Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Early Chapter Books

Annette over at This Simple Home has been asked a few times recently for suggestions on clean and age-appropriate reads for tween and teens. She asked a few of her book bloggy buddies if they'd care to make some suggestions to this end. You can check in with Annette for the full list of book bloggers and their suggestions for clean chapter book reads for younger readers.

My answers are going to seem incredibly predictable to my regular readers. (I am a rather predictable sort. Mostly.) Also, most of my suggestions are geared towards "tweens" instead of "teens." Mostly because I think I would like my children reading meatier classics (such as Man in the Iron Mask and so forth) by the time they are teens. (If I don't think they are ready to tackle Dumas, I might throw a little Twain their direction to get them going.)

But as for tweens on the look out for clean reads, I feel I can safely recommend the following:

Caddie Woodlawn, by Carol Ryrie Brink. This was a favorite of mine when I was 12-13ish. This book was a Newberry Medal winner in 1936. Set in 1860, this book tells the story of an 11 year old girl full of spirit and adventure. Interesting to note, Brink was born and lived in Moscow, Idaho where I lived for a short time. I discovered this on a more recent trip back to Moscow when I was standing across the street from a park named after her. That was a cool discover to me. Wish I'd known that when I lived there!

Caddie Woodlawn is followed up with a sequel entitled Magical Melons : More Stories About Caddie Woodlawn which is equally fun.

Yes. This is where I become predictable. The Complete Anne of Green Gables set. Contrary to popular misconception, L.M. Montgomery was not a Christian. It is the belief that she was (being that she was married to a minister) that draws many Christians to this series. I see no reason NOT to read this series, regardless, which was penned in the early 1900's. It is very relaxed and low-key read. Furthermore it features a very hilarious young red-headed girl full of spunk and vivacity! Montgomery provides very easy and engaging reading material and I highly recommend her in general. For younger readers who are keen on Montgomery, I'd also recommend The Story Girl and its sequel, The Golden Road. Both of these titles feature children as the main characters.

Also, a Reading to Know family tidbit: my daughter was named after a character in one of the latter books.

The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis. I still can't pinpoint exactly the reason I love these books. I like that they are adventurous, imaginative, magical, and insightful as to the human condition. I positively love the fact that they draw me towards Truth and Beauty like no other children's series I know. I re-read them every year by myself and with my children. I like this series so well that I host an annual Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge in July. Join in with us if you like!

'Nother Reading to Know family tidbit: All of my children's names are somehow associated with these books.

Chronicles of Narnia Reading Challenge

Another series I loved and adored between the ages of 11 and 13 were the In Grandma's Attic series by Arleta Richardson.

This is a marvelous series which focuses on the art of storytelling. A young girl finds old knick knacks and items of curiosity up in her grandmother's attic. Her grandmother proceeds to tell stories to her granddaughter of when she was a child. These stories are relaxing, lazy and fun. Sort of in a Mitford sort of way. I kept most of my copies for my girl and I can't wait to read them aloud with her!

Lastly, I'd consider myself remiss if I failed to mentioned one of my all-time favorite adventure series.

Without a doubt, if you are looking to entertain a young reader, you've got to check out The complete Mysterious Benedict Society books, by Trenton Lee Stewart. Written quite recently, these books are pure, clean fun. I've raved about this book a time or two and I'll go on doing so. Love these books!

Check out my review of The Mysterious Benedict Society from 2008. And again in 2012.

Other chapter books I have read and loved:

What about you? Any particular early chapter books you'd recommend to tweens and teens? Reasons why? Do share in the comment section below!


Annette Whipple said...

Yes, predictable, but good to have in writing!!

I was planning to read Caddie to the kids this summer. Now I'm wondering if it should be put off a bit. Thoughts?

Though we've already listened to Anne, I do think the remaining books are best for tweens and teens.

I agree...I hope my kids will be reading some good, meaty books as teens...and not the stuff I read. :)

Amy @ Hope Is the Word said...

My girls love the Grandma's Attic books. :)

Predictable? Naaah! You just have really good taste! ;)

Tarissa said...

I've never read the Narnia series before, until this past month. I finally read the first book, and I'm excited to continue reading the series over the summer. Will definitely be joining your July challenge!

BerlinerinPoet said...

I love the Grandma's attic books. And I didn't realize L.M. Montgomery wasn't a Christian actually.

Bluerose said...

I'm laughing at the Dumas comment. Shamefully laughing, that is! At least I've read some on your tween list. :)

Annette Whipple said...

I have compiled the list of my friends' recommendations for chapter books. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

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