School starts after labor day in Michigan. So we have yet to reach the beginning of the summer. Usually I am more prepared for summer. Lessons lined up. Events planned. This year it seems summer is barreling toward me and I have made no real plans. Time to begin.
If you have a tween girl who loves to read, filling the summer reading list can be a chore because so many of the books marketed for her age group are not books you really want her to read. And while classics like Black Beauty or the Chronicles of Narnia are great, she wants to read about girls like her, with friend problems, parent problems, sibling headaches, interests like her. Because at this age (and every age), she wants to know she isn’t alone. And mom, if you don’t help her find good books to read and stretch her, she will read whatever looks appealing.
When I was 11 or 12, before the word tween existed, I read Beverly Clearly. Her books taught me I wasn’t alone but also gave me expectations about what was normal. I enjoyed those books. But really, I want my girl to read books that show her God’s view of the world. And there are girl series just like this, at my library, in three great varieties.
Are you familiar with Nancy Rue? You should be. My initial quest for a good tween series meant I read a bunch of them. And when I found a series I liked, I read 3-4 books in the series because sometimes series change and I don’t like the new direction. But I trust Nancy Rue. The main tween girl in her books makes mistakes but always learns. In fact strengths and weaknesses of all the characters are shown. And adults in these books, they aren’t stupid Big plus. And God, He is there, not in a tween-eye-rolling predictable way, but always part of the solution and advice.
The personality of your girl and her friends may be a good way to determine which of these series you want to start with. All the series are targeted at about 9-12 year-olds. And I encourage you to read with your girl. These books provide fabulous references for life’s tough lessons that you can refer to at appropriate times. And since the characters are characters and not real friends, learning from their lives and analyzing their mistakes is so much less threatening.
The Lily Series: Lily is a passionate red head. Lily isn’t sure what she loves to do or wants to be so when a new interest or cause develops (she gets thrilled about everything from horses to helping others), she plunges in head first. The series starts with Lily in 6th grade. Lily gives up her rock collection to pursue modeling after some encouraging comments from a modeling director. Convinced modeling is “her” thing (as she does all things) Lily learns valuable lessons about beauty. She also navigates 6th grade by forming a secret club of girlfriends in response to the creepiest boy at school. And like all female friendships at this age, there is drama to resolve. The series continues with books like Lily Robbins, MD, Lily and the Creep, etc. Each Lily book has a non-fiction companion you can buy that I also love: The Beauty Book, The Body Book, The Buddy Book, etc,
The Lucy Series: My Bird loves the Lucy series because Lucy and Bird share a love for all things soccer. Lucy’s sixth grade life is totally different than Bird’s. Her mother died in a job related accident. Her father is blind. She has an overbearing aunt who thinks she knows better what Lucy needs than Lucy or her dad. She is cared for by an Hispanic housekeeper who makes her do her homework and she has doesn’t do well in school. Lucy questions everything. Including her faith. Still, Lucy has a strong spirit and is slowly learning to put God into her life. More so than the Lily books, the Lucy series introduces more tough life issues. Still, you gotta love a series that begins with Lucy Doesn’t Wear Pink. The Lucy series is part of the Faithgirlz series.
Sophie’s World: Sophie starts off in sixth grade too. She is a dreamer who likes to pretend she is in other worlds. She believes her parents prefer her over-achieveing older sister. She is has low grades and has trouble fitting in with her peers. Her parents send her to counseling concerned about how she pretends to be Antionette, a girl in the American Revolution. Eventually Sophie makes friends who also like to direct and act in movies. The Sophie series is also part of the Faithgirlz series.
All of these series are available at my library ( not really, but they are through other library loan) and they there are numerous used versions online or even Kindle versions if that is your daughter’s preferred way to read. Happy Summer reading. What is on your girl’s reading list?