Some family of mine recently asked for good books to read to their little kids. I thought and thought, but everything I remembered came to me just as I was leaving their house. So I decided to put it on my blog while I had the chance. These are all books I really enjoyed when I was little. These aren’t Dr. Suess and all the picture books, they’re small chapter books and books I loved when I was 4 to when I was in 2nd grade. Hope these help!
1) The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer
You may know him as the person who plays Kurt Hummel on Glee (that’s how I know him) but he’s a great author as well. I stumbled upon this book actually only about a year ago, and even though I may be a little out of it’s age range, it was an great book, a cute story and a well-written fantasy.
Synopsis: Alex and Connor Bailey are twins living in our modern day world. Through the power of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic alike when they come face-to-face with the fairy tail characters they grew up reading about. But after a series of encounters with witches, wolves, goblins, and trolls alike, getting back home is going to be harder than they thought.
Series: The Land of Stories
pg count for the hardcover: 438
Recommended for: Boys and Girls 5-11
2) The Little Princess by Fraces Hodgson Burnett
My mom started reading this book to me at night when I was six or eight. I can’t quite remember. She had to explain some things to me, but overall it was a really great read that I still enjoy today. I do believe it was one of the very first classic books I ever read.
Synopsis: Sara Crewe, an exceptionally intelligent and imaginative student at Miss Minchin’s Select Seminary for Young Ladies, is devastated when her adored, indulgent father dies. Now penniless and banished to a room in the attic, Sara is demeaned, abused, and forced to work as a servant. She realizes however, with the help of a few friends and the stories her father has always told her, she can still remain as a princess if she can remain kind, helpful and beautiful on the inside.
Series: not a series
pg count for the paperback: 242
Recommended for: Girls 7-11
3) Goldie by Ellen Miles
I stumbled upon this book at my school’s book fair one year. Being a die-hard fan of animals, especially dogs, I completely and utterly fell for this book. I loved it so much, I would buy the latest book year after year at the bookfair. This is definitely a book for animal lovers.
Synopsis: Charles and Lizzie Peterson love puppies. They want a puppy of their own more than just about anything. They know dogs are a lot of work. But their mom still doesn’t think their family is ready for a puppy. Then, Goldie arrives. She is a sweet golden retriever that needs a home. Goldie is very young. She doesn’t know how to be a good puppy yet. Will Charles and Lizzie be able to help her find the perfect home?
Series: Puppy Place
pg count for the paperback: 80
Recommended for: Boys and Girls, animal lovers, 4-9
4) Junie B. Jones and the Stupid, Smelly Bus by Barbara Park
I can’t stand reading one of these now, but I used to love these books with all my heart. I would get home, run to my room, throw down my backpack, and start reading these. They were a lot of fun back then. I couldn’t wait to read them. It’s gotten a ton of good praise as a children’s book, but it might bug parents to read them over and over again. This is a great series that follows Junie B. as she grows up and goes in 1st grade, 2nd grade and far beyond.
Synopsis: Meet the World’s Funniest Kindergartner—Junie B. Jones! In the 1st Junie B. Jones book, it’s Junie B.’s first day and she doesn’t know anything. She’s so scared of the school bus and the meanies on it that when it’s time to go home, she doesn’t.
Series: Junie B. Jones
pg count for the paperback: 69
Recommended for: Girls, 4-9
5) Heidi by Johanna Spyri
It’s not really Heidi itself, but it is an amazing book, it’s the series. Classic Starts. This is how I first met Treasure Island, Robin Hood, Heidi and the Arabian Nights. It really introduced me to classics and I loved this series for that. I also spent a lot of time thinking about how cool Johanna Spyri’s last name was….
Synopsis: When Heidi’s Aunt Dete brings the orphaned girl to live with her grandfather, no one can imagine the bitter, solitary old man caring for a child. But, to everyone’s surprise, the two grow to love each otherand Heidi blossoms in her new home.
Series: Classic Starts
pg count for the hardback: 160
Recommended for: Girls and Boys, 6-9
6) Bunnicula by James Howe
I grew up in a small school. Like, a really, really small school. Every day at lunch, my amazing lunch supervisor, recess teacher, classroom helper and resident self-proclaimed alien–Mrs. Linda–would read to my school’s students. And that’s how I met James Howe. Not literally, but in the form of his books. This was the first one I ever read by him.
Synopsis: BEWARE THE HARE! Is he or isn’t he a vampire? Before it’s too late, Harold the dog and Chester the cat must find out the truth about the newest pet in the Monroe household — a suspicious-looking bunny with unusual habits…and fangs!
pg count for the paperback: 128
Recommended for adventure/thrill loving Boys, 6-10
7) Matilda by Roald Dahl
I loved Road Dahl. All of his books. Fantastic Mr. Fox, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, the BFG, the Twits, Mrs. Linda also introduced me to these books.
Synopsis: Matilda is a little girl who is far too good to be true. At age five-and-a-half she’s knocking off double-digit multiplication problems and blitz-reading Dickens. Even more remarkably, her classmates love her even though she’s a super-nerd and the teacher’s pet. But everything is not perfect in Matilda’s world. For starters she has two of the most idiotic, self-centered parents who ever lived. Then there’s the large, busty nightmare of a school principal, who flings children at will and is approximately as sympathetic as a bulldozer. Fortunately for Matilda, she has the inner resources to deal with such annoyances: astonishing intelligence, saintly patience, and an innate predilection for revenge.
She warms up with some practical jokes aimed at her hapless parents, but the true test comes when she rallies in defense of her teacher, the sweet Miss Honey, against the diabolical principal. There is never any doubt that Matilda will carry the day. Even so, this wonderful story is far from predictable.
Series: single book
pg count for the paperback: 240
Recommended for: Boys and Girls, 4-9
8) Dinosaurs Before Dark by Mary Pope Osborne
My first reaction when I saw the author’s name: Is she related to Ozzy Osborne? I was little, okay? Needless to say, I was intrigued. I picked the book up and started reading it. It’s a great beginning historical fiction book for little people, and it puts a lot of history into the book as well so it’s educational. A really fun read for kids.
Synopsis: Where did the tree house come from? Before Jack and Annie can find out, the mysterious tree house whisks them to the prehistoric past. Now they have to figure out how to get home. Can they do it before dark . . . or will they become a dinosaur’s dinner?
Series: Magic Tree House
pg count for the paperback: 80
Recommended for: Girls and Boys, fantasy lovers, historical fiction lovers, 5-10
9) Into the Wild by Erin Hunter
I found this book a few years back and started in on the series. Be warned that this isn’t like the others. It’s a little more violent, so probably for 9-12 year olds. This beginning book is not so bad, but it gets a little more violent later on in the series. It has like 20 books in the series, and the end book is really good.
Synopsis: For generations, four Clans of wild cats have shared the forest according to the laws laid down by their warrior ancestors. But the ThunderClan cats are in grave danger, and the sinister ShadowClan grows stronger every day. Noble warriors are dying–and some deaths are more mysterious than others. In the midst of this turmoil appears an ordinary house cat named Rusty . . . who may turn out to be the bravest warrior of them all.
pg count for the paperback: 288
Recommended for: Girls and Boys 9-12
10) Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye by Geronimo Stilton
This book uses all kinds of crazy fonts and is narrated by Geronimo Stilton, a mouse who works for the Rodent’s Gazette and goes on crazy adventures. A fun read.
Synopsis: It all started when my sister, Thea, discovered an old, mysterious map. In no time at all, my sister dragged me and my cousin Trap into her treasure hunt. It was an adventure I’d never forget.
Series: Geronimo Stilton
pg count for the paperback: 128
Recommended for: Girls and Boys, 6-9
11) Betsy Ross: Designer of Our Flag by Ann Weil
Again, this book is just to provide an example for the series, Childhood of Famous Americans. This series really god me into biographies and the lives of famous people. Even today I still love reading them.
Synopsis: Betsy Ross knew how to sew and George Washington asked her to create the flag of the United States of America. She was the best sewer in the history. The real flag that Betsy created was redesigned to the flag now with the stars and stripes. This book shows her life and how she became the person she did.
Series: Childhood of Famous Americans
pg count for the paperback: 192
Note: this series is for use in schools and libraries only
Recommended for: Girls and Boys, 5-10
12) The Lemonade War by Jacqueline Davies
This is a true summer read about being siblings. A fast read that is enjoyable and makes you crave a glass of lemonade.
Synopsis: Evan Treski is people-smart. He is good at talking with people, even grownups. His younger sister, Jessie, on the other hand, is math-smart—but not especially good at understanding people. She knows that feelings are her weakest subject. So when their lemonade war begins, there really is no telling who will win—and even more important, if their fight will ever end.
Series: The Lemonade War
pg count for the hardcover: 192
Recommended for: Girls and Boys 7-10