The best books for 10-year-olds

five children sitting reading brightly coloured books

Check out our book reviews from the lovely team at the Time Out Book Store in Auckland who have provided recommendations on the best books for 10-year-olds.


Starfell: Willow Moss and the Lost Day -
By Dominique Valente

Every now and then a fantasy book comes along that sparkles with a little extra magic. Willow Moss and the Lost Day is so charming it practically glows.

Willow Moss is a little witch with a less than exciting talent - finding lost things. She knows she should be grateful to have any gift at all, but with older sisters who have many interesting talents, it’s hard to be the least powerful member of the family as well as the smallest! 

But when Moreg Vaine, the most powerful witch in Starfell, asks Willow for her help, she packs up the monster under her bed and heads off on an adventure to find Last Tuesday. Along the way she’ll find many other things - her very own broom, a cloud dragon called Feathering, friendship, acceptance and confidence.

This magical adventure is perfect for fans of Cressida Cowell and for anyone who’s just a little bit too young for Harry Potter. 



Lizard’s Tale
By Weng Wai Chan 

Lizard doesn’t like stealing, but on his own in Singapore’s Chinatown, he doesn’t have much choice.  With his Uncle Archie missing, picking pockets for Boss Man Beng keeps a roof over his head and his belly full. When a simple job comes up - to steal a small teak box from the Raffles hotel - it offers Lizard the chance to put petty thievery behind him.

The catch - don’t ask what’s in the box.  A box that will drag Lizard head first into World War II espionage, danger and intrigue.  

This historical action-adventure is fast-paced, brilliantly researched, and will grab young readers from the first page. For fans of the London Eye Mystery and anything spy-related! 



The Wild Robot
By Peter Brown 

Delightful, insightful, full of charm and adventure, The Wild Robot is the story of Roz, a helpful robot who washes up on an isolated island still packed tight in her shipping crate. When she is accidentally activated by curious otters, Roz must learn to survive on this wild island she was certainly not designed for.

Winning over the suspicious and sometimes hostile animals through generosity, kindness and her super robot brain, Roz becomes a truly wild robot - until her mechanical past comes back to change everything.

Peter Brown's blend of gentle narrative and emotive illustrations makes for an endearing read, perfect for reading aloud together or chapters before bed.



The Tunnels Below
By Nadine Wild-Palmer

Cecelia's twelfth birthday starts out much the same as her eleventh, with cake, a trip into London, and an odd gift from her little sister Hester - a large marble that looks like a galaxy set in a necklace. Not the craziest of Hester's unique gifts, but wearing it makes Cecelia feel strange and heavy.

When the marble rolls out of its setting on the tube platform into the open doors of an empty train, Cecelia almost lets it go, but wanting to avoid Hester's disappointment, she quickly nips in to grab it. What follows is a dark ride into adventure, through the labyrinthine tunnels of the Back of Beyond, a secret underworld populated by talking animals under the control of the sinister Corvus crows.

Nadine Wild Palmer's fantasy adventure reads as a more grounded trip to Wonderland, with believable world-building and a plucky heroine with a social conscience.