5 Books For More Confident 5 to 8-year-olds

Your reader is a bit more confident and you want them to start reading some longer books but they still need that safety net of repetition of language that a set of books can offer. Do you go down the Beastquest or Seaquest books by Adam Blade or the Fairy Magic books by Daisy Meadows?  In which case if they like them you might be reading them for the next 300 hundred years give or take a day or so as there are SO many of them. Did you know those authors don’t actually exist! The books are actually written by more than one author based on ideas created by the publishing group. They are definitely popular and anything that enables children to read for pleasure is a good thing but they are blatantly marketed along the Beastquest for boys and Fairy Magic for girls (although I once taught a brilliant boy who adored the Fairy Magic books and read them avidly). So if you want some other alternatives after your 25th book, here are some sets and I’m suggesting them for EVERYONE, girls and boys.

(We’ve included links to buy the books – they are mostly Amazon. They’re just to help you find the book – they’re not sponsored or affiliated, we don’t get any cash so feel free to buy your book wherever you like! In fact, why not post in the Mummy’s Gin Fund buy & sell group and see if you can get a second hand copy?)


Willow Valley series by Tracey Corderoy including stories like “The Great Egg Hunt”

Imagine if The Hobbit was just the bits in Hobbiton but instead of Hobbits the characters were a hedgehog, a mouse and a badger who are friends and their families. It’s basically The Sylvanian Families world in story form. Lovely pastoral scenery is described in beautiful detail and the series of 8 books takes you through the different events and seasons of the year. It’s the Animals of Farthing Wood without any peril, mild or otherwise. Buy it here.


Terry Deary’s Viking Tales including stories like “The Hand of The Viking Warrior”

Terry Deary who has entertained readers for years with his Horrible Histories non-fiction books, has written sets of stories: Viking Tales, Knights Tales, Tales from WW1 and Tales from WW2, which are based on historical events. In the Viking Tales books he also weaves in elements of Viking lore and mythology so your child may need a bit of help with the names but should enjoy the exciting, adventurous and funny elements of the stories. The Hand of the Viking Warrior tells the tale of how a brave Viking girl helps her village of farmers escape back to Greenland after they were under threat from attack in Vinland. The history graduate in me likes these books a lot! Buy it here.


Scarlet Silver series by Sarah McDonnell and Lucy Courtnay including stories like “The Impossible Island”

Scarlet Silver is the captain of the pirate ship 55 Ocean Drive that used to belong to her Grandma Long Joan Silver before she was eaten by a giant Shrimp. On board the ship are her parents, her little brother who has to use splints on his leg but adds all kind of gadgets to them to help him move about, her granddad and his best friend and her cat, budgie and her grandma’s old parrot Lipstick. Lipstick has learnt a special riddle which will lead them to treasure if they can only learn how to be proper pirates together and work out what the riddle means while trying to avoid the dastardly Gilbert Gauntlet. There are 6 books in the series and the stories are exciting, adventurous and funny with lots of interesting characters. Buy it here.


Dirty Bertie series created and illustrated by David Roberts and written by Alan MacDonald. There are 30 books including books like “Worms” which has 3 funny stories in it about Dirty Bertie, his family and friends.

The same team has also written a series of books entitled Angela Nicely about Dirty Bertie’s next door neighboour who Bertie likes to pretend he doesn’t enjoy spending time with but he doesn’t mind really as she’s not as proper as she appears to be at first. For all his disgusting habits like picking his nose, keeping a pet worm in his bedroom, loving helping the rubbish collector collect the rubbish from his bin, she still adores him. In the first story in “Worms” he is the only boy invited to Angela’s Pink party. He doesn’t want to go because he doesn’t want to have his friends laugh at him but ends up going as a worm and using face paints to turn Angela into a slug.  The short story format means that they are easy to  read and follow for children. Bertie is an endearing character despite his rather disgusting habits and the stories are funny as he gets himself into different scrapes and problems and tries to work out a way to get out of them. It’s a bit like Horrid Henry but he’s less Horrid. Buy it here.


The Anna Hibiscus Series by Atinuke including stories like “Go Well, Anna Hibiscus”.

Atinuke also has written a series of books about a boy who is “The No 1 Car Spotter” in Africa.

I first discovered Anna Hibiscus in a series of beautiful picture books about the little girl who lives in “Amazing Africa” with her extended family. The picture books were full of joy like the character of Anna Hibiscus herself and gave a fascinating glimpse of her life there. The chapter books take this further and are so evocative in creating Anna Hibiscus’ world. Through her eyes we see what it’s like to be a brave and kind little girl in a place of contrasts that differs in a number of ways from where we the readers live. In Go Well, Anna Hibiscus she is leaving her busy, noisy city home with some of her cousins to stay in the village in the bush that her grandparents were born in. There’s no room in the car so Anna and her older cousin must go on the bus by themselves, then they must take the long walk to the village, she has to be brave while she’s there to accept who she is and find a way to make friends so she’s not lonely. If you want your children to be world travellers this is the perfect way to do it without leaving home! Buy it here.


Our ‘5 Books’ Series:
Reading. We all know how important it is to do with our kids, but knowing where to start can be near impossible. Trying to make sense of all of the series and graphic novels and young readers and confident readers and picture books and board books and bath book and flap books… It can be enough to get you reaching for the TV remote instead. Luckily, some MGF mums (and even an honorary MGF son!) have been hard at work compiling lists of recommendations to take you through from the very early days, when books are glorified teethers, right up to when your kids are old enough to walk into a shop and choose for themselves.
Oh – and – whisper it – we’ve even snuck in some adult lists too. For those many hours you have to enjoy reading. Right? Well. Next time you have 10 minutes, at least you won’t have to spend it deciding what to read.



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Sharon is a 36-year-old new mum living in Herne Hill with her profoundly deaf husband Justin, disabled cat, Boo, rescue kitten, Ish and 10-week-old Elliott. She likes sleeping, caffeine, wine and chocolate. Before having a baby, Sharon worked in theatre as a stage manager and lecturer.