My fiance wants to encourage her niece to read, but isn’t sure what books girls her age read. Any suggestions?
The Little House on the Prairie books; also Frances Hodgson Burnett classics like A Little Princess and The Secret Garden.
What is the girl interested in? That’s the easiest way to get kids to read - introduce them to books with a subject matter that strikes their fancy. Also know that not all kids like to read. I know it’s a crazy idea to the likes of some Dopers, but my nine-year-old niece would rather do an artsy craft or something like color than read. She’s a good reader, but prefers drawing and coloring as her alone-time hobby.
Back to the OP - I second the Little House on the Prairie series. American Girl books are very popular as well. Anne of Green Gables is a classic series, but might be better for a little later on. I’m a big horse nut, so I loved Walter Farley and Marguerite Henry books. (Not all of Henry’s books have happy endings - be forewarned.) I was also a big fan of Jim Kjelgaard’s books about dogs.
Based on my childhood favorites: (I linked my particular childhood favorites).
- No Flying in the House
- Oz - The Road to Oz and Ozma of Oz were my favorites
- The Sea Fairies
- E. Nesbit - 5 Children and It, The Enchanted Castle
- Ballet Shoes (and all the other shoe books by Noel Streatfield, although that’s the best)
- Black Beauty
- Betsy-Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace
- Anne of Green Gables
- Strawberry Girl
- Charlotte’s Web
- Harriet the Spy
- From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
- The 100 Dresses, The Witch Family - Eleanor Estes
- Witch Family
- Beverly Cleary - all of em, start with Ramona and work your way all the way through to Mouse on a Motorcycle!
- The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
- Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O’Brien
- Some Judy Blume might be fun at that age - Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Blubber
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory/Matilda
- The Great Brain
- Encyclopedia Brown
- The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
- The Littles by John Peterson
- The Borrowers by Mary Norton (I had a weird obsession with tiny things)
- The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew (and a weird obsession with impoverished English children)
- 101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith
- The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
- Bambi by Felix Salten
- Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie
The Little House on the Praire books were (and still are) my very favorite. A few others I loved:
The Betsy-Tacy series
The All of a Kind Family series
The Ramona books by Beverly Cleary
The Marguerite Henry books about horses: Misty, Stormy, etc.
E.B. White books, especially Charlotte’s Web
The Boxcar Children series
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series
Anne of Green Gables, and all of L.M. Montgomery books, but as another poster said, these are probably more pre-teen types of books. Remember them for later, because they are really, really good.
Try to avoid some of the more modern series…the American Girl stuff is pretty good, but series like the Babysitters Club are REALLY formulaic and kind of boring, IMO.
How good of a reader is she? Are these books to be read aloud to her or is she going to read them herself?
Peter Pan, for example is about an 8th grade level read.
When my daughter was that age, she loved Ursula K. Leguin’s Catwings series. There are about four books…about cats with wings and they are short, and at 2-3 grade level.
Maybe it’s a year or two off, but I loved “Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing” by Judy Blume SOO much when I was a younger girl. (Especially since my younger sister reminded me of Fudge)
The Nancy Drew mystery series. I loved those at that age.
The Judy Moody books were a big hit with both my daughter and my neice.
Manhattan Is Missing
James & The Giant Peach, The Big Friendly Giant, Matilda…anything by Roald Dahl.
Moved from IMHO to CS.
If she’s got a thing for horses, I can’t recommend the Penny Pollard series enough. They’re quite easy to read (but not dumbed down), the protagonist is clever, a bit cruel but also quite sweet and realistic, and the books are full of scrapbook-type photos (‘real’ notes made by Penny, horse trading cards she collects, etc.).
The Black Stallion and all subsequent sequels. I loved them literally to death: dropped in the bathtub, faded in the sun, food stains on the pages, spines cracked in two, torn covers, dog-eared pages.
Ramona Quimby, Age 8 and sequels would also be good.
Also, I have to mention that at age 9 I read Gone With the Wind for the first time and loved it, so really your daughter could be ready for just about anything, depending on her maturity level.
Uh, make that your fiance’s neice.
Hat Full of Sky, The Wee Free Men, Wintersmith, The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents - Terry Pratchett
Another great horsie book at the high end of her age group is Marguerite Henry’s classic Misty of Chincoteague.
I second the recommendation for From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. It’s about a girl and her brother who run away from home to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
I read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott when I was nine and loved it. I should reread that, actually.
For fantasy, I recommend the Chronicles of Narnia, and anything by Diana Wynne Jones, especially Howl’s Moving Castle and her Chrestomanci series. I didn’t read those until I was 18, but I would have loved them as a kid if I had ever heard of her. Oh, Harry Potter is pretty good, tooo. Also, the Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien.
You might look over The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede to see if they would do. They are good books, but I am not sure if they are at the needed level. If not yet, soon they will be.
I can’t believe no one has mentioned **A Wrinkel in Time ** by Madeline L’Engle. Also, I second the Chronicles of Narnia and Harry Potter.
Er, A wrinkle in time that is. :smack:
My two are 8 and 6, one of each.
Harry Potter 1-3 are great read aloud books. After 3, the plot becomes a bit complicated for kids and it gets darker. I am not sure about read alone.
Magic Tree House books are fantastic and there are about 28 or so of them now, enough to keep any kid interested and a parent broker than a $2 ho.