written for ages 9-12


Boy nearly dies after bee attack

Jennifer Minicus | 26 Jun 2015
written for ages 9-12 | recommended
Native Americans befriend a young settler.


The New York Times compared this book to the Narnia series

Jennifer Minicus | 8 Jun 2015
written for ages 9-12 | recommended with reservations
No lion, no wardrobe and no allegory.


Scientists discover that aliens cause climate change

Jennifer Minicus | 2 Jun 2015
written for ages 9-12 | acceptable
Government and big business are behind the cover-up.


This spooky story has a more adult perspective

Jane Fagan | 28 May 2015
written for ages 9-12 | not recommended
A watered-down horror story aimed at children.


Parents lose boy overseas

Tim Golden | 5 May 2015
written for ages 9-12 | recommended
Peter makes the most of a tough situation.


Affirmation empowers

Jennifer Minicus | 1 May 2015
written for ages 9-12 | highly recommended
A young elf proves that compassion is stronger than any weapon.


Banished to Siberia

Jennifer Minicus | 13 Apr 2015
written for ages 9-12 | recommended
Two young children set out to find their exiled parents.


Baseball and poetry

Jennifer Minicus | 16 Mar 2015
written for ages 9-12 | acceptable
House Jackson loves to pitch.


Cat helps boy overcome dyslexia

Jennifer Minicus | 23 Feb 2015
written for ages 9-12 | recommended
Abby and Ben love the misfit animals in their grandfather's barn.


Fighting the war at home

Jennifer Minicus | 27 Jan 2015
written for ages 9-12 | highly recommended
Young Ike dreams of joining the army.


Never trust a dictator

Jennifer Minicus | 15 Jan 2015
written for ages 9-12 | recommended
Not even a "benevolent" one.


Authors are noticing Reading Matters

Jennifer Minicus | 3 Jan 2015
written for ages 9-12 | recommended
Writer honors our request for a sequel.


A perfect book for boys who love sports but may not like to read

Jennifer Minicus | 25 Nov 2014
written for ages 9-12 | recommended
"The Captain" tells his story.


Baby gryphon hatches from blue stone

Jennifer Minicus | 19 Nov 2014
written for ages 9-12 | recommended
A simple fantasy story.


An audition for life

Tim Golden | 17 Nov 2014
written for ages 9-12 | recommended
Children travel to a fantasy island to develop life skills.


Optimism and humor

Tim Golden | 10 Nov 2014
written for ages 9-12 | recommended
A fixture on school reading lists.


So-called "modern classic" promotes relativism

Jennifer Minicus | 31 Oct 2014
written for ages 9-12 | not recommended
I will probably take some heat for this review.


Beloved author continues to enchant young readers

Jane Fagan | 30 Oct 2014
written for ages 9-12 | highly recommended
Imaginative characters never go out of style.


Blood is thicker than water

Jennifer Minicus | 22 Oct 2014
written for ages 9-12 | recommended
Ariana is proud of her Afghan heritage.


Master of disguises

Jennifer Minicus | 29 Sep 2014
written for ages 9-12 | highly recommended
Max's reputation for solving mysteries grows.

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Reading Matters is MercatorNet’s blog about children’s literature. Our goal is to enable parents and educators to find quality books for young people. For an explanation of our evaluation system, click here. We welcome reader input and new reviewers. We love comments on the book reviews. Write to us at jennifer.minicus@mercatornet.com.


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 our picks for
2-7 years 13-16 years
7-10 years 15-18 years
9-12 years 18 and over
11-14 years all ages

 our standards
highly recommended: you must read this!
recommended: age-appropriate and entertaining
acceptable: not outstanding but not problematic
some reservations: contains potentially problematic scenes or concepts
not recommended: not appropriate for intended readers


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