Today, September 6, is National Read a Book Day. Hooray! I love reading for so many reasons, and although my tween did not inherit my appetite for the written word, she’s (very) slowly coming around and becoming a reader herself.
A good site for finding tween books is Read, Kiddo, Read by author James Patterson, who started it to get his kid would love to read. The goal of the site it to help kids and parents pick fun, funny engaging books for kids that are pure pleasure to read. It’s not about forcing them into the classics if that feels like boring homework to your tween, but rather about helping them find books that help them love to read. They may not be books you would pick. Some disagree with this approach, but I’m a believer. Read, Kiddo, Read has suggestions for all reading levels.
And just in case you’d like our help, here are a few of our suggestions. I’ve included links on Amazon just so you can check out more detailed summaries, but remember your local library has all of these for free!
My tween’s favorite books include:
The White Giraffe – My tween selected this book at school and was absolutely riveted. Lauren St. John’s story sucked her in, transported her to South Africa and broadened her imagination.
The Cupcake Diaries: Katie and the cupcake cure – So it may not be high brow literature, but my girl who doesn’t always love books adored this story of middle school girls, their evolving friendships and their love of my tween’s favorite sweet treat.
Matilda – Roald Dahl wrote a lot of tween classics, but my tween is very partial to this one, about a little girls who loves to read and has magical powers.
The Tale of Despereaux – As a family, we’ve enjoyed several of Kate DiCamillo’s books, but this heroic mouse captured my girl’s heart. I myself may be a bit more partial to Because of Winn-Dixie about a girl, her dad and her dog who have just moved to Florida. I’m not a dog person, but this book may have just turned me into one. We haven’t seen either movie because we’re afraid that they won’t do justice to these books that we hold dear.
and today we’re picking up the Shawn Johnson autobiography that is on hold at the library. She’s very excited.
Favorite books that I have read with my tween include:
The Fudge series – It’s not secret that I’m a fan of Judy Blume, but I especially enjoyed Fudge and his antics this time around in part because it’s a book about a boy that my girl enjoyed. These transcend gender, and time, very nicely.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid – I did not expect to like these books. In fact, I was fully prepared to strongly dislike them. But author Dave Kinney and his tween protagonist, Greg, charmed me. They also charmed my husband, my tween and they charmed other adults and tweens we know. We even have plans with another family to have a full-family book club gathering for the release of the new Diary of a Wimpy Kid book (the 7th in the series) later this fall. Again, another good book about a boy that my girl enjoys.
Little House on the Prairie series – Tried and true classics, I found these to be fascinating to read as an adult. It was like visiting an old friend with Laura, but the portrait that emerges of Ma and Pa’s marriage had escaped me as a kid. Laura comes of age over the series and while very different from today (pretty much the polar opposite of Diary of a Wimpy Kid), tweens can relate to changing responsibilities and expectations. An added appreciation of the current creature comforts we enjoy today is an added bonus. I read these to my tween when she was younger, and we plan on revisiting them soon.
What are your favorite books to read, with or without your child(ren)?