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Recommended Fiction for Tweens (9-12 year olds)

August 17, 2009
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kid-reading-outsideNurturing good reading habits, and ensuring that young readers always have a ready supply of good, wholesome fiction reading at home (or in the classroom) is a constant challenge for most parents (and teachers). It would be a near impossible task to list out all the great books for kids this age, but we have a few pointers to help you with this.

One great starting point would be to browse through SmartBean’s book recommendations for this age. Be sure to also browse our comprehensive catalog of award winning children’s books. This is a catalog of great English literature from around the world – winners of not just the big name US awards (like Newbery, Caldecott, Horn Book, Scott O’Dell and others), but also those from the UK (Kate Greenaway and Carnegie), Canada, and Australia. It is a veritable goldmine with books that go back decades – to the 1930’s for Caldecott winners and 1960’s for Newbery, for example, so you’ll be sure to find not just great contemporary reading but classics as well.

Another approach would be to pick books by well-known, well-regarded and award winning authors whose books have an appeal for kids who have progressed beyond chapter books, but are still young for the mature content in teen and young adult literature. Any book written by these authors would be a good, safe bet. Please pay attention to the suggested age group as you buy, as some of the authors listed (Lois Lowry, Philip Pullman, Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman, Sharon Creech, Madeline L’Engle, Carl Hiaasen, and Katherine Paterson, among others) have also written books for a more mature teenage audience while others, like Enid Blyton and Cynthia Rylant have written books for younger kids as well.

Finally, getting kids interested in a popular series is a great idea. The list below contains several such; these are books which are better known by the names of the characters/series rather than the author. The wonderful thing about a book series is that it can keep kids engaged for months and years as new books are released (if it’s a current series) or until they’ve run through all the books if it’s an older series.

Please feel free to suggest some more that we may have missed, so we can collaboratively build a great list that covers all genres for tween boys and girls; and do remember that as with everything else, there is no “one size fits all” approach when it comes to learning – and reading, so be guided by your child’s (or student’s) maturity level and reading taste.
[Note: This post has been authored with the help of guest contributor, Sidhanth Venkatasubramaniam].

Popular Classic and Contemporary Authors & Series

Authors

Alfred Hitchcock (The Three Investigator Series)
Andrew Clements
Angie Sage
Astrid Lindgren
Avi
Beverly Cleary
Brian Jacques
Carl Hiaasen
Christopher Paul Curtis
Cynthia Rylant
E.L. Konigsburg
Enid Blyton
Eva Ibbotson
J.K.Rowling
Jacqueline Wilson
Jean Little
Jerry Spinelli
Karen Hesse
Kate DiCamillo
Katherine Paterson
Linda Sue Park
Lloyd Alexander
Lois Lowry
Louis Sachar
Madeline L’Engle
Mildred D. Taylor
Nancy Farmer
Neil Gaiman
Patricia MacLachlan
Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
Richard Peck
Roald Dahl
Robin McKinley
Sharon Creech
Sid Fleischman
Scott O’Dell
Terry Pratchett
Trenton Lee Stewart

Series

Adventures of Tiffany Aching (Terry Pratchett)
Alex Rider Adventures
Anastasia (Krupnik) -Lois Lowry
Artemis Fowl Series
Biggles
Books of Ember (Jeanne DuPrau)
Children of the Lamp
Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica (current)
Diary of A Wimpy Kid (current)
Fablehaven
Far-Flung Adventures
Fudge Series (Judy Blume)
Guardians of Ga’Hoole (current)
Hardy Boys
Henry Huggins (Beverly Cleary)
His Dark Materials Series (Philip Pullman)
Judy Moody
Molly Moon (current)
Nancy Drew
Percy Jackson & The Olympians (current)
Pippi (Astrid Lindgren)
Ramona (Beverly Cleary)
Redwall
Series of Unfortunate Events
The Chronicles of Narnia
The Chronicles of Prydain
The Discworld Series
The Edge Chronicles
The Inheritance Series (current)
The Penderwicks
The Poppy Stories (Avi)
The Sisters Grimm
The Spiderwick Chronicles
Underland Chronicles
Warrior Series
Wayside School
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