Top 10 Books for Kids Ages 9 to 12

Best Books for Older Kids Ages 9 10 11 12

I’ve compiled a list of the Top 10 Books for Kids Ages 9 to 12, based on an informal poll of my library-loving tween daughters, their friends, our family, and my own youthful reading habits. If you haven’t read any (all!) of these great books, I encourage you to pick them up and enjoy! You’re never too old for a great kid’s book!

Anything by Rick Riordan:  My girls enjoyed the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, but they really loved the Kane Chronicles series, particularly the first book. Our copy of The Red Pyramid is held together with several layers of clear packing tape and has been read countless times by both girls. The books are cleverly written adventures that explore ancient Egyptian mythology and the world of magic. Every time Lakin or Addah read Riordan books, they become utterly immersed in the world inside the pages, emerging only to laughingly read a particularly witty section out loud to me.

The Chronicles of Narnia: A classic series, and for good reasons. Talking animals, adventures with mythical beasts, magic and mystery and fantasy combined with the fight between good and evil… what’s not to love?

Guardians of Ga’Hoole: My oldest adores this book series, which follows a young barn owl and teaches a message of leadership and friendship.

Island of the Blue Dolphins: What an amazing novel this is! I must have read this a thousand times as a child… couldn’t get enough of this tale of Karana, who survives alone for 18 years on an island in the Pacific Ocean. She is a tenacious heroine who overcomes incredible obstacles, from the constant need to forage for food and water, how to clothe herself and dealing with the death of her little brother. I highly recommend this for kids and adults. If you haven’t read it yet, you should.

The Hobbit: Excellent for reading out loud to younger kids, and perfect afternoon reading for tweens, this prequel to the Lord of the Rings books follows Bilbo Baggins on his adventures across the Misty Mountains and Mirkwood forests of Middle Earth. Definitely worth reading (even for adults!) before you see it at the movie theater!

Little House on the Prairie: Oh, how I loved the Little House books when I was a girl! I read the first two books to my girls at a young age, and I was thrilled when they became old enough to read the entire series themselves. I still read these once a year or so, just to get lost in the world of Ma and Pa, Mary, Carrie and Grace, Laura and Almanzo.

Dragon Rider: The Dragon Rider books are long, but an easy read for the 9 to 12 year old crowd. This tale of a young dragon who sets out in search of the legendary ancestral home of the dragons enchants kids and makes for a great read-aloud book for younger kids too.

The Last Dragon Chronicles (series): These are Addah’s absolute favorite books and she’s been working her way through the series for the last couple months. Each book in the series highlights a different clay dragon with unusual powers and the adventures that ensue telepathically. She highly recommends them… in fact, she’s insisting that I need to read them now.

A Wrinkle in Time (series): This trilogy is a great read for kids who struggle with fitting in, feeling lonely, or who have dealt with loss. Both of my girls checked these books one out of the library enough times that we bought our own copies.

Harry Potter (series): Of course! Lakin has read up through Prisoner of Azkaban and Addah is halfway through the first book. I’ve read all of them many times (my favorite is the last one, and I cry every time). I will encourage the girls to read them all, for the amazing characters and story and the lessons learned within.

The books that stand out the most from when I was this age are books that my kids haven’t yet read, but they’re on our list to be checked out from the library. I loved Bridge to Terabithia, Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret,  Misty of Chincoteague, Tuck Everlasting (oh how I loved this one!), The Secret Garden, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, The Girl Who Owned a City, and Roald Dahl’s Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, and so many more. I was one of those kids who spent my free time devouring books like my life depended on it!

What were your favorite books when you were 9-12 years old? Leave a comment and add your top picks!

10 Reasons Why I Voted Today

1. I voted today because it’s been less than 100 years since women were granted the right to cast a vote in this country. It is my duty to pay homage to the ceaseless work of suffragettes like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, by casting my vote on every Election Day.

2. I voted today because I always vote, even the non-presidential elections. Change begins at home, and those local elections are every bit as important as the presidential elections. The politicians that we elect on a local level will influence the decisions made on the national level.

3. I voted today because it is important to me that my girls appreciate their role as decision-makers in this country. The votes that I cast today affect the world that my children will inherit as adults. I have taken my children with me to every election since they were born. My hope is that, by teaching them to be involved in the election process now, one day they will take an active role in shaping the government for their own children.

4. I voted today because I strongly believe that all women should have the freedom to choose. I have never, and will never, cast a vote for a person who supports anti-choice legislation. I will always cast my vote for those who believe in my right to choose what is right for my body or for my daughters’ bodies.

5. I voted today because I live in a Republican state. I love where I live for lots of reasons, but the political climate is not one of those reasons. As a liberal in a conservative state, I feel it is my responsibility to make my mark, to voice my opinion in the form of voting in the elections. If Democrats and Independents do not vote, we have no hope of ever changing the political landscape of states like South Carolina.

6. I voted because I believe that all people should be free to marry whomever they choose. I know far too many members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community who are not currently able to marry their partners, and I think that is shameful.

7. I voted because I care about the environment and the planet that we live on, and I’d like for it to still be around for my children’s children’s children to enjoy. At the rate we are going, that might not be the case, and issues like climate change and conservation need to be seriously addressed so that we can ensure the continuation of life as we know it.

8. I voted because no person should have to suffer and/or die because they cannot afford basic healthcare. Our country needs universal healthcare, for the sake of all American citizens, particularly the mentally ill and the poverty stricken in our population.

9. I voted because we need more jobs in America. We need to stop sending our jobs overseas. There is a large amount of the population that has been unemployed for a very long time. There are too many people who have been unable to find work, well-trained people who are having to move back in with family or friends because they can’t afford basic housing costs. They are willing to work, but there aren’t enough jobs.

10. I voted because my vote counts. Every vote is important and this election is too close to not cast a vote. I want my voice heard. I want my opinion counted. I hope that, no matter who you voted for today, that you did vote.

10 Reasons Why I Voted Today

15 Ideas for Summer Fun with Kids

It’s almost time for summer fun! My kids have Memorial Day off, 3 more full days of school, then 3 half days (if you can call them half, they get out at 10:45am). On June 7th, summer commences!

I’ve been thinking of things I can do with the girls over the summer. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far…

Arts & Crafts: There’s so much you can do to create and exercise little imaginations, and a lot of these don’t require a super-crafty Mama at all!
  • Build a Fairy House! ~ We did this last year and it’s high on our list of things to do this summer.
  • Tie-Dyed T-shirts ~ I’m planning to be ambitious with this project and have the girls help me dye the muslin for their new bedroom curtains. They’re very excited.
  • Sculpey clay figures & beads ~ my kids love making & baking the beads for their own necklaces. These make great gifts as well!
  • Create collages ~ Got a stack of old magazines or cards that you can’t bear to recycle, but you’re not sure if you’ll ever find a use for them? Give them to your kids and let them make collages. My girls love cutting out pictures to glue on colored paper and poster board. No extra magazines? Let the kids cut out shapes and animals from colored paper and glue those into a jungle or ocean scene.
  • Marble magnets ~ These are a lot of fun… print out small clip art or have the kids draw little pictures, use jewel glue to sandwich the image between a clear cabochon marble and a magnet and voila! Beautiful and original magnets for hanging your kids’ artwork on the fridge! For a fun twist, print your chosen images onto Shrinky Dink paper, bake to shrink them down and then glue those to the magnets. I have a bunch of these and every one is my favorite.

Play Outside: Kids have so much energy and nothing says summer like playing in the sunshine!

  • Turn on the sprinklers and let the kids play to their hearts’ content… you can even water your garden at the same time!
  • Sidewalk chalk is a guaranteed kid-pleaser. My front porch is an ever-changing work of art all summer long and I love that they’re not using up mass quantities of paper with their drawings.
  • Plant a garden! I have been surprised at how much my kids enjoy helping with our garden. They have taken over the weeding and watering, by choice… can’t argue with that!
  • Paint rocks ~ Smooth small to medium rocks are the best. My husband and I did this last summer and placed them near our fairy house as a surprise. The kids are absolutely convinced that our garden fairies created this little works of art. We use ours as garden decorations, hidden amongst the petunias and tomato plants. Use clear acrylic sealer to waterproof yours if you plan to display them outside.
  • Have a picnic ~ Pack a lunch and enjoy your front yard, local park or one of your area’s state parks. Make sure to point out the birds, trees and flowers around you… show your kids the beauty of  nature all around us.
  • Go throw a ball ~ baseball, basketball, wiffle ball. It’s great exercise and kids love playing games with their parents. You can even play a good old-fashioned game of Freeze Tag, Mother-May-I or Hide-and-Seek.
  • Walk or ride bikes! Explore your neighborhood and surrounding community… find a local ice cream parlor or park and make it your destination. Carry a basket with you to collect interesting rocks, acorns, flowers and leaves.

What are you planning for summer fun with your kids?