Books: Ten Years Old And Awesome

No, not awesome books that happen to have been around for ten years, but awesome books that would be awesome for ten-year-olds. Persephoneers, I’m in the midst of a book dilemma and, well, you’re all awesomely bookish and Middlemarch mad. Who else was I going to ask for help?

So here goes: I’m on the hunt for a couple of books to give a ten-year-old. But the thing is, it’s been a while since I was ten, and given Juniper Junior is only just about to be five, the books we read are usually far too young for a ten-year-old. Sitting on the floor of Juniper Junior’s bedroom, I even went through his bookcases (yes, almost five and with two bookcases) and I know I read a lot of those books before I hit the young adult years but goodness, I can’t remember how young I was when I read them. One of the very few books I can remember reading when I was ten was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, but it’s one of those books that is in pretty much every home.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Whatever we send her, I want to know that inside that parcel are awesome protagonists and awesome stories. So, is there a book you think every ten-year-old should read? A book you would love to have read when you were ten years old?

Your brief, Persephoneers:

  • Awesomeness
  • Suitable for a ten-year-old with average reading ability

Easy, no”¦?

By Juniper

Rarely to be found without herbal tea nearby. Team Unicorn. Often in pyjamas. Also: TEAM KATNISS!

31 replies on “Books: Ten Years Old And Awesome”

By the time I was 10 I was starting to get into Michael Crichton and other “grown up” books, but I never quite gave up on the Babysitters Club, even when I was well past the reading level. They may be a little easy for her in terms of how hard they are to read, but they’re super fun. Same for Nancy Drew and etc.

I was incredibly into The Chronicles of Narnia when I was that age, as well as The Hobbit so I’d definitely recommend those. But that’s speaking as a fantasy geek, so if that’s not what you’re looking for I’d suggest maybe The Phantom Toll Booth (Norton Juster), and anything among Roald Dahl’s children’s stories. I think I was about 10 when I read Dolphin Island by Arthur C. Clarke and I adored it.

Oh I’m bookmarking this thread for the future. Or building an Amazon list for it or something.

I recently went book shopping for my 9 year old niece, and the lady at the bookstore turned me on to the Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall. My niece LOVED IT. I haven’t read them yet, but it’s a series, and there are four sisters. This much I know.

When I was 10, I think I was reading anything and everything that was Beverly Cleary, as well as Judy Blume. And Nancy Drew, and the Bobsey Twins, and Trixie Belden. Apparently, I liked mysteries. Or I liked series, really, so these worked for me!

I definitely loved The Dark is Rising sequence when I was ~10, but my fave book of all time: Maudie and Me and the Dirty Book is perfect.  It’s about a girl (Kate) who’s 11 and makes friends with a new girl (Maudie) who just moved to town.  It’s out of print, but you can find it on Amazon.  It’s about censorship, and kids standing up for what they believe in, and has two awesome girls at the center of the story.  What’s better than that?

Other things I read (& enjoyed) at 10: Eight Cousins, every Nancy Drew I could get my hands on, Trixie Belden mysteries, The Celery Stalks at Midnight, Bunnicula, and Howliday Inn; The Hobbit, Chronicles of Narnia, and most of the Cynthia Voigt books [esp. Come a Stranger].  Also, A Wizard of Earthsea, Where the Red Fern Grows (the first book to ever make me cry), and A Wrinkle in Time.  OH! And The Baby-Sitter’s Club! How could I forget Boy-Crazy Stacey?

In the next two years I completed all the classic [yellow-spine hardback] Nancy Drews and Boxcar Children, graduated to Agatha Christie, and read all those as well.  I read a LOT back then.

For a book series that is extremely under-represented in America: Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising Sequence. Books centralized around Arthurian mythology and magic but focused on kids as the heroes. Bonus side: even as an adult I adore re-reading the books. Though a word of warning, they did make an extremely awful movie about the series, under no circumstances watch it or judge the book by the movie!

At 10, I believe I had obsessions with the American Girls books, The Boxcar Children, anything/everything by Marguerite Henry, and to second what others have said, Little House, Little Women, Wrinkle in Time.

Oh! My sister loved the “Dear America” books when she was about that age as well.

Seconding the Tamora Pierce! My first books of hers were the Protector of the Small quartet and the Circle of Magic books, and I think of all her work those two quartets are the most appropriate for a 10 year old.

I read them when I was 20, but Percy Jackson and the Olympians is an awesome series as well.

I’d go with The Westing Game, anything by Tamora Pierce, or the Young wizard series by Diane Duane. So you Want to be a Wizard might be a bit old for a 10 year old, but I don’t think so, as long as he/she doesn’t get overwhelmed by the number of pages.

I’m pretty sure that’s when I read “A Wrinkle in Time.”  I also loved The Little House Books, Little Women, and Anne of Green Gables.  The Giver is a little deep (what with the baby-killing), but depending on the kid, it would probably be fine.  Bridge to Terabithia is fantastic.  I think I read Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, at about that time too.


A Wrinkle in Time was definitely my favorite when I was 10. I think I read The Giver when I was 11; I agree that it’s a fantastic book and probably fine for a kid that age.

Other suggestions: Holes is great, and also has a decent movie adaptation. I remember liking Frindle and Things Not Seen (both by Andrew Clements). From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler will always be awesome.

The Wee Free Men has a nine year old protagonist. I was older than than that when I read it, but it’s probably good for a 10 year old.The main character is very big on being smart and taking care of herself. She takes on the fairy queen armed with nothing but a frying pan and determination.

I remember reading the Redwall books at about that age. Mariel of Redwall has a lady as the lead (and can be read without having read any of the other books first). My memory of these is a little fuzzy, but she was a kick butt lady warrior (who just so happened to be a mouse).

I was fond of Walk Two Moons and Absolutly Normal Chaos then too. Both books are coming of age stories of young girls. Walk Two Moons is about a girl trying to find her mother who walked out on the family when she was young. Absolutely Normal Chaos is about life in a big family and all the complications that come with it from the lense of the main character’s journal summer writing assignment.

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