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The 50 Best Books for 7- and 8-Year-Olds

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At seven and eight, children can concentrate for longer periods of time and are developing strong interests. It’s a significant time of growth for a child’s reading life, too. Children gain better comprehension skills, vocabulary, reading strategies, and confidence. All this happens when kids are immersed in books. Every day. For sustained periods of time.

That being said, this is also a time when learning differences show up. If your child is not improving in reading, it’s important to determine why and get help. Public schools can evaluate your child for free, or you can get a private evaluation from an independent psychologist.

As with most skills, practice makes better. We want our 7- and 8-year-olds reading books that are just right for their reading level  and that they love.

So, what books will keep your children reading voraciously? Brightly’s panel of experts (including Denver mom Melissa Taylor) collaborated to find the 50 best books for 7- and 8-year-olds — great books that will spark their interest and keep them engaged.

Heading out to your local library or bookstore? You can download the full version of the list here. Also, don’t miss our previous post The 50 Best Books for 5- and 6-Year-Olds.


Picture Books

Not just for little kids, picture books provide elementary-age children with meaningful illustrated stories that build background knowledge, improve vocabulary, teach valuable lessons, and inspire imagination. Try our favorite picture book selections for the 7- and 8-year-old crowd. We think your kids will love them.

Squids Will Be Squids by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith

Actual Size by Steve Jenkins

Exclamation Mark by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Maps by Mizielińska and Daniel Mizieliński

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett, illustrated by Matt Myers

Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote by Duncan Tonatiuh

Firefly July edited by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Ordinary People Change the World Series by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos

Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi, illustrated by Bethany Hegedus

Beginning Chapter Books

Beginning chapter books are the next step after early readers and a big deal for kids. Chapter books signify to kids that they’re becoming a “grown-up” reader. Celebrate this stage when it comes, but make sure your children are ready are ready for it. (Use the 5-Finger Test to help.)

Dragonbreath by Usurla Vernon

The Adventures of Nanny Piggens by R.A. Spratt, illustrated by Dan Santat

Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke, illustrated by Lauren Tobia

The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney

Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin

Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel

A Horn for Louis by Eric A. Kimmel

The Haunted Library #1 by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Aurore Damant

My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish by Mo O’Hara, illustrated by Marek Jagucki

Rickshaw Girl by Mitali Perkins, illustrated by Jamie Hogan

The Great Cake Mystery: Precious Ramotswe’s Very First Case by Alexander McCall Smith, illustrated by Iain McIntosh

Lola Levine Is Not Mean! by Monica Brown, illustrated by Angela Dominguez

My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett, illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett

The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin

Over My Dead Body (43 Old Cemetery Road) by Kate Klise, illustrated by M. Sarah Klise

Next Level Chapter Books

When your child breezes through beginning chapter books, it’s time to move on to harder selections. Books like the ones below will provide just enough of a challenge to encourage reading growth and develop literacy. Plus, they’re all excellent, kid-favorite choices.

Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake

Weird But True Series by National Geographic

Fairest of All (Whatever After, Book #1) by Sarah Mlynowski

Who Was…? Series by various authors

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar, illustrated by Adam McCauley

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

I Survived Series by Lauren Tarshis

The Sasquatch Escape (The Imaginary Veterinarian, Book #1) by Suzanne Selfors, illustrated by Dan Santat

Toys Go Out by Emily Jenkins, illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams

Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary, illustrated by Jacqueline Rogers

Jenny and the Cat Club by Esther Averill

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke


More Challenging Books to Share with an Adult

Even books that are challenging for kids to read independently can be perfect for reading aloud. That’s because a child’s auditory comprehension is always a bit higher than their reading comprehension. Any of the books in this section can be shared at bedtime, in the classroom, or as an audiobook in the car.

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O’Brien, illustrated by Zena Bernstein

D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri d’Aulaire and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by Patricia Castelao

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Holes by Louis Sachar

The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall


Get the printable version of the list!

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