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10 best books for tweens

Are your kids are too old for picture books, but not quite into the teenager genre yet? Here are 10 great books for children aged between 8 and 12, as suggested by The Cobham Bookshop.

1. Starfell: Willow Moss and the Forgotten Tale – Dominique Valente

The second book in the fantasy Starfell series starting misfit witch Willow Moss. A great read for children aged 8 and up, and with beautiful illustrations by Sarah Warburton.

2. Asha & the Spirit Bird – Jasbinder Bilan

A debut novel for Jasbinder Bilan, and one that’s gained some great reviews. ‘Satisfyingly classic,’ says The Guardian; ‘A heartfelt and mystical children’s adventure story,’ says The Telegraph. It’s about a girl called Asha who lives in the foothills of the Himalayas with her mother, while her father works in the city.

3. Orphans of the Tide – Struan Murray

A fantasy adventure story that’s gripping, original and unputdownable – all the things you want in a book for kids. It’s the debut novel of Struan Murray, and when they’re finished reading this, there’s a sequel.

4. The Land of Roar – Jenny McLachlan

The first in a new children’s fantasy adventure series, full of imagination, humour and heart, and with echoes of Peter PanThe Chronicles of NarniaThe Neverending Story and Jumanji. It’s illustrated beautifully by Ben Mantle.

5. The Pure Heart – Trudi Tweedie

A chilling Elizabethan tale with a dash of horror, this Gothic novel sees a young girl taken from a remote island to live in luxury as a governess in the borders. But, as you’d expect, all is not what it seems. A real page turner.

6. Here in the Real World – Sara Pennypacker

From the author of the highly-acclaimed, bestselling novel Pax comes a gorgeous and moving novel that is an ode to introverts, dreamers, and misfits everywhere – and ideal for readers aged 9–12. It’s a touching story about fitting in.

7. Bloom – Nicola Skinner

A funny, original and beautifully written story for kids who want a bit more colour and verve in their life. It’s about a girl called Sorrel who is always good. Until she isn’t – because sometimes rules are meant to be broken.

8. The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club – Alex Bell

A lovely story of adventure and bravery. Stella Starflake Pearl and her three fellow explorers trek across the snowy Icelands and come face-to-face with frost fairies, snow queens, outlaw hideouts, unicorns, pygmy dinosaurs and carnivorous cabbages. 

9. The Girl who Speaks Bear – Sophie Anderson

An enchanting story interwoven with traditional stories of bears, princesses and dragons – it’s about a girl called Yanka who is found abandoned in a bear cave as a baby and has always wondered where she is from.

10. Skulduggery Pleasant: Bedlam – Derek Landy

The 12th novel in the Skulduggery Pleasant series, Bedlam is a happy blend of humour, magic and adventure from horror and zombie film screenwriter turned children’s author Derek Landy. It’s a page turner with plenty of twists.

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