Top Five Books Your Tween Will Love

By Beth Roulston 2020-02-07 12:39:28

You ask any teacher and they’ll tell you reading is fundamental. It’s both a great learning tool and source of entertainment – which is in dire need right now!

According to book publishing house Scholastic, children aged between 11-13 (tweens) demonstrate ‘an increased ability to look beyond literal interpretations and understand metaphoric uses of language’. They are now capable of comprehending proverbs and detecting sarcasm; in many ways their reading skills are comparable to that of an adult’s. Sadly, for parents this can be both exciting and nerve-wracking, as your tween’s curiosity begins to peak.


I still painfully remember the day my niece (who is now 18 Oh Em G) came to me after reading one of her young adult novels (don’t remember which one) with a question that instantly made me want to say “Erm, have you spoken to your mum about this?”; but I didn’t. I was both amazed and honoured that my 11-year-old niece came to talk to me about something so complicated. As we are both complete book worms we would often dissect and analyse novels we had both read – I’m guilty for getting her into horror for which my sister repeatedly swatted me over the head with a rolled-up magazine - but this time I realised that she was no longer a little girl but developing into a young woman. When I asked her why she didn’t talk to her mum about these things, she gave an obscure tween answer that vaguely translated to ‘if I tell mum she may prevent me from reading books that I like in future’.


As an aunt, I didn’t have the same concerns as my sister, but thinking as a parent I would want to know what my tween was reading to help me gain an understanding of what they were thinking and processing. Needless to say, once I spoke with my sister about my niece’s questions, she would then ask me and my other sister for “cool” yet “responsible” book purchases before gifting them to her daughter.


While you and your tween are confined within the four beautiful walls of your home, have a look at this list we compiled from other parent recommendations of popular tween novels for some inspiration:

The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani

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This epistolary novel follows the life of a half-Muslim, half-Hindi young girl called Nisha, while she and her family experience the partition of India. In an effort to maintain a connection with her recently deceased mother, Nisha begins writing letters to her in her diary. It is through these diary entries that readers become privy to how Nisha, her father, and brother escape to the Hindu side of newly split India. This beautiful narrative of family, courage and world history will have your tween gripped from beginning to end.

Strange Birds: A Field Guide to Ruffling Feathers by Celia C. Pérez

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This awesome novel of sister kinship and bonding has a touch of The Babysitters’ Club about it. The narrative tells of young girls Aster, Laine, Kat, and Ofelia, as they band together to defend birds against their local scout group, The Floras. Through witty dialogue and awkward moments of youth, these unique and ethnically diverse characters offer a relatable and entertaining adventure that almost all teens will identify with.

The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

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This is one of my all-time-favourite books. For those of you who aren’t fantasy lovers, this story begins in a hole in the ground where you meet a hobbit called Bilbo Baggins. What follows can only be described as madness, as the home-dwelling, mind-one’s-own-business halfling’s home is then invaded by a massive band of dwarves who proceed to eat all his food while the wise and cheeky wizard, Gandalf the Grey, speaks of how Bilbo can help them on a quest to regain dwarf lands from the terrifying dragon Smaug. Think magic, adventure, action and hilarious mayhem, wrapped in a tale of one character’s downfall due to his greed. Tolkien’s visually descriptive writing not only captures your child’s imagination using mountains of new euphonious vocabulary but also some of life’s most important lessons.

The Good Hawk by Joseph Elliot

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This novel is narrated alternately by main characters Agatha and Jaime, two very different heroes from different Scottish clans who find their people being attacked leaving them no choice but to flee their remote island. They then embark on a perilous yet high-suspense journey rich with Gaelic-inspired language and fearsome mythical creatures. One aspect of the book I most appreciate is that Agatha has Down’s syndrome (although it isn’t given a name) and so her character often faces unfair, unkind treatment. Her narration and challenges bring a wonderful depth and insight into this absolute page-turner. Be warned it includes a little gruesome detail but nothing that the Harry Potter series weren’t also guilty of.

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman


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Part one of Philip Pullman’s trilogy, entitled His Dark Materials, may not be new but it is currently trending; thanks to the fact that it has just been adapted into a TV series of the same name. This young-adult fantasy series is set in an alternate world whereby all human souls exist outside their body in the form of sentient dæmons, talking animal spirts that accompany, aid and comfort their humans until they die. During childhood, these beautiful dæmons frequently change shape until adolescence when they permanently settle on a single form. The story follows a young Lyra Belacqua, who ends up journeying to the Arctic to find for her missing friend, Roger Parslow, and her imprisoned uncle, Lord Asriel, who you later discover has been conducting experiments with a mysterious substance known as "Dust".

Note: Please ensure your child reads the books first before watching this series… oh, and do not watch the movie adaptation starring Nicole Kidman it’s just awful!

If you’ve read the above or have any other book recommendations, let us know your thoughts sign in and leave us a comment below