I’m not one of those “take the summer off” kind of moms. When I homeschooled, we had a year ’round program. In the summer we actually did a lot of our learning because going outside isn’t high on our list of things to do. It’s eight-hundred and sixty-two degrees outside most days in the summer, so why not spend it inside learning and doing fun stuff. Summer Reading List For Tweens
Now that BabyGirl is in a public school (or, soon to be charter school) gifted program, we have summer off. But that leaves BabyGirl with two months of having a lot of time on her hands. And since she read over 4-million words during the school year, you get an idea of how much she reads. And that 4-million words does not include any books she read multiple times. All told, including re-reads, she read close to 7-million words! In 10 months! That’s 700,000 words a month. Or, an average of 23,000 words a day.
While she’s likely to read a lot of books, she’s already read many books her peers haven’t. That makes it even more of a challenge to find suitable books. In talking to her about books she’d recommend for friends, we’ve come up with this list. While she can read and comprehend books at the adult level, they’re not always appropriate for a 10-year old. The follow books have a reading level of at least 4th grade.
8 Books Ever Tween Should Read
The following books are all linked to Amazon, from which I would get a small commission if you were to buy.
Tuck Everlasting is a somewhat short book with well-developed characters tweens can identify with easily. BabyGirl has read this book so many times. She actually keeps it in the car because she loves it so much.
Harry Potter is a series we put off because we knew once BabyGirl started them she wouldn’t be able to stop. The later books are a bit darker and more complex. JK Rowling’s characters are multi-dimensional, the story line is easy to follow, and the reader is quick to identify with many of the characters.
James and the Giant Peach is a Roald Dahl classic. The first part of the story is a bit sad, but it quickly turns in to the well-written fantasy classics true to Roald Dahl. Honestly, any Roald Dahl book would be a great addition to a summer reading list.
The Invisible Fran (Franny K. Stein, Mad Scientist) skews toward the younger side of tween, but who doesn’t love a book about a mad scientist. It’s an easy and fun read. As part of a series, if your kids like this one there are others to keep reluctant readers going or advanced readers wanting more.
Number the Stars may not be on most lists because of its subject matter. Set in Nazi-occupied Denmark, the story is a compelling historical fiction. The author handles the very delicate topic of World War II and the Holocaust in a way that is appropriate for juvenile readers.
The Hobbit is a somewhat lengthy classic that many young people love. The pre-story to the ever-popular Lord of the Rings series, The Hobbit tells the story of Bilbo Baggins as he is swept up on an adventure with a wizard and a group of dwarves. Most of us know the story, but the book goes into much more depth and describes the people, places, and history in exacting detail.
The Mouse and the Motorcycle another classic that’s perfect for both hesitant and voracious readers, the story about the friendship between a young boy and a mouse is well-written, captivating, and fun. Beverly Cleary tells a tale every child loves, and wants to read.
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn is a coming of age story set at the turn of the 20th century. A lengthy novel written over 60 years ago tells the story of an 11-year old girl growing up through difficult times. There is a great history lesson woven into the story, as well as important life lessons learned through the eyes of the young Francie.
The thing I love about BabyGirl being such a dedicated reader is that I get to re-read books I grew up with, as well as find new ones. There are so many great books out there, and these are just 8 of the many hundred I could probably list. However, these were chosen because they represent a great cross-section of options for young readers.
What other “must read” books would you add to this list?