Reads for Super Readers: 9 Books for 8- to 12-Year-Old Bookworms

How do you know if you’re a bookworm? Here’s one test: Do you get super excited when the character in a book you’re reading is reading a book that you’ve read? If you’re not confused by that question, you are very likely a bookworm! I have a special place in my heart (and library) for books that celebrate a love of reading as a core part of both the character and plot development. These books are often filled with references to books the characters love, and, as one librarian told me, can basically serve as a recommended reading list for young people.

Here are nine books that are perfect for bookworms who love to read stories about the joy of reading.

no no 9780307931474 Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

Twelve kids are invited for a sleepover in their town’s brand-new library built by Mr. Lemoncello, who is like the Willy Wonka of books. Adventure, mystery, and humor abound as the kids work to solve various book-related puzzles and riddles that will enable them to be the first one to escape the library. Sonia, 10, says, “This book rocks! I must’ve read it five times, but it never gets old.” Also, check out the second,third, and fourth installments in this series that are just as delightful as the first one.

9780385388450 The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein

Billy is spending the summer at a cabin near a remote island owned by his mom’s colleague, the mysterious Dr. Libris. It seems like a peaceful place, but every time he opens one of the books on Dr. Libris’s bookshelf, something strange happens. As he continues to open new books, he finds himself immersed in an action-packed journey with his favorite storybook characters. Emma, 10, recommends this “amazing book for people who like fairy tales and adventures.”

9780399557552 The Losers Club by Andrew Clements

A new book from the author of Frindle centers on sixth grader Alec who gets in trouble at school because he reads too much. Out of desperation to find time to just read, he forms an after-school club called The Losers Club. He hopes that the name will not attract too many people so he can read in peace. The club starts him on an experience that teaches him even more than the books he reads, if that’s possible. Beck, 10, raves that this book “is awesome and gave me even more book ideas because I want to read the books that Alec loves.”

9780142410370 Matilda by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake

Magical and clever, Matilda is an exceptional young girl whose parents and teachers think she’s just a nuisance. Luckily, she loves to read and her books teach her things that the adults in her life do not. This book is full of humorous pranks and adventures as Matilda discovers how she can use her superpowers to fight against the mean adults. Katie, 10, recommends this book to anyone who values “imagination and creativity.”

9780142426814 The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler

Alice is sent to live with her uncle in his enormous mansion after her father disappears in a shipwreck. His library is off-limits to her, but nothing is more appealing to a reader than a forbidden library. Alice ends up on a wild adventure involving fairies and talking cats and discovers her own hidden talent. Norah, 10, shares, “I recommend this book to people who love Harry Potter and good descriptions.”

9781984837141 Pages & Co.: The Bookwanderers by Anna James, illustrated by Paola Escobar

This is a must-read for fans of series like The Land of Stories, where characters literally fall into their favorite books. Tilly has lived with her grandparents ever since her mom disappeared and has grown up in their bookstore. When she discovers that she has the ability to wander into books and interact with her favorite characters, her life becomes its own story full of plot twists, family secrets, and magic. After finishing this book, Chris shares, “[This is] a great story. It was full of adventures, and I cannot wait to start reading the second book tomorrow.”

9780525646716 Saving Fable by Scott Reintgen

Indira is finally heading to the Protagonist Preparatory School in Fable to learn how to be a more well-rounded character. She has always wanted to be the hero of a story and is disappointed when she’s selected as a side character instead of a protagonist. But, when she realizes that there is something dark happening in Fable, she and her other side character friends have a chance to become the heroes. Emma raves “This is a really good book about standing up for what you think is right!”

9781524771508 Property of the Rebel Librarian by Allison Varnes

Seventh grader June is definitely not a rule-breaker. But, when a community-wide book ban results in books being physically taken out of her school’s library, she becomes a rebel librarian on a mission to ensure access to books for all. This book is a love letter to librarians and FReadom Fighter activists. It is filled with relatable characters and tackles big ideas like the value of freedom of choice and the importance of standing up to others when you believe something is right. Coco, 12, recommends this book with a five-star rating!

9781101932568 Surrender The Key (The Library Book 1) by D. J. MacHale

Marcus has been dealing with a lot since his parents died. After being given a key to the Library, a magical place full of paranormal activity and unfinished stories, he is haunted by those who want this key. He and his friends go on an adventure full of unexpected twists and turns and lots of creepy encounters to protect this secret place. Previously titled, Curse of the Boggin, Brandon, 12, highly recommends this book. He sums it up well, “this is a very exciting book for young readers who like action and mystery.”

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in 2017 and updated in 2023.

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