The Ultimate Summer Reading List for 9- to 12-Year-Olds — 2017 Edition

by Melissa Taylor

Photo credit: Isabel Pavia, Moment Open Collection/Getty Images

Looking for some great new summer reads for your 9- to 12-year-old? They’ll be hooked on a good book in no time with this outstanding list of titles that offers a little something for every kind of tween reader. Another epic summer vacation starts now!

  • If They Like to Laugh…

  • Olga and the Smelly Thing from Nowhere

    by Elise Gravel

    Animal-loving Olga makes her biggest scientific discovery yet in this amusing story! She finds and adopts a brand-new creature that looks like “an inflated hamster and a potato drawn by a three-year-old,” stinks, makes the sound “meh,” and likes olives. She writes and draws all her thoughts in her Observation Notebook for your entertainment pleasure.

  • Welcome to Wonderland #1 and #2

    by Chris Grabenstein

    Wonderland is a unique motel in south Florida owned by P.T.’s family. In the first adventure, P.T. and his friend Gloria save the hotel from closing with some crazy marketing ideas and a real-life treasure hunt. In the second adventure, the friends attempt to convince famous movie producers that the Wonderland hotel would make the best location to film their movie. But the duo never considered what they’d do when the movie stars go missing and fans get a little too enthusiastic.
    (Welcome to Wonderland #2 On Sale: 5/23/17)

  • Lights, Camera, Middle School!

    by Jennifer L. Holm, illustrated by Matthew Holm

    Babymouse can’t believe all the middle school mean-girl zombies focused on material things like sandals and lip gloss. Not to mention, they also want everyone else to be just like them. In this hilarious graphic novel, Babymouse decides to stand out from the zombies by making her own movie — but the movie doesn’t go exactly as planned.
    (On Sale: 7/4/17)

  • Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Summer Vacation

    by Tommy Greenwald, illustrated by J.P. Coovert

    Get ready to laugh. Charlie Joe is going to nerd camp, Camp Rituhbukkee (“Read-a-Bookie”) to please his parents. His goal? Turn his fellow campers into book-haters like him. Surprisingly, and despite his best efforts, Charlie Joe is the one who changes. In fact, he reads a book … and likes it.

  • If They Love Traveling to New Worlds…

  • Edgeland

    by Jake Halpern and Peter Kujawinski

    Wren dreams of escaping her home island of Edgeland, which is the last stop before the dead get sent into an enormous whirlpool called the Drain. To get money for travel, she and her friend Alec set out to steal treasure from one of the dead’s boats. But while onboard, they’re accidentally sucked into the Drain where they learn the surprising truth about what the Drain really is.
    (On Sale: 5/9/17)

  • The Girl Who Drank the Moon

    by Kelly Barnhill

    Winner of the 2017 Newbery Medal, Luna is one of the town’s babies sacrificed to the witch in a tradition that the witch doesn’t understand. The witch, Xan, adopts Luna instead of rescuing her and giving her to a foster family. When Luna’s own moon magic starts to emerge, a justice-seeking woodcarver hunts the wrong witch, Luna’s mostly insane mother escapes from her prison, and the truth of who is behind the town’s sorrowful sacrificial tradition emerges.

  • 5 Worlds Book 1: The Sand Warrior

    by Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel, illustrated by Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, and Boya Sun

    If you’re a fan of graphic novels and epic fantasy adventures, you’ll love this beautiful new series. The Five Worlds are in serious trouble and it’s up to three unlikely heroes to prevent the worlds’ extinction and ruin. Together, they must figure out how to light the ancient beacons that will save all the worlds.
    (On Sale: 5/2/17)

  • If They Prefer Realistic Stories…

  • See You in the Cosmos

    by Jack Cheng

    This is a heartfelt coming-of-age story about an 11-year-old boy named Alex who, with his dog Carl Sagan, travels by himself to a rocket convention. As he travels, he records his thoughts and observations on an iPod that he plans to launch into space. His trip is punctuated by caring people who help Alex reach his destination, even when the destination changes.

  • Beyond the Bright Sea

    by Lauren Wolk

    Crow lives with Osh, the man who rescued her from the sea when she was only a baby. Now, at the age of twelve, a strange fire reignites her curiosity about her mysterious past. She embarks on a dangerous, heartbreaking journey in search of answers.
    (On Sale: 5/2/17)

  • As Brave As You

    by Jason Reynolds

    What makes a person brave? Genie and his brother spend a formative summer with their grandparents in rural Virginia and this question weighs on Genie’s mind. Is bravery shooting a gun? Living with blindness? As he watches his brother and grandfather, and spends time away from the Internet and TV, Genie sees the complexity that makes people who they are.

  • The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora

    by Pablo Cartaya

    Arturo thought he’d only be playing basketball and working for Abuela at her restaurant this summer. Now he’s also spending time with a cute poetry-loving girl named Carmen and protesting the plans of an unscrupulous land developer who wants to change Arturo’s Miami community.
    (On Sale: 5/16/17)

  • The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and a Very Interesting Boy

    by Jeanne Birdsall

    It’s an exciting summer for the four Penderwick sisters. They’re renting a cottage on a beautiful estate where they befriend a lonely boy named Jeffrey who joins them in their many exciting adventures. This one is a summer classic.

  • If Nonfiction Is Their Thing…

  • Lost in the Pacific, 1942: Not a Drop to Drink

    by Tod Olson

    It’s World War II and a bomber plane on a secret mission crashes into the ocean. With no supplies or fresh water, eight soldiers spend weeks adrift on leaking life rafts, slowly dying from dehydration and starvation. The black and white photos add drama and credibility to this heart-stopping narrative.

  • Quiet Power: The Secret Strength of Introverted Kids

    by Susan Cain, with Gregory Mone and Erica Moroz; illustrated by Grant Snider

    If you’re an introvert, use this guidebook to understand your strengths and how to navigate potentially challenging situations including speaking up at school, working in groups, and making friends. Helpful anecdotal stories and cartoon-like illustrations add extra staying power to the valuable lessons.

What titles have kept your tween reading over the summer? Share in the comments below!