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Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Good Children's Books.... Besides Harry Potter

I'm so sorry about not having my Thursday Thirteen. When I was in the middle of posting it yesterday something got on our computer. It is a horrible virus that messes up your computer, but also has a pop-up stating "Your computer is at risk" then asked for about $50 to buy this virus scanner. So.... we have been bam-boozled and today we are going to go get the computer fixed. We can't really use it because every time we are on the internet uh...well..... an "Adult" website keeps popping up.....with VIDEO......yea... nice. So, Again sorry about not having my Thursday Thirteen up. I am going to go ahead and post one of my old ones. Thanks and sorry.

I love reading books, but I have not always felt that way. There were literally times where I remember my mom sending me to my bedroom and not letting me go out to play until I finshed reading a few chapters from a book she had checked out for me. I remember still to this day sitting in my chair swiveling around and around trying to think of a lie…umm I mean…reason…as to why I didn't need to read my chapters that day. I would even remind my mom that I still hadn’t finished some chores just to put off reading a little while longer. After a while of my mom forcing me to sit down and read I started realizing that these books weren’t half bad.

Soon my mom was getting calls from my teachers informing her that I wasn’t paying attention in classes and that I was reading my books instead of following along with the class. I thought I was pretty clever actually, I recall moving everything in my desk back enough so I could fit my book on my lap and still keep it hiden in the desk. I would then put homework on top of the desk and so it would look like I was doing work, but really I was reading my books.

On my path from being a book dodger to a literary lover I have found many good books and hopefully these will inspire other kids to read. So, if your child hates to read, here are some books that will hopefully get that literary ball rolling. And if your child already loves reading I hope to help feed that hunger! Here are a few I have treasured...

Island of the Blue Dolphin – by Scott O’Dell
A story of a young girl alone on an island where she spends years foraging for herself, fighting off wild animals, finding food, and trying to find a way home. An inspiring and gripping tale…now that I think of it…it reminds me of a sweet little girl version of “Lost”…but a happy “Lost”.

The Dollhouse Murders – by Betty Ren Wright
The main girl Amy discovers a beautiful old-fashioned dollhouse in her forgotten attic, she is completely unaware that the dollhouse holds a deadly, forgotten secret about the past, and it seems that the dolls want Amy to learn a deadly truth. This may sound too dark, but it was a classic with me and my sister.

Maniac Magee – by Jerry Spinelli
12-year-old Jeffrey "Maniac" Magee, is an orphan who lives with his bizarre Uncle and Aunt. He is a good athlete , but can’t stand where he is anymore and runs very fast on railroad tracks which one day brings him to a town. He soon discovers this town has some racial tension. The town is divided between the blacks and whites on different ends of the town. Maniac Magee soon finds himself bouncing between each part of town unknowingly changing the lives of everyone in it. This was a number one favorite of my husband.

The Farthest Away Mountain – by Lynne Reid Banks
In a village nestled in a mountain valley, lived a girl named Darkin. She wants three things more than anything else: to visit the farthest-away mountain, to meet a gargoyle, and to marry a prince. Everyone in her village thinks she's crazy, especially since no one has ever been to the farthest-away mountain. But one day she hears the mountain calling her. Darkin sets off on a journey that will change her life, and the lives of others, forever. Dakin is now trying to save her village as she fights the magic that seems to be controlling the mountain for the last 200 years.

Chocolate Fever – by Robert Kimmel Smith
Henry loves chocolate so much, it practically runs through his veins. Chocolate cake, chocolate cereal, chocolate syrup, chocolate milk, and chocolate cookies—and that’s just breakfast! Still, it comes as a bit of a shock when he suddenly breaks out in chocolate spots and is diagnosed with . . . Chocolate Fever. And, rather than be poked and prodded by doctors, Henry runs away, starting the adventure of a lifetime.

The Fairy Rebel – by Lynne Reid Banks
A Fairy Queen in the forest forbids fairies from using their magic power on humans. But after a fairy named Tiki accidentally meets Jan, a woman who is desperate for a baby daughter, she finds it impossible to resist fulfilling her wish. Now up against the dark and vicious power of evil, this fairy must face the Queen’s fury with frightening and possibly fatal results. This was one that my sister Melanie read over and over again.

The Phantom Tollbooth – by Norton Juster
Milo is a bored ten-year-old who comes home to find a large toy tollbooth sitting in his room. Joining forces with a watchdog named Tock, Milo drives through the tollbooth's gates and begins a memorable journey. He meets such characters as the foolish, yet lovable Humbug, the Mathemagician, and the not-so-wicked "Which," Faintly Macabre, who gives Milo the "impossible" mission of returning two princesses to the Kingdom of Wisdom.

My Teacher is an Alien – Bruce Coville

Susan Simmons can tell that her new substitute teacher is really weird. But she doesn't know how weird until she catches him peeling off his face -- and realizes that "Mr. Smith" is really an alien!
At first no one will believe her except Peter Thompson, the class brain. When Peter and Susan discover Mr. Smith's horrible plans for their classmates, they know they have to act fast. Only they can get rid of their extraterrestrial visitor -- and save the rest of the sixth-grade class from a fate worse than math tests!
(Bruce Coville has many more in this series called “My Teacher Fried My Brain” “My Teacher Flunk the Planet” and many more.)

Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher: A Magic Shop Book – by Bruce Coville
Jeremy Thatcher thought the multicolored rock he bought from Mr. Elives' magic shop was just some sort of marble. Instead the "rock" ends up being a dragon's egg that Jeremy must hatch and raise. His new fire-breathing pet Tiamet proves quite a handful, especially when Jeremy discovers only he can see and hear her -- even when Tiamet grows into a giant, beautiful creature of myth. (this is another book that has other in its series)

Sideways Stories from Wayside School - by Louis Sachar. (My personal favorite)
Wayside School was supposed to be built with thirty classrooms one on top of the other...thirty stories tall! That may be why all kinds of funny things happen at Wayside School...especially on the thirteenth floor. You'll meet Mrs. Gorf, the meanest teacher of all, terrible Todd, who always gets sent home early, and John who can read only upside down--along with all the other kids in the crazy mix-up school that came out sideways. But you'll never guess the truth about Sammy, the new kid...or what's in store for Wayside School on Halloween! Enjoy each chapter as a new level in the school.

What are some of your favorite childrens' books and your favorite authors?


  1. Thank you for this list! :)

    For my youngest boy, we like the Horrid Henry (Horrible Harry) series. My oldest reads lots of different types of books - he likes the Pendragon series, the Artemis Fowl series, Cornelia Funke's various books, the Chris D'Lacey books. He gravitates to series a la Harry Potter. He doesn't like knowing he'll never read about a character again :)



  2. I loved all of the Judy Blume books growing up.

    I also really loved the Adventures of the Great Brain series by John Fitzgerald.

    And looking at your list reminded me of the Island of the Blue Dolphins - what a great book that was!

  3. I LOVED The Phantom Tollbooth! I have a LOT of favorite children's books, but here are just a few:

    -The Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace
    -pretty much ANYTHING by Beverly Clearly (Ramona, Henry Huggins, Ellen Tebbitts, etc)
    -Half Magic by Edward Eager (he actually has a whole "magic" series with a bit of character overlap)
    -The Trouble with Jenny's Ear by Oliver Butterworth
    -and for teenage readers, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith is my absolute fave.

  4. I loved Island of Blue Dolphins....I had forgotten about it until another blog mentioned it a short time ago.

  5. I really loved Antoine de Saint Exupéry.

    I wish I could say that, from a very young age, I was that deep and knowlegeable of life's teachings... But for some reason, Exupéry (i.e. one of his famous quotes: "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret; it is only with the heart that one can see rightly, what is essential is invisible to the eye.") has a totally new and completely different meaning now than it did back then!


  6. I absolutely love the Wayside School books. From there we branched out, and my kids all love anything Louis Sachar writes. They even reread Holes together, aloud, just the three of them. Not something that happens much... or ever.

  7. Sideways Stories are great, my second graders loved them when I was a student teacher.

  8. I remember reading some of those books!! haha. :) Right now my 1 1/2 yr. old only has 1 favorite book...it's called Tattletale Tilly! haha. I don't even know who the author is...I got it at a garage sale for a few cents - obviously it was a good investment!

  9. The Dollhouse Murders!!!! That book scared the CRAP out of me when I was little. Yikes!!!!
    I loved Judy Blume when I was growing up. And the Babysitter's Club books. Loved 'em.

  10. Thanks for mentioning the Fairy Rebel. I was trying to remember the name of that book the other day and I just couldn't remember!

    I remember Mom doing that to me, too, with the same wonderful results. I'm so glad she did.

    Some of my very favorite children books are...

    The Dealing with Dragon Series by Patricia Wrede...a classic story about a misfit princess who volunteers to work for a dragon.

    The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor... this is a new series that is still in the works. It's an alternate look at Alice in Wonderland; it's kind of a guy's more interesting take on the real Wonderland.

    The Redwall Series by Brian Jacques... this is one of those series that first made me fall in love with reading. His imagery and descriptions are wonderful.

    Witches by Roald Dahl...I read this book many, many times as a kid. I loved it!

    Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn...this book scared the crap out of me as a kid, but I loved it! I read it more times than just about any book as a kid.

    Loved the post!


  11. we have Island of the Blue Dolphins, it is a great book!! We have so many around here, I would have to take a poll of my children to determine which ones are the favorites!

  12. I love Island of the Blue Dolphin as well as Secret of the Andes.

    I was a big Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys fan as well.

  13. "Number the Stars"is one of my all time favorites, as well as "Sarah Plain and Tall". For younger readers, anything written by Daid Shannon!

  14. I loved The Golden Compass and ignored all the 'religious' stuff that was supposed to be in it .. I was addicted to a bunch of books no longer in print, I am very old, Nancy Drew, of course; Cherry Ames which was about a girl who was becoming a nurse; Penny Parrish, about a girl who wanted to (and did) become an actress; The Boxcar Children .. two of my real real favs are: Stairway to a Secret by Joy de Weese Wehen and Loretta Mason Potts by Mary Chase .. both out of print

  15. Great list! I have a little girl that LOVES to read!! Bobbsey Twins, Nancy Drew, and the Hardy Boys...

  16. What a great selection of books. I am an avid reader but fatherhood takes precedence over reading now!

    Thanks for the great comment on my Post of the Day segment.

  17. I remember reading The Island of the Blue Dolphin in the 6 th grade.
    I loved all Judy Blume books and Beverly Cleary.

  18. You put together a great list. Before staying home with my children I was a fourth grade teacher. A lot of the books on your list we studied and the kids love them. I would add Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl.

  19. I grew up on Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden!

    Hey, thanks for stopping by my blog. :)

  20. Lois Lowry is probably my favorite children's literature author. I don't think anyone can go wrong with a Newberry award or honor book. ever. I'm a huge literary lover, too. Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by my blog........AND comment!

  21. I was Harriet the Spy! Thought she was the coolest girl ever. I have always loved to read and getting sent to my bedroom was never a punishment. Like you, both my son and I have gotten into trouble for reading in school. When I got the call about my son (the troubled middle son) I told them that if he was reading inappropriately and still passing, it could be worse.
    Have you read Harry and Me by Gary Paulsen? By far the best and all of us read it here and enjoyed it.
    Holes was a great book for my boys.

  22. Yes on the Sachar. Yes on The Phantom Tollbooth.

    And my older son is reading his way through Lynne Reid Banks' Indian in the Cupboard series. Good stuff.

    Hoe about Madeleine L'Engle? Loved her.

    And Harriet the Spy?

  23. Oh, and I agree about Lois Lowry. And A Tree Grows in Brooklyn.

    PS That soup looks yummy!

  24. My favorite when I was little were the Shel Sylverstein books. I loved the little silly poems.
    I've read some of these. I will have to look into some of them again as my 9 year old loves to read and it would be fun to share some old favorites with her.

  25. I loved Island of the Blue Dolphins. The Anne of Green Gables series
    Charlotte's Web
    Little Women
    are on my list.

  26. The kids loved all of those (except maybe the Phantom Tollbooth which they just didn't get).

    DId you ever read The Last of the Really Great Wangdoodles?

    Love that one.

  27. This is a great list of books! I adored Island of The Blue Dolphin when I was a kid. I still really enjoy the loner survival kinds of stories. I missed out on a lot of the kid centered books because I loved reading so much that I was raiding my dad's book collection at a very early age. One series of books that I really loved was A Wrinkle in Time.

  28. I used to LOVE Roald Dahl when I was little. All of his books :)

  29. My kids have read a bunch of these on their own and in school. They even have a tv series for the Wayside one now. Great list and sorry to hear about your computer troubles. =(

    Happy TT!

  30. I totally forgt about the Dollhouse Murders!! Thanks for the throwback!

  31. I remember reading some of those! LOL How long ago that seems!

    I have young kids so we haven't reached those types of books yet, but one of our favorite authors is Jan Brett. Her books are BEAUTIFULLY illustrated, often with clues on what will happen on the next page.

    We've been reading lots of Junie B. Jones books, and The Magic Treehouse books, too

  32. Wonderful choices. My kids loved the Sideways stories. I bought my daughter The Dollhouse Murders, but she didn't care for it.

    Hope your computer is fixed soon.

    Happy TT!

  33. I read that Dollhouse Murder one and, I'm not kidding, to this day it freaks me out! A book I read over and over was 'Stepping On The Cracks' by Mary Downing Hahn

  34. I loved Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden also, like someone else mentioned.

    My boys (and I) also LOVE the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan...it starts with Lightning Thief and has so much Greek mythology in it.

    Charlie Bones is another fun series for boys.

  35. That must have taken you forever to write! I am on the cusp of all those great books and am just now graduating from board books. I bookmarked your post for future reference!

  36. i've read a few of those on your list. i love children's books too. one of my faves is zel by donna jo napoli. it is a sweet sweet take on rapunzel. have you read it?


  37. oh and i forgot to mention the giver by lois lowry. that is an awesome book. i guess i'm a dork in that is still read cildren's books when i can and i have a nice little collection of all my faves.

    -jenny again

  38. When I was little, I loved Roald Dahl and Shel Silverstein. Heck, I still love Roald Dahl and Shel Silverstein! Thanks for the list of good children's books. And thanks for visiting my blog! I love having new friends. :)

  39. WOW!Talk about a blast from the past! I loved My teacher is an alien, I think I read it at least 100 times. :)

  40. I also loved Judy Blume books and Roald Dahl, too

  41. I'll always read a list about books - and I'm new (here and to TT) anyway so I don't mind a rerun! I love this list because I have several of these books on my shelves right now :-D

    And I'm enjoying the books in the comments too - i LOVED The Trouble With Jenny's Ear! I read it sooooo many times when I was little. I really liked A Tree Grows in Brooklyn when I read it in junior high; I wonder what it would be like to re-read now!

    And the Betsy-Tacy books! And the Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles! Eee :)

  42. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech, hands down best book for 10-11 year olds! I promise.

  43. Oh Chocolate Fever - I had totally forgotten about that one!! I sure hope I never come down with that! AHHH!

    I love Charlotte's Web and Where the Red Fern Grows. Favs forever!

  44. I'm happy you posted this again...I didn't see it the first time! Hope your computer gets fixed.

    I looooved Island of the Blue Dolphin...I have two copies. I also read a lot of babysitter's club (yeah, lame, I know, but they were my favorite), the lion, witch & wardrobe series, boxcar children, the secret garden (I read that over & over) & A wrinkle in time. Actually, I didn't read a wrinkle in time until I was older bc. I felt like I had missed out...but I liked it then! Oh, and A little princess.

  45. I read many of these books myself and really like the "sideways stories from wayside school" ones. I read a lot of Judy Blume also.

  46. I love juvenile fiction! (Partly because I can count on it being clean!) My absolute favorite author is Robin McKinley. She wrote The Blue Sword and Hero and the Crown. She's also done some fairy tale retellings that are great. Sunshine wasn't my favorite and Deerskin is definitely not juvenile fiction (it's great, but not juvenile.) But other than that, you can't go wrong with Robin McKinley. I've also recently discovered Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. They are a lot of fun. I've also just finished Princess Academy by Shannon Hale and it was great. I can't wait to read more by her.