My oldest is 12. She is all things first child; rule oriented, orderly, and driven. Over the years her strong will has served her beautifully as she has developed into a compassionate, servant-hearted, and intentional young lady. I adore her.
About 3 months ago we started to notice a few changes in her moods. Because I am homeschooling her this year, I get to experience these swings first hand throughout our days… so I have a vested interest to understand just what is going on inside her head. I was shocked that she felt incredibly comforted when I explained to her that her moods were a result of hormonal changes and were completely normal. Her intellectual mind could handle a physiological explanation much easier than not knowing why she felt so…off.
Because she is quite introverted and loves to read, I knew she’d prefer to fill in the gaps through books. Most of these are from a Biblical perspective but regardless of your spiritual beliefs, I think you’ll find some great insight.
Here is a list of our favorite tween books and affiliate links for your convenience and mine.
- 10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know – by Kari Kampakis This book is written in a big sister format to your daughter. My daughter has read through it 3 times and gone through it with a small group of friends. It has questions at the end of each chapter. It addresses topics like popularity, their unique design, friendships, and passions. You can read my full review of it here. We loved this book.
- Perfectly Unique – by Annie F. Downs The author takes you on a thoughtful, funny and spirit-filled exploration of the way God created you different from every other person in the world, and He did this on purpose! Great perspective addressing body image and each of our unique set of talents. At an age when conformity can be the goal, this perspective can help our daughters build confidence and strengthen their faith through embracing their unique design. My 12 year old loved reading this!
- You’re Already Amazing by Holly Gerth – (best suited for moms of tweens or actual teens) We, as moms, need to get our own thinking straight before we can be of any help to them. The author helps you understand and embrace the truth that as a woman, you do not need to do more, be more, and have more—because you are already amazing just the way God created you to be. When my daughter was on a club soccer team significantly above her skill set, principles in this book helped me teach her that she could walk on that field with no fear or apologies. I didn’t need to be nervous either. She didn’t have to be anything more today that she already was. She is Already Amazing! It helped us find that balance of striving to do your absolute best while knowing your identity and worth is not determined by the results.
- Graceful – Letting go of your try-hard life by Emily P. Freeman – (I’d recommend this for an older teen or the mother of a tween) – This book is written to the good girl who tries to do everything perfect from sports to schoolwork. It’s also written to the girl who feels like she can’t do anything right. The ultimate message in this book is you don’t have to be perfect. My daughter often strives to be perfect and is discouraged by correction, so this book was a good fit. It is written a little above her comprehension level so we went through it together.
- BeTween by Vicki Courtney – My daughter just finished going through this book in small group with her friends. It is a magazine style book filled with articles, games and lists. It’s targeted towards the 8-12 year old reader. The book wisely encourages girls to enjoy being their age rather than succumbing to modern culture’s temptations to grow up too fast. It addresses topics like popularity, friendships, texting, fighting with siblings, and your attitude with your mamma. It’s irresistibly fun and an easy read.
- Soul Surfer series by Bethany Hamilton – Have you seen the movie Soul Surfer about a young girl named Bethany Hamilton who had her arm bitten off by a shark while she was surfing? Well, we have…like 30 times! It started a surfing craze in our home. My daughter has read and reread the book and devotionals dozens of times. Bethany speaks teen to teen about overcoming your fears and living out your faith. I ripped out a few pages from the devotional for issues my daughter hasn’t been exposed to yet, but still recommend it.
- The Lily Series – by Nancy Rue – (for the younger tween) – We started these because my daughter’s name is Lily and it was just too cool to find something called the Lily series. There are several characters in them who each represent a different type of girl. We were surprised by how applicable these were to everyday decisions. They are short and each book addresses a different topic – “the Uniquely Me book”, “The Body Book”, “The Blurry Rules Book”, “The Walk the Walk Book”
*** NEW*** More books added.
- 5 Conversations you Must have with your Daughter by Vicky Courtney – From the cradle to college, this book walks you through how to tell your daughters the truth about life before they believe the culture’s lies.
- 6 Ways to Keep the Little in your Girl: Guiding your daughter from her Tween to her Teens Years By Danna Gresh Studies show that the foundation for an emotionally healthy teen girl is built between the ages of 8-12 and that a good relationship with mom is one of the most important factors. So when the world wants girls to grow up too fast, how does a mother help her young daughter navigate the stormy waters of boy-craziness, modesty and body image, media, Internet safety, and more?
- Caring and Keeping of You: the body book for younger girls(American Girl) and now a Volume 2 The Body book for Older Girls. Best Selling books from American Girl. The first volume is for girls 8 and up and answers questions about your changing body, from hair care to healthy eating, bad breath to bras, periods to pimples, and everything in between. Once a comfort level is established, Volume 2 goes into greater details on periods and their changing body as well as addresses topics on peer pressure and social issues.
I’d love to hear any helpful book recommendations you and your child have enjoyed reading.
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I love book recommendations…even if my girls are still wee. Keep ’em coming.
Yay for homeschooling – we’re doing the same this year up here in Canada. Maybe you should come visit…and call it a field trip. 🙂 Love you!
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Did you know the Lily books are written to go with a series of stories? Here’s a link to the first one: http://www.amazon.com/Heres-Lily-The-Series/dp/B00BQ7N77O/ref=pd_cp_b_1 I’ve read about half of them, and they’re really good!
My daughter is 10 and the oldest of FOUR girls! She started developing earlier than I was ready for and :gasp: started her monthly cycle in May. Gloriously we were introduced to the American Girls “The Care & Keeping of Me” it talks all things girl body related (puberty, body image, hygiene, etc) I don’t know how I would have gotten through her early start without it. It’s a must!
Do you have any recommendations for boys?
I’m actually working on a list now. I’ll email you when it’s done.
I would love the recommendations for boys too!
Keeping the good in your boy by dannah gresh is awesome!!!!
I would appreciate the list for boys as well. So glad to find this place of information.
i’m interested in a boy’s list as well
Thank you for sharing these books! Ours daughters sound very similar 🙂 Looking forward to getting these books for her!
great list, I also would love to see the boy book list too
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Wonderful recommendations! Thank you for putting this together. 🙂
I own a tween store in Louisiana, it is so refreshing to see blogs on tweens! Thank you for sharing, I can’t wait to read some of these books!
Dannah Gresh has fantastic material. I highly recommend reading her book “Get Lost – Your Guide to Finding True Love.” It a great book which doubles as a journaling Bible Study. Gresh challenges girls to take a “Love Fast” from guys for 2 weeks, during which she looks and explains God’s love for us and how our identity needs to be found in His love and affection rather than guy’s. I’m 16 and read the book this past year. Even though I’ve been the “perfect Christian girl,” Gresh made points about identity being found in Christ that I’d never heard before and were monumentally valuable.
I can’t thank you enough for sharing “Get Lost” with us. I have not heard of it and am going to Amazon right now to get it. I don’t mean to sound patronizing but I am so encouraged that you are 16 years old and seeking out how to solidify your identity in Christ. I love the idea of a Love Fast and will remember that for my when my daughter is a bit older. Thank you again for sharing.
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I just found your blog and I LOVE this list. My daughter loves loves to read and I’m shocked at how much “junk” is out there in books for tweens. I’ve been looking for a list just like this, so a huge thank you for compiling this! 🙂
I’m so glad Crystal. I took advantage of having the kids all together and seeing which books resonated with them. If your daughter has any favorites, please let me know.
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