When two of our junior reporters recently spent an afternoon with us in the office, we all ended up in a lively debate on what makes for the ultimate read for tweens these days – that awkward age where the kiddos are too old for picture books but not quite ready for the world of YA novels. 10-year-old Juliana and 10-year-old Angelica have their own ideas about what makes for a good book, so we persuaded them to write a tween reading list for, well, tweens. Here’s the ones that are top of their lit-pile right now…
What are tweens and teens reading now?
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Juliana says “You have to try this series because it allows young minds to believe in the creativity of magic.” Young minds? Our minds still believe too (we’re still waiting for a letter from Hogwarts).
Land of Stories by Chris Colfer
Sinister plans, wicked witches, Captain Hook, the Queen of Hearts and an evil literary army are just a fraction of the cool action you can expect in this brilliant series about all things fairytale, that both girls recommend to other tweens.
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
“Wonder is an awesome book to teach kids to learn about different perspectives,” says Juliana. Palacio actually wrote this story after her son noticed a girl with a severe facial deformity and started to cry. Palacio attempted to remove her son from the situation so as not to upset the girl and her family but ended up worsening the situation, and learning some parenting lessons the hard way.
Mr Midnight Series by James Lee
One of Angelica’s favourite reads right now is the extensive collection of Mr Midnight books. “I love the scary stories in the series but they are not so scary that they give me nightmares. I also like that they are set in Singapore, which is pretty cool.” Severed heads, scary clowns and haunted lifts sound pretty frightening to us though!
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling (or should we say Newt Scamander?)
A timely inclusion what with the new blockbuster movie follow-up, Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald about to hit the silver screen, and the original book is a big winner for tweens and teens alike (adults too!). Juliana proclaims this tale to be “An amazing book to get kids interested in reading,” while Angelica says “I think I like this book even more than Harry Potter!”
The 13-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths
We recently hung out with author Andy Griffiths (look out for our interview coming soon) and Angelica was pretty stoked to get his autograph and the lowdown on all things 13-Storey Treehouse. “I love this book because it is so imaginative and I would love to have a marshmallow launcher, a lemonade fountain and a shark tank in my house,” she says. Wouldn’t we all? (Maybe not the shark tank).
Awful Auntie by David Walliams
Anything by David Walliams is sure to be a big hit with the tween-reading brigade, but Juliana votes Awful Auntie has her own personal fave. Kids will love joining Stella Saxby on an adventure that involves her awful auntie, Aunt Alberta, trying to stop Stella inheriting what’s rightfully hers.
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Anyone with a cool name like Cornelia Funke HAS to be good at writing stories, we say! And Juliana agrees too, which is why she’s putting it on her list of recommendations as a tale that tweens who are looking for more elaborate stories should pop on their must read list. Intrigue, adventure and a stranger named Dustfinger make this perfect for kids already confident with chapter books.
Marley and Me by John Grogan
You’ve probably all seen the tearjerker movie version of the same name starring Owen Wilson and Jennifer Aniston, which follows the hilarious capers of Marley the labrador, but the original book is also a big hit with tweens and teens, Angelica included. “This story is so funny and even more so because I have a naughty but fun puppy just like Marley.” She certainly does…
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
If your kids are keen to try a read based on an historical true story, Juliana is sure that this is it. Island of Blue Dolphins tells the story of a 12-year-old girl stranded alone for years on an island off the California coast – which is exactly what happened to Juana Maria, a Native American, during the 19th century.
Middle School, The Worst Years of my Life by Chris Tebbetts and James Patterson
“A comedy that will make you laugh hard and will fill you and your child with joy.” High praise indeed from Juliana! Middle School, The Worst Years of my Life follows sixth grader Rafe Khatchadorian as he begins middle school and copes with the awkwardness of adolescence, unrequited crushes, bullying and family issues, all while he attempts to break every school rule in the book.
The School of Fear by Gitty Daneshvari
Angelica’s current read is scoring high with her right now, and for good reason. Theodore Bartholomew is petrified of dying, Lulu Punchalower is scared of confined spaces and Garrison Feldman is terrified of deep water, so the 12-year-olds are send to the highly elusive and exclusive School of Fear to help them overcome their phobias. “I think it is very interesting how there is a school for people who are afraid of a lot of things and I am scared of heights so I think I should go to that school,” Angelica tells us.
Thanks Juliana and Angelica! Can we now recommend to you… Sweet Valley High? #throwback
Like this story? Here’s more we think you’ll enjoy:
Having the puberty chat with your tweens and teens
Raising a teen in Singapore: tips for keeping your cool
Teaching your tweens and teens some street smarts
The coming-of-age-movies we’re watching with the kids