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Great Books for Pre-Teens

Updated on February 17, 2014

The Sixty Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone

This is the first of a four part series of books. If you have ever visited the Art Institute of Chicago and seen the miniature Thorne Rooms in the basement, you will be captured by this story and it will not let you go until you have finished reading.

My daughter and I read this book together years ago as a Mother Daughter Book Club read and it was amazing then. There are two more sequels and a final installation is being published the summer of 2014.

The story follows Ruthie and Jack, two friends, as they find a magical key that lets them shrink in size and go exploring the Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute. The adventures they find on their way are fun, educational, and mesmerizing. Mrs. Malone weaves some history and morality into the story, which makes it a great book to discuss with your child as well (onc eyou stop fighting over who gets to read it first).

The sequels are"

Stealing Magic

The Pirate's Coin

The Secret of the Key (Summer 2014)

Miniature Rooms: The Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago
Miniature Rooms: The Thorne Rooms at the Art Institute of Chicago

A beautiful book with great pictures and descriptions of the Thorne Rooms.


The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary by Candace Fleming

If you want to laugh, this is the book. It is hilarious! It is a very quick read, but you will remember it for quite a while.

This story follows a group of fourth graders at Aesop Elementary and some of their antice.

There is a sequel - the Fabled Fifth Graders of Aesop Elementary, which is just as silly and entertaining.

Frindle by Andrew Clements

This book is about finding your purpose, doing something special, and learning a lot from that experience.

In this book, a boy decides to rename the pen a "Frindle." Follow his as a lot of misadventures happen and he learns a lot about himself, his family, and a special teacher in his life.

This book gives a definition to purpose in our life.

Fudge-a-Mania by Judy Blume

Judy Blume - remember her from our childhoods? She is amazing. These Fudge books had us rolling on the floor. The tales of Fudge and the family are just gut busting. There are more than one of these stories, so get them all out of the library, snuggle on the couch, and prepare to be entertained.

These books are great as read alouds as well. My kids were rolling around laughing, asking for more. Once you read one, you will want more.

All of the books:

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing

Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great



Double Fudge

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

This book is amazing. It is a little heavier than some of the other books in this article, but it is a beautiful story woven through ancient stories or the Orient. The narrative follows Minli through an adventure of her own making that teaches her the importance of life, love, and family.

There are some very animated creatures woven throughout the story, legends that have been passed on through time, as well as some decisions that have to be made in order to find what is the meaning of your life.

The author draws from stories passed down to her from family members to write a beautiful telling of the tale of Minli.

Fig Pudding by Ralph Fletcher

This book is just a classic. It has been around for a while, so it will bot be at the front of the bookshelves at school, but it is a great book.

It follows a family through some misadventures, sadness, daily struggles, but shows how important family is in the end and how much laughter is needed in life.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery

This book is a classic. I have read it over and over again. Every year or so I pick it up, read it in about a half hour, and walk away with a feeling of renewed purpose in my life. It is just one of those books - easy to read, great story, and large life lessons snuck in there that stay with you forever.

It is the story of a little prince who lives on a planet. He leaves that planet to go exploring and realizes, in the end, that there is no place like home. Sound familiar?? A great book to send off with your kids when they move out, but easy enough to understand while they are still younger.


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© 2014 lilyofthevalley17


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    • Amanda108 profile image

      Amanda 3 years ago from Michigan, United States

      I don't have a kid, but I have a pre-teen sister and I'm always encouraging her to read. Good choices. :-)

    • Noel Tanti profile image

      Noel Tanti 3 years ago from Malta

      loved your selection of books :)