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If you’re like me, raising a voracious reader, or if you’re trying to get your kids interested in reading books, this list may help. Gy is on the cusp of adolescence. Sometimes I think she’s already one. 😉 And in the last couple of years, I have observed that she gravitates towards a certain set of books. So I figured this would help if you’re looking for suggestions for books for tween girls.
The books listed below do not qualify as detailed book reviews but these are more of short indicators of what to expect when you pick up a book of this variety.
Now don’t get me wrong. Any of these books can be enjoyed by tween boys as well. It’s just that I have noticed my daughter read and her cousin, who is a boy, read books. And their tastes appear markedly different.
It could be that they are also influenced by what their peers are reading, so it’s important to keep that in mind when picking out books.
As you read this list, you may be wondering why I have left out some classic favourites of this generation. Don’t worry. I intend to do a follow-up post (maybe a series of them) to add on to this list.
That’s the beauty of reading lists. They are elastic and can expand to include as many books as there are tastes.
It’s telling that of the five she really enjoys at the moment, the genres are quite starkly distinct. One is a non-fiction book while the other 4 are fiction. As for the themes, well, let’s explore them in the list below.
1. ‘Wonder’ by R.J. Palacio
Genre: Fiction / Children’s Literature
Theme: Kindness, Tolerance and Acceptance
Ideal for ages: 8 to 12 years
Honestly, this is a book everyone should read, not just tweens. But it’s a great book for this age, for a number of reasons. I’ve already reviewed the book in detail on the blog earlier so I will just highlight the things that I feel are most relevant.
Read my Review of Wonder by R.J. Palacio
Since it’s a story about a child who is visibly different from others, it calls into play powerful emotions such as judgement, compassion and empathy. It also encourages the child to think about things from a different perspective, which to be honest, many of us can use in today’s cloistered spaces (both online and off it).
2. Girls who changed the world by Michelle Roehm McCann
Genre: Non-Fiction/ Short Biography
Age group: 11 and older
I’ve always felt that the best role models for kids are their parents, their teachers and their peers. When you have a book like this one which touches upon girls as young as 10 or 13, who overcame tremendous odds and made a mark in the world, it inspires our kids like nothing else can.
This list of 45 girls who went on to become powerful successful women in their own right was a gorgeous book for my daughter.
She wound up reading it over a week and following it up with questions about the women, researching more about them and watching videos about them too.
From Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Beverly Cleary to Sheila Sri Prakash and Malala Yousufzai, this is a book that covers the breadth of girls who found their calling.
3. ‘What Katy Did’ by Susan Coolidge
Genre: Fiction/ Young Adult
Theme: Growing Up
Age group: 10 and above
This may be one among my favourite books too. I first laid my hands on it when I was a tween. Of course, back then I just called myself a kid. 😉
The story of Katy is a heartwarming tale of a young girl with big dreams and high hopes, who has them all dashed when she falls off a swing in her back yard. Faced with a future where she apparently can’t ever get up and walk, how will she deal with it? With anger and resentment? Or courage and fortitude?
This is a wonderful coming-of-age story in the most elegant sense of the word. A young girl must take what is given to her and make the best out of the situation. Any girl in her tween years will understand what this means.
The richness of the characters, the pace of the tale and the warmth of the book shines through the pages. Here is one book that your child will re-read many times over.
*This is the first in a series of the Katy books, but it is a book that can be read independently and cherished.
4. ‘And Then There Were None’ by Agatha Christie
Genre: Fiction/ Murder
Theme: Murder Mystery
Age Group: 11 years and above
Agatha Christie needs no introduction and this particular book wasn’t even the first of the Christie books that my daughter read.
But it has become her favourite so far. Apparently the world agrees with her because it ranked first in a global vote to find the best Agatha Christie on the author’s 125th birthday!
What I personally love about the book (apart from the mystery and the suspense of course) is the fact that the language is clean, easy to understand and not given to being too ornate. A child of 11 can delight in the mystery as much as a grown woman of 40.
It’s also a reminder for writers everywhere that you don’t need flashy language to capture the imagination of your readers and keep them hooked.
Christie books will always feature in my list of recommendations for the sheer variety of mystery, character sketches and inventive thinking. You won’t be sorry, I guarantee it.
5. ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyajamas’ by John Boyne
Genre: Fiction/ War
Theme: Innocence and World War 2
Age Group: 11 years and above
What do I say about a book that touches on the unspeakable horrors of the Holocaust but does it through the eyes of an innocent nine-year-old boy?
It’s powerful, heart-rending and stays with you for an incredibly long time.
Honestly, this is one book I wept after reading. If you/your child is of a sensitive nature, I would advise reading it together and helping explain some parts of the book that may be unfamiliar to the child.
But it’s also important to read these books to be aware of the cruelty that man is capable of. At the same time, it’s important to juxtapose the power of hope and positivity that rings through the character of Bruno, the nine-year-old boy and his friend from the other side.
The movie by the same name is supposed to be a powerful watch, although I haven’t seen it myself.
So, that was my list of 5 current favourite books on my tween’s reading list. Which of these have you read? Oh and also share with me more recommendations for books along similar genres/themes. I promise you my daughter will be forever in your debt. 🙂
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