Best books for nine year olds

Best books for nine year olds
Ninja cats, lazy dragons, stolen jewels, talking china rabbits and a magical land hidden beneath King’s Cross Station make these books for nine year olds essential and exciting reading!

Varjak Paw by SF Said

(£6.99, Corgi Childrens)

High up in an old, crooked house on a hill lives Varjak Paw, a Mesopotamian Blue cat who has never left the confines of his home. When Elder Paw tells him about the Way – a secret martial art for cats – Varjak Paw’s world is turned upside down. One day, the Gentleman arrives and with him brings a group of strange, evil cats who attack Varjak and his family. Following an exciting, action-packed escape over the garden wall, Varjak finds himself in a city full of imposing cat gangs, loud, threatening dogs and unexplained, unsolved vanishings. It is now up to Varjak to learn how to use the Way and save his family, and the city, from the Gentleman. This is a full-throttle, lively story full of warmth, humour, dazzling fight scenes and a thoughtful message about finding yourself and having the courage to face your fears.

The Falcon’s Malteser by Anthony Horowitz

(£6.99, Walker Books)

When dodgy Johnny Naples entrusts hapless amateur Tim Diamond with a mysterious package, he’s making a huge error in judgement. Why? Because Tim Diamond is the world’s worst detective – clumsy, thoughtless and just a little bit silly! The very next day Naples winds up dead and every crook and thug in town seems to be out to get Tim and his brave, quick-thinking, younger brother Nick. Full of shady dealings, twists and turns, hilarious jokes, red herrings and shadowy gangsters, this story hurtles along and crackles with hilarious dialogue and wonderful action-packed set pieces. A diamond of a book!

The Eye of the Wolf by Daniel Pennac

(£6.99, Walker Books)

A young boy stands in the zoo, curiously watching a wolf. The wolf stares back, with a knowing sadness in his eyes. He has lost nearly everything in his journey to the zoo – an eye and the love and support of his pack. The boy, too, has seen many atrocities and suffered much pain in his journey from Africa. As they stand facing each other on either side of the wolf’s enclosure, they begin to tell their stories and discover that they have much in common. This is a complex story with a rich, multi-layered plot. The language itself is evocative and moving and it is interesting to view each side of the story from different perspectives. There is much to be said about displacement, loneliness, empathy and the importance of connecting with, and understanding, each other.

The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson

(£5.99, Macmillan Children's Books)

This book is ideal for lovers of Harry Potter, magic, strange creatures and faraway lands! Once every nine years, underneath Platform 13 at King’s Cross Station, something magical happens: a portal to a magical, magnificent island appears. Whilst the island is a beautiful place, it has known tragedy. Nine years ago, the kingdom’s Prince was kidnapped by the delightfully wicked Mrs Trottle. Now, four strangers (an ogre, a withered, old magician, a fey and a hag) must venture into our world and save the Prince. But does the Prince need saving? And who exactly is Ben, the Prince’s servant, and can he help? This is an exciting, moving story about mistaken identity, the power of magic and the wonder of friendship.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

(£6.99, Walker Books)

Please be aware that this story deals with the death of a main character and should therefore be approached with sensitivity.

This poignant, thrilling story follows the adventures of a snooty, intelligent and thoroughly arrogant china rabbit called Edward Tulane. He is the property of a young girl called Abilene, who loves him dearly. Edward, however, views everyone with disdain and indifference. However, on a voyage from New York to London, Edward falls overboard and from there finds himself on an amazing journey. He travels with tramps, works as a scarecrow, comforts a dying child... and finally learns what it means to truly love. This story is a poetic, beautiful tale about the transformational power of love. Whilst at times it is incredibly sad it is also a tender, hopeful, warm story which reminds us that everyone is deserving of, and capable of, love.

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

(£6.99, Hodder Children's Books)

Poor, pathetic Hiccup! Lumbered with a toothless, lazy dragon, he is a laughing stock – especially as his father is the tribe’s loud, brave leader! Hiccup must now train his hapless dragon in the hope that he might just pass the Dragon Initiation Programme. When a terrifying, ancient, monstrous Sea Dragon rises from the depths of the ocean and threatens to gobble up every Viking on the island of Berk, it is up to Hiccup and his dragon to save the day! This is a cracking read! It is hilarious and fast paced with short, easy to read chapters which are full of daft slapstick and exciting, action-packed scenes. The child-like drawings are sure to entertain and there’s a powerful message amongst all the silliness about bravery, friendship and never giving up.

Free Lance and the Lake of Skulls by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

(£6.99, Barrington Stoke)

Free Lance the knight loves life on the road. But the tournament season is now over, money is scarce and he has an injured shoulder. Accompanied by his faithful steed Jed, he finds himself in the murky, grey Badlands. When the snivelling, evil Lord big Nose sets him a challenge, the potential reward is too great to say no. Anyway, how difficult can travelling to the misty, spooky Lake of Skulls and retrieving an enchanted crown be? This highly-illustrated book is published by Barrington Stoke, so is super-readable and perfect for struggling, or reluctant, readers. It offers a brilliant mix of action, adventure, magic, danger and laugh-out-loud humour and is the first in a planned trilogy of fantasy adventures; children will certainly be eager to follow Free Lance on his next exciting mission.

Werewolf Club Rules!: and other poems by Joseph Coelho

(£6.99, Frances Lincoln Children's Books)

Sink your teeth into these deliciously funny poems! This new collection of poems really does have it all. There are rib-tickling poems about bugs, school, hotdogs, siblings and even aardvarks; there are also incredibly moving poems about a young boy who dresses like a rainbow, what it means to write and a father who teaches his son to play cards. These sparkling, fresh and witty poems are perfect for dipping into, reading quietly or performing out loud. Children will be howling with laughter – a real treat!

Krindlekrax by Philip Ridley

(£6.99, Puffin)

Please be aware that this story deals with the death of a main character and should therefore be approached with sensitivity.

Weedy, pathetic Ruskin lives along Lizard Street. He is terrorised daily by the local bully and constantly frustrated by his parents’ inability to make decisions and stand up for themselves. So the idea of Ruskin playing a brave knight in the school play and battling a fire-breathing dragon is laughable. Ruskin? Never! But lurking beneath the cracked, scorched pavements of Lizard Street is a frightening beast called Krindlekrax. When Krindlekrax is disturbed, a terrible family secret is revealed and Ruskin must use all his wit and bravery to save his family, his friends and his beloved home from the monster. This is a hilarious story that zips along at a frenetic pace. There’s a powerful message (heroes can come in all shapes and sizes) and children will thoroughly enjoy the cast of odd, amusing characters that populate Lizard Street.

The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo

(£6.99, HarperCollins Children's Books)

A majestic story which follows the relationship between a young boy called Bertie and an orphaned white lion cub. Predominately set on the African velds, Morpurgo touchingly chronicles the relationship between the boy and his beloved lion, a relationship which spans years and continents. When Bertie is sent to boarding school in England, the lion is sold to a circus. Will the two meet again? This is a touching, beautifully told classic that deals with war, love and loss. It sweeps the reader along and builds to a moving finale. Young readers will enjoy the warmth, cosiness, adventure and humour.