Summer reading list for a 10-year-old

Last week, I shared the summer reading list for our 7-year-old son. It’s a healthy blend of pure fun with a sprinkling of challenge, so I thought it fitting I do the same for our oldest, age 10.

Tate is a voracious reader who also gets distracted by summertime fun (as well she should sometimes, you know?). She’ll go in fits and spurts of nonstop reading for a week, barely eating her lunch, followed by two weeks of nothing but duct tape crafts and tree climbing.

This reading list reflects her personality. A few sweeping, epic adventures along with some short, easy reads.

Let’s get right to it, shall we? And like Reed’s list, you’ll find a free download at the end of this post—feel free to print and distribute!

10-year-old girl, slightly advanced reading level

Recent favorites are the Harry Potter series, the Percy Jackson series, May B., The Giver, and Greenglass House. And yep, this list works for boys and girls.

penderwicksThe Penderwicks (any in the series)

• author: Jeanne Birdsall
find it online

We read the first book together a few years ago, so I think she’ll like to dig deeper in the series. “This summer the Penderwick sisters have a wonderful surprise: a holiday on the grounds of a beautiful estate called Arundel. Soon they are busy discovering the summertime magic of Arundel’s sprawling gardens, treasure-filled attic, tame rabbits, and the cook who makes the best gingerbread in Massachusetts. But the best discovery of all is Jeffrey Tifton, son of Arundel’s owner, who quickly proves to be the perfect companion for their adventures.”


 

missmaloneThe Mighty Miss Malone

• author: Christopher Paul Curtis
find it online

“‘We are a family on a journey to a place called wonderful’ is the motto of Deza Malone’s family. Deza is the smartest girl in her class in Gary, Indiana, singled out by teachers for a special path in life. But the Great Depression has hit Gary hard, and there are no jobs for black men. When her beloved father leaves to find work, Deza, Mother, and her older brother Jimmie go in search of him, and end up in a Hooverville outside Flint, Michigan.”


 

girlcouldflyThe Girl Who Could Fly

• author: Victoria Forester
find it online

“You just can’t keep a good girl down . . . unless you use the proper methods. Piper McCloud can fly. Just like that. Problem is, the good folk of Lowland County are afraid of Piper. And her ma’s at her wit’s end. So it seems only fitting that she leave her parents’ farm to attend a top-secret, maximum-security school for kids with exceptional abilities.”


 

hootHoot

• author: Carl Hiaasen
find it online

“Roy Eberhardt is the new kid–again. This time around it’s Trace Middle School in humid Coconut Grove, Florida. But it’s still the same old routine: table by himself at lunch, no real friends, and thick-headed bullies like Dana Matherson pushing him around. But if it wasn’t for Dana Matherson mashing his face against the school bus window that one day, he might never have seen the tow-headed running boy. And if he had never seen the running boy, he might never have met tall, tough, bully-beating Beatrice. And if he had never met Beatrice, he might never have discovered the burrowing owls living in the lot on the corner of East Oriole Avenue. And if he had never discovered the owls, he probably would have missed out on the adventure of a lifetime.”


 

rainreignRain Reign

• author: Ann M. Martin
find it online

“Rose Howard is obsessed with homonyms. She’s thrilled that her own name is a homonym, and she purposely gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms. …When a storm hits their rural town, rivers overflow, the roads are flooded, and Rain goes missing. Now Rose has to find her dog, even if it means leaving her routines and safe places to search.”


 

wildwoodWildwood (any in the series)

• author: Colin Meloy
find it online

“Prue and her friend Curtis uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval—a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. And what begins as a rescue mission becomes something much greater as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.” (Bonus: it’s set in Portland, Oregon!)


 

greengablesAnne of Green Gables (any in the series)

• author: L.M. Montgomery
find it online

“When Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert of Green Gables, Prince Edward Island, send for a boy orphan to help them out at the farm, they are in no way prepared for the error that will change their lives. The mistake takes the shape of Anne Shirley, a redheaded 11-year-old girl who can talk anyone under the table. Fortunately, her sunny nature and quirky imagination quickly win over her reluctant foster parents. Anne’s feisty spirit soon draws many friends–and much trouble–her way.” Also, LOVE the look of this box set.


 

wonderWonder

• author: R.J. Palacio
find it online

Approximately 17 thousand people have told me I’d love this book, so I’ll give it a shot this summer. “August Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.”


 

westinggameThe Westing Game

• author: Ellen Raskin
find it online

One of my all-time favorite childhood books, so I cannot wait to introduce this one to Tate. “A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing’s will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger—and a possible murderer—to inherit his vast fortune, on things for sure: Sam Westing may be dead…but that won’t stop him from playing one last game.”


 

summerofmonkeysSummer of the Monkeys

• author: Wilson Rawls
find it online

“The last thing a fourteen-year-old boy expects to find along an old Ozark river bottom is a tree full of monkeys. Jay Berry Lee’s grandpa had an explanation, of course–as he did for most things. The monkeys had escaped from a traveling circus, and there was a handsome reward in store for anyone who could catch them. Grandpa said there wasn’t any animal that couldn’t be caught somehow, and Jay Berry started out believing him.”


 

lucasbiggsSaving Lucas Biggs

• author: Marisa de los Santos
find it online

“Thirteen-year-old Margaret knows her father is innocent, but that doesn’t stop the cruel Judge Biggs from sentencing him to death. Margaret is determined to save her dad, even if it means using her family’s secret—and forbidden—ability to time travel.”


 

dayasemilyAnother Day as Emily

• author: Eileen Spinelli
find it online

“Eleven-year-old Suzy just can’t win. Her brother is a local hero for calling 911 after seeing their elderly neighbor collapse, and only her best friend was able to win a role in the play they both auditioned for. Feeling cast aside from all angles, Suzy sees a kindred spirit in Emily Dickinson, the subject of her summer project.”


 

benedict

Mysterious Benedict Society (any in the series)

• author: Trenton Lee Stewart
find it online

Tate read the first one a few years ago, and loved it. “‘Are you a gifted child looking for special opportunities?’ When this peculiar ad appears in the newspaper, dozens of children enroll to take a series of mysterious, mind-bending tests. (And you, dear reader, can test your wits right alongside them.) But in the end just four very special children will succeed. Their challenge: to go on a secret mission that only the most intelligent and resourceful children could complete.”


 

hobbitThe Hobbit

• author: J.R.R. Tolkein
find it online

Tate started this on our travels, but set it down when she got bogged down by details. Perhaps she’ll try again? We’ll see. “Bilbo Baggins is a hobbit who enjoys a comfortable, unambitious life, rarely traveling any farther than his pantry or cellar. But his contentment is disturbed when the wizard Gandalf and a company of dwarves arrive on his doorstep one day to whisk him away on an adventure.”


 

mistermaxMister Max: The Book of Secrets (any in the series)

• author: Cynthia Voigt
find it online

The whole series looks intriguing; she’s already read the first one. “Someone is breaking windows and setting fires in the old city, but the shopkeepers won’t say a word about the culprits. …When the mayor begs for help, Max agrees to take the case, putting himself in grave danger.”


 

angelsfellBonus:
The Day the Angels Fell

• author: Shawn Smucker
find it online

This is our family’s current read-aloud, and all five of us are transfixed (if not a little spooked out at times). So, so good. “When a summer thunderstorm drives 12-year-old Samuel Chambers into a local antique shop, he finds himself watching through a crack in the door as three old fortune tellers from a visiting fair scratch a message onto the surface of a table: ‘Find the Tree of Life.’ Tragedy strikes his family less than 24 hours later, and as those words echo in his mind he realizes that Finding the Tree of Life is his only hope.”


 

Like her brother, Tate’s goal is to read six books (though they both can easily read ten with a bit of focus). When she meets her goal, we’ll do something fun together.

A solid summer reading list for 10-12 year-olds.

Here’s the free PDF download of the summer reading checklist!

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29 Comments

  1. Katy

    Thank you for again sharing your list.Our daughters seem to have similar tastes in books. Have a great summer!

  2. kariane

    I remember reading and love the Anne of Green Gables series when I was about that age, as well as The Hobbit followed by the Lord of the Rings books. I chain read them both in the same summer, and I can still remember the joy and thrills of reading through these two very different series. I haven’t read many of the other books on your list, but I jotted them down to keep the titles on file for when my boys are a bit older. Thank you for sharing!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      What a great summer that must have been! And you’re welcome. 🙂

  3. Carrie M

    The PDF link is not working for me. Love the list! My 11 year old boy would love a lot of these, thanks for sharing!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Sorry about that—should be working now!

  4. Caroline Starr Rose

    So happy to hear Tate is a May B. fan! That girl is extra special to me, and it’s still amazing to realize other readers know and love her, too.

    A funny Mighty Miss Malone / Christopher Paul Curtis story: I happened to be at a Random House dinner (as a very, very, very junior author) a few months after Miss Malone came out and ran into CPC. I’d been a fan forever and had shared his books with countless students over the years. So to see him there, well, I just said the first thing I thought of, which was “I love you! I love you!” I was beyond embarrassed, but he was very kind. Let’s just say I went home and practiced saying “I love your work” over and over for future run ins like this. 😉

    • Jess Townes

      I love this story! It sounds like something I would do. Also, I just finished reading Blue Birds and it was so lovely. You have a beautiful narrative voice.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      I’ve had similar stories with fellow authors, accidentally gushing before I knew what to do with myself. 😉

      Can’t wait for your next book!

  5. Jess Townes

    I can’t wait to share this list with my ten-year-old! He loved several of the books listed here and is always looking for more recommendations. Rain, Reign was my favorite chapter book for children that I read last year, it’s a beautiful story. Please thank Tate for her recommendations from us! Here are a few recommendations from my son that he shared on my blog a couple of months ago if you’d like to share with Tate: http://www.onthisnewmorning.com/2015/03/ten-books-for-ten-year-olds-recommended.html?m=1

  6. Meggan D.

    Love this list!! Seems like the link for the free download isn’t working.

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      It should work now!

  7. Carrie

    I have to comment because I loved The Westing Game growing up, and recently found it in storage at my parents and brought it home for my kids (12 and 8). Instilling my love of books in them is at the top of my parenting priorities. Thanks for this great list! 🙂

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Isn’t that one of the best books ever? That and A Wrinkle in Time are the first books that I remember staying with me for weeks afterwards.

      • Amy N.

        Me too! 1. Wrinkle in Time, 2. Westing Game, and 3. The Dark is Rising. (Susan Cooper). Loved the list for my 11 year old daughter, and for myself.

  8. Shelly

    What a great list!! I can not get the PDF to work either. Any tips? Thanks so much!

    • Tsh Oxenreider

      Fixed the PDF link!

  9. Jessica in Canada

    Your daughter, must, must read the Booky series! The first one is “That Scatterbrain, Booky”.

  10. Wendy

    Thanks for sharing your list! Looks like some great books for our family to read. We have been diving into The 39 Clues series. It is put out by Scholastic by a series of different authors. They travel all of the world looking for clues. There are many close calls in their adventures. We like to listen to the audio books on our way to school.

  11. Alissa

    I want to read this list myself!

  12. Sharon

    This is a great list, thank you! Will add some of these to my 10 year old’s list for the summer – she’s quickly making her way through her list!

  13. Melissa

    LOVE these books at our house. Curious – have you all read Wildwood? Love the story.
    My 11 year old trying reading it last year, but the vocabulary was hard for her – which is unusual for her. There were some words I didn’t even know!! Hello dictionary. We ended up putting it away for awhile.
    Maybe we should try it again?

  14. Tara Schiller

    So many of these books were favorites of my kids, but there are some on the list I hadn’t heard of. Perfect timing as my son is 10 and we’re trying to expand on his exclusive consumption of graphic novels. Thanks for sharing.
    -Tara

  15. Katy

    I showed the list to my daughter and she picked 7 to read this summer, there were a few that she had been wanting to read and has read. Thanks again!

  16. Crystal Friedl

    What a great list! I want to read these books and my daughter is only 2 and a half. Maybe I’ll just get a head start reading some of them that I haven’t already read so that we can share them when she is older. 😀

  17. Leah

    Great list! Glad to see a couple we haven’t read. We just finished the 4th Penderwick book (read them all as read-alouds to all 3 girls). We all loved them so much!

  18. Holly

    Thanks for the list! My gal is a big reader (we’re a family of nerds) and I’m glad to have some recs to guide her choices this summer. And seeing a few of our faves on the list gives me confidence that we’ll dig many of the rest!

  19. Nicole Bennett

    oooh, I loved The Westing Game! I had forgotten about that one.

  20. Erika

    What age did you start summer reading lists? My 4.5 year old enjoys books and we’re transitioning into learning sight words from basic phonics.

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