When it comes to books, there's no doubt that 8 year old boys can be tricky to buy for.
Some 8 year olds may want to move towards books that feel more grown up. This could mean chapter books, graphic novels, or even picture books with older themes and illustrations. Kids benefit most when reading books that are on their level: not too easy but also not overwhelming. Here's a list of books that are manageable for younger readers and still have exciting illustrations and fun fonts.
Non-Fiction Picture books
World At Your Feet by Rob Parker, illustrated by Lawerta
Ever imagined yourself scoring some of the most iconic football goals of all time? You can do just that with World At Your Feet. Become Pele, Diego Maradona, Dennis Bergkamp, and many more legends as you score 16 impressive goals.
This children's football book is beautifully illustrated and features rhyming verses. Filled with colour and excitement, it’s the perfect read for football-obsessed 8 year old boys and any football fanatic adults in their life.
The World’s Most Pointless Animals: Or are They? By Philip Bunting
Explore the world's most pointless animals in this exciting non-fiction picture book. Discover new animals you never knew existed, as well as facts about animals you already love.
The World’s Most Pointless Animals is the perfect book to flip to a random page and learn something new. The full-colour illustrations are cute and whimsical. The animal facts are easy to read with some more advanced text below. There are words that 8 year old boys might not be familiar with, so an adult may need to help.
Rex: Dinosaur in Disguise by Elys Dolan
Rex was the coolest thing on two legs… until the ice age came around. Frozen in a block of ice, Rex finally gets thawed out 65 million years later. Now, humans are everywhere. To keep from being detected (and possibly experimented on) Rex must blend in and get a job.
Rex: Dinosaur in Disguise is an accessible early chapter book and perfect for kids who are starting to want to try longer books. It’s filled with muted orange and blue illustrations. They take up a lot of the page and help break up the text into manageable sections. Rex’s newness to the modern world makes for some lighthearted and silly situations, all while telling some lovely life lessons.
The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths, illustrated by Terry Denton
Andy and Terry are a book-writing pair who live in a 13-story treehouse. Their treehouse is a kid's dream with anything you'd ever want, a bowling alley, lemonade fountain, and pool! Andy and Terry have to get their next book written, but are constantly distracted along the way.
The book has the feel of reading a chapter book with the ease of a picture book. The hilarious cartoon-style illustrations are on every page for a more accessible read. It’s a great option for kids who want to move on to older books but still struggle with lots of text. The 13-story treehouse only gets bigger with lots more books to follow.
Xtinct: T-Rex Terror by Ash Stone
Jeevan’s mum works with fossils, but one day her lab starts to bring extinct beings back to life. Jeevan and his two best friends, a Neanderthal and a dodo, must save the animals from being captured.
Xtinct is filled with exciting black and white illustrations that break up the text and add to the sense of danger. Its paragraphs are small and manageable for younger readers. It’s the ideal early chapter book for 8 year old boys who love dinosaurs and other extinct animals.
Loki: A Bad God’s Guide to Being Good by Louie Stowell
Loki the trickster god has pulled too many pranks and has got himself banished to earth. He’s been put in an 11 year old body and has to face school. The worst part is his brother Thor is tagging along. Loki has to keep a diary to note his progress on earth for Odin. He needs to show moral improvement to return home, but Loki has no idea how to tell the bad from the good.
The story is told through Loki’s diary. Filled with Loki's doodles and notes, the book has a lighthearted and personal feel. Loki’s story is based on Greek mythology exploring Asgard, Odin, and Thor. The perfect choice for fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Marvel movies.
Monster Hunting for Beginners by Ian Mark, Illustrated by Louis Ghibault
Jack is just an ordinary kid. He’s small, wears glasses, and is very clumsy. After defying all odds and saving his aunt from an ogre, Jack’s recruited to become a monster hunter. With the help of his mentor, 200 year old Stoop, Jack has a lot to learn about monster hunting and he’s going to have to pick it up on the go.
Adventure from the get-go, Monster Hunting for Beginners is a fast-paced thrill. The short chapters make this a manageable and exciting read. Both the writing and pages are engaging, they’re filled with illustrations, fun font changes, and weathered textures. The story is narrated by beginner monster hunter Jack, making the tone conversational and lighthearted. Footnotes are featured throughout the book, adding fun asides, jokes, and explanations for words. This is a great story for 8 year old boys who love monsters and adventure.
InvestiGators by John Patrick Green
Mango and Brash are Alligator crime fighters. They work for S.U.I.T. (Special Undercover Investigation Teams) and are undergoing their first ever mission. Can they successfully go undercover and take down the villains?
With its full-colour comic-style illustrations, InvestiGators is a fun and engaging read. Although full of puns and zany antics, the plot is action-packed and well constructed. The book also has drawing lessons on the back for young readers to try their hand at comic book writing. This is only Mango and Brasher’s first mission, so get ready for many more adventures from the InvestiGators!
More recommended reading
Although all books selected are age-appropriate, kids will still need help with certain words and some may prefer paired reading. If any books seem too advanced, you might be interested in: