2015 Summer Reading

How is your 2015 Summer Reading coming along? Need a list of resources to help you find the right book for the right tween?

Take a look then at these web resources:

  1. American Library Association Resources
  2. Collaborative Summer Reading Program
  3. Encouraging Summer Reading
  4. Engaging in Summer Reading
  5. Raise a Reader
  6. Reading Is Fundamental
  7. Scholastic
  8. Summer Reading Tips for Teens- US News

Summer Reading Book Lists:

  1. Family Circle
  2. Goodreads
  3. GreatSchools.org
  4. Horn Book
  5. Huffington Post
  6. Junior Library Guild
  7. Kirkus
  8. Pragmatic Moms
  9. We Are Teachers
  10. YALSA’s Summer Reading Picks
Have a summer reading resource to share? Comment below!

Hub Challenge

YALSA HUB Challenge

YALSA HUB Challenge

YALSA’s 2013 Hub Reading Challenge has begun! Need inspiration to read something new, highly reviewed or talked about?  Discover something different and challenge yourself to read or listen to 25 of the 83 titles by June 22 using YALSA’s  2013 Hub list, our list of eligible titles [pdf].

While their list includes books for adults and older teens, I’ve created a list with ‘tween’ appeal on the HUB tab of the blog (and listed below). As I read and review these books, I will more accurately indicate the age appeal and reading interests of the books. For right now, I have based this slimmed down list off of School Library Journal and Booklist age recommendations, which I don’t always 100% agree with in terms of age appeal, but are usually pretty close.

If you succeed in your challenge, you are eligible to submit a response to a book to be possibly published on The Hub.  You’ll also be entered into a random drawing for anawesome grand prize: a YALSA tote bag full of 2012 and 2013 YA lit!

Rules are listed on the hub page, but a quick note, format DOES matter. So if a print book is recognized, then listening to the audiobook does not count as part of this challenge.

I invite you to join me in reading/listening to 25 eligible titles by June 22! Let the reading and/or listening begin.

Graphic Novels

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Daredevil by Mark Waid

Ultimate comics Spider-Man [Vol. 1]  by Brian Michael Bendis

Stargazing dog by Takashi  Murakami, Takashi

Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert

Audio Books

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney

Wonder by R.J. Palacio



Artemis Fowl: The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer

Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

First Crossing: Stories About Teen Immigrants by Donald R. Gallo

I Pledge Allegiance (Book One Vietnam Series) by Chris Lynch

Alanna Series, The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce

Alanna Series, In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce

Alanna Series, The Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce

Alanna Series, Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce

Protector of the Small Series, First Test, by Tamora Pierce

Protector of the Small Series, Page, by Tamora Pierce

Protector of the Small Series, Squire, by Tamora Pierce

Protector of the Small Series, Lady Knight, by Tamora Pierce

The Running Dream by  Wendelin Van Draanen

Putting Makeup on the Fat Boy by Bil Wright



Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip Hoose

Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson

We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March by Cynthia Levinson

Bomb: The Race to Build — and Steal — the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin

Tween Bullying

Tween Bullying

Need resources about tween bullying?

Below I have compiled a list of fiction and non-fiction books that deal with issue of bullying for kids ages 8-12. I have also researched a collection of parent/teacher guides and books designed to help cope with tween bullying. Links to all the books will take you to a description and user reviews on Amazon. I have found close to a dozen free online resources, ranging from government sources to library websites. Have another book or website to suggest?

Please comment below!


  1. Buddha Boy by Kathe Koja. (ages 11 and up)
  2. Schooled by Gordan Korman  (age 8 and up)
  3. Fourth Grade Rats by Jerry Spinelli (ages 7 and up)
  4. Crash by Jerry Spinelli (ages 11 and up)
  5. Adam Canfield, Watch Your Back! by Michael Winerip (ages 8 and up)
  6. Drowning Anna By Sue Mayfield (ages 10 and up)
  7. Blubber by Judy Blume (ages 8 and up)
  8. Stick Boy by Joan Zeier
  9. Amelia’s Bully Survival Guide by Marissa Moss (ages 7 and up)
  10. Field of Dogs by Katherine Paterson (ages 8 and up)


  1. Stand Up for Yourself and Your Friends by Patti Kelley Criswell (ages 8 and up)
  2. Bullying and Me: Schoolyard Stories by Ouisie Shapiro (ages 8 and up)
  3. We Want You to Know: Kids talk about Bullying by Deborah Ellis (ages 10 and up)

Parent/Teacher Guides

  1. Why Good Kids Act Cruel : The Hidden Truth about the Pre-teen Years by Carl E Pickhardt (parents’ guide from children ages 9-13)
  2. Drama Years: Real Girls Talk About Surviving Middle school- Bullies, Brands, Body Image and More by Haley Kilpatrick
  3. Bullying Beyond the Schoolyard : Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying by Sameer Hinduja (parent/teacher guide)
  4. Understanding Girl Bullying and What to Do about It : Strategies to Help Heal the Divide by Julaine E. Field (parent/teacher guide)
  5. Queen Bees and Wannabes: Helping Your Daughter Survive Cliques, Gossip, Boyfriends, and the New Realities of Girl World by Rosalind Wiseman 
  6. How to Stop Bullying Behavior in the Tween Years by , About.com Guide
  7. A Parent’s Guide to Cyberbullying by Christy Matte, About.com Guide
  8. Bullying in Middle Schools: Prevention and Intervention by Amy Milsom and Laura Gallo

MORE Free Resources Found Online

  1. Stop Bullying: http://www.stopbullying.gov/
  2. Medline Plus: Bullying: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/bullying.html
  3. Girl’s Health: Why Some Girls Are Bullied: http://www.girlshealth.gov/bullying/whybullied/index.cfm
  4. Kids health: Dealing with Bullying: http://kidshealth.org/PageManager.jsp?dn=girlshealth&article_set=20425&lic=175&cat_id=20128
  5. Cyberbullying: Tips for Parents: http://onguardonline.gov/articles/0028-cyberbullying
  6. PBS Kids
  7. Growing Roots for a Better Tomorrow Blog: http://lettersnumbersandbooksohmy.blogspot.com/2012/02/stop-bullying-books-preschool-through.html
  8. Fairlands Elementary PTA:http://www.fairlandspta.com/files/Children_TeenBooks-Bullying.pdf
  9. Springfield City Library:. http://www.springfieldlibrary.org/reading/bullies_teens.html

Tween Summer Reading!

The Summer Reading Program begins today, May 1, at my local public library in Frederick. Students going into grades 6 and up can join the Teen Program. The theme this year is Own The Night.  Tweens and teens are encouraged to attend library programs, read, and complete various activities provided on a cool game board. By logging their Summer Reading program hours online through the library website, tweens & teens are entered into some pretty cool prize drawings- they could win a Kindle Fire, gift cards or even a Great Wolf Lodge vacation package!

If that isn’t cool enough, our library also provides summer reading lists with tons of book recommendations. I helped this year with the 6th through 8th grade book selections. We selected the top 100 books this summer for tweens (PDF version of list is found here).

Need a good summer reading book? Choose from any of these top picks listed in under 10 different categories, including Adventure, Classics, Fantasy, Graphic Novels, Historical Fiction, Mystery, Biography, Sports, Realistic and Quick Reads! At the end of the list, be sure to check out a compiled listing other library summer reading program resources. Enjoy!

Adventure / Survival


Fantasy / Science Fiction

Graphic Novels

Historical Fiction

Mystery / Thriller

Non-fiction & Biography

Quick Reads



Other Resources

See what other states are doing this year for tween summer reading and other recommended reading book lists!

Tween Books set in Outer Space

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There are plenty of YA novels set in a science fictionalized paradise, full of battling aliens, space exploration and other worldly encounters. Yet when digging through reader’s advisory resources, reading lists and blog sites, I found that there are far less resources about outer space books targeted at tweens specifically. When I was a tween myself, I remember reading all the Star Trek the Next Generation books from our adult science fiction section- an avid trekkie, I knew the characters well enough and did not have much trouble understanding the adventures of Picard and the crew’s Enterprise ventures. These television-inspired science fiction books are still being read and devoured by readers of all ages.

Yet I challenged myself, what tween books are out there written with the outer space setting? I had to use a variety of subject headings, space colonization, outer space exploration, universal travels, and using a variety of keywords, I found a bunch of neat titles. Here are a few I’ve found.  (Suggested grade  levels are indicated.)

Young Adult (YA)
Airborn by Kenneth Oppel, 6-8
Princess of Neptune by Quentin Dodd, 5-8
Starcross: A Stirring Adventure of Spies, Time Travel and Curious Hats by Philip Reeve, 5-8
Marco’s Millions by William Sleator, 5-9
Putting Up Roots, A Jupiter Novel (book 3) by Charles Sheffeld, 5-8
The Comet’s Curse (Galahad Book 1 of 5) by Dom Testa, 7-10

Juvenile (J)

Bongo Fishing by Thacher Hurd, 4-7
Cosmic by Frank Cottrel Boyce, 3-6
Jacob Wonderbar and the Cosmic Space Kapow by Nathan Bransford, 4-7
Constellation of Sylvie by Roderick Townley, 4-8
Space Race by Sylvia Waugh, 4-7
Alien Secrets by Annette Curtis Klause, 5-8
Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet by Eleanor Cameron, grades 3-7
Star Wars: the Clone wars (series) by Tracey West, 4-7
Mike Stellar: Nerves of Steel by K.A. Holt, 4-7
Shanghaied to the Moon by Michael Daley, 5-8

Graphic Novel format
Laika by Nick Abadzis, 5-8
Tom Corbett: Space Cadet by Bill Spangler, 5-8
Laddertop, Vol. 1 by Orson Scott Card and Emily Janice Card, 5-8

Swans in Space, Vol. 1 by Lun Lun Yamamoto, 4-6
Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatka, 2-5

I am in the process of selecting my favorites, which I hope to write some reviews about and let you know why I chose them. Maybe in the month of May I’ll blast off a bunch of outer space tween book reviews.  Would you like that? Or do you prefer more listings like the ones above? I’m open to all suggestions. Also, please do share any you’ve read or have been recommended to read in the comments below. Thanks!

Hunger Games: Readalikes for Tweens

The much anticipated movie hit the big screen on Friday, March 23. The Hunger Games book trilogy by Suzanne Collins is flying off library book shelves. Even though the Hunger Games is classified as a Young Adult novel recommended for grades 7 and up by School Library Journal, I have found that many tween readers are picking up this dystopian-focused fantasy.

My library’s teen librarian recently pulled together a list of teen level read-a-likes which got me thinking, “Which of these titles, if any, are suitable for ages 9-12?”

I quickly checked School Library Journal for the recommended reading levels of some of the most popular Hunger Games read-a-likes. I then consulted with our teen librarian about which titles may have the most appeal to tweens. Even though the reading levels of some of the read-a-likes were higher than grades 4-7 (tween age group), they like Hunger Games might appeal to younger readers.***

Horn Book Magazine just released their listing of ‘lite’ Hunger Game read-a-likes! Horn Book – Hunger Games Lite  Of their choices, I highly recommend Jeanne DuPrau’s The City of Ember and for a more humorous tale, Terry Pratchett’s Only You Can Save Mankind.

Hunger Games: Tween Read-a-likes

  1. Matched by Allie Condie.  “From School Library Journal… In a story that is at once evocative of Lois Lowry’s The Giver… George Orwell’s 1984, and Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, Condie introduces readers to the ‘perfect’ Society.”  Gr 7 Up
  2. House of Scorpion by Nancy Farmer. “From Publishers Weekly…  It hits close to home, raising questions of what it means to be human, what is the value of life, and what are the responsibilities of a society.” Gr 6-9
  3. Unwind by Neal Shusterman. “From School Library Journal… Set in the future, the second civil war is fought over abortion. To end the war, a compromise is reached that ends the practice of abortion but creates an alternative called ‘unwinding.’ Between the ages of 13 and 17, parents or guardians can choose to have their children unwound, which involves having every part of their bodies harvested to be “donated” to another person so, technically, they don’t really die.” Gr 7 Up
  4. Epic by Conor Kostick.  “From School Library Journal… Where fantasy and video games meet, there is Epic. In a society where violence is banned, people must settle their disputes in Epic, at the same time that they are trying to stay alive in order to accumulate wealth and status in both the game world and in reality.” Gr 8 Up, tween appeal
  5. Memento Nora by Angie Nora  “From School Library Journal...the themes of inquiry and fighting back will resonate with young and old.” Gr 9 Up, tween appeal for strong readers
  6. Uglies series by Scott Westerfield. “From School Library Journal… Tally Youngblood lives in a futuristic society that acculturates its citizens to believe that they are ugly until age 16 when they’ll undergo an operation that will change them into pleasure-seeking ‘pretties.'” Gr 6 Up
  7. Bar Code Tattoo by Suzanne Weyn. “From School Library Journal… It’s 2025.. on your 17th birthday [you] get a bar code tattoo.. used for everything from driver’s licenses to shopping. Kayla, almost 17, resists because she hates the idea of being labeled. Then the tattoos begin to drive people to commit suicide, Kayla’s father among them, and she soon finds out that the markings contain detailed information about their bearers, including their genetic code.” Gr 6 Up.
  8. Maze Runner by James Dashner. “From School Library Journal.. Thomas wakes up in an elevator, remembering nothing but his own name. He emerges into a world of about 60 teen boys who have learned to survive in a completely enclosed environment, subsisting on their own agriculture and supplies from below. A new boy arrives every 30 days.” Gr 6-9

There are many other great Hunger Games read-a-like lists out there. Since tweens vary in their reading levels, some YA books may be appropriate recommendations. I always recommend reading the book first, but if time is an issue, you can ask a librarian or teacher who has recently read the book, or refer to a site like Common Sense Media that will highlight any particular issues you are looking out for (such as violence or language).

Below are some additional Hunger Games read-a-likes resources for you to consider. Enjoy!

  1. Teen Reads Dystopian Round Up
  2. Normal Public Library Teens: Hunger Games Read a Likes
  3. Palatine Public Library: Hunger Games Readalikes
  4. Evanston Public Library: The Hunger Games
  5. Wauconda Public Library: Book Lists for Teens, Hunger Games Readalikes
  6. Madison NJ Library: PDF list of readalikes
  7. Jefferson Madison Regional Library Wiki Page
  8. Provo Library Hunger games Book List
  9. Mengle Library Read a Likes
  10. Frederick County Public Library Read a Likes

Things That Go Bump in the Night

In the spirit of Halloween, many tweens are looking for a good spooky tale this time of year. While YA is full of horror and suspense fiction, much of this material is aimed at ages 12 and up. When a tween asks for some ‘horrific’ recommendations, what books do you recommend? Please feel free to comment with your own spooky choices.

Compilations of spooky tales, ghosts & horror reads for tweens:

1) Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark And More Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz

2) The Dark Way: Stories from the Spirit World by Virginia Hamilton (non-fic)

3) The Dark-Thirty: Southern Tales of the Supernatural by Pat McKissack

4) Spooky Stories for a Dark and Stormy Night by Alice Law

5) Fear: 13 Stories of Suspense and Horror by R.L. Stine

6) Best Ghost Stories Ever by Christopher Krovatin

Stand Alone Spooky Finds:

1) Nighty-Nightmare by James Howe

2) The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Robert D. San Souci

3) Silly Rhymes for Belligerent Children by Trace Beaulieu

4) Zombiekins by Kevin Bolger

5) Benjamin Franklin LIVES! by Matthew McElligott and Larry Tuxbury

6) The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman


Scary Stories Booklists for Teens

Neenah Public Library Scary Stories List

Scary Book List for Kids

Horror & Ghost Stories an Amazon List