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Tween

The Ultimate Summer Reading List for Kids Ages 9 – 12

by Laurie Espino

summer-reading-middle-grade

What better time than the lazy days of summer to get lost in a good book? Whether you’re hoping to put a stop to the summer slide or you just want to arm your tween with a stack of books that will transport them to a new and exciting place, these middle grade books are a great place to start!

  • Turtle in Paradise

    by Jennifer L. Holm and Savanna Ganucheau

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    The bestselling and Newbery Honor-winning novel is now a graphic novel! Eleven-year-old Turtle knows that the world isn’t perfect. In 1935, things like money and dreams are hard to come by. When her mother sends her to stay with relatives in Key West, she doesn’t know what to expect. After a rough start, Turtle gradually gets to know her energetic cousins and their friends. This delightful adaptation captures the heartfelt story in a new format that young readers will love.

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  • Horse Girl

    by Carrie Seim

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    Wills’s dreams are coming true: she’s going to start training at Oakwood Riding Academy! Finally, she gets to join the elite world of #HorseGirls. But things don’t go as easily as Wills had hoped. Amara, the reigning queen of the Academy, seems determined to give her a hard time. Oh, and that’s not to mention that being part of the Oakwood Riding Academy means dealing with Horse Boys (gulp!). Can Wills juggle mean girls and boy drama while still training with her rescue horse, Clyde?

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  • Marcus Makes a Movie

    by Kevin Hart and Geoff Rodkey, illustrated by David Cooper

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    Introduce your kids to Marcus, a boy with dreams of making his superhero drawings into a real movie. From the witty mind of award-winning actor and comedian Kevin Hart comes a laugh-out-loud illustrated middle school novel that teaches readers about the power of creativity and perseverance.

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  • girl stuff.

    by Lisi Harrison

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    BFFs Drew, Ruthie, and Fonda have every intention of keeping their friendship intact upon entering seventh grade. Still, their plans go awry when Ruthie enters the Gifted and Talented program, Drew would rather hang with her new crush, and Fonda finds her way in with the popular crowd. A feel-good story about the true-to-life struggles of middle school, this excellent start to a new series is sure to resonate with tweens.

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  • Escape This Book! Titanic

    by Bill Doyle, illustrated by Sarah Sax

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    Keep your middle schooler entertained for hours with games and activities galore. In Escape This Book! Titanic, readers select one of three characters and make choices that determine whether they survive on the infamous ship’s historic voyage.

    The fun doesn’t stop there. If your child likes this book, follow up with the sequels, Escape This Book! Tombs of Egypt and Escape This Book! Race to the Moon.

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  • Dragons vs. Unicorns

    by Kate Biberdorf

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    There are few problems that 10-year old science whiz Kate the Chemist can’t solve. When she’s named assistant director of the school’s musical, Dragons vs. Unicorns, and her best friend, Birdie, gets cast in the lead role, everything seems perfect. But when things start to go wrong, Kate realizes that someone is trying to sabotage the show! Are Kate’s problem-solving and science skills enough to save the play? This exciting series is a fantastic way to introduce your tween to STEM concepts.

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  • Kudo Kids: The Mystery of the Masked Medalist

    by Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani with Michelle Schusterman, illustrated by Yaoyao Ma Van As

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    Tokyo isn’t just home to the Olympics; it’s also the location of the popular new game, OlympiFan. OlympiFan brings players from all around the globe in search of virtual medals and clues to unmask the game’s mystery creator. The Kudo Kids, siblings Andy and Mika, happen to be in town and decide to join the fun! But while they’re finding clues, it becomes clear that someone is trying to sabotage the game. Andy and Mika must use their sleuthing skills to reveal the culprit before they ruin the game for everyone.

    Written by Olympic medalists (and siblings!) Maia and Alex Shibutani, Kudo Kids: The Mystery of the Masked Medalist is a fun and fast-paced mystery that your middle grader is sure to enjoy!

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  • Jude Banks, Superhero

    by Ann Hood

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    From the New York Times bestselling author Ann Hood comes a beautiful story about family, grief, and the power of friendship. Jude and his sister, Katie, were inseparable. But Katie’s not here anymore, and Jude thinks he’s responsible for her death. Now, Jude is 12 years old and trying to figure out how to move forward. When he meets Clementine, a girl who also lost a sibling, Jude begins to heal. But Clementine is also suffering, and Jude isn't sure how to help his new friend.

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  • Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom

    by Sangu Mandanna

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    Drawing has always calmed Kiki's anxiety. Her sketchbook brims with sketches of mythological creatures and Indian legends. But when Kiki's drawings come to life, she gets trapped in the world that previously only existed in her sketchbook. Now, faced with an evil god determined to destroy the world, it's up to Kiki, her pencil, and some new friends to save it.

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  • The Renegades: Flames of Amazonia

    by Jeremy Brown and David Selby

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    The Renegades are back for another action-packed graphic novel! This time, Katelyn, Mo, and Leon head to the Amazon to fight a group of evil creatures burning the rainforests. This adventure story introduces the importance of global warming and its consequences to young readers.

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  • Dog Squad

    by Chris Grabenstein

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    From Chris Grabenstein, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, and co-author Max Einstein comes a new K9 tale about two look-alike dogs and the adventures that ensue when they switch places. Fun and light-hearted, readers are guaranteed to fall in love with the hilarious characters in this new adventure.

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  • Becoming: Adapted for Young Readers

    by Michelle Obama

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    Young readers can now enjoy Michelle Obama’s #1 New York Times and international bestselling memoir! Your child will feel endlessly inspired as Obama shares her journey from her childhood in the South Side of Chicago to Princeton and Harvard Law School, and eventually the White House, where she became the United States’ first Black First Lady.

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  • This Is Your Time

    by Ruby Bridges

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    It’s 1960, and six-year-old Ruby gets a federal marshal escort as she heads to school. She’s one of the first Black children to attend an all-white public school in New Orleans. Ruby eventually grows up to become a New York Times bestselling author and civil rights icon who’s still fighting for equality to this day. This historical read will teach kids that learning from history can lead to a better tomorrow.

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  • The Pack

    by Lisi Harrison

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    From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Clique comes a new story bursting with it-girl drama and first crushes! When Sadie discovers a wild animal "light" inside herself, she starts attending a prestigious private school for girls like her. But a new school doesn’t mean freedom from middle school drama. Between confrontations with a group of mean girls known as the Pack and a forbidden crush, Sadie has her hands full.

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  • When You Trap a Tiger

    by Tae Keller

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    Lily grew up listening to Korean folktales from her grandmother. Then one day, a tiger from one of her stories comes to life and offers her a choice that could change her family’s situation. Can Lily find the courage to stand up against an ancient tiger?

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  • Iggy Is the Hero of Everything

    by Annie Barrows, illustrated by Sam Ricks

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    Everyone’s favorite troublemaker is back! In Iggy’s mind, he should get a prize for saving his family, the toaster, and his candy in the previous book. But not everyone agrees with him. In the third installment of the Iggy series, bestselling author Annie Barrows delivers another hilarious and entertaining story about Iggy’s lovable antics.

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  • Happily for Now

    by Kelly Jones, illustrated by Kelly Murphy

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    Meet Fiona, a fairy godperson-in-training. She’s determined to be the best fairy godperson ever, so she goes to stay with some relatives that could use her help. But her first act as a fairy godperson is more challenging than she expected, and she quickly learns that life isn’t perfect. Kids will love this humorous and insightful middle grade novel.

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Looking for summer reading ideas for younger or older kids? Check out our 2021 lists for Kids Ages 3 – 5, Ages 6 – 8, and Teens.