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My daughter is a great reader but I feel like we're running out of good books that are appropriate for her maturity level. We've gone through the Narnia series, Harry Potter, Golden Compass, The Hobbit series, A Peter Pan series and a few others. I tried some of the Henty books but we didn't find them very well written. Is there a good list of classics for a young child that someone can share with me?





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Guest Virginia Dawn

Has she read the Redwall books? My 9yo son, whose reading tastes seem similar to your daughter's, is reading through this series now. And there are at least 15 good sized books! I know it isn't exactly classic, but its not objectionable.


A classic that she might enjoy:

The Prince and the Pauper- Twain

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There are tons of good books out there--they're just not brand new. You can find them on the library bookshelves; just start looking. I can't make a list right now, but I'll do some thinking and post later.



My daughter just came in and she recommends "The wonderful adventures of Nils" by Selma Lagerlöf, and Mark Twain (Tom Sawyer, Prince and the Pauper, and Connecticut Yankee).

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Here are some that my 8 yo has read recently




Starcross (sequel to Larkight)


Phantom Tollbooth


Five Children and It


Railway Children


The Borrowers (there are 5 books in this series)


Swallows and Amazons (quite a few in this series)


Mary Poppins


101 Dalmatians (Not the Disney version)

The Mysterious Benedict Society


Journey to the Center of the Earth


Magyk (First in a series of 4)


Into the Wild (First in the Warriors series)


Artemis Fowl (First in a series of 6)






The Neverending Story





If you buy The Neverending Story, get the hardback version. It has the text in two different colors; purple for our world and green for Fantastica.

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There are tons of good books out there--they're just not brand new.

:iagree: almost... there are some newer books worth reading


A few authors to look for:

  • Noel Streatfeild (start with Ballet Shoes... don't let the title scare you)
  • Joan Aiken (start with short stories and The Wolves of Willoughby Chase)
  • Rosemary Sutcliff
  • Padraic Colum
  • Arthur Ransome (start with Swallow and Amazons)
  • Susan Cooper (the Dark is Rising series)
  • Meindert Dejong
  • E. Nesbit
  • Cornelia Funke
  • Astrid Lindgren (she's more than just Pippi... check out Ronia: Robber's Daughter)
  • Terry Pratchett's kids books
  • Lloyd Alexander
  • Steve Augarde
  • Blue Balliett
  • T.A. Barron
  • BB (start with Little Gray Men or Brendon Chase)
  • Kevin Crossley-Holland (start with The Seeing Stone)

There are sooooo many more. The above is a short list based on recent reading a few authors culled alphabetically from my LibraryThing catalog.



  • Born Free and sequels by Joy Adamson
  • Zamba and Modoc by Ralph Helfer

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Well, I agree with you, nmoira--there are quite a few great books coming out now too--I guess what I really mean is that there are a whole heck of a lot of really good books out there that are no longer popular. Wonderful books cram your library bookshelves, but they aren't necessarily popular or new. I find that if I spend a little time really looking at any bookshelf in the library, I can find quite a few good books I've never heard of (and I'm a librarian, the daughter of a librarian--the other day I mentioned "The Apple Stone" to my mom and she was irritated that she'd never heard of it). Just browse the shelves and pick something up!


So, here are a few of my favorite, but not quite so popular right now, authors (besides the ones above, who I also love)--


Diana Wynne Jones is my all-time favorite, but many of her books might be a little above a 9yo's head--try the Chrestomanci books.


Eleanor Farjeon wrote wonderful books, I adore her. Start with "The Little Bookroom." Also she was sorta homeschooled!


John Verney is totally unknown now but his books remind me of Tintin--fun international-ish adventures. Start with "Friday's Tunnel."


Daniel Pinkwater is a total loon. I love him. "Lizard Music" and "The Last Guru."


Kipling wrote magical stories for children too. Read "Puck of Pook's Hill" and its sequel.


For myself, I will read anything written or illustrated by Edward Ardizzone. I have found wonderful things that way. Even a big 9-yo should read Little Tim's adventures!


Walter de la Mare wrote stories, fairy tales, and poems. He also made wonderful poetry collections--read "Come Hither" yourself.


Read poetry! Look at the collections by Louis Untermeyer to start.


Just go and browse the 398 section--that's folk and fairy tales. Andrew Lang's colored fairy books, the D'Aulaires' collections of folktales and myths, Joseph Jacobs' collections, anything by Roger Lancelyn Green, "East o' the Sun and West o' the Moon," the complete Grimm's, the Arabian Nights--are all required reading. There is virtually no end to the good folklore out there.


I have to go now, but there's more in my head. :001_smile:

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Tove Jansson's Moomintroll books. Sweden had Astrid Lindgren, and Finland had Tove Jansson!


Alan Garner--"The Weirdstone of Brisingamen." It has a sequel, and he wrote a bunch of other stuff, some of which is kind of weird and some of which is great.


Carol Kendall, "The Gammage Cup" and it's sequel, "The Whisper of Glocken."


Joan Aiken's series that begins with "The Wolves of Willoughby Chase" is mentioned above; it's great and there must be about 15 of them. She also wrote a hilarious series that starts with "Arabel's Raven," about a sweet little girl named Arabel and her horrifyingly awful raven Mortimer. (And some good ghost stories too.)

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The Book of Story Beginnings by Kristin Kladstrup

The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The Penderwicks by Jean Birdsall

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry

Whittington by Alan Armstrong

Tales of Dimwood Forest series by Avi

Redwall series by Brian Jacques

Bella at Midnight by Diane Stanley

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

A Wrinkle in Time series by Madeleine L'Engle

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

Holes by Louis Sachar

Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliet (she has several other goods ones as well)

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren (not necessarily just for little kids)

Half Magic by Edward Eager

Five Children and It by Edith Nesbit


Also, our children's librarian has set up a section of "classic" books. It has a lot of the Newberry books but also just a lot of older, "forgotten" books. You could ask your librarian about a similar section.


Also, check out the book Books That Build Character by William Kilpatrick: a highy recommended, non-preachy book packed full of excellent books for kids.



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I have found a round-a-bout sort of way to finding books. I go to Amazon and find a book that I or my boys read and really enjoyed. Scroll down the page on that book and you will find an area that suggests books others have bought as well. Click on those books and you might find that there is a book that catches your eye as well. I have found some good reads for all of us that way. And, of course, I watch the message boards thru out the year as everyone gives great suggestions to check out.

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A series I ADORED when I was young that is wholesome and wonderful, reminds me of Little House on the Prairie, but takes place a bit later, is by Maud Hart Lovelace, the Betsy, Tacy & Tib series. About three friends and sees them through just before school through adulthood. So wonderful!


My daughter also loves the series with The Book of Three.

And Spiderwick Chronicles.

The Tale of Despereux.

There is a wonderful series of The Sisters Grimm! The sisters are decendants of the Brothers Grimm, and detectives who must make their way through modern fairy tale folk to solve mysteries--very good.

Gail Carson Levine also does different takes on fairy tales, this age range, and fantastic, very funny.


Good luck!

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