Books girls love

Awhile back I wrote about books that boys love.  Ever since then I’ve been meaning to make a similar list for girls.  I know that there are lots of books in the world that appeal to both boys and girls.   But this list is particularly aimed at girls who are reading well enough to enjoy chapter books, but who don’t really need to be reading the ‘teen’ romances and vampire stories that fill so many bookstore shelves these days. These are ones that the girls at our house have enjoyed over the years, as well as some that I enjoyed as a girl.

  • What Katy Did (series of 3)
  • Eight Cousins
  • Rose in Bloom
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond
  • Elsie Dinsmore (series)
  • Calico Captive
  • Anne of Green Gables (series)
  • Understood Betsy
  • Saffy’s Angel
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins
  • Caddie Woodlawn
  • Journey to the River-Sea
  • All-of-a-Kind Family
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
  • Black Stallion (series)
  • Little House on the Prairie (series)
  • Chronicles of Narnia (series)
  • Abigail Adams (Childhood of Famous Americans)

Have a good wholesome book to add?   I’d love for you to comment below and make this list more complete.

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  1. I loved the Harriet the Spy books when I was 10-12 – I could read for hours – you can’t go wrong with Little House on the Prarie – I always dreamed of being Laura 🙂

  2. Grandma’s Attic series.

    • I love those books. My mom read them to my sisters and I. Hope to do the same for my girls (whenever I have them). I have 2 little boys right now. They are 3 1/2 and 1.

      • I loved them too! My sister asked for Christmas ideas for my daughter and I told her these.

    • I LOVED Grandma’s Attic! But had forgotten all about them.

  3. Carolyn Fodel says:

    Trixie Belden series, Mrs. Mike, the Story of Katherine Mary Flannigan (by Benedict and Nancy Mars Freedman), Misty of Chincoteague

  4. Magical Melons and Baby Island are two more books by the same author as Caddie Woodlawn. My boys loved Caddie so much that I started researching what else Brink wrote. I found these two treasures that were much loved.

  5. Beetnik Mama says:

    Oh, without a doubt, “Mandy” by Julie Andrews. I give it away as gifts for little girls, and if you ask me, even as an adult, what my favorite book is, I still include Mandy in the list!

  6. Loved (and still do ) most of these books….
    Have to giggle about the mixed up files …. book, if kids would understand using the typewriter at the dept store!!!
    (but I remember when going to sears meant a stop to play in the home office section to play with calculators and typewriters (boy, do I sound like a geek)

  7. How about the Boxcar Children & Nancy Drew?! Oo, or all the books by Beverly Cleary? We just discovered a new series called The Amazing Tales of Max & Liz, by Jenny L. Cote that I think only has 2 books in it so far — The Ark, the Reed & the Fire Cloud and The Dreamer, the Schemer & the Robe. Wonderful faith-based, historical novels with animals as the main characters — my oldest daughter is wearing them out, reading them again & again.

  8. The Ramona series by Beverly Cleary (and the Henry Huggins series for boys).

    The Moffats series by Eleanor Estes

    Ten Kids, No Pets by Ann M Martin (this was one of my favorites as a kid, though I haven’t re-read it in probably 15-20 years… but, I don’t recall anything offensive)

    If they love the original Little House books, other authors have written series about Laura’s mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and daughter when they were little girls. I read all by the Rose Years this last year and they are quite good.

  9. The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, by Francis Burnett. Soooo good, and the illustrations are beautiful if you can find an edition with them.

  10. Great list! I taught middle school English at a Christian school before becoming a mama, and (obviously) I adore children’s literature! My students loved the Redwall books, and I was surprised that my 7th grade girls loved The Hobbit more than my guys! My girls also loved The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. It’s intense and has a lot of violence, but it also has some beautiful Christian allegory that makes for great discussion material with middle-schooler and parents. I’m hugely for parents continuing to read with kids well into their teens, having kids read aloud to parents or having a parent-child “book club” so that themes and situations in books can be discussed. I was so disappointed and saddened by how often Clique books and vampire romances (ones way more mature than even the Twilight books) showed up in my room. Parents’ perspective was often, “At least she’s reading!” and that made my stomach turn! I encouraged parents to read the book their kids were reading so that they could discuss what was in them with their kids. Kids need to learn to be discerning about what they read as well as what they see.

    I can’t WAIT to read chapter books with my daughter! It will be so hard to decide what to read first! 🙂

  11. What about the Shoes books by Noel Streatfield? I must have read Ballet Shoes 20 times growing up.

    • this Shoe series was referred to in the movie _You’ve Got Mail_ when Meg Ryan was sitting in the kid’s corner of the big box bookstore. The clerk/employee could not answer the customer request, so Meg did.
      Love that movie, mainly because it is about Books!

  12. The Penderwicks (3 books) are about the most perfect recent books I or my girls have ever read. Love them so much. And the Melendy series (starting with The Saturdays) by Elizabeth Enright are just a delight to read.

    • Here’s another vote for the Penderwicks. We listened to the first book in the series this summer in the car as we traveled to and fro. We just LOVED it!

  13. My daughter loved the Animal Ark books. The central character is a girl named Mandy, the daughter of a veterinarian (I think in England) and her friend James. Each book is about a different animal that seems to be in some kind of trouble and how they help that animal. These are great books for an animal lover, like my daughter. I enjoyed reading them to her, too.

  14. We are currently loving The Railway Children but my all time favorite is Stepping Heavenward by Elisabeth Prentiss.

  15. Great List! Although there are actually 5 books in the Katy series – in the last 2 Clover moves to Colorado and gets married. Strange. I would also suggest the Betsy-Tacy books, and The children of Noisy Village by Astrid Lindgren. I love all her books – she wrote Ronia, the Robbers Daughter also. You should also include Elizabeht Enright – she wrote Gone Away lake, Thimble Summer, and The Saturdays, among others, and my girls loved them. Oh, and All-of-a-kind Family, by Sydney Taylor. (My 8 year old is working her way through most of these!)

  16. 5 little peppers and how they grew is a perpetual favorite. some of the concepts are hard to understand, but it’s a wonderful book with great family values.

  17. When growing up I really loved the “Happy Hollisters.” It is a seires, I am not sure if you can get them in the library or not, but they are classics. All about a family!

  18. My 7-year-old has been enjoying Nancy Drew lately — especially the old ones. I loved them as a kid and have been pleasantly surprised to rediscover how well-written the older ones are — the vocabulary is sophisticated and there’s a lot of information kids learn without even realizing it. My father introduced us to the Happy Hollisters, another syndicated mystery series from the 50s, and we have really enjoyed those as well.

  19. Jabber Jaws says:

    Forever and ever I will always love Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. Adore her!

  20. A Pony For the Winter by Helen Kay. A little girl learns a lot about responsibility when she takes care of a horse for the winter. It was my first real chapter book and I read it over and over again.

    • is that the one where the pony was used for a camp except for winter? I seem to recall that book and reading it over and over as well!

  21. Even though I didn’t read this book until I was in my later teen years, I really like “Christy” by Catherine Marshall. I know it’s on the longer side of things, but I know that someone has adapted the story into a series for younger readers.

  22. All the books by Arthur Ransome: Swallows and Amazons, Winter Holiday, Swallowdale, Picts and Martyrs, and many more. I second books by Elizabeth Enright: The Saturdays, The Four Story Mistake, And Then There Were Five, Spiderweb for Two.

    Lisa H.

  23. You mention 2 by Louisa May Alcott but you left out Little Women and Little Men. Also, LMM Montgomery (author of Anne of Green Gables) was very prolific and wrote tons of books. Both me and my daughter loved “emily of new moon” the most.
    Other favs: The Swallows and Amazons (first of a series), The Ramona books by Beverly Cleary, and books by E.S. Nesbitt (Railway CHildren, 5 Children and It, etc etc)
    And so many more 🙂

  24. The Mandie Books by Lois Gladys Leppard.

  25. a few years ago, the author Lois Lowry came to our university campus. She is most famous for _Number the Stars_ and _the Giver_ which have won literary awards. I have seen both on assigned reading list for junior high students.
    During the question and answer time at the end, when asked which of her own books would be her favorite to read, her response was _Rabble Starkey_.
    I stopped at a bookstore on the way home. There was no copy on the shelf, so I had to order it. Could hardly wait for the phone call.
    Loved the book, and loaned it to a couple girls at church, one after another. We sent e-mails back and forth as discussion, and found other titles by the same author.
    I recall _Autumn Street_ and _Silent Boy_ also charmed us, and _Gossamer_ was well liked by a Fifth Grade neighbor girl.

  26. We have enjoyed many of the above mentioned books as well as; Pollyanna, The Wheel on the School, Up a Road Slowly, Sarah Plain and Tall,and No Talking by Andrew Clemets.

  27. Virginia Hamilton, Sweet Whispers, Brother Rush
    William Armstrong, Sounder
    Lois Lenski, Strawberry Girl
    Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, The Yearling
    Wilson Rawls, Where the Red Fern Grows
    Scott O’Dell, Island of the blue Dolphins
    From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler
    William Pene DuBois, Twenty One Balloons
    Riba Mirsky, 31 Brothers and Sisters

  28. One of my daughters favourite authors is Jean Little, she has written many books. We have also loved the books by Patricia St. John and Enid Blyton as well as a lot of the authors already mentioned.

  29. If your kids like books with magic in them I would recommend books by Edgar Eager such as “Half Magic” – which are very clean and not scary. They remind me a bit of E. Nesbit books – no witches or things like that, but more about magical objects. Also “The Dark is Rising” series by Susan Cooper (a bit more scary, not too bad – I loved it as a 10 yr old) and The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander (The book of three, The black cauldron, etc.) though these might be find a wider audience on the boy’s list.

  30. Anything by Beverly Cleary, and a new series called The Doll People. Mildred Taylor is another good choice along with Cynthia Voight. Actually I guess you could consider this list gender neutral.

  31. For slightly older girls (12/13), Madeleine L’Engle and Cynthia Voigt are great. I’ve always loved the Wrinkle in Time books and Jackaroo, specifically.

    In addition to the great recommendations above, I’d add Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm and a book by Jeri Massi called The Bridge (plus its sequel, Crown and Jewel).

  32. My favorites were Grandma’s Attic and the Mandie series by Lois Gladys Leppard, but there are about 30 some books! They got me through my childhood, though.

  33. The Penderwick Chronicles for 5th grade-ish. Charming.

  34. Also, the E.B. White books — especially Charlotte’s Web for girls! The Borrowers, Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, and The Cricket in Times Square…

  35. Emily Curtiss says:

    The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew