Book Reviews For Category: Ages 12-14

Children’s books for the early teen years, not yet young adults, but no longer little ones

Searching for Lottie

Search for Lottie - Children's book

Published: 2019
Theme: Holocaust and Family Memories
Best for: 9 and up

“When Charlie asked how many of the people in the photo album had survived the Holocaust, Mom simply looked away.” A down-to-earth children’s book about the importance of sharing and remembering the past.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Waldorf-Aligned

Daughters of Steel

Children's book - Daughters of Steel

Published: 2018
Theme: Fantasy; Courage
Best for: Girls age 11 and up

“I’ve been looking for a way to find out more about my powers, about my destiny. This is the sign I’ve been waiting for, I’m sure of it. This is where I need to go.” She pointed at her rough drawing of the shrine…” A sequel to Sisters of Glass, and every bit as dramatic and compelling. Fantasy genre.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Inspiring for Girls

The Sun is Also a Star

Young Adult Book - The Sun is also a Star

Published: 2018
Best for: mature 12 and up
Theme: Mixed-race Love

“My mother, the pacifist, would kill me dead if she knew what I’d just done. I rescheduled my interview. For a girl. Not even a Korean girl, a black girl. A black girl I don’t really know., …who might not even like me.” Get ready for a ride on the hormones of a couple of teens who fall in love…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Contemporary

The Lacemaker and the Princess

Children's Book - Lacemaker and the Princess

Published: 2007
Theme: Historical Fiction; French Revolution
Best for: 11 and up

“I know how to make needle lace and sew and hem and build a fire and tend it and clean the ashes out. I can make tea and toast and cook a chicken if I have to. I can empty chamber post and scrub floors…” This very well-written historical fiction about the French Revolution is based on a true incident…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Inspiring for Girls, Waldorf-Aligned

The Night Diary

Children's Book - Night Diary

Published: 2018
Theme: Historical Fiction, India’s Partition
Best for: 11 and up

“We would go somewhere fresh and new where people were happy. All kinds of people practicing all kinds of religions..[where] nobody would mind that you were Muslim and Papa was Hindu….” This is a no-holds-barred experience of the tragedy that ensued from the Partition in 1947 into India and Pakistan. For 11 and up.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Historical Fiction

Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World

Children's book - Ivy Aberdeen

Published: 2018
Theme: Sexual Preferences
Best for: Girls 11 and up

“In the end, this was about me, not them,” Robin said, tapping her chest. “And the people in my life could either accept that or they could live without me.” Ivy swallowed hard. “Did anyone choose to…well…” “Live without me?” An excellent peek in the confusion that a young gay teen experiences as her preferences begin to emerge…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Contemporary, Inspiring for Girls

Gandhi – My Life is My Message

Gandhi - Graphic Novel

Published: 2013
Theme: Biography
Best for: 10 and up

“We must melt the hearts of the Government with love… Remember, we can only win the opponent over by love, never by hate. Hate is the subtlest form of violence. Hatred injures the hater, never the hated.” This very thorough biography of Gandhi in graphic novel form is a pleasure to read.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Biography, Contemporary, Graphic Novel, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

Nowhere Boy

nowhere boy

Published: 2018
Theme: Moral Courage; Refugees
Best for: 10 and up

“Ahmed–he had a name, Max reminded himself–was just a boy, a boy who liked soccer and comic book heroes. He had lost his parents, he was alone, and he seemed far more frightened than dangerous.” All I can say is – read this to crack open your heart with compassion for the plight of refugees.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Contemporary

My Family Divided

Children's Book - My family divided

Published: 2018
Theme: Immigration and Survival
Best for: 14 and up

“Behind every one of the headlines on deportation there is a family. Innocent children. True stories that are rarely told. At last, I found the courage to tell you mine.” This is best for parents and children to discuss how to deal with the current inhumane immigration policies, and realize the impact on children.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Contemporary

A Calf Named Brian Higgins

Calf Named Brian Higgins - Children's book

Published: 2019
Theme: Adventure in Rural Kenya
Best for: 12 to 14

“Yeah, no one here has food allergies.” Hannah’s eyes shifted and narrowed. How is that possible? We’re worried about what food to let in our schools and here they’re worried about having food at all.” In this semi-fictional children’s book, we are inspired to extend ourselves to other cultures, to learn more about them, and to help when we can

Posted in Ages 12-14, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary

The Griffin’s Feather

Children's book - The Griffin's Feather

Published: 2018
Theme: Protection of Endangered Species
Best for: 9 to 12

“This story is for all who have the courage to protect instead of dominate, to save instead of plunder, and to preserve instead of destroy.” A sequel to Dragon Rider, this action-packed adventure with fantasy animals, is all about protecting all living beings.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Waldorf-Aligned

Heartseeker

Children's book - Heartseeker

Published: 2018
Theme: Truth and Lies
Best for: 11 and up

A lie is just a wall round the truth. Could be that it’s built strong like a wall, or it could be built out of something that’ll collapse. But no matter what it’s made of, the truth is always going to want to get out. A compelling and dramatic children’s book about truth and lies. Who do you trust?

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12

The Parker Inheritance

Parker Inheritance - Children's Book

Published: 2018
Theme: Overcoming Discrimination
Best for: 9 and up

“It wasn’t surprising that Siobhan Washington became a librarian. She grew up surrounded by books, spending just as much time in her school library as she did on the tennis courts. ” This authentic peek back in time to the struggles of African-Americans to be accepted is well-done, written in the form of a puzzle-solving adventure.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Historical Fiction

Sisters of Glass

Children's Book: Sisters of Glass

Published: 2017
Theme: Courage, Fantasy
Best for: girls 11 and up

“We will rise. We will not, cannot, be controlled through fear or hatred, for we have hope. Those who greedily hoard their power will find it slips through their fingers like sand. We are free.” This is a very dramatic fantasy, with two fabulous heroines leading us to right some wrongs…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Contemporary, Inspiring for Girls

The Orphan Band of Springdale

Children's book - orphan band

Published: 2018
Theme: Courage, Overcoming Differences
Best for: 11 and up

“Her father had a phrase for the way the sun catches things out against the darkness of a coming storm: the clear light of trouble, he called it.” This excellent historical fiction is a timely addition to educating children about the dangers of xenophobism…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

The Not-So-Boring Letters of Private Nobody

Historical Fiction - Private Nobody

Published: 2018
Theme: Unglorious War
Best for: 11-13

“He wasn’t sure why Ella had lied about texting her mom. All he knew was that she wasn’t the girl he’d thought she was. She was the girl who did magic tricks and listened to Mozart.” Great historical fiction children’s book, featuring two very likeable 7th graders, who end up liking each other…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Historical Fiction

The Sky at Our Feet

Children's book - Sky at our Feet

Published: 2018
Theme: Bravery
Best for: 10 and up

“I’m terrified to see my mother being taken away. I want to pull her out of there, and hold her hand as we run back to our apartment. I don’t do any of that. I’m sacred and angry and sad.” From beginning to end, this adventure in New York City brings us to see the immense courage of immigrant families under threat.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Waldorf-Aligned

Wolf Hollow

Children's book - Wolf Hollow

Published: 2016
Theme: Defending the Truth
Best for: 12 and up

“The year I turned twelve, I learned that what I said and what I did mattered. So much, sometimes, that I wasn’t sure I wanted such a burden. But I took it anyway…” A worthy piece of literature for young readers, somewhat a milder version of Kill a Mockingbird, but with less brutality and perhaps more heart.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Contemporary, Waldorf-Aligned

Ahimsa

Children's Book - Ahimsa

Published: 2017
Theme: India’s Independence fight
Best for: 12 and up

“Ma handed Anjali one of the two prasad trays as they headed into the hall. Anjali gave a ladoo to her father and bowed to him in pranaam. He raised his hand over her head to bless her…” We journey to a village in India during the struggle for independence, and live with freedom fighters, including a young girl and her mother…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Contemporary, Historical Fiction

The Inquisitor’s Tale

Children's Book - Inquisitor's Tale

Published: 2016
Theme: Religious Tolerance
Best for: 12 and up

“Louis of France is not yet thirty, and already he is the greatest king in Europe. His armies have never been defeated. This war is different… He is fighting three children. And their dog.” I don’t know how he pulled it off, but along with the historical description, Gidwitz adds contemporary outrage, and humor as well, giving perspective on the bizarre behavior of the human race!

Posted in Ages 12-14, Contemporary, Historical Fiction

The Lost Island

Children's Book - The Lost Island

Published: 2006
Theme: Adventure
Best for: 11 and up

“This adventure really began on early spring morning when I was fourteen years old. I remember it all so clearly, from the moment I stepped out into the still dark yard and went to unlock the stable door.” Written like a page out of the Celtic past, the adventures of two young lads searching for their dad on a lost island is exquisitely crafted…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary, Waldorf-Aligned

Threads

Children's Book - Threads

Published: 2016
Theme: Child Labor, Doing Good
Best for: 12 and up

“The sounds of the sewing machines that masked the constant grumbling of my belly would surely mask the sound of ripping paper. The guard now had his head tilted back, his eyes shut…” This recently-published children’s book takes on child labor directly and dramatically, and how one person can make a difference for others.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Contemporary

The Hired Girl

Hired Girl - Historical Fiction Children's Book

Published: 2015
Theme: Historical Fiction Coming of Age
Best for: 12 – 14

“I have escaped! I have achieved the first stage of my emancipation! In a little while I will go on to Baltimore–and from thence I will begin my new life.” This beautifully written historical fiction children’s book is quite hard to put down.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Biography, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Inspiring for Girls

The Lions of Little Rock

Children's Book - Lions of Little Rock

Published: 2012
Theme: Civil Rights
Best for: 11 to 14

“I think a friend is someone who helps you change for the better. And whether you see them once a day or once a year, if it’s a true friend, it doesn’t matter.” This is a compelling and important book for today’s world, and yet, it was painful to read, because I wished none of it were true…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

Zia

Zia - Children's Book

Published: 1976
Theme: Native American tragedy
Best for: 12 and up

“Misson Santa Barbara, where the Padres were taking us, was near the Island of the Blue Dolphins…Perhaps if I went there, I could find one who would help me reach the island and bring Karana back.” A wonderful work of historical fiction, this children’s book is a sequel to Island of Blue Dolphins, and also offers a chilling look at the treatment of Native Americans by missions.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Contemporary, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

The Children of the King

Children of the King - Children's book

Published: 2014
Theme: Bravery
Best for: 14 and older

“We’d never been through a war, so we didn’t know what war was like. We thought it would be an adventure. Later of course, we realized the truth: that war is almost the opposite to an adventure…” This is a complex, serious book about a very serious topic: war. It asks the question, What is bravery? What does it take to show one’s bravery?…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Contemporary, Historical Fiction

The Best Man

Children's Book - The Best Man

Published: 2016
Theme: Middle-school life
Best for: 11 and up

“We all need goals,” he said. “Here’s one: Stay away from people who don’t know who they are but want you to be just like them. People who’ll want to label you. People who’ll try to write their fears on your face.” This terrific, humorous middle-school story covers bullying, teachers, cliques, change, parental divorce, and gender identity, just to name a few…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Contemporary

Ghost Hawk

Historical Fiction Children's Book: Ghost Hawk

Published: 2013
Theme: Injustice
Best for: 11 and up

“To make a tomahawk for your son, you needed the stone blade, and the wooden shaft, and time. In my father’s day, there was still time…” I couldn’t put this historical fiction book down. From start to sad ending, the trauma of the battle for land in early America is a compelling read…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Appeals to Boys, Historical Fiction, Waldorf-Aligned

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life

Jeremy Fink- Children's Book

Published: 2011
Theme: Meaning of Life
Best for: 11 to 13

“After five years, he has sent me a message with one instruction, to open this box on my thirteenth birthday. Somehow, no matter how impossible it might seem, I am going to do exactly that.” If you want an uplifting, somewhat philosophical children’s book, for a child who is wondering about the meaning of life, this is it…

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Contemporary

Wonder

Children's Book: Wonder

Published: 2012
Theme: Accepting Differences
Best for: 11 and up

“I’m kind of used to how I look by now. I know how to pretend I don’t see the faces people make. We’ve all gotten pretty good at that sort of thing: me, Mom and Dad, Via. Actually, I take that back: Via’s not so good at it.” Let’s get right to the heart of the matter: this is a stunning, daring, heart-opening children’s book.

Posted in Ages 12-14, Ages 9-12, Contemporary
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