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Tween

12 Empowering Books on Wellness for Kids Ages 9 – 12

by Melissa Taylor

tween-wellness-books
Photo credit: Shoji Fujita, DigitalVision/Getty Images

Guide tweens into a life of physical, mental, and social wellness with books that focus on each of these dimensions. You’ll find books on this list like Superpowered, that address mental health, along with other books like It’s Perfectly Normal, that address physical health, and Solving for M, that tackle emotional health.

Especially at this age, when wellness becomes more independent, it’s important to put tweens on the right track. These 12 books can help them on their journey to wellness in all areas of life.

  • The Book of Dares

    by Ted Bunch and Anna Marie Johnson Teague

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    Challenge your kid to become their best self with a different kind of dare. Instead of pulling stunts or doing something dangerous, this book dares kids to prove a stereotype wrong, be a leader, and learn something new. Young readers will step out of their comfort zone to build confidence and resilience as they work through each dare in this book.

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  • Superpowered

    by Renee Jain and Dr. Shefali Tsabary

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    Well-known author and psychologist Dr. Shefali Tsabary and Renee Jain, founder of GoZen!, team up to give tweens support, strategies, and information for dealing with anxiety and doubt. The authors recognize that many tweens struggle with both issues and guide kids to find their own mental health superpowers.

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  • Find Your Rainbow

    by Jenipher Lyn

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    Find your way to happiness with this delightful journal for kids. Journaling is one of the best ways to relieve stress and manage challenging emotions. With the help of this guided journal, kids can develop their mindfulness through writing and drawing activities.

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  • The Outdoor Scientist

    by Temple Grandin, Ph.D.

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    Getting outside is essential for boosting mental and physical health, so why not embrace and celebrate your child’s curiosity about the natural world. This book will introduce them to scientists and help them make their own discoveries. Whether your child likes geology or physics, this book is the perfect tool to help them explore and analyze nature.

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  • The Warrior Challenge

    by John Beede, illustrated by Johnny Dombrowski

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    Redefining what it means to be a boy and a man, this illustrated book shares engrossing stories and information exemplifying how boys can become self-aware, vulnerable leaders who trust themselves and are decent human beings. What is a True Warrior? Read this book, learn what you need to level up.

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  • Start Now!

    by Chelsea Clinton

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    Kids might not be able to vote, but they can make a difference. This guide shows readers how to be healthy, make positive lifestyle decisions, and make a difference in significant issues such as the environment, endangered animals, health, friendships, and world hunger.

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  • This Moment Is Your Life (and So Is This One)

    by Mariam Gates, illustrated by Libby VanderPloeg

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    Introduce kids to mindfulness with this book that shows mindfulness in yoga, breathing, meditation, and a five-day challenge. “Try It” exercises throughout and a “Tool Kit” at the end of each chapter give readers practical applications to find their own quiet mindfulness practices.

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  • It’s Perfectly Normal

    by Robie H. Harris, illustrated by Michael Emberley

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    Updated information, cartoon illustrations, and humor allow this classic manual to provide families and tweens with current knowledge about puberty, sex, and sexuality. This comprehensive guide answers questions and will start important discussions.

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  • Stand Up, Yumi Chung

    by Jessica Kim

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    A shy girl, a big dream, and a case of mistaken identity make this novel both entertaining and empowering. When Yumi gets the chance to join a comedy camp for kids, she’s thrilled. The only problem is that everyone thinks she’s someone named Kay — and she lets them. But this little white lie snowballs into a double life that Yumi can’t control. This funny and endearing novel is perfect for any reader who ever wished they could be someone else.

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  • Solving for M

    by Jennifer Swender

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    Going to middle school is a big adjustment for most kids, and this novel tackles that transition with heart and hope. Mika just started middle school, and most of the time, she feels lost. When her family faces unexpected challenges, Mika’s entire life falls apart. But with the help of an unorthodox teacher and a math journal, she learns how to overcome her obstacles.

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  • 365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Precepts

    by R. J. Palacio

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    Remember in Wonder how Auggie’s gifted teacher, Mr. Browne, loved sharing his precepts with students to prompt critical thinking and writing? Now your kids can have one of Mr. Browne’s precepts every day of the year, too. Read daily words to live by about courage, friendship, and kindness to inspire daily wonder, inquiry, and reflection.

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  • The List of Things That Will Not Change

    by Rebecca Stead

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    When her mom and dad divorced, Bea felt like everything changed. And now that her dad is getting married to his boyfriend, Bea’s life will change even more. Building a new family isn’t easy, and Bea faces many challenges leading up to the wedding. But the things that matter most — parents that love her and each other — will not change. Readers will love this hopeful story about a girl who taps into her resilience to navigate the most challenging time of her life.

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2020 and updated in 2021.