Books for Tweens Everyone Loves
October 21, 2021
Learning to read is magical, and finding the right books to spark a love of reading in children is a wonderful, but challenging, adventure. While a love of reading can start at any age, we often see children develop a deeper connection with literacy from the ages of 9 to 11. This makes books for tweens incredibly important; these titles are indispensable as they offer young readers stories that foster empathy and compassion with relatable characters and immersive journeys. As well, teachers, parents, and other young readers alike all enjoy the wonderful writing that can be found in books for tweens. So, whether you’re a middle-grade reader seeking new nonfiction role models, or a well-read book lover searching for nostalgic fictional tales, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of books for tweens everyone loves and needs to read!
If you’re a fan of Agatha Christie’s work, or enjoyed the new PG-13 movie Knives Out, then you’ll absolutely love Ellen Raskin’s book The Westing Game. Originally published in the 70s, this is one of those mystery books for tweens that even adults will enjoy. The novel brings together sixteen strangers to a reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will, which leads to a deadly chain of events. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger – and a possible murderer – to inherit his vast fortune, one thing’s for sure: Sam Westing may be dead… but that won’t stop him from playing one last game!
Filled with enigmatic clues and suspenseful prose, Raskin has created an ingenious precedent for stories with a detective spin.
Aisha Saeed’s novel Amal Unbound is a truly gripping story for readers of all ages. Read all about Amal, a girl who lives a quiet and ordinary life in a Pakistani village. Amal has no complaints; she’s busy pursuing her dream of becoming a teacher one day, or at least, she was. As the oldest daughter in her family, she has to put her dreams on pause, including staying home from school, to take care of her younger siblings. Amal is upset, but she refuses to lose hope, finding other ways to continue learning. Then the unimaginable happens—after an accidental run-in with the son of her village’s corrupt landlord, Amal must work as his family’s servant to pay off her own family’s debt.
Life at the opulent Khan estate is full of heartbreak and struggle for Amal—especially when she inadvertently makes an enemy of a girl named Nabila. Most troubling, though, is Amal’s growing awareness of the Khans’ nefarious dealings. When it becomes clear just how far they will go to protect their interests, Amal realizes she will have to find a way to work with others if they are ever to exact change in a cruel status quo, and if Amal is ever to achieve her dreams.
This award-winning novel is an eye-opening story of heroism and one of those incredible books for tweens that everyone who reads it will have no choice but to be inspired by.
We’re used to reading folktales about princes and knights in shining armor breaking curses, solving riddles and winning the favor of Kings, but it wasn’t always this way. There has actually been a number of fierce female protagonists throughout the ages, and their tales told to little girls all over the world for centuries.
That’s right; long before Hermione Granger bewitched us with spells and well before Katniss Everdeen entered the arena for her sister, stories of wily women, clever girls, valiant queens, and brave villagers saving the day inspired girls everywhere. Now, thanks to Myriam Sayalero, these fantastic folktales have been compiled together with beautiful illustrations to create the ultimate empowering collection that’s a must-have for readers of all ages.
Alicia D. Williams’ debut novel Genesis Begins Again is one of those books for tweens that every reader will keep in their hearts long after turning the last page.
It tells the story of Genesis, a girl with ninety-six things she hates about herself. She knows the exact number because she keeps a list. Number 95: Because her skin is so dark, people call her names—even her own family. Number 61: Because her family is always being evicted thanks to her dad’s gambling addiction. And this time is different; Genesis’ family doesn’t have anywhere else to go, so Genesis and her mom have to stay with her grandma.
Grandma and Mom always fight—Grandma haranguing Mom to leave Dad, that she should have gone back to school, that if she’d married a lighter-skinned man none of this would be happening, and on and on and on. But things aren’t all bad. Genesis actually likes her new school; she’s made a couple friends, her choir teacher says she has real talent, and she even encourages Genesis to join the talent show.
But how can Genesis believe anything her teacher says when her dad tells her the exact opposite? How can she stand up in front of all those people with her dark, dark skin knowing even her own family thinks lesser of her because of it? Why won’t the lemon or yogurt or fancy creams lighten her skin like they’re supposed to? And when Genesis reaches number 100 on the list of things she hates about herself, will she continue on, or can she find the strength to begin again? Read the book to find out how the rest of the story goes.
When twelve-year-old Waka’s parents suspect she can’t understand the basic Japanese they speak to her, they make a drastic decision to send her to Tokyo to live for several months with her strict grandmother. Forced to say goodbye to her friends, and what would have been her summer vacation, Waka is plucked from her straight-A-student life in rural Kansas and flown across the globe, where she faces the culture shock of a lifetime.
In Japan, Waka struggles with reading and writing in kanji, she doesn’t quite mesh with her complicated and distant Obaasama, and she gets made fun of by the students in her Japanese public-school classes. Even though this is the country her parents came from, Waka has never felt more like an outsider.
Now Waka, who has always been the “smart Japanese girl” in America, is known as the “dumb foreigner” in Japan. And as she struggles to understand where her home is, and who exactly she’ll be when she finds it, Waka will learn that finding your inner strength can happen at any age.
If you love books for tweens with whimsical illustrations and touching, relatable stories, you’re going to want to pick up a copy of El Deafo immediately.
Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers!
In this funny, poignant graphic novel memoir, author/illustrator Cece Bell chronicles her hearing loss at a young age and her subsequent experiences with the Phonic Ear, a very powerful—and very awkward—hearing aid. The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear—sometimes things she shouldn’t—but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for.
What did we tell you? El Deafo is a tween read everyone will love and bond with while reading.
We all love the nostalgic feelings we get when reading a book that takes us through a dazzling world full of possibilities. There is something extraordinary about the whimsy we experience while reading about characters becoming friends and sharing new adventures together. Even stories that resemble reality can be just as magical, teaching readers of all ages about kindness, growth, and the power of embracing our differences.
Tween books bring so much joy to our readers with stories balancing fun and educational topics. Our list ranges from mystery to fiction to nonfiction, showing that everyone can pick up these stories and be transported.
We hope you agree with our list and see how much these top-selling tween reads are for book lovers of all ages! Let us know your favorites or other titles to discover!