17 November 2017 | Children's Fiction

Christmas book ideas for 5-8 year-olds

For 5-8 year-old readers, I have a list of book series. Kids at this age love to read books again and again. They’ll begin with listening to an adult read the whole book, then they might take it in turns to read a few pages, then they can read it to themselves.

Kids are avid collectors, so introducing them to a series they like is a way to encourage a love of reading. If you’re not sure whether your child or grandchild will like a particular series, you can always borrow the first book from the library before buying some of the series. (My wise Mum borrowed the first Billabong book for me, then surprised me with the complete set for my 11th birthday!)

Diary of a wimpy kid – The Getaway by Jeff Kinney – this is the latest book in this series about Greg, who doodles in the pages of his diary as he records his life’s adventures. This book, number 12 in the series, is about Greg and his family on holidays – perfect summer reading!

Juliet, nearly a vet by Rebecca Johnson – I haven’t read these books but I flicked through them in a bookshop this week, and I love the concept of a little girl who wants to be a vet and has to practise looking after animals.

The bad guys by Aaron Blabey – now we’re up to book 6. These books are well illustrated so kids won’t be daunted by a lot of text on the page. A great series for boys about Mr Wolf, Mr Piranha, Mr Snake and Mr Shark who are trying so hard to be the good guys instead of the bad guys – pretty difficult when your name and looks come with such a reputation!

Famous Five collection by Enid Blyton – there are some lovely box sets of The famous five and The secret seven books available. If you want to share your childhood reading favourites with your own kids, one of these box sets might be a present for you and your kids!

Weir Do by Anh Do – another series suitable for both boys and girls. Anh Do has now published his 8th book in this series. Comedians do have a fantastic way of crafting a story – both on the page and on stage – and Anh Do is no exception. Lots of humour, big illustrations and relatable situations for this age group.

How to tame a dragon by Cressida Cowell – your kids might be familiar with these books even if they haven’t read them because of the movies. There are now 12 books in the series about Hiccup, a reluctant hero, and his dragon Toothless. The text is interspersed with lists, book pages and instructions so it’s a great ‘bigger’ chapter book for proficient 7-9 year-old readers.

Billie B Brown gift sets by Sally Rippin – Billie B Brown needs no introduction. This box set might be a lovely surprise in a Christmas stocking. There are also box sets with single books and a tie-in toy, like a skipping rope as well. We have many, many Billie B Brown books at home – Miss 11 read them again and again and again.

Tashi by Anna Fienberg – all my kids loved Tashi. He’s such a loveable character and has so many amazing adventures. This is a beautiful box set.

Tiny Timmy by Tim Cahil – this series focuses on a small kid called Timmy, who wants to be a soccer star. Lots of sport specific information and positive messages – perfect for the budding soccer star!

Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor – Miss 11 and I loved, loved, loved Fancy Nancy. We started off reading about Nancy in picture books when Miss 11 was a toddler, then she graduated to the Fancy Nancy I can read series when she started school. This is such a wonderful series for girls who are practising reading

I hope you find a new series or are inspired to add to an existing set. Please forward on this post to any friends who might also be looking for some Christmas book ideas.



Author interview – Victoria Carless


Terri Dixon

Some great ideas there, Karen.

As well as for gifts for this age group, I often buy books like this for little ones, even newborn, that they can grow into. Instead of a size 000 set which will only be worn for a few weeks, I would rather give a book. I bought the first Ruby Redshoes as a first birthday present yesterday with the hope it will be a charming addition to the shelf until it can be read. There are 3 books in this series which are delightful.

November 17, 2017 at 2:22 pm


Hi Karen, I got the bad guys series for my nephew for Christmas (nearly 6 years old, just getting into reading longer books), he absolutely loves it! Thanks for the suggestion, I think I’ll have to revisit these lists for birthday gift ideas.

January 7, 2018 at 7:31 pm

    Karen Comer

    Thanks so much for your comment, Emily! I’m glad your nephew likes the Bad Guys, and I hope you find the lists useful throughout the year.

    January 11, 2018 at 2:52 pm

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