This is the sweet spot for me, dear readers. I love books written for children of this age. Which may be because I love children of this age. Most are still 100% child, but you can begin to catch glimpses of the adults they’ll become some day. You start to see passions emerging, and the tiniest bit of confidence and comfort in one’s own skin (which you’ll want these children to hold to for dear life once they hit middle school). The best books written for kids between 9 and 11 illuminate these possibilities. It’s easy to find drivel for kids in this age range. But if you know where to look, you can find magic.
The focus here is on the volume of reading a kid is doing. Let her read too fast, let her put books down halfway through, just let her keep reading. It’s going to be so much harder, because at this age, kids’ schedules are packed. But hopefully by now, she knows what it’s like to get lost in a book, and she’s building on her successes. It’s all about growing a love of independent reading. If you’re a big part of a kid’s life, make sure she knows you read too. She shouldn’t know reading is important because you keep grinding the idea into her head, she should know it because she sees you living it every day.
Amelia and Eleanor Go for a Ride, by Pam Munoz Ryan
We Are the Ship, by Kadir Nelson
Each Kindness, by Jacqueline Woodson
Clockwork, by Philip Pullman
Lawn Boy, by Gary Paulsen
Esperanza Rising, by Pam Munoz Ryan
The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick
Kira, Kira, by Cynthia Kadohata
Countdown, by Deborah Wiles
Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
Chapter Books for 9-11 Year Olds Who Understand and Appreciate Sarcasm:
Whales on Stilts, by M.T. Anderson
Explorer: the Mystery Boxes, by Kazu Kibuishi