Books Every Kid (and Kid-at-Heart) Should read

I recently discovered the Top Ten Tuesday weekly tag from The Broke and the Bookish blog.  This week’s tag is “Ten Books Every X Should Read”.  As an older reader with an affinity for kids’ books, here are some books and book series (in no particular ranking order) I think every child at heart should read. 🙂

The Penderwicks Series by Jeanne Birdsall

Jeanne Birdsall writes of divorce, blended families, loss of loved ones, making new friends, growing older, and appreciating the world around us from multiple endearing, optimistic, and age-appropriate perspectives.  There are four books in total, chronicling the adventures of four sisters – Rosalind, Skye, Jane, Batty – and their friend Henry.  I think there’s something in this series for everybody.  Because the ages of the characters vary, readers of all ages can identify with someone.  At the time that I first picked up this series, Skye the geeky tomboy and Jane the off-beat, melodramatic aspiring writer spoke to me the most.  I particularly enjoy this series because the Penderwicks are always going to interesting places and having tons of good, clean, and realistic fun.

The Charlie Bone Series by Jenny Nimmo

A seemingly ordinary boy with extra-ordinary relatives is sent to a boarding school for students with “gifts” or “endowments,” some supernatural.  Soon, Charlie finds himself caught up in a magical mystery that has spanned several generations, dating back to an ancient African ruler and patriarch.  There’s a diverse cast of characters, old and young, and you never can tell who’s a friend and who’s an enemy.  Plus, the author incorporates her affinity for Welsh mythology and culture into the stories – have fun trying to pronounce the Welsh magic spells if you’re reading these books aloud!  To be honest, black magic and sorcery aren’t big themes in these stories – most of the endowed characters are born with their supernatural abilities.  In that respect, if you’re looking for a story about magical children at a boarding school, but your folks aren’t into Harry Potter, this is a tamer alternative. 😉

Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick

In short, it’s a picture book for big kids.  But there’s so much to it than that.  Read my review of it here.

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary

A touching short novel about a young boy who confides in his favorite author, Boyd Henshaw, over the years.  Interestingly, we only read Leigh’s messages to the author, never Mr. Henshaw’s responses.  (Eventually, Leigh does find a more private medium to record his thoughts, but still addresses them to Mr. Henshaw.)  Through these letters, Ms. Cleary paints a vivid picture of life from a young boy’s eyes.

Everything Else by Beverly Cleary


Yup.  Ramona, Henry, Beezus, Otis, Mitch, and Amy are never, ever going to get old.  Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary both used their revolutionary books to paint vivid pictures of what it’s like to grow up, but I feel like Ms. Cleary was able to pull it off realistically without being needing to be edgy.  If you haven’t read her books, do it now.  If you’ve read them before, read them again.  It’s true – all of it. 😀


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