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Arctic Mama

Clean preteen and young teen books?

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Hi everyone!  I’m making my old phone into a birthday present for my DD, who is turning 12, and she is a massive reader.  My thought was to load kindle on there and spend her birthday money adding books that wouldn’t fall in her normal academic reading.

 

So far, I know she’d love Harry Potter (we have done the audiobooks but not the print), the Howl books, and Ella Enchanted.  She really likes fantasy and historical fiction, and I love YA too but it’s hard to find stuff that isn’t too dystopian and is fairly clean.  

 

Hit me with your recommendations that I could get in ebook form.  Anything on Project Gutenberg is fine too, I’m adding a bunch of Jane Austen from there 🙂

 

 

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The Terry Pratchett books for kids are really good - my 13 year olds just devoured them and I have been reading them too. The Tiffany Aching series, they are called. My oldest read all Terry Pratchett's books in MS, but my youngers aren't quite ready. 

My daughters loved the Inheritance cycle (Eragon, etc). My son not so much.  

The Adventurers Guide to Successful Escapes (there are three in its series) and Hero's Guide to Saving the Kingdom series (also three).  

Ghost Rider by Conrnelia Funke (skews younger than her Inkspell series, which no one here liked much). Also a huge hit with my girls was the Dealing with Dragons series (four books) by Patricia Wrede. 

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My 12 yr old is loving the Flavia de Luce books by Alan Bradley.  

They are adult mystery books but clean and suitable, by my standards. 

They are set in the 50s and the main character is an 11yr old girl who is precocious and funny and is passionate about chemistry. 

 

ETA a link: https://www.amazon.com.au/Flavia-Luce-7-Book-Bundle-ebook/dp/B01E2H3MOM 

Edited by chocolate-chip chooky
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DD loved the Warriors series and after that, Wings of Fire.

She also suggests the Tuesdays at the Castle series, which is perhaps a bit younger but still fun.

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My daughters loved the Goose Girl series and other books by Shannon Hale at that age. 

My son and I read the Gregor the Overlander series and His Magesty’s Dragon (series) at about that age. 

 

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Historical Fiction by Colleen Coble is clean but in addition to a mystery there is usually a side story romance.

Freedom's Light

Butterfly Palace

Bluebonnet Bride

The Lightkeeper's Daughter

Lightkeeper's Ball

Lightkeeper's Bride

https://colleencoble.com/library/page/4/

She has written quite a few books set in current times and as far as I can remember, they are all clean.

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Penderwicks and Sisters Grimm were favorites for both girls--books that were read over and over like HP (the all-time favorite). One dd liked all of the different Rick Riordan series (the other liked The Lightning Thief and the Egyptian one and then tired of him). Mysterious Benedict Society.

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Redwall maybe? My son has already read them but goes back over and over.

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1 hour ago, EmseB said:

Redwall maybe? My son has already read them but goes back over and over.

We tried redwall and they weren’t fans, unfortunately 😞

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I just finished The War That Saved My Life and its sequel, The War I Finally Won. They were both lovely HF books.

Two other historical fiction books with a touch of mystery: Spying on Miss Muller by Eve Bunting and Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix (that one's technically not HF... it's complicated... read to find out)

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Since she likes Ella Enchanted, I would choose more of Gail Carson Levine's books.

Since she likes fantasy, I would consider The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper (and other books by her).

Books by Lloyd Alexander. Especially the Chronicles of Prydain (series) but also his other books.

Beauty by Robin McKinley

Rowan of Rin series by Emily Rodda

Books by Madeleine L'Engle

Chronicles of Narnia of she hasn't read them (or even if she has!)

Little Women and sequels

Anne of Green Gables and sequels

Look at Katherine Patterson''s books. She is one of my favorite authors and is a Christian. But she explores deep themes in some of her books, and her characters have faults and failings, so take a look at them first.

CIty of Ember and its sequels

Phantom Tollbooth by Juster

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Five Children and It

The Wind in the Willows

 

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We have read Anne and Nimh but some of these I’ve never even heard of!  Thank you so much for the awesome recs, keep them coming!

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Esperanza Rising by Pam Munez Ryan

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

If she hasn’t read them, the Anne of Green Gables books. 

 

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Wings of Fire series

Dealing with Dragons series

Fifteen by Beverly Cleary if she likes a little light, clean romance 🙂

Beauty by Robin McKinley (but NOT Deerskin by the same author)

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The Secret Garden by Burnett

A Little Princess by Burnett

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

All-of-a-Kind-Family and sequels

The Borrowers by Norton (and sequels, but the first is the best, I think)

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede and sequels

Half Magic by Edward Eager

Betsy-Tacy series. Betsy and Tacy are best friends, and they grow from five-year-olds (I think) in the first book, to young adulthood in the last. Loved loved loved these and read them dozens of times. If your daughter likes Little House and Anne of Green Gables, she may like them, because they portray the life of a girl growing up, over a series. The books increase in reading difficulty and length as the girls age, so she can zip through the early ones when they are young and then linger over the others (although the early ones are probably my favorite).

I am mostly listing books in this post that I read around that age, so my list will skew toward white protagonists (just because that is what I have available to me). You may add some more multicultural books into the mix (such as Esperanza Rising, already recommended).

I like Laurence Yep. He is of Chinese descent, and his characters are Asian. He has some historical fiction family stories and also some dragon fantasy series.

Mildred Taylor's series starting with Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry is excellent. But it is about growing up black in the south in the 30s (I think). They are well worth reading, but perhaps are ones to read with her, so you can discuss. The characters face ugly racism and some bad things occur.

My own children have not benefited as much as I would have wanted from my book recommendations, because two are not big readers, and the other two prefer to pick their own. So I have fun throwing out my favorite titles to others.

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Storygirl
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Seconding Shannon Hale, who is solidly YA and also clean - she's a Christian as well, IIRC.

Diana Wynne Jones has a giant body of work and it's all clean. It tends to be more thinky and less about romance like a lot of YA is today.

For historical fiction, seconding The War That Saved My Life and the sequel. And there is a LOT of upper end MG historical fiction. It's all clean in terms of sex because it's MG, but a lot of it has "hard" issues. Still, very appropriate for a 12 yo and good moral messages. So, things like...
Moon Over Manifest
The Lions of Little Rock
One Crazy Summer
A Night Divided
Chains (Seeds of America series)
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
Turtle in Paradise
Our Only May Amelia (warning: baby death)
Penny from Heaven
The Mighty Miss Malone
A Year Down Yonder
 

 

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Other books by the author of Ella Enchanted

The False Prince trilogy

Susan Cooper books

Lloyd Alexander books (there are lots)

Madeline L'Engle books (not just the Swiftly Tilting Planet series)

A Wizard of Earthsea trilogy

 

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20 minutes ago, Arctic Mama said:

I found A Tree Grows in Brooklyn super disturbing!  I think that one’s love/hate 🤔

I read it many times as a young girl but haven't revisited it in a long time.

There are some other books that I loved when young that I scratched my head over as an adult. Girl of the Limberlost, for example. I found it almost unreadable when I was older.

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My girls and all their church friends are currently obsessed with the Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L Knight. They are Christian fantasy books. I haven’t read them but the girls pass them around and have lively discussions about them. My 11 year old is the youngest in the group, dyslexic, and has never picked up anything more challenging than Magic Treehouse to read on her own. She was intimidated by these at first (they are thick books) but is now on book 4 and is reading every time I turn around. 

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@Arctic Mama - did you know GCL has a sequel to Ella Enchanted? It's relatively new, called Ogre Enchanted (iirc). 

If your DD likes historical fiction and fantasy, she may like Patricia Wrede's Frontier Magic trilogy (13th Child is the first book). It's very innocent/clean but one of my favorite series. 

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Ogre Enchanted is not a sequel to Ella Enchanted, it's a prequel. Honestly, I thought it was a major disappointment.

Fairest is a companion novel set in the same universe and much better.

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The Diaries of a Middle School Princess (companion series to Princess Diaries) is good, and avoids the sex content of the main series. Anything by Dana Burkey is clean and light. (She has a series about all star cheer, and I’m one of her test readers for it-her books tend to stop at kissing and holding hands).  I also like the Gallagher Girls series, but it does get more mature as the characters age (similar to Harry Potter).

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50 minutes ago, dmmetler said:

The Diaries of a Middle School Princess (companion series to Princess Diaries) is good, and avoids the sex content of the main series. Anything by Dana Burkey is clean and light. (She has a series about all star cheer, and I’m one of her test readers for it-her books tend to stop at kissing and holding hands).  I also like the Gallagher Girls series, but it does get more mature as the characters age (similar to Harry Potter).

Oh good!  Because I love PD but it’s not clean enough.  Woohoo!

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I recently read The Storm Keeper’s Island by Catherine Doyle with my 12 year old DS. It may be a little easy for your DD. The second book in the series is coming out soon. It takes place in Ireland and has a lot of magic in it. There aren’t any princesses, though. 

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The read aloud revival book lists always seem to be pretty good to us.  We loved the incorrigible children of Ashton place series though there is a seance if that’s an issue to you (it’s kind of lighthearted and open to interpretation but I know it’s a concern for some).

even ds12 like the Tuesday’s at the castle series even though he’s a boy boy, and they are about princesses.  That’s how you know a book is well written.  

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On 3/16/2019 at 4:56 PM, mlktwins said:

Penderwicks

My 14 yo dd is re-reading these for old time's sake, so I'd say that's a definite mark of approval.  

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On 3/16/2019 at 10:46 PM, Farrar said:

Seconding Shannon Hale, who is solidly YA and also clean - she's a Christian as well, IIRC.

Diana Wynne Jones has a giant body of work and it's all clean. It tends to be more thinky and less about romance like a lot of YA is today.

For historical fiction, seconding The War That Saved My Life and the sequel. And there is a LOT of upper end MG historical fiction. It's all clean in terms of sex because it's MG, but a lot of it has "hard" issues. Still, very appropriate for a 12 yo and good moral messages. So, things like...
Moon Over Manifest
The Lions of Little Rock
One Crazy Summer
A Night Divided
Chains (Seeds of America series)
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
Turtle in Paradise
Our Only May Amelia (warning: baby death)
Penny from Heaven
The Mighty Miss Malone
A Year Down Yonder
 

 

Yes to all of this!  And I must add that if you haven't read anything by Richard Peck, he's a must-read.  His historical fiction is hilarious AND heart-warming.

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I don't think anyone has mentioned my personal favorite yet, Gary D. Schmidt.  The Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now are so very good!  I'd definitely consider them clean reads, though they do tackle difficult issues. 

Also, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner might be a good choice. 

Edited by hopeistheword
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On 3/16/2019 at 9:32 PM, Storygirl said:

Since she likes Ella Enchanted, I would choose more of Gail Carson Levine's books.

Since she likes fantasy, I would consider The Dark Is Rising series by Susan Cooper (and other books by her).

Books by Lloyd Alexander. Especially the Chronicles of Prydain (series) but also his other books.

Beauty by Robin McKinley

Rowan of Rin series by Emily Rodda

Books by Madeleine L'Engle

Chronicles of Narnia of she hasn't read them (or even if she has!)

Little Women and sequels

Anne of Green Gables and sequels

Look at Katherine Patterson''s books. She is one of my favorite authors and is a Christian. But she explores deep themes in some of her books, and her characters have faults and failings, so take a look at them first.

CIty of Ember and its sequels

Phantom Tollbooth by Juster

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

Five Children and It

The Wind in the Willows

 

My 13 yo keeps Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Patterson in her backpack to read when she doesn't have anything else to read.  

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2 minutes ago, hopeistheword said:

I don't think anyone has mentioned my personal favorite yet, Gary D. Schmidt.  The Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now are so very good!  I'd definitely consider them clean reads, though they do tackle difficult issues. 

Also, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner might be a good choice. 

I'm quoting myself here--ha!--to say that Gary D. Schmidt's Orbiting Jupiter is excellent but deals with teen pregnancy from the very young father's perspective.  It's a tragic, heart-rending read, so you might want to hold off on that one until your dd is a bit older.  (With that said, both my girls have read it numerous times, but I tend to not be able to keep up with them in terms of reading so maybe I'm not the best example.  LOL)

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1 hour ago, hopeistheword said:

My 14 yo dd is re-reading these for old time's sake, so I'd say that's a definite mark of approval.  

I did this as a read-aloud with my 12 year old boys -- LOL.  They rolled their eyes a few times at some of the girl stuff, but we enjoyed all of them.  My boys aren't ones to re-read books, except for Harry Potter and one just re-read The Mysterious Benedict Society series.  Those were a great read-aloud too.

 

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Redeemed Reader and Read Aloud Revival are good sources. RR is especially helpful, imo, because it keeps up with newly published books that I might not have other reviews on. 

Dd loved Gary Schmidt's Straw into Gold.

Seconding A String on the Harp, The Dark is Rising series, and the Chronicles of Prydain. All faves with my fantasy loving kids. 

The Vanderbeekers books are fun. 

Has she read The Hobbit?!

 

Edited by ScoutTN
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If she likes mythology, the Goddess Girls series is fun (mythological characters as high school students-so, for example, the Trojan war was a class project that went rather sideways). It’s a lot lighter than Percy Jackson, and avoids some of the situations that come up later in that series.

Edited by dmmetler
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On 3/16/2019 at 4:18 PM, Arctic Mama said:

Hi everyone!  I’m making my old phone into a birthday present for my DD, who is turning 12, and she is a massive reader.  My thought was to load kindle on there and spend her birthday money adding books that wouldn’t fall in her normal academic reading.

 

So far, I know she’d love Harry Potter (we have done the audiobooks but not the print), the Howl books, and Ella Enchanted.  She really likes fantasy and historical fiction, and I love YA too but it’s hard to find stuff that isn’t too dystopian and is fairly clean.  

 

Hit me with your recommendations that I could get in ebook form.  Anything on Project Gutenberg is fine too, I’m adding a bunch of Jane Austen from there 🙂

 

 

 

Ender's Game

The Seventh Son series by Orson Scott Card

The False Prince series by Jennifer Nielsen

The Missing series by Margaret Peterson Haddix

The Jenny Cote books begining with The Ark, the Reed, and The Fire Cloud

the Sixty-Eight Rooms series by Marianne Malone (4 books in series)

The Rush Revere series by Rush Limbaugh

Animorphs by K.A. Applegate

 

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A lot of these I haven’t heard of or wouldn’t think of, so this is helpful.  Rush Revere and Incorrigible Children were very popular, and I’d forgotten all about Penderwicks. These are fantastic recs, everyone.  Thank you!

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Susan Cooper books, especially The Dark Is Rising

The Light Princess

The Earthsea books

Julie of the Wolves

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, vonfirmath said:

 

Ender's Game

 

 

For Ender’s Game there is both a novella and then a full length novel.  The author wrote the novella first, and then due to requests, expanded it into a novel.  I think the novella version is much better than the novel. 

I don’t know the age for this book because I read it so many times growing up, but Mandy by Julie Edwards was one of my favorite books as a kid.  Julie Edwards is the married name of Julie Andrews, who played Mary Poppins.  She wrote a few other children’s books, too, that I understand are really good, but I only had ever heard of Mandy until recently.

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Maybe the Wizard of Oz books.  I *think* there are 13 of them.  Dd14 has read them over and over.

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Definitely check out the Melendy series by Elizabeth Enright.  I loved series about kids in large families having fun together and hers are great!  Some other favorites were anything by E. Nesbit and the Swallows and Amazons seried by Arthur Ransome.

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The Melendy books have some casual racism. I was surprised to open one and, within the first few pages, see an outright racial slur. (Alas, The Treasure Seekers by Nesbit has the same slur.) It's possible newer editions have been edited - this was an older edition I picked up used at The Strand.

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This is my free (or real cheap) ebook list. Some of the titles are more popular with boys but I included them because I enjoyed them, too.

  • The Secret Garden
  • A Little Princess
  • Understood Betsy
  • The Railway Children
  • Little Women
  • Little Men
  • Anne of Green Gables (there's the whole series of course)
  • Black Beauty 
  • Treasure Island
  • Around the World in 80 Days (and others by Jules Verne)
  • Five Little Peppers and How They Grew (whole series)
  • Eight Cousins
  • An Old Fashioned Girl
  • Jane of Lantern Hill (my absolute favourite)
  • Emma and everything else by Jane Austen (Persuasion is my favourite and easier to read than some others IMO)
  • The Scarlet Pimpernel
  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
  • Pearl-Maiden
  • The Story of My Life (Helen Keller)
  • Daddy-Long-Legs 
  • The Prisoner of Zenda
  • Optional: Jane Eyre (good book but has parts that are creepy; if you've read it, you can decide)
  • anything by Patricia St. John, especially Rainbow Garden, The Tanglewood's Secret, The Secret at Pheasant Cottage, Star of Light and Treasure of the Snow (my favourite author but I'm not sure how many you could find in ebook form)
Edited by hollyhock2
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On 3/16/2019 at 8:53 PM, cabercro said:

I just finished The War That Saved My Life and its sequel, The War I Finally Won. They were both lovely HF books.

Two other historical fiction books with a touch of mystery: Spying on Miss Muller by Eve Bunting and Running Out of Time by Margaret Peterson Haddix (that one's technically not HF... it's complicated... read to find out)

 

Was going to suggest War That Saved My life.  Reading it right now with my kid for school. Such a good book!!

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