Year 5 Recommended Reading List: Best Books for 9 and 10 Year Olds


Looking for the best books for 9 or 10 year olds to read? The search is over, because we’ve got exactly what you need — a recommended reading list for Year 5 students!

You can browse through Australian literature, books that reveal insights about the peoples and cultures of Asia, as well as literary texts from other countries and times. Your child will have many books to choose from.

Searching through this list, you’ll be able to find out more about any text by just clicking on the titles! You can also check if it’s available at your child’s school library or your local library.

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

Ready to find out which books are best for 9 or 10 year olds? Keep reading!

Australian Literature
Insights about the Peoples and Cultures of Asia
Literary Texts from Other Countries and Times
English Resources

Australian Literature

Text Author About
My Mother’s Eyes: The Story of a Boy Soldier

Image sourced from Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson A young Australian boy lies about his age to fight in WWI. While fighting on the Western Front, he writes home to his mother.

My Mother’s Eyes describes the horror of war through simple language, but is extremely thought-provoking.

My Place

Image sourced from Goodreads

Nadia Wheatley Told by the children that lived there at every stage, My Place explores the same area of land over the space of 200 years.

The story starts in 1988 and travels backwards in time, passing the spotlight to children such as Sofia, Bertie and Wilhelmina.

The Riddle of the Trumpalar

Image sourced from Book Depository

Judy Bernard-Waite At the local park, an old tree is at risk of being cut down. The twins, Cass and Carl, try everything they can to stop the tree from being damaged.

This story features the importance of collaboration, community and the environment.


Image sourced from Penguin Books

Paul Jennings As a collection of short stories, Uncanny focuses on many exciting and absurd situations.

Magic lipstick, smart ice cream, and bathroom ghosts are just some of the memorable stories in this acclaimed collection.

Insights about the Peoples and Cultures of Asia

Text Author About
Japan Diary

Image sourced from Goodreads

Trudy White This is the story of two teenaged exchange students living in Australia and Japan. Amy and Taro discover the unique aspects of each other’s culture, as well as the connection between the two.

This is a very relatable book for anybody who has travelled to another country, and is a good introduction to cultural differences.

Onion Tears

Image sourced from Harper Collins Australia

Diana Kidd Nam-Huong has left Vietnam as a refugee and struggles to adjust to her new life in Australia. Her traumatic experiences leave her unable to fit in with her peers.

This is an eye-opening story for many children who don’t have much knowledge about refugees.

White Crane

Image sourced from Goodreads

Sandy Fussell The first in a series of eight books, Samurai Kids is about a school in feudal Japan which takes in students with disabilities. These students are all fantastic fighters and don’t let their disabilities stop them.

The support that these kids receive is a perfect model for readers to learn from.

Literary Texts from Other Countries and Times

Text Author About
It’s a Book

Image sourced from Goodreads

Lane Smith A monkey is reading a book, but his friend has no idea what it is!

This humorous reference to the rise of E-books will make older readers laugh and encourage younger readers to try out print books rather than technology.

Mbobo Tree

Image sourced from Goodreads

Glenda Millard A baby is discovered in a tree, and is welcomed into the community. She learns the traditions, customs and culture of the community but she refuses to speak.

When the tree that she loves comes under threat, she needs to find her bravery and save the village.

Wolf Brother

Image sourced from Wikipedia

Michelle Paver Torak is a Native American boy living during the Stone Age, around 6,000 years ago. With his wolf companion, he goes on an adventure to stop the evil that is taking hold of the world.

The bond between human and animal is one of the most effective parts of this novel which makes it all the more memorable.

English Resources

Preparing for the Year 5 NAPLAN

The first time your child would have sat the NAPLAN was 2 years ago, when they were still in Year 3. They’ll be going through the same assessment style again now that they are in Year 5!

Your child will be assessed on the following areas:

  • Reading & Writing
  • Language Conventions
  • Numeracy

To learn about how the NAPLAN works, have a read of our guide here!

As we’ve mentioned, one of the focus areas of the assessments is Reading. This component of the NAPLAN will be a little more challenging than when they completed it in Year 3, because they would have built on the knowledge they’ve had over the past two years.

Your child will be assessed on aspects like sentence structure and be exposed to unfamiliar vocabulary. Though to give your child some understanding of these newer terms, text and illustrations will accompany them.

Your child can expect the following to be covered in the Reading section:

Text Type What 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

Check out more on the Year 5 NAPLAN in our guide here!

Reading Comprehension

As part of the Reading section in NAPLAN, your child will need to show how well they can comprehend various texts. This typically involves making inferences from a text, connecting ideas, understanding the purpose of a text, and more!

In Year 5, students are very much confident with reading on their own, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help them engage with their reading further.

You obviously don’t need to hold their hand as they read through a novel, but asking questions after they’ve read it can be a way to get them to engage more with the text! A simple chat can go a long way in helping your child understand more than just what has been physically written on a page.

Get some more tips on improving reading comprehension here!


Throughout primary school, your child will continually be learning new words and more technical language that they can use in their writing. As words become more difficult or complex, it’s important that students can spell properly in order to communicate their messages effectively!

When your child sits the NAPLAN, the Language Conventions test will be assessing their ability to spell.

Access our FREE Year 5 spelling words worksheets here to help improve their spelling!

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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