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


1. Lift-the-Flap: Periodic Table, Usborne Publishing, £9.99, MadeForMums Gold Award Winner

This year’s gold winner is a great buy for kids who are interested in chemistry (and parents who want to brush up before attempting to help them with any future homework assignments!). It clearly sets out the basics, introducing each of the 118 chemical elements one by one.


The bright illustrations and lift-the-flap format bring a sense of fun to the facts, as young readers discover which elements are crucial to life, which are smelly, explosive or radioactive and lots more.

This engaging book is suitable for children as young as seven years old and supports the UK National Curriculum (the periodic table is a compulsory topic in Key Stage 3).

What our MadeForMums Awards Judges say about Lift-the-Flap: Periodic Table:

“What a fantastic book! Looks great and appeals to children as it has so many things to discover inside. Even the children who need a bit of encouragement would be happy to have a good look!  It has lots of useful facts and information and I cannot recommend this book enough.” Mum of 2, Marlena

“A brilliant idea, which makes the task of learning about the elements fun. The children loved this book, my 12-year-old found it very useful. My six-year-old also had fun turning the flaps and studying the characters. Anything that makes a tricky subject easy and fun for children is worthy of praise.” Mum of 4, Pundeet

“A new brilliant take on teaching children all about the periodic table, fun, colourful and educational.” MFM Reviews Editor Hazelann Williams

You can buy Lift-the-Flap: Periodic Table from: Amazon, The Book People, Book Depository 


2. The Magic Misfits, Egmont UK, £12.99, MadeForMums Silver Award Winner

This magical adventure takes a common issue (feeling like an outsider) and turns it rights around, helping readers to celebrate feeling like a misfit.

The Magic Misfits is a debut book from magic expert and Emmy award-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris (parents will know him from How I Met Your Mother), and wins our silver award for being a fun-filled read with a big heart.

Look out for the ‘How to’ sections dotted throughout, giving readers magic tricks they can try at home.

What our MadeForMums Awards Judges say about The Magic Misfits:

“The introduction has random capital letters scattered throughout, which we soon realised spelt out 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!” Mum of 3, Sarah

“My daughter really enjoyed the book and had great fun reading it.” Mum of 3, Dawn

“Love that this book includes real magic tricks – it’s just a bit different from the usual story.” MFM Reviews Editor Magda Ibrahim

You can buy The Magic Misfits from: Amazon, Wordery and The Book People.


3. The Sinclair’s Mysteries: The Midnight Peacock, Egmont UK, £6.99, MadeForMums Bronze Award Winner

Sinister secrets are uncovered and baffling mysteries unravelled in the fourth book in Katherine Woodfine’s line of mystery-adventures.

The story follows Sophie and Lil as the festive season comes to Sinclair’s, leading to a thrilling conclusion which fans of Chris Riddell’s Goth Girl series and Enid Blyton will love.

The striking foiled cover and interior illustrations make this a lovely gift for young mystery and adventure readers. It impressed out judges enough to earn this year’s bronze award.

What our MadeForMums Awards Judges say about The Sinclair’s Mysteries: The Midnight Peacock:

“My nine-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.” Mum of 3, Lisa

“Lovely, suspenseful book with great characters, plenty of action and lots of detail.” Mum of 3, Sarah

You can buy The Sinclair’s Mysteries: The Midnight Peacock from: Amazon, WHSmith and Waterstones.


4. The Audition, Penguin Random House Children’s, £6.99

Fans of TV show Dance Moms (or Sia’s music videos) will already know dance superstar Maddie Ziegler.

This story from the teen queen was written in collaboration with bestselling author Julia DeVillers is the first novel in a new middle grade trilogy.

The Audition deals with important issues of teamwork, trust, friendship, and following your dreams.

You can buy The Audition from: Wordery, World Of Books and Amazon.


5. The Huntress: Sea, Egmont UK, £6.99

This distinctive debut is the first book in a new coming-of-age trilogy which follows in the footsteps of children’s authors such as Philip Pullman and Piers Torday.

Targeting readers aged nine and upwards, this fantasy adventure is set in a thrilling world of tribes and beasts and mystical powers, pulled together by memorable characters.

You can buy The Huntress: Sea from: Amazon, World Of Books, and Blackwell’s.


6. Wonder, Corgi Childrens, £7.99

This heart-warming novel is attracting new readers after the release of a major movie with Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson, based on the book, came out last year.

It tells the tale of Auggie, who 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. Wonder is a charming story, with thought-provoking moral messages for readers of all ages.

You can buy Wonder from: Foyles, Waterstones and Amazon.


7. Bad Dad, David Walliams, Harper Collins, £12.99

This hilarious new story from bestselling author David Walliams is guaranteed to put a smile on your preteen’s face, and the lovely illustrations by Tony Ross really bring the tale to life.

It’s a high-speed cops and robbers adventure with a big heart, with plenty of humour as you follow the adventures of a father and son taking on the villainous Mr Big.

You can buy Bad Dad from: Harper Collins, Amazon and Waterstones.


8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down, Puffin, £6.99

Double Down is the 11th book in Jeff Kinney’s hugely successful Diary of a Wimpy Kid collection, and the series’ popularity shows no signs of slowing down.

In his latest adventure, Greg Heffley is feeling the pressure as his mum encourages him to step back from video games and explore his ‘creative side’.

Find out if Greg’s plan to make a movie – and get rich in the process – ends in success.

You can buy Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down from: Waterstones, Amazon, and Hive.


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