Top Books for Kids & Teens

September 28, 2021

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If there’s one thing we’ve really encouraged in our family, it’s the love of reading. Justin and I both have degrees in education, and started our careers as teachers. We’ve seen firsthand the drastic difference between students who consistently read, and those who don’t. Habitual reading lays concrete building blocks that support students in all areas of study. 

It can be tricky teaching your kids to actually enjoy reading, if they aren’t born with that desire, so choosing books that they are interested in is KEY. These are some Reeves family book recommendations (broken down into age groups), that we really like. The titles are all linked if you want to check them out!



For years I have been praising the “4 Weeks to Read” reading system. I have utilized several reading programs, both as a teacher and with my own children, and this one is by far the best. It has a simple, but very effective approach to introducing vowel sounds, word patterns, and fluency. One of our sons had some learning delays, and was in an early intervention resource preschool. After using this program, he was not only able to meet his benchmarks, he was able to eventually surpass his grade-level in reading. I can’t recommend it enough! 


These are some fun series that my boys wanted to share with you. I guess these are what’s “in” right now!


Dogman, by Dav Pilkey

A police officer and his dog get hurt, and the only way to survive is to combine them into one super cop–the head of the dog, and the body of the man. 

All three of my sons LOVE this graphic-novel series. It’s super funny, warning: potty humor, but is very engaging for them. 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney

These books are the diary entries of fictional kid, Greg Heffley, as he navigates the awkward phases of middle school.

Even I have laughed out loud reading some of these! It’s great for readers who struggle with chapter-style books, or who prefer more segmented reading.

Dork Diaries, by Rachel Renee Russell

In the same vein as Wimpy Kid, Dork Diaries are the entries of middle schooler Nikki Maxwell. She tackles female empowerment, crushes, and the silly drama that can come with being a pre-teen girl. 

My boys haven’t personally read these, but their friends, especially their female ones, said they are awesome!

The Last Kids on Earth, by Max Brallier

A group of kids must work together to survive a monster-zombie apocalypse. 

My son Greyson has especially loved this series. Despite the intense synopsis, it’s very kid-friendly, and a great story about friendship. There is also an animated series of it on Netflix, so that could be a fun incentive for finishing each book!

Goosebumps, by R.L. Stine

30 years of children’s fictional horror stories. 

These books are obviously not everyone’s cup of tea, but my Parker, who is fascinated with “scary” things, cannot stop reading them! He is super intrigued, and asks to read them with Justin every night. 

Janitors, by Tyler Whitesides

Elementary school students have to figure out, and fight against the secrets of the janitorial staff at their school. 

This series is at about a 6th grade reading level, so a bit more on the advanced end of elementary literature. There are five books in this series, and all of them are equally adventurous and engaging. 



As a high school English teacher, Justin worked really hard to include literature that resonated with his students. 


The IF in Life: How to Get Off Life’s Sidelines and Become Your Best Self, by Rashad Jennings

The former NFL player shares his life story, and the important lessons he’s learned through rising above his challenges. Justin recommends this book to EVERYONE. And for good reason. It is exactly what all of us, especially teenagers, need right now–to be uplifted, inspired, and motivated to do good regardless of our situations. 

The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien

Obviously a classic. This was the first “big book” that Corgan read, and it gave him the confidence to read more, longer, chapter books. It’s so awesome for kids to use their imagination and this book is FULL of creativity and storytelling. 

A Raisin in the Sun, by Lorraine Hansberry

This novel is actually a play, which can bring some variety to your teen’s typically reading format. It follows the Younger family, a black family living in 1950’s Chicago. It’s a powerful story of generational differences, diversity, racism, and finding humor in the trials of life. This was one that Justin read with his high school students every year. 


I would love to hear which books/series your children have enjoyed! Here’s to raising confident readers!


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  1. Alisha says:

    Thank you for sharing these!!! Just ordered The if in love for my teen boys!!


I'm Ashley Reeves!

I'm a body positive mother, entrepreneur and speaker who has spent the last decade building better body love and empowering others to do the same.

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