10 of the best books for children 5-8 years

As they explore a new world of school and learning, these brilliantly engaging books are sure to capture their imaginations. Check out our selection of some of the best fiction and non-fiction on offer for this age group

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1. Factivity Missions in Space, Parragon Books, £6.99, MadeForMums Gold Award Winner

Young readers will love this interactive read, which has over 50 flaps and shares more than 100 facts about life in space – and no doubt parents will learn a thing or two as well.

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This delightful book scored high with our judges, earning it the gold award for this age group.

Take an illustrated journey into space to find out what is inside the launcher or discover how an astronaut gets back to Earth, and more.

The Factivity series aims to educate kids in a hands-on way, with its “Discover the facts, do the activities!” mantra, and this fascinating read is sure to have kids gripped.

What our MadeForMums Awards Judges say about Factivity Missions in Space:

“My son is mad on space so we were the perfect testers. We all loved this book, which has easy to understand facts with flaps to make it more interactive. Nice drawings, perfectly pitched.” Mum of 2, Sophie

“Absolutely love this book! Perfect for my five-year-old son who loves all things space and planets. He couldn’t wait to lift all the flaps and find out what was underneath. I was very impressed with the layout and there is lots of information presented in a fun way. We will be using this book for many years to come.” Mum of 2, Sam

You can buy the Factivity Missions in Space from: Amazon, Blackwell’s and Wordery.

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2. Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball, Laura Ellen Anderson, £6.99, MadeForMums Silver Award Winner

This refreshing entry into children’s literature picks up our silver award for its gorgeously gothic illustrations and daring heroine.

The story takes place in Nocturnia, where readers follow Amelia and friends as they plan the courageous rescue of her pet pumpkin. Expect the unexpected, as darkness reigns supreme, glitter is terrifying, and unicorns are the stuff of nightmares!

This is the first series as author-illustrator from Laura Ellen Anderson – known for her Witch Wars illustrations – and her loveable modern-day Wednesday Addams won’t disappoint.

What our MadeForMums Awards Judges say about Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball:

“I was worried this may be too grown up for my daughter but I couldn’t have been more wrong. She absolutely loved it from the first word right to the very end and read it any chance she could get. As soon as she finished the book she had me googling to see if there were any more books in the Amelia Fang series and we have pre-ordered the new book ready for its release.” Mum of 2, Victoria

“This book is utterly beautiful – from the orange foil on the cover and the orange edge to the book, the illustrations are stunning. We really loved it. My daughter has finished reading it, and has already asked we buy her the next book in the series. We really were bowled over.” Mum of 2, Danielle

You can buy Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball from: Waterstones, WHSmith and Amazon.


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3. Hortense and the Shadow, Natalia O’Hara, £10.99, MFM Bronze Award Winner

This dark fairytale from Natalia O’Hara offers young readers a modern heroine, Hortense, who steps away from the well-worn literary image of perfect-but-helpless maidens.

Illustrated by her sister, Lauren, O’Hara draws on the stories told to them by their Eastern European grandmother to create a haunting and atmospheric world.

In the story, Hortense is kind and brave, but struggles with self-doubt. However, she grows by making mistakes along her journey, teaching readers about the value of empowerment. Gorgeous watercolours help bring the tale to life.

What our MadeForMums Awards Judges say about Hortense and the Shadow:

“A traditional tale with a modern twist, featuring a strong little girl and a positive message. Gorgeous illustrations.” Mum of 3, Tara

“This stunningly illustrated story is the perfect present for a young reader.” MFM Reviews Editor Magda Ibrahim

You can buy Hortense and the Shadow from: Amazon, Foyles and Waterstones.


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4. Factivity Atlas Explore The Wonders Of Your World, Paragon, £4.50

Another popular choice from the Factivity series, allowing parents and children to explore our beautiful and diverse world through this fantastically designed children’s atlas book.

Packed with real maps, landmarks, wild animals and natural wonders. There are plenty of activities to keep your child hooked for hours including, puzzles, mazes and more, helping them to understand and engage with the geographical magic that is planet earth.

You can buy Factivity Atlas Explore The Wonders Of Your World from: Amazon, World Of Books and Waterstones.


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5. Riley Can Be Anything, The Ella Riley Group, £5.99

Uplifting and easy-to-read, Riley Can Be Anything is a tale that follows the adventures of cousins Riley and Joe. Together they explore their dream careers, and discover that their potential for the future is limitless.

Clever rhyming verses and engaging illustrations bring the whole book together in one fantastically fun package. We have no doubt that this book will have little ones dreaming of a bright future.

You can buy Riley Can Be Anything from: Amazon, Davina Hamilton and Foyles.


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6. Say It!, Charlotte Zolotow, £6.99

Say It is a very touching story that will move mothers of daughters everywhere.  One windy autumn day a mum and her little girl set off for a walk, talking about everything they see. This little gem is filled with small observations – but big on sentiment.

This is a wonderful look at the nature of the mother/daughter relationship and we challenge you to get to the end without shedding a tear!

You can buy Say It! from: WHSmith, Amazon and Blackwell’s.


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7. 365 Things To Do With Lego Bricks, DK, £16.99

You can never have too many lego bricks (unless they’re underfoot), but it is possible to run out of ideas. This wonderful book provides ample inspiration for parents and adults who are past the simple house-building stage.

With ideas ranging from a pirate bowling alley to a theatrical stage, this is a must have book for any respectable Lego fan.

You can buy 365 Things To Do With Lego Bricks from: Wordery, Amazon and Book Depository.


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8. The Amazing Dinosaur Detectives, Pavillion Books, £9.99 

Does your child love everything dinosaur? Then this is the book for your family! The Amazing Dinosaur Detective explores life on earth when dinosaurs inhabited the planet. Facts, fossils, fun – this book shows children what earth looked like 65 million years ago; the food they ate, their habitat, all illustrated with bright exiting colours and designs.

This super book also has a host of interactive elements for children to enjoy including, spot the difference quizzes, word searches, spot the dino and more – the perfect dinosaur friendly fact book for your family.

You can buy The Amazing Dinosaur Detectives from: Waterstones, Hive and Amazon.


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9. The Twits, Roald Dahl, £5.99

Sure to raise a smile on the faces of kids and adults alike this is Dahl’s classic tale of gruesome twosome Mr and Mrs Twit.

Young readers can learn how they get their comeuppance in this fabulous introduction to the author’s eternally popular collection of stories. Delight in the disgusting habits and tricks of the terrible duo, before cheering on the likes of Muggle-Wump and the Roly-Poly Bird.

Quentin Blake’s distinctive and humorous illustrations add to the fun.

You can buy The Twits from: Waterstones, The Book People and Amazon.

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10. Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls, Elena Favilli and Francesca Cavallo, £20

Perfect for both girls and boys, this is a richly illustrated collection of stories that celebrate extraordinary women.

Each page tells the true story of real women – past and the present – who have achieved incredible results against all odds.

The tales are full of detail but fairly short, so perfect for kids to read alone or with a parent.

If you’re running late at bedtime, it won’t take long to learn about one of the many painters, scientists, dancers and political leaders inside, although we predict you’ll both be keen to squeeze in an extra page before lights out.

You can buy Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls from: Amazon, Waterstones and Wordery.

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