16 Best Books For Eight Year Olds to Spark Their Imagination

Discover our guide to the best books for eight year olds that will keep their attention to the very last page. 

Reading becomes an even more exciting and engaging experience for eight-year-olds as they explore new genres, characters, and stories that spark their imagination and curiosity. The stories within the pages of books contain relatable characters, engaging plots, and illustrations that capture your little one will adore! 

Whether your eight-year-old is an advanced reader or just starting, our list has something for every level and interest. If you’re interested in this topic, you’ll love our round-up of the best Roger Hargreaves books for kids!

Here Are The Best Books For Eight Year Olds

1. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
A book cover with the title against a variegated background evocative of a black, barren landscape in a sunset that transitions into a dark sky

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer is a series of adventures that has withstood the test of time. The book follows the mischief and mayhem of young Tom Sawyer as he navigates the trials and tribulations of life in 19th-century rural America. From his hilarious antics with best friend Huckleberry Finn to his daring exploits with the beautiful Becky Thatcher, this book will have your son laughing, crying, and gasping in disbelief. Whether Tom is painting fences or solving crimes, every page is packed with action and excitement.

“Ah, if he could only die temporarily!”

Mark Twain, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Adventures of Tom Sawyer
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Mark Twain (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 248 Pages - 05/11/2019 (Publication Date) - Grapevine India (Publisher)

2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, by Roald Dahl
A book cover image of the title against a bright yellow solid background and an illustration of a stick-thin man in a top hat, dancing with a cane

This delectable delight of a book will have your son or daughter drooling with anticipation as he follows young Charlie Bucket on his scrumdiddlyumptious adventure through the magical world of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. Every page is brimming with bizarre and bonkers wonders, from fizzy lifting drinks to everlasting gobstoppers, and let’s not forget the Oompa-Loompas!

This book is a feast for the imagination, with its mouth-watering descriptions of candy and its wild and wacky characters. So, if you’re looking for a treat for your son or daughter that will transport your child to a world of pure imagination, then Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the book that will do it!

“You should never, never doubt something that no one is sure of.”

Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket Book 1)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Dahl, Roald (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 162 Pages - 08/16/2007 (Publication Date) - Viking Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

3. The BFG, by Roald Dahl

The BFG, by Roald Dahl
A book cover illustration of an older holding a tiny little girl and a bottle filled with a green liquid that is smoking out of the neck of the bottle

The BFG is a magical and enchanting adventure that will delight eight-year-olds. This book follows the journey of young Sophie as she befriends the Big Friendly Giant, and together they embark on a quest to save the world from the gruesome giants. The writing is full of playful and whimsical language that will captivate your young reader. With its larger-than-life characters and imaginative settings, The BFG is a book that transports readers to a world of endless possibilities.

“What I mean and what I say is two different things,” the BFG announced rather grandly.”

Roald Dahl, The BFG
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Dahl, Roald (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 08/16/2007 (Publication Date) - Viking Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

4. The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster
A book cover with a pencil sketch illustration of a large brown animal with a pocket watch, sitting and having a staring contest with a young man dressed in a dark shirt and brown pants

The Phantom Tollbooth is an imaginative and delightful adventure that your child will love. This story takes readers through a world of wordplay and wit, with Milo as their guide. Along the way, he meets a whimsical cast of characters, like the watchdog Tock, the Mathemagician, and the Spelling Bee. The writing is clever and engaging, with puns and wordplay that amuse and delight eight-year-old readers. With its vibrant characters and playful language, The Phantom Tollbooth is a book that will spark your child’s imagination and hold their attention for hours.

“Expect everything, I always say, and the unexpected never happens.”

Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
The Phantom Tollbooth
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Juster, Norton (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 286 Pages - 01/26/2011 (Publication Date) - Knopf Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

5. The Indian in the Cupboard, by Lynne Reid Banks

The Indian in the Cupboard, by Lynne Reid Banks
A book cover image of a lifelike painting of a young boy mesmerized by the tiny little Indian he’s holding in his outstretched hands

The Indian in the Cupboard is about a young boy named Omri who discovers that his toy cupboard can bring his plastic figures to life. One of the figures, a Native American named Little Bear, becomes his friend and teaches him about his culture. The story focuses on the relationship between Omri and Little Bear and the challenges that arise from having a miniature person living in his bedroom. The language in the book is straightforward, making it an easy read for children. The Indian in the Cupboard is a charming and imaginative story about friendship and the power of imagination.

“Omri and Patrick had spent many hours together playing with their joint collections of plastic toys.”

Lynne Reid Banks, The Indian in the Cupboard
The Indian in the Cupboard
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Banks, Lynne Reid (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 191 Pages - 06/24/2010 (Publication Date) - Doubleday Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

6. The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame

The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame
A book cover colored pencil illustration of a group of animals dressed in clothes and relaxing in the willows next to a lake, where more animals canoe and swim

The Wind in the Willows is a classic tale of friendship and adventure in the idyllic English countryside. With its gentle and flowing prose, the book evokes a sense of tranquility and comfort, inviting young readers to join the characters on their whimsical journeys. The story follows the adventures of a group of talking animals, including the sensible Mole, the loyal Rat, the reckless Toad, and the wise Badger. As they travel through the woods and rivers, the animals encounter challenges and obstacles that test their loyalty and courage.

The book’s detailed and evocative descriptions of nature create a vivid and immersive world that readers will want to revisit time and time. The Wind in the Willows is a timeless masterpiece that will transport your child to a simpler time and place, where nature’s beauty and friendship’s warmth prevail.

“Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

Kenneth Grahame, The Wind in the Willows
The Wind in the Willows
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Kenneth Grahame (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 188 Pages - 01/28/2022 (Publication Date) - Grapevine India (Publisher)

7. A Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket

A Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket
A book cover illustration of a wicked-looking man with pointy features watching through a window at a young woman holding a baby, with an older son on her right side

A Series of Unfortunate Events tells the story of the Baudelaire siblings – Violet, Klaus, and Sunny – facing unfortunate events after their parent’s death in a mysterious fire. The siblings face various challenges, including a conniving villain named Count Olaf, who wants to get his hands on their inheritance, and a secretive organization known as VFD, whose members have links to the Baudelaire family.

This book is written with vocabulary that an eight-year-old can easily understand, focusing on the plot and the characters rather than flowery language or extensive descriptions. Despite the dark themes and depressing events, the books have gained a devoted following for their engaging storytelling and quirky sense of humor.

“You know that a good, long session of weeping can often make you feel better, even if your circumstances have not changed one bit.”

Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events
A Series of Unfortunate Events #1: The Bad Beginning
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Snicket, Lemony (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 146 Pages - 03/17/2009 (Publication Date) - HarperCollins (Publisher)

8. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, by C.S. Lewis
A book cover of the title in stylized white block letters against a radial gradient dark blue background

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is a classic children’s book that tells the story of four siblings, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy, as they embark on an incredible journey through a magical wardrobe. The story is set in the fictional world of Narnia, where animals talk and where a wicked witch has plunged the land into a never-ending winter. With the help of the great lion Aslan, the children set out to defeat the witch and restore Narnia to its former glory.

The author’s writing style focuses on the story’s action and adventure, with a particular emphasis on the character development of the children. Despite being written for children, this story has been enjoyed by readers of all ages for its vivid descriptions and imaginative world-building.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver; “don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia Book 2)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Lewis, C.S. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 108 Pages - 10/29/2008 (Publication Date) - HarperCollins (Publisher)

9. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien

The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
A book cover with an illustration  a red sun, featuring a forest, waters, and snow-capped mountain peaks

The Hobbit is a fantasy novel that follows the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit recruited by a group of dwarves to help them reclaim their treasure from a fierce dragon. Along the way, Bilbo and his companions encounter a host of strange creatures and must overcome a series of obstacles to reach their goal. Descriptive passages evoke the rich detail and intricate, imaginative worlds Tolkien is known for.

The book’s themes of courage, loyalty, and adventure have made it a beloved classic for readers of all ages. Whether your child is a fantasy fan or enjoys a good adventure story, The Hobbit is a must-read that captures their imagination and takes them on an unforgettable journey.

“There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit
The Hobbit: 75th Anniversary Edition
  • Tolkien, J.R.R. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

10. The Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann David Wyss

The Swiss Family Robinson, by Johann David Wyss
A book cover painting of a sallow yellow background, the book title in red lettering and bordered on top by red and yellow autumn leaves

The Swiss Family Robinson tells the story of a Swiss family stranded on a deserted island after a shipwreck. The family must learn to survive and adapt to their new environment, using their resourcefulness and ingenuity to build shelter, find food, and defend themselves against wild animals. The storytelling emphasizes the practical aspects of survival, with detailed descriptions of the family’s innovations and strategies, which your eight-year-old will love.

Despite being written in the 19th century, the book’s themes of self-reliance and perseverance still resonate with modern readers. The Swiss Family Robinson is a timeless classic that offers a glimpse into adventure and discovery and will captivate your youngster.

“The monkeys seized all the cocoanuts within their reach and sent them down upon us.”

Johann David Wyss, The Swiss Family Robinson
The Swiss Family Robinson: By Johann David Wyss : Illustrated
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Johann David Wyss (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 241 Pages - 03/26/2016 (Publication Date)

11. The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A book cover painting of a dark path with steps in the background, bounded on the side by green grass, with a canopy of flowering tree branches making a tunnel over the top of the path

The Secret Garden is a beautiful and wondrous tale of transformation and rebirth, told in a sumptuous and evocative way. Set against the backdrop of a sprawling English estate, the story follows the journey of young Mary Lennox, who discovers a hidden garden that has been locked away for years. With the help of her newfound friends, Dickon and Colin, Mary slowly brings the garden back to life and, in doing so, transforms herself and those around her.

The author’s rich and lyrical prose captures the natural world’s magic with its vibrant descriptions of the garden and its inhabitants. Even young readers who need help with books will get lost in the prose. The characters are very well developed, each with unique strengths and weaknesses. Themes of growth, healing, and redemption are woven throughout the story without feeling like lessons are being taught. The Secret Garden is a true masterpiece of children’s literature that deserves a place on your child’s bookshelf.

“If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.”

Frances Hodgson, The Secret Garden
The Secret Garden
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Burnett, Frances Hodgson (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 204 Pages - 03/21/2023 (Publication Date) - Big Cheese Books (Publisher)

12. The Call of the Wild, by Jack London

The Call of the Wild, by Jack London
A book cover illustration in muted blue and white hues of a pack of four wolves at night in the snow, howling at the full moon in the background

The Call of the Wild is a rugged and wild adventure tale that is perfect for boys and girls who are animal lovers. The story follows the journey of Buck, a powerful and majestic St. Bernard-Scotch Collie, as he is stolen from his comfortable life and sold into the brutal world of the Alaskan wilderness during the gold rush.

With its vivid and visceral prose, the book captures the raw beauty of nature and the fierce spirit of the animals that inhabit it. Buck’s journey is a testament to the power of loyalty and the unbreakable bond between humans and animals. The Call of the Wild is a book that will thrill and inspire young readers while instilling a deep and lifelong love and respect for the natural world.

“There is an ecstasy that marks the summit of life, and beyond which life cannot rise. And such is the paradox of living, this ecstasy comes when one is most alive, and it comes as a complete forgetfulness that one is alive.”

Jack London, The Call of the Wild
The Call of the Wild (yourbooks)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • London, Jack (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 58 Pages - 05/18/2020 (Publication Date) - Laura McKenzie (Publisher)

13. The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling

The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling
A book cover of a realistic drawing of a tiger roaring at something in the distance, as he stands in a fog-covered, ominous-looking forest

The Jungle Book is a collection of short stories that tell the tale of Mowgli, a boy raised by a pack of wolves in the jungles of India. The book follows Mowgli as he learns the ways of the jungle and encounters various friendly and dangerous creatures. Along the way, he must also contend with the humans who are encroaching on the jungle and threatening the balance of nature.

The author, Rudyard Kipling, expertly captures the beauty and mystery of the Indian jungle. His use of animal characters provides a unique and imaginative perspective on human nature, and his themes of self-discovery, loyalty, and the natural world have made the book a classic of children’s literature.

“Now, don’t be angry after you’ve been afraid. That’s the worst kind of cowardice.”

Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book
Rudyard Kipling - The Jungle Books (Illustrated)
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Kipling, Rudyard (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 341 Pages - 04/06/2020 (Publication Date) - Strelbytskyy Multimedia Publishing (Publisher)

14. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon, by Grace Lin
A book cover illustration of a Geisha girl riding on the neck of a red dragon as it flies through a dark blue sky

This enchanting and magical novel blends Chinese folklore and adventure storytelling. The story follows a young girl named Minli, who lives in a poor village at the foot of a mountain and embarks on a journey to find the Old Man of the Moon and ask him how she can change her family’s fortune.

Along the way, she meets a colorful cast of characters and experiences a series of magical adventures that teach her about the power of storytelling and the importance of gratitude. With its intricate plot and evocative imagery, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a masterpiece of children’s literature that captivates and inspires your eight-year-old reader.

“If you make happy those that are near, those that are far will come.”

Grace Lin, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Lin, Grace (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 249 Pages - 05/12/2009 (Publication Date) - Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

15. The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate
A book cover illustration of a large gorilla and small elephant, sitting back to back on a wooden floor, with a moonbeam shining down on the pair

This poignant and beautifully written novel is inspired by the true story of a silverback gorilla named Ivan, who lived in a small cage at a shopping mall for 27 years. Told from the perspective of Ivan himself, the story follows the gorilla’s journey as he befriends a stray dog and a baby elephant and dreams of a life beyond his enclosure.

The book touches on themes of friendship, perseverance, and the power of hope and is a moving tribute to the strength and resilience of animals. With its gentle and empathetic writing style, The One and Only Ivan is a book that appeals to young animal lovers.

“Humans waste words. They toss them like banana peels and leave them to rot.”

Katherine Applegate, The One and Only Ivan
The One and Only Ivan: A Newbery Award Winner
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Applegate, Katherine (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 325 Pages - 01/17/2012 (Publication Date) - HarperCollins (Publisher)

16. The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick

The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick
A book cover illustration of an ornate giant keyhole in gold, bordered by red and gold embellishments around the edges of the cover

This unique and innovative book is a blend of a graphic novel and a picture book and tells the story of a young orphan boy named Hugo, who lives in the walls of a Paris train station. The book is filled with detailed and intricate illustrations, and the story unfolds through a combination of words and images that work together to create a seamless and immersive reading experience.

With themes of imagination, creativity, and perseverance, The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a book that will inspire and delight your youngster. Looking for more? Check out our guide with metaphor examples for kids!

“Maybe we are all cabinets of wonders.”

Brian Selznick, The Invention of Hugo Cabret
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
  • Amazon Kindle Edition
  • Selznick, Brian (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 524 Pages - 09/15/2015 (Publication Date) - Scholastic Press (Publisher)

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