The most recommended books for tweens

Who picked these books? Meet our 2,053 experts.

2,053 authors created a book list with books for tweens, and here are their favorite books.

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Book cover of Of Cages and Crowns

H.J. Nelson Author Of The Last She

From my list on reads according to your favorite Taylor Swift song.

Who am I?

I’m a Sci-Fi and Fantasy author who loves all things young adult! I always listen to Taylor Swift when I write, because I love how her songs are full of nostalgia, romance, humanity, and a lust for adventure—just like my books. If you couldn’t make it to the Era’s tour, no fear, check out some of these books below! 

H.J.'s book list on reads according to your favorite Taylor Swift song

H.J. Nelson Why did H.J. love this book?

If your favorite song is “Look What We Made You Do” try Of Cages and Crowns by Brianna Crump.

Think Hunger Games but with more romance, and very much the vibe of “I got my but you’ll all get yours.” There’s revenge, survival, romance, and revenge and a rebellion brewing in the background, but I was surprised at how much this book surprised me.

Every time I thought I knew what was coming next, some new secret or shocking twist surprised me.

By Brianna Joy Crump,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Of Cages and Crowns as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

For goddess-touched girls, there is only one destiny: the Culling

From the moment Monroe Benson is born with a mark on her hand and the ability to summon fire from her fingertips, her life will never be her own. She’s goddess-touched, which means she’s destined to participate in the Culling, an age-old competition to determine the next queen of Erydia. For most of her seventeen years, her family has managed to keep Monroe―and her powers―hidden. But now, as Queen Viera calls for the Culling to start, and war looms on the horizon, Monroe can no longer hide. She must face…


Book cover of We're Off to Look for Aliens

Gillian Rogerson Author Of You Can't Eat a Princess!

From my list on children's picture books to read aloud.

Who am I?

Since an early age, I loved getting lost in a good story and knew I wanted to be a writer one day. As an adult, I tried writing in many genres but it was when I had my children that I knew I wanted to write children’s bedtime stories. I loved that special time at the end of a busy day when I could snuggle down with my children and get lost in a story with them. I now write children's bedtime stories for a podcast called Koko Sleep. The stories are written in a soothing way and are designed to help the listeners drift easily to sleep.

Gillian's book list on children's picture books to read aloud

Gillian Rogerson Why did Gillian love this book?

I worked as a classroom assistant for ten years and read a lot of books to the younger children, and this one was always a favourite for them. The children loved the funny rhymes and there would be lots of giggles because they knew what was going to happen next. The illustrations are amazing and they inspired the children to draw their own aliens. This book was read so many times that the pages started to fall out, but they were lovingly put back by the children.

By Colin McNaughton,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked We're Off to Look for Aliens as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Experience comic close encounters of the alien kind in this innovative picture book.

Dad's new book has just arrived and his children are sitting down to read his latest adventure... Blasting off into space, Dad's on the hunt for aliens. He meets lots of them - cute, hairy, bug-eyed and scary - and, strangest of all, he falls in love. But what will his family think of his far-fetched tale? A hilarious and innovative picture book from award-winning author and illustrator Colin McNaughton.


Book cover of Small as an Elephant

Dana VanderLugt Author Of Enemies in the Orchard: A World War 2 Novel in Verse

From my list on middle grade written that tackle grief.

Who am I?

When I worked as a middle school teacher, I surveyed more than 200 students how they felt about books that included sadness and grief. The overwhelming answer from the students was that while adults too often minimize their feelings and dismiss the validity of their heartache, books do not. Many young readers want books that are honest and raw enough not to shield them from the world, but to pay enough attention to its pain to light a path, knowing that they can keep moving forward in the dark when they feel less alone and less afraid.

Dana's book list on middle grade written that tackle grief

Dana VanderLugt Why did Dana love this book?

Small as an Elephant is a book that I read aloud to my sons, but I needed as much as they did.

This story of 11-year-old Jack who is abandoned by his bipolar single mother and left to fend for himself in Acadia National Park is totally accessible and captivates young readers because of its emphasis on survival, but also delves into hard issues like mental illness and abandonment. I first learned about the book during a middle school English teachers’ discussion of “favorite books ever.”

By Jennifer Richard Jacobson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Small as an Elephant as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

"A deeply perceptive look at the universal fear of abandonment." — Booklist (starred review)

Ever since Jack can remember, his mom has been unpredictable, sometimes loving and fun, other times caught in a whirlwind of energy and “spinning” wildly until it’s over. But now she is gone, leaving him all alone on a campsite in Maine. Can he find his way back to Boston before the authorities realize what happened? With nothing but a small toy elephant to keep him company, Jack begins a journey that will test his wits and his loyalties — and his trust that he may…


Book cover of Sweet Dreams, Boone

Susan Grant Author Of The Bottle House

New book alert!

Who am I?

I am a Bible college graduate whose faith has always been a practical matter. Because I learned to find the “so what” of the Bible, when I became a teacher of the Bible in the public schools of Rowan County, North Carolina, my elective courses had waiting lists for students to get in to. As I now teach in Maine, I found I could continue to share a practical Christian faith through my writing. The books I have listed here do the very thing that I seek in my own writing.

Susan's book list on authentically illustrating genuine Christian faith

What is my book about?

Boone is a sad and lonely little dog. He doesn’t like to be left alone when Mom goes to work.

To help him feel better, Mom buys him a special basket for his bed. When he sleeps, he dreams of a long-ago time and meets a man who is sad and lonely too, until he meets Jesus.

Sweet Dreams, Boone

By Susan Grant, Kelly Artieri (illustrator),

What is this book about?

Boone is a sad and lonely little dog. He doesn’t like to be left alone when Mom goes to work. To help him feel better, Mom buys him a special basket for his bed. When he sleeps, he dreams of a long-ago time and meets a man who is sad and lonely too, until he meets Jesus.


Book cover of If You Find Me

Beth Fehlbaum Author Of Big Fat Disaster

From my list on YA about broken people.

Who am I?

I always used food to cope with painful feelings, and I developed Binge Eating Disorder as a child. As an adult, I was in therapy to deal with traumatic stuff, and I lost 100 pounds. I finished therapy with a whole new set of tools with which to navigate the world, but I still regained the weight and started hating myself again. I said, “Whoa. Time-out. I am worthy of love. That has not changed, so why do I hate myself again?” That is what I explore in Big Fat Disaster: what is our worth, and why should that worth depend on what we look like? 

Beth's book list on YA about broken people

Beth Fehlbaum Why did Beth love this book?

I connected strongly to this book because the protagonist has experienced abandonment and must rebuild her life from the ashes, learning to trust adults to care for her and allow her a childhood rather than expecting her to be a miniature adult. Equally striking is the power of a secret, and how its revelation changes everything. In addition, through reading If You Find Me, I learned a way of using punctuation that creates tension and immediacy.

By Emily Murdoch,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If You Find Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

What happens in the woods, stays in the woods...Carey is keeping a terrible secret. If she tells, it could destroy her future. If she doesn't, will she ever be free? For almost as long as she can remember, Carey has lived in a camper van in the heart of the woods with her drug-addicted mother and six-year-old sister, Jenessa. Her mother routinely disappears for weeks at a time, leaving the girls to cope alone. Survival is Carey's only priority - until strangers arrive and everything changes ...Carey is a strong, resilient, loving and earnest character who is flawed but determined…


Book cover of When We Love Someone We Sing to Them: Cuando Amamos Cantamos

Laurin Mayeno Author Of One of a Kind, Like Me / Único Como Yo

From my list on celebrating diversity and joy in children.

Who am I?

I am a mixed-race woman with a big, loving family who has always questioned the way things are and dreamed of a world where we all belong. I’m also the mom of a non-binary, queer adult child and work to support families with LGBTQ+ children. I love reading and talking with kids (and grown-ups too) about race, gender, and the power of being who we are. I also love dancing, butterflies, and hummingbirds.

Laurin's book list on celebrating diversity and joy in children

Laurin Mayeno Why did Laurin love this book?

This is a stunning bilingual story about a boy whose father teaches him about songs as a way of expressing love, and then helps him write a love song for a special boy. I fell in love with the story when I first saw the short-film version and am equally enthusiastic about the picture book. The author describes the story as a “queer reclamation of the Mexican serenata tradition” and shows us a family that transmits the deep meaning of cultural traditions while also re-imagining them. The gorgeous illustrations convey a sense of softness and magic.  Along with the narrative, written in both English and Spanish, the images carry the reader into a world that is pure beauty, affirmation, celebration, and joy.  

By Ernesto Javier Martínez, Maya Christina Gonzalez (illustrator), Jorge Gabriel Martínez Feliciano (translator)

Why should I read it?

1 author picked When We Love Someone We Sing to Them as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

WINNER--2019 International Latino Book Award (Best Children's Picture Book in English)  WINNER--2019 International Latino Book Award (Best First Book-Children & Youth-Bilingual) 2019 American Library Association "Rainbow Book List" SelectionA reclamation of the Mexican serenata tradition, follow the story of a young boy who asks his father if there is a song for a boy who loves a boy. Como reapropiación de la serenata Mexicana, Cuando Amamos Cantamos cuenta la historia de un niño que le pide a su padre que canten una canción para un niño que ama a otro niño. When We Love Someone We Sing to Them reframes…


Book cover of Raymie Nightingale

Amy Makechnie Author Of Ten Thousand Tries

From my list on with three best friends.

Who am I?

I’m a grown mother now. Also an author. But once upon a time, I was in middle school. I remember the braces, bad hair, being scared to return my lunch tray because boys might look at me while I passed their lunch table. Such angst, and yet I adore middle schoolers - they’re my jam. Fun, funny, exasperating, creative, boisterous, and annoying are all words I’d use to describe the middle school kids I teach and coach. I write down their quotes, shake my head at their antics, and adore their intense friendships. I hope you’ll enjoy these true-to-life middle-grade reads as much as I have!

Amy's book list on with three best friends

Amy Makechnie Why did Amy love this book?

I’ll read anything Kate DeCamillo writes. She is just so good. No matter the heartbreak that Raymie Nightingale faces (her dad’s just recently run off with the dental hygienist), Raymie has a plan. She’s going to win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire Competition, her dad will see her picture in the paper, and then surely (maybe?) he’ll come home. Raymie gets through with friends who weren’t always her friends: the “frequently fainting” Louisiana Elefante, and feisty Beverly Tapinski. Together, “the three rancheros” challenge, but ultimately save, one another. Some friendships are not “like at first sight”!

By Kate DiCamillo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Raymie Nightingale as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 10, 11, 12, and 13.

What is this book about?

New York Times bestselling author Kate DiCamillo returns to her roots with a moving yet witty story of an unforgettable summer friendship. For fans of Jacqueline Wilson, David Almond and Katherine Rundell.

In her seventh novel, international bestselling author and twice winner of the prestigious Newbery Medal Kate DiCamillo tells a masterful story that blends pathos and humour. Raymie Clarke has come to realize that everything, absolutely everything, depends on her. And she has a plan. If Raymie can win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition, then her father - who has run away with a dental hygienist -…


Book cover of Wild Cities

Sian Moxon

From Sian's 10-year-old's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Who am I?

Author Academic Architect Educator Sustainable designer Urban wild gardener

Sian's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Sian's 10-year-old's favorite books.

Sian Moxon Why did Sian's 10-year-old love this book?

My child says this is a stunning book with nicely sketched illustrations and good details about which wildlife you can find in different cities around the world.

He keeps it by his bedside for bedtime reading and thinks other kids would like it because it is colourful and calming.

By Ben Lerwill, Harriet Hobday (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Wild Cities as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

Picture a city. What do you see? Traffic and towering buildings? Or maybe you imagine something a little . . . wilder?

These are the astonishing stories of the animals who are adapting to live in our urban world - and how you can help them to thrive.

From the pitter-patter of penguins in Cape Town, to the prowl of a leopard in Mumbai, the splash of a seal in Sydney, cities are home to all sorts of unexpected residents.

Keep your eyes wide open as as we travel the globe discovering wild cities. With magical illustration and beautiful storytelling,…


Book cover of Everybody Says Meow

Sheri Dillard Author Of Cowhide-And-Seek

From my list on picture books for preschool storytimes.

Who am I?

I’ve been a preschool teacher for several years, and now I’m a preschool librarian. When I was teaching, storytime was my favorite part of the day, so when I was offered the spot of librarian, I happily took it! I have storytimes in all the classes, which range in age from 1-year-olds up to PreK and kindergarten classes. My favorite moments are when the children are connecting to each other in some way, like sharing a laugh together. Such joy! Ultimately, the best books for preschool storytimes are the ones that a reader is excited to share, with the hope that the kids will love them, too. 

Sheri's book list on picture books for preschool storytimes

Sheri Dillard Why did Sheri love this book?

At storytimes, I see firsthand the value of a good page turn. There’s anticipation. And excitement. And…then…the…page…turns… Oh! Is there a surprise? Something funny?  

Everybody Says Meow has the best page turns. The story starts with a cat talking to the reader. He’s standing with his cat-friends and explains that it’s time for everybody to say meow. “Ready?” he asks. 

On the next page, all the cats are happily saying, “Meow!” BUT—there’s also a dog, peeking around the edge of the page. With a smile and a friendly wave, he says, “Woof!” 

The story continues with these page-turn surprises, and the kids eagerly await the next animal to peek around the page. I love how I have to pause my reading and wait for the laughter to quiet down.

By Constance Lombardo,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Everybody Says Meow as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

"The messages of inclusion and acceptance are welcome. An enjoyable addition to noisy storytimes." -Kirkus

Everybody Says Meow! Or do they? Fans of Sandra Boynton and of Jules Feiffer's classic Bark, George will meow, bark, and ribbit when they hear this hilarious picture book about a waggish group of adorable animals that just cannot follow one simple instruction.

"Welcome to that magical time when everybody says, 'Meow!' Ready?"

Well, not quite. There's also a "Woof." And a "Ribbit."

A few words and a minimal background can make for plenty of mischief-especially when your characters are adorable, delightfully silly, and probably…


Book cover of Love, Santa Claus

Simon Mills Author Of The Secret of Scrufflewood Wood

From my list on children’s stories written in rhyme.

Who am I?

I have written poetry since I was a little boy. Rhyme came naturally to me, and I found it to be a world to escape to. This led me to songwriting and touring in bands, and it grew into my vocation as a jingle writer in Australia. Eventually, I wrote the jingle that won the World’s Best Jingle award in Hollywood, and this, in part, inspired me to move to New York City from Australia. The other driving force was getting my first book, How To Steal From Banks—an autobiography—published in America. Writing and rhyming are deeply embedded in my soul and cells. 

Simon's book list on children’s stories written in rhyme

Simon Mills Why did Simon love this book?

A humble-hearted Christmas story indeed.

Liberty DeVitto—former drummer for Billy Joel and many other legendary artists—is himself a humble soul and loves to shine a light on his gratitude for being able to do a job that he dearly loves and that millions would line up to do. Like Santa Claus, Liberty is grateful for what he gets to do and takes the responsibility very seriously.

Love, Santa Claus mirrors Liberty’s view of his position in the world while telling a beautiful Christmas story in rhyming verse. 

By Liberty DeVitto,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Love, Santa Claus as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Love, Santa Claus is a love letter to spiritual enlightenment and servant-hearted contentment. Follow Santa through his annual rituals and see the legendary icon of Christmas in a whole new way.


Book cover of The Sky Unicorn

Linda Chapman Author Of Star Friends: Mirror Magic

From my list on fiction for children who love magic and animals.

Who am I?

Growing up as an only child, books and animals were hugely important to me – they were my friends and I really wanted to believe in a magic that would allow me to talk to animals and them to me. I have now written over 250 books and pretty much all of them have either magic or animals in or a combination of both – unicorns, ponies that turn into magical horses, star animals who teach the children they bond with how to do magic, mermaids with sea creatures as pets. I really love to write – and read – about magical animals and their very lucky human friends!

Linda's book list on fiction for children who love magic and animals

Linda Chapman Why did Linda love this book?

I wanted to choose a book about unicorns (given they’re one of my favorite things to write about!) and this is the second book in a great magical series perfect for middle-grade readers who prefer shorter chapter books. Ava and her friends live in Arramia along with many magical creatures such as unicorns, dragons, firebirds, and star wolves. In this book, Ava sets out on a daring adventure to rescue a gorgeous baby unicorn who has been stolen from his herd by an evil villain. Paula Harrison is a brilliant writer for readers who like reading about magic and animals. She creates wonderful worlds and her books are hard to put down. The Royal Rescues is another great series too. 

By Paula Harrison, Sophy Williams (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Sky Unicorn as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

A brilliant series for 7+ readers full of adventure, magic and friendship from Paula Harrison, author of the Rescue Princesses and Kitty and the Moonlight Rescue series.

Maya is a dancer with a travelling troupe of entertainers. When Clover, a little unicorn, is trapped by Sir Fitzroy and used to lure the other unicorns into danger, Maya hatches a cunning plan. She and Sophy will disguise themselves and foil Sir Fitzroy's plot, and the unicorns will be safe!

Beautifully illustrated throughout by Sophy Williams, this is the perfect book for young readers who love magic and animals!

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