Master List of Gifts Ideas for Tween & Teen Girls and Boys! Master List of Gifts Ideas for Tween & Teen Girls and Boys!

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Best Books for Tweens [Book Guide 2021]

Best Books for Tweens [Book Guide 2021]

This list of the best books for tweens includes everything from books like Harry Potter to books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Explore the genres you know your tween enjoys, and then check out some others to introduce something new. We made a note on books recommended for ages 12+, so avoid those for now if you're looking for books for 4th graders and books for 5th graders. 

Finding great books for tweens (ages 8 to 12) gets tricky.

Kids change SO much during these years. As parents, we're constantly trying to figure out what they would like and what's age appropriate. And the measuring stick on what's appropriate keeps moving as they get older.

Second and sixth graders likely aren't - and shouldn't be - reading the same things. Tweens can explore more complex plots and topics as they get older. Some of these are things parents might want to introduce on purpose. Or at a certain age so we can have a conversation about it.

"Sometimes parents shy away from discussing difficult topics with their children (e.g. racism, sex ed, LGBT issues, etc.). The beauty of the best children's literature is that it allows children and adults to approach these difficult topics with honesty. By portraying diverse characters, books allow readers to relate to the unique experience of the protagonist in an authentic way.  Moreover, books speak to our humanity, celebrate the beauty of life, and inspire us to do better and be better."   

- Anastasia Mayberry, school librarian and mother of three boys

Choosing good books also gets harder as kids who struggle with reading or just don't love it hit the tween years. Some of the super popular books are 300-600 pages. Intimidating!

This list of the best books for tweens below includes everything from books like Harry Potter to books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Explore the genres you know your tween enjoys, and then check out some others to introduce something new.

We made a note on books recommended for ages 12+, so avoid those for now if you're looking for books for 4th graders and books for 5th graders. 

Bookmark this page and stop back whenever you need new ideas. Comment below if there are books you think we should add to the list! 


Books Like Harry Potter

Fantasy Books for Tweens

 Wings of Fire, books for tweens
Wings of Fire by Tui T. Sutherland, 5 books
This fantasy series is a New York Times best seller and a Teachers’ Pick on Amazon.

 

The Boundless, , books for tweens

The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel
A boy on the fastest train ever built facing monstrous tree people and other adventures on a race to find his dad.


Sweep, books for tweens
Sweep by Johnathan Auxlier
The story of a hard-working orphan saved by a monster and how they carve out a new life together.


The Graveyard Book, , books for tweens

The Graveyard Book 
This story about a boy who lives in a graveyard being raised by ghosts snagged the Newbery Medal.


Ranger's Apprentice, books for tweens

Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan, 12 books
Great for older tweens, the series focuses on rangers who are trained to protect kings and villagers and who value honor, community and courage. There is some violence and mild cursing, and romance enters the picture as the characters get older.

 

Harry Potter, books for tweens
Harry Potter by J.K. Rawling, 7 books
I read the first Harry Potter book on a road trip with my family as a teen because it was the only book in the car, and I was bored. I wasn’t into fantasy and didn’t really want to read it because of all the hype. But it hooked me. I’ve read the entire series with both of my sons and will start it again with my daughter soon (watching the movies as we finish each book) . It’s magical, it’s well-written, and as a professional writer I’m truly in awe of what J.K. Rawling did - the plotlines she fits together, the characters she builds and the lessons she teaches. 

 

Eragon, books for tweens

Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle) by Christopher Paolini, 4 books
This book series is one of my teen's absolute favorites, and tons of moms in our gift ideas for tween & teen boys Facebook group mentioned it when we asked about great books for boys. Just a warning that the books are long and use harder vocabulary as they go - so they’re better for stronger readers. There is an older movie centered on the first book Eragon.

 City of Ember, books for tweens

City of Ember series by Jeanne DuPrau, 4 books
This was an assigned reading for fourth graders at my kids’ school, and I heard kids say it was now their favorite book. It’s about the city of Ember, built as a last refuge for the human race, and solving the mystery of how to save it.

 

Brotherband Chronicles
Brotherband Chronicles by John Flanagan, 7 books
A new adventure by the best-selling author of Ranger’s Apprentice.

 

Percy Jackson, books for tweens

Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan, 5 books
Rick Riordan is another favorite author among tweens, and the Percy Jackson series is my boys’ favorite. The books follow the quests of children born to Greek gods - specifically Percy Jackson, son of the sea god Poseidon. They’re full of Greek mythology, adventure and friendship. There are movies for the first two books. Percy’s story continues in the five books of The Heroes of Olympus series.


Magnus Chase, books for tweens

Magnus Chase by Rick Riordan, 3 books
These books have a similar feel to the Percy Jackson series, following demigod Magnus Chase.


Cape, books for tweens

Cape (The League of Secret Heroes) by Kate Hannigan, 3 books
Inspired by remarkable real-life women from World War II, the book follows three girls chosen by a government agency to help solve puzzles for the government. The girls then find themselves transformed into superheroes who need to solve an important mystery. The boxed set launches in August 2021, but you can check out book one Cape to get started.


The Underland Chronicles, books for tweens

Gregor the Overlander (The Underland Chronicles) by Suzanne Collins, 5 books
Gregor and his sister fall through the vent in his apartment building laundry room and discover a world below with royalty, giant beasts and prophecies. Written by the author of Hunger Games, these books are an interesting ride.


Roald Dahl, books for tweens
Matilda, BFG & Charlie & the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Dahl's books can be a little dark and twisty, but they’re full of lessons and interesting characters. This set has 16 books, including Matilda, the BFG, James and the Giant Peach and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. There are movies for many of these famous reads.


 The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, books for tweens

The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien, 4 books, (Hobbit is 9+ but LOTR 12+)
My son read and enjoyed The Hobbit, but hasn’t tackled the Lord of the Rings series yet. It’s a pretty big commitment. I enjoyed the movies much more than I ever thought, so I’m planning to read these when my boys are ready as well.

 

Ender's Game, best books for tweens
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card, 16 books (Recommended for 12+)
The first two books of this science fiction series won Hugo awards and there is a major motion picture, comics and short stories based on the series.

 

The Hunger Games, books for tweens

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, 4 books (Recommended for 12+)
This series - especially book one, are iconic to me, but my aunt still can’t bring herself to read them because she knows the premise involves kids hurting other kids. Read about them before you recommend them to your tween, but they’ll likely ask to read them at some point. I didn’t enjoy the final books as much as the first, but I certainly wanted to see the series through. The movies are great and star Jennifer Lawrence.

 

 Michael Vey, books for tweens
Michael Vey by Richard Paul Evans, 7 books. (Recommended for 12+)
A 14-year-old with Tourette’s syndrome...and electric powers who must work with his team to prevent a sinister organization from achieving world domination.

 


Mystery & Adventure Books for Tweens

 

Peter and the Starcatchers, books for tweens

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry, 5 books
This series is a new take on Peter Pan written by nationally-syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry. The set includes the first three books and is a wild and fun adventure.


Julie of the Wolves, books for tweens

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George, 3 books
This Newbery Medal winner tells the story of an Eskimo girl lost on the Alaskan tundra. The story continues in Book 2: Julie and Book 3: Julie’s Wolf Pack.


Hatchet, books for tweens

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, 5 books
A teen survives a plane crash in the Canadian wilderness and works to survive until he can be rescued. There are four follow-up books to the Newbery Medal-winning first book.

 

York, books for tweens
York by Laura Ruby, 3 books
This alternate history series follows three kids trying to solve a puzzle and treasure hunt laid into the very streets and buildings of New York City.

Alex Rider, books for tweens

Alex Rider series by Anthony Horowitz, 12 book
This spy kid series is action-packed and full of adventure. It’s like James Bond for tweens. There’s also at least one season of an Alex Rider TV show.


The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle, books for tweens

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Buttle
Mason Buttle is the biggest, sweatiest kid in his grade, and everyone knows he can barely read or write. Mason’s learning disabilities are compounded by grief because a year ago, his best friend turned up dead in Mason’s family’s orchard. Mason can’t understand why police won’t believe his story about that day. He and his new friend create an underground haven to escape bullies, but then his new friend goes missing and Mason finds himself in trouble again.


Charlie & Frog, books for tweens

Charlie and Frog by Karen Kane
Charlie's parents head off to South Africa to help giant golden moles, leaving him with his TV-obsessed grandparents. Charlie wanders into a village where a frightened old woman gives him a desperate message-in sign language. She suddenly disappears and Charlie is determined to find answers. He teams up with a deaf friend who is determined to be the world’s greatest detective to tackle the case.


Girl in the Blue Coat, books for tweens

Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse
A best-selling mystery set during World War II.  A young woman delivering black market goods gets pulled into a more dangerous role when one of her customers begs her to help find a Jewish teen that disappeared from her secret room.

The Night Gardener, good books for tweens
The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
A ghost story that's also a moral fable about human greed and the power of storytelling. Two abandoned Irish siblings travel to work as servants at a creepy, crumbling English manor house. But the house and its family are not quite what they seem. 
 

Echo, books for tweens
Echo by Pam Munez Ryan
Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.


Nancy Drew, books for tweens

Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene, 10 books
An older cousin shipped about a hundred Nancy Drew books to me as a kid, and I read every single one. These books are perfect for 8-12-year-old readers who want to follow girl detective Nancy Drew as she solves mysteries.


The Boxcar Children, books for tweens

The Boxcar Children Mysteries by Gertrude Chandler Warner
These books have been around for years, and my kids really enjoy them. This set includes the first 12 of the 19 by the original author. Others picked up the story after the author’s death in the 1970s and now more than 100 have been published. They’re the story of orphan siblings trying to make it on their own.


Treasure Hunters, books for tweens

Treasure Hunters by James Patterson, 7 books
A New York Times best-selling author builds a fun adventure following the kids of professional treasure hunters after their parents go missing. The set includes the first six books, but a seventh book is now available as well.

 
Theodore Boone, books for tweens
Theodore Boone Series - John Grisham, 7 books
I grew up reading John Grisham’s books, and now he has a series for tweens about a kid lawyer. The set includes the first six books, but a seventh book is now available as well.

 

Spy School, books for tweens
Spy School Series by Stuart Gibbs, 8 books

This series has been a favorite for my sons as they follow tween Ben Ripley getting recruited for the CIA’s Academy of Espionage. There are a few stray swear words, but most of the books are listed as a Teachers’ Pick on Amazon and moms in our gift ideas for tween & teen boys Facebook group listed him Stuart Gibbs as a favorite author. The set includes the first seven books, but an eighth book is now available as well.


Swindle, books for tweens

Swindle by Gordon Kormon, 8 books
I couldn’t find the complete series for sale, but you can collect the individual books. Moms in our gift ideas for tween & teen boys Facebook group listed Kormon as a favorite author, and these books are a fun adventure. A unlikely group of kids and a giant Great Dane solve mysteries in their town. Many of the books hold a Teacher’s Pick distinction on Amazon. Kormon also writes one of the 39 Clues series and has other great books for tweens.


39 Clues, books for tweens

39 Clues by Rick Riordan and various other authors, 11 books
This clever series follows kids following in their parents’ footsteps around the world to collect the clues needed to solve a mystery left by their aunt when she dies. Scholastic now offers an interactive 39 Clues experience with hundreds of cards readers can collect and enter online for a new experience using the Home Base app. This set comes with digital cards.


 
The Giver, books for tweens

The Giver by Lois Lowry, 4 books (Recommended for 12+)
This Newbery Medal was on my son’s Christmas list. It follows 12-year-old Jonas who lives in a seemingly ideal world of conformity and contentment until his life assignment opens up the complex secrets behind his fragile community.

 

 Mightier Than the Sword, books for tweens

Mightier Than the Sword by Drew Callandar 
An interactive experience where you write and draw in the books to help create the adventure. 

 

Books for Like Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Humor Books for Tweens

Big Nate, books for tweens

Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce, 26 books
These hilarious books follow a middle schooler in comic-strip style writing and illustrations. 


Wayside School, books for tweens

Wayside School by Louis Sachar, 4 books
My son loved these quirky and funny books and judging by the Newbery Medal, many others have, too.


diary of a wimpy kid, books for tweens

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, 15 books
This beloved realistic fiction series can help kids navigate the weird tween years, and hopefully laugh about it along the way. Start with Diary of a Wimpy Kid 1. Kinney tours for book signings and does some cool things on Facebook and YouTube, so explore his website if your tween likes this series.

 

Last Kids on Earth, books for tweens
The Last Kids on Earth by Max Brallier, 6 books
Also in the “funny thriller” category, these books are full of monsters and zombies and get a perfect 5-star rating on Amazon.

 

Plants vs Zombies, books for tweens

Plants vs Zombies by Paul Tobin, 17 volumes
A confusing-yet-brilliant inventor known as Crazy Dave helps his niece and a young adventurer fend off a "fun-dead" neighborhood invasion in this Teachers’ Pick graphic novel.

Jake the Fake, books for tweens

Jake the Fake Keeps is Real by Craig Robinson, 3 books
Written by comedian Craig Robinson (Daryl from The Office), Jake the Fake is a funny story with award-winning illustrations. The story starts when Jake fakes his way into a Music and Arts academy for the gifted and talented.


knucklehead, books for tweens

Knucklehead by Jon Scieszka
Written and illustrated like a comic book, this is the true story of the author growing up as one of six brothers.


Diary of a 6th grade ninja, books for tweens

Diary of a Sixth Grade Ninja by Marcus Emerson, 12 books
Described as a “funny thriller,” these books are the diary of a sixth grader recruited to be a ninja on the dangers of taking this path. You can’t purchase a boxed set, but many of the individual books are designated Teachers’ Picks on Amazon.


Inspired by History Books for Tweens

Books by Alan Gratz
Gratz was mentioned more than any other by the moms in our gift ideas for tween & teen boys Facebook group. Kids LOVE the books and want to read everything Gratz has written after reading one. 

Other books by Alan Gratz:


“Excellent author -- many of my 6th and 7th grade students (especially boys and some who didn't like to read) read one book by him...and then everything they could get their hands on that he wrote.” - Teacher Mom



I Survived Series, books for tweens

I Survived by Lauren Tarshis, 10 book set
Tweens love these fictional stories based on real historic events. This set includes Sinking of the Titanic, Shark Attacks of 1916, Nazi Invasion, Bombing of Pearl Harbor, Attacks of September 11, Battle of Gettysburg, Destruction of Pompeii, Hurricane Katrina, Japanese Tsunami and San Francisco Earthquake.


Little House books, books for tweens

The Little House by Laura Ingalls Wilder, 9 books
Please tell me I’m not the only one who sees Michael Landon when I think about the Little House stories! These books will throw teens back into the time of American pioneers and the TV series is available for streaming on Amazon.


Ghost Boys, Jewell Parker Rhodes, books for tweens
Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes

My son read this at school and it made a big impact on him. It’s the story of a 12-year-old boy mistakenly shot by police who think his toy gun is real. As a ghost, he observes devastating aftermath in his community. This author blends real events and fictional characters to tell moving stories.

See all books by Jewell Parker Rhodes, including Towers Falling and Ninth Ward about Hurricane Katrina.

 

The War That Saved my Life, book for tweens

The War The Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
My son read this as an assigned fourth grade book and wanted me to make sure to include it on this list. The Newbery Medal winner is a story of a young girl triumphing against all odds set during World War II.


The Elephant in the Garden, books for tweens

An Elephant in the Garden by Michael Morpurgo
Inspired by historical truths and a real-life photo from World War II, this book shares the story of two children and their mother, a zookeeper. When the city is bombed, the family flees and takes the zoo’s baby elephant with them.
 

Echo Mountain, books for tweens
Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk
This is an award-winning 2020 book recommended by a fifth grade teacher friend. In Echo Mountain, Ellie’s family is forced to leave their home in town and start over in the untamed wilderness of nearby Echo Mountain after losing almost everything in the Great Depression.


What was the Underground Railroad? , books for tweens

Who Was? and What Was? books
These series explore famous people and events and are written specifically for tween readers. Pick from hundreds of options written by different authors.

Nonfiction Books for Tweens

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind, books for tweens

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba (young readers edition)
My son received this as a gift and we read it together. It helped us talk about life in other parts of the world and made real struggles many others my son’s age are facing worldwide - like hunger and poverty. William’s tiny village is struck by drought, costing his family their food supply and income. He starts looking for a solution in science books at the village library and builds a windmill from scrap metal and old bicycle parts to bring electricity and water to his village.


This Book is Anti-Racist, books for tweens
This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do The Work by Tiffany Jewell
Each chapter builds on the previous one as readers learn more about themselves and racial oppression. It includes 20 activities to get readers thinking and help them grow with the knowledge.

 

 Brown Girl Dreaming, books for tweens
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
This is the story of the author’s childhood from birth to around age 10. Jacqueline was born in Ohio, the youngest child of three, in 1963, during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

 

 The Case for Loving book for tweens
The Case for Loving by Selina Alko
This is the story of a couple married in Washington, D.C., and arrested in their hometown of Virginia for violating the state’s laws against interracial marriage. It’s the story of the couple and how they refused to teach their three children that their love was wrong and how they fought the law all the way to the Supreme Court - where they won.

 

Children Just Like Me, books for tweens

Children Just Like Me by Catherine Saunders
This book highlights the lives of children from over thirty countries around the world, explaining how their experiences are different, and yet the same, all over the globe. 

 

I Dissent Ruth Bader Ginsburg book for tweens

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark by Debbie Levy
This is the life story of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg from her early life growing up in Brooklyn to becoming the first Jewish woman appointed to a spot on the Supreme Court and beyond.


Separate is Never Equal, books for tweens
Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh
Almost 10 years before Brown vs. Board of Education, Sylvia Mendez and her parents helped end school segregation in California. An American citizen of Mexican and Puerto Rican heritage who spoke and wrote perfect English, Mendez was denied enrollment to a “Whites only” school. Her parents took action by organizing the Hispanic community and filing a lawsuit in federal district court. Their success eventually brought an end to the era of segregated education in California.

 

 Through My Eyes, Ruby Bridges, book for tweens

Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges
In November 1960, all of America watched as a tiny six-year-old black girl, surrounded by federal marshals, walked through a mob of screaming segregationists and into her school. An icon of the civil rights movement, Ruby Bridges chronicles each dramatic step of this pivotal event in history through her own words.

It's Trevor Noah book for tweens
Trevor Noah Born a Crime: Stories from South African Childhood (adapted for young readers) by Trevor Noah
Trevor Noah, host of The Daily Show on Comedy Central, shares his story of growing up in South Africa with a black South African mother and a white European father at a time when it was against the law for a mixed-race child to exist. But he did exist--and from the beginning, the often-misbehaved Trevor used his keen smarts and humor to navigate a harsh life under a racist government.


Who Was Anne Frank? book for tweens
Who Was Anne Frank? by Ann Abramson
This book looks closely at Anne’s life before the secret annex, what life was like in hiding, and the legacy of her diary. Black-and-white illustrations including maps and diagrams provide historical and visual reference in an easy-to-read biography written in a way that is appropriate and accessible for younger readers. This is part of the Who Was? and What Was? book series.

 

Coming Back Stronger by Drew Brees, book for tweens

Coming Back Stronger by Drew Brees
This is the comeback story of NFL quarterback Drew Brees coming back from a potentially career-ending shoulder injury at the same time New Orleans and the Saints were trying to recover from Hurricane Katrina. Brees sends a message of hope and encouragement that faith, determination, and heart are the keys to overcoming life’s obstacles and coming back stronger.


I Am Malala, book for tweens

I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai(young readers edition)
This is the young readers edition of the bestselling memoir by Malala Yousafzai. Malala was raised in Pakistan and taught to stand up for what she believed. She saw the Taliban take control of her region and survived being shot at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school. She is now an international symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest ever Nobel Peace Prize winner.


The Mamba Mentality, Kobe Bryant, book for tweens
The Mamba Mentality by Kobe Bryant

This book is more of a coffee table book than an autobiography. It’s the stunning photos and personal accounts about how Kobe approached the game and particular opponents. The photos are from the NBA photographer who captured Kobe’s first NBA photo in 1996 and his last in 2016.

Stamped
Stamped: Racism, Anti-racism and You by Jason Reynolds (Recommended for 12+)
A remix of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi's National Book Award-winning Stamped from the Beginning, Stamped looks at the history of racist ideas in America and inspires hope for an antiracist future.

Realistic Fiction Books for Tweens

Crossover, books for tweens

Crossover Series by Kwame Alexander, 3 books
This series follows twin 12-year-old basketball stars and their conflict and hardship both on and off the court.


Anne of Green Gables, books for tweens

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, 8 books
A favorite for nearly 100 years, the story about fiery redhead Anne changing the hearts of everyone she meets still connects with tweens. It’s also the premise for the Netflix series Anne with an E.


The Lemonade War, best books for tweens

The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies, 5 books
A brother is frustrated by his younger sister's over-achievement and challenges her to see who can create a more successful lemonade stand. A good story about dealing with emotions and learning life lessons.


One for the Murphys, books for tweens
One for the Murphys by Lynda Muhally Hunt

Many moms and tweens recommend this New York Times best-selling author, who also wrote Fish in a Tree and Shouting at the Rain. You can get all three in the The Linda Muhally Hunt Collection. 


 A Long Walk to Water, books for tweens

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
A New York Times bestseller that begins as two separate stories about two 11-year-olds in Sudan, a girl in 2008 and a boy in 1985. The two stories of hardship ultimately intersect in a moving way.

Wonder, books for tweens
Wonder by R.J. Palacio
This book inspired the Choose Kindness movement and a major motion picture starring Julia Roberts. It’s a must-read for all tweens and their parents.


Rules, books for tweens
Rules
by Cynthia Lord
Twelve-year-old Cynthia wants a normal life, and feels like she can’t find it in a home with her autistic brother. Her own actions finally cause her to ask herself what really is “normal.”


Frindle, books for tweens

Frindle by Andrew Clements
An ornery kid creates a new word to liven things up at school and soon the school and town are in an uproar. A funny book that will make tweens question what words really mean and where they even come from.

 
Restart, Gordon Korman, books for tweens

Restart by Gordon Korman

The story of a boy who loses his memory and wakes up not liking what he sees about who it seems like he was. Gordon Korman, author of the Swindle series, doesn’t disappoint.


Hoot, books for tweens

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen, 4 books
This Newbery Honor winner is the first of a four-part series about a new kids, a bully and a pancake restaurant trying to open next to a colony of endangered owls.

Scar Island, books for tweens

Scar Island by Dan Gameinhart
In this Teachers’ Pick book, the boys in a reformatory school for troubled boys in an ancient fortress on an island suddenly find themselves without supervision on the island. The books explores the prisons we create inside our own minds.

 
Insignificant Events in the life of a Cactus, books for tweens

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
Our tweens said this is a really interesting story about two kids overcoming challenges in their lives. The main character is born without arms and she befriends a boy with Tourette syndrome. There is also a sequel: Momentous Events in the Life of a Cactus. *Parents with adopted kids--the main character is adopted and some reviews indicate that the treatment of adoption is too simplistic.


One Last Shot, books for tweens

One Last Shot by John David Anderson
A humorous and heartwarming story of family, friendship, and miniature golf.


Football Genius, books for tweens

Football Genius by Tim Green, 6 books
Twelve-year-old Troy White can predict football plays before they even happen. His single mom gets a job with the Atlanta Falcons and Troy has to figure out he can and should use his gift. There is no boxed set available. Moms in our gift ideas for tween & teen boys Facebook group listed Green as a favorite author.


Heat, books for tweens
Heat
by Mike Lupica
Newly-orphaned Michael Arroyo has a pitching arm that throws serious heat along with aspirations of leading his team all the way to the Little League World Series. He’s living with his 17-year-old brother trying to avoid the foster system and provide his age with no birth certificate or parents to fight for his cause. There’s also a sequel: Strike Zone.

 
Counting by 7s, books for tweens
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan
A 12-year-old genius struggles to connect with anyone but her adoptive parents and then loses those parents in a tragic accident. She finds a way to push through her grief find a surrogate family.


The Breadwinner, books for tweens
The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis, 4 books

An award-winning novel about loyalty, survival, families, and friendship under extraordinary circumstances during the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan. 


The Watsons Go to Birmingham

The Watsons Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis
A Newbery Honor winning book about the Watson family traveling to visit grandma in Birmingham, Alabama, during the civil rights movement. This was recommended by a mom in our gift ideas for tween & teen boys Facebook group, and others weighed in that it’s a wonderful book that will also have readers laughing.


The One and Only Ivan, books for tweens

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
A touching novel about a gorilla raised by humans that becomes the main attraction in a mall circus. It’s a Newbery Award winner with a major motion picture and a sequel: The One and Only Bob)


Holes, books for tweens

Holes by Louis Sachar
A great book and movie about boys in a detention center digging holes in the desert, to build character and also because the warden may be looking for something.


The Girl in the Blue Coat, books for tweens

Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse
A best-selling mystery set during World War II.  A young woman delivering black market goods gets pulled into a more dangerous role when one of her customers begs her to help find a Jewish teen that disappeared from her secret room.


Raising Lumie, books tweens Soar, books of tweens

Raising Lumie and Soar by Joan Bauer
We heard strong recommendations for everything written by Joan Bauer. Raising Lumie tells the story of newly-orphaned Olive training a guide dog and wrestling with whether and how to let him go. Soar is another great option by Bauer.


The Liberation of Gabriel King, books for tweens

The Liberation of Gabriel King by K.L. Going
Two tweens spend a summer facing down a list of fears and considering what their biggest fears actually are.


A Long Way from Chicago, books for tweens

A Long Way From Chicago by Richard Peck
A story of two siblings spending nine summers with the worst influence...their grandmother. Richard Peck always writes a great one in A Year Down Yonder.


Becoming Naomi Leon, books for tweens

Becoming Naomi León by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Naomi struggles to fit in and understand who she is with clothes sewn by Gram and her difficulty speaking up.  But life with Gram and her little brother is happy and peaceful until their mother reappears for the first time in seven years, stirring up all sorts of questions and challenging Naomi to discover who she really is.


The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle, books for tweens

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle by Leslie Buttle
Mason Buttle is the biggest, sweatiest kid in his grade, and everyone knows he can barely read or write. Mason’s learning disabilities are compounded by grief because a year ago, his best friend turned up dead in Mason’s family’s orchard. Mason can’t understand why police won’t believe his story about that day. He and his new friend create an underground haven to escape bullies, but then his new friend goes missing and Mason finds himself in trouble again.


Charlie & Frog, books for tweens

Charlie and Frog by Karen Kane
Charlie's parents head off to South Africa to help giant golden moles, leaving him with his TV-obsessed grandparents. Charlie wanders into a village where a frightened old woman gives him a desperate message-in sign language. She suddenly disappears and Charlie is determined to find answers. He teams up with a deaf friend who is determined to be the world’s greatest detective to tackle the case.


Inside Out and Back again, poetry book for tweens

Inside Out and Back Again (poetry)
My mom bought this book of poetry for my tween son and I didn't think he would have interest. He read the whole thing and couldn't say enough good things about it.


Sports Books for Tweens


Ghost, books for tweens

Ghost by Jason Reynolds, 3 books
A group of kids from wildly different backgrounds compete on an elite track team. Ghost makes it on many top book lists, and moms in our gift ideas for tween & teen boys Facebook group listed Reynolds as a favorite author.

Crossover, books for tweens

Crossover by Kwame Alexander, 3 books
These books follow twin 12-year-old basketball stars and their conflict and hardship both on and off the court.


Football Genius, Tim Green, books for tweens

Football Genius by Tim Green, 6 books
Twelve-year-old Troy White can predict football plays before they even happen. His single mom gets a job with the Atlanta Falcons and Troy has to figure out he can and should use his gift. There is no boxed set available. Moms in our gift ideas for tween & teen boys Facebook group listed Green as a favorite author.



Heat, Mike Lupica, books for tweens

Heat by Mike Lupica
Newly-orphaned Michael Arroyo has a pitching arm that throws serious heat along with aspirations of leading his team all the way to the Little League World Series. He’s living with his 17-year-old brother trying to avoid the foster system and provide his age with no birth certificate or parents to fight for his cause. There’s also a sequel: Strike Zone.


Coming Back Stronger, Drew Brees, books for tweens

Coming Back Stronger by Drew Brees
This is the comeback story of NFL quarterback Drew Brees coming back from a potentially career-ending shoulder injury at the same time New Orleans and the Saints were trying to recover from Hurricane Katrina. Brees sends a message of hope and encouragement that faith, determination, and heart are the keys to overcoming life’s obstacles and coming back stronger.


Mamba Mentality, Kobe Bryan, books for tweens

The Mamba Mentality by Kobe Bryant
This book is more of a coffee table book than an autobiography. It’s the stunning photos and personal accounts about how Kobe approached the game and particular opponents. The photos are from the NBA photographer who captured Kobe’s first NBA photo in 1996 and his last in 2016.


Diverse Books for Tweens

Amal Unbound, books for tweens
Amal Unbound by Aisha Saeed
This book is about a young Pakistani girl forced into indentured servitude and the power of hope in difficult circumstances.


Amina's Voice, books for tweens
Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan
A Pakistani-American Muslim girl struggles to stay true to her culture while also fitting in at school after tragedy strikes her community.


Black Brother, Black Brother, books for tweens
Black Brother, Black Brother by Jewell Parker Rhodes
This story of a biracial boy who masters fencing to challenge the school bully to a competition is partially inspired by the experiences of the author’s son. See all books by Jewell Parker Rhodes, including Towers Falling, Ghost Boys and Ninth Ward.


Blended, books for tweens
Blended by Sharon Draper
Eleven-year-old Isabella is growing up biracial and a child of divorce. The tween’s story explores family dynamics, being an ally and policy brutality.


Clean Getaway, books for tweens
Clean Getaway by Nic Stone
An 11-year-old with a cancelled spring break trip finds himself on a road trip with his G’ma, learning lessons about the history of segregation in the American South.


Esperanza Rising, books for tweens
Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan
A sudden tragedy forces Esperanza and her Mama to flee their privileged life on her family's ranch in Mexico and settle in a Mexican farm labor camp in California. Esperanza suddenly faces hard work and financial struggles brought on by the Great Depression, and needs to find a way through when her Mama gets sick and circumstances threaten their new life. 


The First Rule of Punk, books for tweens
First Rule of Punk by Celia Perez
Malú wants to be totally punk at her new middle school, but her Mexican-American mother would prefer she learn to be a proper señorita.

From the Desk of Zoe Washington, books for tweens
From the Front Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks
A 12-year-old African American girl receives a letter from her imprisoned biological father and secretly begins corresponding with him. Her father tells her he's innocent, so she sets out to find the alibi witness his attorney failed to track down. 


Front Desk, books for tweens
Front Desk by Kelly Yang
Every day, while her immigrant parents clean the rooms, 10-year-old Mia manages the front desk of the Calivista Motel and tends to its guests.  Her parents hide immigrants. And if the mean motel owner, Mr. Yao, finds out they've been letting them stay in the empty rooms for free, the Tangs will be doomed.


Genesis Begins Again, books for tweens
Genesis Begins Again by Alicia Williams
The story of a 13-year-old African American girl in Detroit who learns to love herself despite two problems: her father's gambling and alcohol addictions, and her family prizing the light skin of her mother and grandmother and looking down on the dark skin of Genesis and her father.


Look Both Ways, books for tweens
Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds
This book follows 10 tales (one per block) about what happens after the dismissal bell rings, and brilliantly weaves them into a single funny and poignant look at the detours we face on the walk home, and in life. Reynolds is the author of Ghost and was listed as a favorite author by the moms in our gift ideas for tween & teen boys Facebook group.


New Kid, books for tweens

New Kid
by Jerry Craft
A graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real. 


When Stars Are Scattered, books for tweens
When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson
A graphic novel about growing up in a refugee camp, as told by a former Somali refugee to the Newbery Honor-winning creator of Roller Girl.


The Season of Styx Malone, books for tweens
The Season of Styx Malone by Kekla Magoon
Two brothers and a cool new neighbor embark on a quest to pull off the Great Escalator Trade--exchanging one small thing for something better until they achieve their wildest dream. But as the trades get bigger, the brothers soon find themselves in over their heads. Their new neighbor has big secrets.


Graphic Novels

Plants Vs Zombies, books for tweens
Plants vs Zombies by Paul Tobin, 17 volumes
A confusing-yet-brilliant inventor known as Crazy Dave helps his niece and a young adventurer fend off a "fun-dead" neighborhood invasion in this Teachers’ Pick graphic novel.


Amulet, book for tweens

Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi
After their father dies, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of her deceased great-grandfather, but the strange house proves to be dangerous. A creature lures the kids' mom through a door in the basement and the kids follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals.


New Kid, books for tweens
New Kid by Jerry Craft
A graphic novel about starting over at a new school where diversity is low and the struggle to fit in is real. 


When Stars Are Scattered, books for tweens
When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson
A graphic novel about growing up in a refugee camp, as told by a former Somali refugee to the Newbery Honor-winning creator of Roller Girl.

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