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Exciting Autumn Reads for Ages 8-12

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As the summer nights make way for an autumnal chill, get cosy and snuggle up with one of our recommended Autumn reads – to be enjoyed alone, or even better, with the family. 

[Why not also check out our Autumn reads for 0-5, 5-8, and teens?]

Dragon Mountain by Katie & Kevin Tsang, published by Simon & Schuster

When 12-year-old Billy Chan finds out his parents are sending him to a summer camp in middle-of-nowhere China he doesn’t know what to expect. Then he meets fellow campers Dylan, Charlotte and Ling-Fei and together they stumble upon an age-old secret: four powerful warrior dragons, hidden deep within the mountain behind the camp. They have been trapped since an epic battle with the Dragon of Death and need the children’s help to set them free before terrible evil is unleashed on the earth. Billy and his friends must set off on a dangerous adventure that will take them to the heart of the Dragon Realm. But can they save the dragon and human worlds from destruction?

The Castle of Tangled Magic, by Sophie Anderson, illustrated by Saara Katariina Söderlund, published by Usborne

Magic awaits, all you have to do is believe…

When thirteen-year-old Olia, steps through a magical doorway, she discovers another land. A land tangled by magic, where hope is lost, and a scheming wizard holds all the power.

Soon Olia learns that she is destined to save this land, but with time running out and her new friends and family in danger, she must search for the magic within herself – to save everything and everyone she loves.

An enchanting fairy-tale adventure about the power of love and courage, from the bestselling author of The House with Chicken Legs and The Girl who Speaks Bear.

Kidnap on the California Comet by MG Leonard and Sam Sedgman illustrated by Elisa Paganelli, published by Macmillan Children’s Books

Board the California Comet and help Harrison Beck to solve another heart-stopping mystery in the second Adventures on Trains story from bestselling authors M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman.

After the excitement of his adventures aboard the Highland Falcon Thief, Harrison Beck can’t wait for the opportunity to go on another amazing train journey. So when his Uncle Nat invites him aboard the California Comet, the iconic three-day train journey from Chicago to San Francisco, he leaps at the chance to travel. But when the daughter of billionaire entrepreneur August Reza goes missing en route, Hal finds himself with another mystery to solve. Can he uncover the kidnapper before the journey’s end?

An adrenaline-fuelled journey across America from bestselling authors M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman in the second mystery adventure in the major Adventures on Trains series.

It’s OK Not to Be OK by Dr. Tina Rae, illustrated by Jessica Smith, published by QED Publishing

It’s OK not to be OK acknowledges and explores common mental health disorders such as depression, eating disorders and anxiety. Get the low down on these issues, why they happen and discover ways of looking after mental health in our fast-moving world.

Thor, by Benjamin Hulme-Cross, illustrated by Alessia Trunfio, published by Bloomsbury Education

Join Thor as he battles with frost giants, goes fishing for sea serpents, and tries to figure out who has stolen his hammer. With the trickster god Loki tagging along on his quests, Thor will not only have to squeeze into a wedding dress but also test his strength against a giant’s cat that’s so big he can’t reach its tummy, even on his tip toes. Thor may be the god of thunder but that won’t stop him from seeking trouble and adventure!

Thor is part of the High Low series which provides gripping, age-appropriate stories perfect for engaging readers whose reading age is lower than their actual age.  Thor has an interest age of 10+ and a reading age of 8+. Other titles in this series include King Arthur, Odysseus and Hercules.

Dare to Be You by Matthew Syed, published by Wren & Rook

What would you dare to try if you stopped worrying about fitting in?

If you’re the kind of person who thinks: I don’t like standing out from the crowd … I wish I could be more like the cool kids … There’s no point trying to change things … then this book is for you.

Because guess what? There’s no such thing as normal.

Drawing examples from sport, science and even business, Dare to Be You empowers young readers to follow their own path, love what makes them different and question the world around them. With You Are Awesome‘s trademark mix of hilarious text, stylish illustration, personal insights and inspiring real-life examples, including Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai, Matthew Syed introduces children to the power of diverse thinking.

When you stop doubting yourself, embrace change and let your kindness loose, you become your own action hero. This ground-breaking, practical and positive book will help kids develop the inner confidence to grow into happy adults who know – and, more importantly, LIKE – themselves.

Kay’s Anatomy by Adam Kay, published by Puffin Books

Publishing in hardback on 15th October.

The hilarious first children’s book from multi-million bestselling author Adam Kay, author of This is Going to Hurt.

Do you ever think about your body and how it all works? Like really properly think about it?

The human body is extraordinary and fascinating and, well… pretty weird. Yours is weird, mine is weird, your maths teacher’s is even weirder.

This book is going to tell you what’s actually going on in there, and answer the really important questions, like: Are bogeys safe to eat? Look, if your nose is going to all that effort of creating a snack, the least we can do is check out its nutritional value. (Yes, they’re safe. Chew away!)   

 And . . .How much of your life will you spend on the toilet? About a year – so bring a good book. (I recommend this one.)

The Infinite, by Patience Agbabi, published by Canongate

Leaplings, children born on the 29th of February, are very rare. Rarer still are Leaplings with The Gift – the ability to leap through time. Elle Bíbi-Imbelé Ifíè has The Gift, but she’s never used it. Until now.

On her twelfth birthday, Elle and her best friend Big Ben travel to the Time Squad Centre in 2048. Elle has received a mysterious warning from the future. Other Leaplings are disappearing in time – and not everyone at the centre can be trusted.

Soon Elle’s adventure becomes more than a race through time. It’s a race against time. She must fight to save the world as she knows it – before it ceases to exist . . .

A Clock of Stars: The Shadow Moth, by Francesca Gibbons, illustrated by Chris Riddell, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books

Imogen should be nice to her little sister Marie. She should be nice to her mum’s boyfriend too. And she certainly shouldn’t follow a strange silver moth through a door in a tree.
But then… who does what they’re told?

Followed by Marie, Imogen finds herself falling into a magical kingdom where the two sisters are swept up in a thrilling race against time – helped by the spoiled prince of the kingdom, a dancing bear, a very grumpy hunter… and even the stars above them.

Thrilling, sharply funny, and with characters you will fall in love with, A Clock of Stars is a timeless fantasy from an astonishing new voice.

Victoria Stitch: Bad and Glittering, written and illustrated by Harriet Muncaster published by Oxford University Press

Twins, Victoria Stitch and Celestine, are denied their royal birth-right. Celestine accepts the decision with good grace, but Victoria Stitch is consumed with her obsession for power.

#WorldBookDay
World Book Day is a charity funded by publishers and booksellers in the UK and Ireland.