My Tween Reading List

My niece Jessica is turning 11 later this week. It's hard to believe how grown up she is becoming. She definitely has the hormones starting to rage and is already becoming quite a handful for her mother. I was shopping this weekend for her present, which got me thinking about what I liked as a tween back in the day. In addition to an outfit which I got her from Aeropostale, her favorite brand, I wanted to get her some books from my own tween reading list.

Jess and I are pretty different. I have a lot more in common with her sister Kate in terms of personality. I was a huge reader and read literally everything I could get my hands on. Along with all the books that were giving to me including of course Anne of Green Gables, I would sneak my Mom's Harlequin romances and even my Dad's Zane Gray novels. My favorites were actually the old hard bound historical romances I found in my Nana's attic. Most of these were printed in the early 20th century and were set in Victorian times, most often in some English castle.

This is not the reading list that I would encourage for most 11 year old and certainly not Jessica. I ended up buying her a box set of Judy Blume classics. Are You There God, It's Me Margaret should be required reading for all pre-teen girls. I also got her The Diary of Anne Frank since it was on my mind. We are going to see the play in a few weeks at the Rep. I am now wishing that I had remembered the book at the top of the page, To Be A Slave. I can remember the first time I read this series of letters and stories from actual slaves. I still have my very well worn copy that I bought from Scholastic Books many moons ago. It was without a doubt the most moving and personally impacting books I've ever read. It will definitely be on the list for the next holiday.

How many of you remember the Sunfire Romance series that was published in the 1980's? Each of the books were named after a girl and were set in some historical time period. She was always pursued by two different perfect guys. She was always head strong and ended up with the one that helped her to find her own way in the world. I read most of these books multiple times and as sad as it is to say much of my history context comes from these books. I remember the California gold rush from the perspective of Caroline who disguised herself as a boy to travel to meet her brothers. I have trouble remembering the details of books I read last year but I can remember the images from these books that I read over 20 years ago. They are unfortunately out of print which I think is a crying shame. Thankfully we kept our set of them and I think Angie is in current possession of them. Jess will be ready for them in a few years. Even my little sister who was more of a tomboy and jock like Jess enjoyed reading these books.

What was on your tween reading list? Do you have any recommendations for the next time I'm book shopping for the girls.


Got It From My Mama said...

I have 4 daughters who all read Judy Blume. My youngest daughter is just 19 and she loved Jacqueline Wilson she has all of her books. I love reading as do all the girls there tastes are all so different.

Lin said...

I loved Judy Blume and Nancy Drew, but there are so many more authors out there now. I'm out of touch with the tween set, but I bet if you ask at Borders, they can point you to the favs these days. Em was 13 when she read Twilight, but I think that may be too old for her.

randomcreative said...

I love the Judy Blume books, too. My newest favorite young adult book is Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett.

Quirks said...

When I was a bit older then that I loved Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging along with the other books in that series. Very funny. I also read a lot of Babysitter's Club books


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