Reading List for my little girls

I remember being really disappointed in my reading lists when I was in middle school. My teachers avoided the classics like the plague and stuck to some really bleak stuff. They seemed to labor under the delusion that all you need is a lot of depressing with a healthy helping of hopelessness, add a dash of licentiousness and congratulations! You just made the middle school reading list! No wonder teenagers these days tend to be so jaded and sullen. All of the books they have read merely communicated to them that life sucks and then you die an untimely death.

Just in case things haven’t changed for the better by the time my girls are in school, I’m compiling a list of wonderful books that they should read to broaden their imaginations and show them important life lessons. Teaching them good grammar and spelling wouldn’t hurt either. Here they are, in no particular order:

1) The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy

2) Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

3) The Nancy Drew series by Carolyn Keene

4) Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

5) The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis

6) The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

7) The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

8) The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald

9) Dealing with Dragons by Patricia Wrede

10) Redwall by Brian Jacques

11) The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

12) A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

13) Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

14) Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

15) The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander

16) The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

17) And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

18) The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

19) Arabian Nights author unknown

20) The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

21) D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths by Ingri d’Aulaire

22) The Odyssey by Homer

23) Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

24) The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

25) Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling

26) Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

27) A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

28) Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie

29) Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes

30) Le Morte d’Arthur by Thomas Malory

31) The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood by Howard Pyle

32) Ivanhoe by Walter Scott

33) The Time Machine by H. G. Wells

34) Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

35) Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Wilhelm Grimm and Jacob Grimm

36) Matilda by Roald Dahl

37) Ozma of Oz by L. Frank Baum

38) Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne

39) Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

40) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

41) The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss

42) Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

43) The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving

44) Heidi by Johanna Spyri

45) Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers

These books should be a good start. What would you add? And if you say Lord of the Flies or Flowers for Algernon, then I will find you and shake you a little bit until you come to your senses.



About sylcell

Wife, mom of four girls, Catholic, insatiable sweet tooth
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11 Responses to Reading List for my little girls

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  3. Éowyn Fair says:

    These are great! I think I have read all or most of those. I devoured books for several summers and it was amazing. I will add some to your list. Sorry if some are repeats, I mostly skimmed your list.

    I would also suggest Ella Enchanted and The Two Princesses of Bamarre. The first is a Cinderella story, as you probably know. I think I read this one 5 times between middle school and college. lol.

    Julie of the Wolves (by Jean Craighead George, I think that’s correct), as well as similar stories by Jack London.

    Ballet Shoes, which is about three adopted girls who are artistic.

    Heir Apparent. It is about a girl who gets stuck in a virtual video game.

    The Black Stallion (Farley), Black Beauty, and Misty of Chincoteague (Marguerite Henry); all horse stories and, except for Black Beauty, they are serial.

    Animorphs was fun, for a more sci-fi type story, but still appropriate.

    The Eragon books were good, though I can’t say they were necessarily excellent writing.

    Septimus Heap series. About a young wizard. A little less edgy than HP.

    Divergent, and all those books that recently came out, as well as Hunger Games.

    There’s one about an Italian girl who solves mysteries, but I can’t remember the title…

    The Left Behind kids series.

    As far as decent books from school are concerned…I read Christmas Carol, Beowulf, House of Seven Gables, Mark Twain Stories, and only a few others that I enjoyed.

    Stay away from Hemingway, The Horse Whisperer, and a book by Agatha Christie called “Endless Night.” Only a few books have I ever read and wished I hadn’t. lol.


    • sylcell says:

      There is an Agatha Christie you wish you never read?! Interesting! I thought I had read all of hers (LOVE Poirot), but that one isn’t familiar to me. “The Man in the Brown Suit” is my fave of hers, but it is a little too romantic for kids. I used to love the Misty of Chincoteague! Can’t believe I forgot that one. I enjoyed Ella Enchanted and Eragon too. I haven’t heard of the rest of them. I’ve got some reading to do!


      • Éowyn Fair says:

        lol. Most of these books are ones you would probably enjoy now too. Some of the more recent ones like Septimus Heap are fun, though probably won’t be high up on the reading level. lol. I also forgot to add Inkheart! The movie was terrible and when I read the book I thought “this would make a great movie!” But I had forgotten it already had been a movie (it had Brendan Frasier in it).

        The Agatha Christie is one of her stand-alone stories. It starts out very happily, a couple building their dream house, everything is wonderful, etc. and then turns very dark. It ruins that hope and purity of the dream. It just disgusted me. I think I threw the book across the room. lol.


      • sylcell says:

        Ugh, I hate it when a beloved author lures you into a horrible book.


  4. morgan says:

    Great list! I haven’t read all of them – I can’t remember having a reading list from school. We read german classics like Goethe and Schiller and Brecht and analyzed them to death 😉
    I truly truly hated it, although I loved books!!!
    I’d definitely add
    – “The neverending Story” by Michael Ende – great fantasy book for kids, I read it in 3rd grade within three days (and got in huge trouble with my mom cause I kept reading until late int he evenings *lol* thank god, it was summer so I could hide it better because I didn’t have to switch on the light)
    And I’m a HUGE fan of Astrid Lindgren, especially the following ones:
    – Pippi Longstocking: a super-strong girl living on her own with a horse and an ape. I learned from her that there are lessons you can’t learn in school and that imagination can bring you anywhere. And I still want to have a lemonade tree 😀
    – Emil from Lönneberga: little boy constantly doing mischief and getting in trouble with his dad (usually with Emil ending up in the shed carving people out of sticks). I loved this guy, because often he just wanted to help the people he loved. And because even if his dad was mad at him, he had to admit that his son was a great little guy. And because the stories were funny. Like the one in which he paints his little sister’s face with blue ink and convinced the old gossip who was babysitting them that she is suffering from typhus.
    – The brothers Lionheart: it’s about afterlife. I read it about 1000 times. And I ALWAYS cried. Even when I read it again a couple of years ago.
    – Ronia, the robber’s daughter: another great girl character, she’s living with her parents in a split castle with the enemy’s family living in the other part of it. She’s secretly becoming friends with their son. It’s a bit like Romeo and Juliet, but without all the bloodshed. A story about emancipation and making your own decisions and not judging people (“never judge a book by its cover”)


  5. S.K. says:

    Since Pride and Prejudice is already on your list!!! I would say All Creatures Great and Small, by James Herriott. It tells the story of his real-life experience as a vet in Great Britain around the time of WWII. Your girls are probably too young just yet, but in time!

    I also highly recommend going to the Reading Matters blog on

    It has great recommendations and reviews for children’s books – both boys and girls, in all age groups. The reviewers look at all aspects of the books – literary value, the actions and virtues of the characters in the books.

    I taught high school aged students for over a decade and was angry that they were required to read such depressing (and morally offensive) books! Books that weren’t even well-written! Very little on their reading list was uplifting. The kids noticed it, too! And people wonder why teenagers are depressed and suicidal…why not form the curriculum to add to it!??!

    Dopes!!! Haha!!!

    Good for you for putting together a list for yourself!


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