Girls may like them as well but if you have a reluctant 8 year old boy than these are some good books that will encourage them to read.

Want more ideas? Here is another great list of books for 8 year old boys.

The New Captain Underpants Collection (Books 1-5)
The New Captain Underpants Collection (Books 1-5)

Captain Underpants tells the story of George and Harold and how they turn their teacher Mr Krupp into the superhero Captain Underpants.

There are just so age appropriate for 8 year old boys. Boys will love the potty humor in this book combined with the action. The books are really visual too with flip art and pictures on every page. Great for reluctant readers in particular.

 
Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 1
Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 1

Diary of a Wimpy kid is a very funny, laugh out loud book that will appeal to 8 year old boys but adults seem to like it just as much.

 
Beast Quest #1: Ferno the Fire Dragon
Beast Quest #1: Ferno the Fire Dragon

The Beast Quest tells the story of 12 year old Tom who is sent on a quest to confront the beasts who are destroying the Kingdom. Great for boys who like adventure and fantasy.

The great thing about The Beast Quest books is that there are lots of them. Once your 8 year old has got hooked on the series they will want to devour them all.

 

Good Books for 8 Year Old Girls

The books below make great reading for 8 year old girls. All the stories have girls as the main characters. They vary in topic and level of reading. Again, boys may also like these series but they will probably initially appeal to girls more.

Want more ideas? Here is another great list of books for 8 year old girls.

Junie B., First Grader: Aloha-ha-ha! (Junie B. Jones, No. 26)
Junie B., First Grader: Aloha-ha-ha! (Junie B. Jones, No. 26)

Junie B Jones is a good beginner book for 8 year old girls. It tells the stories about Junie B, a larger than life personality and her funny adventures. They're very popular with young female readers.

 
JUDY MOODY WAS IN A MOOD (BOOK #1)
JUDY MOODY WAS IN A MOOD (BOOK #1)

Judy Moody books are the next step up for girls who like Junie B Jones. They are a little bit thicker and a great introduction to chapter books. 8 year old girls will be able to identify with Judy and the other characters in the books and the stories are funny and lighthearted. 8 year old girls love them and they are great books for reluctanct readers.

 
Sleepover Sleuths (Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew #1)
Sleepover Sleuths (Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew #1)

The first Nancy Drew book makes a great first mystery book for an 8 year old girl. Nancy is 8 in the story and she has her first mystery to solve at her friend's sleepover party.

 

How To Appeal to Reluctant Readers

If the 8 year old you're buying for is reluctant to read, there's a lot you can do to encourage them. Each child is different so you can change your strategy depending on the personality and likes and dislikes of the child. Here are some tips:

Don't limit reading material to books - Some kids are reluctant to read books, but love comics, magazines and online reading material. We are often quite quick to think of "reading" as only reading a fiction novel, but there are lots of other types of reading. For example, looking at sports statistics is another form of literacy which children may enjoy.

Think visually - Some kids just prefer really visual material. Books such as Captain Underpants has lots of pictures and comic style drawing that may appeal to some kids. Other kids like comics. Some kids love the visual nature of non fiction books.

Make it reading a reward - Sometimes I let my son have 15 extra minutes before lights out to read as a reward. This seems to work really well to encourage him to read.

Read to your child - Even if your child likes to read on their own, it's still beneficial to read to them. Not only does it help improve their vocabulary and range of expression, it's great quality time for adults and kids to spend together too.

Top Picks for 8 Year Olds

There are lots of great websites where you can find some top book reading suggestions for 8 year olds (as well as this one, of course!).

When buying books for my kids I often check out The New York Times Bestseller Lists for middle grade kids.

The books below are more top short chapter books great for this age group.

Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-4: Dinosaurs Before Dark, The Knight at Dawn, Mummies in the Morning, and Pirates Past Noon
Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-4: Dinosaurs Before Dark, The Knight at Dawn, Mummies in the Morning, and Pirates Past Noon

The Magic Tree House series tells the story of Jack and Annie who find a magic tree house in the woods. Here, they learn how books can transport them to different lands and places. It's a great series with some of the best books for 8 year olds as it uses fiction to teach children about history and how the world was in the past. They explore the worlds of dinosaurs, see how medieval people lived in a castle and are transported to the time of pirates.

 
The Absent Author (A to Z Mysteries)
The Absent Author (A to Z Mysteries)

The A to Z mysteries are about 90 pages and tell the story of 3 friends, Dink, Josh and Ruth Rose and the mysteries they have to solve. Each story is associated with a letter of the alphabet the first story is about a missing author, Wallis Wallace. Can the 3 friends find out what has happened to him?

 
My Weird School #1: Miss Daisy Is Crazy!
My Weird School #1: Miss Daisy Is Crazy!

The Weird School Series by Dan Gutman starts with Miss Daisy and is told through the eyes of second grader AJ who hates school. AJ tells about Miss Daisy, a teacher like no other he has encoutered before. She likes TV and eating chocolate just like AJ. She asks the children to help her solve maths problems as well considering suggestions like turning the school into a video game arcade. The story of Miss Daisy is funny but also highlights how teachers can make learning fun!

 

Non Fiction

Books don't have to be fiction to help literacy and encourage kids to read.

Non fiction books can be about stuff they are interested such as their favorite sport or sports stars or their favorite hobby. They may be interested in books on how things work or the world around them. My own son loves crafts and also enjoys books on arts and crafts which we get from the library.

Below are some fantastic non fiction books which are perfect for this age group.

Time for Kids: Big Book of Why - 1,001 Facts Kids Want to Know (TIME for Kids Big Books)
Time for Kids: Big Book of Why - 1,001 Facts Kids Want to Know (TIME for Kids Big Books)

Find out the answers to lots of intriguing questions in this big book of why.

Why do we have eyebrows? Why are dog's nose's wet? What's a black hole and what happens if you fall into one? What's the fastest a human is capable of running? Why do wet fingers stick to metal in the freezer? Where is the deepest point on Earth? Divided by subject area - humans, animals, environment/nature, technology, and space - and written in an upbeat manner, each answer is accompanied by either a photo or an illustration to show the reasons why.

 
National Geographic Kids: Ultimate Weird but True - 1,000 Wild & Wacky Facts and Photos
National Geographic Kids: Ultimate Weird but True - 1,000 Wild & Wacky Facts and Photos

Lots of intersting and crazy facts in this fun book.

Find out about a real life spiderman, a car that dries underwater, a man who makes himself invisible, a dog that can read, an upside down house and lots more.

Full of great photos too.

 
The Big Book of Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids: A 3-in-1 Collection
The Big Book of Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids: A 3-in-1 Collection

Joke books are a good choice for the reluctant reader.

Kids love reading the jokes out to adults and other kids. Jokes are short and sweet so don't phase kids so much when they have to read them. They are also varied in vocabulary so are great for learning new words and concepts.

8 year olds will love to read this out and adults will have a hard time stopping them from actually reading!

 
Guinness World Records 2014
Guinness World Records 2014

The Guiness World Record 2014 is a great read for kids and adults. The book is really visual with lots of large, colored and fascinating pictures to show the World Records.

The Great thing about reading this book is that kids get to experience a different type of literacy. They get to understand different measurments as well as learn about different places and countries where different records are held.

There are lots of records in here that will really engage children's attention such as Star Wars memorabilia, pictures of the smallest people on the planet, fascinating vehicles, achievements and lots more.

 

Comments and Feedback on the Best Books for 8 Year Olds

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    • Michelllle profile image

      Michelllle 4 years ago

      Nice. 8 year olds can be so different in reading abilities and interests. Tough age for a list, but you pulled it off. nice.

    • suepogson profile image

      suepogson 4 years ago

      Very useful - thank you.