Recently a mom asked me for some book recommendations for children between 7 and 9, so I'm going to attempt a list for this group age even though my girls are younger. There will be nothing new for most of you, but remember, there are a lot but finite number of good literature books out there.
It is possible that we don't try much of the most recent literature for maybe two reasons. One could be that there are so many books that are so well written, part of our legacy, books that we can find at the library, or that we have already in our shelves, or that we find for next to nothing in the stores while their value is priceless, that there is no reason to look for new and more pricey titles. The other reason may be that new titles for children, as I also believe it to be the case with grown ups, are not as worthy in general as the old titles. Most authors of today, if they aspire to sell and eat from what they do, sadly need to adjust to a broad public without reading muscle, and the public as a mass demands fast food literature. Something that doesn't require an effort or investment from the reader, with stories that represent our reality in its lack of values and appeal to the lowest but sure hit points of our existence. Something we all can relate to in a vulgar way, from kindergarten children with sassy mouths and irreverent behavior, to the adolescents with vampire-violence-abuse-empty sex-disorder-broken home profile. They may claim it is life, but nothing could be further from the truth. We don't want to be like that, it is toxic to see this in movies or read about it. Print and movies idealize this instead of help us overcome whatever can be of a problem in our life. Then there are lots of cheap goody goody books, but that's not precisely the uplifting literature either.
Quality contemporary picture books you surely can find, but again, there are countless old ones too. With picture books you can get greedily addicted, trust me without asking, who needs the new? My friend and I talked about the fact that buying them for 40 cents, or a few dollars, the pile will grow like the beanstalk Jack planted. And we wonder, are all those the BEST books for our children? Obviously they are NOT. I purge constantly, and turn the books back for credit at the store (which I sometimes use to buy more of them, in a helpless circle) or simply get rid of them. But I'm getting there. I'm starting to look at the shelves of the used book stores a bit more critically. I see there is not much there I need or even that I crave. Instead, I'm finding very few titles I'm writing down for later. We truly have ALL we need and thrice more.
All this effort of disposing of the twaddle is fueled by the knowledge that when the girls go to the shelves and pick books at random for me to read to them, I want to be sure they will be living books.Twaddle is truly a pain to read. Twaddle calls for more. So they come to me with The Big Alfie and Annie Rose Storybook, that my good friend recommended, along with The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook, or other charming picture books such as Imogene's Antlers, or Mother Goose and the Sly Fox, Goldie Locks Has Chicken Pox, and I don't tire of reading, neither they of listening to these books being read. We still have a few bad titles.
And once you read some of these classics for children, and a few books from the early XX century or earlier, it's like once you've been going to the gym for a few months. Everything starts coming more naturally, exercising becomes easier. Books will not be as difficult as rewarding they become.
If you'd like to share books for that age range, 7 - 9, that you like very much, please do so in the comments. Thanks.
The Hundred Dresses: The girls did not like the book in our first attempt. Probably my girls were too young for it. We tried it a second time after six or nine months, and it was a wonderful read. Anything else by Eleanor Estes, like The Moffats and The Middle Moffat, or Rufus M.
Charlotte's Web: We are one chapter away from this wonderful classic.
We are currently reading Wayward, and liking it much. I recommend it.
Little House in the Big Woods: We listened to it in audio and we are looking forward to reading it this year in Spanish this time.
Pinocchio: One of our favorites
Uncle Wiggily's Story Book: We like this rabbit with his rheumatism crutch stories.
The Cricket in Times Square: I have not read it yet, but it has great reviews. Other books by George Selden are Chester crickets new home, (I don't know why Amazon only shows a copy for 40 dollars, because you can find it for cheap at second hand stores), Tucker's Countryside, Harry Cat's Pet Puppy.
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Mary Poppins We listened to the audio CD from the library. There are a series, you have Mary Poppins Comes Back and Mary Poppins Opens the Door too.
My Father's Dragon We listened to this one too last year.
Harry's Mad We will start this soon.
If you are not following the ambleside book lists, do please read James Herriot's Treasury for Children
A Nest for Celeste: A Story About Art, Inspiration, and the Meaning of Home I can't wait to get this book.
Redwall (Redwall, Book 1) There are many on this series.
Stuart Little I just have predilection for this story.
The Grandma's Attic Storybook My friend recommended this book to me. We haven't read it yet, but I've perused it and it looks good.
A Little Princess
Alice in Wonderland: One of my favorite books ever.
The Arabian Nights: I read this book in Spanish. It's also one of my favorite.
Just So Stories: We read it following Ambleside Online, but if you don't, read this book.Suggested by Kelly,
The Most Wonderful Doll in the World: This was a sweet story. From the same author, The Plain Princess
We read The Japanese Twins and reading reviews I've heard that The Swiss Twins is one of the best in the series by Lucy Fitch Perkins.
Suggested by Kelly,
The Trumpet of the Swan, EB White
Farmer Boy, Laura Ingalls Wilder
Farmer Giles of Ham, JRR Tolkien
Johnny Tremain, Esther Forbes
Hans Brinker (free), or Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates paperback, Mary Mapes Dodge
Little Britches, Ralph Moody
The Eagle of the Ninth, Rosemary Sutcliff
Penrod, (free), or pb Penrod Booth Tarkington
The Princess and the Goblin (free), pb The Princess and the Goblin (Puffin Classics), George MacDonald
Reminded of by Books for Breakfast,
The World of Pooh: The Complete Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
The Tale of Despereaux Being the Story of a Mouse a Princess Some Soup and a Spool of Thread
Grace n' Loving Chaos recommends,
Rumer Godden - The Fairy Doll, The Story of Holly & Ivy, Miss Happiness & Miss Flower, The Diddakoi (she has more but these are the ones we've read)
Esther Averill - Jenny and the Cat Club and all the others in this series. (these are favorites at this age)
Some books where you can find book recommendations for all ages: