I don’t know about you but I have the hardest time trying to find books that my 10-year-old son will enjoy reading that don’t have inappropriate content meant for teens and young adult readers. I mean, I’m not against all violence in kids’ books, but I think there is a limit – and my 10-year-old has zero interest in kissing, making out, or sex so the books that have that in almost every chapter are going to be met with a resounding “ew gross” from him, which is fine by me. I’ve asked around and found some of the best books for tween (ages 10-12) boys – presented in no particular order. I’m going to focus on series in this post and standalone books in another. Series are great because if a kid likes one, there are more books that are similar so you don’t have to go through the exercise of finding a new book to read every time.
The Land of Stories Series
The Land of Stories is a fantasy adventure series by American author Chris Colfer. The book follows twin brothers as they move between the real world and the world of fairy tales in a book called The Land of Stories. The brothers realize that the fairy tales they remember from when they were younger aren’t the end of the story at all. Think along the lines of the TV show Once Upon a Time but with less romance, and more tween friendly action scenarios.
Percy Jackson and the Olympians
If you have a kid who loves action, adventure, and a well-told story, he needs to check out Percy Jackson and the Olympians. It’s a series of five books (with five supplemental novels as well) and the first two books in the series have been released as movies. These books are based on stories the author, Rick Riordan made up for his Greek-Mythology obsessed son after he ran out of Greek Myths to tell him at bedtime. There’s action, adventure, and readers will learn things about Greek Mythology without even realizing the books are teaching it to them. Sneaky learning is always awesome in my opinion! You can get a great boxed set of the soft covers or just collect them one by one.
The Inheritance Cycle
This is a 4 book series that is good for kids from tween age right through to adults. The books are on the long side, which may dissuade some younger readers but the language is very approachable and the story is so well written that kids just become absorbed in the books. The first book, Eragon, is also a movie but unlike Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, the movie of Eragon does not do the book justice. The books centre on a boy, Eragon and his dragon Saphira (who he hatches himself). Fantasy, adventure, and drama abound in the books.
No discussion of tween literature would be complete without mentioning Harry Potter. In case you’ve been living under a rock since 1999 when the first book came out here in Canada, it’s kind of a big thing. The seven books in the series (plus a collection of extra books and 8 films) chronicle the life of a young wizard named Harry Potter, his friends Hermione and Ron, and the magical world they live in. At its heart, the series is a coming of age tale presented through the lens of the world of wizardry and magic.