A lot of us remember being little and having our parents read to us before we went to sleep. To us, it was entertaining (and a great way to spend quality time with our mom or dad while delaying having to turn in for the night), but little did we know just how much it was truly benefitting us.
There is plenty of data to back up the fact that reading on a daily basis is mentally stimulating. It also educates us, improves our memory, makes us more empathetic (when we read about other people’s stories and experiences), strengthens our levels of concentration and communication and, when we do it for 15-20 minutes before going to bed, reading can help us to sleep more soundly too.
Whether your child is a natural bookworm and you’re looking for a couple of new reads to add to their collection or they are way too attached to electronic devices and you want to provide an alternative, here are 10 great books that anyone aged 8-14 will truly enjoy.
10 Awesome Books for Kids 8-14
Next to Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary is one of the most popular and beloved children’s authors. And her Ramona collection? Hands down, it’s a classic. Ramona is a character for little boys and girls who is totally relatable. Her stories are the kind that your kids and your kids’ kids will truly adore.
Here’s a NYT bestseller about the author’s personal experience as a refugee, beginning with her life in Vietnam and ending in Alabama. It includes how the Vietnam War totally shook her comfort levels and realities and also how making the transition to America totally changed her goals, dreams and, ultimately, her entire life.
Although this book was released only a few years ago, it has quickly become a favorite. It’s a story about a preteen who lives in an ideal world until he starts to discover that there’s truly more to life than what meets the eye. It’s a little dark and complex but if your child is 12 or older, they should be able to handle it.
This book is such a favorite that it was turned into a movie back in the late 90s. The newer released edition (2007) has a different cover but it’s the same sweet story about a little girl who’s adorable but comes as close as a child can to driving her parents completely up the wall. Plus, she’s got a superpower to boot!
C.S. Lewis is truly amazing. He’s the kind of writer than adults and children alike are completely mesmerized by because his writings are just that rich and compelling. And the Chronicles of Narnia series? If you’re looking for the kind of books that you can read to your kids at bedtime (and enjoy just as much as they will), these books would have to be it. (They’re actually better than the movies, if you can imagine that!)
Making sure that your child embraces different cultures and experiences is one of the signs of being a good parent. That’s why (if you’re not Mexican), this book makes the list. Long story short, it’s all about a young Mexican-American girl who is trying to learn about life in the city of Chicago. It’s truly an enjoyable read.
Delphine, Vonetta and Fern are three sisters who have a pretty interesting story to tell about spending the summer in Oakland, California with their mother (they live with their father and grandmother in Brooklyn, New York). It’s a book set in the late 60s, so there are some tales about Black Panthers, rallies and imprisonment. Still,it’s a pretty awesome read for kids 10 and up.
Another great cultural book is Amina’s Voice. It’s about a Pakistani-American Muslim girl who debates whether or not she should change her name in order to “fit in” when she enters into middle school. But after a mosque in her community is vandalized, she grapples with some decisions as it relates to her identity as well as her community.
Wonder is an Amazon best-seller. It’s all about a book 10-year-old boy who is like every other child, other than his facial abnormalities. That may be a part of the reason why he’s been homeschooled until the fifth grade. But once he’s exposed to the outside world, the combination of his inner dialogue and encounters with new people is what makes this a very special read.
This one is a teen novel series, for sure. It’s categorized as being science fiction and is all about a society where people are initially considered to be ugly; that is, until everyone receives cosmetic surgery and become (so-called) pretty. Because it so graphically addresses both the physical and emotional experiences of change, it’s best for those 14 and up (unless you opt to read the series first or read it with your kids).
To be fair, this only scratches the surface of all of the wonderful books that are specifically written for children. But if there are any that you won’t regret your child having in their own library, these certainly would have to be it.
These books would be great read for your kids while taking a road trip! Check out our road trip guide for more on the road tips!