Books for Year 3 – are you looking for a great book for the classroom, the school library or your child’s collection? The following list contains 40 short chapter books, more advanced picture books and rhyming verse to appeal to children aged 7-8 in lower Key Stage 2 of UK primary schools.
There is a range of recommended reads suitable for all ability ranges within this age group, including titles for both reluctant and more independent readers. In all our hand-picked lists, we feature books to appeal to a wide range of interests and situations, including classroom reading corners, school libraries, book clubs, learning at home, reading buddies and first free readers.
This list of Year 3 books and specific reading suggestions for their use with seven-year-olds is curated by our team of teachers and school librarians, is reviewed termly and includes stories by Lara Hawthorne, John Steptoe, Liz Flanagan, Roald Dahl, Zanib Mian, Dick King-Smith, Derek Keilty, Jon Scieszka, Andy Shepherd, Helen Cresswell and many more.
Books for Year 3 – our recommendations
Wildsmith: Into the Dark Forest by Liz Flanagan, illustrated by Joe Todd-Stanton
When war forces Rowan and her mother to escape their city home and seek refuge in the Dark Forest, little can she imagine the incredible new life with her Grandpa and his white wolf Arlo that will follow. Can she help to save baby dragons from dangerous poachers? With magic, excitement, adventure and a page-turning plot, this engrossing adventure will spark every child’s imagination.
Kate on the Case by Hannah Peck
Kate, a wannabe journalist, and her mouse companion Rupert set out to find out who is behind a sequence of bizarre happenings aboard a train. Can they find the thief before the train reaches the Arctic? This fast-paced, illustrated chapter book is suitable for independent readers or to group-read and discuss. It will also encourage children who are interested in writing and finding things out. Previously featured as a fiction book of the month.
Big Tree by Brian Selznick
Every page oozes awe and wonder in this illustrated hardback full of pictures and thought-provoking bursts of text. Louise and Merwin are two sycamore seeds searching for a new safe place. Their epic journey of adventure is a quest through Earth’s history, science and culture. This fast-paced, accessible and award-winning stunner is perfect for children interested in the natural world and how to change the world.
The Boy Who Grew Dragons by Andy Shepherd
A funny, heart-warming and captivating adventure about a boy whose dragon fruit from the tree in his garden begins hatching. He soon finds that caring for a small dragon is no easy task. And then more and more dragon fruits start to hatch… It’s perfect to read to your child or use as a Year 3 class reader.
Accidental Trouble Magnet by Zanib Mian
Omar is a boy with a vivid imagination, but he also worries about school, bullies and what his parents think of him. With ingenious ideas and creative thinking, he manages to make the best of every situation. According to the publisher’s blurb, you will laugh so loud that ‘snot will come out of your nose’. Just saying that might be enough to ensure your year 3 children will want to read it.
Diverse | Fantasy
The Nothing to See Here Hotel by Steven Butler
Young Frankie, and his family who run a hotel, are plunged into frantic action when they find out a particularly awkward guest is coming to stay. Nothing is quite good enough for the goblin prince Grogbah in this laugh-out-loud and magical page-turner that’s perfect for independent readers in year 3.
Funny | Fantasy
Angel on the Roof by Shirley Hughes
When a young boy called Lewis looks out of his window at Christmas, hoping someone will see him, he notices a strange feather floating from the sky. When he looks up he sees an angel on the roof who takes him on an incredible and heart-warming adventure. A timeless, magical and enchanting story that’s perfect to read at the end of the autumn term.
Enchantment | Fantasy
You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum! by Andy Stanton
Mr Gum is a delightfully nasty character who hates children, lives with a cantankerous fairy and maintains a perfect garden. The madcap, unlikely and achingly funny adventures will grab young readers’ attention. With short chapters, colourful descriptions and memorable language, this text is ideal for reluctant readers. Perfect for group reading, this is an excellent text to help year three pupils develop reading confidence.
Football Crazy by Tony Bradman
When a football legend arrives to coach Danny’s team, he and his friends Jamil and Lewis imagine record scorelines, endless winning streaks and football heaven. But the new coach doesn’t turn out to be exactly what they hoped for…
Sport | Funny
The Accidental Prime Minister by Tom McLaughlin
When schoolboy Joe’s video about how he would make the world a better place goes viral, he becomes very popular and very famous and ends up being – Prime Minister! Follow Joe’s funny journey in which he makes buses banana-shaped, cats have hats and trains have swimming pools. A great chapter book for more confident 7-year-old readers.
Flyntlock Bones – The Eye of Mogdrod by Derek Keilty
In the second Flyntlock Bones pirate escapade, the Black Hound’s crew faces dangerous northern pirates and a cat monster called Mogdrod in a fast-paced dialogue-driven illustrated adventure. With Norse-sounding characters such as Grethel and Egfart, and evocative locations such as Bog Island, Mugger’s Marsh and Lake Squelch, this is bound to be a hit with pupils in lower KS2.
Adventure | Pirates
This Bee is not Afraid of Me edited by Fran Long and Isabel Galleymore
This anthology of more than 40 poems suitable for KS2 children explores a myriad of different insects and how and where they live. Ants, beetles, butterflies, moths and ladybirds are featured. Cafe Six is a highlight – a perfect impetus for teaching poetry in lower KS2 – if you can stomach the edible creepy crawlies. For schools teaching minibeasts, or classes with access to outside space or a Forest School, this collection of poems will be a useful resource for cross-curricular topic teaching.
Small Worlds: Earth by Lara Hawthorne and Camilla De La Bedoyere
This spectacularly realised illustrated non-fiction guide to the micro-world of undergrowth, meadows, foliage, forest floors, caves and more, features eye-catching graphics and precise natural history and ecological observations. The language is refreshingly not dumbed down and there are over 70 card flaps with information on the creatures displayed. Lifting them reveals what they get up to and how they interact with the ecosystem. This book would make a wonderful present for a KS2 child interested in the natural world. Also in the series is Small Worlds: Water.
King Kong by Anthony Browne
The classic tale of the giant ape who falls in love with the beautiful Ann Darrow but finds himself locked up and held in captivity. When he escapes, chaos ensues in New York. This large-format book for year 3 pupils includes lots of stunning illustrations and will appeal to both able and reluctant readers in year three. There are lots of opportunities to ask questions and check whether readers can predict what might happen next. It is also ideal to read with your child at home.
Beast Quest by Adam Blade
A fast-paced and exciting series of books that are ideal for 7-year-old readers in lower KS2. Set in a fantasy land with dragons, wizards, good vs evil and strong heroes and heroines, these stories feature lots of twists and turns and will appeal to reluctant readers and they are a good starting point for encouraging children to read classic myths and legends in year 3.
Myths and legends
Leon and the Place Between by Angela McAllister and Grahame Baker-Smith
Perfect for group reading and ideas for creative writing, this lavishly illustrated picture book for older readers will stretch the creativity and language of year 3 readers. Leon finds out what happens to the rabbit which appears from a hat and where the magician’s assistant disappears – but can he find his way back from the ‘place between’?
The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson
A funny take on the abominable snowman legend. A boy and a girl hatch a plan to save a family of yetis from hunters, by hiding them in a bridal suite and a giant freezer lorry. A real page-turner with numerous twists, turns and cliffhangers, this is the perfect classroom year 3 book to read aloud.
Adventure | Funny
Ice Palace by Robert Swindells
An extremely fast-paced adventure that won’t leave the reader bored for a second. When the evil King of Winter kidnaps his younger brother, Ivan sets out on an epic and dangerous quest to get him back. A useful story for modelling action in creative writing. Ice Palace is a popular year thee class reading book, and ideal to spark creative writing ideas and character hot seating discussion.
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale by John Steptoe
A thoughtful picture book retelling of an African folk tale, set to dazzling illustrations. When the king decides to pick a new wife, Mufaro’s two daughters behave in very different ways – one unreasonable and aggressive, and the other with kindness and humility. A classic moral tale that is useful to discuss with year 3 pupils.
Folk tale | Diverse
Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne
A clever book that looks at the same story from different perspectives, this picture book is ideal to provoke discussion and debate. There are few words and complex, vibrant illustrations with lots of talking points, making it ideal for less confident 7 and 8-year-old readers.
The World According to Humphrey by Betty G. Birney
The hilarious adventures of Humphrey the Hamster, told by Humphrey and including Og the Frog and the bully Mean Martin Bean. This is a fun and engaging class reader for seven-year-olds that is particularly well-suited to mixed-ability classes.
Adventure | Animal
Harry the poisonous centipede by Lynne Reid Banks
Harry is a centipede who likes to eat things that wriggle and crackle. At the start of the story, he’s shy, but increasingly he becomes braver. Will his bravery get the better of him and lead him into danger? A good text for group reading to help challenge less able seven-year-olds, and one of a series of enjoyable year 3 books.
StoryWorlds: A Moment in Time: A Perpetual Picture Atlas by Thomas Hegbrook
A picture book with few words, this book will appeal to imaginative but reluctant readers. This book explores one single moment in time across many strikingly different locations and situations so the reader can compare what is happening in the world all at the same time. The book folds out to allow a child to read any part without having to start at the beginning or reach the end.
Non fiction | Diverse
The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
A clever picture book that will appeal to both reluctant and more able readers. Examining thought-provoking and complex themes of bullying and loneliness, this text is ideal for PSHE lessons and Y3 book group discussions.
Self-help | Resilience
Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
When a pinboard falls on top of Stanley he is left completely flattened. Sent to America in an envelope will he be able to unflatten himself? A good story for dyslexic readers and an ideal book for year 3 pupils.
Funny | Adventure
The Secret World of Polly Flint by Helen Cresswell
The imaginative story of Polly Flint who can see things other children cannot, including a village and its inhabitants which disappeared long ago. The rich language and ghostly atmospheric settings are ideal for teachers to model and help children develop and explore their own creative writing.
Mystery | Horror
Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl
The timeless story of Mr Fox and how he cunningly outwits the nasty farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean. This is a fun, and engaging text for seven-year-olds that is well-suited for helping develop inference and prediction skills. It’s also a good choice to read with your year three-aged child or use for guided reading with small groups where greater depth children can discuss and ask questions about the vivid and unforgettable characters.
Adventure | Animal
The Magic Finger by Roald Dahl
When Lucy gets upset she uses her “Magic Finger” and points it at the person who has upset her. Real magic turns her teacher into a cat and Lucy swears never to use her finger again. Until… An ideal book for class reading in year three.
Funny | Fantasy
Willa and Old Miss Annie by Berlie Doherty
When she moves with her parents to a new home, Willa thinks she’ll never have friends again. That is until she meets Old Miss Annie, a lonely goat, a forgotten pony, and an orphaned fox. This is an ideal text for seven-year-olds who are interested in animals.
Classic | Animal
My Naughty Little Sister by Dorothy Edwards
A story about possibly the naughtiest little sister in the world. She digs up the garden, eats all of the trifle, doesn’t like Father Christmas and causes chaos all around her. This is an anarchic and fun book for year three children to read over the holiday period.
Funny | Realistic fiction
The Diary of a Killer Cat by Anne Fine
Ellie is shocked to find out her pet cat is a killer. Tuffy brings home a dead bird, then a mouse, and then more victims. Can Ellie stop him? A very funny story. A must-read chapter book for seven-year-olds and a great introduction to Anne Fine’s short chapter novels.
Animal | Autobiography
The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame
A boy finds a dragon in a cave and he believes it is harmless and friendly, but how can he convince the frightened villagers and, St. George, the famous dragon killer? A great fun storybook to read around the class in year 3.
The Charlie Moon Collection by Shirley Hughes
Charlie manages to get himself into all sorts of trouble. His seaside summer trip turns into a missing jewellery mystery with burglars. A ripping yarn for seven-year-olds, this is a perfect text for taking on holiday.
All Because of Jackson by Dick King-Smith
Jackson is an odd rabbit. He stands most days watching ships sail by and he longs to be on one of those ships. One day he boards one of the ships and sets out on an adventure. A modern classic, and a great introduction for seven-year-olds to the extensive canon of Dick King-Smith children’s books.
Animal | Adventure
The Orchard Book of First Greek Myths by Saviour Pirotta
A perfect illustrated primer of Greek Myths. This book includes Theseus and the Minotaur, Odysseus, Pandora, King Midas and more. The year 3 book of myths is a perfect age-appropriate introduction to these classic stories, and also serves as a useful impetus for creative writing.
Winnie-the-Pooh Collection by A. A. Milne
Classic stories about perhaps the world’s most famous fictional bear. Including what happens when Pooh goes visiting and Piglet meets a Heffalump, the story of when Eeyore loses his tail and Pooh finds one, and many others.
Classic | Short stories | Animal
Mrs Pepperpot Stories by Alf Proysen
Mrs Pepperpot has a secret – she can shrink to the size of a pepperpot – and when she does she can talk to animals. This imaginative text can provide a good starting point for creative writing, particularly when looking at settings and character descriptions with younger children.
Short stories | Animal
The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark by Jill Tomlinson
A young owl, called Plop, is afraid of the dark – something which makes his life more than a little difficult. An ideal text for less able and reluctant readers – and a good choice for focused year 3 book groups.
Classic | Animal
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
Fearless Pippi Longstocking is scared of nothing. She’ll wrestle a circus strongman, dance the polka with burglars, and tug a bull’s tail! A great story to help challenge stereotypes, this is a highly recommended book for year 3 children to read aloud.
Classic | Realistic fiction
The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
If you thought you knew the story of the Three Little Pigs, think again! This is the real story, told by the Wolf himself. A great year 3 book option to encourage children’s thinking skills and help children to develop more interesting plots, twists and cliffhangers in their creative writing.
It Was a Dark and Stormy Night by Janet Ahlberg
A young boy has been kidnapped by thieves. He stays alive by telling them incredible stories while planning his escape from a cave. An atmospheric book for reading at home with your year 3 child or for exploring fears and anxiety in PSHE lessons, this is a book to treasure.
Classic | Adventure
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
A clever and emotive story about a boy who takes too much from a tree that gives too much. With sparse language and clever wordplay, this is a good text to explore in lower KS2 literacy lessons. Very useful for discussing the concepts of giving and sharing, this is an ideal book to use in PSHE with Year 3.
Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
A tale of love and belonging. Max – eight – decides to dress up as a wolf, and enters a world of wild things in which he becomes the ruler. A good year 3 book choice to inspire imaginative writing.
Oxford Primary Dictionary by Susan Rennie
Ideal for children new to Key Stage 2, this dictionary includes 608 pages packed with age-appropriate definitions. It also features children’s book settings and character quotes, cross-curricular words and plenty of practical help with learning dictionary skills. At the back of the book are links to internet-based and downloadable curriculum activities on the publisher’s website that teachers and parents will find useful.
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Books for year 3 video
Below is a video featuring all our Year 3 book choices in a quick-to-view five-minute-long movie which can be used in CPD training, class assemblies, parent/teacher meetings, and shared for online learning or social and professional networks.
How many Year 3 books have you read?
Here’s a free background wallpaper of our recommended year 3 books list to use on your classroom computer
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Books for Year 3 – what titles to recommend to children
In year 3, most children begin the school year aged seven and turn eight before the beginning of the next school year the following September.
Year three is the start of Key Stage 2, which might also be known as juniors in some primary schools, or ‘prep’ in some independent schools. This is the start of the final four years of primary education. In year 3 pupils will be introduced to more discrete academic subjects which might be taught by subject specialists, for example in music or PE.
What books should children be reading in year 3?
Most children will be reading a mixture of short chapter books, more detailed and thought-provoking picture books, and a range of non-fiction and reference. Teachers will often introduce poetry anthologies and playscripts in year three literacy lessons. By the end of year three, most pupils will have moved away from structured reading schemes, although some will still benefit from the support and repetition these books can provide.
How to pick books for year 3 children
Many children at this age are more likely to read a book if they have chosen it themselves. Exposing children to reading material and encouraging them to explore books is often a good strategy to maintain reading motivation. A well-curated Year 3 reading list will prove beneficial. Libraries, both at school and at home, bookshops, book tokens, children’s literature events, book signings, book fairs at school and talking about which books you liked to read as a child are all good places to start.
What level or reading age are children in year 3?
Most children should be looking at books banded by publishers for ‘7-9-year-olds’. While some children might be able to decode the text in stories written for older children, the subject matter and themes might not be appropriate for empathy or understanding. At the beginning of KS2, children should be exploring which books interest them, by choosing books independently and developing a love of literature. Helpful and encouraging reading suggestions, and exposing children to new material which they can pick from is often more effective than dictating which books must be read.
How can I help my 7-year-old child to improve their reading?
A daily routine of reading at home during term time and the holidays is essential for seven and eight-year-old children. 15-20 minutes spent reading with your child, or to your child, or listening to your child read will pay huge dividends in the long term. Some children respond well to a structure and timetable for reading, but for others, a set block of time might not be productive. Try to take advantage of reading opportunities as they arise. This might be reading a leaflet, letter or children’s magazine, it could be reading and explaining a sign or notice or a recipe, or it might be helping read a bedtime story to a younger sibling. When you listen to your child read, ask them questions about what has happened, how they feel about the story and characters, and what they think will happen next.
It’s best to encourage your child to read for pleasure and help them find books that interest them. Try to avoid logging the exact time spent reading, or how many pages have been read each day – reading logs and journals can be demoralizing for children, particularly if they find reading a challenge. Instead try to focus on finding new and exciting authors, and texts about subjects they find interesting or which can be explored further by visiting places, researching online, or engaging in hobbies or activities.
What do children learn about in Year 3?
Many pupils will study the Stone Age, the ancient worlds of the Romans, Ancient Greeks and Egyptians; and in science, minibeasts, rocks, earthquakes & volcanoes, light, sound, healthy eating and the human body are often taught as topics in lessons. Children will begin to plan and build projects in design and create artwork using different techniques and media. In maths, they will be introduced to geometry and data, including different shapes, areas and perimeters, collecting data and creating simple graphs and charts. Developing personalised Year 3 booklists that explore these topics can help boost your child’s confidence and learning at school.
Can a 7-year-old read Harry Potter?
This is a very popular question! While some seven and eight-year-olds may well be able to read the words aloud, most children in year 3 will find comprehending the characters and storyline too challenging. We think Harry Potter is better suited for children aged 9+.
Click for more children’s reading book recommendations – Picture books to read before you are 5 years old | Reception books | Year 1 books | Year 2 books | Year 3 books (this page) | Year 4 books | Year 5 books | Year 6 books | Topic books | KS3 books
For more challenging reading material, try our books for Year 4 reading list.