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The 10-year-old's reading


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« The (Hypothetical) Dangerous Book For Girls | Main | What Boys Should Know By the Time They Become Men »


Brainy Girl

I LOVE this idea! I'm going to copy and paste all of the books in this post into a document as a reference as my girls get older. I'm so excited to introduce them to all of these wonderful books!

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Anne of Green Gables
Emily of New Moon
A Wrinkle in Time


I hope this doesn't come across as snarky. I am somewhat frustrated, however.

This whole discussion started as a book recommendation for boys, who historically are not good readers. They sometimes need a push in that dept.

Then we went on to how the title, content, etc etc was unfair to girls, how girls get left out, etc. etc. NOW we're compiling a list of books for girls (who are "better" readers than boys) and have left boys out of it.

Where is the list for books for boys? Wasn't this the original point?!? In light of previous comments, I find this twist unsettling.


"What Would You do With a Kangaroo?" Mercer Mayer for the very young. A great way to introduce little girls to a character they can identify with who isn't afraid to speak her mind! Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery. I read the whole series in 6th and 7th grade. The first book is my favorite but it's great to be able to follow Anne through her life in the subsequent books.
For young women any book Margaret Atwood is a must. Especially "The Edible Woman" and "Cat's Eye". She's brilliant. I think in general college women would really benefit from taking an introductory course of women in literature.


I don't want to derail the discussion but I am really having a hard time wrapping my head around the gender thing here. What constitutes a book a girl should read vs. a boy, other than maybe the period-getting boob-growing genre epitomized by Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret?

My favourite books depended wildly on my age and what I was into at the time. I breathed the Tripod books by John Christopher for one summer and went through anything similar (distopian SF? Plain old SF? I guess) like it was candy, which included L'Engle and Asimov and Bradbury and a whole whack of books.

I went through the Lord of the Flies/Chocolate War phase too. Coupled with a whole bunch of Farley Mowat.

I went through a massive Arthurian phase/ The next summer I booted it through Austen and the Bronte sisters, at least as far as I got.

Earlier, I read Cherry Ames and Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys together (along with the Bobbsey Twins, now there's a series I might twitch a lot about giving to any child of mine now). After that I read the Cleary books (Ramona, Henry Higgins) and those were great...

I guess I just think which books are essential are going to vary wildly based on one's child and their particular interests at the time. Having said that I'll say books I definitely want to introduce to my kids at some point that aren't already above are:

To Kill a Mockingbird
Wind in the Willows
Just So Stories
The Once and Future King
The Hobbit
Bridge to Terabithia (I know no better book on loss for kids)
Pretty well any version of the Greek Myths & the Norse Myths, although I sort of favour richer more gory versions
Grimm's Fairy Tales, more gory too
Arabian Nights
Oscar Wilde's Fairy Tales

And depending on child's interests
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The Secret Country series (and pretty well anything) by Pamela Dean
The Weetzie Bat books by Francesca Lia Block


Two great books to start reading at a young age-
The Paper Bag Princess (don't let the 'p' word throw you) and
A Bad Case of the Stripes


In light of Lloyd Alexander's death last week, any of his books, but especially The Prydain Chronicles. Great for boys and girls (magic, adventures, an oracular pig, strong male and female child characters.)


The Trixie Belden series. The first three books in particular.


"When the Sky is Like Lace"
Seven Daughters and Seven Sons
The Perilous Gard
The Diary of Anne Frank
Tom Sawyer
The White Mountains
Harriet the Spy
The "Little House" books


to flea:
Oh how sad! I hadn't heard that L Alexander had died. His books were also a favorite in my home - loved the Black Cauldron and others...



I think (please correct me if I'm wrong) the original "Dangerous" book we were discussing had a whole chapter or section detailing books that boys should read. Since we were trying to come up with ideas for a similar book for girls, the topic of 20 books girls should read came up.

I just finished up my Master's degree in Library Science (with an emphasis on children's and young adult literature), so if you'd like some suggestions, feel free to email me. The address is at hotmail.com, and the header for that is dashoff. As a result of my degree, I have TONS of opinions about girl books vs. boy books and what makes one or the other and whether we need that distinction, etc. I won't go into it here, because I'd probably end up with an entire doctoral dissertation on the subject!

Roasted Squid

I second

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Island of the Blue Dolphins
A Wrinkle in Time
Little House on the Prairie Series

and I propose
A Little Princess (also somewhat racist, but a product of its time)

All those books I read multiple (I mean MULTIPLE times while growing up).

I second others thoughts about a separate posts for boys as I am a mother of one, soon to be two, boys. Although I can see the boys being interested in the survivor skills of the main character in Island of the Blue Dolphins and the science fiction of Wrinkle in Time, not so sure they'll be sucked into the character driven Tree Grows in Brooklyn or A Little Princess. I would love suggestions on books little boys might like.


The Secret Garden
The Princess Bride
Charlotte's Web
Romeo and Juliet (Do plays count?)
The Color Purple ( I found that one on my parents bookshelf when I was probably too young to read it and when my mom found out she just about died and promptly took it away, but I found it again and finished it anyway.)

And Definitely To Kill a Mockingbird


I loved all these books that are being mentioned. Well, I just love books.

Anyway, I realize that the Dangerous Boy book had a chapter about books for boys in it, and I admit to not reading that so I don't know what they listed, but I don't see why boys wouldn't be interested in a lot of these books, too. My husband read a lot of these as a kid (admittedly, he is a crazy, voracious reader and always has been) including the Little House series and books that are typically considered "girl books."

I guess I'm still uncomfortable with the idea of separating books along gender lines. I understand that some books may appeal to some kids more than others, but I hate to think that a little girl wouldn't pick up a boy book simply because it's labeled that and vice versa. And I would hate if I had been discouraged from reading ANY book when I was growing up. Even books dealing with specific male/female issues (like "Are You There God . . .") can give valuable insight to boys AND girls. Books contain knowledge (granted, in various forms) and knowledge itself is not male or female and shouldn't be limited.

That said, I am all about listing great books that kids should read.


Thank you Diane! I'll email you, I really truly appreciate your offer.

Add to the list: David Copperfield by Charles Dickens


Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Anything by Tamora Pierce (start with First Test or Trickster's Choice)


Oh! I almost forgot!
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil Frankweiler,
My Side of the Mountain,
the Trumpet of the Swan,
the Cricket in Times Square, and
James and the Giant Peach

pnuts mama


i would recommend the entire 7 book narnia series (in the original order by cs lewis, not this new chronological crap they have out now) for BOTH boys AND girls. also lord of the rings. give me some thinking time and i'll have more. i second (twenty third?) the rec for anne of green gables series as well. and GWTW was definitely a favorite, the writing was exquisite! house of the seven gables? the bronte books and the austin books. i'm trying to think of books i read over and over.


i wonder if the whole gender-reading thing doesn't have something to do with many girls (women) feeling comfortable reading more male-oriented books versus boys (women) feeling very uncomfortable reading books that aren't specifically masculine. do you kwim? i know i read and did tons of stuff that would be more masculine than feminine as a kid, and don't remember being ridiculed for it. but i can clearly remember the boys in my class who weren't into only the alpha-testosterone-male way of life and were abused terribly for it. i wonder could the discussion be considering the way we give girls more room and paths to experience their lives than boys? just thinking.


Great Expectations
The Miracle Worker (also a play)
The Scarlett Letter
Like Water for Chocolate
A Collection of Edgar Allan Poe short stories (including the Tell Tale Heart)
(I keep thinking of more!)


Most Definitely:

A Girl of the Limberlost - Gene Stratton-Porter

STARGIRL- Jerry Spinelli (everyone should read this, man, woman and child)

The BFG and or Matilda - Roald Dahl

and more on the adult side -
The Red Tent
The Poisonwood Bible


The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg (awesome, awesome book)

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (Patti beat me to rec'ing Stargirl. This is a great "boy" book, but the girls in my 6th grade class loved it, too).

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graeme (I probably spelled that wrong)

Holes by Louis Sachar (another great "boy" book that girls love).


I loved Anne of Green Gables, A Wrinkle in Time, The Secret Garden, Edible Woman, The Handmaid's Tale, Nancy Drew, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, and Atlas Shrugged.


I think pnuts mama put her finger on something important when she mentions girls being comfortable reading male-oriented books but not vice-versa. And others have mentioned that we need to be encouraging boys to read (very true) so need to be making sure books are published that appeal to them. And so what--we can then conclude--is that since boys won't/don't read books with female protagonists we need to be producing "male-gender-specific books". I wonder, though, if we shouldn't be asking WHY boys are so unwilling to read books with female protagonists and if maybe we should work to change that attitude. Because I think that smacks of a type of misogyny, learned at a very young age. And it makes me sad. WHY don't boys read books "for" girls, but girls do read books "for" boys? The little feminism I've read would say it's because boys/men are considered universally human, and girls/women are not. I am definitely not critizing any other commenters with this post, or implying that any commenters deliberately are contributing to this. I think it's a societal thing that warrants conversation.

serafina pekkala

I will continue to fence-sit by proffering these unisex suggestions -- sorry, but "Harriet the Spy" was my brother's favorite book! :)

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing & Superfudge by Judy Blume
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
The Great Brain series by John Fitzgerald
My Side of the Mountain by Jean George
Stuart Little & The Trumpet of the Swan & Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
Superweasel & the Alvin Fernald series by Clifford Hicks
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
The Anastasia Krupnik series by Lois Lowry (and really everything by Lois Lowry)
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Complete works of Roald Dahl
The Redwall books by Brian Jacques
The Something Queer series by Elizabeth Levy
The Encyclopedia Brown series by Donald Sobol


i second the mixed up files of basil....

My favorite book is "The country bunny and the Little Golden Shoes"-- is a fabulous children's book about a mom that can do anything. The ultimatem inspiring feminist tale!


As someone who has read the "Little House" series 100 times over, can someone please explain how it's racist? Because I can not even begin to figure that one out. Unless it's the Native American thing...which I never would have thought of as racist until just now...

My list...
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
Anne of Green Gables (and the other books in that series, though they're not quite as good)
Jane Eyre
Wuthering Heights
Little Women
Black Beauty
Shiloh (the dog...I think that's what the book is called)
The "Little House" Series
All the Harry Potter books
Harriet the Spy
Anything by Roald Dahl
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew
Jonathan Livingston Seagull (just because it's cool)
Diary of Anne Frank
The Bell Jar
The real classic versions of fairy tales (The Little Mermaid, etc) are all pretty cool.
Plus tons of other books that I can't think of right now.

I would not recommend Go Ask Alice...
That book is completely disturbing.


First, I agree with RudyinParis, who has begun to describe precisely how growing up in a patriarchal society manifests in reading: OK and even expected for females to set aside their gender in order to identify with the vast majority of male protagonists; but if males do the same it's a form of emasculation because of its proximity to the female. Not that there aren't holes in the system, of course there are! And we celebrate them.

Me, I was a girl who couldn't stand books like the Little House series but also eventually got frustrated with the masculist point of view in the Robert Cormier's etc.

I have a girl now, who's two, and I just read some study indicating that 75 % of children's books still feature male protagonists. Who cares, I guess, as long as they feature a less masculist point of view? I know that identification is important, but context within which that identification occurs is equally significant. In other words, I can relax about my daughter identifying with a male protagonist to fully engage a story, as long as the story also features female characters worth their salt, so to speak.

I'm still very fond of Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, which feature a truly awesome female (child) character.


New here - but LOOOVE books! Here's a few I'd recommend:

Little Women
Island of the Blue Dolphins
The Phantom Tollbooth
Where the Sidewalk Ends
Where the Red Fern Grown
The Hardy Boys Mysteries (they were almost as cool as Nancy Drew)
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
" " Huckleberry Finn
White Fang
The Call of the Wild
Swiss Family Robinson
Any Dr. Seuss
Johnny Appleseed


Just to build on what RudyinParis and Sisco have said, for boys to read "girl" books implies (in the eyes of many - not speaking for myself here) that the are effeminate. And many people associate effeminate boys with being gay. And the fact of the matter is that there is a general homophobia floating over US society in general. Girls who are athletic or tomboyish do experience it as well, though usually not until high school. Speaking form experience here.

Until we send the message that it is OK for boys to like "feminine" things and still be masculine, or for a girl to like "masculine" things and still be feminine - and that if you happen to be gay, that's just who you are - we are going to keep having discussions like this.

Sorry if this isn't coherent. I'm reaching the end of a 10 hour work day.


Sheryl: yes! But some would say...homophobia: a weapon of sexism. That is, that it's sexism, which harbors the fear of males getting too close to the degraded female, and thereby ruining themselves, or of females getting too close to the power of the male, and stealing it, that gives homophobia it's engine.

No matter what, it's all connected, for sure, even the book choices we provide for our children. When we decide that boys and girls are different from one another a priori, or before birth, even in the most innocent ways, and that they have distinct, gendered interests, then we turn those few who make it through the cracks (of societal norms) into anomalies. Which is totally weird. And tends to have sad, unintended consequences.


I was so busy getting my knickers twisted into knots over the pervasive sexism inherent in our social structures that I forgot to add some of my favorites:

Mrs. Frisby and the rats of NIMH
The last of the really great Whangdoodles
The book of the dun cow
Freaky Friday
The pushcart war
The hero from otherwhere
The cat ate my gymsuit
A taste of blackberries (another good one to help a kid deal with death)
Where the red fern grows

And scads of others already mentioned (like From the mixed-up files, Bridge to Terebithia, and Harriet the spy)

I recently read The true confessions of Charlotte Doyle and it was awesome. Don't think it had been published when I was kid.

Moxie, thanks for putting an organized list together... Can't wait to have it in my hands.

Brooklyn Mama

Oh, definitely the His Dark Materials trilogy. I loved the Betsy-Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace too. But I'm not sure how dangerous they are. Frankly, I could have used a Dangerous Book for Girls (or BETTER YET, For Kids!!) when I was growing up. I wish I'd been encouraged to be a little more daring.


I have loved the L'Engle books from the time I started reading them (about 9 years old I read A Wrinkle in Time). When I was a teenager I related most to the Austin family series, especially A Ring of Endless Light. It contained love, sex (or more specifically choosing not to have sex), death, and general teen angst.

I love reading this list, there are so many books I enjoyed as a child. We have started reading some of them to our 4 month old son-I think that it is more so that we get to re-read our favorites!


I loved
- The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper
- The Hero and the Crown and The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley
- Mr Popper's Penguins
- The Good Master
- The 21 Balloons

These are good for both boys and girls. The Robin McKinley books have wonderful female characters, but not in an overbearing kind of way. The speak to girl-power without being heavy handed about it.


Is it wrong that I'm making a note of all of these books for, um, myself? I love me some YA/children's books.

And IA about being uncomfortable with the idea that girls can read about boy heroes and boy "stuff" but somehow, the opposite cannot be true. It's just one more thing that reinforces the idea that boys are endlessly fascinating, and girls...are not boys.


Some books that can go either way:

Runaway Ralph (as well as The Mouse and the Motorcycle-Beverly Cleary

The entire Lemony Snicket series (strong boy and girl characters, both get to be the hero through the series)

The entire Harry Potter series-my 10 year old nephew absolutely loathed reading until I gave him the first book with a dictionary and a highlighter and told him to look up any words he didn't understand and ask questions when he had them. He's 12 now and LOVES to read. With him, it was all about finding the *right* books to get him going.

Artemis Fowl-these are great for boys but I could definitely see girls enjoying them too.

I grew up on Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary and Louisa May Alcott but as I aged, I fell for Stephen King and Clive Barker. These days, I read just about anything anyone gives me ranging from chick lit to memoirs (and finding myself pining for the last of the Harry Potter series at this very moment).

My son loves books of all kinds with his collection mostly made up of Dr Seuss and Alphapets books at the moment although he really likes the National Geographic books my husband grew up with (specifically the book about dolphins-don't ask me why). I hope to encourage his love of books and we visit the library quite often. He's very proud to have his own library card and we make a big deal about letting him pick out a few books and then checking them out under his name, not Mama's. So far we haven't had any destruction but I am careful to explain that they don't belong to just us-they belong to everyone and we have make sure we take good care of them so everyone can enjoy them as much as he does.


I can't resist jumping into this conversation - like one of the responders above I studied Children's Literature so I have oodles of suggestions!

Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfield
The Earthsea Trilogy by Ursula Le Guin
Go Ask Alice - yes, very disturbing, but one book to put your girl off drugs for life
Junk by Melvin Burgess - another drugs book, very disturbing and strong, but if they can read about it they are less likely to be doing it.
Beauty by Robin McKinley
Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey - the only book I have ever *liberated* from a library because I just had to have it (blush)!
Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman - very strong writing and a racism flip, as the blacks are in charge and the whites are second class citizens
The Diary of Ma Yan - to remind girls of how lucky they are to have access to education
The Illustrated Mum by Jacqueline Wilson - really anything by Jacqueline Wilson
Anything by Roald Dahl but particularly Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach
Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia McLachlan - good accompaniement to the fantastic Little House books, pioneer woman sent out as second wife and how she adapts with her stepchildren
I am David by Anne Holm
The Little Women books
Austin and Bronte
Holes by Louis Sacher
The Arthur Ransome books - I always wanted to be Nancy the Pirate!
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (and anything else by her, except Ruby Holler)
Saskia's Journey by Theresa Breslin (and anything else by her)
The Haunting by Margaret Mahy
Riding Tycho by Jan Mark
The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tyler by Gene Kemp
Goodnight Mr. Tom by Michelle Magorian
When Jessie Came Across the Sea by PJ Lynch

I think I'd better stop there! Statistically it has been shown that girls will read boys marketed for boys but boys won't read books marketed for girls, so the 'Dangerous Book' scenario will be seen as a commercial decision for the publishers. If you can hit both markets (boys and girls) with one lot of promotion (for boys), commercially, why would you bother promoting for girls. Parents of boys are desparate for good 'boy' books, so if you have one of those you are on to a winner.


As a tomboy, I LOVED My Side of the Mountain.

Also, anything by Arthur Roth. He wrote true survival tales, like The Castaway, The Iceberg Hermit, and Avalanche. Just wonderful books.

Plus, whoever said Edgar Allen Poe short stories ... BRILLIANT!!!


And for a book with a strong heroine, I'd go with O Pioneers!


pnuts mama "i would recommend the entire 7 book narnia series (in the original order by cs lewis, not this new chronological crap they have out now)"

This is very controversial stuff, you know ;-) Lewis himself has been quoted as advocating the chronological order - I personally can't bear the thought of telling children new to Narnia to start with Magician's Nephew, I think a lot of potential lifelong adorers of the series would drop out; not that it doesn't have its own charms. But Lion, Witch and Wardrobe radiates classic with every character and every chapter. Once you're hooked, I don't think the order matters so much - if you go on to Caspian or Horse and His Boy - not so crucial, they're both terrific and by then I'm sure a child will want to read all the books. Well, until Last Battle....


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (my favorite all-time book ever, actually)
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Anne of Green Gables
A Wrinkle in Time
The Secret Garden
Harriet the Spy
Anything and Everything Judy Blume
The Katie John Series

I think it's a little silly to call Little House racist, though. Can't wait to re-read it and see where the complaints are coming from.


Re: racism in Little House books --

It has been a looooong time since I read them, so my memory may be faulty. But I seem to recall at least one scene in a Little House book where Pa and his friends do a community performance in blackface. As I remember it, the performance is a hit, and none of the townspeople is offended by or comments on the racial sterotyping and meanness.

Is this what folks are referring to? Or am I remembering wrong.


I LOVE the Little House books more than I can even express, but I don't think it's silly or extreme to say that there are racist elements: It is stated more than once that Ma hates Indians, that she thinks they are dirty, violent savages. But it can generate really fantastic discussions. Other great books -- not Newbury material, but very realistic and enjoyable and full of non-schmaltzy life lessons -- are any of the Alice books by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (The Agony of Alice; Alice in Rapture, Sort Of; Outrageously Alice ...) and most of the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series by Louise Rennison (very British and hilarious). The Alice and Georgia books, I think, are considered "dangerous" by some people, given how often they end up on lists of challenged books. I also agree with the endorsement of Walk Two Moons (and anything else by Sharon Creech besides Ruby Holler), True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Holes, and the Westing Game. Oh, hell, I agree with all of them. God, I love kids' books.

Roasted Squid

I hate to jump into the fray about boys and girls books, but I will!! In talking to my husband about books he loved growing up, it wasn't so much about whether the main character was a girl or boy...it's more whether the subject matter was something he was interested it. Adventure, Science Fiction, Mystery was something he could get into regardless of the sex of the main character (Island of the Blue Dolphins, Wrinkle in Time, The Hero and the Crown were all favorite books). But if the book was more character driven (Little Women, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, most books by Judy Blume) all it gave him was a case of the yawns. So I think the whole male/female thing is more subtle than just boys don't like books with female main character. Boys like books with ACTION! Girls get into the whole social dynamic which just puts boys to sleep.


Go Ask Alice, really? I admit that I read and was fascinated by it, but now, knowing that it is a fake diary (check out snopes.com), I feel sort of oogy about it.

Maybe I'm overthinking this --me! the one who said "Oh, what's the big deal about teasing with negative names?"!-- but I'm not sure I want my kids reading forged antidrug propaganda. In fact, I'm pretty sure I don't.

OK, so to counterbalance the anti-rec, I offer "The Witch of Blackbird Pond."

pnuts mama

ooooh, enu, good eye on my comment about the chronicles of narnia. i just spent a little too much time on wikipedia reading up on the whole thing- i clearly am in the camp of those who support reading the series in the order they were written/originally published, as i believe the way details are revealed and woven together are so much more interesting, thought provoking, lush and rewarding! i hated the idea of giving away so much by putting TMN as the first in the series, and assumed it was (please pardon how this may come off as insulting or snotty) our current american publishing systems way of dumbing down our kids, not giving them the credit due of figuring things out for themselves.

i had no idea there was so much controversy! (even way back in the 50's!) i also loved to read through the info on the series itself, b/c, if i am nothing else, i am a gigantic n.e.r.d.! this is why i love this site and all of you so much- it never fails to be a thought-provoking font of wisdom. reading through so many titles brings me back and reminds me of the time when i had uninterupted hours to read til my eyes were sore. those were the days.

moxie, if i could, at some point could we start a "must read" for grownups list? i wonder what favorite books your readers could recommend in a variety of genres now that summer is almost here.


Moxie -- I have to say -- this is one of the most fascinating and interesting discussions I've read in a long time. Thank you for initiating this.


The Ramona Quimby Series!


I was all set to comment on this post, because if there's one thing I love to talk about, it's books! But then some other enlightened person suggested the Betsy-Tacy books, which are the ones I thought no one else would mention and also: ONLY 20!?!? I'd have a hard time limiting my list to 100 "must-reads." It makes my brain hurt even to try.

Oh, and: the D'Aulaire books on Greek and Norse myths are really excellent introductions for kids. Heck, I still use 'em for quick references.


So many great books and authors have been named that I so loved and love (Judy Blume - yay! and the old Nancy Drews rock).

Here's my two cents, listed by author, and sorry for any repeats:
Beverly Cleary - the Ramona books and Dear Mr. Henshaw
Katherine Paterson - The Great Gilly Hopkins, Jacob Have I Loved (in addition to A Bridge to Terebithia, one of the best books ever written IMHO)
Madelein L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Norma Klein - just about everything and anything by an author who is sorely missed. Like Judy Blume, her children's books run the gamut from grade school to high school. Tomboy and Mom, the Wolfman and Me are two of my personal favorites.
M.E. Kerr - Gentlehands
Betty MacDonald - the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series just because it's funny and I think kids (and parents, too) can identify.
J.D. Salinger - The Catcher in the Rye
Sydney Tayor - the All-of-a-Kind Family series (I grew up in a small midwestern town - without this series, I would have entered adulthood completely ignorant of Jewish traditions)
the Brothers' Grimm - so much more interesting than the Disney versions
And for the German speakers, Erich Kästner's children's books are great (The Parent Trap is based on Das doppelte Lottchen)

Oh, I wouldn't limit my recommendations to just girls. When I was a young girl, this were just a number of the books that spoke to me, but who's to say they wouldn't speak to a boy?

Sally Big Woods

I'm so glad someone mentioned "Betsy Tacy." I had never read the series as a kid, but now read them to my 6+ year old daughter. There's lots of good stuff in there, though some of the ideas and wording can seem dated. Most of my other favorites have already been mentioned.

I think there is definitely a difference between what boys and girls like to read. And this continues into adulthood. Most women I know do not read books even written by men, and most men I know only read books about the subjects or in the genres that interest them. There are v. few people who read across genres or genders, in my experience. I think this is fascinating, and a little strange, but perhaps it's human nature.

Love the blog, Moxie!

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  • My expertise is in helping people be who they want to be, with a specialty in how being a parent fits into everything else. I like people. I like parents. I think you're doing a fantastic job. The nitty-gritty of what you do with your kids is up to you, although I'm happy to post questions here to get data points of how you could try approaching different stages, because, let's face it, this shit is hard. As for me, I have two kids who sleep through the night and can tie their own shoes. I've been a married SAHM, a married freelance WAHM, a divorcing WOHM, a divorced WOHM, and now a WAHM again. I'm not buying the Mommy Wars and I'll come sit next to you no matter how you're feeding your kid. When in doubt, follow the money trail. And don't believe the hype.
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