Friends often ask me for book recommendations for young readers, but rather than post the children’s books I’ve enjoyed lately I thought it would be more useful to focus on titles my kids have recently loved or books their friends have been excited to tell me about (which happens a lot). Some of them are for the younger end of the 8-12 year-old middle grade bracket, some for the upper end - not just in terms of more sophisticated language but because of the more complex and challenging content. It’s always worth taking the time to make sure it’s the right fit for the child you have in mind - covers can be deceiving. (If in doubt, make time to visit your local library. Lists can be a good guide but I’m a firm believer in finding stories that kids will enjoy and children’s librarians are the best at helping you and your young reader find what they might like and more besides. Signing up for a library card of their own is also a great way to foster engagement.)
Some of these are funny, some are heartbreaking, some are historical, some are windows into other worlds and cultures but all of them had my kids turning the pages, wondering what might happen next.