(Photo credit: Franklin Park Library via Flickr.com)

Wow.  I asked for suggestions for good books for a ten-year-old boy, and you delivered.  Readers, parents and writers contributed dozens of recommendations that can keep my son (and yours) engaged in stories for a long time.  Thank you!

You can find many of these recommendations in the comments to the original post from two weeks ago.   However, I also received numerous suggestions via email and Facebook posts, and I want to share those with you, too.  I’ve compiled a list of the recommendations below and added a little commentary here and there.  Now you can add something to your child’s Christmas or Hanukkah list that’s not a toy, not electronic (well, unless it’s an e-book) and will take his imagination on a different kind of adventure.

But what about the girls?  In my original post, I sought suggestions for reading material for my own son–hence the bias toward male-oriented reading material.  Of course, many of the books below will appeal to the girls in your life, too.  But I think it’s safe to say that the list does exclude some excellent books that would hold particular appeal for girls.

So now that we’ve taken care of the boys, what books would you recommend for ten-year-old girls?  What great books do you think work for both boys and girls of that age?  Please share your favorites in the comments below.

On to the recommendations for boys.  Please note that I have left a few recommended books off of the list.  When I looked into them, there were some I just didn’t feel I could include in a post about reading material for ten-year-olds.  That doesn’t mean that the excluded books aren’t good for an older audience.

The Recommendations

First, these books received multiple recommendations

  • The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin.
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events (series), by Lemony Snicket
  • Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling
  • The Dark is Rising (series), by Susan Cooper
  • A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle

With regard to Harry Potter, all I can say is, “Of course.”  And who doesn’t like A Wrinkle in Time?  I couldn’t persuade “Jack” to read past the first few pages of A Series of Unfortunate Events, but that doesn’t mean your child shouldn’t give it a try.

Authors who write kids’ fiction related to sports

  • Matt Christopher
  • Mike Lupica
  • Rich Wallace

Jack loves sports, especially soccer.  He’ll read a sports page in the newspaper, but not fiction about sports.  Other kids adore sports stories.  You know your kid best.

The Big Category: Adventure & Fantasy series

  • The Chronicles of Prydain, by Lloyd Alexander (Newbery winner; fantasy plus humor)
  • Westmark, by Lloyd Alexander (historical fantasy)
  • Underland Chronicles, by Suzanne Collins (author of The Hunger Games)
  • The Last Apprentice/Wardstone Chronicles, by Joseph Delaney
  • Ranger’s Apprentice, by John Flanagan (what Jack is reading now; he likes it, but isn’t riveted)
  • Warriors, by Erin Hunter (warrior cats)
  • Redwall, by Brian Jacques (the series Jack loved)
  • Guardians of Ga’Hoole, by Kathryn Lasky (evil owls; Goodreads says it’s “reminiscent of Redwall”)
  • Curse of the Jolly Stone, by Iain Lawrence
  • Inheritance, by Christopher Paolini
  • His Dark Materials, by Philip Pullman (You may be more familiar with the first title in this series, The Golden Compass.  I read this trilogy years ago and loved it.  However, I’m not sure I’d recommend it for a ten-year-old, though I wouldn’t forbid Jack from reading it if he pulled it off the shelf and asked.)
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan
  • 39 Clues, by multiple authors


(Yes, I know that covers a lot of ground)

  • The Strange Case of Origami Yoda and Darth Paper Strikes Back, by Tom Angleberger (middle-grade humor; Jack loved them)
  • Flush, by Carl Hiaasen
  • Hoot, by Carl Hiaasen
  • Alex Rider (series), by Anthony Horowitz (spy thriller)
  • The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster
  • The View from Saturday, by E.L. Konigsburg (author of The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler)
  • Witch and Wizard, by James Patterson (dystopian)
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O’Brien
  • Holes, by Louis Sachar
  • Call It Courage, by Armstrong Sperry (Newbury winner about a boy surviving on an island alone)

In the “Anything She Writes” Category

  • Madeleine L’Engle

In Their Own Category

  • The Weenies books by David Lubar (Humor/fantasy/horror for kids.  You’ll have to check them out for yourself.)

The Classics

  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, by Mark Twain
  • The Hardy Boys (series)

The Kitchen Sink

  • Graphic novels, especially to engage reluctant readers
  • Nonfiction, especially sports biographies or history

Websites to Visit for Even More Info

Whew.  Thanks so much for your help, everyone.  Let’s keep those kids reading (and please shop at your local indie bookstore when you can).

Now, that takes care of the boys.  What recommendations have you got for the girls?

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