Books for Tweens and Teens

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I’ve been collecting books for tweens and teens on *all of the things* for many years now – for the various schools I have worked at and for my own children. I am not a doctor, psychologist or high school teacher (definitely no expert) but between a shelf full of books with *all of the things* and hopefully good communication, I’m going to give the (solo) parenting of teens my best shot.

Books give us the words when we have none or are wanting to ensure we say the right things. Books which deal with being a teen, written by authorities in the area, are a far more reliable source of accurate information than our teens peers or the vast, unfiltered, murky sea of information online. Each year we have a fab lady come to school to do HRE classes with our students and each year her and I swap notes on books we have found which pass ‘our’ criteria (informative, engaging, authentic, research based etc) and below is my list of ‘must-haves’ for the bookshelf of your tween or teen.

PudStar (nearly 12) has all the books on the tween list in her room and while she rarely refers to them at this stage, she knows they are there when she feels like she wants or needs to read to them. With navigating grief and solo parenting for the past two years I have definitely dropped the ball on many of the ‘big conversations’ I was probably intending to have with her (because I was definitely intending handballing Dan the girls when they were teens!) and to be honest at this stage we are ‘big conversationed out’ between counselling, support groups and *life*.

If you have a tween or teen, I can also recommend Rebecca Sparrows ‘The Lighthouse Plan’ – which is an online course designed to help parents and carers navigate these years and form strong bonds with their children/children in their care.

I first gave some of the books below to PudStar with a Biome skincare kit and my favourite deodorant in the world (why did I not know about this dry deodorant business a long time ago?!) so she could start a simple face and body routine with ethical and no-fuss products. Mostly she just uses them to make her side of the bathroom bench look classy – but, like the books, they are there when she wants or needs them.

You’ll notice these books appear ‘female focused’. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – books are books…and books are for all. Publishers make decisions about cover design and content in order to best position their product in a competitive market. Yes I would say that many of these books are aimed squarely at young females – but the information in them is solid and frankly I think these books could/should be read by all young people.  Understanding the way bodies of all persuasions work is information that we should be arming all our young people with. Having said this, please do comment with other book suggestions and I’ll update my list when I’ve checked out your recommendations.

If you are looking for some books for younger children, you absolutely MUST own ‘The Amazing True Story of How Babies Are Made’ for a totally no nonsense look at bodies and reproduction. It’s like an updated version of ‘Where Did I Come From’ and my full review is here. For even younger children I really love the board books ‘Boys Will Be…’  and ‘Girls Are Pretty…’.

‘Girls Are Pretty…’ by Susann Hoffmann

‘Boys Will Be…’ by Susann Hoffmann

Books for Tweens

(please review content for suitability for your child)

‘Girl Stuff  for Girls Aged 8-12’ by Kaz Cooke

‘Good Selfie’ by Turia Pitt

‘Love Your Body’ by Jessica Sanders. Illustrated by Carol Rossetti

‘A Smart Girl’s Guide: Knowing What to Say’ by Patti Kelley Criswell & Angela Martini

‘You Are Awesome’ by Matthew Syed

‘You Are Awesome Journal’ by Matthew Syed

‘KIT Magazine’

‘Teen Breathe Magazine’

‘Find Your Tribe (And Nine Other Things I Wish I’d Known In High School)’ by Rebecca Sparrow

‘The Gutsy Girl’ by Caroline Paul

‘Beautiful Girl’ by Christiane Northrup, M.D. with Kristina Tracy

Books for Teens

(please review content for suitability for your child)

‘Girl Stuff  for Ages 13+’ by Kaz Cooke

‘The ‘S’ Word: A Boy’s Guide to Sex, Puberty and Growing Up’ by James Roy

‘Welcome to Your Period’ by Yumi Stynes & Dr Melissa Kang

‘You Are Awesome’ by Matthew Syed

‘You Are Awesome Journal’ by Matthew Syed

‘KIT Magazine’

‘Teen Breathe Magazine’

‘The Confidence Code for Girls’ by Katty Kay & Claire Shipman

‘Good Selfie’ by Turia Pitt

‘Respect: Everything a Guy Needs to Know About Sex, Love and Consent’ by Inti Chavez Perez

‘Be Brave: Be Your Best Self’ by Teen Breathe

‘What is Consent? Why is it Important and Other Big Questions’ by Louise Spilsbury & Yas Necati

‘Expect Wonderful Things’ by Meredith Gaston

‘101 Moments of Joy and Inspiration’ by Meredith Gaston

‘The Art of Wellbeing’ by Meredith Gaston

‘Ask Me Anything’ by Rebecca Sparrow

‘Find Your Feet’ by Rebecca Sparrow

Finally…one thing PudStar and I did with a group of friends a little while ago was make some of our own skincare products – tweens and teens need to actually shower and I don’t know about yours…

…anyway. So we used some of the books below to make our own lotions, potions and generally darned great smelling things. Raw products were from Biome’s range of DIY ingredients here. We had a second day of making *all of the things* with the cousins and also made soap and beeswax wraps. and everyone smelt pretty amazing.

DIY home and Bath Products

‘The Natural Soapmaking Book for Beginners’ by Kelly Cable

‘101 Easy Homemade Products for Your Skin, Health & Home’ by Jan Berry

‘Beeswax Alchemy’ by Petra Ahnert

‘Adorkable Bubble Bath Crafts’ by Brittanie Pyper

‘Handmade Beauty’ by Juliette Goggin and Abi Righton

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  1. Briony Walker on Sep 25, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Thank you for this awesome list! Just loaded up my Book Depository and will stand by the mail box….

  2. Ruby Nash on Oct 4, 2019 at 1:24 am

    These all look great! I can steal some of these for Christmas! I got them a couple book by Patrick Matthews, Dragon Run and The Boy With the Sword. I think my kids will really enjoy them, they are into fantasy and the like. for his info!

  3. Janice Chilcott on Jul 23, 2020 at 9:05 am

    Thank you Rebecca. This list will be very valuable. Brilliant work and sharing! More power to you for your ongoing, down-to-earth and much valued support to we Teacher-Librarians. Much appreciated.

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