5 Excellent Book Series for Children Aged 8 to 12

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I cannot deny, I am a lover of middle grade fiction. I am a lover of fiction in general, but middle grade does hold a special place in my heart, even as an adult. These are books I cannot wait to share with my son when he is old enough.

So, what were (are) my all time favourite middle grade reads? I’ve put together a list of the books I loved as a child, and the ones I think will still be loved by all today.

1. Harry Potter

Harry Potter Box Set
Harry Potter box set

This goes without saying, really. I have mentioned Harry here before and (despite not agreeing with JK Rowling’s backward thinking) they remain some of my all time favourite books. I’ve read them so many times I could probably recite them from memory. The Harry Potter series is actually the best selling series of all time, and has been translated into 80 languages.

The books tell the story of Harry and his best friends, Ron and Hermione, as they navigate a magical world of mystery and danger. They spend the series trying to thwart a great evil and face many challenges along the way. The books are full of wonder and even after all this time, I’m never bored reading them.

2. Chronicles of Ancient Darkness

The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness Box Set
Chronicles of Ancient Darkness box set

I’ll be honest, I read these books as an adult and I LOVED them. They follow a boy called Torak and his wolf, with whom he can communicate. Along the way we pick up a girl called Renn too, and we follow them on a journey though ancient northern Europe as they try to vanquish the evil that overshadows the land.

These books are rich in history and folklore. The author, Michelle Paver, extensively researches each novel by living with and talking to native tribes. She then incorporates their practices and traditions into her characters. I learnt loads from these books, even as an adult, so I think they would really capture the imagination of a child.

3. Alex Rider

Alex Rider Box Set
Alex Rider box set

These were some of my all time favourites growing up. In fact, ask 10 year old me what I wanted to be when I grew up, and she’d tell you “a spy!”. I even went as far as to learn Morse code!

Written by Anthony Horowitz these books follow Alex, a reluctant recruit of MI6 as he jets off on undercover missions to fight bad guys. There are quite a lot of books in the series, the most recent one was published earlier this year (April 2020). The first novel, Stormbreaker, was actually adapted for film in 2006 but if I’m honest, it wasn’t that great. The book is much better.

4. The CHERUB Series


These books, written by Robert Muchamore, are actually more aimed at the YA audience, but I think they would be good for kids 11 and up. They have more mature themes and can get a bit dark in places. I loved them as a kid though.

They continue with the Spy theme, and follow a boy called James and his sister Lauren as they embark on a variety of missions to bring down bad guys and stop terrorist plots. They are full of action and danger and are impossible to put down.

5. Young Bond

Young Bond Box Set
Young Bond Box Set

You may be noticing a theme here, but my inner child always wanted to be a spy! These books are in much the same vein as the two above in that they are about a reluctant kid spy. However, these tell the story of a young James Bond, fighting bad guys long before he became the infamous martini drinking spy we all know and love.

I only ever read the books written by Charlie Higson, so I cant speak for the more recent ones written by Steve Cole. I loved the Charlie Higson ones though, I have to say. Again, these books do contain more mature themes, but more often than not middle grade and young adult fiction tackles these issues in a tactful and age appropriate way.

I loved all of these series growing up, and I can’t wait to share them with my own son. If you enjoyed these series growing up, or if you can think of any more, let me know in the comments!

June Wrap Up

June has been a bit of an up and down month with regard to reading for me. I managed to get through four books this month, one more than last month but nowhere near my teenage records! I fell into a bit of a slump towards the end of the month and struggled to pull myself out of it. Fortunately, I enjoyed all the books I read this month. I’ll list them below in order of my most to least loved.

The Binding by Bridget Collins
I loved this book! It was such an engaging read, and completely unexpected. It turned out to be a completely different story to what I thought I was getting, and I’m so happy about it! I would definitely recommend it. If you want to know more, check out my full review here.

The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave
This was a lovely book to read. The imagery and message about friendship was beautiful. It is aimed at a younger audience than my usual reads, but I really enjoyed it regardless. Check out the full review here.

This Is Going To Hurt by Adam Kay
This was a darkly funny and heartbreaking memoir of an NHS doctor. Its non-fiction, which I wouldn’t usually go for but I found it so engaging and enjoyable to read. Its actually prompted me to try and read at least one non-fiction book per month! You can find my full review here.

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
This book was a difficult read given the subject matter. It is a story of love and grief told by a murdered school girl watching her family deal with her loss from heaven. I found it to be moving and profound despite theological differences between myself and the book. See my full review here.

Tea Pairings

As for tea, I have really been enjoying Orange and Lotus Flower by Twinings. It’s a lovely summery flavour perfect for this time of year. The orange comes through first, with the delicate floral flavour of the lotus flower following. I would pair this tea with The Girl of Ink and Stars. The delicate floral undertones and citrus overtones suit the tropical island setting of the book.

I’ve also enjoyed English Rose by Whittard of Chelsea. Its another floral tea and you really can taste the rose. This one is a black tea which I think works well with the rose flavour and gives the tea a deep reddish colour. I paired this one with The Binding because I think the rose flavour and deep colour suit the tone and themes of the book.

I enjoyed Jasmine green tea (also by Twinings) with The Lovely Bones. As you may have noticed, I am a fan of floral teas. I think the delicate floral notes of this tea compliment the delicate nature of the story.

This Is Going To Hurt could only be accompanied by a strong cup of English Breakfast, with a dash of milk. I needed the strength of this tea to bolster me though the sometimes quite graphic medical descriptions and the heartbreaking parts of the book.

I’m hoping to read a few more books in July. I’m out of my reading slump and ready to dive back into another world! Watch this space for more book and tea recommendations and reading inspiration.