The best books for 10-year-olds will keep young readers engaged, enthralled, and enchanted. Novels for kids this age must be unputdownable! Don’t worry – we’ve got the best books for your tweens right here, so check them out!
The Best Books for 10-Year-Olds Help Kids Grow
When I was a child, I had my nose in a book at all times. Whether I was in the car, under the covers, or watching my sister at dance practice, I was never without a great novel.
I read voraciously as if my life depended on it. I learned — and grew — from every story I read. The Babysitters Club series taught me about friendship, responsibility, and hard work. Number the Stars taught me about unfairness and to be an upstander in the face of injustice. And as a kid whose parents had a keen appreciation for the arts, From the Mixed of Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler gave me a true appreciation for museums – and adventure, too.
I saw myself in each of these stories, which made all the difference in the world.
But what if your tween isn’t a voracious reader? How do you get them to fall in love with stories? Developing a reading habit in kids isn’t easy, especially for boys. But if your child connects with a book, your work becomes so much easier.
Enter our list of great books for 10-year-olds!
Books for 10-Year-Olds Should Engage, Enthrall and Enchant Readers
If you want your tween to read, they need captivating books. Graphic novels are all the rage these days and are fabulous for growing readers. Series books are huge because if your kids love the first book, they will want more! Novels in verse make for quicker but oh-so-powerful reads. And fantasy continues to delight readers of all ages.
Grab books for your kids that correspond to their interests. Read them before your children do so you can talk about them together. Even better? Read them together, chapter by chapter! Most importantly? Give your kids choice. Take them to the library or bookstore and give them the chance to explore. Grab them a stack of books and let them choose what interests them. And if they want to read the same book again and again – let them!
And now, without further ado, here are some of our favorite books for 10-year-olds!
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Frequently Asked Questions
Ten-year-old kids should read anything age appropriate that piques their interest! Middle-grade books are perfect for this age group, and there are so many options to ensure your child finds something he loves. From graphic novels to realistic fiction to fantasy to mystery, the options are endless. Just take them to the library and let them roam and choose!
My gosh, there are too many to name! As far as older stories go, I will forever love The War That Saved My Life, by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, for the unique plot and glorious writing, and because it has touched and moved every child I know who has read it. As far as modern releases, I fell head over heels for Those Kids From Fawn Creek, by Erin Entrada Kelly. This one is destined to become a classic! Both of these books are featured on our list below.
My biggest suggestion is to give your reader a choice over the books they read for pleasure! Take them to the bookstore or the library and give them free rein. Let them pick what they think looks fun and/or interesting! Choice is so important when it comes to reading for enjoyment, especially as many kids are told what books to read in school. If your child is not already an avid reader, having to slog through a book they aren’t interested in class makes them think reading is boring. Once they realize how many amazing options there are out there, we can begin to change this attitude!
YES! Many young, avid readers have difficulty finding other bookworms with whom they can connect and share their love of reading. Book clubs are phenomenal for fostering a child’s love of reading, encouraging socialization with other readers, introducing kids to new authors and genres, and expanding the way they think about and analyze stories. Did you know we run a virtual book club that connects young readers in grades 3 through 7 around the country? Check out The Dawn Society here!
Our Favorite Books for 10-Year-Olds!
Ghost wants to be the fastest runner. In fact, running is all he knows. Yet Ghost is running for the wrong reasons, especially from a past that makes his stomach clench. Then Ghost meets Coach, who brings Ghost to the middle school track team along with Lu, Sunny, and Patina. And if Ghost can stay on track, both literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in his city — and maybe even qualify for the Junior Olympics. Powerful, explosive, and a National Book Award Finalist, this is the first book in the Track series that kids won’t soon forget. A must-read, and one of the absolute best books for 10-year-olds!
Every once in a while, you come across a powerful, authentic, and moving book, one you keep thinking about long after you put it down. For me, this was that book, and it immediately became one of my absolute favorite books for 10-year-olds. I read Those Kids From Fawn Creek in one hungry gulp, completely captivated by the ensemble cast, the new girl in town who throws off the rhythm of the seventh-grade classroom, and the relatable story. With themes of authenticity, self-awareness, rumors, and identity, there is something for everyone here. From deception to dreams, bullying to bravery, this story set in a small town in Louisiana is one that every tween will relate to, devour, and think about long after the story has ended. This fantastic book was a monthly selection of The Dawn Society’s virtual book club!
Set in Great Britain during World War II, Ada has a clubfoot and an abusive mother who is both mortified and ashamed by the fact that her daughter is crippled. She keeps Ada locked away in their small apartment in London. When evacuations begin, and children are taken out of London and brought to the safety of the English countryside, Ada escapes her mother’s wrath with her younger brother Jamie in tow. The two are placed in Susan’s care, and though Susan claims she is “not nice,” Ada and Jamie soon learn what it means to love– and be loved in return. A huge favorite of my students, this one is truly exceptional. For our full review on The War that Saved My Life, click here!
RELATED: If you have a reader who loves survival books like Hatchet, click the link for awesome read-a-like books!
New Kid, the 2020 Newbery Award winner, is an authentic graphic novel about a tween beginning seventh grade at a prestigious academic private school. Yet Jordan Banks is one of the only kids of color in his whole grade. As Jordan tries to find a place within his new school, he finds himself straddled between two worlds — the upscale students at Riverdale Academy and his neighborhood friends in Washington Heights. More than a simple “new kid” story, New Kid tackles racism, hostility, socio-economic disparity, and micro-aggressions that many children encounter regularly. Absolutely, positively, fantastic, and one of our favorite graphic novel books for 10-year-olds. This is also a great book series for 4th graders!
After losing her mom and sisters in a terrible car crash, Coyote and her dad, Rodeo, live in an old school bus. For years they travel the country to escape their painful past. But when Coyote learns the park in her old neighborhood is set for demolition — the same park where she buried a memory box with her mom and sisters — she devises a plan to get her heartbroken dad to drive back to Washington, without him knowing the real reason why. Facing memories and emotions she shut down for so long, this is the remarkable story of a grief-stricken girl who discovers love and joy after a terrible loss. This is one of my very favorite middle-grade books!
After music-loving June and her family lose their home, she moves into Huey House with her mom and little sister. Life in a homeless shelter isn’t easy, but June quickly bonds with Tyrell, another tween who shows June all the good Huey House can offer, including a classical musician living next door. As their friendship grows, however, a new government policy puts the families at Huey House in danger. Can June and Tyrell work together to oppose this harmful government policy before it’s too late? June’s story – losing her father, losing her home, moving to Huey House, and acting as a caregiver for both her mother and younger sister – is filled with pain and challenge. But it is also filled with music, new friendship, and hope. This was a selection for The Dawn Society virtual book club!
Ivy Aberdeen’s home is flattened by a tornado that rages through her town. As she flees her house, all she manages to save is her pillow. Thank goodness, because this pillow contains her most precious possessions – fancy markers and her drawing journal which includes sketches of Ivy holding hands with an unidentifiable girl. After the storm, Ivy’s notebook goes missing. When her pictures mysteriously begin showing up in her own locker, together with notes encouraging Ivy to be true to who she is, Ivy hopes the letters are coming from a girl on whom she has developed a secret crush. But is owning her truth and understanding her identity as easy as Ivy wants it to be? Ivy’s words and yearnings will be windows for some and mirrors for others, but her burning desire to understand who she is at her core will be loved and cherished universally. This is one of our favorite LGBT books for 10-year-olds. For our full review of Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World, click the link!
RELATED: Looking for more fantastic LGBTQ books for middle schoolers? Don’t miss this list!
Aven Green is a spunky girl who loves to make up stories about how she lost her arms. But the truth is, she was simply born without them, and her adoptive parents wouldn’t let her sit by and mourn a life of things she couldn’t do. Instead, they made her work for all she wants. She opens her backpack, plays the guitar, and eats her food — all with her feet. But life without arms is not easy, especially when you move to a new state and start a new school. When Aven meets Connor, a boy at school struggling with Tourette’s Syndrome, a new world opens up for both kids. The two learn how to help each other, and they learn a ton about themselves, too. This is one of the best books for 10-year-olds that is on constant rotations in our library!
Micah’s grandfather has forever told him tales of the enchanting Circus Mirandus. The Circus was home to an invisible tiger, a flying birdwoman, and a powerful magician known as the Man Who Bends Light. But is the circus truly real? Grandpa Ephraim eventually gives Micah the proof he needs, which leads Micah on one incredible adventure. After all, the Lightbender owes Micah’s dying Grandpa a miracle. And if Micah can find him, he might be able to save his grandfather from the brink of death. There’s just one problem… what if he does find the Lightbender, and this magical figure doesn’t want to keep his promise? A fabulous middle grade fantasy, one that is as spellbinding as it is engaging.
Ally is good with people — so good, in fact, that she’s got a lot of them totally fooled. Why? Because she has a hard time reading, and to combat that, she creates many disruptive distractions to hide her fatal flaw. After all she knows she’s dumb, and that can’t be helped. Leave it to a new teacher, Mr. Daniels, to discover the brightness and creativity just below Ally’s troublemaker exterior, and Ally begins to discover that her dyslexia is nothing to be ashamed of, and she has a lot more to be confident about than she ever realized. This is one of few great books for 10-year-olds about dyslexia, and we simply adore it!
When Maizy Chen travels with her mom to Last Chance, Minnesota to help her ailing grandfather, she makes a lot of discoveries about the town where her mom grew up. The biggest one? The Golden Palace, the restaurant that has been in her family for generations, has a lot of secrets. Who are the people in the photos on the wall? And who would steal a beloved family treasure? Maizy quickly realizes that racism lurks in the small town, and it is up to her to find some answers. Readers will absolutely fall in love with this National Book Award finalist. Maizy is full of heart and determination, and this story of food, family, history, and community will stick with them long after the final page has turned!
“I won’t describe what I look like. Whatever you’re thinking, it’s probably worse. “ Talk about a book that will pull you in right from the outset. This is the story of Auggie, a boy with severe facial anomalies. Up until fifth grade, he was schooled at home. But when he gets ready to begin fifth grade at a real school, he wants nothing more than to be treated like an ordinary kid. Will his new classmates be able to get past his jarring facial differences? This is the book that sparked the Choose Kind movement, and it is an extraordinary, poignant story that resonates deeply with both children and adults alike. Funny, tender, and oh-so-honest, this book should be required reading for every kid around the world. Absolutely phenomenal… and the best reminder that being cool is oh-so-kind.
This is the story of Mia Tang who, together with her parents, leaves China and arrives in America in search of the American Dream. But their hard work and determination doesn’t mean life will be easy, and when Mia’s family finds themselves operating a motel for a cruel and exploitative owner, life is anything but what they had imagined. Mia runs the front desk at the motel, and the tougher her days are, the more she longs for a better and easier life. With the help of a new friend, the motel’s “weeklies,” her devoted parents, and a lucky pencil, Mia may be able to find that she can achieve her own American dreams with a hefty amount of perseverance and a whole lot of heart. This is a beautiful book for 10-year-olds and the start of a fabulous series! For our full review of Front Desk, click here!
In this Newbery Award winner, a town is haunted by an annual tradition: a Day of Sacrifice, one that involves leaving the eldest baby born that year in the woods. Why? To appease a witch who threatens to destroy the village if her commands are not obeyed. Thus begins the story of one baby who is taken and “enmagicked,” the families from whom babies are taken, a witch who is anything but, a very tiny dragon, and a tale looming before a village that may or may not actually be true. In this stunning novel, Barnhill presents a spring point for conversations about truths versus lies and how adherence to certain stories can become the very foundations on which societies are built and even maintained. An absolutely spellbinding read. For our full review of The Girl Who Drank the Moon, click here!
Henrietta (AKA “Henry”) and her family have just begun to settle into their new home at Hope House, but shortly after they arrive her father must leave and go abroad. To make matters worse, her beloved brother, Robert, has recently died, her mother is suffering from a debilitating mental illness, and their devoted Nanny Jane is doing everything the doctors tell her to take care of Mama, even if it means keeping Mama locked in a room and giving her medicine that keeps her sedated. Henry is distraught – but when she wanders into the adjacent Nightingale Wood one evening, she may just meet something — or someone — who will help her find the courage to change the lives of those she holds closest to her heart. BUY THIS BOOK FROM:
This is an absolutely fantastic and gut wrenching novel about Jerome, a twelve year old black boy who is shot and killed by a white police officer who mistakes his toy gun for a real one. As a ghost, Jerome sees the devastation and chaos his death has caused, with his family and community at the heart of it. While his family protests what they believe is an unjust killing, Jerome meets another ghost — that of Emmet Till, a boy who lived decades earlier and experienced the same destructive injustice — as well as Sarah, the police officer’s daughter, who is still alive. Together, Emmet and Sarah help Jerome process his death. Deftly weaving history with today’s pressing issues, this story is a haunting beauty, one that has a place of importance on every tween bookshelf and in every school collection. Though this is undoubtedly a tough topic, Ghost Boys is age-appropriate, expertly written, and one of my all-time favorite books for 10-year-olds.
This is the poignant story of a teacher, her three students, and the challenges these three boys go through to give her the best last day of school ever — before Ms. Bixby must leave her class due to an illness. It is contemporary fiction at its finest, with characters that creep into your heart and seem like friends you’ve known forever. The boys’ compassion, their personal hardships, and their determination are so authentic. The voices are pitch-perfect, and the obstacles they encounter while trying to accomplish their mission will leave you laughing, inspired, and moved. So in love with this one!
I love when puzzling stories of the past become present day mysteries just begging to be brought to life and explored. That is exactly what happens here, in this fabulous, intricately plotted story about Candice and her sidekick, Brandon. After Candice discovers a letter addressed to her grandmother describing an injustice that happened long before Candice’s time, she goes on the hunt to solve a puzzle – and find a fortune. Expertly moving between past and present, the challenge leads the friends deep into the history of their South Carolina town and is marked by great discovery — not just about their home, but about themselves, too. This book has received a long list of accolades for a reason. My students absolutely love this book for 10-year-olds!
Amal is a bookish girl living in Pakistan with dreams of becoming a teacher. But one day at the market, Amal mouths off to the wrong man: Jawad, son of her village’s wealthy landlord. In order to pay off the debt for her insulting behavior, Amal is forced into indentured servitude with Jawad’s family, leaving her own family behind. At the landlord’s pretentious home, Amal sees firsthand the dangers of illiteracy and gender inequality, and she begins sneaking books from the library and teaching the other servants to read. When Amal is sent by the family to be a patron at the village’s new literacy center, she recognizes that her education has given her a powerful hand — the ability to take a critical stance against corruption. This is one of my favorite “window” books for 10-year-olds in America. Simply stunning – and as proof of its excellence, it was a Global Read Aloud, utilized to connect children all across the globe. For our full review of Amal Unbound, click here!
Molly Nathans is a sixth grader struggling with obsessive-compulsive disorder. To Molly, perfection is the number four, the tip of a newly sharpened pencil, and her perfectly aligned glass animal figurines. Not perfect? Her mother’s sudden absence to take on a new job. Molly concocts a plan to bring her mother back home, believing that if she wins her school’s slam poetry contest, her mom will never miss the celebratory banquet in Molly’s honor. But writing her poems becomes increasingly harder as Molly’s obsessive habits begin to spiral out of control, and the rest of her life suddenly does too. Will Molly’s compulsions keep her in check, or will they actually be the very things preventing her from finding her own version of perfect?