Books for Year 4 – picked by highly qualified and experienced librarians and teachers, all the recommended reads for 8-9-year-olds in our Year 4 list have been carefully road-tested in schools across the country. Browse hilarious stories, adventures, mysteries, terrifying tales, stories to fire the imagination and engaging narrative non-fiction in our experts’ selection of 45 books. We’ve selected a diverse range of titles to appeal to children of all reading abilities, with contemporary and classic children’s stories and engaging short-chapter books for whole-class reading. This list of books is reviewed termly and includes titles by S.F Said, Malorie Blackman, Morris Gleitzman, Cressida Cowell, Tola Okogwu, Gillian Cross, Jenny McLachlan, Kate Wilkinson, Matt Cherry, Roald Dahl and more.
Books for Year 4 – our recommendations
Cosima Unfortunate Steals A Star by Laura Noakes
After a life in the Home for Unfortunate Girls, being adopted by Lord Francis Fitzroy should feel like winning the lottery. But Cosima smells a rat and fears for her safety and that of her friends Pearl, Mary and Diya. Soon they are drawn into a fast-paced plot to steal the Star Diamond of India and a mystery that might reveal the fate of her parents. An inclusive, accessible and gripping read.
The Wonder Brothers by Frank Cottrell Boyce
When Blackpool Tower disappears, Nathan and Middy – The Wonder Brothers – begin a roller-coaster quest to bring it back. Travelling to Las Vegas they encounter the legendary magician Perplexion in this gripping, funny and well-plotted chapter book that explores magic, illusion, and the unexpected. With diverse accents, wonderful illustrations and relatable child character narration, this is an ideal class reading book for year 4 children. Highly recommended.
Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun by Tola Okogwu
Oneyka’s hair doesn’t just make people stop and look, but it gives her supernatural powers. Can she harness her gift and become the superhero she’s destined to be? Only the Academy of the Sun can teach her, and other Solari children, what she needs to know. A cracking magical fantasy adventure set in Nigeria.
Superhero adventure | Diverse
The Curio Collectors by Eloise Williams
When Lily is conned into parting with money in exchange for a seemingly worthless junk, instead she discovers a piece of scrimshaw that changes everything. Flora Meriweather wants to use it to find out more about her late mother, but someone else wants to make sure the past is kept a secret. This memorable and convincing historical mystery will appeal to less confident readers.
The Land of Roar by Jenny McLachlan
When Arthur’s grandad disappears, Arthur searches the attic thinking it’s a trick. But soon he realises that he’s slipped through a folding bed and into the Land of Roar. This wonderfully imaginative and immersive fantasy story will draw in and grip 8-9-year-olds with a perfect blend of magic, mythical creatures, adventurous heroism and unbreakable friendships. A modern classic, this is an ideal class reading book for year 4 children.
Fantasy | Diverse
The Monster Spotter’s Handbook by Matt Cherry
When 11-year-old Edwin receives a strange handbook, he learns that he is the last and only person alive who can catch Monsters. And so begins a unique and illustrated commentary of his page-turning adventures. With the Bogsplotter, the frozen Yomp, an Oober Beast and mention of a snot-filled Platypus, children aged 8 upwards will not need to be persuaded to read this. Our prediction – The Monster Spotter’s Handbook will be a runaway hit in your school library and one that readers may well devour in one sitting.
Adventure | Funny
Edie and the Box of Flits by Kate Wilkinson
When Edie finds an unclaimed box at the Lost Property Office, she could never have anticipated what might be inside. Opening it, she discovers strange and wonderful creatures – the Flits – and they need Edie’s help, fast. This sparkling and heartwarming adventure story with a fast-paced plot will keep readers in year 4 gripped from beginning to end.
Desirable by Frank Cottrell Boyce
This is a funny story about George, a boy who is somewhat unpopular at school. At first, when George receives an old bottle of aftershave from a relative for his birthday, he is disappointed. But then, he’s stunned to find the aftershave in the bottle changes his life and makes everyone like him! A clever modern fable for more worldly-wise children, this short chapter book will appeal to year four pupils who enjoy school-based stories.
Realistic fiction | Fable | Diverse | Fable
Varjak Paw by SF Said
When Varkjak Paw, an exotic blue cat, listens to his grandfather tell him the mysterious ways of secret ninja cats, he soon finds himself thrust into a world of strange events and dangerous adventures. A modern classic animal story, this is a great book for group reading in year 4.
My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons
A prize-winning story about Luke who goes off to the toilet only to return and find his brother has been turned into a superhero by a passing alien. A very funny page-turner which is ideal for year 4 pupils to read at home.
Funny | Science fiction
There’s a Werewolf in My Tent by Pamela Butchart
When a group of friends decide to camp out they think it’s all going to be marshmallows and staying up late. But then the peculiar noises start, things go missing, a full moon comes out and there’s suddenly something very hairy in their midst. One of an extensive series of fast-paced and funny year 4 books, this is a great starting point to get your nine-year-old hooked on reading for pleasure.
Funny | Adventure
The 13 Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths
A cartoon-illustrated story about the most amazing treehouse ever. Secret science labs, catapults, and a clever marshmallow machine are just some of the unexpected things found inside. Great for reluctant readers, many eight and nine-year-olds will read this comic-style graphic novel in one sitting.
Funny | Graphic novel
Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor by Jon Scieszka
A funny and clever story about Frank Einstein, who likes to take things apart and put them back together again in new and interesting ways. A great book for children interested in science, contraptions and making things. With detailed illustrations by Brian Biggs, this is the perfect year 4 reading list text for children who are interested in STEM.
Realistic fiction | STEM
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
The spellbinding journey of Edward Tulane – a toy rabbit – who falls from a train and lives with tramps, a scarecrow and a dying child. A heart-warming, but sad, ending. With a wide-ranging appeal and relatable characters, this is a great reading option for year 4 classes.
Operation Gadgetman! by Malorie Blackman
Beans calls her dad ‘Gadgetman’ because of the amazing gadgets he invents – everything from exploding biscuits to Spy Kits. With crazy inventions, mysteries to solve and fast-paced action, this will be a popular addition to your year 4 book corner.
The Children of Green Knowe by Lucy M. Boston
Tolly comes to live with his great-grandmother at the old house of Green Knowe and makes friends with three children who lived there three hundred years ago… A gripping and atmospheric ghost story and one that’s spellbinding to read aloud to a class near Halloween or to share and review in a year 4 book club.
Horror | Classic
How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
Follow the adventures of Hiccup and friends in Viking times, as they train dragons to be fantastical pets. With twists, great characters and lots of humour this is an imaginative and engrossing group reader for Year 4. Read our full review
Fantasy | Funny
Lizzie Dripping by Helen Cresswell
Everyone in the small village where Lizzie lives considers her to be a daydreamer – so it’s no surprise that no one believes her when she says she’s seen a witch. Soon, however, they will change their minds. A powerful suspense story for year four pupils, this text is a useful impetus for atmospheric creative writing.
The Great Elephant Chase by Gillian Cross
When the elephant came to town, Tad and Cissie went to the show like everyone else. Little did they know it would change their lives forever. A perfect group reader book for year 4 pupils, especially those who enjoy animal and family stories.
The Twits by Roald Dahl
Mr and Mrs Twit are the most unpleasant couple in the world. They like playing mean jokes and making their pet monkeys, the Muggle-Wumps, stand on their heads all day. But the Muggle-Wumps have had enough and now they want revenge… A page-turning and laugh-out-loud story that is ideal for less able readers in year 4.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Charlie Bucket loves chocolate. And Mr Willy Wonka, the most amazing inventor in the world, is opening the gates of his amazing chocolate factory to five lucky children. It’s the prize of a lifetime and Charlie wants to win it. This classic story works well as a class novel, as a book to read and share at home, and also as a text to read chapter by chapter to a year four class at the end of the school day.
Fantasy | Family
The Sheep-pig by Dick King-Smith
When Babe is won at a fair by Farmer Hogget, he is adopted by Fly, the kind-hearted sheepdog. Babe knows he can’t be a sheepdog but maybe he might become a Sheep-Pig. With friendship, empathy, classic storytelling and a great ending, this is a useful group reading option text for year 4 pupils.
Toad Rage by Morris Gleitzman
Limpy’s family don’t think humans hate toads, but Limpy knows otherwise. He’s spotted the signs: the stares, the nasty comments and the way they squash toads with their cars… This anarchically funny story about non-conforming toads will appeal to children who have a dry sense of humour and enjoy reading about absurd and funny situations. A useful chapter book that will appear to able, but reluctant, readers in year four.
Animal | Funny
The Last Castaways by Harry Horse
The adventures of Grandfather and his dog Roo on the good ship ‘Unsinkable’ include voyages to find the Door to the Sea, the entranceway to the Forgotten Sea, and the Great Cod Bank. The classic sea fairing tale of adventure is one that will keep 8-year-olds gripped all the way to the end.
Classic | Adventure
The Falcon’s Malteser by Anthony Horowitz
The first book in the Diamond Brothers series. When a lot of money is left in the hands of Tim Diamond, he suddenly has every criminal looking for him. This series is ideal to add to your collection of year four books.
The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo
A young boy runs away from a boarding school and he meets an old woman who tells him the story of Bertie and the butterfly lion. In Africa, Bertie rescued a white lion cub but was forced to leave it behind when he went to boarding school. The lion was sold to a circus but Bertie promised to find it one day. It’s engrossing reading for year 4 children. Read our full review.
The House That Sailed Away by Pat Hutchins
Grandma, Mother, Father, Morgan, the baby and Tailcat find themselves thrown into the strangest adventures when their house floats off down the street. A traditional and fulfilling playscript to perform for year 4 pupils, and a story that offers much in the way of imaginative ideas for individual writing.
Fairy Tales by Terry Jones
Thirty new fairy tales with a modern twist by Monty Python member Terry Jones. With rich language, great illustrations and well-written endings, these are ideal short stories for group reading, literacy units on fairy tales and as texts for modelling. It’s also a useful and high-interest book for year 4 pupils to read around the class.
The Hodgeheg by Dick King-Smith
Max the hedgehog lives with his family on the wrong side of the road from the Park. And it’s in the park that there’s a lily pond paradise with fabulous gourmet slugs that he salivates over just thinking about. A great animal story for eight-year-olds, this chapter book is crammed with humour, empathy, fast-paced action and relatable characters.
The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
Mildred Hubble is possibly the worst witch at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches. She can’t fly her broom, command her kitten, or make the right spells. This is a great series of fast-paced and funny books to get year four children hooked on reading for pleasure.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
When Wilbur the pig is in danger of being slaughtered and eaten by the farmer, Charlotte the spider writes messages about Wilbur to stun the farmer into letting him live. Perfect to read with less confident readers, this classic children’s literature novel is also a staple class text for Year 4.
The Way to Sattin Shore by Philippa Pearce
When her father’s name vanishes from a tombstone in the graveyard, Kate is thrown into a mystery. Is her father really dead? An atmospheric and moving short chapter book, this text will appeal to greater depth and more advanced readers in year four.
The Firework Maker’s Daughter by Philip Pullman
A long time ago lived a firework-maker named Lalchand and his daughter, Lila. Lila knows almost everything about fireworks, but there’s one secret her father hasn’t yet told her. An ideal book for year 4 group reading and the perfect impetus for modelling the writing of story settings, descriptions and dialogue.
Historical fiction | Fairy tale
The Suitcase Kid by Jacqueline Wilson
Andrea West is living out of her suitcase because her parents have divorced and she really doesn’t want to move home. Dealing with complex issues including living with stepparents, parental break-ups and feeling unsettled, this is a powerful, yet humorous examination of family life. It’s also a great book to discuss and hot seat in year 4 book clubs.
George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl
George’s Grandma is horrible and ugly with a small puckered mouth that’s like a dog’s bottom. In this outrageously funny story packed with humourous situations and memorable characters, George decides to poison her. A great book to read aloud to or with year 4 children.
Family | Funny
Cliffhanger by Jacqueline Wilson
When unsporty Tim goes on an adventure holiday, he tries canoeing and rock climbing and finds out that he is braver than he realised. Can he help his team become champions even though he hates sports and competition? Jam-packed with action, twists, turns and cliffhangers, this high-interest illustrated short chapter book – which is part of a series – will appeal to reluctant readers. It’s also ideal for guided reading groups in year four.
The Invisible Dog by Dick King-Smith
When her parents can’t afford a dog, Janie invents one – Henry, an invisible Great Dane. When, one day, the family gets a real dog, he’s just like the one she imagined. Is it just a coincidence, or does Janie’s mysterious neighbour with a black cat have something to do with it? This short chapter book is a cracking read, with great dialogue and relatable characters and it’s perfect for discussion in Year 4 book clubs and reading groups.
The Battle of Bubble and Squeak by Philippa Pearce
When Sid’s mother discovers that he, Amy and Peggy have a pair of gerbils – Bubble and Squeak – she is not at all impressed and wants them gone. But Sid has other ideas and a war of words is on the horizon. Will Sid find a way to keep the new pets? A more challenging story that will present pupils with new words to read and look up, this is a high-quality text that lends itself to literacy teaching. In particular, the dialogue, description and characterisation are suitable for modelling, and there are lots of opportunities to develop pupils’ creative writing when using this children’s novel as part of a year 4 literacy unit.
Animal | Adventure
Give Peas A Chance by Morris Gleitzman
14 extremely funny short stories, including ‘Surprise Your Mum with a Chainsaw’, ‘Be a Bigger Star Than Tom Cruise’, ‘Rescue Your Family with a Tomato’, ‘Send your Dad into a Panic with a Tractor’, and ‘Upset your Auntie with Ten Kilos of Chocolate’. Perfect for group reading and an ideal addition to a classroom library of books for Year 4.
The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips by Michael Morpurgo
Lizzy and her family have to move out of their home, and her beloved cat, Tips, goes missing. Lizzy explores the danger zone to try to find her. A compelling animal story that is ideal to share with siblings, or in mixed-aged paired reading, this will be a popular book for year 4 readers.
Awful End by Philip Ardagh
Eddie’s parents fall horribly ill with a disease that leaves them yellow, smelly and wrinkled. He’s sent to live with his mad relatives at Awful End. Will he ever get there? A fun and lively book for Year 4 children.
Wilf the Mighty Worrier Saves the World by Georgia Pritchett
Wilf worries about everything – plush toys, peanut butter, the man next door – but then he has to contend with Alan, the Evil Lunatic. Can Wilf save the day? A great book for less confident readers in Year 4.
Realistic fiction | Funny
The Yearling by Marjorie Rawlings
Living a bleak country life, young Jody adopts an abandoned fawn, which transforms his every moment – until the day comes when they must finally part. A classic story of loyalty and friendship, this is a book that will appeal to all children who love animals.
Oxford School Dictionary by Oxford Dictionaries
Including over 800 pages of clearly organised words this well-organised dictionary includes writing and spelling tips. There are also STEM and climate change words, etymologies and clear definitions It’s an ideal dictionary to support children across the curriculum from year four to the end of primary school.
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Books for year 4 video
Below is a video containing all our Year 4 book ideas in a free-to-use 5-minute movie which can be displayed in schools, and used in assemblies, training courses, and staff meetings, as a link for home learning ideas and shared on social and professional networks.
How many Year 4 books have you read?
Here’s a free background wallpaper of our recommended year 4 books list to use on your classroom computer
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Books for Year 4 – what titles to recommend to children
In Year 4, it’s advisable for children to engage with a diverse selection of books that cater to their evolving reading capabilities and interests. A balanced literary diet, incorporating both fiction and non-fiction genres, is crucial to stimulate imagination and encourage knowledge acquisition. Within the realm of fiction, consider exposing them to timeless stories that promote critical thinking. Historical fiction can offer a unique perspective on the past, while adventure tales contribute to the development of a sense of exploration. In the non-fiction realm, opt for materials that delve into scientific concepts or historical events, fostering a curiosity for the world around them. Personalizing book choices based on your child’s preferences ensures a well-rounded reading experience, providing both entertainment and educational value.
How to pick books for year 4 children
Selecting appropriate books for Year 4 children involves a thoughtful approach that considers both their reading proficiency and individual interests. Firstly, assess their reading level to ensure the content aligns with their abilities, striking a balance between challenging and accessible. Explore genres to discover what resonates with them, be it mystery, fantasy, historical fiction, or non-fiction. Keep an eye on themes that might complement their current school curriculum or personal hobbies. Reviews and recommendations from reputable sources can guide your choices. Additionally, involving children in the selection process fosters a sense of autonomy and enthusiasm for reading. Regularly reassess their preferences as they evolve, ensuring a continuous engagement with literature that is both enjoyable and beneficial to their growth. Curating personalised reading lists for Year 4 students will prove beneficial.
What reading age is an average year 4 child?
In Year 4, the typical reading age for children ranges broadly, but on average, it is around 8 to 9 years old. However, it’s important to note that children develop reading skills at different rates, and there is a considerable range of abilities within any given classroom. Some may read at an advanced level, while others may require additional support. Teachers often use a variety of assessments to gauge individual reading levels and tailor instruction accordingly. The focus during Year 4 is often on advancing comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency, laying a foundation for more complex literary analysis in subsequent years. Regular exposure to a variety of texts and genres supports the diverse needs of students at this stage.
How long should a Year 4 pupil read each day?
For Year 4 children, establishing a daily reading routine of about 20 to 30 minutes is generally recommended. This duration allows sufficient time for them to engage with texts, enhance reading skills, and foster a love for reading. However, it’s crucial to consider individual preferences and attention spans. Some children may prefer shorter, more frequent reading sessions, while others might immerse themselves in a book for a longer stretch. The key is to make the reading experience enjoyable and tailored to the child’s pace, encouraging a positive attitude toward books and learning. Teachers and parents can collaborate to create a supportive reading environment, offering a variety of age-appropriate materials to cater to diverse interests and abilities. A good Year 4 book list will really help with this.
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 | Year 4 books (this page) | Year 5 books | Year 6 books | Topic books, including history and geography stories | KS3 books
Why not have a look at our useful list of books to help instil diversity in your primary school?
For more advanced Year 4 reading books, have a look at our Books for Year 5 reading list.