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?