Home books Friday Q & A — good books for young readers

Friday Q & A — good books for young readers

by Shawni
I was wondering if you would give me some ideas or a list of books that you and daughter have read together in the mother/daughter book club. I am thinking of starting one of those bookclubs but need to know a good book to begin with. {for more about the mother/daughter book club Elle and I were in click here and here.}

Oh man, there’s nothing like a good book for children.  And that book club Elle and I were in was epic for turning her into a more avid reader.  There are SO many good books out there!  This is a great time for me to think of my favorites because we are working SO hard on reading this year and I need to get some good motivation to get us all going.  (Maybe we need to start a family book club…)

My children are not bookworms by any stretch of the imagination and oh how I am working to miraculously change that.  It’s a continual work in progress.

The books below with the “**” are the ones that have made me cry I love them so much 🙂  (and I wrote more about them back here with other great book ideas in the comments).  The others are just on the list for Elle and my Mother/Daughter book club we had a few years ago and I have to confess we did not read them all.  All the girls who did loved them though.

Tuck Everlasting (like that one a lot)

The Penderwicks (not my favorite)
**The Tale of Despereaux (one of my favs.)
Fever 1793

Love, Ruby Lavender
Princess Academy (a little bit cheesy but the girls loved it)
**Because of Winn-Dixie (one of the best)
The Hundred Dresses (bought it to read with the girls this summer and still haven’t done it)
Rules (loved the part I read)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (classic)
**The Tale of Despereaux (good stuff)
Chasing Vermeer

Savvy (sure pulled Elle in when she was younger)
A Dog’s Life: Autobiography of a Stray (not my fav., but I’m not a huge dog lover so maybe that was my problem)
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (I read this one forever ago and can’t remember it)

**Ida B. (so, so good…especially if you listen to it as recommended by my amazing-reading-sister, the narrator is awesome)
Out of My Mind

Lily’s Crossing

Number the Stars (interesting and educational)

Others I loved reading with Grace:  Frindle
, No Talking (I love Andrew Clements…anything that will keep my kids excited about reading), and we read The Homework Machine with all the cousins crowded around this summer.  Not the most amazing literature, but I thought those were mighty entertaining.

I am half way through Understood Betsy
with my girls but we lost the book and I had to re-order it.  I can tell this may be my future very favorite adolescent read.

Also, Claire and I are deep into Anne of Green Gables
right now (the shortened version) and are loving it. We are planning on a movie night to watch that classic when we’re done.

Last time I wrote about books for youth someone sent me this great article. Lots of good information in there to motivate kids to start really reading, but even more to kick me into gear being a better reading model (at the end).  I love to read, and I’m so grateful for my own book club, but the last six months of craziness have totally hindered my reading.  It’s on my “plan” for taking the front seat this year.

And my cousin-in-law is the most fabulous reader.  She writes all about books over here: mayeverywordtell.blogspot.com

Happy reading!  Please add other ideas to get young readers reading and other book suggestions if you have some because Heaven knows I’m certainly not the expert.  

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Carin August 31, 2012 - 1:12 pm

I love your list!!! I added a few of your titles to our list to read. Thank you! One thing that has created a love for reading in my children is book club. I have 3 daughters and I have set up a different mother daughter book club for each of them. They love socializing with other girls their age and their moms. I am careful that book club night is a date night for that daughter and myself. The girls are excited to choose a book, host and celebrate around the book they chose. The enthusiasm of their peers has been wonderfully contagious! It encourages me to read what they are reading and sometimes read them as a whole family!

Elizabeth August 31, 2012 - 2:07 pm

I read a lot of these books as a child and remember them fondly. Great list.

Wendy August 31, 2012 - 2:39 pm

Make sure you get around to reading The Hundred Dresses. You can probably knock the whole thing out in one afternoon if you don'thave too many interruptions. I have been reading it since elementary school but it is still one of my all time favorites. Makes me cry every time.

Ben and Taryn August 31, 2012 - 3:18 pm

I had a friend suggest a book to me and I decided to read to my kids instead of me just reading it. It's called 'Wonder' and I recommend it to every family. It was amazing and had half my family in tears at one point. Such a good reminder of loving one another despite our differences. You HAVE to read it with your family!

Ali August 31, 2012 - 4:28 pm

Lily's Crossing is my all time favorite book!

Katy August 31, 2012 - 4:45 pm

Got to love Walk Two Moons. When I was student teaching, my master teacher was reading this book to her students and couldn't hold in the tears at the very end. So I read it, and yes, very touching, good book. Come to think of it – I need to read it again….

As a young teen (12-13) I really liked a book called Summer of My German Solidier (takes place in 1940s Arkansas – a young Jewish girl befriends an escaped German POW). That book really stuck with me for a long time. And of course, my preteen (9-12) years were filled with Babysitter's Club – LOVED that series so very much! Really got me reading at that young age!

Bethany August 31, 2012 - 5:35 pm

Oh The Goose Girl is so good. I just read it again this summer for the third time. It's easy and delightful.

Stacy August 31, 2012 - 6:01 pm

I love hearing about the current books available for kids. As a bookworm myself, I look forward to passing along this passion to my children. Here are a few ideas that both worked for me as a kid and that I plan to do with my daughter when she's older:

Start by stocking the bookshelf at home and then actively teach her how to navigate a library and bookstore. Even as an adult, the options out there can be overwhelming. Online book lists and book clubs seem like another great way to introduce kids to good reads before they have the confidence maybe to choose and dive into a book on their own.

Series, series, series!!! I love book series even to this day. And there are so may great series out there for all ages (Bernstein Bears, Little House, Ramona, Babysitters Club, and on and on). It's even fun to make your own series – for instance read one author for a while such as Judy Blume or read books of a certain theme. I do this even as an adult. It was great as a kid because I was familiar enough with the story/theme to get really excited about the next book.

The hardest part is always opening the cover and taking that first step, but once your hooked then your hooked!

Lynette August 31, 2012 - 7:41 pm

What a great list! Some of those are on a wishlist because I want to own them, not borrow them from the library. 🙂 We are currently reading the Little House series. My kids are patiently (ha!) waiting for when Laura and finally Almanzo meet. 🙂 We also read Stuart Little (the first movie is excellent, too) and Trumpet of the Swan. Have you read any of Roald Dahl's books? He's hilarious! My kids really liked Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The BFG and Matilda. I was introduced to his books when I was in 5th grade.

Anyway, there's my two cents. 🙂

Corinne August 31, 2012 - 8:36 pm

We had a little book club last summer and I enjoyed it a lot! We discovered some Newberrys that are some of my new favorites. Bud, Not Buddy and Moon Over Manifest. I love The Graveyard Book but it is a little scary, probably best for older kids or teens.

Heidi, Dallin, and Jacob August 31, 2012 - 9:02 pm

I loved The Witch of Blackbird Pond in Jr high/high school. It's still one of my favorites!

Kayla August 31, 2012 - 10:28 pm

i love the hundred dresses! i am a 3rd grade teacher and this is the first book i read at the beginning of every year (well, my only two years teaching i have!). it is leads to great discussions about bullying, the forms it takes, and how to stand up for what you believe in. thanks for sharing this list!

Jan, David, Rose and Grace September 1, 2012 - 3:27 am

You MUST read The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo. I read it with my girls recently, and it is one of the most beautiful books I have ever read.

emily ballard September 1, 2012 - 4:03 am

My friend just posted this excellent book list for early-reading girls:


Meg September 1, 2012 - 8:14 am

My mom is reading understood Betsy. I think it's really good.

Frugal Momma September 1, 2012 - 1:38 pm

Rules was required reading for my 5th grader and I DID NOT think it was appropriate for that age. Very angst filled book. It also has the main character talking to her friend and her friend's parents are separated. The friend says of her mom, "I wish she wouldn't give up so easily–it's not like he had an affair or anything." So be prepared to discuss marital infidelity if you read it. The book left my daughter in a funk for a good 3 days after she read it. I think she was trying to process all the negative emotion in it.

We've loved all the Little House books, The Moffat Series (same author as 100 Dresses, I believe), Sign of the Beaver, Birchbark House, Stone Fox, Midnight Rider–and so many more.

Oh–the Christmas Doll is a wonderful Christmas read for sisters–you MUST read that with your girls!!!

Kimberley Atkinson September 1, 2012 - 9:35 pm

This is fantastic! As a New Zealander and a school librarian, we quite often read more British based stuff!
Some of my favourite authors are Louis Sachar (Holes etc),
Sally Grindley and Deborah Ellis write very topical stuff on war, leprosy, ADHD , poverty (lots of their titles are school have to read books). I highly highly recommend Michael Morpurgo – British legend with stories such as "War Horse". ( a movie last year.)
Two New Zealand authors I recommend are Margaret Mahy and Joy Cowley.
I have ordered a couple from your list to read at home!

Shauna_Rae September 2, 2012 - 3:45 am

After your trip to India, you should read "The Homeless Bird" with your girls. My two older girls really enjoyed it!

Juliejaz September 2, 2012 - 5:43 am

I love a lot of the books on your list. I have one to add, that you might enjoy. "The Hiding Place" by John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill. It's the story of Corrie Ten Boom.

shannon September 2, 2012 - 3:13 pm

Checkout the Muirwood series by Jeff Wheeler. The first book is The wretched of Muirwood. It kept myself, my teenage son, and teenage daughter enthralled! It has a strong female heroine,supports great values, is filled with action, has just a touch of romance and is written by my Bishop/heighbor! He just signed a book deal this past summer and has a second seies coming out in Feb. He's fantastic!

Mary Pugh September 2, 2012 - 10:26 pm

Love your list. I highly recommend Star Girl by Jerry Spinelli. It is all about being yourself no matter what others think. LOVE it! I read it to my Jr. High students and even the boys liked it…but it is definitely more of a girl book.

Bethan Strangward September 3, 2012 - 2:46 am

I loved The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye at 10/11, it has a wonderful message. I think Claire and Grace would love it.

Ingrid September 3, 2012 - 5:13 am

Andrew Clements has a series called "Benjamin Pratt and The Keepers of the School" that my kids love! There are 3 books in the series so far, and the rest aren't out yet. We listened to them on CD on a road trip from UT to CA, and it kept everyone from age 4 to adult entertained and wanting more! It's a mystery about a kid who finds clues hidden in his school, a school that is maybe going to get torn down soon…. really fun!

Also,my kids loved "The Half-a-moon Inn" by Paul Fleischman, as a read-aloud. I'd say "Ok, let's stop there for tonight" and they would cry out "NOOOO!" Then I'd read more, because I didn't really want to stop either.

One fun idea I got from a friend about reading aloud, is that when she is ready to stop reading, but the kids want her to read more, she calls out "plan B!" and the kids know that if they brush her hair, give her back rubs, or foot rubs, that she will read longer. That'd work for me– I'll read for hours if someone is rubbing my feet or back!

Thanks for all your great ideas and recommendations!

Kate September 3, 2012 - 3:29 pm

Thank you for this list! LOVE the book Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen. Such a cute story and a great message too.

Jessica September 3, 2012 - 3:44 pm

I also love the website the literate mother. I think they have good honest reviews and tell you exactly what you are getting into before reading a book.


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