A Summer Reading List for My Kids

by Jeff Abbott on May 12, 2011

My 9 and 12-year-old sons are pretty good readers. I do let them pick what they’d like to read (Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series and Suzanne Collins’s Gregor books are favorites), but I also sometimes introduce books to them that they might not immediately pick up. Example: one of my favorites, A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L’Engle. My oldest balked at it after reading the first chapter, but I encouraged him to stay with it, and now it is one of his favorites.

I’m putting together a summer reading list for my sons–books that I want to encourage them to try. What are some of your favorites for the 9-12 range?

    { 16 comments… read them below or add one }

    Jen Forbus May 12, 2011 at 10:41 am


    I don’t have a lot of experience with recent YA, but I do really like Chris Grabenstein’s Zak and Judy series which is geared at “middle grades.”

    From my own reading experiences at their age, I would recommend THE WESTING GAME, JOHNNY TREMAIN, and maybe THE PUSHCART WAR?

    Shannon Schuren May 12, 2011 at 10:53 am

    HOLES by Louis Sachar is one of my all-time favorites. My kids and I also enjoy the Secret Series, by Pseudonymous Bosch – The Name of This Book is Secret, If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late, This Book is No Good for You (my personal favorite – it has monkeys!) and This Isn’t What it Looks Like.

    Sally Gouveia May 12, 2011 at 10:56 am

    The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier – It’s a story about how the Balicki family are torn apart by the Germans from their home in Warsaw, Poland, in 1940, and how they succeed in reuniting themselves in Switzerland at the end of the war. It is told from the children’s veiw point. I loved it and can remember reading it several times.
    Other books i loved were the Enid Blyton Adventure series, maybe a bit dated now though! the C.S.Lewis books were great, again read them all several times much much better than the recent film adaptations.
    Well that’s just a few, I was and still am (when i get the time) an avid reader! if i was to pick just one it would be The Silver Sword.
    Cheers and hope they enjoy their summer reading.


    Lyn T May 12, 2011 at 10:58 am

    My grandfather died when I was eight.

    The next summer, I found a box of his books in my grandmother’s attic and spent the whole summer reading them. Jules Verne, Ed Burroughs, H G Wells, Zane Grey, etc. my particular favorites were Tarzan, Wildfire (Zane Grey), Food of the Gods, 10,000 leagues under the sea.

    I also like Narnia collection, Lord of the Rings, Pollyanna, Little House on the Prairie, Caddie Woodlawn (I know, those are girl’s books, but if I can read ‘boy books’ it probably won’t cross their eyes to read some girl books), Star Wars (the novels! lots of fun!).

    For the older one, Hunger Games (which is seriously excellent, and a bit scary!)

    Jean May 12, 2011 at 10:59 am

    My kids love the Warrior series by Erin Hunter…it’s about “clans” of feral cats…written from the pov of the cats. I even like them.

    And my son enjoyed reading the Halo books that sorta go along with the game.

    Ohhh…you might want to try them on Terry Brooks. I haven’t read any of his newer work but his older ones, I loved.

    jason downing May 12, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Hi Jeff,
    When I was 9 or 10 I read a book called “run for your life” by David Line.
    It is brilliant. About 2 kids who have to go on the run after witnessing a murder and no one believes them. Hmm…..perhaps you read it lol, its a real pageturner, well it was when I was akid. I even bought it for my son. He never read it though, damn xbox lol. Seriously worth a look.
    Cheers mate, keep up the good work…..

    Jason Downing

    Michelle May 12, 2011 at 11:41 am

    +1 on The Westing Game – I re-read it recently and it’s still fantastic. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler (about two kids who run away and live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art) is also great. And it was around that age my dad read me & my brother To Kill a Mockingbird. He also read us a *lot* of poetry and took us to a lot of Shakespeare; there was some moaning and groaning at the time (especially at the poetry, which he’d spontaneously read aloud to us and all our friends who happened to be visiting, making us stop whatever we were doing to listen) – but hearing it aloud and reading it at that age made it seem “easy” when we got to it in school. And of course now I love it.

    Have a fun summer!

    djpaterson May 12, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    My eight-but-soon-to-be-nine-year-old loves the Mr. Gum books by Andy Stanton. Very Roald Dahl’ish, and very funny. You’re a Bad Man, Mr. Gum is the first, I think.

    My twelve-year-old loves everything by Charlie Higson. He’s just finished the second one in The Dead series (gory). CH’s Young Bond series are excellent – I’ve read them myself, too.

    class factotum May 12, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    The Count of Monte Cristo might be a little advanced for them, but maybe not. It’s an adventure that you just can’t put down.

    I liked the Ramona series and the teen sleuths – Nancy Drew, Trixie Belden, the Bobbsey Twins – but those might be more girly. Little House on the Prairie – but again, maybe girl stuff.

    Are they old enough for Lonesome Dove? One of the best books ever.

    Scott D. Parker May 12, 2011 at 10:36 pm

    One of my favorite series back when I was that age was the Three Investigators. Now, since I still own my old copies, I’m introducing them to my boy.

    Jeff Abbott May 13, 2011 at 9:46 am

    Jupiter Jones! I wonder if those Three Investigators books are still in print.

    Jeff Abbott May 13, 2011 at 9:47 am

    The Count of Monte Cristo is a definite possibility. . . .but no, they are not old enough for Lonesome Dove. Prostitution, executions, rape, massacres, suicides. . .not yet.

    Jeff Abbott May 13, 2011 at 9:47 am

    Oldest just finished Charlie Higson’s The Enemy and loved it. Will point him toward Young Bond, thanks.

    Jeff Abbott May 13, 2011 at 9:48 am

    Oldest is a huge Warriors fan — and Erin Hunter is very prolific.

    Jamie thompson May 14, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Hunger Games would be better when they’re 14. A little too much @ 12. Hunter just finished “House of the Scorpion” (one of the mandatory books for Summer reading @ Kealing). Lots of awards. Not as good as I expected for receiving so many awards, but it did follow the “hero” cycle, if you want to introduce that concept.

    He also read “tomorrow code” by Brian Falkner, which declared “excellent!”. He also enjoyed many of the Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy books, and devoured Sherlock Holmes (surprise!).

    Nicole June 3, 2011 at 5:02 pm

    From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler- Easily the best.

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