Summer is flying by and the start of school looms in the distance. We’ve all heard of the summer slide or summer slump and the need to keep kids reading and learning over the summer so that their brains don’t become Swiss cheese. But we also know that the best laid plans for a summer of reading sometimes get interrupted by vacation, camp and all other warm weather activities. Fear not! It’s never too late in the season to start reading.
Fight the brain drain. If you’re looking for fun tween books in a variety of genres, check out these.
Adventure (with a healthy dose of Historical Fiction)
The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
This Newbery Honor book is about a 13 year-old girl trying to return home from her school in England to her family in Rhode Island in the summer of 1832. The tale of her harrowing journey had my tween on the edge of her seat as she read this adventure book. My tween said, “You can never predict what’s going to happen. It has a million surprises.” Avi is one of her favorite authors and she said that she believes this is the best written of all the books she suggested for the list. On a scale of 1 to 10, my teen rates this a 9.
Double Dog Dare by Lisa Graff
According to my reader, “It’s intriguing and makes you want to read all the time. The dares were really creative. This book is super fun.” This tale of rival fourth graders “will appeal to girls and boys alike–and to anyone who has ever wanted anything so badly that they’d lick a lizard to get it,” according to Amazon.com
Julie Andrews’ Collection of Poems, Songs, and Lullabies by Julie Andrews and Emma Walton Hamilton
This book is for all ages, and compiles poems from a wide variety of authors, including William Shakespeare, Emily Dickenson, Jack Prelutsky and Shel Silverstein as well as poems by Andrews and her co-author daughter. My daughter is a big Julie Andrews fan so why not take full advantage of her admiration of her to encourage reading? Last night we enjoyed reading some poems before bedtime.
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
The New York Times called this the best novel of the year in 1981, and this book has staying power. My tween said, “This is different than every book I’ve read, but in a good way. Our teacher read it out loud to us, and I always looked forward to that, but I think it would be a great book to read on your own, too.” She said that this is the funniest book on her list, explaining, “I looked at the title and thought, ‘Ugh.’ but then she read it and I was like, ‘I love this book!”
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
This book was published in 1971 and I remember seeing it on the elementary school shelf in fifth grade. Mistake. Big mistake. This is a great book. My daughter, husband and I all read this book aloud as a family when it was a school-wide selection for One Book, One School. My tween said that on a scale of 1 to 10, she would give this an 8. She said she would give it a 9.5 if it didn’t have so many sad parts. While there are sad parts, the book has a wide appeal to many ages (hence why her entire elementary school read it) and has a LOT of topics for interesting family discussions.
Bliss by Kathryn Littlewood
If your tween isn’t in the mood for an older book, this recently published fantasy captured my tween’s attention and imagination. Fantasy isn’t usually herfavorite genre, but she really liked this take on it and it was a great reminder to her to keep an open mind. She liked that it was about baking, and interest of hers, and focuses on the Bliss Cookery Booke—an ancient, leather-bound volume of enchanted recipes like Singing Gingersnaps. But when Aunt Lilly arrives and the kids try baking from the Booke although they are not supposed to, life turns upside down.
The Tail of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler
This story of a 12 year-old girl who becomes a mermaid when she swims was a huge hit with my daughter. Reviewers on Amazon were split, but again, adults don’t have to love the book. Of course, don’t okay a book you find to be objectionable. My tween said, “It’s odd yet fun.” It’s also part of a series, and Lisa Stiegman of School Zone says, “Teachers know that a secret to reading success is to find a series that students love.”
If these suggestions aren’t melting your butter, check out this post for help finding something more suited to your tween: Websites that help with selecting great books for tweens
Please share in the comments what books your tweens have enjoyed recently.
FIND MORE BOOK SUGGESTIONS HERE: Reading list for tweens, and activities to go with each book OR 7 great tween reads for National Read a Book Day
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