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Recommended fiction books for Tweens: Kids ages 9-12

Updated on May 7, 2016
Anna Marie Bowman profile image

Anna wears many hats: writer, mother, crafter. Over the years, she has found what works and what doesn't for herself and her family.

So Many Great Books To Choose From

There are so many books out there for the pre-teen/tween age group. Most libraries and bookstores have a special section specifically set aside for that age group, sometimes called the young adult section, or sometimes referenced by specific age ranges. There seems to be a little bit less to choose from in that age range of just a little too old for kids books, but not quite ready for the adult section. (and no, I don't mean adult as in X-rated adult content)

I was a more mature reader at the tender age of eleven, as I started reading Stephen King's IT at that age, so it is a little harder for me to recommend great books for that age group. I do have a few great suggestions, though.

The Classics

If you have a pre-teen who is an avid reader, try getting him, or her, interested in some of the classics. There is a lot of great literature out there, that is perfectly suited to this age group. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain is a great book full of history and adventure. Anything by Tolkien, or C.S. Lewis would also be a great choice for a young reader. And with the popularity of movies like The Hobbit, and The Chronicles of Narnia, these are great choices.

Other great classics for young readers include; Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Tuck Everlasting, or Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The list of great classics goes on and on. One of my favorite books from when I was around that age was The Wind In The Willows, by Kenneth Grahame. I am sure all of you are familiar with 'Mr. Toad's Wild Ride' at Disney World. Mr. Toad is a character from this book. My daughter read this book recently, and she loved it.

Newer classics are being added to the list. All those books we remember reading as children...from From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler to Where The Sidewalk Ends, books from our own childhood are popping up on bookstore shelves again to entertain our own children, and someday, even our grandchildren. So, go back and look for that book from your youth that you loved so much. What did you read at that age? One of my favorites at that age was A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L'Engle. Chances are, your child may enjoy reading those books, as well. You may have even have held onto some of those books that meant the most to you. Dig them out, dust 'em off and pass them down.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Huck Finn, a true classicMary Shelley's Frankenstein.  Who doesn't love a good monster story?Lighthearted and fun, whimsical poetry
Huck Finn, a true classic
Huck Finn, a true classic
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein.  Who doesn't love a good monster story?
Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Who doesn't love a good monster story?
Lighthearted and fun, whimsical poetry
Lighthearted and fun, whimsical poetry

Books By Our Own Favorite Authors

Even some of our own favorite authors are writing books that are appropriate for, or are even specifically aimed at, younger readers. Included in that list are James Patterson and Stephen King. Yes, I said Stephen King. I read my first Stephen King book at the tender age of 11, but I don't recommend giving a copy of IT to your pre-teen child. It scared the heck out of me, and I wouldn't give it to my daughter to read. There are other books, however, that are slightly (a lot) more appropriate.

Stephen King has several books that are appropriate for younger readers, including The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon, a story of a young girl lost in the woods with only her favorite baseball star to keep her company, or The Eyes of The Dragon; a fantasy tale of kings, wizards and betrayal. The Eyes of the Dragon was written for his children, so it's a perfect book to introduce your children to a favorite author.

James Patterson has written a whole series of books aimed at a younger audience. The Maximum Ride series is a great series of books about a group of kids who are more than just kids, they are part bird, and the series follows the main characters through their escape, and many adventures to follow. There are four books in the series thus far. He has also written books aimed at younger kids, and several others in the pre-teen/tween age range. He isn't just murder, intrigue, and clever nursery rhyme titles.

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A good starter book to introduce kids to the world of Stephen King.  A story about a girl lost in the woods.A great book, from a great series, targeted at younger readers.
A good starter book to introduce kids to the world of Stephen King.  A story about a girl lost in the woods.
A good starter book to introduce kids to the world of Stephen King. A story about a girl lost in the woods.
A great book, from a great series, targeted at younger readers.
A great book, from a great series, targeted at younger readers.

Newer Books

Now that I have a child that fits into this category, I have found a great number of books that she loves, that I had never heard of before. Her current favorites are several books in several different series's written by several authors, under the pseudonym, Erin Hunter. There is a series called Warriors, another titled Seekers, and a third titled Survivors. They all follow groups of animals in the wild. I have never read them, but my daughter absolutely loves them!! There are a great number of books to choose from, and her collection has grown greatly. The Warriors series alone has over 40 books!!!

Of course, the Harry Potter books are always a great choice for this age group, and with the popularity of the films, the new area at Universal Orlando, a theatrical play, and another book set to come out this summer, you can bet the tween group will be looking to get their hands on this one. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child comes out Summer 2016. It is actually the script, in book form, of the play of the same name, which also comes out Summer 2016. It can currently be pre-ordered from Amazon.

There are also a ton of other options for this age. The tween and young adult fiction market has kind of exploded over the last few years, with the popularity of The Hunger Games movies and books, The Divergent Series, The Descendants movie and books, and so many others.

When In Doubt

When in doubt about whether a book is appropriate for your child, or whether or not they will like it, simply read it yourself. You are the best judge as to what is appropriate for your child, and if you find it to be appropriate, let them read the description of the book, or the first few pages, so they can see if it is something that they would like. For this reason, the library is a great resource. You can introduce them to a new book series without investing the money, until you are sure they will like it.

© 2008 Anna Marie Bowman


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