recommendations for a 12 year old girl?
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Does anyone have any recommendations?
I have a friend who is a grandmother to a 12 year old girl. She wants to broaden her reading a bit because all she seems to read are the Jacqueline Wilson type books. (No offence intended I've never read them myself but her grandmother doesn't seem terribly impressed.) She asked me because she knows I read a lot, but books I read back when I was 12 (Judy Bloom, John Marsden, Gary Paulsen etc) probably aren't the best recommendations.
My friend was keen on getting her Anne of Green Gables or Little Women. Now I love those books myself (still read them now) but I was worried that they are old fashioned and might not be well received - yet. She wants her grand daughter to read books that have more substance not necessarily classics.
I always enjoyed Ann Rinaldi's books. They're usually centered around a girl (usually young teenager) living through a particular historical event or connected to a particular historical person. My favorite is Time Enough for Drums about the American Revolution.
And when I was about that age, I adored Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine and Beauty by Robin McKinley - both retold fairy tales.
Hope this helps :-)
Ohhh...there are SO many!! :) Although I'm not always the biggest fan of "substance" - I like fun books! :)
First off, I am a huge Anne of Green Gables fan, so I'd try it out. I do know some people who didn't enjoy them, but those who do love Anne (like me) love her forever.
Ella Enchanted is one of my all-time faves!!! If it's a bit too long (not sure what her reading level's like, but Ella's pretty long) Gail Caron Levine has some great re-told fairy tales in the Princess Tales series. The Princess Test for example, is based on The Princess and the Pea. I recommend these ones at my library all the time.
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo is a charming, lovely story of a mouse who falls in love with a human princess. It has a lot to say about love, loyalty, and courage. DiCamillo's Because of Winn-Dixie is also a wonderful story about a very special dog and his effect on a whole town, but especially one girl. DiCamillo won a Newbery Award for the mouse and was nominated for the dog, so she's an excellent choice.
There's a fun trilogy called the Lulu Baker Trilogy by Fiona Dunbar about a girl who finds a magic cookbook and uses it to try and stop her father from marrying a horrid ex-supermodel with a terrible son. I've only read the first one, The Truth Cookie, but really liked it. (May be too fluffy.)
My children's book club at the library just read and enjoyed The Steps by Rachel Cohn (as did I). (May be too fluffy.)
For less girlie stuff, the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan, about the modern-day half-blood children (particularly Percy, son of Poseidon) of classical gods and goddesses is insanely popular right now. I found the first one, The Lightning Thief, to be a great adventure and you also learn a lot about mythology.
For either funny books or adventure stories, you can't beat Gordon Korman - his comic novels like I Want to Go Home and the Bruno and Boots series are incredibly funny (and also my all-time faves from when I was a kid) and he has quite a few new adventure trilogies about kids meeting adversity while doing things like climbing Mt. Everest and scuba diving. He also has a new series called On the Run about a brother and sister on the run because their parents are wanted by the FBI and they're trying to clear their names. (May be too fluffy, but are still well-written and particularly good for reluctant readers.)
These are all definitely in the children's fiction vein. If she's a more mature 12 year-old, she might be ready for YA fiction BUT it can be pretty risky in the language/drugs/sex areas, probably not what grandma is looking for. But if you need more mature stuff, I should be able to think of some. It's hard, some 12-year olds are more like 15 year-olds these days and some are still like 9 year-olds.
Honestly I didn't start reading YA books until just a few years ago so I honestly can't tell you what a girl of that age might enjoy. But I'll tell you some of my favorite YA books right now
Anything by Tamora Pierce is very good since all of her books are based around little girls who survive and excel in tough circumstances. But if your friends Granddaughter isn't into fantasy, she might not like those.
And then there are the books by Francesca Lia Block, particularly the Witch Baby series. That series is set in relatively modern times... early 90's I believe, but they also hit on touchy topics in a kind of drive by shooting kind of way. These have a lot of substance even if it is offset by glitter and genies in bottles, but if your friend doesn't want her to read about certain things (homosexuality, drugs, sex, etc) these might not be good books either. Although... in my opinion these are good things to read about at a young age and I'm going to encourage my daughter to read them when she is a little bit older... but that again is a touchy topic.
Another good author is Garth Nix. Everything I've read by him has been outstanding.
My suggestion? Have her check out a list of Newbery Medal winners and honors. All of them are good for kids around her age, and they go back from the present to 1922.
She'll have 'substance', but not nessesarily 'classics'. Athough I am sure there will be a few of those, too.
Scott O'dell's Island of the Blue Dolphins is a great pick to start with.
I don't have any particular suggestions, but I want to say: Don't hesitate to introduce her to books that are old-fashioned. You'll set her up to enjoy classics, which is a good thing. When I was her age I loved thinking about living in a different time period - my dream was to be sent away to boarding school.
Hmm . . .
Bindi Babes (and the rest of the series) by Narinder Dhami -- fun reads, and just right for that age group.
The Boston Jane series by Jennifer L. Holm is a historical fiction series that I really enjoyed. In fact, anything by Holm is probably good.
Millicent Min, Girl Genius is another fun read for that age group, and it mentions several others (such as Holes by Louis Sachar), which might be of interest.
This year's Newbery honor books were all good; I'd particularly recommend Hattie Big Sky (another historical fiction) by Kirby Lawson and Rules (which has a more modern setting) by Cynthia Lord.
Also, if she hasn't read them yet, have her try Madeleine L'Engle's books. If she's not interested in the sci-fi/fantasy feel of A Wrinkle in Time, have her read Meet the Austins.
At that age, I was discovering fantasy, and loved Robin McKinley's books (particularly Beauty: a retelling of the story of Beauty and the Beast) and Patricia C. Wrede's Enchanted Forest Chronicles (beginning with Dealing with Dragons), as well as anything by Gail Carson Levine. If she's interested in fantasy at all, those are a good place to start.
And, while I can understand wanting to expose her to a broader range of books, the fact that she is reading is great -- it gives you a place to start. Encourage her to read other stuff, but let her still enjoy some fluff, even if it seems formulaic and "below her level" -- books like that reinforce the message that "reading is fun," and you don't want her to lose that.
(Edited to attempt to fix touchstones)
Little Women and anything else by Louisa May Alcott
Island of the Blue Dolphins and anything else by Scott O'Dell
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Secret Garden, also by FHB
Depending on her reading level, any of the above may be too advanced or too easy for a 12yo girl. I would also recommend other historical fiction in general, and if she likes mysteries and is a good reader, she could start reading Agatha Christie.
Just a note on Francesca Lia Block - though I like her work, I'd say they're too mature for a 12 year-old. They're fun and funky and have cute pink covers and are short, but the themes are pretty heavy. Sexual abuse is often a theme, for example. I'd save those til she's an older teen.
I second the Patricia C. Wrede suggestion. Dealing With Dragons was one of my favorite books in middle school. :)
For non fantasy, Janette Rallinson (All's Fair in Love, War and High School) and Jordan Sonnenblick (Drums Girls and Dangerous Pie) are great new YA authors.
I'd also recommend Blue Balliet (Chasing Vermeer and The Wright 3) - her books might be a little on the easy side for a 12 year old but still very enjoyable!
*edited to add ALSO - just about anything by Avi!!! He writes everything from fantasy, to historical fiction to general YA fiction and I have yet to read something of his that was not excellent!
Thank you everyone for your suggestions! I'm going to write out a list of them and see what I can find in the bookshops. 12 is a hard age to guess their reading skills. I'm currently reading Stardust by Neal Gaiman which is delightful but has some swear words in it. I'll tell my friend to give anne of green gables a go as well as a more modern book and see how it goes.
I have a friend who is a grandmother to a 12 year old girl. She wants to broaden her reading a bit because all she seems to read are the Jacqueline Wilson type books.
The instant I saw this thread title I clicked on it, thinking "I really must recommend Jacqueline Wilson, she's such a good writer." Oh well.
I believe Jaqueline Wilson's favourite book when she was 12 was Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield. Is that old-fashioned enough for your friend?
If she's into sports, she might like Pretty Tough by Liz Tigelaar. This is the first novel in a series about a group of SoCal girls as comfortable in a ponytail and running shoes as glitter and high heels. Liz has done a remarkable job capturing the dynamics of female friendship as well as the pressures on and off the playing field. The characters are real, the stakes are high and it's a truly engaging read (even for adults).
My 12 year old daughter highly recommends Princess Academy by Shannon Hale.
How about the SEPTIMUS HEAP series and the ARTEMIS FOWL series? Assuming she's interested in fantasy.
And also, take a look at the "urban fantasy" genre. Especially Charles De Lint's The Blue Girl. I also really like Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely except it might be a little too mature for a twelve-year-old.
There's also Libba Bray's GEMMA DOYLE trilogy, but again this might be a little too mature for her just yet.
Ok, well I agree with many of the above recommendations. tinylittlelibrarian had some of the same suggestions as I do. As for Anne of Green Gables, I have a girl in my class reading that right now (5th grade) and so some are still reading them. Also some of the other popular books with the girls are The Princess Academy, a new series called The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley, Inkspell and other books by Cornelia Funke, there is a series by Patrick Carman called The land of Elyon which have a fun girl main character. The sisterhood of the traveling pants is a great series as well but I think would be better in a year or two. Any of the newberry books would be good. One of my favorites i've read recently is called The Penderwicks.
Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt, one of those lesser-known Newbery winners. I first read it around age 10, and I still think it's completely wonderful. (I actually filled in most of the characters in Common Knowledge, paging through the book to verify names and spelling.) One of the few books of which I own two copies. It's slightly dated - and was when I read it some 25 years ago - but emotionally, it rings true.
Anything Tamora Pierce although I tend to like her Tortall World stories better. I would start her with Alanna: The First Adventure or Wild Magic. Carson Gail Levine, Meredith Ann Pierce's Birth of the Firebringer (unicorns), Dragonsong by Anne McCaffery (dragons), Shirley Murphy (dragons).
Cameron Dokey re-tells a lot of fairytales and they are pretty good quick-reads. Spindle's End by Robin McKinley, again Levine.
Sugar Sugar Rune, Ultra Cute stuff like that. Be sure to check what audience it is intended for. A lot of manga will tell you on the back. If it says OT that usually means 'older teen' ages 16 plus and is probably a bit mature for a 12 year old.
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Suggestion-The Chronicles of the Virago: Book 1 The Novus
Michael, K. Bialys
Makenna Grace Gold is just your average twelve-year-old girl, who just happens to have been recruited by three faeries to protect the future of the world. Makenna must now battle the forces of Evil who seek to destroy her baby twin brother and sister. The twins are a gift from above who will eventually lead our world into its next evolutionary age of hope and enlightenment. Evil will stop at nothing to destroy the babies. Makenna, along with three faeries and a wisecracking earthworm named Fluffy, are the only things that stand between the Earth's future or its utter destruction. Can Makenna, who admittedly is not even that good in gym class, follow in the footsteps of her predecessors, King Arthur and David of the Hebrews? Can a twelve-year-old girl who's never had a fight in her life succeed as the Defender of Defenders, the Protector of Protectors, “The Virago”?
I've greatly enjoyed Patrick Carman's Land of Elyon series. Strong female heroine in the same age range as your friend's granddaughter. Start with The Dark Hills Divide.
The Story Girl by LM Montgomery was one of my favorites at her age -- a little less old-fashioned than Anne of Green Gables, but still a magnificent story.
these are mostly realistic fiction:
Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
The Cat Ate my Gymsuit by Paula Danziger
There's a Bat in Bunk Five by Paula Danziger - sequal to Cat/Gymsuit
Pistachio Prescription by Paula Danziger
Can You Sue Your Parents for Malpractice? by Paula Danziger
No More Dead Dogs by Gordon Korman
The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis
If she's seen these movies, the books are really good -
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Tamora Pierce definatly. Depending on if shes more or less into fantasy, more, alanna the first adventure to start, less, wild magic, which is more about animals, and less about magic. but they aren't all about fantasy, they are about strong girls learning to stand up for themselves and follow their dreams. I read speak when I was about 12, and I loved it, however, I was fairly mature for my age, and I would be careful with that one for a little while, as it deals with rape.
I think wicked lovely would probably be good, but just have her grandmother look at it, she knows her better than us lol. the blue girl is good. I realise I'm not saying much new, but I can't think of many things that others haven't already said. noel streatfeild, author of ballet shoes has several other similar books that might be good, white boots, dancing shoes, theatre shoes, all about young girls who somehow get introduced to ice skating or ballet or acting, and their expierince with it.
I second a lot of the books mentioned, but also
Where the Red Fern Grows - though just a little sad at the end, but I think she should be old enough to handle it.
The Little House in the Big Woods - classic!
The Giver - the concepts and themes might be a little advanced, but should make her think. And hopefully someday she'll reread it and understand them better. (I wrote papers on this book in college, but I loved it when I was 12 too.)
Into the Land of the Unicorns - always been one of my favorites. A seemingly ordinary girl finds herself in a land populated by unicorns (every little girl's dream).
Light Weaver - the beginning of an amazing series, and marketed at a Christian series, if the Grandmother in question would like to promote religious themes as well.
The Thoroughbred series by Joanna Campbell - a long series about girls who raise and ride race horses (another little girl's dream come true). The first one A Horse Called Wonder is an amazing story of determination and triump. However, many of these books might be out of print, but not hard to find used.
Animorph books - a group of teenagers are giving special powers to become any animal they choose and they use them to fight the aliens that are very subtley trying to conquer Earth. Same as above, these might be out of print, but still easy enough to find.
The Chronicles of Narnia also with religious themes but subtle. It was years and many repeated readings before I even noticed the analogies, and I still just read these books as good fantasy novels.
These are all books that I loved at that age that were not mentioned above. Also I've noticed that girls are more willing to read books with male protagonists than boys seem to be to read about girls. This isn't always the case, but oftentimes it's true.
I think it's important that she finds things that challenge her (but is also allowed to read her "fluff"). But that she's also introduced to many genres because there is no telling what will truly grab her attention and keep her an avid reader forever.
I also suggest Ann Rinaldi and Garth Nix (stupid touchstone).
The Giver is a must read and around twelve was when I first really understood it.
At twelve my favorite books were His Dark Materials by Philip Pulman. They have interesting themes, and the writing is geared towards young teens.
For scifi Ender's Game and Nancy Farmer are both great introductions.
For Fantasy I would say Artemis Fowl, Fablehaven, the amulet of Samarkand, Sisters Grimm and Into the Land of Unicorns. There is also Maximum Ride witch is si-fi.
Also Science Fair and Carpe Diem. Science Fair is a bit of a si-fi and really funny! Carpe Diem is about a sixteen year old girl who has her life planned out when she has to go on a unplanned trip to Southeast Aisa.
Charlotte Sometimes by Penelope Farm is an older (but still in print) book that I just finished. The current editions, however, delete a concluding wrap-up segment. If you can, get an edition published prior to 1985. I found one such on AbeBooks.
In my family I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith is the traditional twelfth birthday present for girls (it was my mother's favorite book - she can still recite the first page by heart).
Depending on the girl's reading level - other family favorites:
Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink
Diddakoi by Rumer Godden
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
If the girl likes horses/animals - Marguerite Henry's
Brighty of the Grand Canyon
Misty of Chincoteaque
(and I would second the Madeleine L'Engle and L.M. Montgomery suggestions already made - as well as Ender's Game and Where the Red Fern Grows.)
Oh there's so much out there. I'd be less concerned about reading level than about her interests. Trust me, if she can find a book that captures her imagination, it won't matter if its a little above her reading level. Plus the only way she'll improve is to try something harder. But suggestions:
Young adult fantasy: Vampire Academy novels by Richelle Mead, anything by Allison Baird (a combination of myth and magic), O.R. Melling The Faerie Chronicles, Of Two Minds by Carol Matas (a favorite of my younger sister), anything by Tamora Pierce (I still love these, and they are an easy read), Zel by Donna Jo Napoli
YA fiction: anything by Kit Pearson, The Girl Who Owned a City by O.T. Nelson (one of my favorites, and very intriguing, also a book of "substance"), Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer (about a girl disguised as a boy who joins the British Navy in the 1800's), anything by Julie Anne Peters (she writes about current issues facing teens such as gender, sexuality, family, but my favorite is Define "Normal"), Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn
There's so many to choose from.
The Perilous Gard is an oldie but a goodie and one I still love to read annually, even as an adult. The heroine is strong and smart, the story creative and the historical setting accurate and the romance truly heart piercing. And completed rated PG-13 for the old-fashioned.
Has anyone else read it? Have fond memories?
Although I'm prejudiced - since I'm the author - your friend may want to review my novel, "Christmasville". It's the story of Mary Jane Higgins, who suspects than there is more to the town of Christmasville than what meets the eye. What the reader discovers at the conclusion of chapter one is that Christmasville is actually situated on a 4 x 8 model train platform. It is what's generally regarded as a "surprise" ending so ...
Readers comments can be viewed on Amazon or B&N.
I've also recently developed a "Group Reading Guide" for book clubs. I intend to include it in the next edition, but will forward it via e-mail to interested parties.
Note: Although the novel was written for a readership of 14 years through adult (because of the concepts dealing with memory), I had two ten-year-olds and a twelve-year old read it without problems (they're good readers though, however).
Tamora Pierce is great. I'd suggest starting her off on Sandry's Book even though Peirce wrote several books before this one. The author is really good at developing strong female characters who are willing to stand up for themselves and what they believe in, and her stories are absolutely wonderful. I'm 20 and I still go back and reread her books; they're that good. (I started reading them when I was about 12 or 13.)
Also, A Ring of Endless Light is a good book for that age. Plus it'll get her thinking about different issues (that are handled lightly enough to prevent intimidation).
to a twelve year old the classics are boring try getting her to read a funny ya book like the gallhager girls series by ally carter or the clique series by lisi harrison or even the mates and dates series by cathy hopkins there all good books for someone that age and there funny... all those series together is 31 books
-'the penderwicks' is an awesome book
-'schooled' also wicked
-'cornelia and the audacious escapades of the somerset sisters'
My fav book of all time (next to the penderwicks)
Hope i helped!
I can't believe anyone has read those!!!! I love her books, but most of my juvvie friends think they are too old to be any good.
I think that William O'Steele's books are excellent, but I can't find them anymore :(
How about this?
The Green Bronze Mirror By Lynne Ellison
Karen is playing on the beach when she finds an ancient mirror buried in the sand. She looks into it, and is transported back in time to the Roman empire. Finding herself a slave, she faces many hair-raising adventures in her struggle to return to her own time.
I suggest the series of Left Behind by Tim F. Lahaye & Jerry B. Jenkins.
Being a 12 year old myself I think she will enjoy this.
Also The Mandie Series.
Oh wow, there are a ton!
13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
Click Here and Access Denied by Denise Vega
*A Kiss in Time and Beastly by Alex Flinn
*The Samantha McGregor series by Melody Carlson
*The BLack SHeep by Yvonne Collins
THe Gallagher Girl series by Ally Carter
If I have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's my Prince? by Melissa Kantor
*Just Ella and Palace of Mirrors by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Love at first CLick by Elizabeth Chandler
*THe Love Letters series by Jahnna N. Malcolm
*North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
*THe Summer Confidential series by Melissa J. MOrgan
*Peeled by Joan Bauer
*Unwind by Neal Shusterman
*All Stephie Davis books
*THe Uglies series by Scott Westerfield
*The Season by Sarah MacLean
THe Secrets of My Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita
Check out my library for more books.
The American Girl series is great. It teaches history, and studies have shown that it can raise self-confidence in preteen girls today.
I chime in to add my encouragement for the Patricia C. Wrede and Tamora Pierce and the Newbery awards.
The kids and I all enjoyed the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan and the entire family (including dh who didn't want to!) enjoyed The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan. We listened to it the first of this month while driving to my brother-in-laws and dh was LOL at some parts. It's the first of Riordan's new series.
I also loved Madeleine l'Engle when I was 12. I'm trying to remember if there were any mystery books I loved between Nancy Drew and grown-up works, and I can't think of one.
And I agree with the others to at least offer up Louisa May Alcott and Lucy Maude Montgomery. If she likes them now, she'll have favorites for life, I think.
Oh, and I also liked James Herriott at that age. (I think. It's been so long . . . )
I loved Anne of Green Gables and L.M. Montgomery's other books when I was 12 (big fan of the Emily of New Moon trilogy). That was 20 years ago, but they're called classics for a reason, right? :)
For more contemporary fare, Rogelia's House of Magic by Jamie Martinez Wood is a sweet and fun book with a nice portrayal of teen girl friendships. The Misfits by James Howe is another good one, about a group of quirky kids who fight to have a third party in their junior high elections. Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simner is a really interesting take on the post-apocalyptic story, with a very strong female protagonist. Some bits of it are a little dark, but I think a 12 yo could probably handle it. The Spell Book of Listen Taylor by Jaclyn Moriarty is fun and optimistic--I *think* it's pretty PG-13, but it's been a couple of years since I read it.
I adore both Francesca Lia Block and Melissa Marr, but I agree they're probably a little mature for this age.
If she likes mysteries I would advise the "Enola Holmes Mysteries," which features the much younger sister of Sherlock Holmes, Enola. She is refreshingly clever without seeming like a thirty-year-old, and her commentary is engaging.
I would also advise anything by Gale Carson Levine such as "Ella Enchanted," "The Two Princesses of Bamarre," "Fairest" and all of her Princess Tales. Truly magical.
My 12 year old daughter just finished a Kindle book about a girl who has a knack for training dogs and wants one, but her mom is afraid of dogs at http://www.amazon.com/Lala-Mankowicz-Spider-Reluctantly-ebook/dp/B008HCM844. I read it also. It's humorous and you don't have to worry about edginess. It's got some suspense because you wonder how the girl will convince her mom to change her mind.
Anne of Green Gables is still a great book to read! Meg Cabot is a fun current author
coming from a 12 year old girl (im on my moms account) i like elle enchanted twillite the hunger games anything by sona sones elsewhere and a lot of others
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I'd like to invite everyone to check out my first YA Paranormal/Time Travel/First Kiss romance novel entitled "I Kissed a Ghost" Here is the link to the KINDLE edition once there you'll find the link for the paperback version.
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