Read On: Books for Ages 6-12


Before I was a writer, I was a reader. Reading is a beautiful way to escape. As adults, we need to escape from our lives, our worries, and our stress. Kids need this, too.

Encouraging your children to read is a powerful way for them to grow. To relax and to learn. The more you read, the more you want to read.

Reading to your children from the time they are born and throughout toddlerhood, promotes the want and the need for them to read on their own.

Reading with your child is a delight. Spending a quiet moment reading, laughing, and bonding is enriching both of you. And these are moments you will miss someday, so embrace them.

Because the day they want to read a book to themselves is a day that will come, and a day to celebrate!

Here is a list of old and new, picture books, easy readers, early readers, and middle-grade novels your child, age 6-12, will enjoy.

A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr., and the Speech That Inspired a Nation, written by Barry Wittenstein and beautifully illustrated by Jerry Pinkney, is an artistic book focusing on the speech and how he came to write it. This multi-award-winning book shows the writing process and how the words became a famous speech.

Although this is a picture book, it will encourage kids of all ages, especially 7-10.

The Box Turtle, a picture book written and illustrated by Vanessa Roeder, is a sweet story about finding the confidence to be yourself and finding acceptance in your own skin–or shell! This book is perfect for your six-year old, and younger kids, and is important for children to read because it touches on bullying and the joy of friendship.

My favorite book as a young girl took me away from what I believed a boring life and led me to a world of mischief. A world I would not dare attempt myself. It was fun reading about all the crazy things Pippi got herself in, and out of, and had me giggling with joy.

I think all kids should have a little Pippi in their life, don’t you?

Pippi Longstocking, written by Astrid Lindgren and illustrated by Louis S. Glanzman, is a classic novel about the little girl with crazy red pigtails and a flair for the outrageous. Pippi is an oldie but a goodie, and every child should read.

Cupcake Diaries Series, written by Coco Simon and published by Simon & Schuster, is an amusing series for an 8-12-year old. There are 32 books in the tween series so far, but the latest will go on sale in May.

When Katie’s best friend, Callie leaves her for a clique called the Popular Girls Club on the first day of school, Katie decides to find a group that she can join to help cope through middle school.

Meet Yasmin! is written by Saadia Faruqi and illustrated by Hatem Aly. This is a series for ages 6-10. Yasmin is a spunky second grader always on the lookout for adventurous ways to solve the problems that come her way, using her oversized imagination. Yasmin is a creative thinker and curious explorer. This series will delight and inspire readers to read about this multi-generational Pakistani-American family.

Ivy & Bean, an 11-book series published by Chronicle Books, is written by Annie Barrows and illustrated by Sophie Blackall. A great beginner’s series about friendship for age 6-10. This delightful tale is a multiple award-winning series about making a new friend, learning and appreciating differences, and sharing an adventure.

Seven-year-old Bean finds unexpected support and friendship from Ivy, the new neighbor, who is far less annoying than Bean first suspected.

Sweeping of the Heart, written by Kevin Henkes, a two-time Newbery winner, is for ages 8-12 and deals with loss, loniliness, and friendship in the seventh grade. If your child likes Lauren Will, Kate DiCamillo, and Pam Munoz Ryan—this will also be a win.

The Bad Guys series is written and illustrated by Aaron Blabey and is full of snappy dialogue and cheeky humor. The fun graphic novels are perfect for a 7-11-year-old.

This series about “bad guys” who want to be good is ideal for readers of Dog Man and Captain Underpants. Deemed the “baddest bunch of do-gooders in town” — Mr. Wolf, Mr. Piranha, Mr. Snake, and Mr. Shark are the fun main characters in The Bad Guy series.

Helper Hounds is written by Caryn Rivadeneira and illustrated by Priscilla Alpaugh. An early chapter book series for ages 6-9 is about emotional support dogs who help kids. These big-hearted stories are told from the point-of-view of these heroes with four legs and wet noses so that young readers can easily relate to the story.

Each sweet book focuses on a different emotional support dog and how the dog helps kids process emotional experiences and overcome obstacles. This “doggone encouraging” series helps kids who deal with bullying, grief, making new friends, and facing their fears.

King & Kayla, written by Dori Hillestad Butler, is an easy reader chapter book series for age 6-8. The main character is about a lovable, misunderstood Golden Retriever who helps his human girl solve mysteries.

The Night Diary, by Veera Hiranandani, for ages 12+, is beautifully written and will give your child the best kind of chills. A 2019 Newbery Honor book, this novel uses letters to herself in her diary to tell the story. Nisha, a half-Muslim, half-Hindi girl, experiences the partition of India and uses courage and family to teach your child about the history of the world.

The Girl who Drank the Moon, written in 2016 by Kelly Barnhill, is a coming-of-age story and a New York Times Bestseller. This award-winning story for your 12-year-old has twists and turns, fantasy, witches, and volcanos.  But it also has a lot of heart.

Up for Air, written by Laurie Morrison, tackles multiple struggles young people deal with in the transition to teenagerhood. This story about self-worth is heartwarming and relatable.

Annabelle loves swimming but struggles with learning. She hates studying and taking tests and feels alive in the pool. To make things worse, her best friends seem to be changing and becoming distant over the summer.

Track Series is a four-book series written by Jason Reynolds, for sports-loving 12-year-olds. But you don’t have to love sports to love these fast-paced books because the characters will pull you in. The stories explore the lives of four different kids on a track team. Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and Lu have various issues from having a parent in prison to an ill parent to losing a parent in death and being an albino.

Don’t forget the Hardy Boys and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. There are so many books. So, so many.

No matter your child’s age, you can find many options to help your kids fall in love with reading. The more kids read, the more they will love diving into new worlds–real or fiction. Books are a perfect escape for kids. And a great way to get the screen out of their face!

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Hi, I'm Dedra!! I am a late-in-life writer trying to fulfill a lifelong dream and emerge into the kidlit world. I am writing, editing, and querying while learning patience and failing forward. I hope to be a published children's book author with my picture books and YA novel. I graduated with a degree in Journalism from the UTA in 1988, but because of raising three beautiful children and life in general, I started writing professionally in 2014. My husband of 34 years and I raised our children in China Spring, right outside of Waco. Even though my children are all in their late twenties, all out of college, and all have careers (yay!!!), I am still a mother in their daily life—mothering, loving, worrying, and praying never stop—no matter how old they are. I am proud to be a late-in-life writer--journalist, freelancer, blogger, and magazine contributor. My work includes online and print magazines, including Modern Texas Living, Unread Magazine, Culture Trip, Everything Home Magazine, The Groove, The Outfitter, Victoria Lee Magazine, Holl and Lane Magazine, and Taylor Magazine. My (other) absolute favorite thing to write about is our ever-growing and evolving, small-urban town, Waco. I am thrilled to be part of Waco Moms and write about motherhood and Waco! I also write about life around me to enlighten, entertain, and make people think. If I make them smile, that's a bonus! You can read my blog at