Culture Street

Children's Books

Books for tween readers

On July 15, 2012

Tania McCartney, the agony aunt of children's literature, offers words of wisdom. She will be posting every fortnight. Send an email with your questions to Tania at info@newfrontier.com.au  

Dear Tania,

Decent clothing for teen girls is not the only major issue I’m facing as a parent. Where are appropriate books for tween readers that don’t feature sex, drugs, angst or vampires?

Sherie

I hear you, Sherie; I’m facing exactly the same thing right now. I’m ever on the hunt for the perfect read for my tween girl, especially as she is a ravenous reader and devours books at an alarming rate.

I think the first thing you need to ask yourself is “what is she into?” My daughter loves dragons and horses. She’s recently enjoyed Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance series and has just started Dragon Hunter by Nazam Anhar. She also immensely enjoyed Carole Wilkinson’s Dragonkeeper series. Standalone novels on horses are fabulous reads – I recommend Alison Loyd’s Battle of the Jade Horse.

If your daughter is showing interest in relationships (as many 12-year-olds are) and is a sophisticated reader, try Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, which covers a love relationship in a very innocent and fascinating way.

Look for books that feature friendships – The Friendship Matchmaker by Randa Adel Fattah is a good option. Hardie Grant Egmont’s new Girl V The World series covers relationship issues (including romance) but are done in a very tasteful way.

Another option is to look to historical fiction. Try Belinda Murrell’s work – The Forgotten Pearl is her latest, and also consider Scholastic’s My Story and My True Story series of truly memorable historical fiction.

Jackie French and Ursula Dubosarsky both write beautiful, age-appropriate works for girls of this age, across varying genre. If she’s a tomboy, Sandy Fussell’s Samurai Kids books are extraordinary. If she’s into fairytales and old-fashioned storytelling, try Chris Colfer’s (the actor from Glee) new book The Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell.

Overall, try to look for books that feature characters aged 2 to 3 years older than your daughter, and skim the text first to look for anything inappropriate. When she does graduate to Young Adult books (from age 16 up), the same rules apply.

Tania McCartney is an author of both adult and children’s books. She is the founder of Kids Book Review and is an ambassador for the National Year of Reading 2012. Her latest titles include Riley and the Grumpy Wombat and Beijing Tai Tai. Her first book with New Frontier will be out in 2013. You can follow Tania on Twitter.

Do you have a question for Tania? She will answer questions fortnightly on anything to do with children’s literature, from creating it to finding the perfect reads for your kids. Send your questions to info@newfrontier.com.au.

 

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