14 books for the over 8’s, these School holidays

This month we are looking at books for older readers, those eight years and over.

There are lots of fantasy (mythical/magical) new books for this age group, many have sequels/prequels and have been adapted for the small screen. Many kids this age are dreamers, who believe that we can all be forces for good, so these authors have worked hard to give them wonderful stories for them to believe in! Many of these  books are also available in audio or Ebook formats.

The Foul Twins: Get What They Deserve

by Eoin Colfer, pub. by HarperCollins, p/b RRP$19.99 ages 10+

This book is a mixture of fantasy and comedy as the protagonist’s name implies — Lord Teddy Bleedhem-Drye! Lord Teddy has met with the Foul twins before in an earlier book and has vowed revenge for the humiliation they caused him. Using clones, magic and other weaponised and imaginative items, together Lord teddy and  the twins come to a ridiculous showdown in the ultimate battle. But is Lord teddy really dead? A lot of the story moves around, much of it in England, with mentions of places like the London Eye and the Thames river so it does help if the reader can follow these geographical movements.

The Marvellers

by Dhonielle Clayton, pub. by HarperCollins, p/b RRP$17.99 ages 8+

The Marvellers is another fantasy book for older readers and follows young girl Ella Durand, the first Conjurer in her family to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, where The Marvellers from all around the world, come together to practise their cultural arts.  Ella is excited to be going to this boarding school in the sky and to mix with other Marvellers and develop her special magical art. However, Ella is concerned when her favourite teacher vanishes on a research trip and a notorious criminal escapes from prison.

The Book of Stolen Dreams

By David Farr pub. by Usborne Books h/b RRP$19.99 ages 9+

Their father, a librarian has stolen a forbidden book— the Book of Stolen Dreams. Now he is in jail and his children Rachel and Robert are in danger and on the run to uncover the secrets and track down it’s mysterious missing page. It’s a race against time.

The Last Kids On Earth and the Doomsday Race

by Max Brallier, illus. by Douglas Holgate, pub. by HarperCollins p/b RRP$14.99 ages 8+

The Last Kids On Earth series continues the journey of Jack, Quint, June and Dirk and their hilarious meetings with zombies and monsters! These friends are on a road trip when they are side-tracked to a thriving monster city called Mallusc. Trying to prove his leadership skills Jack runs for Mayor of Mallusc and finds its not that easy! A mixture of magic and comedy, this series has been taken up by Netflix.

A Clock of Stars: Beyond the Mountains (#2)

by Francesca Gibbons, illus. by Chris Riddell, pub. by HarperCollins p/b RRP$17 99. ages 8+

Imogen and Marie return through the door in the tree to Yaroslav, but find a whole new Yaroslav, one that is more dangerous, especially for Marie.

Part of A Clock of Stars trilogy, this is a timeless fantasy in which the heroes face danger and mystery. Book 3 in the series due out late October 2022.

Gus and the Starlight

by Victoria Carless, pub imprint Angus & Robertson, p/b RRP$16.99 ages 9+

Gus, her siblings and their mother hurriedly depart one night from Troy’s house whilst he is at the pub. They sneak out wearing multi-layers of clothes from the Salvos, dragging their few suitcases to quickly load them into Troy’s car. Gus’s mother’s special gift for nightly ‘readings’ had been keeping them, but something had gone wrong, Troy was not happy and the little family was secretly moving on. Until they end up at the Starlight Drive-in Movie theatre.

Gus’s family is confusing and her life complex, always moving around and leaving unhappy situations. Gus falls in love with the ups and downs of her life at the Starlight.

Other suitable books for this age group:

Rebellions of the Lost: The World Between Blinks (#2)

by Amie Kaufman and Ryan Graudin. pub. by HarperCollins p/b RRP$16.99 ages 8+

Jake and Marisol return unexpectedly to the World where they find that nothing is left at as they found it.

Into the Sideways World

by Ross Welford, pub. by HarperCollins p/b RRP$14.99 ages 8+

Willa and Manny follow a mysterious animal into a cave and are swept into an alternate world. One where pollution and conflict were conquered decades ago. On return to their world, no-one believes the. With their world abut to plunge into war it’s a race against time for the cousins to prove what should be changed.

The Callers

by Kiah Thomas, pub. by HarperCollins p/b RRP$15.99 ages 8+

In the world of Elipsom, the ability to Call, or summon objects, is a coveted skill. And yet despite being born into a family of Callers, Quin doesn’t have the gift. But everything changes when instead of summoning an object, Quin makes something disappear. He quickly discovers that the objects Callers bring into their world aren’t conjured at all, but are taken from another land, and another people who have had their lives slowly stolen from them. Now Quin must team up with Allie, a girl who’s determined to stop this unjust practice, and decide whether he should remain loyal to his family or betray them-and save the world.

Ming & Flo: Fight for the Future (The Girls Who Changed the World)

by Jackie French, pub. by HarperCollins p/b RRP$16.99 ages 9+

Jackie French is one of our best-known writers with many adults and kids books to her name. Her new book about 12-yr-old Ming Qong follows on from earlier books about young girls doing heroic things and the use of mixing going back in time with the present day. Ming dream ends up in in the wrong place back in 1898 but she is determined to  try and make a difference.

The World Worst Pets

by David Walliams, pub. by HarperCollins h/b RRP$28.90 ages 8+

These ten tales of the world’s craziest creatures will have you shaking with laughter. You’ll never look at pets in the same way again! Good pets, bad pets, supervillain pets, pets as big as a house and pets that could eat you in one gulp – these are the most hilarious and horrendous animals around. This is the 6th book in the World’s Worst series (…Children…Teachers…Parents). David’s Gangsta Granny Strikes Again, is another recent book for a slighter younger age group

Seven Days

by Fleur Ferris, pub. by Penguin Books, p/b RRP$16.99 ages 9+

When Ben is dumped with his country relatives for the holidays, he starts counting down the days until it’s over, hating every second.  But Ben’s stay takes a sharp turn when he comes across his great-great grandfather’s journal – the final entry being from one hundred years ago, right after he was shot.

The Bravest Word

by Kate Foster, pub. by Walker Books p/b RRP$17.99 ages 10+

When eleven-year-old Matt Cliff, finds a hurt, neglected dog abandoned in the bush, he knows the brave little pup needs saving. He wants to help. But can he? Lately, Matt has had way more bad days than good days. The pieces of his life just don’t seem to fit together any more and he doesn’t understand why. He’s finding it impossible to concentrate at school and has lost interest in the activities he used to love. Plus, he’s tired all the time.

The Bravest Word is written in such a warm and knowing style that any person suffering even the slightest hint of anxiety or depression will instantly recognise their own feelings and be comforted. It is a riveting read. The author traces the path of the illness, the effects on Matt and his family and the impacts on schoolwork, sport and friendships with clarity.

Lastly, a Graphic novel for reluctant readers

We Run Tomorrow

by Nat Amoore, art by Mike Berry pub. Puffin Books p/b RRP$16.99 ages 8+

Sticks, Maki, Jed and Tommy live on Lockett street. They love the Screen Savers comic book series. But the adults in their lives start making decisions that could tear the four friends apart. Like boarding school for Jed and moving to a new house for Maki.

When they discover their favourite comic book series is being made into a blockbuster movie, they know what they have to do. Get to the audition on the Gold Coast. Get the parts. Stay together.

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joanna.love@childmags.com.au