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Four Novels Your Tween Girl Will Love

Updated on May 2, 2013
Tired of your tween girl reading vampire romances? Try these four great, classic novels that tween girls will love.
Tired of your tween girl reading vampire romances? Try these four great, classic novels that tween girls will love. | Source

Four Great Books for Girls

The bookshelves at bookstores and libraries seem glutted with the same things lately: vampire novels and paranormal romance. Because of this trend in publishing, it can be hard to find wholesome books with good role models for your tween girl.

When in doubt, it's always best to turn to the classics--tried and true novels that feature strong heroines, plots without thematic material, and positive messages. And while your tween may turn up her nose at a "classic," many of these novels have been released with more contemporary covers, so you won't even need to tell her until after she's read it.

L.M. Montgomery's "Anne of Green Gables," Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women," Madeleine L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time," and Elizabeth George Speare's "The Witch of Blackbird Pond: are four great novels for tween girls ages ten through twelve.

"Anne of Green Gables" is the ultimate tween girl novel.
"Anne of Green Gables" is the ultimate tween girl novel. | Source

Anne of Green Gables

L.M. Montgomery's "Anne of Green Gables"

L.M. Montgomery's "Anne of Green Gables" was originally classified as a children's book, and it's red-haired heroine captured the hearts of readers all over the world--including that of Mark Twain! Anne, the eponymous character, is an orphan sent to live with Matthew and Marilla, an old-fashioned and proper brother and sister, on their farm in Prince Edward Island. The only problem? They actually requested a boy. However, they agree to give Anne a chance, and she goes on to change their lives forever--as well as the lives of almost everyone she meets.

Tween girls will identify with Anne because she's so human--she makes mistakes and learns from her lessons, but the lessons are never preachy or heavy-handed. She longs to find friends and fit in, and is also imaginative and filled with life--like so many tween girls are. Themes including accepting your looks, making and maintaining friendships, how pride or quick judgments can betray us, and the importance of intelligence and hard work.

"Anne of Green Gables" was my absolute childhood favorite, and I still read it at least once a year today; many women who read it in childhood love it just as strongly, and passing it down to a daughter is an excellent tradition.

Katharine Hepburn in the role of Jo, the tomboy heroine in Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women"
Katharine Hepburn in the role of Jo, the tomboy heroine in Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women" | Source

Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women"

Another perfect novel for tween girls is Louisa May Alcott's "Little Women." Though its author also wrote some fairly shocking novels and short stories under a pen name, she's best known for this story of girlhood and growing up during the Civil War.

The novel's headstrong and tomboyish heroine, Jo, dreams of being a writer and won't let anything get in her way; she shares her adventures with her sisters, the prim Meg, the gentle Beth, and the stuck-up but good-hearted Amy. As they deal with their father being away at war, the girls tackle the adventures of everyday life--school, friends, parties, and even jobs.

Though "Little Women" can be a little preachy, its characters are lifelike and loveable enough to overcome that flaw, and its themes of sisterhood, love, friendship, hard work, and growing up are just as relevant today as they were when it was first published, and tween girls will likely love both the antics in the novel as well as its safe, gentle romance.

A Scene from "A Wrinkle in Time"

Madeleine L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time"

Madeleine L'Engle's "A Wrinkle in Time" is a more modern classic, and in fact is included on some school curriculums. Your tween girl will likely have an easier time picking up the novel for these reasons, and it's a great novel for her to read!

Meg is a gawky, insecure girl who's struggling to find herself; her parents are brilliant scientists, and her little brother is a genius, and Meg just can't quite seem to find herself. She and Charles Wallace (her little brother) are visited one dark and stormy night by some very eccentric women who reveal that the children's father--who has disappeared under mysterious circumstances--was investigating a tesseract and fifth-dimensional travel. Thus begins Meg and Charles Wallace's adventure--joined by fellow misfit and classmate Calvin--across dimensions and galaxies, battling darkness and searching for Meg and Charles Wallace's father.

What makes this novel great for tween girls is Meg's flowering into confidence--though she starts as a deeply insecure and unhappy girl, by the end of her adventure she has learned a lot about herself and what it means to be confident in your own skin and appreciate your own special gifts. In addition to addressing themes of adolescence and confidence, it also delivers messages about friendship, conformity, good and evil, and open-mindedness.

Book Trailer for "The Witch of Blackbird Pond"

The Witch of Blackbird Pond

Elizabeth George Speare's "The Witch of Blackbird Pond"

Elizabeth George Speare's "The Witch of Blackbird Pond" is another more modern tween classic, one that has the added benefit of educating your tween girl about the witch trials and hysteria in America in the 1600s.

Though Kit, the main character, moves from Barbados to Connecticut in 1647, she's as modern-minded as any teen today. She leaves behind a life of luxury and has to adjust to working hard, making new friends, and handling a budding romance; in addition to those life lessons, she must also deal with the witch hysteria that's sweeping the town. When her elderly friend Hannah is accused of being a witch, Kit must decide what to do--stand strong beside her friend and risk the censure of the town, as well as also being labeled a witch, or back down and betray her friendship.

"The Witch of Blackbird Pond" brings a period of history alive for its readers, and has strong and positive messages of friendship, the reward of hard work, and dealing with change, as well as refusing to conform to what's popular when what's popular is not what's right.

Which classic girls' novel is your favorite?

See results

Timeless Stories Hold Timeless Appeal for Tween Girls

Though tween girls face much different pressures and situations in today's society than in the past--who could have imagined cyber-bullying thirty years ago?--the basic triumphs and hardships of girlhood are the same. Finding your voice and identity, making friends, fitting in, and starting to notice that cute boy you never noticed before hit every generation just the same.

Classic girls' novels have been beloved by generations for exactly those reasons--they address universal themes of being a girl and growing up. That the novels present solid values, inspiring heroines, and wholesome plotlines make them a must on your tween daughter's bookshelf.

Please share your favorite children's novels in the comments below!


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    • FullOfLoveSites profile image


      6 years ago from United States

      When I saw the link to this hub I bet that "Little Women" will be included. It's really a fantastic book, it was my favorite when I was "tween" and it still is. Thanks for posting. Voted up.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 

      6 years ago from California

      Lovely books all of them. It was hard to vote. Am going to link your hub to mine on the website readkiddoread

    • brownella profile image


      6 years ago from New England

      Great hub! I loved all four of these books when I was a kid (still love Anne of Green Gables). Louisa May Alcott's "Eight Cousins" and "Rose in Bloom" are great as well. Thanks for sharing :)

    • savvydating profile image


      6 years ago

      Another excellent hub. You have so many. I appreciate that you have a love of classic novels, not just for tweens but for everyone. It is remarkable how much we can learn from the classics about humankind and ourselves. Tweens especially need to be introduced to these classics to help build their confidence and to point them in the right direction(s). Young girls are subject to so many feelings of insecurity, and classics can help alleviate some of their less-than-positive feelings, no doubt. These heroines in classic novels are excellent examples of how making right choices can help young girls today, to believe in themselves.

      Great work. Congratulations!

    • Phyllis Doyle profile image

      Phyllis Doyle Burns 

      6 years ago from High desert of Nevada.

      First of all, congratulations, Saffron, on your Hub of the Day -- it is an excellent choice for this award.

      I voted for Little Women, yet also love Anne of Green Gables. It is difficult these days to choose good books for tween girls and you did well with your choices. Your reviews are well-written.

    • Toytasting profile image

      Toy Tasting 

      6 years ago from Mumbai

      I read Little Women as a teen while I was in school. One of my favorite's. It brings back old memories. Thank you for sharing this. Congratulations on Hub Of The Day! Cheers :)

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great selections!

    • Natashalh profile image


      6 years ago from Hawaii

      I've read all of these! Several times... Great pics =)

    • BNadyn profile image


      6 years ago from Jacksonville, Florida

      Great article! I loved these books yet haven't read the last one, "The Witch of Blackbird Pond." One of my fave childhood books growing up was also "The Chronicles of Narnia." This is a wonderful idea to pass on to our daughters. I've already started collecting books, mostly classics like these for my little girl and look forward to sharing them with her as she grows. I've been writing little notes inside for her and maybe one day, she'll pass the books on to her kids as well. I hope she loves books as much as I did! Voted up, awesome and useful =)

    • thebiologyofleah profile image

      Leah Kennedy-Jangraw 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Great hub we are definitely in need of the antidote for all the paranormal romance novels out there geared towards younger readers! I tend to cringe when I see the classics getting an updated cover but you are absolutely right it may trick young readers into thinking they are current and there is no harm in that. I loved Anne of Green Gables when I was young. Haven't read your other suggestions and though I'm no longer a tween I think I'll add them to my own list.

    • LastRoseofSummer2 profile image


      6 years ago from Arizona

      Added bonus: these novels are surrounded by little to no controversy. This makes it easier on the parents and, more importantly, allows the kids to just enjoy a good read. Great hub! Thanks!

    • KellyEdwardsChic profile image

      Kelly Edwards 

      6 years ago

      I love the list but can't help noticing this is a very American dominated list. That's not a criticism, it makes perfect sense for the American reader. I have no idea why, but I loathed American novels as a little girl. I didn't even know they were American at the time, I just never seemed to enjoy them. Must be a cultural thing though it still confuses me. Might end up doing a UK variant!

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from North Central Florida

      Love all of them to my classes when I was still teaching older children. They are timeless .....thanks for sharing.

      Angels are on the way to you this afternoon. ps :)

    • pstraubie48 profile image

      Patricia Scott 

      6 years ago from North Central Florida

      Love all of them to my classes when I was still teaching older children. They are timeless .....thanks for sharing.

      Angels are on the way to you this afternoon. ps :)

    • marion langley profile image

      marion langley 

      6 years ago from The Study

      My little red head is just starting to read and I'm thinking ahead to what novels to stock her book shelf with. Thank-you for these insights. I had the first two...need to pick up the second two.

    • MelonieGilchrist profile image


      6 years ago

      Congrats on HOTD. I am always looking for books for my daughter to read and I will add these to the list. I haven't read any so I appreciate the detail on the novels.

    • Nancy Owens profile image

      Nancy Owens 

      6 years ago from USA

      Congratulations on having this hub chosen to be a Hub of the Day. Books and reading are such an important part of growing up.

    • DreamerMeg profile image


      6 years ago from Northern Ireland

      Read the first two bools many, many years ago. Now need to put the later books on my "to read" list.

    • NornsMercy profile image


      6 years ago from Charlotte, NC

      I've never actually read any of these... And although I'm far from being a tween I'm gonna read these books now! :) congratulations on HotD!

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      6 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      Congrats on the HOTD! I loved reading Anne of Green Gables, but the others I have not heard of. Thanks for sharing this. I have to look at the other 3 books to read them.

    • everymom profile image

      Anahi Pari-di-Monriva 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Just a quick additional comment, about what my own 'tween girl is reading and loving right now: Milkweed by Jerry Spinelli. It is a sad book in many ways, but it has sparked her interest in the history of World War II and what led up to it. Since she is about to start middle school, I am so glad to see her intellectual curiosity sparked. No wonder this book was a Newbery Medalist!

    • Jordan Hake profile image

      Jordan Hake 

      6 years ago from Southwest Missouri, USA

      Congratulations, SaffronBlossom!

      Hub of the Day, woohoo!

    • Spongy0llama profile image

      Jake Brannen 

      6 years ago from Canada

      Anne of Green Gables is one of my favorite books. Us Eastern Canadians are quite proud of it :)

    • Sharkye11 profile image

      Jayme Kinsey 

      6 years ago from Oklahoma

      Of these four I would have to choose Witch of Blackbird Pond. I kind of have a hard time with choosing books suited to age, as we had a "free-reading'' household. I read Little Women when I was 7. At twelve I was already deeply in love with Stephen King and Alexander Dumas. (neither of which are probably recommended, and may very well explain why I am a social outcast, haha!) However I do remember two books that I really loved that are probably good for that age group (I don't recall too much being bad in either of them) One was Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, which is similar to Anne of Green Gables. And also The Pearl by John Steinbeck. And of course, the Little House Books, which I enjoyed for the same reasons mentioned in your hub...every generation goes through the same growing pains, and that was followed exquisitely by Laura Ingalls.

      And I agree that Wrinkle In Time is a wonderful novel. It was the first book to ever get my book-hating sister to enjoy reading! Great hub, voting up and more! And congrats on HOTD!

    • SaffronBlossom profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      I actually got it for free on Amazon! So I started and am now all the way to page 34. :)

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 

      6 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Lol. You can pick up an e copy for about a dollar!

    • SaffronBlossom profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Thanks Randi! Anna Karenina is actually on my list as well--my terrible excuse for not reading it so far is that my copy is a hardback and too heavy to comfortably hold in bed. How lazy is that of me? :)

    • btrbell profile image

      Randi Benlulu 

      6 years ago from Mesa, AZ

      Thank you! Great hub! Great books that every girl should read. I have been spending some timew rereading some of the classics and am really enjoying it. I was going to read Anna Karenina next but just may have to switch to one of these! Thanks! up+

    • SaffronBlossom profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Yes, they are both great books! I really love what is termed "children's literature," even though I think it appeals to adults just as much. :) Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

    • everymom profile image

      Anahi Pari-di-Monriva 

      6 years ago from Massachusetts

      I voted for Little Women here but I really wanted to be able to vote for two of your titles: Little Women and A Wrinkle in Time! I loved them both, for different reasons! Thanks for this Hub; voted up!


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