Tweens are “in between”: No longer children, not yet teenagers.
Biologically speaking, kids in the 8-to-12-year-old age bracket are “preadolescent” or “preteen”. In other English-speaking countries, publishers call the books they produce for these kids “middle grade” because preteens attend middle school or junior high, but we don’t have these distinctions in South African schools, so the concept is foreign to us (and anyway, the term is a little boring).
At Zazi Books, we prefer the word “tween” – a blend of “between” and “teen” that’s lighthearted and spunky, just like the kids we publish for.
However we choose to refer to these youngsters, they are at a critical reading age.
This is the age when kids move from learning to read to reading to learn. Unfortunately, it’s also the age when many South African school children will make the switch from mother-tongue learning to English as the primary language of instruction, but that’s a topic for another day. The ability to read well and understand what they read is key to a child’s ability to succeed at school.
It’s also in the tween years that a child will or won’t fall in love with reading. This is important, because a child that enjoys reading will read more, increasing their vocabulary and improving their ability to grasp abstract concepts – skills that contribute enormously to academic success. Plus, there are a wealth of additional advantages reading for pleasure brings, from better social and emotional skills to a more active imagination to improved financial literacy.
Zazi Books ignites our tweens’ imaginations with books they love to read.