11 year olds are in such a sweet spot for reading middle grade books. I feel sometimes like most middle grade books are written for this age group. There are also way more middle grade books with female protagonists so you should have no problem finding books for 11 year old girls. As I always say in these posts, these books work just fine for all kids, not just girls, but this post is a great jump-off point. You’ll find several kinds of stories, including books about an aspiring artist, a girl fending off anxiety, books for mystery lovers, and so much more.
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25+ Books for 11 Year Old Girls
Here are 25+ books for 11 year old girls:
For the Advanced 11 Year Old Reader
If your 11-year-old girl reads far beyond her age and peers, here are some challenging but totally enjoyable books for her.
Lasagna Means I Love You
Published: February 21, 2023
11-year-old Mo is facing a hard life moment. Her Nan (and sole guardian) has died, and her uncle (and only surviving relative) has decided to pass on caring for her in favor of enlisting in the military. So, Mo’s entering the foster care system. Her Nan’s last wish for Mo was that she find a hobby, but Mo isn’t sure about that — until she finds a book with family recipes. After one failed homing, she ends up in the home of a very well-to-do white couple who seem delighted to have her. There, Mo feels safe to try her hands out at recipes and even start a website to house all the family recipes she’s been collecting.
But then, Mo’s world is turned upside down again. I loved every second of this book; it was one of those stories you wanted to see the end of but also wanted to keep reading forever. This book is totally written as letters to Nan, which make for a greater appeal.
A Place at the Table
Published: August 11, 2020
Sara has moved from her smaller Islamic school to the larger neighborhood middle school. Unfortunately for her, her Pakistani mother has also started teaching after-school cooking classes (in addition to her catering business) at the school. Many of the kids in the class are rude and make fun of her mother’s dishes while pretending not to understand her accent. But one student, Elizabeth, seems to enjoy learning to cook.
Elizabeth’s British mother is dealing with depression after the death of her mother and is struggling to adapt to American culture and her husband’s Jewish customs. Sara and Elizabeth form an unlikely friendship when they discover that both their mothers are studying to pass the American citizenship test.
This book was so good! The best part though? All the yummy food Sara’s mother, Elizabeth, and Elizabeth and Sara make in the course of the story. The dual-perspective narration in this story helps you get into the girls’ minds and see their individual struggles even before they eventually confide in each other.
The Summer of June
Published: May 31, 2022
June is tired of having anxiety rule her life and has made a plan to kick it to the curb this summer. She’s going to put herself out there—she and her fierce single mom who works at the library. Fortunately, June meets Homer, a middle school boy who loves reciting poetry and believes in June! But there are a few bumps in the road for June. Will she win this?
If you’re looking for a book about anxiety (June is so anxious she pulls her hair out—LITERALLY), summer, and friendship set in the library (June’s mom works there!), don’t miss this one!
For the Fantasy Addict
If your 11-year-old girl can’t get enough of fantasy stories, here are a few she will love.
Published: November 21, 2023
This stunning graphic novel follows Cinzia, Avvisi writer’s apprentice living in sunny Sianerra. They write stories/pamphlets to the city with news but not everyone likes when they tell the truth. After an edition exposing the principessa for extortion, cinzia and her mestra are arrested at night and she has to join forces with the princess to fight back against censorship. This is closer to fantasy but without magical elements and set in an old-timey Italian village, so it could work for lovers of realistic fiction too.
12 to 22: POV You Wake Up in the Future
Published: August 16, 2022
On her 12th half birthday, her parents surprisingly gift her their approval to post on social networks. Thrilled, Harper starts posting TikTok videos like her idol, Blake Riley. Her first video goes viral and brings her closer to the popular crew in her school who only befriend her so she can teach them her edits. Their interest in her creates a rift between Harper and her best friend Ava. In the midst of the chaos, Harper tries a TikTok filter, which, combined with a wish to be 22, suddenly makes her 22!
Unfortunately, her future is much different than she imagined. Her little sister is now a teen (aww!). She’s now working for Blake Riley (yay), and so is popular girl Celia, who she’s now friends with. But she and Ava have lost touch, as have she and her childhood friend and crush. Is being 22 as great as she imagined? Or will she just want her old life back? And can she even get it back? Or is it too late?
This is a seriously fun book! It’s pegged as 13 Going on 30 for middle graders and it’s fairly spot on, although many middle graders who read this may not have even seen the movie. Still, the feeling is the same.
Published: March 1, 2022
Sophia has been hanging out in Aqualand, the marine theme park her late father and uncle started. Her uncle is doing his best to finish Sophia’s late father’s marine project, and Sophia seems to have little or no zest for school work. Imagine her shock when a diving suit controlled by sea creatures appears in Aqualand.
It turns out the suit is controlled by sea creatures who’ve come to Aqualand looking for a place to call home. Unfortunately, they discover that Aqualand doesn’t treat sea creatures in the best way. Now, they’ll need Sophia and her uncle to help them find their way to safety. But Sophia’s uncle is under pressure from investors to keep up the tourist attractions in the park. Can they do the right thing?
I’m not a fantasy reader, but this one drew me in — and I have to say, I’ve never read anything so inventive and poignant. I felt like this could easily be an animated movie. Santat explores a ton of important themes in the story without being preachy or in the readers’ faces.
For the Realistic Fiction Aficionado
Realistic fiction is my bread and butter and the books in this section are some of my all-time favorites.
The Kate in Between
Published: May 18, 2021
Kate McAllister’s life is in need of a refresh. Her mother has left town chasing the highest tier in an MLM scheme, and Kate is living with her cop dad and getting driven to school in his police car. When a bunch of popular kids seems to welcome Kate into their clique, she is torn about ditching her longtime best friend, Haddie. Haddie marches to the beat of her own drum and couldn’t care less about being accepted. Things get complicated, however, when Kate is a passive participant in a bullying incident that leads to Haddie sinking on thin ice. Then, Kate is captured on camera, saving Haddie, and the video goes viral.
While news outlets hail “Kate the Great” as a shining example for tweens who should not be bullying other kids, Kate continues to oscillate between craving acceptance from the popular kids and trying to keep her friendship with Haddie, all the while maintaining her public image by appearing in newspapers and on popular YouTube channels. But how long can she keep up the charade? And is Kate great? Or is she a bad person?
Published: June 4, 2013
Over the summer, fashion-loving Zoey Webber gets the best news ever: Her middle school is getting rid of uniforms! There’s just one problem. Zoey has sketchbooks full of fashion designs but nothing to wear! So with a little help from her best friends Kate and Priti, she learns to make her own clothes. She even began to post her fashion design sketches online on a blog. That’s how the Sew Zoey blog begins, and soon it becomes much more.
Zoey’s quirky style makes her a bit of a misfit at middle school, but her Sew Zoey blog quickly gains a dedicated following. Real fashion designers start to read it! Yet even as her blog takes off, Zoey still has to deal with homework, crushes, and P.E. class. And when the principal asks her to design a dress for the school’s fashion show fund-raiser, Zoey can’t wait to start sewing! But what will happen when her two worlds collide?
The Thing About Leftovers
Published: July 19, 2016
Fizzy is the daughter of divorced parents. Her father has remarried and her mother is in a serious relationship. Fizzy is also an excellent cook — so good that she’s entering the Southern Living cook-off. But she has other struggles to contend with. At school, she doesn’t have any real friends, and then her mom announces that she’s marrying her boyfriend, Keane (whom Fizzy dislikes). Fizzy also has to shuttle between both parents’ homes, and she’s constantly feeling like the “leftover” child since both her parents are moving on and forming new families.
This book is one of my favorite middle-grade books about divorce and blended families. I also loved Fizzy’s school experiences. Frankly, for me, the perfect middle-grade book has the right blend of school and home life, and this one did.
For the Super Sleuth
Crack the case with these fantastic mystery books for 11-year-old girls.
The Great Shelby Holmes
Published: September 6, 2016
Shelby Holmes is not your average sixth grader. She’s nine years old, barely four feet tall, and the best detective her Harlem neighborhood has ever seen–always using logic and a bit of pluck (which yes, some might call “bossiness”) to solve the toughest crimes.
When eleven-year-old John Watson moves downstairs, Shelby finds something that’s eluded her up till now: a friend. The easy-going John isn’t sure of what to make of Shelby, but he soon finds himself her most-trusted (read: only) partner in a dog-napping case that’ll take both their talents to crack.
The Amelia Six
Published: June 30, 2020
The Amelia Six is the story of six clever girls who are invited to spend a night in Amelia Earhart’s home because of their achievements in STEM (specifically flying and aeronautics). Although all big-time Earhart fans, each of the girls is different.
The girls are hosted by Birdie, one of the Ninety-Niners who is the museum’s caretaker. Also in the house are Edna, the housekeeper; Collin, Birdie’s nephew; and Perry, the chef. Things are going smoothly until the girls realize that Birdie has been drugged and Amelia Earhart’s famous aviator goggles — which must be retrieved by the Smithsonian the next day(!) — have gone missing. Everyone’s a suspect, and suddenly, these girls have to band together if they want to get out alive.
Sisterhood of Sleuths
Published: October 4, 2022
Maizy and her best friend Izzy are working on a film Maizy has named Shellfish Holmes, about a lobster detective. But Izzy seems bored with the project and even thinks it’s a bit childish. Izzy has also recently said she now wants to go by the more mature-sounding “Isabelle,” which Maizy doesn’t understand. Soon, Izzy ropes in two boys in their class (because she’s crushing on one) to join their project, but they completely derail things, going off Maizy’s vision.
Maizy’s life gets more interesting when a box of Nancy Drew books with an inscription to a girl with the same name as her grandmother (Susie, aka Jacuzzi). There’s also a picture of what appears to be a young Susie. When Jacuzzi denies sending over the box, Maizy reunites with a former neighborhood friend, Nell, to get to the bottom of the mystery. In the process, the girls learn a lot about Jacuzzi and the Nancy Drew books.
For the Graphic Novel Lover
No book recommendations list is complete without graphic novel suggestions. Here are my favorite recs for 11-year-old girls:
Published: October 10, 2023
Charlie is the new kid for the umpteenth time, but this time things will be different. Her dad is no longer in the military, and this is a more permanent home, so she feels more pressure to find and impress some new friends. When she meets a cool group of Black girls with varying interests, she decides to hide her “babyish” style and hobbies to befriend them. But she soon learns that with true friends, you can be your whole self.
I love that book exists because there are so few stories about Black hair for middle schoolers and I love how different all four girls are and the fact that the story is about mundane day-to-day life, which is rare for POC stories. This is a cute first book in a new graphic novel series perfect for readers looking for stories about Black hair, girlfriends, fashion, and adjusting to change.
Published: September 19, 2023
Rosie’s dad wants her to play racquetball even though she says she wants no part and has no interest. He used to love it when he was a kid and he pushes Rosie to improve by constantly critiquing her game. But Rosie has a bad attitude about the sport because of the pressure he puts on her.
Blair is a new student with a warm family who are all into racquetball and Rosie wants her to compete in her behalf. But as Rosie hangs out with Blair’s family away from her father’s harsh supervision, she realizes what it means to play for fun.
Published: March 7, 2023
Avery has SIX siblings and is feeling squished at home so she’s crushed when her older brother Theo gets the first chance to room alone. She has to share a room with her younger siblings Pearl and Max. On top of that, she often babysits the youngest three siblings. Her dad is a teacher and her mom is studying to become a programmer so things can be hectic at home. Avery decides to get a job so she can earn money and set up a basement bedroom. But just when she’s finding her groove, it appears that the family will have to move to another city — away from the friends and neighborhood Avery has come to love.
Published: October 27, 2020
The graphic novel Measuring Up follows 12-year-old Cici, who moves from Taiwan to the US with her parents, leaving behind her beloved A-ma (her grandmother). Thankfully, the adjustment period isn’t too hard on her. She makes friends quickly, and her English is already pretty good. However, she and her parents struggle with American culture, like sleepovers, and fireplaces, and she quickly stops bringing Taiwanese food to lunch, preferring instead to learn to make American food, so she can blend in.
Although Cici and her parents want to bring her grandmother over for a visit at least, they can’t afford to yet. Cici misses her A-ma, with whom she used to go to the market and cook. So when she stumbles upon a kid cooking contest, it feels like the perfect opportunity to earn $1000. The only problem is that Cici can only cook Taiwanese dishes. Fortunately, she’s paired up with an Italian-American girl, Miranda, whose father runs a restaurant (and who practically grew up working in a restaurant). Halfway through the contest, though, each contestant has to compete alone.
For the Reluctant Reader
Got an 11-year-old girl who isn’t all that crazy about starting books or who’s intimidated by longer books? These short, high-interest titles may just do the trick.
Published: March 14, 2017
At just 208 pages, this is a slim title to get into. It’s all about Amina who’s shy and scared of the spotlight. But as she gets into middle school, things start to change around her. Her best friend Soojin is suddenly hanging out with Emily, one of the “cool” girls in the class, and even talking about changing her name to something more “American.” Then suddenly, her local mosque is vandalized and Amina is forced to use her voice. If she likes this, she might also like the sequel Amina’s Song and Thirst.
Published: March 10, 2015
Astrid and Nicole are best friends who do nearly everything together. Until Astrid’s mom takes them to watch roller derby. While Astrid can’t get enough of the cool girls and all the derby action, Nicole is immediately put off. So when Astrid signs up for junior derby, Nicole chooses a ballet elective instead. However, Astrid never tells her mom that she’s derby rolling instead of doing ballet with Nicole. Things get more difficult when Astrid realizes that roller derby is no joke — physically, mentally, and emotionally. Will she make it?
Roller Girl is an action-packed exploration of roller derby, the thrill of finding a passion, and the power of perseverance. Fans of sports graphic novels like The Tryout and Play Like a Girl will love this one.
Join the Club, Maggie Diaz
Published: May 17, 2022
New seventh-grader Maggie Diaz is not the most organized person. But she’s trying to become her best self this school year so she can win her parents’ trust and get a new phone by the end of the year. She soon finds out that getting on honor roll is not that easy.
Worse still, Maggie’s dealing with so many changes. Her best friends have joined after-school clubs to pursue their interests and have little or no time for Maggie (who can’t seem to find her interests). Since her Abuelo died, her Abuela has become her roommate and Maggie just wants some alone time! Will Maggie find her place and “join the club”?
Published: May 29, 2018
Mia Tang is a ten year old Chinese immigrant who lives in a motel with her parents. They run the motel for it’s crooked owner, Mr Yao. Mia runs the front desk and enjoys it. Mia is such a diligent, smart and kind girl. She has a big heart and is not afraid to do hard work. I enjoyed watching her gain confidence in her writing despite being repeatedly told to stick to math by mother.
Kelly Yang writes compulsively-readable fiction that just hooks kids and this book is the perfect example. Plus, there are four other books in the series.
For the Animal Devotee
Your girl loves animals? These are the books for her!
Published: September 6, 2022
Clementine is a lab mouse who’s become a genius, thanks to an experiment. When one of the lab workers breaks her and another mouse out of the lab and dumps them at the home of an animal activist, Clementine’s world opens up wide. But the lab is looking for her and as she makes new friends, learns to play chess, and yearns for her best friend at the lab, she’ll need to fight to remain free and live on her own terms. I ADORED this story and it fantastic on audio! It will make for a sweet family readaloud.
Rescue at Lake Wild
Published: April 27, 2021
Madi and her friends Jack and Aaron make a rescue at Lake Wild, saving two beaver kits, but they have a problem. Madi’s parents have said she cannot bring home any more strays. In fact, if she does, she’ll lose her trip to see acclaimed primatologist Jane Goodall. But neither Aaron nor Jack can take in the kits and their local shelter is full. Besides, the kids find that the kits’ parents have been shot dead. Madi takes them, hiding them in a shed on her parents’ property until she can figure out her next steps.
As she cares for the beavers, more adult beavers turn up shot dead. So Madi and her friends also need to figure out who is killing the beavers and why — all the while making sure her parents never figure out that she’s housing, feeding and bathing two beaver kits under their noses. Can Madi and the gang do it all?
Otto P. Nudd
Published: December 29, 2020
Otto P. Nudd: Tthe BEST bird in Ida Valley (at least according to him). While his buddies waste their days at the dump cracking jokes, Otto invents things with his human neighbor Old Man Bartleby in their workshop.
Marla: The Competition. This protective mama-squirrel will swipe Otto’s snacks from under his beak if it means another meal for her babies!
Pippa: The girl who loves the birds in Ida Valley, and Otto most of all. But when Bartleby”s latest contraption lands him in danger, the whole neighborhood–kids and critters alike–will have to join forces to save their oldest friend!
Author Emily Butler delivers a timeless friendship tale about a brash raven, a crafty squirrel, and the neighborhood that brings them together.
For the Sporty Gal
In this category, you’ll find my favorite sports stories for 11-year-old girls.
Published: May 17, 2022
After she and her dad move from Brooklyn to Florida, Bree is excited for her first day in middle school. But also, she’s super anxious about whether she’ll make friends and fit in. Thankfully, she makes a new friend in the housing complex where they live. Unfortunately, when Bree goes to choose her math club elective, it’s fully booked. As a math lover who can’t swim, she’s crushed to hear that the only elective left is swim 101.
At first, Bree avoids getting in the water, but after a near-drowning in her housing complex, an elderly neighbor (who used to be part of her swim team) decides to coach Bree. Bree gets so good that she joins her swim team, but can the team get past the drama and win?
Get a Grip, Vivy Cohen!
Published: February 25, 2020
Vivy Cohen is an autistic, baseball-obsessed girl who really wants to play the sport. Unfortunately, her mom is holding back because she’s a girl and she has autism. But when Vivy writes to a famous Black baseball player as part of her social skills homework, things start to change. For one, VJ Capello writes back, and the two become pen pals. Then, a Little League coach asks Vivy to join his team. As they overcome unique hurdles, Vivy and VJ soon realize that they’ll need to put up a fight for the sport they love.
Published: May 9, 2023
Alex loves soccer and playing for her city’s Rec League. Her coach is nice, and she has many good friends on the team. But during one of the games, a coach from an elite league spots Alex and convinces her mom to let Alex play for his team. Her dad isn’t the picture, and their family finances are tight, so Alex wants a soccer scholarship shot for college in the future and accepts the offer.
But when she starts playing for the team, she notices disturbing things like her coach verbally abusing the players, talking down to the girls because of their gender, and punishingly working them out when don’t perform to his standards. Her mom is too busy trying to please her boyfriend to notice. Can Alex and the team stand up to Coach Austin?
I read this one on my Kindle in one breathless sitting! It’s not a never-before-heard story, but it is well done. Alex is such a likable character with the odds stacked against her in many ways.
For the Theater Girl
Theater kids shine under the spotlight in these middle grade books!
Shannon in the Spotlight
Published: April 25, 2023
Shannon Carter never considered herself much of a theater person. Not like her two BFFs, Elise, an actress, and Fatima, a techie. Shannon’s always been content to stay backstage, helping wherever she can. But when the director of the summer musical hears Shannon singing, he encourages her to step out of the wings and into the spotlight.
At first, Shannon is hesitant. As a twelve-year-old with obsessive-compulsive disorder, she depends on routine. But when she braves the audition, she discovers that center stage is the one place where she doesn’t feel anxious. She lands a lead role, and everyone in her life is ecstatic . . . except Elise.
To make matters worse, Shannon’s eccentric and opinionated grandmother moves in with her and her mom after a fluke house fire. As opening night approaches, Shannon feels pressure to save her friendship with Elise, to make Mom and Grandma Ruby act like grown-ups, and to follow the old theater adage The show must go on.
The Chance to Fly
Published: April 13, 2021
Thirteen-year-old Nat Beacon has the chance to fly when she stumbles upon a group of kids putting on a production of Wicked, the musical. Nat has been paralyzed from the waist down since an accident when she was two. She’s also a wheelchair athlete whose parents have moved from California to New Jersey for her mother’s new job. Nat is obsessed with Broadway and Hamilton, although she has never actually been in a musical.
Upon auditioning, she scores a role in the play and begins to bond with The Boulders, which is what the group calls themselves. The group is diverse, including Malik, an African-American boy, and Reya, who is Indian American. There’s also Hudson, Fig, Jacklyn, and Savannah. Nat faces several challenges because of the way some people treat her during the musical, but when the show has to be canceled after a fire in the theater, the kids have to find a way to get things up and running again.
Tune It Out
Published: September 1, 2020
In Tune It Out, Lou and her mother live in their truck. Her mom believes Lou has a gift (her voice) and is determined to make it big with her. So she makes Lou sing everywhere from cafes to karaoke bars to street corners. This is extra challenging for Lou because she hates the bright lights and the sound of applause is physically painful. She also hates physical contact and is bothered by the texture of certain clothes on her skin.
Lou gets some respite from the malnutrition and homelessness when an accident leads to her being taken in by Child Protective Services. Fortunately, she is sent off to live with her aunt and her husband in Nashville, Tennessee where she begins a new life until her mother can get her back. From private school to new friends and an assistant director role in the school’s musical, Lou begins to experience what it means to be a child again. But will her responses to sensory stimuli get in the way of her shot at “normal” life?
There they are: 25+ of the best books for 11-year-old girls! Which of these books have you read and loved? Which ones did I miss?
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