Recommended reading for age nine and younger this summer – 10 top reads!

One of our most recent posts showcased our favourite books for readers between 10 and 14 years of age, and extolled the joys of summertime reading away from the classroom.

Smaller children will also feel the benefit of holiday reading this summer, either with an adult or independently. And, of course, you’re never too young for stories! With several weeks of the summer vacation remaining, here are our recommended reads for kids up to the age of nine. Help keep the summer learning slide at bay…

The Wind in the Willows, recommended reading for nine and younger

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney (2–5)

Illustrated by Anita Jeram, this adored classic has sold millions of copies worldwide since the mid- 1990s. It follows Little and Big Nutbrown Hares as they learn that love isn’t always an easy thing to quantify.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr (3+)

Another much-read and loved classic, this story – first published almost five decades ago – was illustrated as well as written by Judith Kerr. Sophie and her mum are joined for tea by an unusual (and very hungry and thirsty) house guest. A book no childhood should be without!

A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond (5+)

Now nearly 60, the Paddington stories were given fresh life with a recent new movie version. Not that the story of darkest Peru, one very loveable bear, Aunt Lucy’s marmalade sandwiches and the Brown family could ever become stale. This bewitching book, with Peggy Fortnum’s illustrations, relates how it all begun, at a certain London railway station…

Matilda by Roald Dahl (6+)

Matilda may be 50 in 2018, but Matilda herself is not yet five, a child genius who will need all her talents to defeat her terrifying headmistress, Agatha Trunchbull. A modern fairy-tale, illustrated with Quentin Blake’s exquisite drawings, it depicts a victory of cool intelligence over spite and nastiness, and the story has also subsequently been made into a highly popular musical.

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White (7+)

With the help of illustrator Garth Williams, this tale relates how young Fern saves her pig, Wilbur, from his certain fate, with the help of a talking spider Charlotte. A witty modern classic offering a gentle introduction to issues of mortality.

The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss (6+)

As funny as ever after 60 years, this story follows the adventures of Sally and her brother, left at home alone on a rainy day. Any chance of boredom is banished as the titular feline in headgear arrives, creating all manner of mayhem. The brilliant, rhyming language and bold illustrations (by Theodor Geisel) explain the resounding success of this firm family favourite.

Tiny Dinosaurs by Joel Stewart (up to 7)

Young Daisy and her faithful companion, sausage dog Rex, find not fairies but a mini T-rex dinosaur and friends in the undergrowth at the bottom of the back garden… A lively, charming romp with a strong message about friendship and adapting to change from a talented author/illustrator.

Mrs Mole, I’m Home! by Jarvis (3+)

From writer-illustrator Jarvis, this laugh-out-loud, big-hearted tale follows a bespectacled daddy mole called Morris who misplaces his glasses then has to burrow his way home.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (7+)

This story of the furry and scaly riverbank foursome is just as loved as it was when it was first published well over 100 years ago. We follow Ratty, Mole and Badger on their adventures as they strive to keep the reckless Mr Toad out of trouble and get him back to Toad Hall. It doesn’t always work…

Finally, we come to our 10th choice, and here we make no apology for including a book that also featured in the previous top 10 list. Our justification for this duplication is that during the 20 years since its publication, the fantasy book in question has encouraged millions of children (and ‘big kids’) all over the world to read – and not only to read this book itself but also the six other books in the iconic series.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling (7+)

This book is the magical start of the fabulous boy-wizard series. It was first published at the start of the millennium, although it feels as though Harry has always been with us! This introduction to the delights of Hogwarts, butterbeer and quidditch is the lightest in the series and thus suitable for more confident younger readers.

Enjoy the rest of a happy, book-filled summer!




  • Karena Jarvie
    Posted at 22:57h, 30 July

    I would agree whole heartedly with 7 of these, don’t know two but don’t agree with The Wind in the Willows – it is mainly annoying in my opinion, but then I’m not the right age group!

    • Karen Elwis
      Posted at 23:10h, 30 July

      I have to confess that I quite liked ‘Wind in the Willows’, although Toad’s arrogance did annoy me (even when I was young!). Thinking back to when our troops were little, they also enjoyed the ‘Kipper’ books – and the ‘Blackberry Farm’ books (which were kept safely at their granny’s house from when I was little!).