My 10 year old is an avid reader. He’s also a fast reader and I have a hard time keeping up with him! I’m increasing the number of chapter book lists on this blog so what better way than to make a list of books for 10 year olds. I chatted with my son to find out which are the best books he’s been reading lately, and while you won’t find his current obsession with Archie comics on this list, these titles are all his choices.
Since my son is solidly in the middle grade book reading level, I suggest these books for kids ages 8 to 12. It goes without saying that individual preferences and reading strengths vary, so use your own discretion.
Although this list is based on the reading interest of a 10 year old boy, I am firmly of the opinion that book lists should not be divided along gender lines. These books have boy and girl protagonists and will be enjoyed by boys and girls alike. (Note: book covers and titles are affiliate links.)
MORE: Don’t forget! All our book lists are indexed on the master book list.
The Map to Everywhere (series) is very exciting! I was hooked by the end of the first page, which let me tell you does not happen very often these days. Two worlds collide when Fin, a master thief in a magical pirate world meets Marrill, a “normal” girl who boards a ship in a mirage in an Arizona parking lot. The two join up in a multi-world quest to find two parts of a famed pirate map that Fin thinks might help him find his mother.
Rain Reign. 12 year old Rose is obsessed with homonyms, prime numbers and rules. She lives with her father and a box full of trinkets left behind by her mother. Her dog, Rain, (so named because it is a homonym) is her best friend and he goes missing in a storm. After the storm clears Rose learns the dog actually belongs to another family and she must give back her beloved friend. This book is so touching and honest. I’m glad that my son can enjoy these “quiet, sensitive” reads alongside high adventure and Archie comics.
The Boundless, one of the critics’ favorite books last year, is an action packed adventure, just the kind of book that is currently grabbing my son’s attention. Will embarks on the maiden voyage of “The Boundless”, a train with 987 cars! One of those cars contains priceless treasures that nefarious individuals would like to get their hands on. Will teams up with colorful characters in order to save the train and the treasure.
With it’s large text and numerous illustrations, the humorous Frank Einstein and the Antimatter Motor can also be enjoyed by so called “reluctant readers”. Frank is a boy genius bent on winning a science competition with his robot inventions but his rival, T. Edison, is determined to thwart him. Kids who enjoy science will get into this book (also see my list of science themed chapter books). This is the start of a 6 book series and my son declared it “super funny, especially the robot who loves to hug.”
The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup and a Spool of Thread. My son said he had also read Because of Winn-Dixie, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and The Magician’s Elephant during quiet class reading time. “They were all good, mom, but The Tale of Desperaux was my favorite.” Masterful and suspense-filled plot lines about a mouse in love with a princess, a rat who loves soup and light, and a not-so-bright peasant girl all come together in a marvelous tale which will get your kids thinking about love and forgiveness.
The Black Stallion. When my son described the plot of this book, I felt sure that I had read it as a kid and noting the publication date of 1941, I probably did. Kiddo recounted to me the story of a boy who was ship-wrecked with a horse. Together they survive on an island for 19 days. They are rescued and taken to Rio (I think? Anyway, that’s what Kiddo said.) and eventually end up in New York where the boy meets racehorse trainer who enters the stallion in a race. Kiddo declared this an adventure he couldn’t put down.
Millicent Min, Girl Genius. I quite enjoyed this book myself, actually. 11 year old Millicent may be in high school and taking college poetry classes for fun, but she is still learning about how to be a good friend. One summer she meets Emily, and decides not to disclose her IQ status. She loves have a regular friend to hang out with, but learns the value of honesty and loyalty when Emily finds out her secret. There are companion books about Emily, and Stanford, the boy Millicent tutors.
The Report Card. Kiddo named several books by Andrew Clements that he has enjoyed in 4th grade, but singled out this one as a particular favorite. He has actually read it before (see it on my list of great chapter books about school). It is about a girl who, although she can easily earn As, decides to get Ds and Cs on her report card in order to prove a point. Clements is a good author for kids who have trouble getting through some of the longer middle grade books that are out there these days.
Leon and the Spitting Image. When I was quizzing Kiddo on his favorite recent books for this post he said, “Mom, this was the book I couldn’t get my head out of when MorMor was visiting.” Translation: two thumbs up. I haven’t read this book, but here is what I’ve gathered from talking with my son and reading the reviews: This funny, rather wacky story is about 4th grader Leon, whose teacher loves sewing so much, she makes the kids in her class sew stuffed animals with perfect stiches. Leon fashions a doll that looks like Mrs. Hagmeyer and it turns out to have voodoo-like qualities. Kiddo agreed that this was a very funny read and reminded him of Dahl’s books.
The Lost Hero. I told myself I was not going to include any Riordan books on this list. After all, it’s not as if you haven’t heard of them and as I’ve said many times, one of my book list goals is to introduce you to new-to-you-books. I changed my mind, though, after my son insisted. The Lost Hero is the first book in RR’s second series and focuses on Roman mythology. The third series (The Red Pyramid books) draws on Egyptian mythology and I hear rumors there will be a fourth series based on Norse myths. I haven’t read any of Riordan books but they rank highly at the top of almost every 4th grader’s list of favorite books, so there you go.
Do you have any books for 10 year olds to recommend? What are your children reading these days?
More of my son’s favorite books (all appropriate for this age range):