BlogEnglishYear 4 Recommended Reading List: Best Books for 8 and 9 Year Olds

Year 4 Recommended Reading List: Best Books for 8 and 9 Year Olds

Searching for the best books for 8 or 9 year olds to read? You’ve come to the right place, because we’ve created a recommended reading list for Year 4 students!

Within this list, you’ll find all kinds of Australian literature, as well as literary texts from other countries and times, so your child will have plenty of books to choose from.

To learn more about any of the texts listed, you can click on the titles! You should also check if your child’s school library has got it or your local library.

All the books listed have been recommended by NESA — you can find the syllabus here.

Keen to know about the best books for 8 or 9 year olds? Keep scrolling!

Australian Literature
Literary Texts from Other Countries and Times
English Resources

Looking for reading lists for other year groups?

If you have a child in a different year group to Year 4, we’ve also got reading list for them! Check them out:

Year 1 | Year 2Year 3 | Year 5 | Year 6 | Year 7 & 8 | Year 9 | Year 10

Australian Literature

A Banner Bold: The Diary of Rosa Aarons (My Australian Story)

Image sourced from Goodreads
Nadia WheatleyThis is the story of Rosa Aarons, who travelled to the Ballarat Goldfields in 1854.

During this time, she has had to learn a lot about her family and new surroundings.
How the Birds Got Their Colours

Image sourced from Goodreads
Mary AlbertThis classic Aboriginal picture book uses vibrant colour, Dreamtime storytelling and a moral to explore how birds got their colours.

It also reveals the jealousy that people often feel because of others.

Image sourced from Goodreads
Mark GreenwoodJandamarra is the story of an Aboriginal warrior who is deeply respected by the Aboriginal people. However, he is seen as an outlaw by the settlers of Australia.

This simple yet thought-provoking story shows the divided loyalty and courage needed to survive in colonial Australia.
Lost! A True Tale From the Bush

Image sourced from Goodreads
Stephanie Owen ReederSet in 1864, this book follows the story of three young children who become lost in the Australian bush. An emotional depiction explores the perseverance that these children needed to survive.

The book is dramatised from true events but includes historical information about what it was like to live in Australia in the late 1800s.
Rowan of Rin

Image sourced from Goodreads
Emily RoddaThis is the story of a young, timid boy called Rowan who has never thought of himself as a hero.

After the disappearance of villagers, Rowan must make his way up the mountain to investigate. In doing so, he is brought on a journey of self-discovery and adventure.

Literary Texts from Other Countries and Times

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Image sourced from Penguin Books Australia
Lewis CarrollAlice is a little girl who follows a White Rabbit down a rabbit hole and begins a series of fantastic and curiosity filled adventures.

Alice goes from changing sizes to playing croquet with the Queen of Hearts, and even meets a talking, grinning cat.
Deltora Quest

Image sourced from Wikipedia
Emily RoddaDeltora Quest is a childhood favourite for many. Set in a fantasy world called Deltora, it features a timid protagonist called Leif who sets out on a quest with his friends to find the seven lost gems of the Belt of Deltora.

Attempting to stop the trio is an array of monsters such as Wenns, Ra-Kacharz and Gorl.
Dragon Rider

Image sourced from Goodreads
Cornelia FunkeSet in Scotland, Dragon Rider is the story of a dragon called Firedrake who discovers that his homeland is going to be flooded by humans.

Determined to stop this, he sets out with an orphan called Ben to find the mysterious Rim of Heaven, a place known to be a sanctuary for all dragons.

Image sourced from Goodreads
Andrew ClementsWanting to have some fun at school, Nick Allen decides to make up his own word. A pen is now called a frindle.

This fun, new invention catches on with the students in his class, although his strict teachers and principal try to stop this. Despite this, the frindle is on its way to becoming an official word.
The Black Stallion

Image sourced from Penguin Books Australia
Walter FarleyAfter a visit to his uncle, Alec Ramsay becomes stranded on a desert island when his ship sinks.

Alongside him is a wild stallion, and these two unlikely friends work together to survive.
The Eighteenth Emergency

Image sourced from Open Library
Betsy ByarsMouse is a boy who seems prepared for anything, thinking up ideas with his friend Ezzie about how to get out of trouble in the craziest situations.

However, the one thing he isn’t prepared for is the school bully, Marv Hammerman. After labelling a caveman poster with Marv’s name, Mouse finds himself in a world of trouble.

English Resources

Year 5 NAPLAN Preparation

In the year prior, your child would have sat the NAPLAN for the very first time — this year they get a little break from these assessments, but they will be sitting them again in Year 5.

The three main areas your child will be assessed on are:

  • Reading & Writing
  • Language Conventions
  • Numeracy

For more on how the NAPLAN works, check out our guide here!

Reading is an essential component of the NAPLAN, as mentioned above, and this year there’ll be increased complexity in the areas that are assessed — in comparison to Year 3.

Aspects that may be a little more difficult include sentence structure, as well as the introduction of unfamiliar vocabulary, but these will all be accompanied by text and illustrations.

Here’s what you child can expect in the Reading section:

Text TypeWhat Students Are Expected To Be Able To Do
Simple Imaginative Texts- Find directly stated information
- Connect ideas across sentences and paragraphs
- Interpret ideas, including some expressed in complex sentences
- Identify a sequence of events
- Infer the writer’s feelings
Simple Information (Informative) Texts- Find directly stated information
- Connect an illustration with ideas in the text
- Locate a detail in the text
- Identify the meaning of a word in context
- Connect ideas within a sentence and across the text
- Identify the purpose of the text
- Identify conventions such as lists and those conventions used in a letter

Learn more about the Year 5 NAPLAN in our article here!

Reading Comprehension

In the NAPLAN, your child will need to demonstrate their reading comprehension ability. They’ll need to show that they can make inferences from a text, connect ideas, understand the purpose of a text, and so on!

At this point in their schooling, they’ll be a lot more independent with their reading — but that doesn’t mean you can’t contribute to helping develop their reading comprehension.

You won’t need to guide them as much when they’re reading, but after they’ve had a read of a text, you can ask some questions in order to get them thinking about what they’ve read! These chats can be very beneficial in getting your child to analyse the words beyond what’s on the page.

Check out more tips on improving reading comprehension here!


As your child goes through primary school, they’ll constantly be exposed to advanced vocabulary and jargon. Being able to spell well will help them communicate effectively across various written text types.

When your child completes the NAPLAN, they will be tested on their ability to spell in the Language Conventions test.

To help your child improve their spelling, we recommend that you download our FREE Year 4 spelling words worksheets — you can find them here!

Looking for some extra help for your child with English?

We have an incredible team of English tutors and mentors!

We offer tutoring and mentoring for Years K-12 in a variety of subjects, with personalised lessons conducted one-on-one in your home, online, or at our state of the art campus in Hornsby or the Hills!

We’ve supported over 8,000 students over the last 11 years, and on average our students score mark improvements of over 20%!

To find out more and get started with an inspirational English tutor and mentor, get in touch today or give us a ring on 1300 267 888!

Alicia Hassell is a K-6 English Resource Designer at Art of Smart, currently completing her final year of a Bachelor of Education (Secondary) with teaching areas in French, English and EAL/D. Teaching is a big passion of hers, and she loves everything involving languages. In her spare time she likes to read a good book and sew her own clothes!

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