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Books for 9-11 Year Olds

Reading is one of our favourite pastimes here at Mentor. Entertaining, engrossing, and educational, a good book can inspire children to use their imaginations, encourage them to be creative, and lift their spirits.

Taking inspiration from a number of sources – including the ‘best books for children’ lists put together by BookTrust and the Times Educational Supplement – we’ve been working on a selection of 11 plus reading lists to publish each month on the blog. Encompassing a variety of genres, from fantasy fiction to classic literature, we think these books for 9-11 year olds will put a smile on any child’s face.

picture books for reluctant readers on a shelf

Keep reading for our top recommendations!

Books for 9-11 Year Olds #1: The Magic Misfits

‘For me, magic can be a story, a game, a puzzle, or a surprise that takes my breath away in a single, furious gulp.’

The Magic Misfits is the debut novel from magic aficionado and Emmy award-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris. We meet street magician Carter, who runs away to the quiet town of Mineral Wells in New England. But when the dastardly B.B. Bosso and his gang of ‘carnies’ arrive to wreak havoc in the sleepy village, Carter bands together with five other ‘misfits’ to try to save Mineral Wells. By learning to work together as a team (with a bit of magic thrown in), the new friends protect the town and find out a lot about themselves – and friendship – in the process.

This magical tale flips the classic notion of being ‘an outsider’ on its head. Being a misfit ends up being something to celebrate, showing all young readers that you don’t have to fit in to feel at home (or to find lasting friendship). As a clever twist on the traditional novel, the pages not only contain a brilliant story but also a host of interactive features: ‘how to’ sections that provide details of magic tricks readers can try out for themselves. A unique, big-hearted book.

Books for 9-11 Year Olds #2: The Story of Tracy Beaker

‘I’m Tracy Beaker. This is a book all about me. I’d read it if I were you. It’s the most incredible dynamic heart-rending story. Honest.’

As the quote above suggests, this book is all about Tracy Beaker: a hilarious, eloquent, creative ten-year-old girl who lives in a children’s home. Capturing Tracy’s story through a series of humorous diary entries (which are complemented by a range of funny doodles and drawings from artist Nick Sharratt), the novel introduces us to Tracy’s hopes, dreams, and struggles as she fights with the other children in the home and dreams of her mother’s return.  

At once rib-tickling and touching, The Story of Tracy Beaker introduces us to one of the most important and endearing characters in children’s literature: a funny, fierce heroine with a fearsome temper, who is prepared to fight against all frustrations to find the family she longs for.

Books for 9-11 Year Olds #3: Diary of a Wimpy Kid

 ‘I’ll be famous one day, but for now I’m stuck in middle school with a bunch of morons.’

Now a best-selling franchise and movie series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid is where it all began for writer Jeff Kinney and the titular ‘wimp’, Greg Heffley.

Greg Heffley knows one thing for sure: he’s going to be rich and famous one day. Trouble is, it’s a new school year, and he’s going to middle school – which means he will be the small fish in a big pond filled with much older, tougher creatures. And, unfortunately, he’s a wimp…

Luckily Greg has his trusty journal – not diary! – in which to record every painful misstep within this hazardous new environment. And he has his best friend Rowley to share things with, too. However, when Rowley suddenly becomes Mr Popular, Greg can’t help but try and use the situation for his own benefit, setting a series of events in motion that will challenge their friendship like never before.

Providing unique insight into the perils of growing up, Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a wonderful introduction to the ever-expanding series. Described as a ‘novel in cartoons’ and chock-full of humorous illustrations, diving into Greg’s world will provide hours of fun for even the least enthusiastic of readers!

We have many more reading list recommendations for children preparing for school entrance exams. Don’t forget, your tutor will also be able to provide recommendations!

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