As in years past, I want to help you give books to the children in your life. Hook ’em young, and keep ’em hooked on reading. This year my recommendations are not as organized as some years. My medical saga gave me quite a bit of brain fog, but I have a few scraps of paper collected through the year and I’ll share them here.
For the TWEENS in your life:
You can’t go wrong with a book by Chris Grabenstein. He taps into silliness like no one else, but also goes deeper. He understands the emotional life of tweens. Even reluctant readers will connect with his books, including the terrific Mr. Lemoncello’s Library series.
Both my kiddos (the tween and the teen) enjoyed the graphic novel Real Friends by Shannon Hale. Don’t let the cover fool you – this is a book for boys and girls.
My teen is cranky – the authors she loves are not producing books as fast as she can read them. I think she has already marked the 2018 release of the next book in the Talon series on her calendar. Julie Kagawa is a masterful storyteller. Legion, book 4 in the saga, came out this year. Fortunately, Julie Kagawa has a number of other books to keep her busy.
She’s also read a lot of Michael Crichton and Douglas Adams this year. Unless there is a hidden manuscript somewhere that will magically appear this month, I have no new recommendations from them.
Do you have any recommendations for me? I need an excuse to run to the local bookshop.
I’ve invited a special guest to share some of her favorite books for Middle School and Teen readers. Four of the Five are series specially selected by one of the loveliest young ladies I know. Without further ado, my twelve-year-old daughter is here to share her recommended reads for Middle Schoolers. As with last week’s bonus post, “Great Books for Elementary Schoolers,” I’m including buy links to Amazon and Barnes&Noble for your gift-giving convenience, but don’t overlook other sources too. I make no money on any of these sales. My daughter and I want to help you find great reads for tweens and teens in your life.
- The Unwanteds by Lisa Mcmann, fantasy series- This is a great series for anyone creative or magic-loving. It is a struggle as two brothers face the real world and its challenges. Amazon and Barnes&Noble
- Warriors series by Erin Hunter- This series tells the story of house cats struggling to survive in the wild from their point of view. Leaves the reader thinking, “is that what my cat does?” Amazon and Barnes&Noble
- Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull- What would it be like to live in a world of dragons, danger, and magic? Read to find out. Amazon and Barnes&Noble
- Wings of fire series by Tui T. Sutherland- A war has been raging in a land for many years. This is the story of five dragonlets and how their actions affect their world. Available at Amazon and Barnes&Noble Box sets are great for voracious readers.
- The Candymakers – from Wendy Mass- the story of four young kids in a candy factory trying to make the best new candy of the year. Each have their own secrets and story to share. There are five parts. Amazon and Barnes&Noble
There are multiple other books that did not make it onto this list. My daughter hopes that if one liked these recommendations, you’ll might explore other books and series by the author. Erin Hunter and Brandon Mull have multiple series she recommends. Erin Hunter also writes the Seekers and Survivors series. Brandon Mull also writes The Five Kingdoms, Beyonders, and The Candy Shop War Series. Sequel series to Fablehaven and The Unwanteds are coming out soon.
Quick – now that she’s out of the room, if you have any recommendations, please list them in the comments. I can hardly keep up with all her reading and as a parent, that’s a wonderful problem to have.
Let’s be honest, I do way more than five things for my kids. Every parent does. But as this post goes to publication, I am chaperoning 250 sixth graders on a five day-four night field trip and doing so voluntarily. Or at least at the behest of my daughter. In tribute to this event, I came up with a list of five things I do for my kids that have changed my life for the better.
- I eat bananas. I refused to eat bananas as a kid. Their mushiness ruined fruit salads, peanut butter sandwiches and any other way my poor mother tried to serve them. I didn’t eat them as an adult until I noticed my daughter stopped eating them. I had to eat them if I wanted her to eat them. This case of “Monkey See, Monkey Do” worked so well, we both eat bananas and I’ve learned to tolerate their taste.
- I wear a bike helmet. If I want the kids to wear helmets, I have to wear one too.
- I coached soccer. I never played soccer. I know next to nothing about soccer, but I couldn’t bear to tell my son that once again, his team would disband because no one stepped up to coach.
- I gave up peanut butter. When she was 18 months old, my daughter tested positive for peanut and tree nut allergies. Theoretically, I could have peanut butter or peanuts in the house, but I love her more than I love peanuts and her life isn’t worth the risk. I miss the nutrition of nuts, but Trader Joe’s makes a good sunflower seed butter. And while we’re at it, Halloween is coming up for US blog followers. Check out the Teal Pumpkin project sponsored by FARE and make trick-or-treating safe and fun for all kids.
- Last, but not least, I volunteer my time whenever my kids ask me to be involved. Whether I’m reading to the class, planning a school picnic, or, as it is this week, standing on a platform 30 feet off the ground to help with a tree-top ropes course, my kids know I am there for them.
You can get Valentine’s tips anywhere, so rather than celebrating romance with my First Friday Five, I’m sharing
Five flaws an editor would point out you wrote a tween girl as they actually are.
- “This character is inconsistent. One minute she’s likable, the next she’s bat-shit crazy.”
- “Your character needs a clear goal, not the vague desire the world is against her.”
- “She lacks proper motivation.”
- “The conflict is too scatter-shot. Focus. Giving a more concrete goal and motivation will help.”
- “I found three variations on “eyeroll” and counted 812 incidents in the manuscript. Avoid repetition.”
Let your inner editor free in the comment section. I’d love to know what you think.