Friday, August 1, 2014

Summer Reading for Tweens

Hi friends. Happy August! Happy Friday.

Since August has just begun, we do still have time for Summer reading and today, I wanted to share some favourite tween reads. We're a household of tweens (with one recent, "real" teen!) and tween
reading has been in our house for several years. I really don't like to apply the boy/girl label but, I have to admit that with two sons and 1 daughter,  I have noticed that it's been more of a challenge to find great books for boys and not for our daughter. Is this something you've found, too? Due to this, today, I've really noted books that both our sons and daughter have read. 

Living in Sweden, amplifies our English book search and stretches our luggage capacity when we travel. I'm always on the lookout for book suggestions. I loved being in the US this summer for first hand visits with nieces, nephews along with visits to libraries and book stored. What are your kids reading this Summer? Do you have a recent favourite? Are your kids reading aloud anymore? Do you emphasise reading at home? Do you like what they're reading? How to you find book recommendations? And, are you still reading paper or are you moving kids to kindles and iPads?

Since reading levels and interests can't always be identified by an age, I'll ask instead: have your children read following books? If not, these are first chapter books that we loved and read before the tween list I'm listing today and could overlap:  The Magic Treehouse Series, The Boxcar Children Series, Jenny the Cat Series, Trumpet of the Swans, My Father's Dragon Trilogy and Ribsy Series stage? (If you haven't read these titles these are all early reading chapter books that I'd recommend.)

Books for Tweens:
If your kids liked the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series by Jeff Kinney, (All 8 were on our list - * + ***) then they might like:
The Treasure Hunters by James Patterson (* + ***)
Peter and the Star Catchers by Dave Berry and Ridley Pearson (*)The Origami Yoda Series by Tom Angleberger -- mixed reviews in our house but popular with friends and it often comes up as a recommendation, so I'm including it.
Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Not Reading by Tommy Greenwood (*)
Humorous Classics: For more humour, these classics were a hit, both at home and with ESL Classes that I've taught:
The Tale of a 4th Grade Nothing Series by Judy Blume:
Superfudge, Fudge-a-Mania, Double Fudge, Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great

(Note: One of our 3 read and re-read his Wimpy Kid series + the Tale of the 4th Grade Nothing series repeatedly -- possibly 5 times. As a testimony to these 3 additional "humorous" titles, he's currently re-reading The Treasure Hunters for a 2nd time in one Summer.) 

Humorous French Classic Series (available translated into English)
Like the Judy Blume, Fudge series, French friends, kids and teacher all mention the Petit Nicolas series with the same happy, sentiment. You can find the series translated into English:
The Chronicles of Little Nicolas by René Goscinny (Author), Jean-Jacques Sempé (Illustrator): The first two titles are called: Nicolas, Nicolas AgainNicolas Trouble

Adventure, Mystery:
If your child likes the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan, starting with the Lightning Thief, then do continue with:
The Heroes of Olympus Series:
***The Lost Hero (Heroes of Olympus Book 1) by Rick Riordan.
The Son of Neptune Heroes of Olympus Book 2) by Rick Riordan.
(This first two were favourites and we look forward to the next 2 in this series)
(Riordan has several other series that I'm planning for next and I should mention that he was a part of the 39 Clues series -- which the kids didn't give top ranking but, it might be something for you, too? It was well written and an interesting idea.)

The Lemonade War Series a good first mystery series for your younger tween
The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick "
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis (We haven't yet completed the series but it's a classic they enjoy in intervals, particularly with a movie as incentive.)

Sports, Entertainment:
Biography: Pele by James Buckley (I'm sure the World Cup this Summer, lead to this library find but, it was read cover to cover by both boys.)
If you have young readers who prefer to learn something, history or facts, then these two series might be something for them:
Who was -- series: Who Was Harry Houdini?  by Tui Sutherland  or 
I survived Pearl Harbor (This is a series but, this was the one we liked) by Lauren Tarshis

Fact Books:
Mixed in with chapter books, I'm going to mention these Fact Books because they are often in the hands of our youngest.
Ripley's Believe it or not Series
The Complete Guide to Insects and Spiders by Jinny Johnson
Guiness World Book of Records

All American Girl Books by American Girl.
The Mysterious Benedict Society (The Mysterious Benedict Society, #1) 
Inkheart Trilogy by Cornelia Funke. We have not read this series but, have it for August. It comes highly recommend and popular with cousins and friends ---  plus, Funke is Swedish!

These are all childhood favourites of my own. I love them on our bookshelf but, they are typically the most successful when we read them together or if I find a connection with something in own lives; otherwise, they just, sadly, sit on the shelves.  I know it takes work but, I find it worth the work, when I've put the efforts in to these books we've had real success that makes me so happy.

A few summers ago, after visiting the homestad where Laura Ingalls Wilde lived in The Little House in the Big Woods, we drove along (and across) the Mississipi reading that book. Since the book starts off with a passage of a Mississippi river crossing, it hooked everyone in the car immediately (here,l

This summer after the kids camped and our oldest had an amazing river, kayak, experience, I'm threading in Mark Twain. When I wrapped up and handed our oldest Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, he explained "but, I already have these in both French and Sweden." (Yes. my point exactly....they remain partially read....) but, since we now have the connection of travel, reading these books as a family or sharing some reading has been a lot of fun, worth the efforts and has lead to interesting conversion and cultural heritage that's really important to me.

Anne of Green Gables Series
Little House on the Prairie Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder (here) and (here)
Tom Sawyer
Huckelberry Finn

Last, I heard an interview with Kate DiCamillo this Spring and it reminded of how much I've enjoyed reading The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo's, twice. I read it nightly aloud the first time, when the kids were almost too small and then, again recently with us all taking turns reading it aloud. It's a beautiful book.  I'd be so curious if you've read any of her recommendations? When I heard DiCamillo interviewed this Spring, I knew I wanted to check our her recommendations. Click here for her interview and full list: Kate DiCamillo's Picks For Summer Treehouse Reading, click here

PS. Looking for more? Have favourites, I 'd love to hear from you. Happy reading and Happy Weekend.
* Our 10 year olds Summer favourite
** Our 11 year olds Summer favourite
Our 13 year olds Summer favourite so far, in in French: La rivière à l'envers by Jean-Claude Mourlevat if you are a French Reader. In English, he would pick the second Riordan series: The Lost Hero

Something you might like:
Bulldog Origami Bookmarks
Laura Ingalls Wilde
R.E.A.D Program


  1. Replies
    1. Lisa, thank you! We're still working on it. I might update it in the next weeks. warmest/g

  2. Oh, I am so happy to have found your tween reading list! My daughter has read a bunch of these, but just recently it's turned into a struggle to get her to choose books over her beloved iPad!

    1. Jeanette, it's so difficult isn't it! I really appreciate knowing this and that you took the time to share. I also appreciate any and all suggestions. By far, this summer, our top books have been: The Treasure Hunters, and The Lost Hero (which all 3 gave a higher score than even Percy Jackson.)

  3. Great list!
    My tween twins (try saying that fast ten times! LOL) are voracious readers and I'm always looking for new books! One of them has just finished the Mysterious Benedict Society books and loved them.

    1. Kate, it's so nice to hear from you! I'd love to have any tips ---- especially from one with "tween twins!" Just seeing this makes my day!


Thank you!