Our Ten Best: Books for Kids and Young Teens

Let’s face it; kids will not read books they feel are forced upon them by the evil adults that dictate their lives (that would be I and all other English teachers). Most of these can be found in book orders such as Scholastic (which kids love.)These picks are not only great, but consist of series, which most likely get a young reader to read more than one book. Here are 10 book series that kids and teenagers would enjoy to read.

10. My America Series, Dear America, etc. (various authors).
This is a great historical fiction series. A different child from a different historical era tells each book. Kids will read about other kids’ experiences on the Titanic, during World War II and even dating as far back as Colonial America. I find that this genre is not usually a kid favorite, so these books help a great deal. Students learn about an era, while following a relatable subplot (family issues, relationship issues, etc) about someone close to their age. You cannot go wrong with these, especially when teaching a history unit of some kind.

9. The Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer. OMG. Like, totally hot fantastical dudes, who dig high school girls. So as most of us know: Girl meets boy. Boy is vampire. Romantic problem. Girls love this saga for the romance factor, and the fact that the protagonist is relatable, well, up until the fantasy fiction drama. The beauty of it is that although werewolves and vampires are all over these books, the underlining issues are clear and understandable to teen readers such as: teen angst, friendship, love and family drama. Teens will fall in love with both Edward and Jacob not only because they are unlike the guys in their class (face it, everyone loves a mysterious bad boy) but also because they are mature, passionate and (spoiler) very much in love with Bella. Who doesn’t want the attention of two perfect (minus the fangs and claws) guys fighting over and over for you? Word to the wise, this is high level reading with often mature content; recommended for strong leveled readers.

8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. Middle school students love this book. Its protagonist is a boy and his junior high issues-bullies, school and siblings. Not only does this relate to the awkward life and times of a preteen, it is also well written and fun. The series is written in diary form, has easy to understand kid font (a creative move by the editors and writer) which hooks the reader and even comes with cartoon sketches on every other page of the character and the storyline. Not only is this book suitable for kids it is also a teacher and parent’s bestfriend.

7. Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan. This book is also terrific for the junior high scene. It is a great fantasy fiction series. It is about a boy who realizes his dad is Poseidon, and some of his teachers and relatives are Greek gods up in Mount Olympus (which conveniently moves from Greece to the top of the Empire State Building). The series is creative, fast paced, and full of action and suspense. The author has a knack for taking those classic myths and spinning modern twists for this generation’s young reader. This series also grabs my attention due my love for Greek Classics. Adults and kids can truly enjoy this one.

6. R.L. Stine’s Goosebumps and Fear Street. These novels surprisingly never get old. Back in the ancient times during my experience as a middle schooler, these books were the best thing since sliced bread. Each book has a different character with a knack for finding trouble with monsters, ghosts, and other weird creatures meant to give you, well, goosebumps. The appeal is the first person narration and the character’s vivid explanations of their tale, as well as the ability to try to scare the reader a bit. R.L. Stine is the master of all things scary. He will still have kids in the year 3000 picking up his books due to their timelessness since every kid enjoys a good scare. Another good trait is that these are easy reads.

Fear Street is another Stine creation. These novels tend to be for a high leveled reader. Written in the same style as its little sister series “Goosebumps,” these books are about murderers, kidnappers, and other frightening mysteries. No monsters or ghosts here. These can be put in the mystery/realistic fiction section of the library, as opposed to the “Goosebumps,” which can be found in the fantasy section.

5. The Baby-Sitter’s Little Sister (Karen Series) by Ann M. Martin. These books are a rarity and can only be purchased as used copies. Occasionally you can find these types on novels in the hands of the lower leveled sixth graders in my class who have older sisters and have passed them on. Although the main character is in 2nd grade, kids are able to connect to her nonetheless as she deals with her parents divorce, pets, best friends (one by each of her parents’ seprate homes), being a uber smart student which gets into trouble from time to time, and a whole lot more. While these tend to be in elementary schools, they are quick reads and help students fill up their mandated reading logs quickly.

4. The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann M. Martin. This is what put Martin on the map as one of Scholastic’s powerhouse writers. Again, a rarity, but a well worth find. Over a hundred titles, and even subseries such as SuperSpecials, Mysteries and each member of the BSC’s autobiography, this was the series of my generation. Students today will continue to love these girls and their baby-sitting adventures because they are relevant to today’s kids as well. A book like this can be read constantly. Until you pick up these books and read for yourself you would know why they are a fun read.

3. Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene- Everyone’s favorite classic all girl detective. The original set is a bit outdated, but the publishers are keeping it fresh by revamping Ms. Drew’s series with current storylines for today’s kids., as well as a series of books about her elementary school mysteries (like stolen erasers-off course very, scandalous) for the younger readers. She is a great fictional hero for young girls. With all the recycling of this character and her adventures, she will never go out of style.

2.Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins- Wow. This science fiction trilogy will hook middle schoolers, high schoolers, and even adults. The story takes place in the future, and is a major page-turner due to Collin’s creative cliff hanging writing style. It has action, adventure, and even politics. The protagonist is relatable, but also a rare find due to that fact that she is a female hero in a male dominated genre. In a few words, Katniss, our hero is thrown into an arena with other teens and must kill or be killed solely as entertainment for the government, and the horror of her family as they watch. Readers will not put this one down.

1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling- Rowling is the mother of all fantasy fiction. These books are well written, full of suspense; including a likeable cast of characters, and a world far beyond anyone’s imagination. Only a genius is capable of such a series, especially one that will make any kid (or adult) read. Yes, they are hundreds of pages apiece, but unbelievably, they are such fast reads due to Rowling’s knack for keeping a reader interested. The movies do not do justice. Until you pick one up, don’t judge.

About Maria Sica 52 Articles
Maria Sica teaches Middle School English, tutors college students, and has recently completed her Master’s Degree in English Education at Brooklyn College. She loves keeping busy, yet does not mind the occasional moments when she can catch up with a good book wrapped in a fleece blanket, and drinking a cup of tea (which may sound boring to her friends and boyfriend, but she doesn’t care). She has always loved to read and write at an early age. She will be the first to admit that she is a nerd-and loves anything sci-fi such as the X-files. She is also a fan of Harry Potter and Spongebob Squarepants, and counts them as her favorite Heros next to Wonder Woman and Marty McFly. However, unlike most nerds, she can’t do math if her life, or yours, depended on it.

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