Reads for Super Readers: 9 Books for 8- to 12-Year-Old Bookworms

by Kari Ness Riedel

How do you know if you’re a bookworm? Here’s one test: Do you get super excited when the character in a book you’re reading is reading a book that you’ve read? If you’re not confused by that question, you are very likely a bookworm! I have a special place in my heart (and library) for books that celebrate a love of reading as a core part of both the character and plot development. These books are often filled with references to books the characters love, and, as one librarian told me, can basically serve as a recommended reading list for young people.

Here are nine books that are perfect for bookworms who love to read stories about the joy of reading.

  • Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library

    by Chris Grabenstein

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    Twelve kids are invited for a sleepover in their town’s brand-new library built by Mr. Lemoncello, who is like the Willy Wonka of books. Adventure, mystery, and humor abound as the kids work to solve various book-related puzzles and riddles that will enable them to be the first one to escape the library. Sonia, 10, says, “This book rocks! I must've read it five times, but it never gets old.” Also, check out the second and third installments in this series that are just as delightful as the first one.

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  • The Island of Dr. Libris

    by Chris Grabenstein

    Billy is spending the summer at a cabin near a remote island owned by his mom’s colleague, the mysterious Dr. Libris. It seems like a peaceful place, but every time he opens one of the books on Dr. Libris’s bookshelf, something strange happens. As he continues to open new books, he finds himself immersed in an action-packed journey with his favorite storybook characters. Emma, 10, recommends this “amazing book for people who like fairy tales and adventures.”

  • Book Scavenger

    by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

    Emily and her new friend James discover an odd book while they are playing Emily’s favorite game, Book Scavenger, which is like geo-caching with books. They find themselves entrenched in a mystery that involves the wonderful and wacky founder of Book Scavenger, Garrison Griswold. The kids must use their book knowledge and puzzle-solving skills to stop the people who are trying to harm Mr. Griswold. Kanon, 11, recommends this for “book lovers” and if you like adventure and friendships, it will “satisfy all of your book-wanting needs.” This is a must-read as is the sequel, The Unbreakable Code.

  • The Losers Club

    by Andrew Clements

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    A new book from the author of Frindle centers on sixth grader Alec who gets in trouble at school because he reads too much. Out of desperation to find time to just read, he forms an after-school club called The Losers Club. He hopes that the name will not attract too many people so he can read in peace. The club starts him on an experience that teaches him even more than the books he reads, if that’s possible. Beck, 10, raves that this book “is awesome and gave me even more book ideas because I want to read the books that Alec loves.”

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  • Whole New Ballgame

    by Phil Bildner

    Daniel, 10, says, “This is one of the best books I’ve ever read.” Fifth grade is totally different than best friends, Rip and Red, expected thanks to their new teacher and basketball coach, Mr. Acevedo. Mr. Acevedo doesn’t believe in test prep, has lots of tattoos, and lets (or makes) Rip and Red read every single day. Full of charming and diverse characters, this story is a love letter to great teachers and coaches and the students who blossom under their care.

  • Matilda

    by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake

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    Magical and clever, Matilda is an exceptional young girl whose parents and teachers think she’s just a nuisance. Luckily, she loves to read and her books teach her things that the adults in her life do not. This book is full of humorous pranks and adventures as Matilda discovers how she can use her superpowers to fight against the mean adults. Katie, 10, recommends this book to anyone who values “imagination and creativity.”

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  • The Forbidden Library

    by Django Wexler

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    Alice is sent to live with her uncle in his enormous mansion after her father disappears in a shipwreck. His library is off-limits to her, but nothing is more appealing to a reader than a forbidden library. Alice ends up on a wild adventure involving fairies and talking cats and discovers her own hidden talent. Norah, 10, shares, “I recommend this book to people who love Harry Potter and good descriptions.”

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  • The Land of Stories

    by Chris Colfer

    This modern twist on famous fairy tales follows Alex and Connor, siblings who literally fall into the magical land of their grandmother’s storybook. They find themselves on an action-packed pursuit with the human and animal characters that they’ve read about their whole lives. Avery, 10, says this epic adventure “is one of the best books I’ve ever read” and is perfect for kids who love these classic stories.

  • The Year of the Book

    by Andrea Cheng, illustrated by Abigail Halpin

    Anna struggles to find a friend and turns to her favorite books to provide what real life doesn’t. Being friends with characters in books is less complicated and less work, but might not be as satisfying. This is a wonderful story with lovable characters that gets to the heart of the challenges and rewards that kids experience while developing friendships. Mrs. M., fourth grade teacher, shares, “I loved this book as the main character was a book nerd like myself.”