I don’t think you have to read my blog for very long to notice I love books.
It really makes me sad when people can’t find good ones for their kids. Now, I totally understand the lack of good children’s literature these days. It’s getting harder and harder to find clean books for pre-teens and young teens. Judging by their age they could be reading Young Adult over in the Teen section, but then you go over there and it’s all zombies, vampires, end of the world and forbidden love. Nothing against you if you like that kind of stuff, I’m just of the opinion that this is not appropriate, especially for kids of this age.
So what can they read? My favorite books of course.
Don’t laugh. I’m not being arrogant. It just happens that most of my favorite books are considered Juvenile Fiction at our library. I’m quite serious. I’ve found that the best books are the old “young people’s books.”
They are mostly innocent, generally old (there are some exceptions), sometimes challenging, usually epic and always worth your time.
1. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
This is pretty much my favorite one on the list. Most people know the story of the March girls so I’m not going to go into much detail. Suffice it to say this is a great book for and about strong girls.
2. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
Fiery redheaded Anne. Another book that is near and dear to so many people. The story of an orphan girl who goes to live with an old maid and her bachelor brother has charmed young girls for over a hundred years. While she can be a drama queen, I love how she sees the poetry in ordinary life. Another book in my list of/for strong girls.
3. A Wrinkle In Time (book 1# of the Time Quartet) by Madeleine L’Engle
This is one series I have read over and over again, main reason being because I love Sci-fi and books with strong, complex heroines. Meg Murry is the oldest child of two geniuses, and the older sister of yet another, while she is about average in most ways. There are so many things about this book that I love. The explanation and expectation of quantum physics? The fact that she actually has a good home life? Meg’s relationship with Calvin that stays sweet without getting overly romantic? Another thing, I love it when the evil is obviously wicked. I like for the good guy to wear a white hat and the bad guy to wear a black hat. It’s fine for their minions to not be so apparent, but I want to know who I’m rooting for. I’ve just gotta say, there is an exceptionally short list of books I have read more than once, but this and the rest of the series are on that list. I could go on for a long time about how much I love this book, seriously, just go read it (or listen to it on Grooveshark!). This is not just for girls by the way.
4. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
Does this series really need an introduction? Most of us start our journey to the fantastic land of Narnia with four children sent out to the country to escape the air raids in London. Although I have mostly listened to the audio book, this is another series I have read/heard many times.
5. The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien
Another one that requires little discription. This is the precursor to the Lord of The Rings trilogy, the story of how Bilbo Baggins gets the ring in the first place. My reason for putting it on this list instead of the Trilogy is because it is more of a fairytale than the others. If you feel that your child is mature enough I would definitely recommend the rest of the books as well.
6. The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald
I had several, unrelated, unacquainted people tell me to read this book. It’s a very basic fairytale, which is what I love about it.
7. Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Another one of my favorites. I have a thing for whimsy and surreality. The colorful world he creates for Alice to venture off to in her dreams is just he kind of place I love to read about.
8. Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson
High adventure in the Highlands. A young boy finds out he is the true heir of an estate is sold to pirates and shipwrecked, only to take arms with a Jacobite rebel and journey across Scotland to regain his rightful inheritance. Wha! It’s just exciting to think about!
9. Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
A good classic adventure story about a family’s life after being shipwrecked on a tropical island.
Something about leaving that at 9 bothers me, but to stick with only my favorites for this age range it will have to stay that way. There are many others I could list that are perfectly fine and clean, but I just don’t care for them. A very short list of books that are fine but bore me: Caddie Woodlawn, The Little House books, The Secret Garden, Pilgrim’s Progress. I know, I’m a bad Christian and a bad homeschooler.
Most of these books are in the Juvenile Fiction section of the library, and yes, I still read them and love them. I have no intention of growing up and losing my imagination or sense of wonder.