I know my son is the oldest and so he’ll get to read chapter books first, but there are some books that I really think are more girl oriented and I may not be able to get my son to sit still while I read them. But there are ten books (some are actually series of books) that I hope to read with my daughter when she gets older.
1. The Secret Garden I have a copy that my grandmother gave to me when I was a little girl. It’s the Tasha Tudor edition which is getting harder and harder to find. I hope my daughter loves this book as much as I do. It created a lifelong fascination with gardens and England.
2. A Little Princess (Unabridged Classics) Again, I have the Tasha Tudor edition. What I love about this book isn’t the rescue at the end as much as the kind, generous spirit that Sara has and that we can always maintain a good outlook regardless of the circumstances that we’re in.
3. Little Women (Unabridged Classics) I’m not sure when we’ll get to this one. I’ve always had trouble with Beth dying (for seemingly obvious reasons), but I truly enjoyed this book many, many times when I was a kid and I hope that she will too.
4. Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm This was another of my favorite books as a kid. I loved reading about how the tough old aunt became someone Rebecca truly loved and admired. The details here interesting and it really makes you wonder how you would deal with being taken away from everyone you know and makes you more value the family that you have more (or at least it worked that way for me).
5. A Morgan for Melinda (Puffin story books) I have a copy of this one, thank goodness. I checked it out at least a hundred times during childhood. I adored this book so much. I love the way Melinda is slowly encouraged to confront her fear and the friendship that she forms with someone who is so much older than she is. The ending is sad, but also helped me understand, more easily, when one of my favorite aunts became suddenly ill and passed away.
6. The Golden Name Day The Little Silver House and Crystal Tree This series is so important to me. As I mentioned in an earlier post, I inadvertently named Ben after the two male characters in the last book — oops. I found the last book on a bookmobile before my town had a library. I read it again and again and again. I loved it. I wanted my own copy and told my grandmother so. One day a box arrived from her for me and I opened it. Inside was a crystal tree with ornaments. I thought that was a consolation prize of sorts, but I learned that day to check the bottom of boxes because at the very bottom was a pristine new copy of the book. I have no idea how she got it, but she did. And because she did, I hunted down the first two within the last five years and now have a set of these for my daughter to read. It’s another series based on the idea of a daughter being displaced from her family and sent to live with people she doesn’t know well, but in this instance her family intends to move where she is once her mother is well. It’s a wonderful story with fantastic details about Swedish culture and a time without reliance on TV for stories and video games for activities.
7. The Complete Little House Nine-Book Set This series was one of my favorites when I was a kid. I can’t imagine not reading these with both kids, honestly. I think what you learn from reading about Laura and Mary is so valuable. It helps you better understand what pioneer days were really like. And when you add in that my family is from Oklahoma, it helps make that state even more interesting than it already is.
8. The Black Stallion I must admit that I was a horse crazy kid. I have no reason to expect that my daughter will be, but if she is, we’ll have to read this series. It’s a fabulous group of books that give a you a really strong sense of horse ownership, responsibility, and why they’re such beautiful animals. I have the whole set very carefully preserved in a box for my kids. My husband thinks I’m a little nuts, but he’s learned to live with these eccentricities. The beauty of this series is that it will read just as well with my son as it will with my daughter.
9. The President’s Daughter. White House Autumn, Long Live the Queen, and Long May She Reign When this series first came out, I was the same age as the main character (or a little bit younger), I stalked the bookstores for months waiting for this book’s release. When it came out I read it and reread it and reread it. I found someone I could truly understand and someone who I could empathize with in the most logical way. Honestly, I love all of Ellen Emerson White’s books and have all of the ones that I can find. My daughter is in for a real treat (though I will not let her read Long Live the Queen until she’s in her teens. That one is seriously traumatizing even though Meg survives. The fear that you feel when reading it is real and scary.
10. Harry Potter Paperback Box Set (Books 1-7) I know this seems like a weird set to include here, but I believe any girl can learn a lot from Harry’s adventures and from Hermione’s role in them. I love the fact that Hermione isn’t just a token girl. She plays a serious role in the books and she is a force to be reckoned with in her own right.
National Velvet (Book and Charm) If she’s really horsey, she needs to read this one, too. Again, it’s the determination and insistence on finding a way to get what you want that makes this book important for a young girl.
Betsy-Tacy (Betsy-Tacy Books) I was introduced to this series as an adult, but I would have loved the stories as a young girl. I love books about strong friendships among girls that aren’t eaten up by rivalry and jealousy. I hope that Katie can have friends like these who will support her as she grows.
I’ll have to wait a while to read these to my daughter, but I hope that they help some of you with older daughters find fun things to read to them. This is a list for Amanda’s Top Ten Tuesday Blog Carnival.
We’re reading the Little House series right now (my daughters are 3 and 6) and loving it to pieces. I never read them when I was little and am realizing that my childhood was incomplete. My six-year-old loved Secret Garden as well. Appartently, I’ve got more work cut out for us. Thanks for the list.
I would say go from the Little House books to the Betsy-Tacy books as they’re easily accessible. Some of the books on my list are no longer in print and/or darned hard to find. Fortunately for my daughter, I’m a book hoarder and still have A LOT of the books I read as a young girl.
The Wrinkle in Time series was always the series for me that I was so bound and determined to share with my future children- and here we are, T. is 16 and still refuses to read it because his dad let him watch part of the tv movie made based on the first book, and he was incredibly disinterested by some of the characters. Urgh.
We did share the HP series though, I’ll never forget getting hoarse over reading Goblet of Fire for hours on end when he was home sick with a cold for three days.
I can’t believe I forgot that one. Sheesh. Given that L’Engle is a huge part of the reason I’m an English professor and an Episcopalian, that’s really embarrassing.
I also have the Chronicles of Narnia to read to Ben when he’s ready, but that’s another post for another day. Admittedly, my book list for boys is short because I don’t know a lot about what boys read. It’s somewhat unfortunate but also true.
Honestly, some of these series will work for boys or for girls. I think a boy would not like the Betsy-Tacy books and might not get into The Little Princess, but I do think I can get him with The Black Stallion books and The Secret Garden. I’m just waiting for him to be a tad older before we start really long books. He doesn’t like them right now.
Oh, and I didn’t read Ender’s Game until I was an adult, but that is one I had T. read- it’s one that has to be read at so many different stages. As a pre-teen, he clearly identified strongly with Ender and was shocked at how the adults could be so ruthless and use a child like that (he loved the book anyway). It opens up a lot of different philosophy and ethical issues. Anyway, it’s very much a ‘boy’ book, and definitely an ‘onion’ book to enjoy together.
I love your list! I have always been a reader…it’s breaking my heart that my older son is not! Hopefully, the HP books will help change that – soon!
Oh, I hope that does it. I’ve seen miracles worked by JK Rowling. Never underestimate the power of a really good story.
You also might try Kate DiCamillo’s Mercy Watson series or the Shermat’s Nate the Great series if your older son isn’t over, say, six or so. They’re fantastically fun and got Ben hooked on the idea of chapter books.
We made it through James and the Giant Peach over several days when M- was 4. He was eager to read the BFG, but found Chapter 1″too scary.”
I never actually thought of anything I read as a child as boy or girl oriented, but I am a BIG SF and Fantasy fan (Wrinkle in Time counts:), so I’ll have to think…Ben may like that stuff!
Of course, basing recommendations on memory is risky. I loved the Doctor Doolittle movie when I was a child, only to realize that the good Doctor was a sexist, classist ass WHILE re-watching with M-
Can’t wait to read how the reading goes in years ahead!
I’m at a loss. I can’t figure out what BFG is. Sigh.
I hadn’t thought of the things I read as boy or girl oriented either until P and I started having conversations about books to read Ben and I realized that a) P had never even heard of some of these books and b) after looking through them (most on my shelves or in boxes waiting to be put on shelves) he declared the “girl books.” I still think I have a great chance of selling Ben on some of these, but we’ll see.
And yes, we’ve had the same thing happen. There was a picture book that I adored as a child: The Ten Little Indians. We pulled it out, started to read it to Ben, and realized that, yeah, this isn’t a book we wanted to read him after all. Sigh. Fortunately, he was young enough that he doesn’t remember us reading it to him. Now to make it disappear before he finds it some day.
The BFG is the name of the book. It means Big Friendly Giant (it’s another Roald Dahl book). I had sold him on it as The Big Farting Giant, so I had set us up to fail….
I really enjoyed Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles as an older kid – kind of a fun Welsh fantasy series. Not sure how they’d hold up.
Susan’s Cooper’s “The Dark is Rising” books were good and SCARY when I was a kid! Not scary now, but still decent books (I re-read them a few years ago).
I better STOP!
Did P tell you how he can tell which books are girls? I can’t figure of the sex of our tortoise OR any of my books! (kidding:)
I love Tasha Tudor–I had no idea the Secret Garden was hard to find…my daughter is only 3, but now I think I should get a head start on finding some of these on my own hope to read with her one day list.
Only in the Tasha Tudor edition. If you don’t mind a different illustrator it’s fairly easy to find. The last place I found that had it was borders.com. I bought one for a friend’s daughter. Amazon hasn’t had it in stock for quite a while.
I just love the Tasha Tudor illustrations so much that I can’t stand not being able to show them to my kids. My husband keeps telling me I can’t recreate my childhood through my kids, but that’s not what I’m trying to do. What makes a book a classic is the timelessness of its themes and settings. The original set of Ellen Emerson White’s novels couldn’t have stood up to that, but the revised editions absolutely can.
What a fantastic list. I’m really happy to have it. Thanks for taking the time to share it. Printing it out now…
I loved the Ellen Emerson White books as a teen and I remember the excitement of finding a new one at the bookstore. Unfortunately, as I have two boys both of whom appear not to be readers, I don’t think I’ll be sharing those books with them.
All awesom books. I like that you included links to all the books. Happy TT!
I love book lists. LOVE.
There are some of these I haven’t read. I can’t wait to look thru all of them! I’ve already read a few of the Betsy-Tacy books to my 3yo, they are my FAVE.
Thanks so much for linking up this week!
I am happy to see this list. We have read several of these already but I forgotten a few that you have on your list that my daughter has not read.
O, The Secret Garden. Love It… an all time favorite
Yeah, The Secret Garden is way, way up on my list, too. I adore that book. I’m actually hoping to convince Ben to let me read it to him soon. We’ll see how that goes :). I’m thinking I can sell it with the gardens and the boys. We’ll see.