The All-Time Best Books for Tweens

Maniac Magee
Courtesy of Little, Brown Young Readers
School is out and it's time for kids to crack down on their summer reading list. Check out some of our favorite books for school-age kids and tweens.
Peter Ardito
Peter Ardito

My Brigadista Year

By Katherine Paterson

The historical novel follows 13-year-old Lora, a young Cubana who leaves behind a life in Havana to volunteer for Fidel Castro’s national literacy program by educating impoverished villagers.

Peter Ardito
Peter Ardito

Luciana

By Erin Teagan

American Girl’s newest character, Luciana Vega, is an 11-year-old aspiring astronaut who loses the trust of her Space Camp teammates when she guides them toward trouble instead of success. Can she win them over in time to compete in the robot challenge?

Peter Ardito
Peter Ardito

Gabby Garcia’s Ultimate Playbook

By Iva-Marie Palmer

Superstar baseball pitcher Gabby Garcia is about to lose her winning streak when she’s transferred to a new school. But the sports fanatic maps out a brilliant scheme to stay at the top of her game, on and off the field.

Peter Ardito
Peter Ardito

Bravo!: Poems About Amazing Hispanics

By Margarita Engle

Baseball player Roberto Clemente, civil-rights activist César Chávez, and musician Tito Puente are some of the heroes featured in this collection of biographical poems.

Peter Ardito
Peter Ardito

Where Is Machu Picchu?

By Megan Stine

Discover the ancient Inca ruins of Machu Picchu while learning about the rich history of Peru in this illustrated book for young explorers. 

Courtesy of Puffin
Courtesy of Puffin

Matilda

By Roald Dahl

Matilda doesn't watch television. At age 5 she reads a lot. But when she gets frustrated with her school principal, Matilda uses her new-found mental power to save the school.

Courtesy of HarperTrophy
Courtesy of HarperTrophy

Shipwrecked!

By Rhoda Blumberg

Marooned on an island for six months, the true story of Manjiro Nakahama chronicles his rescue and American education before he returns to Japan where he becomes an honored samurai.

Courtesy of Yearling
Courtesy of Yearling

Monkey Island

By Paula Fox

When his parents are unable to care for him, Clay Garrity is left homeless in New York City. Afraid to go to the police, Clay, with the help of two homeless men, survives in a park until he is reunited with his mother and baby sister.

Courtesy of Bullseye Books
Courtesy of Bullseye Books

The Phantom Tollbooth

By Norton Juster

After a magic tollbooth appears in Milo's room, he pays the toll. What ensues is an adventure that takes him through the Mountains of Ignorance, the Word Market, and finally to Dictionopolis in an effort to save the Princesses, Rhyme and Reason.

Courtesy of HarperCollins
Courtesy of HarperCollins

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

By C.S. Lewis

Stepping through the back of a wardrobe, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy find themselves in Narnia, a land -- ruled by a lion -- that is being threatened with an eternal winter by an evil witch.

Courtesy of Laurel Leaf
Courtesy of Laurel Leaf

Number the Stars

By Lois Lowry

Set in World War II, this fictionalized story tells of 10-year-old Annemarie Johannesen and her efforts to save her best friend from the death camps.

Courtesy of HarperTrophy
Courtesy of HarperTrophy

The Plant That Ate Dirty Socks

By Nancy McArthur

Cleaning your room was never so easy. When some odd seeds arrive in the mail, Michael and his brother Norman plant them only to grow a plant that needs a little more than water to grow.

Courtesy of Puffin
Courtesy of Puffin

Secret Letters from 0 to 10

By Susie Hoch Morgenstern

Ernest Morlaisse lives with his 80-year-old grandmother and has a pretty uneventful life. When a new neighbor, Victoria Montardent, moves in, Ernest's world is transformed as she teaches him to enjoy life and the joy of experiencing new things.

Courtesy of Aladdin
Courtesy of Aladdin

Hatchet

By Gary Paulsen

When the plane he is on to visit his father crashes, Brian Robenson is left to survive in the woods with only a hatchet. Will rescue come before winter sets in?

Courtesy of HarperTeen
Courtesy of HarperTeen

Sideways Stories from Wayside School

By Louis Sachar

In a school that was built on its side, there only can be odd stories to tell. From the child stuck in his chair by a wad of gum to the tale of a Bebe, a quirky artist, this book is sure to make you laugh.

Courtesy of Puffin
Courtesy of Puffin

Summer Reading Is Killing Me!

By Jon Scieszka

The Time Warp Trio is back, and after the boys realize they placed their summer reading list in the magical book that transports them back and forth in time, they are faced with having to stop the bad literary characters, led by an evil teddy bear, before they get rid of all the good ones.

Courtesy of Sterling
Courtesy of Sterling

Black Beauty

By Anna Sewell

This classic tale told from one horse's point of view shares in the animal's hardships and fortune. Children will learn about relationships and consideration for others.

Courtesy of HarperCollins
Courtesy of HarperCollins

The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Event, Book 1)

By Lemony Snicket

Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire lost their parents and their home in a fire. Turning the pages to find a happy ending is pointless as the children only endure more hardships in this surprisingly humorous story.

Courtesy of Little, Brown Young Readers
Courtesy of Little, Brown Young Readers

Maniac Magee

By Jerry Spinelli

Jeffrey Magee is just a kid from a small town. Sure he can run fast and hit homeruns, but Magee is better known for how he bridged the town's racial gap.

Copyright © 2003 Meredith Corporation.

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