20 Best Books for Nine Year Olds You Must Read

The right book is key to helping them become good, strong readers. This list of the best books for nine year olds can help.

Nine-year-old readers are ready to start embracing harder books. They can understand not everything they read is real, and many are ready to take on the challenge of chapter books. This is an interesting period in reading development because teachers see a wide range of abilities.

Books for this age group should have some illustrations throughout and avoid overwhelming young readers with an intensely difficult vocabulary. Whether you are a parent or a teacher of these middle grades, finding reading materials that will challenge nine-year-old boys and girls without overwhelming them can be challenging. You might also be interested in the best Roger Hargreaves books for kids!

Here Are The Best Books for Nine Year Olds You Must Add To Your Reading List

1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

A red book cover with a cartoon boy on a piece of paper with the words

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney is the first book in a popular book series that made it to the New York Times bestseller list. It tells of Greg Heffley as he starts a new school year with his best friend, Rowley, and comes across many humorous experiences. The book is written in diary form and filmed with comic-book-style pictures. It is filled with junior high humor and many of the common anxieties of this time of life. This first book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series hit bookshelves in 2007.

“The only reason I get out of bed at all on weekends is because eventually I can’t stand the taste of my own breath anymore.”

Jeff Kinney, Diary of a Wimpy Kid
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Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #1) (Volume 1)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Kinney, Jeff (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 04/01/2007 (Publication Date) - Amulet Books (Publisher)

2. The Hundred Dresses by Elenor Estes

A book cover with a  selection of colorful dresses

This Newbery Honor book takes a gentle look at bullying and what a bystander looks like. The Hundred Dresses by Elenor Estes tells of a little girl named Wanda, an immigrant, who is teased for her unusual name and her accent. Though she wears the same faded dress every day, she claims she has 100 dresses in her closet.

Her classmates tease her, but when she leaves the school unexpectedly, the class finds out it is true, but unusually and beautifully. Another girl in the class realizes she has been a bystander to bullying and learns an important lesson. This book was published in 1944.

“If she ever heard anybody picking on someone because they were funny looking or because they had strange names, she’d speak up. Even if it meant losing Peggy’s friendship. She had no way of making things right with Wanda, but from now on she would never make anybody else so unhappy again.”

Elenor Estes, The Hundred Dresses
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The Hundred Dresses
  • Estes, Eleanor (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 96 Pages - 09/01/2004 (Publication Date) - Clarion Books (Publisher)

3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

A book cover with a boy flying on a broom wearing glasses and a lightning bolt scar on his forehead

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is the first book in the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling. If you have an advanced reader, chances are they have heard of and are asking to read these books. The first tells of 11-year-old Harry as he discovers he is a wizard and must go to a magical school called Hogwarts. Here, he enters an adventure and makes lifelong friends while facing many of the challenges of middle school and the monsters of the magical world who want to take control. Rowling published this book in 1997.

“One can never have enough socks,” said Dumbledore. “Another Christmas has come and gone and I didn’t get a single pair. People will insist on giving me books.”

J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
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Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
  • Philosopher's Stone
  • Hogwart's
  • Dumbledore
  • Magic
  • School Days

4. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

A book cover with a girl in a red dress holding a pig

Charlotte’s Web is a beloved classic by E.B. White. It tells of Wilber, a pig who does not want to die, and his best friend, a spider named Charlotte. The unusual friendship leads to Charlotte writing special words on her web to grab the farmer’s attention and encourage him not to turn Wilber into Easter dinner ham. This Newberry Honor book features illustrations by Garth Williams and has been enjoyed for generations. It was published originally in 1952.

“Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’ ‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.”

E.B. White, Charlotte’s Web
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Charlotte's Web
  • High-quality four-core copper wires enhance charging & data transffygfnyn
  • White, E. B (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages - 10/02/2001 (Publication Date) - HarperCollins (Publisher)

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

A book cover with a photograph a lion with yellow eyes

Enter the magical world of the Chronicles of Narnia with The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first book C.S. Lewis wrote in his series. This book is challenging for the 9-year-old reader, as it was written in 1950, but it remains a classic children’s book that kids continue to enjoy. This one might work best as an audiobook or a read-aloud book due to its more challenging vocabulary, but your young child will be inspired by the magic of Narnia, Aslan, and the four children that had an adventure there.

“Once a king or queen of Narnia, always a king or queen of Narnia.”

C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 
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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (Chronicles of Narnia)
  • C.S. Lewis (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 77 Pages - 07/26/2024 (Publication Date) - Mi rigs dpe skrun khan (Publisher)

6. The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

A book cover with two children, a boy and a girl falling from the sky onto a path

The Wishing Spell is the first book in The Land of Stories series, which Chris Colfer published in 2012. It explores what happens when twins Alex and Conner must leave the real world and enter the land of fairy tales. This leads to a series of epic adventures as they must save the fairy tale world and the characters they know and love. This series has six books and was on the New York Times bestselling list.

“The world will always choose convenience over reality. It’s easier to hate, blame, and fear than it is to understand. No one wants the truth; they want entertainment.”

Chris Colfer, The Wishing Spell
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The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell (The Land of Stories, 1)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Colfer, Chris (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 448 Pages - 07/17/2012 (Publication Date) - Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

7. Matilda by Roald Dahl

A book cover with a girl in a blue dress sitting on a stack of books

The story of Matilda by Roald Dahl is so popular it has been transformed into a major motion picture and a Broadway musical. Matilda is a precocious, intelligent little girl who can move things with her mind. She is well-liked but must suffer from selfish parents and the world’s worst school principal. In her story, Matilda shows how inner strength and intelligence are what you need to overcome tremendous challenges, even as a child. This book was published in 1988. You might be interested in exploring children’s books, such as these best books for ten year olds.

“Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it’s unbelievable.”

Roald Dahl, Matilda
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Matilda
  • Dahl, Roald (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 240 Pages - 08/16/2007 (Publication Date) - Viking Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

8. Frindle by Andrew Clements

A book cover with a boy holding a pen in his hand

What makes the word “pen” mean the writing utensil that spreads ink on paper? The dictionary is what most teachers would say. In Frindle, Andrew Clements writes a charming school story about a child who decides he should get to call a pen a “frindle.” this innocent joke leads to big changes around town and eventually across the country. Kids will love this book’s seeming teacher-against-student take, with the unexpected twist at the end. This bestseller was published in 1996 and has sold over 6.5 million copies since its release.

“But of course, all of this is just a silly fad, and when you add an “e” to fad, you get fade. And I predict this fad will fade.”

Andrew Clements, Frindle
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Frindle
  • Clements, Andrew (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 02/01/1998 (Publication Date) - Atheneum Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

9. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

A book cover with a boy’s face, looking scared

In this classic tale, originally published in 1972, Judy Blume explores the feeling of being unseen that many older siblings feel. Peter Hatcher feels like he is nothing compared to his three-year-old brother Fudge. The intense toddler keeps all of his parent’s attention and eventually walks away with Peter’s pet turtle. What follows in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing is a story about what Peter does to get his parents’ attention.

Nine-year-old readers can relate to the book because Peter himself is nine. This was the only book Judy Blume wrote that she published without any revisions, which shows how well she captured the sibling dynamic and toddler escapades of the Hatcher family.

“I thought how great it would be if we could trade in Fudge for a nice cocker spaniel.”

Judy Blume, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
  • THE SIZE: Spy Camera has the smallest size in the world (0.87in, 0.7oz cube).
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  • MOTION DETECTION: When detecting the object moving, the mini camera'll be activated, follow the object's trace, and record automatically.
  • Blume, Judy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)

10. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

A book cover with a girl in jean shorts and a shaggy brown dog

When Opal and her father move to Florida, she goes to the Winn-Dixie supermarket and finds a new best friend, a dog she names after the store. He helps her make friends and heal her heart after her mother’s disappearance. This sweet story is a Newbery Honor book that teaches friendship, letting go and forgiveness. Throughout the book, Opal makes friends with many people in her new town, including the local librarian and a nearly blind older woman. All of these friendships happen Because of Winn-Dixie, which is why author Kate DiCamillo chose the book’s title when she published it in 2000.

“It’s hard not to immediately fall in love with a dog who has a good sense of humor.”

Kate DiCamillo, Because of Winn-Dixie
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Because of Winn-Dixie
  • DiCamillo, Kate (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages - 01/26/2021 (Publication Date) - Candlewick (Publisher)

11. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

A book cover with a gorilla and baby elephant sitting on a stage

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate tells of a gorilla who lives at a mall in a small zoo setting. Ivan rarely thinks of the jungle until he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family. She helps him see herself, their home, and even his art in a new light, and Ivan realizes he needs to change. The One and Only Ivan’s story is poignant, but it has enough humor to capture the interest of young readers, too. Inspired by a true story, this book was published in 2012 and won the Newbery Award the following year.

“Humans waste words. They toss them like banana peels and leave them to rot. Everyone knows the peels are the best part.”

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

12. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

A book cover with a boy in an orange shirt standing in the water with waves all around him

Rick Riordan has several books that take kids into Greek and Roman mythology. These science fiction and fantasy-style novels are extremely well-written and quickly capture young readers’ attention. You might also be interested in our list of authors like Tom Fletcher.

The Lightning Thief is the first in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians book series, and it tells of a young boy who finds out he is not just a middle schooler but also a demigod and the son of Poseidon with the ability to control water. He embarks on a quest across the country to find the Underworld and stop a war between the gods. This is a harder read than others on this list, but it is worth exploring if you have an advanced young reader. This book was named Best Book of 2005 by Child Magazine and the School Library Journal.

“Safety from what? Who’s after me?” ‘Oh, nobody much,’ Grover said, obviously still miffed about the donkey comment. ‘Just the Lord of the Dead and a few of his blood-thirstiest minions.’”

Rick Riordan, The Lightning Theif
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The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Book 1)
  • Book 1 of 5 in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series
  • Riordan, Rick (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 416 Pages - 04/01/2006 (Publication Date) - Disney Hyperion (Publisher)

13. Holes by Louis Sachar

A book cover with a drawing of a desert with holes contrasts against a dark night sky

Holes by Louis Sachar is a fascinating story of a boy, Stanley Yelnats, who has the worst luck. Through no fault, he is sent to a detention camp, Camp Green Lake, where he is forced to dig holes for a cruel warden. This story masterfully weaves together two different timelines in the same plot of land and eventually comes to be woven together in a masterful way. This is a Newberry Honor book that was made into a movie. Sachar published Holes in 1998.

“When the shoes first fell from the sky, he remembered thinking that destiny had struck him. Now he thought so again. It was more than a coincidence. It had to be destiny.”

Louis Sachar, Holes
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Holes (Holes Series)
  • Holes, Paperback
  • Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats
  • Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys' detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys "build character" by spending all day, every day, digging holes
  • Ages 10 and up
  • Louis Sachar (Author)

14. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

A book cover with a white face that has one blue eye and black hair

Wonder tells of August Pullman, a boy with a facial difference, Treacher Collins syndrome, that prevented him from attending school in his early elementary years. In fifth grade, he attends regular school, and his classmates struggle to be kind. The book explores tolerance and bullying while telling August’s story from multiple points of view. This poignant book remained on the top spot of the New York Times bestseller list for over 140 weeks, and it was named one of the 100 Best Young Adult Books of All Time by Time magazine in 2015. R.J. Palacio published Wonder in 2012.

“Here’s what I think: the only reason I’m not ordinary is that no one else sees me that way.”

R.J. Palacio, Wonder
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Wonder
  • Hardcover Book
  • Palacio, R. J. (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 320 Pages - 02/14/2012 (Publication Date) - Knopf Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

15. Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

A book cover with a girl wearing roller skates

Roller Girl is a graphic novel by Victoria Jamieson. When 12-year-old Astrid decides to sign up for roller derby camp, she is surprised to learn her best friend signed up for a different camp. She must learn to stand on her own two feet without her best friend, all while learning to be a roller girl. This book is a charming look at what junior high and middle school are like, making it an excellent book for the middle grades. It tackles topics of growing apart from friends, standing up for yourself, and finding positive role models. 

“I could keep running from my battles and live in fear or I could embrace the fear.”

Victoria Jamieson, Roller Girl
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Roller Girl
  • Jamieson, Victoria (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 03/10/2015 (Publication Date) - Dial Books (Publisher)

16. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

A book cover with a  boy’s head in front of mountains

This adventurous book was a Newbery Honor book that was published in 1987. Brian is a young man flying to Canada to visit his father, only to have his pilot have a heart attack. Brian crash-lands the plane and is stranded in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but a hatchet. Hatchet explores what he does to survive. This book is great for readers who prefer adventure-filled, outdoor tales to school stories or fantasy.

“Patience, he thought. So much of this was patience – waiting, and thinking and doing things right. So much of all this, so much of all living was patience and thinking.”

Gary Paulsen, Hatchet
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Hatchet
  • Great product!
  • Paulsen, Gary (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 192 Pages - 12/26/2006 (Publication Date) - Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (Publisher)

17. Wish by Barbara O’Connor

A book cover with a girl and dog holding hands while sitting in a field

Wish by Barbara O’Connor is the story of Charlie, a little girl from a broken home who keeps wishing for her parents to get back together. She finds solace in a stray dog and a friend in the boy next door. Soon she learns what she wished for may not have been what she needed. Wish is a heartwarming tale that many adult readers will find emotionally touching, and young readers will gain a sense of compassion by reading it. This book hit the bookshelves in 2016.

“You can’t judge people for the mistakes they make. You judge them for how they fix those mistakes.”

Barbara O’Connor, Wish
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Wish
  • O'Connor, Barbara (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 256 Pages - 08/29/2017 (Publication Date) - Square Fish (Publisher)

18. The Bad Guys by Aaron Blabey

A book cover with a snake, piranha, shark, and wolf wearing suits

What happens when Mr. Wolf, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Snake, and Mr. Shark, the “bad guys,” decide to go on a good mission? A hilarious story in graphic novel form is what. In the first book in this series, the four bad guys break 200 dogs out of the dog pound to prove they are good. The Bad Guys is a great early chapter book for reluctant readers, as it has many illustrations and few words on each page, but it’s also quite entertaining. Aaron Blabey published The Bad Guys in 2015.

“You’re thinking, ‘Oooooh, it’s a big, bad, scary wolf! I don’t want to talk to him!’”

Aaron Blabey, The Bad Guys
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The Bad Guys (The Bad Guys #1) (1)
  • Blabey, Aaron (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 144 Pages - 12/27/2016 (Publication Date) - Scholastic Press (Publisher)

19. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

A book cover with a girl in a red dress holding a doll

This timeless classic goes back to 1871 when little Laura Ingalls lived in a log cabin in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Life is challenging, but they live off the land and prepare for fall and winter together as a family. Little House in the Big Woods is based on the real-life story of what happened to the author, and it is an excellent example of historical fiction based on reality. It was first published in 1932.

“They were cozy and comfortable in their little house made of logs, with the snow drifted around it and the wind crying because it could not get in by the fire.”

Laura Ingalls Wilder, Little House in the Big Woods from Goodreads
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Little House in the Big Woods (Little House, No 1)
  • Laura Wilder
  • Book One
  • Little House
  • Big Woods
  • Series

20. Smile by Raina Telgemeier

A book cover with a yellow smiley face emoji with braces

When Raina, a sixth-grade girl, has an injury that damages her two front teeth, she must undergo oral surgery, braces, and embarrassment. In Smile, she must learn how to smile again despite these challenges. This is a coming-of-age story that was published in 2009. As a graphic novel, this book by Raina Telgemeier appeals to many nine-year-olds, and its story of resilience will appeal to parents.

If you like reading children’s books, you might also enjoy our list of the best books for seven year old.

“Weird…something happens when you smile at people. They smile back”

Raina Telgemeier, Smile
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Smile: A Graphic Novel
  • Telgemeier, Raina (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 11/10/2020 (Publication Date) - Graphix (Publisher)
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