The Best Books for an 11-Year-Old

Copy of headers 8 1
The Best Books for an 11-Year-Old 50

Looking for the best books for an 11-year-old? We’ve got the perfect list for you!

Having raised 4 kids through this particular age, we are well-equipped to give suggestions for children with all kinds of book preferences. We’ve got suggestions for Percy Jackson fantasy fans and non-fiction picks for history-loving readers.

Below, you’ll find lots of great stories divided by category. Many of the books for an 11-year-old have links to book lists with even more recommendations, so be sure to poke around.

Table of Contents

Looking for more options? We’ve got tons of genre-specific book lists for 11-year-olds!

*the books for 11 year old post contains affiliate links. Purchases made through links result in a small commission to us at no cost to you. Some books have been gifted. All opinions are our own.

Best Fantasy Books for an 11-Year-Old

Greenglass House and more family audiobooks for road trips

Greenglass House by Kate Milford

This middle grade mystery reminded me of Harry Potter in some ways. A child is trying to uncover the secrets of Greenglass House, a hotel for smugglers and spies before the adults do.

We read this as a family read-aloud and it was wonderful. It’s one of the books for an 11-year-old that younger readers might struggle with.

Find this book in Best Ghost Books / Best Winter Books / Terrific Hotel Novels / Best Mystery Books for Tweens / Best Family Audiobooks / Books With Colors in the Title

Keeper of the Lost Cities

Keeper of the Lost Cities by Shannon Messenger

Move over Harry Potter, there is a new middle grade fantasy series poised to take your throne! Meet Sophie Foster, a newly found elf living in the human world.

In book one of this ever-growing series, she’s taken back to the Lost Cities and sent to Foxfire Academy to learn to harness her powers as a Telepath. In the process, she is welcomed into a new family, makes loads of friends, and uncovers a secret organization trying to destroy the human world.

Why We Love This Book: All 5 of our children loved this series, and frankly, Jackie and I did too! It’s also a great family-friendly audiobook for long car trips. We’ve got a list of books like KOTLC if you have already read this series.
Appropriate for ages 
9-12
Find this book in
Secret Society Books / Fantasy Books for Tweens / Books for 11-year-olds / Books Like Percy Jackson / Kids Audiobooks

winterhouse

Winterhouse by Ben Guterson

We like to listen to books as a family when we are in the car together or doing a puzzle. The standout book for me this month was Winterhouse. It’s such a fun hotel novel!

This middle-grade mystery was as enthralling to me as it was to my boys. I loved the slight bits of magic in the story and the captivating setting of an expansive ski hotel on a snowy mountain at Christmas time. If you love a cozy mystery book for an 11 year old, pick this one up!

Middle grade fantasy header

45+ Best Fantasy Books for Tweens and Middle Grade Readers

The best fantasy books for an 11 year old, all in one place!

Love Fantasy Books? We do too! That’s why we created a list of Books Like Harry Potter and Books Like Percy Jackson!

Mystery Books for 11-Year-Olds

The Van Gogh Deception

The Van Gogh Deception by Deron R. Hicks

The first in a series of Middle Grade novels, this first story captured the attention of my D.C.-obsessed son. After all, it opens in the National Gallery when a boy wakes up with amnesia.

Described as Dan Brown meets Jason Bourne, it lives up to those clever titles. It’s a fast-paced art caper that will keep your tween fully engrossed. It’s the first in a must-read series of books for 11-year-olds.

The Mysterious Benedict Society and more books like Keeper of the lost cities

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

This is a middle grade mystery book for tweens that all adults should read but you can also find it on our list of books for 11-year-olds. It’s about a group of extremely gifted children who are sent to spy on an evil organization.

This is the first middle grade book in a series that is geared toward older kids. It was funny and interesting and extremely clever.

Mr. Lemoncello

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

Mr. Lemoncello’s library is one of a kind. It’s full of holograms, logic puzzles, and hidden games. To officially open the new library, a few lucky kids get to spend the night inside as they try to win Mr. Lemoncello’s game and be the first team to escape.

Why We Love This Book: If you are looking for great bedtime stories for kids, this series will hit the mark. It will get your kids engaged with one-of-a-kid puzzles and delightful twists and turns.
Appropriate for ages 9-11
Find this book in
Audiobooks for Kids / Netflix Book Adaptations / Middle Grade Mysteries / Books for 11-year-olds / Read Aloud Books

For more mystery books for 11-year-olds, check out our list of Mystery Books for Tweens

Best Family Books for an 11-Year-Old

Pay Attention Carter Jones

Pay Attention, Carter Jones by Gary D. Schmidt

⁣My son adored Pay Attention, Carter Jones. He loved the premise of the butler coming over to teach Carter to play cricket. He liked how Carter learned about how to be a gentleman from the butler who is strict, but exactly what the family needs during their troubling time.⁣

He’s recommended it to a few of his friends already and my mom even read it and enjoyed it!⁣ It’s a heartfelt, thought-provoking read in all the best ways. It’s one of our favorite coming-of-age books for 13-year-olds.

The Vanderbeekers of 141st

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

This charming story is about a bi-racial family in Harlem with 5 kids who are about to lose their home because their reclusive landlord won’t renew their lease.⁣

My entire family enjoyed this delightful tale of the siblings trying to win their landlord over so they don’t have to leave home. Don’t worry. This is one of the best feel-good books on the list.

It was full of all the antics you would expect of a big family. ⁣You can find this book on our list of 40 of The Best Books for an 11-Year-Old as well as on our list of The Best Family Audiobooks For Road Trips and Home Listening.

The Penderwicks

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall

An imperfect family, the Penderwick family (consisting of the father, 4 daughters, and their dog) go spend their three-week summer vacation at a cottage they rented. Mrs. Tifton, a grumpy, snooty woman, and her son Jeffry own the cottage that is part of the Arundel estate.

The first in a realistic fiction series of 5 books about sisters, this wonderful book is perfect to read aloud at night or listen to on audio for a family roadtrip.

Historical Fiction Books for 11-Year-Olds

Alan Gratz Refugee

Refugee by Alan Gratz

Three tales in one, the book is told in alternating chapters by three narrators.  The stories feature Josef, a Jewish refugee fleeing WWII Germany, Isabel a Cuban girl on her way to Miami in 1994, and Mahmoud a Syrian refugee seeking asylum in Germany in 2015. The chapters rotate between the three characters and their stories do connect at the end in a meaningful and moving way.

The characters are all about 13 years old but shoulder burdens that would be hard for an adult to handle. Gratz accurately portrays each child’s struggle with both grace and clarity – not shying away from difficult emotions and even death.

The Invention of Hugo Cabret and more of the best books for a 9-year-old

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

Don’t let the length of this book deter you. Even though it is on our list of long books, there are gorgeous illustrations on every other page and the writing is only a paragraph at a time.

This middle grade mystery is an amazing story of Hugo Cabret who is an orphan in the Paris train station where he winds the clocks so that nobody will discover his secrets. Soon he discovers a drawing and a notebook that will lead him to the biggest adventure of his life. This is one of the must-read books for 11-year-olds.

Inquisitors Tale

The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, The Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by Adam Gidwitz

All of my kids have read this book and they all loved it- devoured it in a day. In 13th century France, three children set out on a quest with their dog. Each of the children, and the dog, have a magical gift.

Somehow this book is able to combine historical characters and mythical tales of the 13th century with morals and lessons that are completely relevant today.

Best Audiobooks for an 11-Year-Old

The Parker Inheritance and more middle grade mystery books

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

The Parker Inheritance was such a fun listen! It reminded me of The Westing Game, which it references frequently and was clearly a source of inspiration in the best way.

Two new friends, both overcoming personal struggles, end up on a hunt to find a hidden fortune in the town of Lambert, South Carolina. Along the way, they encounter the racist past of the city and learned how the deep-rooted racism impacted Lambert long-term.

I loved the modern twist and more thought-provoking spin on the classic book trope of The Westing Game. It’s a must-listen and one of my favorite audiobooks for tweens!

echo

Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan

I listened to this feel-good book and it was unreal.  I want my son to read this so badly but, I also want him to listen to it as well. The full-cast audiobook plays music so it is a full sensory experience. 

The story is three tales woven together in one with a magical harmonica at the center. The story follows a harmonica as it lands in the hands of Freidrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California set during WWII.

Part fairy tale and part historical fiction, this is one of the novels about music that is amazing for middle grade and adults alike. We even included it on our list of Books for 11-Year-Olds. This is a magical realism book everyone should read.

THe Candymakers and more family audiobooks for road trips

The Candymakers by Wendy Maas

This story appears on our list of books about candy! I decided to read this book with my boys prior to our visit to Candytopia.

It was a lovely take on life at a candy factory and felt almost like an updated version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. 4 kids are competing to win a candy-making contest to have their creation mass-produced. This is the first in a series of middle grade novels. It’s one of the must-read books for 11-year-olds.

For more of the best books for 11-year-olds like these, check out our list of Family Friendly Audiobooks

Books for 11-Year-Olds Set at School

wonder

Wonder by R.J Palacio

A must-read realistic fiction story for kids in middle school, this is an amazing book about embracing differences, kindness, and being yourself.  However, this would also be a wonderful read-aloud book for a younger audience. CW: This is one of the books that will make you cry.

August Pullman is a boy with an extraordinary facial difference.  He has been homeschooled his entire life and is starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep.  This book for 11-year-olds is amazing and has a lesson about love and acceptance that everyone needs to read.

Ban this book and more realistic middle grade fiction

Ban This Book by Alan Gratz

This realistic middle grade fiction story is so relevant to society today. The heroine of this story is a girl whose favorite book was just banned from her school library. She starts her own locker library filled with more banned books from the school’s library.

As she stands up for her right to read, she challenges adults in her community and learns about books’ power to unite everyone.

the boy at the back of the class

The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Raúf

This is the story of Ahmet, a Syrian refugee, who ends up in Mrs. Khan’s 4th-grade class. At first, the students are wary of the strange new boy.

Soon, they learn that Ahmet has been separated from his family when he was trying to escape the war. Soon the kids were banding together to help Ahmet reunite with his family.

My son cried while reading this book for 11-year-olds. The story touched his heart and evoked such compassion in him.

Looking for more school books for an 11-year-old? That’s why we created the School Hub with all things school.

Best Spy Books for an 11-Year-Old

city spies and other mystery books for tweens

City Spies by James Ponti

MI6 has recruited a bunch of kids to be their newest spy group – the City Spies. They attend boarding school while learning various spy tactics.

Soon they get to go on a mission to Paris to put what they learned into action. Subsequent books take place in San Francisco and Beijing. At this point, this series is on our pre-order series list.

spy school and other mystery books for tweens

Spy School by Stuart Gibbs

The first book in Gibbs’s series is about Ben Ripley, a child CIA agent trying to defeat the evil organization Spyder. As he attends the secret junior CIA boarding school, he gets into loads of situations that put his espionage skills to good use.

In each book of the series, Ben and his fellow agents tackle a new problem. They take place at various new locations as the series progresses. This series of books for 11-year-olds is already 10 books deep!

Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation and more spy books for kids

Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation by Stuart Gibbs

Charlie Thorne is a child genius and the world’s best code breaker. So the CIA has dragged her into the hunt for Albert Einstein’s hidden code. She’s trying to get it before the Furies use it to destroy the world.

Charlie is hunting for something from Charles Darwin and Cleopatra in the subsequent sequels. Each story has her using her wits to outsmart everyone around her. We love that this genius from our list of mystery books for tweens is female!

For more books for 11 year olds like these, check out our list of spy books for kids!

WWII Books for 11-Year-Olds

The war that saved my life

The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

I read this realistic fiction book in a few hours and immediately ordered the sequel The War I Finally Won.  Ada is a 10-year-old girl who lives in a one-room world gazing at the world from one window.  She was born with a club foot and teaches herself to walk in secret.  When the children who lived in London were evacuated to go to the country at the start of WW2, Ada escapes her abusive mother and leaves London with her little brother.

There is so much depth to this book.  It is a Newbury Honor book and the Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award for middle grade. This middle grade historical fiction is a story of love and survival in the face of overwhelming obstacles.

Do not be fooled by this middle grade fiction. It is emotionally crafted and brilliantly written and is my favorite on the list of WWII books for kids.

the book thief

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

This is a magical realism book that is narrated by Death. And in this haunting magical realism book, he tells the story of Liesel, a young girl in Nazi Germany in 1939. Liesel is living with her foster parents and learning to read from stolen books.

She also shares these books with the Jewish man who is hiding in her basement. This book is brilliant, powerful, poignant, and unforgettable. While technically a YA historical fiction book, this book is fiction at its finest and is a must-read from our list of WWII books for kids. This is one of my favorite thought-provoking books.

dollmaker

The Dollmaker of Krakow by R. M. Romero

Karolina is a living doll who finds herself lost from her own land and somehow in Poland right at the cusp of WWII. She finds herself befriending the Dollmaker and getting him to open his heart to those around him.

Soon Karolina and the Dollmaker are trying to protect their new Jewish friends from the dangers of the Nazi regime. The magical realism of the book makes the content a bit easier to read for younger kids.

For more WWII books for 11-year-olds, check out our list of WWII books for kids.

Feel Good Books for 11-Year-Olds

Hello Universe

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly

This realistic fiction book for a 13-year-old was a Newberry Award winner for a reason. It gave the mom in me a bit of an anxiety attack when one of the characters fell down the well, but all’s well that ends well.

This tween book is a read that I’d recommend for all ages. In particular, I liked how it addressed bullying, being different, and overcoming shyness.

song for a whale

Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly

Wow. This was one of the audiobooks for tweens I listened to with my own kids and we all just adored it.

It’s a story about a deaf girl who is struggling to connect with her community and a whale named Blue 52 who can’t find his ocean community either. She sets out to connect with Blue 52 and along the way she finds her inner strength in a beautiful way.

This middle grade book for 11-year-olds is delightful for adults too!

Kelly Yang 1

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

This recently banned book tells the story of Mia and her family who are immigrants from China. Mia’s struggles to be successful in America are met with the divide between classes in her school, the racism she faces, and her family’s quest to make ends meet.

Why We Love This Book: I loved learning from Mia and watching her problem-solve to help her family as they took over caring for the Calivista Motel. If you are looking for realistic fiction middle grade books that skew a little younger, check out this realistic fiction book.
Appropriate for ages 9-11
Find this book in
Coming-of-Age Books / Books for 10-year-olds / Audiobooks for Kids / Hotel Novels / Books about Poverty and It’s Impact

Middle Grade Books for Tweens

Ultimate List of Middle Grade Books for Tweens

Check out this post for a list of the best books for an 11 year old.

Animal Books for 11-Years-Olds

Hoot

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

Mother Paula/s Pancakes is the most popular pancake restaurant around and they want to open their new restaurant on the site where endangered owls live.

Can the new kid in school find a way to save the owls? This book is a Newberry Honor Winner and is perfect for animal lovers of every age. This is one of the must-read books for 11-year-olds.

belly up and other mystery books for tweens

Belly Up by Stuart Gibbs

The first book in the FunJungle series shows Gibbs at his best – funny and clever!

After a hippo dies at FunJungle zoo, it’s up to Teddy and his friend Summer to prove that the Hippo was actually murdered.

But investigating Hippo homicide is a dangerous affair. This funny story kept this former zoo employee quite entertained. Make sure you add this book for an 11-year-old to your summer reading list!

A Wolf Called Wander and other books for a 10-year-old

A Wolf Called Wander by Rosanne Parry

Rosanne does a marvelous job of telling the true story of a wolf trying to survive when separated from his family. Without the protection of his pack, Swift must learn how to thrive on his own.

Swift’s journey takes him across 1,000 miles of forests, highways, and rivers with danger facing him at every turn.

Why We Love This Book: My family was riveted by this story when we listened on a recent family road trip. Even though this is a middle-grade book, we love this for adults as well.
Appropriate for ages 8-11
Find this book in
Animal Novels / Middle-Grade Fiction / Audiobooks for Kids

Classic Books for an 11-Year-Old

holes

Holes by Louis Sachar

A great middle grade book about camp (and yet another that was adapted into a movie!) Holes should be on every child’s list. And, if you are looking for bedtime stories for kids, this is a great read-aloud for a younger child that cannot read this themselves.

When a boy under a curse is sent to a detention camp he’s taught to behave by digging holes all day, every day.  It doesn’t take long for him to realize he’s digging for a reason – but what are the camp wardens looking to find?

This is one of my favorite books for 11-year-olds and the movie adaptation is great too!

The Egypt Game and more family audiobooks for road trips

The Egypt Game by Zilpha Neatly Snyder

This middle grade fiction enchanted me as a young girl. The 6 “Egyptians” play in the back lot of an antique store, dressing up, performing rituals, and speaking with Oracles.

Then, a murder happens in the area and trouble comes to the lot. Don’t worry, there is a happy ending to this tween mystery book and also a sequel about gypsies!

The Westing Game and more family audiobooks for road trips

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

The tween book that got me into mysteries as a child is great as an audiobook as well! When Mr. Westing dies, he leaves the residents of Sunset Towers named in his will.

But they need to solve the mystery of his death in order to win control of his company and his vast fortune. Your family will love trying to work out what happened!

This classic 70s book is still a must-read today! This is one of the best mystery books for 11-year-olds.

Sports Books for an 11-Year-Old

dragon hoops

Dragon Hoops by Gene Luen Yang

Gene does not like sports. He doesn’t like to play or watch but, the high school where he teaches is obsessed with their basketball team, the Dragons.

This graphic novel is one part memoir as the author tells about the current students and their quest for the state championship as well one part biography as we see the history of the team- including racism and sexism in the sport.

The Wizenard and other books for a 10-year-old

The Wizenard Series by Kobe Bryant and Wesley King

My boys and I started this series shortly after their basketball season began and they were on a losing streak. I thought this series about a group of kids and their magical coach sounded like the perfect book to inspire them.

The Badgers are the worst team in the league until Professor Wizenard comes to be their new coach. With his magical tricks focusing on teamwork and morale, the Badgers players learn more than just playing good ball.

The Crossover and other books for a 10-year-old

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander

Kwame Alexander has won many awards for his incredible proses. This book, the first in a series, is no exception having won both the Newberry and The Coretta-Scott King Award.

The Crossover is all about Josh Bell a basketball-loving middle-schooler who also loves to rap. He learns to grow up in this coming-of-ask story about Josh, his twin, and his family.

This is one of the many tween books for an 11-year-old being adapted soon. Look for the book adaptation starring LeBron James coming to Disney+ soon!

Coming-of-Age Books for 11-Year-Olds

A kind of paradise

A Kind of Paradise by Amy Rebecca Tan

This is a best children’s book of 2019 for a reason. I read this as a read-aloud with both of my children (boys 6-8) even though it’s technically a middle grade book.

The story revolves around Jaime who, after doing something bad at school, is doing community service hours at the library for the summer. Jaime is reluctant to volunteer at first but quickly grows to love the staff and regulars at the library. I adored this charming tale and so did my kids. This is one of the books for 11-year-olds that adults will love too!

Bridge to Terabithia and more books for 12-year-olds

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

I’m pretty sure this coming-of-age tween book is required reading for everyone! Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke outpaces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie’s house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia.

One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his family and the strength that Leslie has given him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief. This realistic fiction book set in the 70s is an award winner for a reason.

the miscalculations of lightning girl

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

My 3rd-grade math lover inhaled this tween book in 2 days. It’s all about a 12-year-old girl who was struck by lightning and became a math wiz.

She’s been homeschooled her whole life, but now her grandmother wants her to try to go to school just for one year. She has to make one friend, join one activity, and read one book that isn’t math related. Can she do it?

Graphic Novels for an 11-Year-Old

The Witch Boy

The Witch Boy by Molly Knox Ostertag

Boys grow up to be shapeshifters and girls become witches.  But, what if you are a boy who loves witchery? Would you show your talents if it meant you would be exiled? 

This Middle grade challenges gender stereotypes and is a perfect witch book for any middle-grade fantasy reader. Not only is the story great and the illustrations gorgeous, but the message of this book made it a must for best graphic novels of all time. This is one of the witch books for an 11-year-old that every child should read!

Roller Girl  and other books for a 10-year-old

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

This graphic novel is a Newbery Medal Winner and was an easy pick for a list of the best graphic novels of all time. Astrid and Nicole have done everything together until now. Astrid wants to go to roller derby camp.

And thus begins a summer of friendship, finding yourself, perseverance, and girl power. Astrid may be strong enough to endure middle school. Snag this if you are looking for a book for 11-year-olds.

Kristy’s Great Idea by Ann M. Martin

The babysitters are back and updated for a new generation! I love that the stories in this series have been adapted into graphic novels.

The very first one, Kristy’s Great Idea, is about the formation of the Baby-Sitters Club and how the friends of the sitters developed.

These books for 11-year-olds were some of my childhood favorites. If you have middle schoolers, they should check out the Netflix book adaptation.

Non-fiction Books for 11 Year Olds

Hidden Figures and more books for an 11-year-old

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Woman Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

This true and amazing story of the black mathematicians and their role in the space race reads like a fiction novel.

So many people know this story because of the movie but, the book gives so many more details- as is usually the case with adaptations. This is one of the books for an 11-year-old that adults will love too!

Two Truths and a lie

Two Truths and a Lie: It’s Alive by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson, and illus. by Lisa K Weber

This fun book is filled with crazy stories about the living world and the plants and animals in it. Some of the stories are true and some are too crazy to be true. Can you figure out which fact is the lie?

There are tips for extra research and how to verify facts. This book for an 11-year-old is such a fun way to think critically, question, and do some scientific research.

All thirteen

All Thirteen: The Incredible Cave Rescue of the Thai Boys’ Soccer Team by Christina Soontornvat

This is one of the books for an 11-year-old that is a multi-award winner. It won the 2021 Newbery Honor Winner, the 2021 Kirkus Prize for Young People’s literature, and so many other awards. It is the true story of the Thai cave rescue of the 12 boys and their soccer coach in 2018.

The boys and the coach had gone in to explore the cave and when they went to leave, the floodwaters left them trapped inside. Complete with pictures, this story is told in a style that makes you feel like you were there.

Did you find any books for an 11-year-old to add to your home library? For more options check out our list of books for 10-year-olds or age up with our book suggestions for 12-year-old.

Copy of headers 8 1

Lists of Books for 11-Year-Olds

For more of the best books for 11 year olds, check out this list.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

One Comment