Summertime is our time to hang out with friends, those who can hang with us poolside or between the pages of our favorite books. We love to recommend books to our good buddies, so we have created lots of book lists.
And we have five more to recommend that are perfect for the tween set also known as the 8-12 crowd.
Animal-lovers will flock to this book! Zelly is moving to Vermont and she desperately wants a dog. Her grandpa Ace comes up with a crazy scheme to convince her parents that she is ready for one: he makes her a dog out of an old orange juice jug. There is a lot to love about this book. The sweet but complicated relationship Zelly has with her grandpop Ace, her new friend who encourages her to stay true to her convictions even in the face of social pressures, and the subtle themes of responsibility and treating all people (even bullies) with respect woven throughout. The author even inserts some great education about the Jewish faith into the story as Zelly meets two families who are devout Jews in a town that where they are a distinct and noticeable minority. Kids will love the Yiddish glossary at the end!
So you had to know this book was special once you figured out that this sequel won the Newbery Honor Award, but it’s also pretty apparent from the moment you open the spine (without breaking it, of course) and settle into the pages. Thirteen year old Dicey and her three siblings were abandoned by her mother in a parking lot and she has heralded them safely to her grandmother’s house where this story begins. The truth and beauty of Dicey’s voice and story, the pace and strong characters, and ultimately the honesty that permeates from this fast-paced read are all part of its charm. Oh, and it was one of Erin’s favorite books from when she was on the cusp of teendom.
3. Nerd Camp by Elissa Brent Weissman
This funny, tender book about being true to who you are doesn’t ever come across as schmaltzy and boys will be laughing too hard at all the crazy adventures of Gabe and his friends at Nerd Camp to notice all the sweet stuff anyway. Gabe’s dad is getting remarried and he is getting a stepbrother who happens to be the very same age. This is great news for Gabe until he realizes that his new brother Zack is a cool skateboarder while he is, well, not. Gabe desperately wants to hide his geekiness from Zack and the story unfolds. In the end, this is a story about accepting yourself for who you are. It’s such a positive, upbeat story narrated by an engaging young voice that tween boys won’t be able to put this book down.
4. Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
Oh, we love a strong female lead and this book has one in the firecracker protagonist named Mo LeBeau. Big on personality and heart, this book is also a full-blown mystery topped with a little Southern charm. For a summer read, it goes down like a smooth glass of perfect lemonade. Your kids will be charmed by the quirky cast of characters and the precocious but believable dialogue.
5. Spy School by Stuart Gibbs
Erin’s kids have been known to fall asleep clutching spy goggles and our friend Mary’s son brought his spy watch kayaking, hiking, and camping last week. Boys LOVE spy stuff. So a book about a school for spies? It has Hogwarts for Future Double Agents written all over it. Even the hero Ben is a little Potter reminiscent. Slow to warm up to the spy stuff, Ben wins in the end—making friends, helping to uncover the hidden mole, and getting his spy groove on. This book brings the action, ninja stars, and combat simulation (in the form of paintball—of course) to the CIA Academy and kids who enjoy a witty tale with a side of suspense will be delighted. This would be a great read-aloud for younger kids too.
But then sometimes we like to write a little bit more about a book that we think is a little extra-special. In this case, we like the book so much we are jumping on the book tour train.
If you haven’t heard of Angela Shelton, well, buckle up, this is about to get interesting. Angela describes herself as an author, screenwriter, performer, public speaker, and filmmaker. But she is so much more than a resume that would make a superhero tired. She has a wicked sense of humor and delights in fun and funny things. We appreciate such things here in The Sisterhood. We like women who carry the ball across the line, do a twirl, give a big enthusiastic two thumbs up, and then helps someone else cross that line too. That pretty much describes Angela. We reviewed Angela Shelton’s last book, The Adventures of Tilda Pinkerton: Book 1: Crash Landing on Ooleeoo, because we liked her so much. We were pleased as punch to read such a delightful addition to the world of children’s literature.
Now we are happy to report that her latest book is enchanting as well and perfect as a read-alone for your favorite tween. We found it was a great read aloud for the younger set as well.
We toted this book on two summer vacations so far to read to our charges after busy days of surf and sand.
We are happy to report the masses were happy with their bedtime stories and we think yours will be too.
Eleven-year-old Madison Mae and her younger brother, Albert, want to help save the family farm during troubled times. When a mysterious Magical Hat Shop appears by their grandpa’s red tractor mailbox, the children meet Tilda Pinkerton who presents them with one-of-a-kind hats, causing new ideas and talents to suddenly burst forth. As a flood of harm comes rushing towards the farm, Tilda Pinkerton teaches the children how they can accomplish much more than anyone ever imagined. Increase your child’s vocabulary, self esteem and awareness of social issues, while they enjoy a great story! Tilda Pinkerton’s Magical Hats does it all.
The Sisterhood Review:
For the kid with a mind for the fantastic and whimsical, this book is a no brainer. Tilda Pinkerton is the definition of a good time and whenever she arrives on the scene with one of her hats, she leaves a little magic behind. We love that the kids in this book realize that they possess the power to change their lives for the better through the power of their own gifts and talents. The charms in this book aren’t flights of fancy, but real and accessible and wholly appreciated. Kids will love the special brand of magic sprinkled throughout the story coupled with the very real characters and the nicely paced plot. It’s a winner in every way.
Now, we weren’t lying about toting this book along this summer, so we asked a couple of the kids to give us their reviews.
With her creative storyline and the fun coloring pages, Angela Shelton makes a great kid-friendly book. – Tatum, age 12
I wish I could really have a magic hat and a cat like Gabby Cat.- Jack, age 5
Magic is always a great addition to any book and this book does it just right. It has an actually good story and characters plus magic. It is a very fun story. I will write a book report about it! – Julia, age 9
I like the way the kids had to find their hidden talents to save the farm. – Gabe, age 7
Find out how Angela has incorporated the character of Tilda Pinkerton into an entire line of book projects, each geared towards a different age group at www.MagicHatShop.com
Angela Shelton’s Website: http://angelashelton.com/
Angela Shelton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/angelashelton
Angela Shelton on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/AngelaSheltonFanPage
Tilda Pinkerton on Twitter: https://twitter.com/tildapinkerton
You won’t be disappointed!
-Erin and Ellen