What I love most about reading is that books were always a place I could get lost in to help me navigate whatever I was going through in my life at the time. As a young girl, I would often read so that I would know that the struggles or issues that I was dealing with were normal and that I wasn’t the only one.
Check out this list of books for tween girls. During such a tough time in their lives, sometimes a good book, from the POV of a character who may be dealing with the same thing can really help one deal with this challenging time in their lives. These books feature a variety of stories that have strong female protagonists as well as ones that cover issues that so many girls face: from body image to negative attention from boys.
If anyone tried to determine the most common rite of passage for preteen girls in North America, a girl’s first reading of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret would rank near the top of the list. Judy Blume and her character Margaret Simon were the first to say out loud (and in a book even) that it is normal for girls to wonder when they are ever going to fill out their training bras. Puberty is a curious and annoying time. Girls’ bodies begin to do freakish things–or, as in Margaret’s case, they don’t do freakish things nearly as fast as girls wish they would. Adolescents are often so relieved to discover that someone understands their body-angst that they miss one of the book’s deeper explorations: a young person’s relationship with God. Margaret has a very private relationship with God, and it’s only after she moves to New Jersey and hangs out with a new friend that she discovers that it might be weird to talk to God without a priest or a rabbi to mediate. Margaret just wants to fit in! Who is God, and where is He when she needs Him? She begins to look into the cups of her training bra for answers
You’ll find answers to questions about your changing body, from hair care to healthy eating, bad breath to bras, periods to pimples, and everything in between. Once you feel comfortable with what’s happening, you’ll be ready to move on to The Care & Keeping of You 2!
Written by the author of the To All The Boys I Loved Before trilogy. Her book The Summer I Turned Pretty is about a special “wonderful and terrible” summer where main character Belly’s brother’s friends, who were just boys before, are no longer that. In fact, they become much more.
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell combines feminist heroism energy with an homage to nature. It follows a girl named Karana who is alone with her a dog as a companion and must work to fight for her survival. Over 18 years, she “forages for food, builds weapons to fight predators, clothes herself in a cormorant feathered skirt, and finds strength and peace in her seclusion.”
Some Kind of Happiness by Claire Legrand is a book that tackles mental health issues through the eyes of a kid named Finley, who has depression and has a lot going on in her day-to-day life. Her one escape is a place called Everwood, “a forest kingdom that exists in the pages of her notebook.”
Maybe He Just Likes You is a book that will hit home with all middle school girls trying to navigate what they should accept in terms of treatment and attention from boys. The description reads: “For seventh-grader Mila, it starts with some boys giving her an unwanted hug on the school blacktop.” It’s the “story of a middle school girl standing up and finding her voice.”
Love of impromptu dance parties, 80’s cartoons, and horizontal life pauses (aka naps); Natasha Brown is a stay at home mom of 4 kids, and wife to one lucky guy! In her spare time, she is co-editor of Grits & Grace, as well as editor for The Mother Hustler Blog and Creative Director for the Mother Hustler podcast.