Summer Reading 2019: Books for Kids Aged 8 – 12

22/05/19 | By Emma Gray

With summer holidays fast approaching some of us parents will be busy planning long-awaited trips to discover new countries or weekend excursions to visit far away family whom we only get to see once a year. For others, it's a time for researching the local holiday clubs or enrolling family and friends to entertain our children whilst we make a living.

Whatever your plans or the summer, be sure to include reading as part of your child's ongoing learning during the holiday months. According to Scholastic's biennial nationally representative survey of children aged 17 and under and their parents, while 77 percent agree that summer reading will help them, 20 percent report not reading any books AT ALL over the summer.

Reading at a young age has so many proven benefits, including:

Mental Stimulation

Stress Reduction

Increased Knowledge

Vocabulary Expansion

Memory Improvement

Improved Focus and Concentration

According to Scholastic's Kids and Reading Report UK, a major contender in the reason children didn't read as often as they could was not being able to find a book that interested them:

"...a majority of kids (68%) say they would read more if they could find more books they like."

When visits to the library do not fit into our busy lives, it's up to parents and indeed grandparents to hunt out the best story lines for our young readers. To make ti even simple, we've rounded up our latest and greatest reads for your children's Summer Reading List.

1.May's Moon by S.Y. Palmer

With the 2019 Summer Reading Challenge theme being 'Space Chase', this book is the perfect find for any space-loving, action-seeking tween!

Beating thousands of others, the geeky boy they call ‘Micky Moon’ at home, is one of ten children from around the world accepted onto the ‘Children’s Moon Program’ in Florida. If he can survive the g-force of a space-shuttle launch, overcome his secret fear of water and pass the other battery of tests, he could win a place on the next mission to the moon!


"The first chapter had me completely hooked and after about page ten I had my heart in my mouth."

Emily Dunn, A Festival of Books Bookshop

"...a terrifically entertaining read that will have a special attraction for young boys ages 9 to 12. Very highly recommended."

Midwest Book Reviews

2. Through the Uncrossable Boundary by Daniel Ingram-Brown

Discover the third and final installment of the greatly received Firebird Chronicles series!

Gigan Ticks foretell the end of time. The world is beginning to fade.
As the NIGHTMARE army advances, can Fletcher and Scoop cross the Threshold into our world?
Will they be able to reunite their creators, before they slip into oblivion?

Fletcher and Scoop are apprentice adventurers at Blotting's Academy, where all Story Characters are trained. Join them on their final feat as they discover the cost of crossing the Boundary in Daniel Ingram Brown's thrilling conclusion to the Firebird Chronicles.


"Take the first book's magic, the second book's adventure, and multiply them by 100... you've got a book that's bigger, bolder and even harder to put down than the last!"

Charlotte, Wonderfully Bookish

3. Melody's Unicorn by Richard Swan

Girls who love a little magic and adventure, will love the scenes set out in this MG title.

Melody is on a quest to discover her real identity and purpose when she encounters a dryad on Ealing Common! After hearing the dryad's prophecy, Melody's day becomes even stranger when she spots a unicorn in Oxford Street, and follows it into the mysterious Otherworld. Returning to the human world, further adventures finally lead Melody to Tower Bridge and a confrontation with a dragon...Melody's Unicorn is the first volume in a new children's fantasy trilogy which continues with Melody’s Dragon and Melody’s World.


"Melody’s Unicorn is just lovely. It took me back to my childhood when I loved to read about fairies, dragons, unicorns, and all of the other entities that we believe do not exist but secretly think they possibly do. Thoroughly enchanting! Melody’s Unicorn is definitely the type of book my bookish childhood self would have jumped on. And I have no qualms about saying how much I enjoyed it as an adult!"

Jade Hughes, From the Inside

4. Emma Oliver and the Song of Creation by Susan Elizabeth Hale

This charming tale teaches children the importance of our environment and the effect that we can have on it; both positive and negative.

Eleven-year-old Emma doesn’t know that she comes from generations of tree singers, passed from mother to daughter. She doesn’t believe she can sing.

Her ailing grandmother has just come to live with the family. Her father is hardly ever at home. Her mother has been acting strange. To add to Emma’s troubles, her mother’s great uncle from England is coming to stay. Then, a strange old woman wearing a hat full of feathers appears mysteriously in her garden. She gives Emma a white swan feather that emits a haunting melody.

Emma’s only solace is the oak tree in her garden, which she names Annie Oakley. What she does not yet know is that Annie is part of a network of tree spirits who disguise themselves as old women. These spirits have come to Peachtree City to help Emma remember her mission to sing the Song of Creation and save the Great Mother tree.


"A great tale for young readers and adults alike who want to feel close to nature. Colorful characters, good and bad, will keep you entertained and on your toes to the last page. It certainly makes me wish there were an Emma Oliver out there to keep our trees safe."

Annette Oppenlander, author of Escape from the Past series

5. Greta & Boris by Sian Norris

A darling tale of the lengths one girl will go for her furry friend.

Greta’s best friend is her cat Boris. However, little does she realise her bewhiskered buddy is actually the Prince of the Kingdom of Cats. So when he is kidnapped by the Rat King, a young warrior cat named Kyrie Mi-ke is sent to find Greta, and together they face a mystical and magical adventure to bring Boris home again.

Greta must face the challenge of the staircase of the autumn leaves; cross Cloud Top Land and the Milky Sea; end the war between the two tribes of mice and face the truth of the Millpond; before facing the Rat King himself.


"Greta and Boris is touching, exciting, cheeky and vivid, with wonderful characters, a strong narrative and sudden delightful details...Greta and Boris is billed as a children's novel but it is more of a tale or fable - a fast and picaresque vision quest in which a young hero finds her destiny and with it, of course, her inner strength, which she had all along."

Bidisha, journalist, broadcaster, film-maker

6. Emajen by Ashley Ledigo

A world wherein our doodles come alive... good & evil!

Emajen is a world, similar to Earth. Doodland is a world where all the sketches that human beings doodle spring to life. Crevitos is a cruel and beautiful Creation, with multi-world domination and devastation in mind. Two youngsters from Earth, Destiny and Anthony, become embroiled in a complex expedition to save Emajen from Crevitos’ tyranny and his growing army of almost invincible Creations.


"I was captivated from the start and look forward to reading ‘Emajen’ to my class; I have no doubt they will love it."

Jenny Goodfellow

7. Ghost Boy by Stafford Betty

A teenage boy must confront his unusual gift for seeing people that no one else can see...

Seventh grader Ben Conover sees people no one else can see. When he confides in his best friend, it's not long before smart phones start lighting up with text messages as the air cackles with gossip and he becomes known in school as the 'Ghost Boy'.

Home has become a battle ground between his Mum's acceptance and his Dad's disapproval. Ben desperately seeks his father's approval, and wants to be like a regular twelve-year-old. But he doesn't want to break free from his spirit friend, Abby, who shows up when he is in danger or about to do something wrong. She somehow guides him and he has grown very fond of her.

Will Ben's father accept his son's psychic gifts? Can he persuade his father that spirits are real and not just hallucinations? And who exactly is Abby?


"Wow! 5 stars. What a sweet book with so many lessons. Ghost Boy is a book that people with resound with for so many individual reasons. I am so glad I had the chance to read this book."

Lea Wyllie, Netgalley reviewer


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