Older Readers 9-12

There's a wonderful mixed rattle bag of books for older readers to pack in their suitcases this summer. From talking to animals, rehabilitating mermaids or discovering a pack of very magic seeds, these books are all about different ways of seeing the world.


Bloom by Nicola Skinner HarperCollins £12.99 is a modern day Jack and the Beanstalk where some magic seeds cause some serious anarchy at school and at home. Sorrel is a very good girl who realises that sometimes wonderful things happen when you break the rules.

More chaos with The Secret Dragon by Ed Clarke Puffin £6.99 about a naughty dragon and a brave little girl. Where friendship and fossils meet with a very feisty heroine on a fun and pacey adventure story.

Evie has a very special superpower in Evie & the Animals by Matt Haig Canongate £12.99 this one was gobbled up in one sitting by our animal-loving 9 year old. This fabulous story takes the reader on a proper adventure with a brilliant baddie that calls for Evie to be herself and save the day.

A new exciting author makes her debut with Lampie & the Lighthouse by Annet Schaap Pushkin Press £12.99 this is an utterly beautifully written fantasy book with echoes of the Secret Garden about mermaids, grief and forgiveness.

It’s all about following your dreams with Lily and the Rockets by Rebecca Stevens Chicken House £6.99 in a perfectly captured story of football and girls set during WW1. A perfect historical novel not just for football fans.

Everyone should read No Ballet Shoes in Syria by Catherine Bruton Nosy Crow £6.99, it’s a modern day Ballet Shoes/When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. A beautifully pitched story about a young girl feeling from a war torn Aleppo who loves to dance, and ballet could be the way out. A vital book to remind us all that each and every refugee, asylum seeker and immigrant is a person with a story to tell and a life that we should help them live.

Jacqueline Wilson gives us a different sort of dancing with Dancing the Charleston - Doubleday £12.99. Set in the roaring 20s each page is packed full of atmosphere. It’s about making ends meet, bohemian aristocracy and another wonderful central character.

Can You See Me by Libby Scott and Rebecca Westcott Scholastic £6.99 is a moving and unforgettable book. Written in collaboration with 11 year old Libby (whose diary entries are based on her own experience with autism) and Rebecca Westcott tells the story of a family learning to live and understand autism, and it’s brilliant.

The True Colours of Coral Glen by Juliette Forrest Scholastic £6.99is an astonishing book painting a landscape both physically and metaphorically through different colour palettes, quite spooky and very sad at times this ultimately uplifting book is a delight.

Last of all, but top of the list is the glittering new book; The Good Thieves by Katherine Rundell Bloomsbury £12.99,another exceptional book from one of our favourite storytellers ever. It’s a showstopping heist glittering with New York City magic and wonder blazing with danger and bravery. Her best book yet.