Best books for children aged 9, 10, 11, and 12 years old

They aren't quite ready, or motivated to move onto adult fiction, but they are certainly 'too old for kiddie books', so we've chosen the best books for tweens

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MadeForMums reviews are independent and based on expertise and testing. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission, but this never influences our product choices.

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peril-in-paris

1. Peril in Paris by Katherine Woodfine, Egmont, £6.99

Type: Fiction

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Books For Children 9-12 years old – Gold

Intrigue, murder, espionage – this book has it all. Set in 1911, the lead characters in this book are kick-ass girl detectives – Taylor and Rose. We see them traversing danger and peril in the streets of Paris on a mission for the Secret Service Bureau.

This book is the first in a 4-part historical espionage series, inspired by real-life tales of female spies.

Available from: Amazon, Egmont and Wordery

ocean

2. Ocean by Hélène Druvert, Thames and Hudson, £19.95

Type: Non-fiction

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Books For Children 9-12 years old – Silver

A real visual stunner, this is a beautifully-crafted lift the flap book. Inside this large format book, the ocean and its inhabitants are brought to life with meticulously crafted laser-cut illustrations.

Not just a fascinating underwater journey, but a reminder of the importance of preserving our ocean.

Pricey, yes, but a treat for the eyes that you’ll enjoy going back to.

Available from: Thames and Hudson, Blackwells and Wordery

the-train-to-impossible-places

3. The Train to Impossible Places by P.G. Bell, Usborne, £6.99

Type: Fiction

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Books For Children 9-12 years old – Joint Bronze

Fast-paced and imaginative, this story is a wild ride into the bizarre and unexpected. When Suzy awakes to a train roaring through her house she’s whisked on board and given a curious and terrifying task – deliver a cursed package to the fearsome sorceress, Lady Crepuscula.

Except when the mysterious package begs not to be delivered, Suzy discovers the fate of the Impossible Places might just be in her hands…

A great value adventure book, and if you like the sound of it, check out The Magic Misfits too.

Available from: Usborne, Amazon and Waterstones

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4. In the Mouth of the Wolf by Michael Morpurgo, Egmont, £12.99

Type: Fiction

Awards: MadeForMums Awards 2019 Books For Children 9-12 years old – Joint Bronze

A more serious option, this is a true story of two brothers and the war that changed everything.

Set against the backdrop of World War II, this emotive book is based on the true story of the author’s uncles.

Alongside the inevitable sadness of the subject matter runs a story of hope, bravery, and lots of adventure.

Available from: Wordery, Waterstones and Egmont

natboff!-one-million-years-of-stupidity

5. Natboff! One Million Years of Stupidity by Andy Stanton, Egmont, £6.99

Type: Fiction

A light-hearted option, Natboff is all about the funniest and maddest moments in history.

Packed full of stories and poems, this is perfect for fans of Horrible Histories, Roald Dahl, and David Walliams.

Natboff is the brand new book from the author of the award-winning and bestselling Mr Gum series. So funny, you’ll be dipping into this one on your own when the kids are in bed.

Available from: Wordery, Egmont and Hive

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6. The Book Of Trees by Piotr Socha, Thames and Hudson, £18.95

Type: Non-fiction

Another beautifully illustrated and thought-provoking book from this publisher – this time focusing on the natural wonder of trees.

Encyclopaedic in style but with a light, witty touch, it examines the role trees have played in history, legend and in the rest of the natural world.

For another eye-catching nature book, take a look at Ocean.

Available from: Thames and Hudson, Blackwells and Book People

the-magic-misfits

7. The Magic Misfits by Neil Patrick Harris, Egmont, £12.99

Type: Fiction

This magical adventure takes a common issue (feeling like an outsider) and flips it – helping readers to celebrate feeling like a misfit.

A fun-filled read with a big heart The Magic Misfits is a debut book from magic expert and actor Neil Patrick Harris.

We love the ‘How to’ sections dotted throughout, giving readers magic tricks to try at home.

“The introduction has random capital letters scattered throughout, which we soon realised spelt out a secret message. From that point on, my 11-year-daughter was hooked! It’s very funny, easy to read and has kept her attention well. Good fun read for parents too!” says MFM tester and mum of 3, Sarah.

Available from: Egmont, Wordery and Book People

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8. The Sinclair’s Mysteries: The Midnight Peacock by Katherine Woodfine, Egmont, £6.99 

Type: Fiction

From the same author as Peril in Paris, more sinister secrets and suspense come to life in this mystery adventure book. The fourth in the Sinclair Mystery series – a thrilling conclusion awaits.

We love the strong female characters, Sophie and Lil, and its striking cover and illustrations which make it a perfect gift.

“My 9-year-old daughter absolutely loves this book! She is hooked on the story, especially the cliff-hanger that means she ‘cannot possibly go to bed just yet – I need to know what happens! I like that she is engaged and is being challenged and entertained by the author,” says MFM tester Lisa.

Available from: Amazon, Wordery and Blackwells

the-huntress-trilogy-sea

9. The Huntress Trilogy – Book 1, Sea by Sarah Driver, Egmont, £6.99

Type: Fiction

A distinctive fantasy adventure set in a thrilling world of tribes, beasts and mystical powers.

This is a sea-churning, beast-chattering, dream-dancing, whale-riding, terrodyl-flying, world-saving adventure. Memorable characters and poetic writing abound.

We love this book – the first in a new coming-of-age trilogy.

Available from: World of Books, Blackwells and Abe Books

wonder

10. Wonder by RJ Palacio, Corgi Childrens, £7.99

Type: Fiction

Like the Magic Misfits, this is a heart-warming novel (and film) with thought-provoking moral messages for all ages.

Auggie wants to be an ordinary ten-year-old but lives with the challenge of being born with a facial abnormality. After being home-schooled his whole life, he is sent to a real school, with all its possible triumphs and pitfalls.

Available from: Foyles, Waterstones, Wordery

fing

11. Fing by David Walliams, Harper Collins, £9.99

Type: Fiction

You know what you get with David Walliams – funny, surreal, tall stories. This time we’re on an adventure with Myrtle Meek and her poor parents. She has everything she could possibly want. But everything isn’t enough. She wants a FING. Mr and Mrs Meek’s desperate quest leads them to the depths of the jungliest jungle where the rarest creatures can be found. But will they ever find a FING?

If this kind of humour floats your kid’s boat, check out Natboff and The Meltdown too.

Available from: Smarter Book, World of Books and Wordery

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12. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown by Jeff Kinney, Penguin, £5.99

A great one for a Christmas present – this snow-themed adventure sees Greg and his trusty best friend Rowley fight for survival in a wintry battlefield.

Among epic snowball fights and giant snow forts, the boys navigate alliances, betrayals, and warring gangs in a neighbourhood meltdown.

Available from: World of Books, A Great Read and Wordery

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