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30 Recommended Books for Early and Independent Readers

As I’ve mentioned before, our family loves to read and we make it a priority to read out loud to our kids every day (you can see my list of favorite books to read out loud here).  As a school-wide project this year, Gomer’s school asked all of the families to read Stuart Little and discuss it together.  Like our own family book club.  I’d completely forgotten that book.  My kids enjoyed it so much it got me thinking about other books I read when I was a child that they might enjoy.  All of our kids are reading the Harry Potter series or Diary of a Wimpy Kid, but does anyone remember Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle or Super Fudge?  These are books I remember reading as a child that I want my children to read.  I conducted another informal poll and my friends and I came up with so many we loved and we think our kids will love too.  I hope Gomer, 7 will be able read a lot of these this summer.  It will be so cool to talk to him about these books and hear about his favorite parts of these books:

1.  How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell

2.  Freckle Juice by Judy Blume – THE author of my childhood.  If Judy Blume had written a technical manual I would have read it.

3.  The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson

4.  Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren – Every time we got a new family on my street, I wished and hoped they’d have a child like Pippi.

5.  The Little House on the Prairie series – Is there any little girl of the 70s who didn’t wear braids and read Laura Ingalls Wilder?

6. Ramona Quimby by Beverly Cleary

7.  The Secret Garden & The Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett – I still have my original copies of these two from when I was a child.  I will let my kids borrow them, but I will want them back.

8.  Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol

9.  The Witch of Blackbird Pond byElizabeth George Speare

10.  The Borrowers by Mary Norton – When I would go to bed at night I’d leave thimbles and safety pins and rolls of tape out for the Borrowers and I was always so disappointed to still see them in the morning completely untouched.

11. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle – One word:  tesseract.

12.  Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White – Some pig!

13.  The Witches by Roald Dahl – I loved all of Roald Dahl’s book, but this one was my favorite.

14.  All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor – I adored these books as a girl and I have not thought of them in years.  Off to search the library catalog!

15.  From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

16.  Choose Your Own Adventures series – various authors

17.  Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry

18.  Chocolate Fever by Robert Kimmel Smith

19.  The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

20.  Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

21.  The Boxcar Children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner

22.  Wayside School series by Louis Sachar

23.  The Giver by Lois Lowry – Hands down, one of my all time favorites.  I still read it as an adult.

24.  Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

25.  The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

26.  The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden

27.  The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald

28.  The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling – Is there really such a thing as too much chocolate?

29.  A Dog Called Kitty by Bill Wallace – My dog-crazy daughter will love this one.

30.  My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

What were your favorites?

Find the entire list of recommended children’s books here and feel free to add your favorites in the comments.  Be sure to read my daily rants at People I Want to Punch in the Throat where you’re sure to laugh and/or might be offended (it’s where you can find my R-rated rants).

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