10 Book Recommendations For Tweens

I am a passionate believer in promoting reading for children. Reading not only helps them in increasing their vocabulary and comprehension skills but also sparks their curiosity. Children get a better understanding of the world around them, opening up their horizons. Reading is a habit that will bring them joy throughout their lives.  A few years back, I had taken the help of my two sons to write a blog post of the books they liked. However, after they crossed into tweens, we were a little bit stumped to find books for them. I wanted books that would be at par with their reading level as well as be sufficiently engrossing to keep them hooked. Google searches either threw up books like Dr Suess, that they had long outgrown, or else suggested books that I thought they were not yet ready to read. I also wanted books for them beyond the obvious Harry Potter/ Treehouse series/Percy Jackson/David Walliams/ Cressida Crowell, etc. Almost all children do read and love these books. Through trial and error, hits and misses I managed to bring together a collection of books, that I think are appropriate for children between ten to fourteen. I have picked books that I think, challenge them or show them a new perspective. The books might push them out of their comfort zone, but not so much that they are unable to understand the book. 

Haroun And The Sea Of Stories (Salman Rushdie) Written as a gift for his son, “Haroun and The Sea Of Stories” delves into fantasy land. Haroun’s father, Rashid, has lost his imagination to speak. Iff, the Water Genie, is the culprit. Haroun follows Iff to meet Iff’s supervisor, The walrus, and gets embroiled in a war between the kingdoms of “Gup” and “Chup“. Characters like King Chattergy, Prince Bolo, General Kitab, Princess Baatcheat and the villain Khatam Shud are also thrown into the mix. The children will enjoy the fantastical land and a tightly woven story. Once they become adults, they might realise the allusions to the fatwa on Salman Rushdie and the right to free speech. I had an interesting conversation with my son once he read the book. Civil rights and freedom of expression were discussed, and hopefully, he had a better understanding of the world. (You can read a detailed review of the book by clicking here).

To Kill A Mocking Bird (Harper Lee) Social injustice and moral fortitude are the biggest takeaways of this book. One might wonder if children will be able to understand the racism so prominently visible in this book. However, children of today’s generation are much more aware of the world than what we give them credit for. This is a great book to let children learn about sticking to their principles in the face of adversity. 

The Boy At The Back Of The Class (Onjali Q. Rauf) This story is of Ahmet, a Syrian refugee boy. It is about acceptance and not judging people before you know them. If you want to teach empathy and kindness to children, then this is the book for you. 

The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas(John Boyne) Children come to the world as a blank slate. Children are not born knowing hate, hate is taught to them by adults. A concentration camp commander’s son befriends a Jewish boy living in the camp. The two children, one German and one Jew do not know why they are separated by a barbed wire. All they know is the delight they get in each other’s friendship. This story is full of innocence and heartache.

The Gita For Children (Roopa Pai) I know I am including a religious text in the list, however, Gita is more than just a religious text. Gita contains universal lessons for a fulfilled life. “Gita For Children” has been written in an engaging, narrative style. It breaks down the complex concept into simpler terms and is suitable for introducing these concepts to children. Even adults who want to take baby steps into learning more about Gita will find this book engrossing. ( You can read a detailed review of the book by clicking here).

Norse Mythology (Neil Gaiman) I was confused between “Coraline” and “Norse Mythology“. The reason I picked Norse Mythology is that my younger son, who is not much of a reader, finished this book cover to cover in two days (and no it is not a graphic novel). Written in Neil Gaiman’s engaging, witty style, this book has Odin, Thor, Loki et al, to please fans of Avengers ( the real reason why I think my son read this book).

Our Trees Still Grow In Dehra (Ruskin Bond) A list of books for children is incomplete without a book by Ruskin Bond. A collection of Ruskin Bond’s short stories, this book won him the Sahitya Academy Award. The stories, written in Ruskin Bond’s trademark simple style, are semi-autobiographical in nature. The stories portray the author’s closeness with nature. 

My Family And Other Animals (Gerald Durrell) If your child loves animals and reading humour, then this is the book for them. An autobiographical, sometimes fictionalised account, of the author as a young boy on the island of Corfu, the book has many animals and hilarious mishaps involving them.

Being Gandhi ( Paro Anand) Mahatma Gandhi’s principles of satyagraha seems increasingly anachronistic to today’s generation. “Being Gandhi” is an excellent attempt to explain these concepts to children in a non-preachy manner. This book can be read by children as young as eight-year-olds.In today’s violent world, this book is necessary to teach the children about the importance of non-violence.

I Am Malala (Malala Yousufzai) An autobiography, this book chronicles the early life of Malala. It depicts the early days in Swat Valley, the rise of the Taliban, the restrictions introduced for girls, Malala using the pen name “Gul Makai” to write a blog for BBC Urdu, and finally, the attack which almost took her life. It also talks about her recovery in England, where her family finally relocated. Malala’s story is an inspiration for children. It makes them think that even though they are still young, there is power in truth. It gives the children courage for standing up for what they believe in. 

I am always searching for new reads. If you would like to share books your child loved, suitable for this age group, do let me know in the comments below. You might also enjoy my older posts India For Kids and Keep Calm and Read A Book ( or Two)

This post is a part of Blogchatter Half Marathon for August,2021.

14 thoughts on “10 Book Recommendations For Tweens

  1. I have read Norse Mythology and The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas. Both were amazing reads. I would like to recommend Unearthed: The Environmental History of Independent India by Meghaa Gupta 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. To Kill A Mockingbird might be a bit difficult to absorb, I think. I remember reading it in school but I’m not sure how old I was then. All I remember is that it powerfully affected me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes Satabdi, that’s why I said the books on this list will challenge the children. My son read it when he was about 12 and a half. I asked him did he understand and to my surprise he had. He even told me more about racism etc. So I think we don’t give enough credit to our children

      Liked by 1 person

  3. A heartfelt thanks for this list. Apart from the Summer read list that the school had provided, I wanted a fresh perspective on books that my younger one should read (and of course me too!)
    I have read To Kill a Mocking Bird, The Boy in Striped Pyjamas, I’m Malala along with my younger one as she studied them as part of English literature last year. All these titles are immensely engaging, intense and are pearls of profound wisdom.

    Liked by 1 person

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