Young readers enter a unique developmental stage as they transition from elementary to middle school. Sadly, it's during this crucial time that parents often see their children fall behind. That's why it's critical we find books for tweens that captivate and engage our children. This is the only way to help our kids build reading skills that will carry them to success.
At what age are children considered tweens?
Generally speaking, tweens are kids 9-12 years old.
While the reading ability of middle-grade children will always vary, finding age-appropriate books is a great way to begin when looking to select titles for your kids.
The importance of matching tween readers with the right books
When looking to inspire readers, it's not enough to grab any book from the kids' section of your local library. Middle school children need titles that will push them to further develop academic and life skills.
Carefully chosen books for tweens can:
Foster a Love for Reading
First and foremost, by providing engaging titles that match the interests of our children, we can nurture a love for reading that will last a lifetime.
Strengthen Cognitive and Emotional Development
Choosing the right books can help tweens develop their cognitive and emotional skills, allowing them to better understand themselves and those around them.
Improve Critical Thinking
Thought-provoking books can sharpen a child's critical thinking and analytical abilities, preparing them for more complex subjects as they continue in their academic career.
Support Identity Formation
Tween years are an essential time for identity formation. Books that resonate with their experiences can help them navigate this period.
Lastly, books that touch on relevant topics can open the door for meaningful conversations between children, parents, and educators, fostering a supportive environment for growth and learning.
What are the characteristics of good books for tweens?
Here's what to watch for when looking to get a good book for your kids:
First, look for age-appropriate language and themes. You want to engage and challenge young readers, but not overwhelm or confuse them.
Engaging Characters and Storylines
Relatable and engaging characters are essential. Remember, tweens will be more invested in the story if they can connect with characters that are dealing with some of the same issues they face every day.
A focus on Empathy and Understanding
Books that encourage empathy and understanding are fantastic choices. They help tweens navigate their own emotions while learning why it is so important to see things from another person's point of view.
Seek out books that represent diverse characters and experiences. It's a great way to expose tweens to the world around them.
A Mix of Entertainment and Education
Finally, aim for a balance between entertainment and education. While having fun is essential, finding lesson-drive books can be a win-win.
Why is GHOUL SCHOOL one of the great books for tweens?
Combining the best of audiobooks, graphic novels, and traditional prose, Ghoul School is a brand-new series that uses proven publishing techniques to engage even the most reluctant readers...
- Creepy music and Hollywood sound effects highlight a streamable podcast that offers children a read-along experience they will never forget
- Low page counts reduce intimidation, promising reluctant readers they won’t spend the rest of their lives with their noses buried in a book
- Big fonts let readers turn pages faster than normal, giving them the same dopamine hit they get when scrolling through their feeds
- Age-appropriate horror improves focus as new scares lurk around every corner
- Beautiful artwork on every page helps visual learners build context as the story unfolds
- Unexpected endings inspire children to continue with the series so this positive experience becomes the foundation of a reading habit
Join countless parents and teachers who have watched their kids become avid fans of this exciting new series. Grab a copy today!
With that said, we give you...
The Definitive List of the Most Popular Books for Tweens
Here are some solid choices to get you started in your search...
Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Enchanting creatures, talking portraits, and secret passageways await you in this spellbinding series. Follow Harry Potter's journey as he faces the evil wizard Voldemort, who wants to control the magical world. With gripping adventures and a captivating world, middle school readers won't be able to put these books down until they have finished the complete series. Buy it here.
Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
Get ready for an epic adventure with Percy Jackson, a modern-day demigod who discovers he's the son of Poseidon, the Greek god of the sea. In this thrilling series, Percy and his friends embark on daring quests, battle mythological monsters, and uncover secrets of their godly heritage. Buy it here.
The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis
Join four siblings as they face fearsome foes, forge friendships with delightful creatures, and explore the wonders of a land where it's always winter but never Christmas. Each book in this classic series transports readers to new corners of Narnia, where every adventure teaches valuable lessons about courage, love, and loyalty. Buy it here.
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Discover the heartwarming story about Auggie, a boy with a facial difference who's attending public school for the first time. Experience Auggie's journey as he navigates new friendships, faces challenges, and teaches everyone around him the true meaning of kindness.
Wonder is a must-read for young readers, filled with unforgettable characters, powerful lessons, and an uplifting message that encourages empathy and understanding. Get ready to be inspired and see the world through Auggie's eyes! Buy it here.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney
Kids love this popular series of books for tweens.
Told through Greg's witty journal entries and hilarious doodles, readers experience the trials and triumphs of growing up. From epic sleepovers to school projects gone wrong, this series captures the relatable and often awkward moments that define the life of a not-so-typical kid.
Perfect for younger kids who may not be ready for a complex read, each volume in this New York Times bestseller features a hilarious story, unforgettable characters, and valuable life lessons. Buy it here.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
A spine-tingling tale about a young girl named Coraline who discovers a mysterious door in her new home. Behind it lies an alternate reality with seemingly perfect versions of her family, but things quickly turn sinister.
As Coraline unravels the chilling secrets of this parallel world, she must muster her courage and wit to outsmart the creepy Other Mother and save her real family. This spellbinding story is full of thrilling twists, memorable characters, and a brave heroine who won't back down. Buy it here.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
A winner of the prestigious Newberry Award!
After a deadly attack on his family, Bod finds safety and unusual friendships among the graveyard's spirits. Embark on a spooky adventure with Bod as he learns supernatural skills from his ghostly guardians, discovers hidden secrets, and confronts dangerous foes. Buy it here.
Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi
A New York Times bestseller. From Scholastic's line of graphic novels, Amulet is a series that follows two siblings who hope the discovery of a magical amulet will empower them to save their mother. They must traverse dangerous lands and battle powerful enemies if they're to save those endangered by the dark forces they encounter. Buy it here.
Smile by Raina Telgemeier
A regular entry on most tween reading lists. Smile is the charming story about Raina's struggles with braces while trying to navigate the turbulent waters of middle school. The author's art does such a good job of portraying the emotions of adolescence that most children see a piece of themselves in this story. Buy it here.
Great books for tween BOYS
For parents that need to cater their selections by gender, the following titles have the power to turn boys into avid readers...
Rebound by Kwame Alexander
A change of pace for young readers who are frustrated with the typical stuff they find on shelves. From the mind of internationally renowned poet Kwame Alexander, Rebound is a coming-of-age story written entirely in verse. This unique novel follows the story of Charlie Bell, a twelve-year-old boy who bounces back from tragedy with the help of his father's journal, a love of basketball, and a newfound appreciation for family. Buy it here.
Skeleton Creek by Patrick Corman
With a story that's told through a mix of journal entries and video diaries, this is a great pick for the reluctant reader on your list. In this mysterious adventure, Ryan and Sarah investigate a strange ghostly presence in their hometown of Skeleton Creek. As they uncover secrets, they share their discoveries online through journals and videos. With each thrilling volume, readers can watch the mystery unfold and join in on the suspense! Buy it here.
Runaways by Brian K. Vaughan
An action-packed collection of the long-running comic book series, Runaways gives kids the chance to experience the Marvel universe through the eyes of kids just like them.
Great books for tween GIRLS
These titles can help parents engage young girls to become voracious readers...
Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
This three-book series follows the story of Katniss Everdeen, a strong and resourceful heroine fighting to survive a post-apocalyptic world. With its thrilling plot twists, this series will keep readers engaged and inspired by its uplifting message of courage in the face of danger. It is a perfect fit for young girls who are looking for an exciting read that will also teach them valuable lessons about resilience and strength. Buy it here.
Guts by Raina Telgemeijer
This heartwarming, slice-of-life graphic novel is a super compelling read about a young girl who is determined to survive middle school with her head held. Through misadventures, friendships, and crushes, our heroine discovers that being brave and facing fears can lead to more fulfilling experiences. Buy it here.
Scary Books for Tweens
Want more? Check out our list of scary books for tweens.
Graphic Novels for Tweens
If the graphic novels mentioned above sparked an interest, be sure to check out our list of graphic novels for kids.
Motivate Reluctant Readers when Choosing Books for Tweens
It can be hard to motivate reluctant readers at home. As you explore the world of books for tweens, keep these tips in mind to ensure you select the perfect reads for your young readers.
Get to Know Their Interests
Understanding your tween's interests can help you choose books that will resonate with them.
Don't shy away from introducing them to new genres and subjects. Encourage your tween to explore different types of books and expand their reading horizons.
Read Reviews and Recommendations
Take advantage of book reviews and recommendations from trusted sources, such as librarians, teachers, and fellow parents.
Seek Age-Appropriate Themes and Language
Ensure the books you choose are age-appropriate for your tween by checking the recommended age range on the publisher's website or in book reviews.
Involve Your Tween in the Selection Process
Encourage your tween to take part in the book selection process, allowing them to develop a sense of ownership and enthusiasm for their reading journey.