19 Jul, 2012
Great summer reads for girls 10+
Posted by andrea tomkins in: Easy ways to make kids happy
There was a great article somewhere (I wish I could remember where I read it) about kids and reading. The author said that beginner readers can get away with reading anything. Any reading is good reading because there still learning how to put words together… even if they’re words from crappy comics, poorly-written storybooks (and they ARE out there) and the back of cereal boxes. But as they get older, their reading choices become a little bit more important.
When the girls were younger I used to have complete control over what they read. I flipped through every book they brought to me at the library, if it was good, I added it to a pile of books I added to as well. Somewhere along the line I started giving the girls free reign. The eldest even went to the library without me on some days. And THEN she discovered the teen section upstairs at the Carlingwood Branch. Oy.
The girls consume books faster than I can and they come home with armloads of books I don’t even have time to peek at. I got to thinking about that article, and realized that although I don’t expect them to be reading Moby Dick, they definitely weren’t reading enough of the good stuff. I know summer is supposed to be the season of beach reading, but I wanted them to digest fewer fluffernutters and take in some cheese & tomato on multigrain toast if you catch my meaning.
I decided to ask the pros for some suggestions and they came through with a fantastic list I am posting here today. By the way, these recommendations come to us from Elizabeth Thornley, Coordinator, Children and Teen Services and Librarian at the Ottawa Public Library.
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead [Ed: we read this at our Mother-Daughter Book club. At the end of it you'll be, like, WHOA. It's a really great read.]
Twelve-year old Miranda’s favourite book is A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. When Miranda starts to receive cryptic notes that seem to show that someone knows about things that haven’t yet happened – she is somehow caught up in a tale that is just as curious as her time-travelling favourite.
The London Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd
When their cousin Salim doesn’t get off after taking a ride on the giant London Eye observation wheel, Ted and Kat are sure that they can figure out what has happened to him. After all, the adults, including the police, don’t seem to be doing a very good job. Narrator Ted, who has Asperger’s Syndrome (or something similar), thinks that his “different” way of thinking will be useful in helping to find Salim. One way to visit London during this Olympic year!
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
When Claudia Kincaid decides to run away from home, she wants to run to somewhere, not just from somewhere. She chooses somewhere beautiful – the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City and she chooses her brother Jamie, to accompany her – he is one with the money! What Claudia discovers there, will change her forever.
Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
Selznick, the author of the The Invention of Hugo Cabret, creates another brilliant story told through images and text. In this case, the parallel stories are that of twelve-year olds – Rose, a deaf girl living in the late 1920′s and Ben, also hearing impaired, who lives in the late 1970′s. Rose’s story is told in pictures and Ben’s story in words. The “wonder” is in both the illustrations and in the way that the two stories connect. Selznick includes many references to the Konigsburg classic From the Mixed-Up Files… (above) – read both and see how many you can find!
The Whole Truth by Kit Pearson
During the Great Depression – the early 1930′s – Polly, who is almost ten, and her older sister Maude have to leave Winnipeg because their father has just died (their mother died many years before) and now they are going out to British Columbia to live with a grandmother they don’t know. Along with their uncertainty, they carry with them a secret – a secret that Maude insists they not share with their new family.
The Puzzling World of Winston Breen by Eric Berlin
Winston Breen loves puzzles – so, when the antique box he gives his sister for her birthday contains a hidden drawer with a puzzle inside, everyone thinks he chose it on purpose. But no, Winston has no idea where this puzzle came from – but, he sure does want to solve it! The town librarian, a giant ex-police officer, two strangers and a young reporter all get involved too – party treasure-hunt and party mystery!
And some of my additions to the list:
The Sisters Grimm series - I think they’re up to 9 or 10 books now, but this is a a very fun fantasy series involving two brave and smart young girls and fairy tale characters who live in their town. The first one in the series is called the Fairy-tale Detectives.
The Inkheart trilogy by Cornelia Funke is also a great read. Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can “read” fictional characters to life. I actually found it hard to say goodbye to the amazingly creative world that Funke created.
The Kronos Chronicles – The girls and I reading this series right now and we have not been able to put it down. In this series, twelve-year-old Petra, accompanied by her magical tin spider, goes to Prague hoping to retrieve the enchanted eyes the Prince of Bohemia took from her father, and is aided in her quest by a Roma boy and his sister. Begin with The Cabinet of Wonders.
A book that Emma enjoyed recently (and was recommended to us by one of the librarians at the Carlingwood Branch) is a Chains, by Laurie Halse Anderson. It’s about a girl named Isabel who was sold to a cruel couple in New York City who then spies for the rebels during the Revolutionary War. (Edited to add: This too is a series! Thanks for letting me know Sassymonkey!)
You can find all of these titles and request them at online at the OPL website.
Got any recommendations to share? I’m all ears!