Summer Reads: The Best Books for 8 years old and up

Balloon to the Moon by Gill Arbuthnott .jpg

Whether you’re spending your holidays at the beach, the mountains or just in your own back garden there is no better time to get into a good book. For children, especially those learning English as a second language, reading opens up a whole new world of vocabulary and expression. We’ve picked the following books as they reflect a variety of genres and levels for young readers, they can be read alone or with parents.

Balloon to the Moon by Gill Arbuthnott
Long before anyone had designed a rocket, the Montgolfier brothers were making hot air balloons. In October 1783, they became the first people to experience controlled flight. Balloon to the Moon starts there and leads to Neil Armstrong’s ‘small step’ and beyond. But why stop there? Learn about the great innovations of the past, then get ready for BLAST OFF into an unknown but exciting future.

The Uncommoners #1 The Crooked Sixpence by Jennifer Bell
Anyone with a Hogwarts-shaped hole in their lives can’t miss this fantasy series opener. Dive into a secret underground city below London where ordinary objects are capable of extraordinary magic!

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl .jpg

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Dahl is always a good idea, but young readers will especially love the Norwegian writer’s adventure story about a little boy who wins a golden ticket to discover a magical world. The Chocolate Factory is full of weird and wonderful things and owned by the extraordinary Willy Wonka. Much of the beauty of this book is in Dahl’s incomparable ability to describe and amaze with the power of words.


All the World’s a Stage: A Novel in Five Acts by Gretchen Woelfle
When Kit gets caught stealing in Will Shakespeare’s Theatre, he must work for the players or go to jail. His “punishment” at the playhouse leads to all sorts of adventures for this orphan boy in Elizabethan London.

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr
Partly autobiographical, this is the first of the internationally acclaimed trilogy by Judith Kerr telling the unforgettable story of a Jewish family fleeing from Germany at the start of the Second World War

Skelling by David AlmondSkelling by David Almond .jpg
When a move to a new house coincides with his baby sister’s illness, Michael’s world seems suddenly lonely and uncertain. Then, one Sunday afternoon, he stumbles into the old, ramshackle garage of his new home, and finds something magical. A strange creature – part owl, part angel, a being who needs Michael’s help if he is to survive. With his new friend Mina, Michael nourishes Skellig back to health, while his baby sister languishes in the hospital.

Stig of the Dump – Clive King
Barney is a solitary little boy, given to wandering off by himself. One day he is lying on the edge of a disused chalk-pit when it gives way and he lands in a sort of cave. Here he meets ‘somebody with a lot of shaggy hair and two bright black eyes’ wearing a rabbit skin and speaking in grunts. He names him Stig. Of course nobody believes Barney when he tells his family all about Stig, but for Barney cave-man Stig is totally real. They become great friends, learning each others ways and embarking on a series of unforgettable adventures.

The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
It’s Omri’s birthday, but all he gets from his best friend, Patrick, is a little plastic Indian toy. Trying to hide his disappointment, Omri puts the Indian in a metal cupboard and locks the door with a mysterious skeleton key that once belonged to his great-grandmother. Little does Omri know that by turning the key, he will transform his ordinary plastic Indian into a real live man from an altogether different time and place!

The Magian’s Nephew by CS Lewis
The first of seven novels about the magical land of Narnia, The Magician’s Nephew is often overlooked for The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe, however it is in this book that foundations for the later novels are laid. On a daring quest to save a life, two friends are hurled into another world, where an evil sorceress seeks to enslave them. But then the lion Aslan’s song weaves itself into the fabric of a new land, a land that will be known as Narnia. And in Narnia, all things are possible.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame .jpgThe Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
A sentimental British favourite, The Wind in the Willows is a far more interesting book than adults might at first suspect. Join Ratty, Moley, Badger and Toad as they adventure around the countryside one summer. Kenneth Grahame’s tale of adventure and camaraderie will delight readers of all ages. Having gained a reputation as a beloved childhood story, The Wind in the Willows is a testament to the enduring bond of friendship and the charm in homely pleasures.

Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
When the Second World War breaks out, young Willie Beech is evacuated to the countryside. A sad, deprived child, he slowly begins to flourish under the care of kind old Tom Oakley. But then his cruel mother summons him back to war-torn London . . . Will he ever see Mister Tom again?

The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton
Armed with maps, torches, packets of sandwiches and a plentiful supply of ginger-beer, Julian,Dick, Anne, their tomboy cousin George (Georgina by rights) and Timmy the dog like nothing better than to spend their holidays hiking and biking, camping and exploring by themselves, invariably falling into adventure.The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton .jpg