Good Children’s Books

The 30 day book challenge gave me an idea for this post. Following are five children’s (ages 9-12) books that I enjoyed when I was younger and would definitely recommend to anyone. After I read them, they stuck with me for years afterward.

Behind the Bedroom Wall – Laura Williams

For a book that’s set in Nazi Germany, this one is accessible to younger readers because of the nature of the conflict and the tough decision between right and wrong. Korinna is 13 years old and very active in the Hitler Youth, which has brainwashed her into hating Jews. Her parents hide a Jewish mother and her young daughter behind a wall in Korinna’s bedroom and when she finds out, she is tempted to turn her parents in to her youth leaders. Korinna eventually learns to think for herself and stand up for what’s right.

Protecting Marie – Kevin Henkes

This book is a quietly told coming-of-age story in which 12-year-old Fanny learns to trust her father and let go of some vestiges of her childhood. Fanny’s father Henry is a stern artist who will not let his daughter have a dog. Fanny learns to empathize with her father and both characters begin to open up to each other during the story. It’s a thought-provoking and very realistic novel, but it won’t appeal to you if you want constant action.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School – Louis Sachar

Sachar’s writing is intrinsically funny and will appeal to anyone (kid or adult) who likes to laugh. It’s the type of book you’ll want to read over and over again to pick up on all the little jokes within it. Basically, it tells the story of 30 kids who attend a completely wacky school, get in trouble, learn, and have fun. There’s no real lesson to be learned from the book except the notion that life doesn’t have to be taken so seriously all the time.

Where the Red Fern Grows – Wilson Rawls

Warning: this book is a tearjerker. Chances are, you read it in elementary or middle school and it made you cry. Sometimes the old-fashioned storytelling can be a little bit of a drag, but the emotional depth Rawls puts into the characters of Billy and his two coonhounds attaches the reader to the characters. Whether you like dogs or not, the book will definitely strike a chord within you.

Baby – Patricia MacLachlan

Told in a simple, compelling style, Baby is about 12-year-old Larkin who lives on an island with her family. At the end of the summer when the tourists leave, they find a baby who has been left behind by her mother. It’s up to Larkin and her family to raise the baby for a year – when the mother says she will return. During the course of the year, the baby (Sophie) helps Larkin’s family to cope with their own loss that had happened prior to the events of the story. Like Protecting Marie, this book is of a slower pace and isn’t recommended if you like action and adventure.

What are the children’s books that you really loved?

10 thoughts on “Good Children’s Books

  1. I also loved Sachar’s books. There are two others that come to mind, The Velvet Room by Zilpha Keatley Snyder, and I Want to Go Home! by Gordon Korman. Oh, and one other, by Bruce Coville, My Teacher is an Alien. They’re all very different, but I read them all multiple times. Oh, and this other one, The Plant that Ate Dirty Socks by Nancy McArthur.

    I also loved books where the main character goes out in the wildnerness and has to make a life for herself (or himself), like Gary Paulsen’s The Hatchet.

    Okay, I’ll stop now. I tend to go on and on when it comes to books.


    • Bruce Coville’s books were really good – as was Hatchet and others like it. J.B. Watson’s The Hurricane was another good survival story.


  2. I have read none of the books above but then again I grew up in London so that probably has something to do with it! I love reading and as a child thoroughly enjoyed ‘5 more minute’ don’t know who it is by but it’s a story about a mummy elephant who just wants peace and quiet in the bath away from her kids. This post has brought back great memories 😀


    • I miss being a kid and being utterly amazed by books. Now that I have an English degree, it’s hard to stop mentally critiquing the book and just enjoy it! Thank you for visiting and subscribing!


  3. Maggie, I just found your blog today and it looks so interesting!

    One book that I remember from my childhood is A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry. It still sticks out in my mind, because of what the main character went through, and her unique interests.


    • Thank you for visiting, Andrea! A Summer to Die was a very haunting book – I must have read it two or three times. Even the thought of it brings chills down my spine.


  4. It’s now a challenge to identify favourites from the ages of 9 to 12, but I suppose if I can remember the titles it’s as good a start as any. So The Silver Sword by Ian Serraillier which also has a wartime theme; Viking Sunset by Henry Treece about norse heroes; The Magic Pudding which involves a koala and a penguin as well as said pie; The Time Machine by HG Wells; and anything featuring Biggles, Billy Bunter, Jennings and a host more classic characters. This is a dated list these days but these all served me well back in the 1950s/early 60s. Keep up the good work….


    • Doesn’t matter how old or seemingly irrelevant they are now, as long as they made you think and they taught you lessons. Thanks for visiting, Daniel!


Comments are closed.