Ten great reads – high school

Reading is a fun and rewarding activity for children beginning high school and builds core literacy skills. Here are some favourite titles.

Book covers lined up
Image: Some great books to entertain your teenager.

1. Vincent and the Grandest Hotel on Earth (Lisa Nicol)

The Grandest Hotel on Earth is a magical place that sits on the highs of the Mabombo Ranges When 11-year old Vincent meets Florence he begins a journey into a world of fantasy and adventure that will lead him into facing new hitherto unknown personal challenges. This enchanting tale attracts a wide range of readers.

2. Eddie Woo’s Magical Maths (Eddie Woo)

Imagine a maths book that tests your mind with fascinating problems in a really enjoyable way: you have this book from Eddie Woo, Australia's best-known maths teacher. Eddie is the head mathematics teacher at Cherrybrook Technology High School, Sydney. His book is a fun but informative album of puzzles and codes that need to be broken.

3. What I like about Me (Jenna Guillaume)

At 16 Maisie Martin is a deeply sensitive girl desperate to avoid embarrassment, especially about her body. Who would ever believe she’s now part of a beauty pageant? What’s more, she’s facing the challenge at a time when she needs her dad and someone else has snagged the boy she likes. Maisie is determined to succeed and she’s not going to give up.

4. How it Feels to Float (Helena Fox)

This is a story about love and grief. Biz, a girl who lost her dad when she was seven is quiet about her life and thoughts. And she has a lot of the latter. Deep, dark thoughts. Biz has a life – her friends, her mum and the twins – but she also has a strange connection to her dad, who reminds her about her past and who really shouldn’t be around yet still is.

5. Adam Spencer’s Numberland (Adam Spencer)

Adam Spencer is one of Australia’s favourite mathematicians. He brings the subject to life by making it real. Have you heard of a yottabyte or the 1800s version of Fortnight? This book is full of amazing facts like how a GPS works. And it asks some pretty interesting questions, like could you solve a $1,000,000 maths question? The real deal for maths lovers.

6. As Happy as Here (Jane Godwin)

Three teenage girls from very different backgrounds find themselves sharing a hospital ward. When they witness a crime in the park below their window, they bond over trying to solve it and each undergoes a profound change. A coming-of-age story.

7. Guts (Raina Telgemeier)

Raina wakes up one night with an upset stomach but her problems aren’t really due to a tummy bug. She eventually works out she’s worried about a whole lot of things at school including her friends, her looks and food. From the renowned graphic novelist, Raina Telgemeier, this book is about growing up and facing challenges many of us have to deal with.

8. Catch a Falling Star (Meg McKinlay)

Up in the sky above Frankie Avery’s head, a space station is about to crash to earth and with it will come memories of a past she’d prefer to forget. Thoughts of grief and challenges about life that are not easily fixed. It’s 1979 and Skylab is hurtling back into the atmosphere, along with something that a 12-year old girl never really talks about with anyone.

9. Explore Your World: Weird, Wild, Amazing! (Tim Flannery and Sam Caldwell)

Do you love animals and exotic creatures? If so, this marvellous zoological compendium is for you. Are zombie jellyfish real? Do frogs like opera? What’s it like to wrestle a python? Explore the wonderful world of nature with a book to expand your horizons.

(And one for you)

10. BEING 14: Helping fierce teenage girls become awesome women (Madonna King)

Your daughter’s teenage years are going to be challenging but you know that already. This book is a practical but imaginative guide to how 14-year-olds think and act in the years before adulthood. Based on interviews with about 200 14-year olds, Madonna King unlocks strategies to help your fierce daughter in the challenging years ahead.

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