Fanmail Q&A: YA Recomendations

Hello, Pat!

Today, my 10-year-old daughter, Becca, came home from school with a book pressed to her nose. This is nothing unexpected; she’s been addicted to books for nearly as long as she’s been able to speak!

But today, I had a little smile when I noted the title that she’d selected from her school’s library: “A Wrinkle In Time.”

I recently read your blog post about your early experience with the book, and it gave me pause to think. I had one of those thoroughly “mom” moments, suddenly picturing my redheaded, freckle-faced, bespectacled, skinny 10 year old as a grown-up with a career!

I hope I don’t sound dreadfully stage-momish when I say that I’ve long guessed she would end up being a writer. She thinks differently from other kids. She’s never been afraid of spiders or robbers, instead, her real-life fears include the concept of infinity and people one day traveling at the speed of light. Many nightmares over the size of the universe. She’s bizarre, but pretty darned cute, so it balances. ;)

(Editor’s note: She is pretty cute.)

Writing all that down probably seals her fate as a future tax accountant!

So, here begins my question to you… She’s read all of the usual suspects for children at her age, including Harry Potter and the Narnia series. She also spent a whole month reading every BabySitter’s Club book she could scrounge up! (She is a little girl, after all!!)

But finding books that really challenge and appeal to her as a voracious reader has been a years-long sprint to stay ahead of her curiosity! She adores fantasy, but a LOT of fantasy novels are just too sexual, or too violent for her, at this age.

I’ve loved your recommendations of books over the years, and I wonder if you could think of a list of books that little budding geeks would adore? …a geekery primer, as it were.

Thank you so much for sharing your time and talent with the world.


Well Carrie, I won’t lie to you. You do sound slightly stage-mom. But at least you’re aware of it. Knowing is half the battle, after all.

I have a lot of control-freak tendencies myself. (I think some of it comes from being an author.) But so far I’ve managed to reign in those elements of my personality when it comes to planning Oot’s future.

Sarah constantly wants to speculate about what he’ll be like when he grows up. What job will he have? Will he be right handed? Will his hair be curly or wavy? Will he be gay or straight? What will his secondary mutation be?

I decided early on that I don’t care about any of that stuff. I only want two things from him when he grows up.

He must:

1. Make the world a better place.

2. Be happy.

That’s all I require of him. He can even do them in whatever order he likes. Concurrently or consecutively. Everything else is meaningless detail as far as I’m concerned. (Though it would be nice if he was a bit of a reader, too.)

But yeah, back to the point of your letter. Let me see if I can think of some good YA reads for you….

The first thing that leaps to mind is:

  • Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching books.

I don’t really feel the need to sell these books to you. If you know anything about fantasy, you know who Terry Pratchett is. You know he’s great.

On the off chance that you don’t, I’ll simply say what I’ve said before: There may be authors as good as Terry Pratchett, but there are no authors better. And the Tiffany Aching books are as good as anything he’s ever written. I just pulled one down off the shelf and right now I’m having to actively fight my desire start reading it again.

In order, they are: Wee Free Men, Hat Full of Sky, and Wintersmith.

The fourth book in the series, I Shall Wear Midnight, is coming out in less than a month. I plan on reading it the day it’s released.

Side note: I’d probably recommend *any* of Pratchett’s books as a safe YA read. They’re all really good, and by opening that single door, you instantly add more than thirty exceptionally high-quality books to your reading list.

  • Neil Gaiman’s Coraline

Again, I don’t feel like I need to push you very hard about this book. It’s Neil Gaiman. You know how good he is.

Side note: The audiobook version of this is really excellent. I just listened to it for the third time about two weeks ago. Gaiman reads it himself, and does an absolutely brilliant job.

  • Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn.

Again. I rave about this book all the time, so I won’t go on and on. I didn’t read it when I was a kid, but I can’t help but feel that it would be a great YA read.

Secondary Recommendation: There’s a movie too.

  • The BFG by Roald Dahl.

I remember reading this one as a kid and loving it. Dahl has the rare gift that I’ve come to think of as The Divine Ridiculous.

You see, anybody can be goofy. Anybody can just make up some silly bullshit. But true inspired ridiculousness can’t be forced. You cannot strive for it, for in striving you fail. It’s like Nirvana. It’s like the eternal Tao.

Some authors manage to touch this odd piece of our Jungian collective consciousness, and when they do, they write things that are genuinely delightful and bizarre. Douglass Adams brushed up against it occasionally, as do the guys over at Penny Arcade.  Dahl kinda lived there. I remember reading his books as a kid and thinking the kid version of, “WTF?”

That’s a good thing for a kid to think, in my opinion.

Secondary recommendation: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is pretty good, too.

  • The Fledgling by Jane Langton.

Honestly. I can’t remember much about this book except that I read it when I was a kid and I loved it. When you asked this question it was one of the first books that sprung to mind, that says a lot, considering it’s probably been 25 years since I’ve read it, and usually I can barely remember to put on pants before I leave the house every day.

  • Zarah the Windseeker by Nnedi Okorafor.

I’ve interviewed Nnedi Okorafor on the website before, and talked about some of her newer books. But this was her first book, which I read years and years ago. I really enjoyed it, and have given away many copies as gifts. Not only does it have some cool non-western worldbuiding in it, but the protagonist is a clever, capable young girl.

I could go on and on. (The Hobbit, The Princess Bride, Podkayne of Mars or other Heinlein juveniles, Peter Pan, The Little Prince…) but I think I’ll stop there.

Feel free to post some of your childhood favorites in the comments below. Discuss and disagree. That’s one of the joys of threaded comments.

However, I do expect things to remain civilized. If you you don’t think a book is appropriate for kids, feel free to say so. Feel free to explain why. But don’t be a dick about it. Typical internet asshattery will result in suspension of posting privileges, the scorn of your peers, and my terrible, terrible wrath.


This entry was posted in Neil Gaiman, Oot, recommendations, Sarah, Young AdultBy Pat486 Responses


  1. Darla
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:25 AM | Permalink

    These might be a tad more adult than young-adult but I highly, highly reccomend the Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

    Pat, if you havent read these, you must!

    • Captain Joe
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:30 AM | Permalink

      I hear good things about those books. Also soon to be a movie, yes?

      • Darla
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:39 AM | Permalink

        @Captain Joe

        Yes, it is going to be a movie. Im scared for it though. The only movies from YA books that were anywhere near decent were the Harry Potter ones.

        Most of the time I dont want my favorite books made into movies. For example, who would you cast as Kvothe? I cant see any actor currently around in that role.

        Its the same with the Hunger Games. I cant imagine anyone as Katniss.

        • Casey
          Posted September 19, 2010 at 6:21 PM | Permalink

          I also loved the Hunger Games books but agree that it’s probably a little violent for a 10 year old.

          Personally I think Kaya Scodelario (from the British tv series Skins) is Katniss, if anyone else gets cast as her I’m going to be extremely annoyed.

        • bookworm
          Posted September 28, 2010 at 11:24 PM | Permalink

          I always hated the movie versions of books (Harry Potter is an exception) because I would read the book, the watch the movie and unconsiously compare them and they are never up to parr. And when I watched the movie first, it always seemed so bad, that I didn’t WANT to read the books, and if I did, the movies always felt fake, and the book seemed neverendingly boring… If that was understandable, anyway… But yeah, I don’t like watching movie versions of books. No just no. It’s wrong (Harry Potter excepting). No offense to all you movie freaks out there, lol.

          • DanteK
            Posted September 30, 2010 at 12:18 AM | Permalink

            For the most part I agree with you, most movie adaptations of books fall on their faces. BUT I wholeheartedly believe that the movies based off of the Stieg Larsson mystery/thrillers are exceptional movies. Even if one does not really appreciate foreign films, still amazing movie(s).

            And the Harry Potter movies have been going way, way down hill….

    • SavagePotato
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 4:14 AM | Permalink

      I can’t recommend Suzanne Collins enough. Her first series was fun and very well done but her second series (The Hunger Games trilogy) is one of the best series out there. The last book just came out and everyone should read it.

      I’d also recommend the His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman.

      Although you’d have to use your judgment on what age to read these at, both are considered YA (I certainly would) but some people object to parts of these books.

      • RegistrationIsStupid
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:02 AM | Permalink

        Pullman’s His Dark Materials for the win! :)

      • Fattimus
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:07 AM | Permalink

        I third (or whatever number we’re at right now) His Dark Materials. I didn’t read those for the first time until last year (I’m 25), and I still found them incredibly gripping.

      • dispatchrabbi
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:31 AM | Permalink

        His Dark Materials is a wonderful book series, but I think some of the stuff in the third book is a bit too much for the age range being talked about here.

        …just writing that pains me, though, since I tend away from the idea that certain things are “too adult” for kids. But I think I might think this way about HDM because there’s a certain value from reading those books for the first time, and you can only get the full brunt of that effect once you’ve started to notice the other sex, as it were.

        • sflanagan19
          Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

          I highly recommend His Dark Materials. In the third book sex is obviously alluded to, but it’s not explicit, and I definitely read it at age 10 or 11 and was not shocked or surprised. By that age I’d already had sex ed in school and since it wasn’t explicit (at that age I was also thinking, “They could be talking about something else…”).

          I’d also recommend T.A. Barron’s The Lost Years of Merlin series. When I was a middle schooler I went through a serious King Arthur/Merlin phase that was started by Barron’s books.

        • Katienooklover
          Posted September 17, 2010 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

          I agree completely. Here dad kills her friend that she spends the whole first book trying to save. I think that’s a little much for a 10 yr old. But that’s really up to mom.

          • christine
            Posted September 20, 2010 at 11:25 PM | Permalink

            I have to respectfully disagree- (!spoiler!) the deaths are done in both 1. non-graphic and 2. non-permanent ways- given that she spends the first book trying to save him, but continues looking for him after that (and finds him). If anything, the series ultimately provides a very mature and existential insight into death–it’s the take on organized religion that people get upset about (mostly for silly reasons).
            I read this series as a 6th and 7th grader (the Amber Spyglass did not come out until nearly a year after I’d finished the first two) and it was one of the most profound reading experiences of my childhood or adolescence. I read them again years later as a sophomore in college and it was an entirely new experience, for the reasons hinted at by dispatchrabbi. The difference between these two readings was in and of itself a point of self-discovery and reflection that I greatly treasure to this day, though now I am old enough that some of the magic is lost.

            Which is all to say- if you wait on giving her these, I wouldn’t wait TOO long. : )

      • iburnbrass
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

        His Dark Materials were at the top of my list.

        Also, your little girl wears glasses; she might like a hero that does as well (and makes superhero powers of them). For that reason, I’d recommend Brandon Sanderson’s Alcatraz books.

        • iburnbrass
          Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

          Oooo! And while not YA fiction, I think Sanderson’s Mistborn trilogy would not be a bad read for her as well.

        • annadala
          Posted September 18, 2010 at 2:04 AM | Permalink

          Alcatraz for sure. It’s awesome! I read them this past summer and they’re some of MY favorite books now, lol.

          When I was 10 I loved reading biographies.

          And Coraline is an awesome book. Husband and I read it about a year ago and loved the character so much Coraline went on the “If we ever have a baby” names list.

      • Angelbaka
        Posted September 21, 2010 at 3:00 AM | Permalink

        I also agree heavily with the push for HDM. Pullman’s masterpieces. Personally (this is coming from someone who is a christian) I feel a lot of the criticism against the third book comes from people who feel it threatens their faith- which, let’s be honest, it very much does. They help God die and kill his heir/usurper/regent, depending on what you call him, and open ‘hell’ to the world of the living. Sex is referred to only in the most oblique manner- it is way more of a coming of age than ANYTHING remotely related to sex. Think Harry + Ginny near the end of book six and you have a pretty good idea. I also second/third/etc Garth Nix; with the caveat that he kinda does what Hienlien did: Brilliant YA books, but they can be difficult to tell apart from his adult/teen books, some of which I definitely wouldn’t recommend for a YA. I don’t know if anyone else has mentioned it yet, but I also have to throw out Dianna Wynne Jones, who occupies the Divine Ridiculous along with Dahl.

    • Skelly
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:30 AM | Permalink

      The Hunger Games is definitely one of the best YA series I’ve ever read. But if this mom is looking to shelter her 10-year-old from violence, it’s definitely something I’d suggest for when the kid gets older (and can read whatever she wants).

    • Widow Of Sirius
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:16 AM | Permalink

      I agree 10,00% that it’s something she should read. It’s true she’s 10, but she sounds INCREDIBLY mature for 10. My niece, who is 12, handles books really well for her age, so I think this adorable redhead could pull it off too.

      Mind you, this is the teacher speaking in me, too. I have plans to teach this book/series someday.

    • Robo
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

      I agree with Skelly. Hunger has some violence and adultish themes, but they’re probably appropriate on a child-by-child basis. After all, I read LOTR when I was 10 and was enthralled despite Borrimir dying.

    • hobbs
      Posted September 18, 2010 at 5:11 AM | Permalink

      I’m going to add Garth Nix into the mix as a YA author. Also, Eoin Colfer (although these will be quick read books). The Colfer books circulate on the school book fair cycle so should be easy to grab. The Nix series is titled Sabriel and would be age appropriate. That’s at least what I see kids trundling through the halls with. Good luck

      • Angelbaka
        Posted September 21, 2010 at 3:03 AM | Permalink

        My favorite Nix series, one of my favorite series ever. The cycle is actually titled “Abhorsen”, Sabriel is the first of the series. Brilliant books. Also, please don’t smite me if I spelled that wrong.

        • nakomiKF
          Posted September 21, 2010 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

          I first read the Abhorsen trilogy when I was around 14 and I still count them as one of my favorite books. Lirael was my favorite of the three.

          Another of my all-time favorite YA books is anything written by Donna Jo Napoli–she rewrites fairy tales into more modern language. She’s written Beast, Spinners, Zel…and lots more. Lovely language and relatively clean.

          Some other recommendations for fun and stimulating girly 10-14 yr reading:

          The Naming by Alison Croggon (was my favorite book before NOTW, clean and full of epic adventure like no other and I still love it at 21)
          The China Garden by Liz Berry (there’s some sexual references in here but it’s about stonehenge kind of, so it’s pretty cool)
          To Kill A Mockingbird (I loved Atticus)
          Tuck Everlasting (horrible movie fyi)
          Alice in Wonderland (kind of a heavy read when I was younger but I still loved it)
          Little Women and anything else by Louisa May Alcott (can’t go wrong with her, personally)
          The Trumpet of the Swan and other E.B. White classics
          Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (duh…I read that when I was 11 and I’ve been reading it since)

          …I think I’m going to stop now. I haven’t had my nose out of a book since I was 5 so I can go on forever.

          • bookworm
            Posted September 28, 2010 at 11:31 PM | Permalink

            I liked Nix’s Keys to the Kingdom Myself, Starting with Mister Monday, Grimm(Sp?) Tuesday, Drowned Wednesday, Sir Thursday, Lady Friday, and I forget the other two… Sorry…

          • bookworm
            Posted September 28, 2010 at 11:32 PM | Permalink

            And don’t forget Little Men, sequal to Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

    • DDeering
      Posted September 20, 2010 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

      One of my favorite series as a kid was “The Borribles”

      Michael de Larrabeiti is the author.

      Good dark mix of action and adventure.

      I would also recommend “Tailchaser’s Song” by Tad Williams.

    • mselj854
      Posted September 23, 2010 at 8:42 PM | Permalink

      I absolutely love the Hunger Game books. and I really don’t think that they are too gory or explicit. But they are honest.

    • GwynW
      Posted September 27, 2010 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

      This was the first series that sprung to mind for me too, probably since I just finished them. It’s been a while since I’ve really had time to read, but after finishing off the first one in a few hour sitting last Saturday, I somehow MADE time to obtain/read the other two within the next three days.

      The series left me feeling really unsettled after – anyone else? Good, but even without being too “gory,” they’re something you could get nightmares about.

  2. Captain Joe
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:30 AM | Permalink

    Awesome selection.

    If we’re talking young adult, then series’ along the lines of Anthony Horowitz and Garth Nix always got me as I was bustlin’ and bleedin’ through high school. They still do today, as well. The books are written for kids/teens, yet the plots can be very adult.

    Honestly, I just liked to imagine I was as cool as the protagonists in those books, and instead of calculus and physical education (fuck that rope climb. Fuck. It.), I could be off averting an international thermonuclear war. Or what have you.


    Side note: Pat, any idea if Wise Man’s Fear will be available on its release date as an ebook, say on Amazon? Cheers, mate.

    • Andres J.
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:32 AM | Permalink

      worried about the international release date? (I share your pain)

      • Posted September 17, 2010 at 4:07 AM | Permalink

        I’ll be finding out about this and posting a blog on the subject.

        • Captain Joe
          Posted September 17, 2010 at 4:37 AM | Permalink


          All the best.

        • David Goodman
          Posted September 21, 2010 at 1:59 PM | Permalink


          Would really appreciate an ebook release. Its hard for me to get physical books right now. thanks !!

    • Rin Sinn
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:51 AM | Permalink

      Oh God- the memories! The awful, awful memories…

      The rope clime was the bane of my existence.

      • Rin Sinn
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:52 AM | Permalink

        Sorry. That should be “climb,” not “clime.” Simple typos always seem to escape me.

        • BrettJB
          Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:50 AM | Permalink

          I preferred your initial response. I think a climate of ropes is quite poetic, and opens up all sorts of possibilities for adventure and excitement. :-)

    • coleiosis
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

      I second the Garth Nix recommendation. I’ve read the Abhorsen Trilogy several times and just finished the audio book. I’d recommend them to anyone.

    • JN
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

      I third Garth Nix! And he has a slightly younger (but still very intelligent) series than the Abhorsen Trilogy called the Keys to the Kingdom series that I suspect may fit her age range a bit better. First book in that series is called Mister Monday.

      I also agree with the Tamora Pierce, Jane Yolen, Brian Jacques, Susan Cooper, Lloyd Alexander, Diana Wynne Jones recommendations.

      I used to work at a bookstore and would often suggest David Eddings as a gateway author for kids transitioning into grown-up fantasy books. The first 5 books are relatively tame – no sex except some innuendos and blushing, and any swearing that is done in there is from made up words.

      Mercedes Lackey is another gateway kind of author, especially for girls who like horses. But there are some adult themes in most of the Valdemar books so you may want to wait until she’s a bit older.

      Classics like The Three Musketeers will interest someone who’s into fantasy type worlds too.

      Earthsea books by Ursula K. Le Guin
      From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg
      anything by Nancy Farmer
      Robin McKinley
      Frankly, anything that won the Newberry is usually of good quality and is age appropriate:
      Vivian Vande Velde has a whole bunch of kids and teen fantasies.

      In all cases though, I highly recommend that you either read or at least flip through any books first before giving them to her so that you feel comfortable with what you’re giving her to read. Every parent has a different comfort level, and every kid has a different level of maturity. Books that I read when I was 11 aren’t necessarily ones that I gave to all of my younger siblings to read when they were the same age; in some cases I waited 4 or 5 years to give them the same books.

      • Angelbaka
        Posted September 21, 2010 at 3:05 AM | Permalink

        Second on Earthsea, I can’t believe I forgot those.

  3. missalena
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:30 AM | Permalink

    Oooohhh…. I really enjoyed “The Phantom Tollbooth” and all of Shel Silverstein’s work. They both are simple reads, but still quite awesome.

    • missalena
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:31 AM | Permalink

      Also, Becca is adorable.

    • borvise
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 4:04 AM | Permalink

      I’m going to second Phantom Tollbooth as clever and fun, though I don’t know if it will assuage her fears of infinity or increase them (the main character literally walks an infinite staircase in a land of numbers).

      And Pat, I think you have written a successful, not-totally-ridiculous blurb:
      “There may be authors as good as Terry Pratchett, but there are no authors better. And the Tiffany Aching books are as good as anything he’s ever written.”

      • priscellie
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:22 AM | Permalink

        I adore “The Phantom Tollbooth”! I must’ve reread it thirty or forty times when I was in third grade. It was the first book I ever obsessed over. And after fifty years, Norton Juster and illustrator Jules Feiffer have come together again to create a new book, which just came out last week! RAPTURE!

      • Emmaline
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

        As a rabid Terry Pratchett fan and retired English teacher, I agree about the Tiffany Aching books. I’d recommend them to YA and precocious readers everywhere.

    • The Little Lee
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 2:47 PM | Permalink

      I will also back the Phantom Tollbooth as an excellent YA fantasy. Not overwhelming but a fun adventure with a dog called Tock who actually ticks, and a boy who grows down toward the ground not up from it.

  4. Andres J.
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:30 AM | Permalink

    I think The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman is also a pretty good YA novel. And just like Coraline, the audiobook is great.

    • Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:38 AM | Permalink

      Oh yeah. I forgot about that one. I really enjoyed it too….

      • Widow Of Sirius
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:18 AM | Permalink

        I listened to that one on audiobook, and it was awesome.

    • Sokol
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

      I was scanning the comments to make sure “The Graveyard Book” was listed. Wonderful.

    • BrettJB
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 11:04 AM | Permalink

      As long as we’re mentioning Gaiman, don’t forget “Interworld” by Gaiman, and Michael Reaves. This one’s divisive for some Gaiman fans, but I found it quite an enjoyable read myself.

      “Neverwhere” is probably a bit intense for the age range (the antics of Messrs. Croup and Vandemar are a bit over the top for one so young…), but “Stardust” isn’t out of the reach of a precocious 10-year-old.

      • bookworm
        Posted September 28, 2010 at 11:36 PM | Permalink

        I just finished that one today after watching it LAST summer while visiting my step-dad… I really liked it, and it’s easy to read as well…

  5. Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:34 AM | Permalink

    Ursula K Le Guin. The Earthsea series.

  6. Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:35 AM | Permalink

    Get her into Dungeons & Dragons.

    • Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:06 PM | Permalink

      Seconded. I think gaming is great for kids.

      • Sark_Amen
        Posted September 20, 2010 at 6:50 AM | Permalink

        Almost all of related the books are good YA too.

        • Angelbaka
          Posted September 21, 2010 at 3:06 AM | Permalink

          Dragonlance might want to wait a bit- most of the Lost Realms and dragonlance books are very definitively Teen/Adult.

  7. D-Chan
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:35 AM | Permalink

    I think that if I had to pic one book to recommend to a little reader, out of all the books I’ve read, I’d pick Salman Rushdie’s Haroun and the Sea of Stories. It is a fantastic novel that I read when I was around 10 years old and that got permanently stuck in my mind. If you ever read anything by Rushdie you’ll know he is a genius.
    Cheers to all, do read it if you get the chance.


  8. Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:35 AM | Permalink


    • Joe M.
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:23 AM | Permalink

      Yes! Absolutely. The Asterix books are also very good. And Calvin & Hobbes is a necessity. The Far Side.

  9. Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:36 AM | Permalink

    The Once and Future King.

    • vana naine
      Posted September 21, 2010 at 3:31 PM | Permalink

      This is a book I’m not so sure about. For a ten years old, I mean.
      It is presented as YA book these days, I believe, it was kid’s book some time ago, and yet, I read it only now, being 30.
      After I finally got trough first 70 pages, I LOVED the book so hard I couldn’t believe something that awesome can exist and I never knew about it.
      It was one of THE reading experiences of my grown-up life, it echoed so much with all the life I have lived, with all the world I have seen, with the way I see the world right now (not 20 years ago) – that I kind of doubt if anything like this can be experienced as a kid. It might be just kind of slow adventure-book with rather weird world-setting for her, and would hate to see a book like this going wasted.

  10. thatwhichiam
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:38 AM | Permalink

    Tamora Pierce books – start her off with the Circle of Magic ones and then The Circle Opens. The first are totally innocent and the second are almost completely. The ones after The Circle opens get a little more adult. The first book is The Magic In The Weaving (or possibly Sandry’s Book, they are called different things in Britain and America).

    In a year or two start her on The Song Of The Lioness Quartet; there’s a little sex in it, but it’s not explicit. After that follow at least 3 series, 2 more quartets and a pair. They’re roughly on a par with those for sex and violence. I’d give them a PG-13 in the cinema.

    I loved these books – the first lot are about 4 children who have magic but not the usual kind where they’re from, and are all misfits for one reason or another. The second ones are about a girl who trains to be a knight while pretending to be a boy.

    I would also second the person who said Garth Nix.

    • kathy k.
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:37 AM | Permalink

      I have purchased Tamora Pierce’s ‘Trickster’ series for probably half a dozen friends, I just love them. And her ‘Beka’ series is wonderful as well, and while it relates back to the Lioness books, you don’t have to have read them to be okay with Beka.

      Garth Nix is wonderful – I was so glad when I was home in Australia and managed to find the Sunday book of the Keys to the Kingdom series at my mum’s local library.

      Also highly recommended – John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series. It is ongoing and while the main character is male there are several strong female characters. Both he and Nix are Australian, which I didn’t know until after I’d started reading them.

      • bookworm
        Posted September 28, 2010 at 11:39 PM | Permalink

        Totally love all her books!! Beka was the awsomest, though Alanna was the first I read… How was Sunday?

      • bookworm
        Posted September 28, 2010 at 11:43 PM | Permalink

        I also reccomend Young Warriors for her, by Tamora Pierce… I think its about 10-13 years, depending on the child reading it…

    • andraen
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:23 AM | Permalink

      The Song of the Lioness Quartet was easily my favorite at the age of, oh, 11 or 12. I read the school library’s copies so many times that they ended up having to buy new ones because they fell apart.

      And I’m thirding Garth Nix. Sabriel, Lirrael and Abhorson are fantastic, but I’d think of them in the 12-14 range; however, the Keys to the Kingdom series is EASILY good for a smart 8 year old to most 12 year olds. I still enjoy them.

      Also — Mercedes Lackey around the age of 13-14; my parents also tried to get me started on Anne McCaffrey’s Pern when I was, oh, 10, and I was honestly just way too young to understand it, but keep her in mind for the future.

    • Widow Of Sirius
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:22 AM | Permalink

      The Song of the Lioness books were given to me as a gift on my 11th birthday. I think they could be really good for her – the sex IS in there, but understated. Just make sure she doesn’t view Alanna as TOO much of a role model in that department: she has sex with three different guys in one book (the last one), so it might be worthy of sneaking in a precursory sex talk beforehand.

      • rstein7
        Posted September 20, 2010 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

        I couldn’t agree more on the Tamora Pierce “Song of the Lioness Series”. I remember being given it by the childern’s librarian when I was young and it is the book most responsible for my love of reading. I gave it to my niece when she was ready and it had the same effect on her. I ALWAYS reccomend you do your own due-diligence about what you give your child to read. And while their is some sex in the story I don’t remember it as being particularly racy, and I don’t remember that aspect of the story having any real impact on me.

    • Angelbaka
      Posted September 21, 2010 at 3:10 AM | Permalink

      I’m going to step up and say that anything you can find by Tamora Pierce (at least off the teen section in Barns ‘n Noble, if you’re unlucky enough to not have a non-chain bookstore within fifty miles of you like me) is worth reading, especially at that age. I’ve read most of them, and they’re all great and **that I remember** more than safe for YA.

      • nakomiKF
        Posted September 21, 2010 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

        The Song of the Lioness series had a ton of sex in it though, especially in the 2nd and 3rd ones. It wasn’t romance explicit, exactly, but it was still there.

        …Although I have to admit I didn’t quite catch that until I reread them. Other than that, they are pretty safe compared to most of the teen angst sort of novels being published recently.

  11. Janeymacd
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:47 AM | Permalink

    I second Terry Pratchett’s Tiffany Aching books, I’ve just finished I Shall Wear Midnight (for once, a book that is publised in Ireland and UK before the USA, another reason why I love Terry Pratchett!). I think Tiffany would be great for any young girl to read. Plus it opens up all of the other discworld books, I was glued to these as a teenager. The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents is another wonderful Terry Pratchett YA novel.
    Before I started reading Terry Pratchett, I had my nose stuck in Rold Dahl’s novels. My favourite was Mathilde and Fantastic Mr Fox. He has plenty of titles to keep a young reader enthralled for quite some time.
    Another favourite as a kid were Jill Murphy’s The Worst Witch series. Hopelessy clumsy and bumbling Mildred enters the Academy for Witches, and we watch as she stumbles and bumps her way through school. It was truely entertaining, and before anyone shouts it, this was first published in 1974, long before JKR even considered bringing Harry Potter into the world!
    I’d love to know which title’s Carrie decides to introduce to Becca, and what she thinks of them. Its so wonderful to see an avid reader at that age.

    • Oatmeal
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:12 AM | Permalink

      I agree with the Worst Witch selection. While I never read the books (I didn’t realize they even were books for many years) I used to adore the series on HBO. There was a pretty cute movie too which I wish would play this Halloween like they used to do. I haven’t seen it since I was very young and the story is, I think, one that all children should see or read at least once.

  12. JamesMcP
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:54 AM | Permalink

    The Artemis Fowl books by an Irish author name Eoin Colfer are great. They’re about a boy-genius and hi-tech faries.

    I also agree with Captain Joe who recommends Garth Nix. The Abhorsen Trilogy in particular is wonderful.

  13. Shnargen
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:57 AM | Permalink

    Martin the Warrior by Brian Jacques is a MUST. It is the only book that has ever made me cry, and I read it around that age.

    the lord of the rings trilogy or the hobbit. those were my life as a kid. also,

    try to give her some sci-fi as well, like For Love of Mother Not by Alan Dean Foster, Ender’s Game (which i have yet to read, but is considered a masterpiece).

    Classics like anything from H.G. Wells are great, too, but can be a little scary, especially The Island of Doctor Morreau, which is actually pretty grim, but i read it at that age and absolutely loved it

    the shanarra books by terry brooks.

    • Joe M.
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:25 AM | Permalink

      All of the Redwall books! I remember being very upset by Martin the Warrior when I read it. But that’s not always a bad thing.

    • Widow Of Sirius
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:26 AM | Permalink

      Oh man!
      Yes, the entire Ender series (Ender’s Game, Speaker for the Dead, Xenocide, Children of the mind) and the Shadow series (Ender’s Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon, Shadow Puppets and Shadow of the Giants) would be amazing for any young adult reader.

  14. tinyjr
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 4:01 AM | Permalink

    I have a 12 year old reader too.. Here are her favorites over the last couple years.

    Olivia Kidney series by Ellen Potter – Great girl-centric light fantasy (I read them with her. Fun story!)

    Hunger Games/Catching Fire/Mockingjay (she’s re-reading them right now she liked them so much)

    Any book by Coleen Paratore – Her favorites were The Wedding Planners Daughter and Willa by Heart

    Her favorite graphic novels were Smile by Raina Telgemeier, Amulet and the Flight books by Kazu Kibuishi

    • bookworm
      Posted September 28, 2010 at 11:46 PM | Permalink

      Wedding Planner’s Daughter is seconded and a good read

  15. boomtheearth
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 4:01 AM | Permalink

    I have to recommend Phillip Pullman’s trilogy, starting with The Golden Compass. I remember reading them as a kid and loving them. I also second the Brian Jacques Redwall series mentioned above, but suggest beginning with the eponymous title rather than Martin the Warrior. And The Last Unicorn is, of course, indispensable reading for anyone who has not read it, regardless of age.

    • Joe M.
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:30 AM | Permalink

      I would *not* recommend Pullman. I’ve had a grudge against him since I read him sometime between 10 and 13. Here is why. (1) The atheist axe to grind. It’s just irritating. Even as a kid I just wanted him to stop propagandizing and tell the damn story. If it makes some of yall take this complaint more seriously: this is also something of a problem with Lewis, but not nearly to the same extent. Lewis’s allegory is far from subtle (he kinda hits the kids over the head with it), but he isn’t *angry* about anything, which makes for much more pleasant company. (2) Pullman has a big problem with killing off characters. Not that it’s necessarily bad to kill characters now and then, but he disposes of them as soon as they’ve fulfilled their narrative function. In the His Dark Materials series that one kid’s long-lost father shows up long enough to give him a crucial bit of information and then immediately dies. It’s just narratively cheap. I always felt disrespected as a reader, and like Pullman was just lazy.

      So that’s my (longstanding) rant on Pullman. No need to agree! Just wanted to put it out there. :-)

      • Sokol
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:38 AM | Permalink

        No problem, Joe. I remember thinking “Dude, you’ve got issues.” after reading Dark Materials.

      • kungfusinger
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

        It’s funny, because the propagandizing for atheism made me question my faith, which actually ended up with me reaffirming my Christian beleifs. Ironic.

        • geekd
          Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

          For me, it’s not that he’s “propagandizing for atheism”, ’cause I’m an atheist. It’s that he wouldn’t stop hitting us over the head with it. I get it already, dude. I agree with you. Now, get back to the story.

          • iburnbrass
            Posted December 25, 2010 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

            Semantics… It wasn’t atheism, it was instead just not at all pro religious worship or institution. Atheism = no ‘God’; Pullman showed a deity.
            I agree with the hitting over the head, but we can nitpick all we like, the books are still great. I would not recommend them for a child of her age though, because of the heartbreaks involved in the story. Let her sigh over those in her teenage years instead.

      • Heath
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

        I agree 110% about Pullman, especially the 3rd book. No problem with the atheism aspect in and of itself for me, but the way he dealt with it in the last book was really preachy, lazy, and heavy-handed. It destroyed the pace of the book and pretty much ruined the immersion for me. I had to struggle to finish it, and I could never recommend it to anyone.

      • Katienooklover
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 2:38 PM | Permalink

        Yay! Someone feels the same way as me about Pullman! The second book in the series is actually one of the 2 or 3 books I didn’t bother finishing. The writings style just ticked me off. I felt like I was wasting my time & moved on.

      • Kaiefta
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:38 PM | Permalink

        I honestly have to disagree with all of these. Out of the whole Dark Materials trilogy the last one was my favorite, and I never really felt like the atheism should or did matter much as to how good the book was. It fit in that world, whether it’s a little too extreme for some people here doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t exist there.

  16. Andrew
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 4:03 AM | Permalink

    The Bartimaeus Trilogy by Jonathan Stroud… It’s been a long while since I read those, but from what I recall they were kid safe. If I’m wrong, please correct me.

    • kathy k.
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:41 AM | Permalink

      Oh yes! Those are wonderful! My boys and I (I have teenage boys that read!) re-read them over the summer and it just reminded me how great they were.

    • onlyash
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 6:20 AM | Permalink

      I’ll second the Bartimaeus Trilogy! Great for kids, and fun to read too. Just good fantasy in general.

      • Silaqui
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

        The audio versions of these are pretty amazing also.

        • bookworm
          Posted September 28, 2010 at 11:48 PM | Permalink

          Books are fourthed!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • jasperflint
      Posted September 20, 2010 at 6:27 AM | Permalink

      These are still some of my favourite books. So well written and really funny. You might end up teaching her more sarcasm than you ever want to hear.

  17. kinggruffalothe3rd
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 4:03 AM | Permalink

    I totally agree with the BFG, its awesome. To be honest any of Roald Dahls books are really cool YA books, i’ve just finished listening to the audio collection of his stories, read by the man himself, and they are bad ass. Also his autobiographies Boy, and Giong Solo are worth a read. Full of the afore mentioned Divine Ridiculous, only a tad more fact based. I loved them as a kid.

    Have fun!


  18. JC
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 4:07 AM | Permalink

    Consarn it, Boomtheearth beat me to Philip Pullman by the skin of my teeth. I’d start with the Sally Lockhart mysteries, though, before moving on to His Dark Materials which does get pretty … well … dark. (Yes, I went there. Sorry.) The Sally Lockhart books are about a teenage girl detective in Victorian times, and are totally kick-arse.

    • nakomiKF
      Posted September 21, 2010 at 3:17 PM | Permalink

      They were dark. I couldn’t finish them even though I liked the story. When I was younger I preferred happier things.

  19. Kyndalle
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 4:10 AM | Permalink

    Diana Wayne Jones’ books are all pretty great. Dark Lord of Derkholm is my favorite. Diane Duane’s series So You Want To Be A Wizard.. books are all great, age appropriate, and well written. Eddith Pattou’s book East is a favorite of mine, and I think it would really appeal to younger readers. Naomi Novik’s series about the napoleon wars with dragons are great, and they might be a good way to interest your kid in some history.

    Garth Nix and Neil Gaiman were good suggestions. Stardust was a fantastic read.

    • Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:01 AM | Permalink

      I must disagree with you on the Naomi Novik novels. They are very slow and extremely male in their point of view. I would even stretch as fas as saying the story is at time stripped of emotion. Sorry :S

    • Joe M.
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:33 AM | Permalink

      Diana Wynne Jones and Diane Duane both get a big thumbs-up.

      • Wren
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

        I agree. Anything by Diana Wynne Jones is sure to be enjoyable. If you’re looking for a good place to start the Chrestomanci books are loosely grouped into a series and you can buy them as volumes 1 and 2 in paperback these days. (Charmed Life, The Lives of Christopher Chant etc)

        If she hasn’t read them already The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper is usually well received.

        She’d probably enjoy Anne McCaffrey’s books, in particular the Harper Hall series which is much shorter than her other books and really more geared towards YA readers. (music and dragons!)

        • Mags
          Posted September 20, 2010 at 3:59 AM | Permalink

          I second the Chrestomanci series! Loved those when I was 10!

          I also love Howl’s Moving Castle and House of Many Ways.

          Not everything by Diana Wynne Jones is appropriate for 10 year olds–so make sure to double-check. For example, A Sudden Wild Magic is definitely geared toward adults.

          This is more YA Adventure rather than YA Fantasy but how about Hatchet by Gary Paulsen? I loved that one too when I was in elementary school. Double check to see if you don’t want to put that title off for a couple years.

          • Angelbaka
            Posted September 21, 2010 at 3:14 AM | Permalink

            be careful if you’re not shopping chain bookstores though. Dianna Wynne Jones is brilliant, but does have one or two very definitely not YA novels. They are hard to find, though, so you should be fine. Howl’s Moving Castle is one of my favorite books ever. Miyazaki didn’t do it justice, which amazes me, because it’s a great movie.

    • dispatchrabbi
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:33 AM | Permalink

      I definitely have to third the Diane Duane books. The So You Want To Be A Wizard series is wonderful, in both the figurative and literal senses.

    • Silaqui
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

      I *heart* the So You Want to be a Wizard books. I get almost as excited for a new one of them as I do for a new Wheel of Time (or Rothfuss) novel. I continue to re-read them about once a year.

      The same for all the Tamora Pierce novels. Though I would agree with the first person to recommend them, start with the Circle of Magic ones (they continue to be reprinted, so they shouldn’t be hard to find.)

  20. dionwr
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 4:26 AM | Permalink

    Doesn’t “The Wrath of the Rothfuss” sound like it’d be a pretty good book?

    • bookworm
      Posted September 28, 2010 at 11:51 PM | Permalink

      I would so read that, and i am VERY picky… My library fails me. I only got 15 books last i was there, and i usually get 25 on a bad day… *sad*

  21. Dragen
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 4:29 AM | Permalink

    Eoin Colfer’s Artemis Fowl book are great for young readers, as are Mercedes Lackey’s Five hundred kingdoms books. And not to forget Maria V. Snyder’s books. I have only read the first trilogy and loved it, I am waiting for the second to arrive in my mailbox any day now. David Eddings Belgariad saga is also a wonderful series.

    When mention Coraline and the graveyard book one should not forget Stardust, and the soon to come Odd and the Frost Giants will probably be awesome as well. :)

    When mention Terry Pratchett, he started his YA novels with The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents, it is not as amassing as the Tiffany novels, but still, it is Pratchett!!

    Roald Dahl has some wonderful books, my favorite is Danny, the Champion of the World, and my daughters is Matilda.

    • Little My
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:33 AM | Permalink

      Odd and the Frost Giants is already out! And it is wonderful, although pretty short. I liked it better in some ways than Coraline and Graveyard Book, just because it’s a bit less creepy. (For ME, not my kid – she’ll read anything.)

    • Joe M.
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:34 AM | Permalink

      I never cared for Colfer or Lackey, but for reasons that are good for young readers to decide for themselves.

      Eddings is great. He writes the same characters in every series, but hey, they’re fun.

    • andraen
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:25 AM | Permalink

      I’m not sure I’d agree with the 500 Kingdoms books for young readers; they’re published as romance, and thus some (or all, not sure) include steamy sex scenes.

      • semirose
        Posted September 18, 2010 at 5:57 PM | Permalink

        Actually I just read all the books in the 500 Kingdoms series and I was shocked that they were labeled as romance because other than references to virginity (in the form of unicorns being around) there’s really not much sex at all. Just oh hey I don’t want to be a virgin anymore, oh look the unicorns aren’t hanging around anymore.

    • Posted September 17, 2010 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

      I would like to also push David Eddings series as well. Specifically The Belgariad, The Mallorean, followed by Belgarath the Sorcerer and Polgara the Sorceress. I’ve read all of those at least 3 times and I thoroughly enjoy them each time. I think I first read them when I was a teenager. They’re probably my favorite series.

      • tegz
        Posted September 18, 2010 at 4:48 AM | Permalink

        i love the david eddings book they are definatley what got me into fantasy book along with the belgariad you have the tamuli and the elenium wich are really good and then the redemption of althalus and the dreamers are all very good for readers of all age.

    • xylina
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

      Doh- Not the 500 Kingdoms books by Lackey yet. They’re a bit sexually explicit. (The last one in a hilarious sort of way)

      This is a list I’ve directed parents with similar requests to-

      Some fun stuff here!

    • bookmage
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:42 PM | Permalink

      I’d recommend against the Maria V. Snyder books. While not explicit, sex is there, both in what the main character does and in what happened to her before the timeline of the story. It is a FANTASTIC (and one of my personal favorite series), but she should probably be a little older to read it and completely enjoy it.

  22. Coldinia
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 4:31 AM | Permalink

    As someone here mentioned, Brian Jacques’ series are quite simply fantastic; I read mine to tatters when I was a girl. We had this Norwegian series that I think is translated call The Bobsey Children or somesuch. they are…not very deep, but quite cute. I guess they resemble the Nancy Drew series (which I also appreciated).

    You mentioned some thinking on ifninity and speed of light – Russel Stannard has written some abso-gobsmacking-lutely great books on Einstein and his research. I enjoyed them from quite a young age, and read them again just last year before my Physics A-leves – to help me understand some of the concepts I was working with. they are well-written, short, fuanny, appealing and at about A-level-level (excuse my clumsy english). The only one we have left is “Black Holes and Uncle Albert,” but I know there are others.

    And then, of course, you have the Emily-series and Anne – what’s that in English – of the Green Gables? They are fabulous (and quite log, too ;) ) Have you tried asking your local librarian for tips? They can be quite knowledgable.

    Are you pramarily English-speaker (or readers, in this case)? Because there is little adult Norwegian fantasy, but quite a few good children’s YA books in Norwegian, and I think that goes for many languages.

    • Little My
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:35 AM | Permalink

      Just a note – every kid is different, but my 8 year old daughter is very D&D, adventure/fantasy oriented, and when I had her read Anne of Green Gables, she LOATHED it. Although I still think my other daughter will like it. . .

      • Coldinia
        Posted September 20, 2010 at 2:37 PM | Permalink

        That’s interesting. I mean, she’s adventurous and loves writing and daydreaming and imagining and… all the cool stuff. Did she say what she disliked? Anne even LaRPs! not that I LaRP, so I’m using a very wide definition of LaRP here, excuse mye french. Well, as we say in Norway, the taste – or maybe just taste, here – is like the behind. It’s split in two and in the middle…yeah… It’s a really weird saying. It works in Norwegian though. Or maybe we’re just that retarded. the POINT being, um, one can’t account for personal taste, I guess. Or norwegian proverbs.

        • Angelbaka
          Posted September 21, 2010 at 3:18 AM | Permalink

          all you delicious Germanic languages just don’t translate quite right. Especially your proverbs. I remember reading a few of the Norwegian folklore books when I was a kid- I haven’t the slightest idea where my family got them (unfortunately it was probably in Norway itself) but they’re great reads.

    • Dragen
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:37 AM | Permalink

      Det er et problem hvor lite fantasy som oversettes til norsk :( Selv begynte jeg ikke å lese engelsk før 2003, og da i ren desperasjon etter flere kvalitetsbøker.

      Jeg har en dyslektisk datter på 14 som jeg nettopp har fått til å lese, men det er ikke lett å finne bøker itl henne. Så mange av de bøkene jeg vil ha henne til å lese har hun alt hørt på lydbok, og da blir det vanskelig å lese for hun assosierer bøken med å høre. Så nå har jeg bitt i det sure eple, hun har nå begynnt på Twiligt :( for det er tross alt bedre at hun leser, selv om det er søplebøker, enn at hun ikke leser i det hele tatt.

      Artig å finne en annen nordmann her inne forresten :)

      • Kyndig
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:17 AM | Permalink


        Eg er jo ikke norsk, men jeg *kan* norsk :P. Hadde budd i Kvinesdal, litt nord av Kristiansand, i det siste 3 år. Ikke så ofte nå at jeg kan snakke norsk eller skrive det :(.

        Ah well, probably not a good idea to sidetrack *too* much on Pat’s blog :D. I’m glad NoTW made it over there, I know I’ve recommended it to quite a few people on that side of the world.

        I’ll send an email to a Norwegian friend or two, and try to find out if they know of any books translated into Norwegian that she may enjoy… that aren’t Twilight :).

        • Dragen
          Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

          Patrick Rothfuss is sadly not translated to Norwegian, but I am an Amazon junkie so that is quit alright. :)

        • rsm
          Posted September 19, 2010 at 10:14 PM | Permalink

          Hvem orker aa lese Engelsk Fantasy/SciFi paa Norsk. Det fins en god del Norsk Fantasy/SciFi som holder maal, men aa lese oversettleser var tragisk da jeg var 10, og verre naa.

      • Posted September 17, 2010 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

        Pröv B. Andreas Bull-Hansens böker. LushonsPlater er min favoritt, det var ekstremt kult å lese fantasy plasert i framtidens Oslo. Man kan forstå historien bedre. Men den er rett så brutal. Har bare funnet en bokhandel som hadde en del oversatt i Norge. Lykke til

        • Dragen
          Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:34 PM | Permalink

          Jeg har alle Anders sine bøker, men de blir for tunge og treige for fjortisprinsessen min :) Selv leste jeg dem før jeg begynnte å lese på engelsk, og kommer nok ikke til å lese dem igjen… men det er bare fordi det finnes så utrolig mange dyktige forfattere, som blandt annet Patrick Rothfuss :)

          • Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:14 PM | Permalink

            I love that people are chatting in Norwegian on my blog….

            I think we’ve sold the Norwegian translation rights, but it will probably still be a while before the book comes out…

          • Alexander the Pretty Good
            Posted September 18, 2010 at 8:25 AM | Permalink

            Du vet hva jeg elsker? Oversetteren plug-in for Firefox. Jeg kan fortelle hva nordmenn snakker om.

      • rsm
        Posted September 19, 2010 at 11:02 PM | Permalink

        Bøker på norsk som er ok for en som er 14 slik some jeg husker det:

        Jon Bing for SciFi
        Jon Havnås – Sagaen om den Siste Nattkrigeren (4 bøker) (YA-Adult Fantasy)
        Stig Holmås – Tordensønnen (6 bøker) (YA Western)
        Michael Ende (oversatt fra Tysk) – Momo, Den Uendelige Historien. Aldri hørt om noen problemer med oversettelsene.
        Jostein Gaarder – Sofies Verden

        Likte aldri Bull Hansen, men det var mer fordi jeg bodde i Canada når hans bøker kom ut og hadde billig tilgang til engelske bøker. Jeg har generelt heller ikke peiling i det hele tatt på nyere norsk fanstay og scifi. Det er vel litt for tidlig å begynne med Fløgstad (utenom ungdomsbøkene), Agnar Mykle og Bjørneboe selv om jeg leste dem når jeg var 14-15…

  23. emuroo
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 4:45 AM | Permalink

    I would definitely recommend ALL of Tamora Pierce’s books. SOme of the later ones are maybe a little bit old for her, but I know that I read the Song of The Lioness quartet starting in second grade. The Circle of Magic books are also definitely good. Really great female heroes too!

  24. bossanova808
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 4:54 AM | Permalink

    I thoroughly recommend the Susan Cooper ‘Dark Is Rising’ sequence. Maybe for just a tad older than 10, but I’m pretty sure I read them about then. Awesome fantasy books, some good strong female characters in them, and just brilliant.

    Here’s an Amazon link –

    Great for kids but re-reading them even now 25 years on they’re just wonderful. Wow, am I that old?

    Also – I always say I have two guiding principles for my kids (I am blessed with two daughters, one just 5 weeks ago!) –

    1. Be Kind
    2. Be Happy

    That’s how I think you live a good life.

    • Little My
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:35 AM | Permalink

      Second this series, although it has a very high creepy factor. Not so much violent, but creepy evil, for sure.

      • bossanova808
        Posted September 18, 2010 at 6:52 PM | Permalink

        Well, I think the ‘bad’ characters in it are just really bad – they’re not like the charicatures of bad characters we so often get these days – they’re definitely malevolent but there’s no real violence as such IIRC, is just a sense of fear and menace that’s very well projected by Cooper. But I am pretty sure a 10 year old of obvious intelligence and maturity like the girl mentioned can handle it – flattering myself, I remember reading it about then and I loved it from start to finish – including the ‘evil’ – at that age, I liked a little bit of fear!

    • Slamadoca
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:16 AM | Permalink

      There we go. I was skimming down the comments list to see if anyone had mentioned the Dark is Rising yet. I re-read the first book this summer, and enjoyed it again.

      I’ll also plug again for Suzanne Collins. I think everything’s been said, but I loved the Hunger Games trilogy.

    • cyrinthian
      Posted September 20, 2010 at 6:15 PM | Permalink

      Yay! I was waiting for the Dark is Rising books to be recommended too. Those were favorites of mine when I was a young girl. Ignore the recent related movie though … it was pretty bad!

    • Angelbaka
      Posted September 21, 2010 at 3:20 AM | Permalink

      major props. The Grey King is brilliant, I love Bran’s character.

    • jd55
      Posted September 21, 2010 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

      ah, heck yeah! I loved this series when I was a kid! I actually read “The Dark Is Rising” first (which is actually the 2nd book in the series) and immediately read the other books in the series. Amazing. The evil characters are quite evil, but I didn’t think overly so. If you can ready about Voldemort and the Death Eaters, I think you’re fine with the Cooper’s books.

  25. ArcherJW
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 4:58 AM | Permalink

    (Oh Wow – My First Post! – Couldn’t resist.)
    Tiffany books, and then the other witches books by the Illustrious Pratchett.

    TheGolden is spot on with Earthsea Trilogy (now a Quartet, but personally not sure about the last offering)

    One might try The Dark Is Rising – Susan Cooper, The Belgariad series by David Eddings and the really fun Spell Singer series by Allan Dean Foster.

    On a D&D Note, Thou Must Read DragonLance Chronicles! (Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman)

    Pat – I must congratulate you on bringing NOTW into existence, the world is a much better place!
    My father recommended your book, Insisted even (I’m a little picky with books) – his recommendation is not to be taken lightly, as he doesn’t read books… he reads Libraries.

    • Joe M.
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:36 AM | Permalink

      I would not recommend any Dragonlance books for children until they’re at least 13. Too sexualized, violent, dark. But I was probably reading them between 11-13 and wasn’t *too* badly corrupted. :-) I just didn’t care for the gratuitous “look at me! I’m dark! I’m serious!” attitude.

      • ArcherJW
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:45 AM | Permalink

        I’d have to agree, though depends on the YA involved, some kids tend to be born a bit old :)
        worth reading if your a D&D’er though!

  26. Mickey
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:04 AM | Permalink

    Allan Dean Foster was mentioned earlier, his Spellsinger series is brilliant. Also try The Mastre of the Five Magics by Lyndon Hardy, its a little more complicated but she seems a very bright little girl.

    A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula le Guin should be mandatory reading for YA’s and Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman should be mandatory reading for everyone over 15.

    Don’t be afraid of the classics, I can’t speak for the girls but every boy should read Robinson Crusoe and all kids love The Swiss Family Robinson. Black Beauty, The Call of the Wild, King Solomons Mines etc….

    • Shnargen
      Posted September 18, 2010 at 2:44 AM | Permalink

      I was the one who mentioned Alan Dean Foster, but i specid=fically did not mention Spellsinger, since Jon-Tom gets himself into some sexually-charged situations. :T they are great books, though!

    • Little My
      Posted September 18, 2010 at 6:56 AM | Permalink

      As someone said earlier, Neverwhere is pretty scary. Admittedly, I’m a wuss, but when I started it a few years ago (in my 30s) is was too creepy/violent for ME and I had to stop reading it. I have to try it again, I guess, since I’ve read almost all his other stuff and loved it. . .

  27. Oatmeal
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:05 AM | Permalink

    I’m not sure how many would consider them YA, but as a kid I was in love with the Xanth books By Piers Anthony. Although for that series he publishes as Pier Xanthony. Reading them now as an adult I catch a lot of the jokes that I missed when I was younger. However, when I was young these (in addition to the Babysitter’s Club Books) were some of my favorites.

    • kungfusinger
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:14 AM | Permalink

      I agree about the Xanth books, but be warned that Anthony starts to run out of good puns at around book 15 or so and at last count, I think there were more than 30 books out. The first Xanth book I read was Dragon on a Pedestal and all books written before that point (and a few after) were definitely excellent!

      • bookworm
        Posted September 28, 2010 at 11:57 PM | Permalink

        I liked Piers Anthony, His Incarnations of Immortality books (8, starting with On a Pale Horse) Are really awesome, though people should wait until about 13 to read them, for there is death, politics, and sex(mostly the last book has the sex), depending on the mental maturity of the child…

  28. nickb
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:06 AM | Permalink

    Artemis fowl
    his dark materials
    keys to the kingdom
    Bartimaeus Trilogy

    the steeples of my youth


  29. vana naine
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:08 AM | Permalink

    So, I can see that as Americans and maybe also South-Europeans, no one has recommended Astrid Lindgren.
    But trust me, no kid in Scandinavia or Russia or Baltic States grows up without reading at least one of her books. And if he/she has even the smallest kind of reader inside of them, they take next book – and find another wonderful world again.
    Her books never look down on kid, yet they are incredibly easy to understand and they touch you on some very basic level.
    Many adults here still count her as their very favorite author, our adult’s authors among others.

    If fantasy is preferred then Ronia the Robber’s Daughter and The Brothers Lionheart should be perfect start.

    • Anna S
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:25 AM | Permalink

      Seconded. Astrid Lindgren saved my childhood :D

    • Little My
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:39 AM | Permalink

      Second this – love Pippi and Emil – but I would throw in a caveat about Brothers Lionheart: it starts out pretty dark and tragic, and the kid kind of wants to die, to join his brother, most of the way through, sort of “dying” to join him at the end. I found that a little bit troubling and decided to replace it with other stuff on the bookshelf.

      • vana naine
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

        In some ways you are right.
        I mean, I cried al lot over Brothers Lionheart, when I was 8 – and later too. last time I was 26, I believe.
        But it didn’t stop me from falling in love with Orvar or the woman, who made bowstring out of her hair. And I kind of like the reasoning in the book how sibling’s death or being sick or being very very sad are not only horrible things but also possibilities for something new to begun.

      • Posted September 19, 2010 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

        Little My – that name reminds me of the Moomin books by Tove Jansson (yes, we stay in Scandinavia here :) ). Those are actually aimed at somewhat younger kids, but I think a 10 year old can still enjoy them.

    • Posted September 17, 2010 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

      Those two novels are my favourites of all her work. Amazing and empathic.

    • Hester
      Posted September 18, 2010 at 1:08 PM | Permalink

      Yes, don’t forget us Europeans. Astrid Lindgrens books are wonderful!

      Want to try something Dutch? Thea Beckman’s Crusade in jeans is a wonderful book. A historical childrens novel that every kid in the Netherlands has read. It’s about a boy who gets thrown back in time en joins a childrens crusade to Jerusalem.

      It’s a pity that this her only book that made in to a English translation.

    • Posted September 19, 2010 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

      Astrid Lindgren is very popular in Germany, too.

      And here’s another Swedish one: Selma Lagerlöf, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils Holgersson.

      Nils didn’t pay attention during a geography lesson and is picked up by a flock of wild geese who take him onto a journey all over Sweden. A much more fun way to learn some geography, and adventures are part of the package. :)

  30. Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:09 AM | Permalink

    I would recommend “The sweetness at the bottom of the pie” and the sequel “The weed that strings the hangman’s bag” by Alan Bradley. They are crime novels, but the protagonist has a “I wish this was me as a kid” factor. Fearless and easily fascinated with mysteries around her. (I think she’s 11?) She also got some older sisters who are quite amusing.

    Also, thanks to all other suggestioners: I have to add some books to my read list now! (even though I am 21, I still adore YA novels.)

    • kathy k.
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:44 AM | Permalink

      I’m 45 and still hang out in the YA section of the library :)

      • LisaD
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 6:00 AM | Permalink

        Kathy! Lol so do I!

        • kungfusinger
          Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

          me too!

          • Katienooklover
            Posted September 17, 2010 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

            Yes, definitely. I always start in the YA section.

          • Robo
            Posted September 19, 2010 at 11:14 AM | Permalink

            This is why bookstores have security guards and the rest of us Chris Hansen.

    • Widow Of Sirius
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

      I like to pretend I collect YA books because I teach high school and I wanna have them available for my students to read, but secretly I’m OBSESSED. I just bought 3 more the other day and am eagerly looking forward to reading them, and just about everything on this list :)

  31. MeAgain
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:09 AM | Permalink

    If you think she will become a writer, I would recommend ‘My Great Grandfather and I’ by James Krüss. I never read the English translation, but the German original is about the best book for a children that love language I know of. Its a basically a small guide to storytelling and poetry, wrapped in a beautiful story.

  32. Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:20 AM | Permalink

    I second Diane Duane. I loved those books as a girl. In fact, I still love them.

    A book I really loved when I was younger was Moondream by Victor Osborne. I don’t think you can get it any more, but it was an exciting tale of a boy who goes to rescue his cousin from an evil wizard.

    There was another one called Mothership or something. It was kind of cool, about a group of kids on an intergalactic ship that was dying. There was some kind of mystery about who they were and what they ship’s purpose was.

  33. Anna S
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:23 AM | Permalink

    What about “The Neverending Story” by Michael Ende or “Inkheart” by Cornelia Funke?

    The books are both far better than the movies.

    • Oatmeal
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:28 AM | Permalink

      Oh! Goodness! I can’t believe I forgot about the Inkheart series. It’s a trilogy and I only discovered them after having watched the movie. The books are downright amazing. And so different from the movie that it’s like reading a completely seperate story. Yes, Inkheart, Inkspell and Inkdeath are wonderful reading for any child.

    • kathy k.
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:27 AM | Permalink

      I actually loved Cornelia Funke’s ‘The Thief Lord’ – and was really surprised that the movie version wasn’t too terrible.

      • Angelbaka
        Posted September 21, 2010 at 3:27 AM | Permalink

        Agree- although I didn’t like inkdeath. Personal thing. Fluke is brilliant, great books.

      • bookworm
        Posted September 29, 2010 at 12:03 AM | Permalink

        I loved all of them, but i waited too long to read Inkdeath, and got bored of it… BUT I SHALL TRY AGAIN!!!!!!!
        Thief Lord was the first I read and i loved it too much to not read her other books…
        Never watched the movies though. Didn’t want to ruin the books.

  34. Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:25 AM | Permalink

    Ohh – just read ArcherJW’s comment.
    The belgariad is a must. Garion is 13 going on 14. I remember I read them first when I was about 11 and I re-read them often. When I was 14 I got so excited because for one year, I was the same age as Garion.

    • ArcherJW
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:41 AM | Permalink

      Thanks Ria, I was slightly older (only just) and spent 4 days reading the whole series, only put them down to eat/sleep… Happy Days.

  35. slouis10
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:26 AM | Permalink

    I’m going to go a little bit old school… David Eddings Belgariad series was my absolute favorite thing to read when I was this age. I also read the Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander.

    • Joe M.
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:38 AM | Permalink

      Ooh. Lloyd Alexander can be very, very good for kids. Forgotten about him.

    • Chris S.
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 6:44 AM | Permalink

      My ten-year-old just devoured the Prydain books, and he was just as impressed as I was almost forty years ago.

      I’d also recommend Tove Jansson’s Moomin books.

      • Little My
        Posted September 18, 2010 at 7:03 AM | Permalink

        The Moomins are my favorite series of all time. I wonder if the early ones would be little young for Becca. Certainly by the time you get to Moominvalley in November it’s hardly writing for kids at all! But a good start to the series, I’d say, if not chronological, is Finn Family Moomintroll. Moominvalley Midwinter may be my favorite of the bunch.

    • Lymond
      Posted September 18, 2010 at 12:44 AM | Permalink

      Gosh, it took 1/2 the comments to mention the Prydain Chronicles — “Taran wanted to make a sword.” is how they begin, I think, and from that sentence I was hooked. Also enjoyed Magician: Apprentice. And the Hobbit is a must for her age. You know, to prep her for the Silmarillion. :-)

      • ArgusDubbs
        Posted September 18, 2010 at 8:10 PM | Permalink

        ^^ This.

  36. Sarah
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:29 AM | Permalink

    I would reccomend any book by Diana W. Jones, especially the three ones that are set in Ingary (Howl’s Moving Castle, Castle in the Air, House of Many Ways). In fact the little girl, Becca, reminds me A LOT of Charmain, the main protagonist in House of Many Ways. Becca looks exactly like I imagined how Charmain would look,which is why these books are the first things that come to my mind when thinking about adequate YA literature. Jones’ stories are fantastic and I really enjoyed reading them when I was younger and I reread them even now. I’m not sure if her style of writing is as good as I think it is, because English isn’t my first language, but I at least had tons of fun with those novels.

    • nemesis
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:44 AM | Permalink

      ill second Tamora Pierce, if you were ok with her reading all of the harry potter ones then i think you will be ok with her reading these ones (maybe not terrior and bloodhound for a few more years)

      Ill also put my vote to garth nix the keys to the kingdom and id also give the seventh tower a read.

      Emily Rodda – Keys to Rondo series

      I’m not sure about this one but i am going to throw it out there Carole Wilkinson – Dragon keeper

      the Deltora Quest series

      a few more years and i’d say tomorrow when the war began series.

  37. GoodGrief
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:32 AM | Permalink

    First off, Becca is adorable. A lot of my favourites have been mentioned, barring a couple of notable exceptions.

    Emily Rodda: ‘Rowan of Rin’ and its sequels. These books tends to have plots based around mysteries and riddles. I had a ton of fun reading them when I was a kid. Also a nicely worldbuilt setting that is simple enough for a younger reader to get their head around. One of the first secondary-world fantasies I tried.

    Philip Reeve: ‘Mortal Engines’ and sequels. It is YA steampunk. What other recommendation do you need? I only realised it had sequels a couple of years ago. A bit older than Emily Rodda. The setting is gritty and fraught with moral ambiguity, but the protagonists are good people. Most of the secondary characters are too; on even numbered days, weather permitting, and in the absence of any reason not to be.

  38. Itar
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:32 AM | Permalink

    I always enjoyed the book by Thea Beckman, such as Crusade in jeans. This book is set in the middle ages about a childrens crusade. There is a movie made of the book too.

  39. Little My
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:42 AM | Permalink

    If she likes Wrinkle in Time, and time travel and nature of the universe sorts of things, I can’t recommend highly enough “When You Reach Me,” by Rebecca Stead. It is a homage to Wrinkle in Time, has a cool time travel plotline, and also lots of wise and absorbing stuff about friendships, from the point of view of a 12 year old girl. I loved it, and so did my 8 year old, although she probably only got some of what it was about. Oh, and it won the Newbery this year.

    I’ll post more later, but hurrah for Tiffany Aching – I think they may be one of the best YA for girls out there.

    • Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:26 PM | Permalink

      Not just for girls.

      • bldysabba
        Posted September 18, 2010 at 2:27 AM | Permalink

        And not just for YAs :)

  40. Kismet
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:48 AM | Permalink

    As an avid reader when I was 10 there is so much more choice out there now in the science fiction / fantasy category, I still read YA because some of it is so good.
    So onto my recommendations.
    Diane Duane – Young Wizard Series, I read these first when I was 10, and the latest one came out this year and they are still as good as ever (and in a shameless bit of name dropping I met her last year at the Irish Discworld Convention and she is lovely and friends with Terry Pratchett) If that isnt enough to recommend an author I dont know what is.

    Diane Wynne Jones is another author who is brilliant, Her Chrestomaci series are probably better for younger readers but its up to you really how mature a child is in reading age. I remember reading books at 10 that I read again at 15 or 20 and realising that really at 10 I didnt have a clue what the book was really about.

    Susan Cooper – The Dark is Rising sequence is AWESOME. I was always sad that she hadnt written a lot more books. I still have the series and I still read them every so often and i’m 30 now.

    If she is the type of child who will read anything that will stay still long enough then the Mary O’ Hara Flicka books are good for a different style and if she is into horses which it seems that all 10 year old girls are then they are a good read.

    OR Melling is an Irish Author who writes about the people underhill.
    A brilliant if underappreciated author, maybe a little old for a 9 year old but not for a 12 year old.

    Or how about E.Nesbit, very old fashioned but still very good.

    Ok, Im just going to do a list now

    Jenny Nimmo,
    Robin Jarvis,
    Anne McCaffery has some books written for younger readers and her Pern series would be good for someone a little older.
    Garth Nix,
    Anthony Horowitz – Power of Five series
    Cornelia Funke
    Robert O’ Brien – How could I forget the Rats of Nimh
    Joan Aiken – The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
    Alan Garner – The Weirdstone Of Brisingamen

    These are all books that I read and loved (and still love today) when I was 9/10 years old.

    Thinking back I had an idyllic childhood.

  41. kathy k.
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:49 AM | Permalink

    Hmm – this is great for my next visit to the library!

  42. ArcherJW
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:49 AM | Permalink

    Has anyone mentioned Anne McCaffrey yet?

    • Oatmeal
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 6:05 AM | Permalink

      They have, although not in specifics. I’ll say that I ADORE the Acorna series by McCaffrey. The first one, especially, is very YA friendly. I believe that one is just called Acorna, and then the rest are like “Acorna’s Quest” etc… It’s sci-fi meets unicorns, making for great reading for geek girls in training.

      Also, on a completely different note, I’m very fond of the Doctor Who books. They’re great for kids and as a bonus some of the Audiobooks are read by David Tennant. My favorite is “The Stone Rose”, and it’s about Rose and 10.

  43. ArcherJW
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:52 AM | Permalink

    Oh, Just now, I see… I totally forgot the Wierdstone, a must, though it gets a bit claustrophobic for a time.

  44. LisaD
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 5:59 AM | Permalink

    Wow, thanks to everyone for your postings here…..reviewing the book titles has been like an especially pleasant stroll down memory lane!

    Many of my favorites have been listed already (you’ve collectively named many of the books on my book shelf !) and I’ll add some perhaps unexpected ones: The Eye of the Dragon by Stephen King (not horror, no worries), Holes by Louis Sachar, One For the Morning Glory by John Barnes (just finishing this with my 10 year old daughter….sentence structure can be complicated, great story…the characters know they are in a story, and sometimes talk about how all the things that are happening are following the classic story lines).

    My daughter just finished the D’Lacey’s dragon series, and The Underland Chronicles by Suzanne Collins. We’ve also read part of The Mysterious Benedicty Society series by Trenton Lee Stewart.

    Next up on our reading list: The Guardians of Ga’hoole series, by Kathryn Lasky.

    And even though my daughter is 10, we still read together at night….it’s one of the highlights of my day! So blessed to have a voracious reader with whom I can share my favorite books. And yes, she’s been eyeing NOTW =)

  45. ArcherJW
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 6:01 AM | Permalink

    One last post, and I’m not sure if it’s a bit old for a YA and perhaps not interesting for a girl, but one of my favourite re-reads is…

    The door into summer, Robert A Heinlein – a bit dated; but a good time travel tale.

    • ArcherJW
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:05 AM | Permalink

      I Lied :)

      Couldn’t help mentioning the Stainless Steel Rat books by Harry Harrision.

      for a YA and perhaps boys mostly, they are wonderful; full of scifi adventure and quite thoughtful.

      • Angelbaka
        Posted September 21, 2010 at 3:31 AM | Permalink

        All of Hienlein’s YA is amazing-just make sure you’re picking up his YA books. My personal favorite was Have Spacesuit, Will Travel.

        I think Pat already mentioned these in the blog though.

  46. jiphae
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 6:04 AM | Permalink

    1. Robin McKinley’s “The Blue Sword” and “The Hero and the Crown”
    2. Tamora Pierce. “The Song of the Lioness” and “The Immortals” quartets were my favorites of hers.
    3. I still like my old fairy tale books. My favorite is this big collection with huge coloured beautiful pictures that had stories I’d never heard before. The stories were a mix of old folktales from different cultures.

    • kungfusinger
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

      Oh, and another McKinley classic: Beauty: A retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I took that book out of the library so many times in junior high and high school, that when I graduated I had to buy a copy. It is still one of my absolute favorite books in the whole wide world at age 32. I read it at least once a year, and it is a book my husband and I read to each other on long road trips (we couldn’t find a CD version). I actually had to get out a dictionary to learn some of the words (like “egregious”) when I was a kid, so it’s also great for vocabulary building.

      • suzieqbear
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 1:45 PM | Permalink

        This was my favorite in 3rd grade. I read it over and over again, and then all of her other books. I couldn’t find it anywhere to buy, and then was lucky enough to get a signed copy at a thrift store for 99 cents.

    • sprout47
      Posted September 21, 2010 at 12:31 AM | Permalink

      After all these years lurking on Pat’s blog, I had to sign up today to post this comment. I can’t recommend Robin McKinley’s Hero and the Crown enough! I am a teacher, and I often am in search for a book that is a perfect match for a student, a book that will light a fire in them. Each child is different, and different books will speak to them. The Hero and the Crown was MY book. I read it for the first time in 4th grade, and have reread it dozens of times since. It’s one of those rare YA novels, that is just as good as an adult read as a children’s read. It was my introduction to fantasy, and it’s because of that book that I became such an avid reader and am now reading Patrick Rothfuss! It’s a great story with a strong female protagonist, and it’s not just your ordinary cookie-cutter fantasy novel. Besides, it’s a Newbery Award winner – you can’t really go wrong! While I can recommend many other books, and second many from this list, put the Hero and the Crown in the must-read pile!

      Also, as a teacher, I would caution parents from pressing adult level books into the hands of kids too early. Even though it may not have themes of sex or violence, it doesn’t mean the child will be able to really understand or enjoy the book to the fullest. I’ve dealt with many great pre-teen readers who pick up the Hobbit to read, and then have a negative impression of Tolken just because they experience the book too early. There’s nothing wrong with experimenting with advanced literature, just don’t pressure the kids!

    • QueenNaxen
      Posted October 15, 2010 at 11:09 AM | Permalink

      Yes! McKinley and LeGuin. Wait, LeGuin is for older folks…. Meh, give her the Earthsea cycle anyway.

  47. LisaD
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 6:11 AM | Permalink

    Ah, and one more comes to mind: the Abarat series, by Clive Barker. Although I don’t recommend this one if you are anxious to find out what happens quickly…..books 1 and 2 were released some years ago….book 3 is scheduled for Sep 2011….and who knows when books 4 and 5 will come out, as Mr Barker is writing them at the same time as another series. They are YA, although a bit grittier than the typical YA novels.

    • alaskpeggy
      Posted September 25, 2010 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

      I second the Abarat series, which has just enough scariness to be great fun, imagery-filled prose, a realistic and likable female protagonist, a delightful mix of good and bad guys, poetry, song, strong relevant themes, and the author’s own inimitable artwork illuminating almost every page. This book inspired me so much that I created my own teaching unit for it (aimed at grades 7-9), available free at author’s “The Beautiful Moment” website.
      I also recommend Barker’s The Thief of Always. Yup, he’s the master of adult horror, but when he writes for kids he definitely knows what he’s doing.

  48. Lomky
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 6:33 AM | Permalink

    Ender’s Game. It’s a book you need to read once (or a million) times at 10, and then again when you’ve grown up. Just to be clear though, it’s not a happy book, be prepared for a thoughtful upset child. Would probably recommend the parent reading it first to see if they think their child’s ready.

    Maybe not yet, but pretty soon she can start reading Mercedes Lackey’s Valdemar series(es). It does have some more adult themes, but nothing explicit. Again, parental read-over each series first. Arrow’s of the Queen in the first in the modern continuum. I think I read them all around 13.

    • pjmintz
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:39 AM | Permalink

      Ender’s Game’s possibly my favorite standalone book of all time –

      but is it appropriate for a little girl with a fear of people traveling at the speed of light?

      • Angelbaka
        Posted September 21, 2010 at 3:33 AM | Permalink

        Touche- and I’d read it over first. I remember that book as depressing and rather joyously sadistic in a ‘better-one-than-all-should-die’ sort of way.

  49. Aeolus
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 6:38 AM | Permalink


    I really loved Susan Cooper’s series, The Dark Is Rising, as a kid. I remember Ursala K. LeGuin’s Earthsea Cycle being fairly YA. Ah, and the Myst books by Rand Miller.

    • Little My
      Posted September 18, 2010 at 8:43 AM | Permalink

      I had no idea Myst was a book. I knew it as the gorgeous, sort of revolutionary computer game from some time ago. Rand Miller was one of the two brother creators of that, wasn’t he? It’s gorgeous to look at, lovely sounds, and very peaceful. You wander around trying to figure out puzzles, and trying to figure out what you’re supposed to be doing there. Nonviolent, non twitch-ey.

  50. winterflamingo
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 6:39 AM | Permalink

    I worked in a small independent book store and 10-12 year old girls were my FAVORITE people to recommend to!

    -Tamora Pierce. Any of her books. Start with the Alanna quartet. Ten years later I still listen to them on audiobook on a regular basis.

    -Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. Heartwarming, charming, funny, wonderful. The binding broke in half on my copy because I read it too much.

    -Garth Nix. The Keeper of the Keys series.

    For 13+, I would recommend the Hunger Games, definitely. And by then I was reading light fantasy like Anne Mccaffrey and Mercedes Lackey.

    ps. I also LOVED The Fledgling! I also don’t remember what it was about. I remember fishing was involved.

  51. MisterMerf
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 6:54 AM | Permalink

    One of my recent-publication bought-it-on-a-whim books was “The Red Wolf Conspiracy” by Robert V. S. Redick. After reading it, I was thoroughly impressed with the world-building. Intelligent animals, mer-people, a prophecy/legend that takes very different forms for different cultures, a great and ancient vessel that is the last of its kind, people who are not what they seem, swords, sorcery, etc.

    This book has basic lessons on offer. The most obvious, to me, is the understanding that the same event can be viewed very differently by different folks. This theme crops up in several places, which is why it came most easily to hand for me.

    I was less impressed with the supporting cast, as they didn’t have deeply developed motivations of their own; their reasoning and actions wouldn’t make perfect sense outside the orbit of the pre-teen heroes. Also, serendipity was a very large factor in the plot. These are weaknesses that I would never have caught or understood as a young teen and I’m certain I would have thoroughly enjoyed the novel.

    Even if I would have thought it could have used a few more fights. (Of which there were several anyway.)

    • Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:33 AM | Permalink

      I agree with the Tamora Pierce and Garth Nix recommendations. Susan Cooper is also amazing, and I definitely started reading Brian Jacques really early. I was also pretty horse obsessed so things like Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry and the Black Stallion. I started myself on Mercedes Lackey, but I would start her on the “Elemental Masters” series, they are all retellings of fairy tails. Robin McKinley is another good choice, I still love “Beauty”. I have reread all of the Dear America books a million times, which aren’t fantasy but made me like history class. Eva Ibbotson has several great books, which I know I read.

      In general I would look at the Scholastic website for recommendations, I did most of my elementary and middle school reading out of those catalogs/school bookfairs.

    • jtartes
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:54 AM | Permalink

      I read the ranger’s apprentice series by john flanagan in my mid teens but it’s in the kids section in barns and noble. It’s a great action adventure series. I loved the Redwall series. I started reading them in 3rd or 4th grade and didn’t stop reading them religiously till the 8th grade.

  52. Lioness
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:10 AM | Permalink

    I will second, third, fourth, and fifth (Who knows how many we’re up to) the Tamora Pierce books.

    The Alanna series gets a bit sexual, as does the Protector of the Small, and as DEFINITELY does the Aly series…
    But I’d recommend all of them. I read them all between 10-11, and I’ve reread them every year since.

    The Garth Nix books are great as well. I prefer the Abhorsen Trilogy over the Keys to the Kingdom, but only because I tired of waiting for every book to come out.

    My sister recently read and enjoyed the Warriors series, I don’t remember who by.

    Also, a very strong recommendation for Goodnight Mister Tom, by Michelle Magorian. It’s confronting – about Nazis and poverty and child abuse, but it’s a children’s book, and it’s amazing.

    Also, Bridge to Terabithia…both a movie and a book, and great.

    The Emily Rodda books are also a good read: the Rowan of Rin series as well as Deltora Quest.

    • Eurystomus
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 2:29 PM | Permalink

      I was trying to remember the title of this book, and fortunately you already recommended it! I remember reading it when I was about that age, and I found it so sad – but it made an indelible impression on me!

    • Kaiefta
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:33 PM | Permalink

      I believe the warriors series you’re thinking of is by Erin Hunter. That was probably my first series of books I became totally engrossed in and obsessed with. The later ones trail off a bit but at least at the beginning it was a really good series.

      This is my first time posting, but I’ve read every single blog entry. Wow, I had nothing to do over the summer. It was like my temporary replacement after finishing NotW for sheer written awesomeness.

    • bookworm
      Posted September 29, 2010 at 12:09 AM | Permalink

      Warriora is by Erin Hunter and are really fantastic

      • bookworm
        Posted September 29, 2010 at 12:09 AM | Permalink

        Sorry; Warriors

    • QueenNaxen
      Posted October 15, 2010 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

      Terabithia! Wow, hadn’t thought of it in ages. It’s a good book, but I’d get ready for her to cry some after reading it.

  53. jdcb
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:38 AM | Permalink

    “Typical internet asshattery will result in suspension of posting privileges, the scorn of your peers, and my terrible, terrible wrath.”

    And that last part would take time away from book two, so just don’t do it!!!

  54. ArchiveGremlin
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:42 AM | Permalink

    I’m a little surpised that nobody has yet mentioned William Nicholson and the Wind on Fire Trilogy; definately worth a read for young and aspiring fantasy readers. Nothing too dark or inappropriate for younger readers either!

    Anne McAffery has been mentioned, briefly, and I’d like to second (or third) that suggestion. The ‘Dragonriders of Pern’ series is, in my humble opinion, quite possibly one of the best set of fantasy novels ever written and although it can be a challenge for some it proves an excellent benchmark to measure reading capacity at young age.

    Christopher Paolini and his Inheritance books might be worth a look, although I’m hesitant to call it anything other than decent. It’s going to be a cycle rather than a trilogy, or at least it was last time I checked, and can make for some fun and relatively light fantasy reading for those that enjoy it. It’s certainly no J.R.R Tolkien, although one might say that a substancial proportion of it’s premise is pretty much robbed from Tolkien…and McAffery, but enough of that.

    Alison Croggon and her tales of Pelinor should be on here, they are truly excellent, although I’m not sure if I would label them Young Adult (or maybe you would – opinions?). Female heroine, clever and well -researched worldbuilding and an engaging story line. One of my usual recommendations for any of my female friends that are interested in reading fantasy.

    Thats all I can think of for now…short of getting access to my old childhood bookshelf at my parents house. If I think of anything else I’ll stick it up here.

    Also, first post for me. It goes without saying, but I’ll do it anyway, that I’m a huge fan of your work Patrick. I thoroughly enjoyed the ‘Name of the Wind’ and ‘Wise Man’s Fear’ promises to be even better. Keep up the excellent work!


  55. Skelly
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:43 AM | Permalink

    The Firebringer Trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce

    Guardians of Time Trilogy by Marianne Curley

    I read these ages ago and am long overdue a rereading, so I’m not certain about their child-appropriateness, but nothing really jumps out in my memory that makes me think either series is more violent than Harry Potter.

    Oh, and there’s the Eragon series… Not even close to my favourite, but hey, it’s something to read.

    • QueenNaxen
      Posted October 15, 2010 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

      Eragon? Sure. But keep her away from the others. In my humble opinion, those books needed ageing. Maybe not as long as the ageing Patrick’s books’ve gotten, but still, a good couple years at least. I loved Eragon. The other two I can hardly recall and most definately did not re-read.

  56. Zombie Joe
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:45 AM | Permalink

    Another decent one related to a couple above is Odd and the Frost Giants, also by Neil Gaiman. I read it at ALA this year and then picked a copy up for my grandchildren when it released. Good entry to fantasy for them. A bit more of a middle grade than a YA, but right along the lines of The Graveyard Book.

  57. Rickster
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:45 AM | Permalink

    I would recommend the Alcatraz Smedry books by Brandon Sanderson (3 out so far, 4th in December). I found them highly amusing. The main character’s grandfather tends to “curse” by alliterating authors names (I believe theres even Rotating Rothfusses mentioned at one point :)

  58. flaime
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:47 AM | Permalink
  59. Guarebear
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:49 AM | Permalink

    i agree with many of the book suggested so far. im 19 now but when i was younger i also had problems with finding books to read however i discover many good series, some have already been mentioned. but im gonna just write a list of all the book that i can remember enjoying (some may be slightly to boy orientated as that was what i found more interesting and most of them are series). Hope it helps :)
    Eoin Colfer – Artemis Fowl, Mark Walden – Hive, Anthony Horowitz – Alex Rider and Power of Five, Dean Lorey – Nightmare academy, Derek Landy – Skulduggery Pleasant, Micheal Molloy – the time witches, James Patterson – Maximum ride, Cornelia Funke – the thief lord, Brian Jaques – Redwall series, Garry Kilworth – Welkin weasels, Garth Nix – abhorsen and keys to the kingdom, Tamora Pierce – everything, David Eddings – should check out the redemption of Althalus as it has some wierd/cool ideas about time and place, Isabella Hoving – the dream merchant, isabelle Carmody – the gathering, Jonothan Stroud – bartimaes, Diana wyne jones – chrestomanci, Trudi Canovan – magicians guild (although might want to wait till she’s a little older), Joseph Delaney – the wardstone chronicles, Jenny Nimmo – charlie Bone, Chris Riddel – the edge chronicles, Charlie Higson – Young bond, Ursula Leguin – earthsea.

    There is also a series that i read that was really good but i cant find the info on the interwebs but it was translated from a french series and was called something like the book of the stars. it was about an island that gets separeted from the rests of the world and have a pseudo modern culture as item take a long time to be delivered but they also have knights and magic. its about a boy who find out he has magic and goes on adventures to this other land using the stars to travel. (im saying this in the hope that someone else may know what im talking about and put up the name of the series :P as its now bugging me as to what it was and i want to read it again)

    there is also another series of books about a brother and sister who get kidnapped by a witch and the sister finds out she has magic and almost joins the witch. the brother finds out he has ‘reverse magic’ and destroys all magic. they escape and bring magic to all the children of the world cant remember what happens after that. again im hoping someones else knows what the hell im going on about.

    Hmm well this ended up being longer that i though it would but i hope it helps and someone else can provide info on the books i couldnt remember more about as i really wanna know as well now.

    • Ivi
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 11:42 AM | Permalink

      I can’t believe you’re the first to mention Chris Riddell! Total must.

  60. Christer
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:53 AM | Permalink

    Some other’s that I’d recommend that weren’t mentioned:
    Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonsong, Dragonsinger, Dragondrums – These were the first books I read after Narnia. Someone said McCaffrey might be a bit old but this triolgy should be fine.
    Marion Zimmer Bradley – Star of Danger
    Heinlen – Red Planet
    Elenor Cameron – The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet
    Patricia McKillip – Riddle Master of Hed Trilogy and the Forgotten Beasts of Eld
    My daughters are 4 and 6 and I just started reading The Lion The Witch and the Wardrobe to them… so excited to introduce them to all the books I loved!

    It’s not Sci-Fi but did anyone mention Paulsen’s Hatchet?? A must for early readers!

    • kungfusinger
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

      I agree about McCaffrey’s Harper Hall trilogy. Actually, I love everything by Anne McCaffrey. The Pern world is about a world that was colonized so far in the past (of the story’s setting) that they have lost all of the technology and most of the knowledge from the “Ancients”. So it’s like Science Fiction and Fantasy mixed together. Oh, and did I mention that they ride dragons? Her son Todd McCaffrey has taken over the Pern world now, and new books are being published today. His books are equally as good as his mother’s. She even collaborates with him on some.

      There is also the Brain and Brawn world about intelligent spaceships (the brains) and their pilots (the Brawns).

      And the Crystal Singer world is about people who live on a world made of crystal and mine the crystal. It is actually much cooler than I can describe it without giving too much away.

      • Christer
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 11:47 AM | Permalink

        Crystal Singer is probably too sexual for her age… And I enjoyed the first book so much more than the following two. I tried out Todd’s books but couldn’t quite get into it… in my mind the world ended with Dolphins of Pern.

        • kungfusinger
          Posted September 17, 2010 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

          That’s fair. The thing with Todd’s Pern books is they are set at a completely different time once again. It took me most of a book to get into the series again. I had to dismiss all of my beloved characters and build relationships with new ones.

    • Christer
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 11:55 AM | Permalink

      OOOH! Just thought of something, does she like CATS?
      Breed to Come by Norton and
      Tailchaser’s Song by Williams!

    • bookmage
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

      I would recommend against a lot of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s stuff. It ranges, some if them just have sex off to the side (it’s there, but not explicit, just a part of life), but some of them are very sexually explicit. (laran, the psychic energy that a lot of the books deal with, runs along the same channels in the body as sexual energy or whatever, so some of the books can be very explicit).

      • Christer
        Posted September 20, 2010 at 8:45 AM | Permalink

        Star of Danger is the only one I would recommend for her age group. No sex, laran not really gone into, more about two boys from different cultures interacting.

  61. Guarebear
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:53 AM | Permalink

    huh what do you know i actually managed to miss one of that epic list of books. the lord of the rings.

  62. ArchiveGremlin
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:56 AM | Permalink

    I’ve thought of a new one – Robin Hobb.

    1. *Farseer Trilogy*
    2. Liveship Traders Trilogy
    3. *Tawny Man Trilogy* (continuation of the Farseer Trilogy)
    4. The Rain Wind Chronicles
    5. The Soldier Son Trilogy

    All are excellent, I’d recommend starting with the two series I’ve starred before moving onto the others. All, apart from the Soldier Son Trilogy, exist within the same constructed universe and are either complementary to or continuations of other series she has written. I went through a peroid of Hobb addiction around the age of 12/13 and couldn’t put them down. One of the benefits of these, if you enj0y them, is the sheer volume of books available, all of which maintain a constant standard of excellent quality.

    The Soldier Son is different, although no less interested, but may be a little darker than you had in mind. I’d check it first if your concerned about adult themes (violence, harsh realities of a pretty miserable life for the protagonist…that sort of stuff).

    • Slamadoca
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:31 AM | Permalink

      I do enjoy Hobb now (at 20), but I don’t know if I would’ve liked them so much 10 years ago. I know for sure the liveship traders and rain wilds both have blatant sex in them. I also had lots of trouble with the Soldier Son trilogy. It broke too many of my inner ideas about what can happen to a protagonist.

      • Ivi
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 11:45 AM | Permalink

        I have to agree with you there – loved them at age fifteen but ten?

        • Katienooklover
          Posted September 17, 2010 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

          Definitely agree. Too much for 10. Fabulous books though!

      • QueenNaxen
        Posted October 15, 2010 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

        English teacher bribed me with them. Could not have enjoyed them at 10 or 13. Would’ve missed a lot of the stories’ undertones.

  63. Tashandtwo
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 7:59 AM | Permalink

    I think i’m going to copy all these down for future reference for my son. He is an excellent reader but not quite at the YA stage, I understand Carries problem of trying to stay ahead of the game! Keeping ahead of the content vs story is a nightmare!

    I have enjoyed Michelle Pavers’ “Chonicles of Ancient Darkness” series (as a grown up). Though the opening chapters of the first book are a little horrid (dad gets mauled by a bear and dies) from the eyes of a child.

  64. happychriggy
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:00 AM | Permalink

    Two books come to mind that I read as a YA.

    Michael Ende: The Never-ending Story. This is the book that lit the fantasy flame in me. I read the original version which is in German, so I cannot say much of how well it was translated. But the story should still be the same and should capture al YA hearts.

    Michael Ende: Momo. This is a little more esoteric than The Never-ending Story as it deals with the concept of time. I have never read anything like it. Again, I read this in the original version, so I hope the translation did the language justice. And let me just say, I have read many, many books during my life and this one is still in my top five!

  65. ama-ri
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:05 AM | Permalink

    I don’t know how popular these books are in america, however I’d always recommend books written by Cornelia Funke.
    She has written several children’s books as well as books for teens. Mainly fantasy. One of the most wonderful german writers these days. She has such a colorful and pictoral way of writing.

    I especially recommend the “Inkheart” triology. There was a movie based on the first book as well. It was alright, but doesn’t really do this book justice.

    Another book I’d always recommend is “The Neverending Story” by Michael Ende. One of the first fantasy books I’ve read. Again, there are…I think two movies based on it (done in the 90s I think). Again, the book is so much better.

  66. Shalafi5
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:06 AM | Permalink

    Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell was a favorite when I was somewhere around that age. It was a book that my mother went out and found because she loved it when she was little. This one also has a young girl as a protagonist.

  67. kimblyann
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:09 AM | Permalink

    I haven’t seen anyone else say this so I’d like to throw out anything by Bruce Coville.

    He’s got tons of books which would be perfectly appropriate for a girl that age, lots of different subjects and things that she’ll read and love for the rest of her life. I found that for myself with his “Into the Land of the Unicorn” series. There are three books in that right now, and he’s working on the fourth.

  68. ArchiveGremlin
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:16 AM | Permalink

    Noticed that someone mentioned Trudi Canavan several posts above and thought I’d come back to second that. Whether it’s too old or not for the reader in question is very much a subjective question based on the individual. I read her first book when I was quite young and found it thoroughly enjoyable. Having said that, I know some who have suggested that it might be inappropriate for children, although personally I can’t see why and inevitably there is always one nutter banging the wardrum for no apparent logical reason. It’s not an easy read if your young, but if Becca is as voracious a reader as has been suggested, there shouldn’t be an issue.

    Also, I’m going to suggest Robert Jordon (although the latest novel and the remaining two will be completed by Brian Sanderson following Jordon’s death) despite the fact that it is a tricky bitch of a series to follow and doesn’t split hairs about adult thematics. Personally I read these early and enjoyed (am currently enjoy’ing’) every bit of them. The Wheel of Time series cannot be missed, and it’s really up to you as a parent to decide if the content is too heavy this early in the game.


    • ArchiveGremlin
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:24 AM | Permalink

      1. That should be Jordan, not Jordon. Typo. :(
      2. Perhaps, on reflection, I was a little hasty recommending the WoT. It’s one of those series that requires you to go back and read the previous two books every time a new one comes out just to make sure you haven’t dropped the ball on the endless charaters, plots, sub-plots and sub-sub-plots that make up this (currently) 12 book epic of a series. It would certainly be a challenge if she did get into them though…


    • Posted September 19, 2010 at 1:38 AM | Permalink

      When I was first getting into fantasy my mom gave me The Wheel of Time series to read and I remembering being very confused and put off after a couple chapters (I don’t remember why exactly, I just know I stopped reading it). 10 might be a little young for the series.

  69. Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:16 AM | Permalink

    L’Engle sparked in me a love for all things Science Fiction and was really into Isaac Asimov and Ray Bradbury around age 11-12. I also agree with the several suggestions of Orson Scott Card, he’s perfect for that age and begs to be re-read as you grow older and take everything in a whole new way.

  70. sami_jo
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

    I seem to have the fourteen year old male version of your daughter. Many of his favorites from that age have already been mentioned: Nix, Guardians of Ga’Hoole, Colfer, Funke, Princess Bride (also one of my childhood favorites), Terry Pratchett etc. A few that I haven’t seen mentioned are Never After by Rebecca Lickiss, anything by Lois Lowry, the Dragon Jousters series by Mercedes Lackey, Od Magic by Patricia McKillip and Storyteller by Amy Thomson. Sharon Shinn has several good young adult books out including The Truth Teller’s Tale. Her adult works are fairly kid-friendly as well–there is romance but nothing explicit (and the Angel series, despite the titles, is definitely NOT Christian literature. ) Rick Riordan’s Olympians series and the new one based around Egyptian mythology are good. Jeanette Winterson’s Tanglewreck is also good, though the rest of her books are definitely not kid-appropriate. If you can find them, the rest of Madeline L’Engle’s young adult books are excellent. Many are out of print, but they pop up on Amazon and in used book stores. Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree series is my final favorite for that age. It was only published in Britain, so it can be a challenge to find, but it is really wonderful.

    • ArchiveGremlin
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:27 AM | Permalink

      Enid Blyton – excellent suggestion.

      If you like the Faraway Three then you should go for the Famous Five and the Secret Seven by the same author. Great series both.

      • Melody
        Posted September 20, 2010 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

        ENID BLYTON!!!!!!!
        I completely adored her work. All of it, especially the “valley of Adventure, Sea of adventure, ____ of Adventure” books.

        I also loved ” A Wind in the Door” by Madeline L’Engle even more than “A Wrinkle in time”

        “The Island of the blue dolphins” was heartwrenhing and sad. I found it hard to read even as a kid, but it is beautiful, and worth reading for sure.

        “Jane of Lantern Hill” was BY FAR my favourite LM Montgomery book (She also wrote Anne of Green Gables)

        Janet Lunn is a great Canadian lady author! Frances Hogeson Burnett’s “A Little Princess” I have been rereading since I was 6, and probably got the most out of when I was 10

        The Borrowers is a very imaginative book!!!


  71. djmorel
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:24 AM | Permalink

    I’m working a middle grand fantasy, so pretty widely read in this area. Neil Gaiman, Ursula K. Le Guin, Philip Pullman, Garth Nix, and Suzanne Collins are some of my favorites.

    Others that I don’t see here:
    Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit. It’s a classic now, and not exactly fantasy, but one of the most touching books that I’ve ever read. She deals with mortality in a way that’s perfect for kids.

    Un Lun Dun by China Mieville. Yes, he has a kid’s book too. He also illustrated it.

    Faeries of Dreamdark by Laini Taylor. She is a local author for me, so not so well known (yet). This one has a great strong, girl protagonist and tons of cool creatures.

    The Giver by Lois Lowry. Again, a classic and one of this fantasy books that’s considered more literary. A really moving book great for both kids and grownups.

    The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. An earlier entry in the dystopian kid’s fiction subgenre, but one that feels a bit more hopeful that the Suzanne Collins books.

    Thanks for the suggestions everyone!

    • Little My
      Posted September 22, 2010 at 12:30 PM | Permalink

      Funny – my daughter just got City of Ember out of the library and read it, and MADE me read it. I thought it was decent, but she just adores it – somehow it really spoke to her.

  72. johngard15
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:29 AM | Permalink

    Whether or not a comment this far down is being read, I’m surprised many haven’t suggested the Redwall books by Brian Jaques – excellent for young adults: classic fantasy, morals, riddles, and promotes friendliness to animals :).

    A few mentioned the Prydain series: this was the first books I can remember reading to me and from then on I was done. I’ve read them dozens of times and still love them. I can’t imagine my children not reading them as they grow up.

  73. kathy k.
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

    Garth Nix has another series called The Seventh Tower, which are really good.

    And a friend of mine was one of the people involved in the ‘graphic novelization’ of the first few Alex Rider stories :)

  74. sekinkead
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:39 AM | Permalink

    My son is 13 and he loves Brandon Sandersons’s Alcatraz books. I think all of Brandon’s books are great for the teenager. My son is also like me and loves to read. I let him read Brandon’s other works as sex is only alluded to in a couple of them. I am even letting him read The Way of Kings since it was a great story as well and not too graphic.

    He also loved the Inkheart stuff and the Guardians of Ga’Hoole books. It’s hard to find stuff for him and I love all of the suggestions on here.

  75. Mossy Toes
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:40 AM | Permalink

    Hmmm…basically all my favorites growing up (which wasn’t too long ago, really) have been mentioned. One gaping exception, however, is the work of Megan Whalen Turner, the Thief series.

    It consists of The Thief, The Queen of Attolia, The King of Attolia, and A Conspiracy of Kings so far. It’s a remarkably subtle YA series, with all sorts of emotional ups and down, but never anything too explicit (sexually) or overpowering. In my eyes, it is pretty much the very best YA series out there. There have been a lot of good competitors here, and several more that I haven’t read, but the Thief series is one of my all time favorites.

    • SabrielAnir
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:21 AM | Permalink

      I must strongly second The Thief series. They are some of my favorite books ever. No matter how old you are evryone should read them; they are fantastic!

  76. Katienooklover
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:43 AM | Permalink

    David & Leigh Eddings – The Belgariad & Mallorean series. (They are 5 books each) I feel these are epic, perfectly appropriate for the age, & timeless. I still reread these every year or two.

    All books by Rick Riordan.

    The Larklight series by Phillip Reeve.

    The Fablehaven series by Brandon Mull.

    The Harper Hall trilogy by Anne McCaffery. Dragonsong was the very first fantasy book I ever read, and at the same age as your daughter :)

    And, or course, the masters Robert Heinlein & Isaac Asimov

  77. dracopervicax
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    some books that I loved as a kid (as a young woman myself):

    The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown have already been recommended, and I highly second them. The Dark is Rising is also a great read. Someone has already also stolen “Abarat” from me.

    So I really haven’t added anythign to the conversation, just seconded a lot.

    Ah ha! here’s one that hasn’t been mentioned: “A Series of Unfortunate Events” by Lemony Snicket. If she’s got a wicked sense of humor (as I did when I was young), she would definitely appreciate this series.; It’s definitely for kids who fall off the beaten path.

    • Widow Of Sirius
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:02 AM | Permalink

      DANG! I was so excited to actually have something LEFT to recommend, and you got to it!

      The thing about Lemony Snicket books is that not only is there a dark (yet amusing) story going on with the characters, but there’s also an intensely intriguing story going on with the AUTHOR. I devoured these books when I was 13, and I kept following them until they were all out when I was 18.

      I’m going to go get my copies right now, actually.

  78. Ringelwurm
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:00 AM | Permalink

    I really have to second Tamora Pierce, I loved her books when I was a kid and I still do. Exspecially those set in Tortall ( Alanna, Dhana …).
    I read that someone mentioned Eva Ibbotson, among other books she also wrote some great phantasy for children, like “The Secret of platform 13”, or “Which Witch?”.
    One of my Favorite Authors is Juliett Marillier, she has some books for younger reader named “Wildwood Dancing” and “Cybele’s Secret”. (Well not only for younger people).
    I would also like to recommend Ralf Isau’s Neschan-Trilogy, but I was not able to find any english translation, so I guess there is none.

  79. Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    I feel impelled to be the big crank here, but whatever. When I was your daughter’s age, I read whatever I wanted. Yeah, I know, that sounds like horrible neglect in parenting these days (and maybe it was) BUT, I exposed myself to many worlds and all kinds of literature. Some of it I didn’t understand, and that was part of the fun.

    But if I must recommend, how about “The Earthsea Trilogy” or ‘The Chronicles of Prydain’ and another favorite ‘The Tripods’. Also on my list for das kinder: mythology books (any/all), and Oliver Twist (anything by Dickens).

    Really though, you should just get permission for your daughter to wander the adult stacks and choose by color. Who knows what could happen?

    • Oatmeal
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

      I did the same, and while I enjoyed the heck out of it, my mom might have been displeased to know that at 10-12 I was reading Stephen King, VC Andrews (which is chock full of graphic, violent, incest rape kidnapping and general evilness) and Anne Rice. I also learned at 14 years old that NOT ALL Judy Blume is good for younger kids. Whooooo Wifey. I loved it, it was amazing, but someone probably should have told my school librarian to give that one a read before putting it back next to the rest of the Judy Blume books … There’s a whole lotta sex having going on in that book. My girlfriends and I all rented it and giggled over the dirty scenes…

      • semirose
        Posted September 18, 2010 at 6:11 PM | Permalink

        Oh yeah I was the same. I told my mom after I went to college about some of the stuff I was reading when I was 10-12 and she was shocked but really I don’t think it did me any harm and I would often just skip past most of the sex anyway. I was in a bookstore once and was shocked to hear a parent yelling at a kid about how no she couldn’t have that book because it was too old for her.

    • Ashley Me
      Posted September 18, 2010 at 7:51 PM | Permalink

      You need permission to use the adult stacks? I never did, and I hope that I read that wrong! But I was raised the same way, the only restrictions on my library haul was I could only check out as many books as I could carry.

      This led to some interesting reads and yes, a few more adult scenes than most would have considered appropriate for my age, but generally I just scanned over them if it was a good book otherwise. I understand parents wanting to make sure their children are ready for certain materials, it’s good to be involved with your child’s interests, but it could be just as good to read some more mature books with them, and talk about it together. Or maybe discuss with the child why you don’t think they are ready for certain books yet, I know I hated it when one of my aunts literally took a book away from me when I was 11 because she considered it inappropriate, and just said “I’m the adult here!” and didn’t tell me why.

      • Posted September 20, 2010 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

        Yes, I did need permission at one particular library (small town). No where else though. The Librarian there was very possessive of the books, asking me if I really thought I’d be able to read the amount I was taking out and etc. Very invasive… but obviously a conversation starter now! And it did make getting the books feel that much more illegal, catnip to any child.

    • Posted September 19, 2010 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

      Same here. I read a lot of books way ahead my age. My parents were always there to answer questions, but they didn’t censor the books I picked. In fact, they encouraged me to read adult books, ‘since you liked this, you may like that as well.’ I went through all those epics, Illiad, Aeneid, Song of the Nibelungs, Beowulf … you name them before I turned 10 – in a way that was my start into Fantasy. :) I was 11 when I read War and Peace and Shakespeare (in a German translation).

      Sure, I also read age appropriate books, but I was picky there. What I loved – and want to recommend – are the novels by Rosemary Sutcliff. In particular her YA retelling of the Arthur myth should work for a 10 year old girl, but her historical novels are good reads, too, despite the lack of dragons. ;)

      My nephew read the Otori books at 10, but I’ll leave it to others here to say if they are indeed suitable. My brother doesn’t censor the reading of his kids, either, and I remember they have a good deal of violence.

      • Posted September 19, 2010 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

        Another author of historical fiction YA I loved (still love, in fact), is German writer Barbara Bartos-Höppner. I’ve checked on Amazon: three of her books have been translated though they are currently only avaliable as used books, but maybe some libraries carry them:

        The Cossacks
        Save the Khan
        The Conquering Ships (that one’s about the Vikings in Ireland)

        Another German Ya writer worth checking out is Hans Baumann. Several of his books have been translated though they have to be hunted down these days. He’s written about archaeological discoveries in Egypt (The World of the Pharaohs) and Greece (Lion Gate and Labyrinth) as well as neolithic cave paintings ( The Caves of the Great Hunters), narrated in such an interesting way that kids will want to pick upp a shovel and look for fun stuff in the mud (I know I did). *grin* He also has written historcial fiction YA novels – my favourite is ‘I Marched With Hannibal’.
        ‘Sons of the Steppe’ about Gengis Khan and ‘Colubus’s Son’ are others that made it onto the keeper shelves (despite me being 48 now).

  80. Morlane
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:17 AM | Permalink

    Lots of great recommendations here … I’ve probably got some new reading material for me, too.

    For my on recommendation … these are mostly out of print, but still available used on amazon and second-hand book stores.
    Zenna Henderson’s books of The People:
    Pilgrimage: The Book of the People
    The People: No Different Flesh

    She also had two other short story collections (with some People stories in them)
    Holding Wonder
    The Anything Box

    Or you might luck out and find a copy of “Ingathering: The Complete People Stories” which has both People books, and all the People stories from Holding Wonder and The Anything Box.

  81. polonaise in A-flat
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:24 AM | Permalink

    I would suggest Dawn Cook’s Truth Series, The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper, and collections of traditional fairy tales– the ones where people are eaten by the dragon before the prince rescues them. Lang’s collection (Blue Fairy Book, Pink Fairy Book, etc.) is particularly good. They were some of my favorites in elementary school.

  82. Constance
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:28 AM | Permalink

    Oh yes, Susan Cooper’s “The Dark is Rising” cycle is a must. It’s a great introduction to Arturian and Welsh lore.

    Lemony Snickett’s “A Series of Unfortunate Events” is perfect. It’s geared towards advanced readers without being too difficult or insulting. It’s also macabre humor that any proper reader of this blog would appreciate.

    I also suggest abridged versions of the classics – as she gets older you can give her the full versions and say ‘What’s different?’ A girl like her may appreciate that kind of activity. I know I did.

    What about the Black Cauldron series? (And you can show the forgotten Disney movie along with it) Or The Jungle Book?

    • Constance
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:32 AM | Permalink

      Ah, yes. I forgot one major contribution to my youth.

      Choose. Your. Own. Adventure.

      • aqualouise
        Posted September 18, 2010 at 6:32 AM | Permalink

        Do they still make the ‘choose your own adventure’ books? I used to love those! Somehow always ended up lost or dreaming though. :)

        I don’t think anybody has mentioned The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor yet. It’s a very good version of Alice in Wonderland, with a twist. There’s also a sequel Seeing Redd, and a third which isn’t completed yet. They’re books I would have loved at 10!

        Also, not fantasy, but get your daughter to check out Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman. The sequels aren’t as good- Blackman tends to destroy what you know of her original characters, but Noughts and Crosses is one of the best books i read as a teen. Depending on how grown up your daughter is, you may want to wait a year or two, but she sounds like she could handle it. :)

  83. Shivan
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:35 AM | Permalink

    The author who first made me a real reader (I’d been reading beforehand, but only comics like Garfield or C&H) was Robert Aspirin and his M.Y.T.H. series. About a young thief turned magician’s apprentice named Skeeve, it’s a humorous fantasy world where most battles are fought with a quick tongue and a stout heart rather than sword and shield. Add in interesting ideas about magic and dimensions and you have a now 16 book series of light, good natured fantasy reading.

    The story starts with Another Fine Myth.

  84. Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:38 AM | Permalink
  85. Atropos
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:40 AM | Permalink

    To begin with I couldn’t resist the temptation log in and that’s purely because of this:

    Even with all other marvelous fantasy books I treat as classics, Philip Pullman with his His Dark Materials still ranks absolute top five series I’ve ever read. I read them when I was about 12 years old and I truly think I haven’t read anything more educative (in fantasy genre) ever since. I think they must have been the one thing that truly made me think the world through. And this is not to say that – even though Pullman clearly is an atheist – his books would turn anyone into one (that’s a far too big a job to manage on ones own). What I’m trying to say is that they make you think like every intellect creature should.

    And what it comes to the sexual part of those books it’s practically nonexistent. Children are not puritans, they are human too and intrigued by such things like puberty and love etc. Every child must have seen someone kiss so I think that the nearly puritan kissing scene in The Amber Spyglass could be no way harmful.

  86. midalton85
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

    Perhaps Christopher Paolini’s ‘Eragon’ et al?

  87. Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

    I’ll throw in Scalzi’s “Zoe’s Tale” and the new Peter Pan books by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.

  88. kungfusinger
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

    I recommend The Forever King trilogy by Warren Murphy and Molly Cochrane. I read it at 14 and found it a very good read and escape from reality. The bad guy is a bit of an evil bugger, so there are some gory scenes, but nothing I couldn’t handle at 14.

    I also highly recommend the Secret of the Unicorn Queen series that I read as a young adult. The books are out of print, as near as I can tell, but the full text is available online here:

    At that age, I also read a LOT of Forgotten Realms books. These ones are part of the D& D worlds, so tend to be pure fantacy with no sex and only fantacy violence.

  89. Punkin02
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:48 AM | Permalink

    I’d reccomend the Inkworld Trilogy by Cornelia Funke (Inkheart, Inkspell, and Inkdeath) Great books…I was extremely dissappointed in the movie however!

    Also The NeverEnding Story if you can find it…I read this when I was a kid, it was long but I loved it! I’ve tried to find it recently to add to my collection so my daughter can read it when she’s old enough (she’s only 19 months now) and also so I can reread it myself, and can’t find it in any stores.

    Another series, that I’m not sure would be considered YA, but was actually the first fantasy series I ever read, and got me into liking fantasy (even before narnia) was Terry Brooks Shanarra Series.

  90. TheJaguar
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:54 AM | Permalink

    I’ve been a big fantasy/scifi reader since I was in first grade. I started with the Starwars books for adults, and moved on to Stephen King (yes, Stephen King before I was even 10), and then to Fantasy… lol. So I might not be the best source for what books are good for children, but I have some recommendations.
    First. Starfinder by John Marco should be a really good read for children or young adults, and it’s also quite a good read for adults as well. Very good book, and quite surprising to see it come from John Marco if you’ve read his other books. They’re quite good, but a very different feel. His other books are all definitely meant for adults not children.
    Second. The Magic Kingdom of Landover books by Terry Brooks. Great books (except for the last one, it felt like filler). They should be child safe, and enjoyable for children and young adults.
    Third. Lord of the Rings. Very excellent book. I’ve seen at least one other person recommend it, and for good reason. It doesn’t matter what age you are, as long as you can read a book that size it’s a must read.

    I’m not sure if I’d recommend the Mercedes Lackey books at age ten, maybe starting at 12 or 13. They tend to have more adult themes in them, even as they’re talking about children, unicorns, and speaking animals.

    And A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. I highly recommend NOT having anyone under 13 read this series. But as soon as anyone hits 13, or whatever age the parent(s) feel is appropriate put the first book of this series in their hands. But remember, only when you feel they’re old enough, it is violent, it has lots of sex, and it is meant for adults. Read it before you decide at what age your child can read it. Maybe at the start of Highschool.

  91. He without a clever name
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 9:54 AM | Permalink

    Hello Carrie, mother of the adorable Becca!

    I start with the pleasantries to one, get your attention in this huge list of comments, and two, because I think I’m a pretty nice guy. Why I want to get your attention is because this issue is near and dear to my heart. I remember the magic of the library when I was a kid because it wasn’t too long ago and I also have the memory of an elephant. Due to this, I also remember the days when I was running out of books to read but knew I wasn’t meant to wander over to the adult section yet. Several of these have already been mentioned, but I’m going to re-nominate them.

    1. Peter Pan. I try to stay away from such claims as “the best ever” or “greatest of all time!!”, but this one is the best I’ve read. The main character is Wendy (when you’re younger, girls like to read about main character girls and boys, boys.) The voice of the book is unmatched. Here’s the first paragraph of the book, to illustrate how good it is.

    “All children, except one, grow up. They soon know that they will grow up, and the way Wendy knew was this. One day when she was two years old she was playing in a garden, and she plucked another flower and ran with it to her mother. I suppose she must have looked rather delightful, for Mrs. Darling put her hand to her heart and cried, “Oh, why can’t you remain like this for ever!” This was all that passed between them on the subject, but henceforth Wendy knew that she must grow up. You always know after you are two. Two is the beginning of the end.”

    How gorgeous is that? And that’s all Peter Pan is, 50 thousand words of that gorgeous voice.

    2.The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. -I’m shocked to not see this book recommended. to illustrate how great it is, here, again, is the first paragraph.

    “Not every thirteen-year-old girl is accused of murder, brought to trial, and found guilty. But I was just such a girl, and my story is worth relating even if it did happen years ago. Be warned, however, this is no Story of a Bad Boy, no What Katy Did. If strong ideas and action offend you, read no more. Find another companion to share your idle hours. For my part I intend to tell the truth as I lived it.”

    Reading those two opening paragraphs makes me want to read them again! I know what I’m going to do this weekend!

    There are other great books that I will recommend by name only as this is getting awfully lengthy, but those two books above are my highest recommendations for the still young reader (or any age for those who want a quick fantastic read.) My wife and I frequently discuss what books made us fall in love with reading, which titles set the bar for us in our early lives, and these are the two we keep coming back to. These are the titles that made us walk into the library excited, wondering if the books we found today would be as good as these.

    Other great reads
    3.The little White Horse
    4.Island of the Blue Dolphins -perhaps these two books are more on the childish side, but I feel they match up well with the first Harry Potter, making them more adult than say Narnia or Alice.

    5.The Graveyard Book
    6.The Last Unicorn.

    Thanks for your time any who happen to read this novella of a post. I hope it’s helpful to someone. In a final message to parents with readers, don’t be frightened when they come home with a book from the adult section, even if you think they’re a little young. If they read a lot and think they’re ready, trust them.

    Have good readings, everyone!

    • holliekunishige
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:44 PM | Permalink

      I also strongly recommend The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, I picked this up when I was around 10, and probably read it 5 or 6 times in the following few years. I’m glad someone here mentioned it :)

      I also read the pern series when I was around this age, and though I probably understood them more in subsequent readings, I still really enjoyed them at the time.

      Where the Red Fern Grows was also a favorite around this time.

      I also loved the lioness quartet, and all of Tamora’s tortall books, though I may have started reading these a year or two later. I know different parents have different ideas about what is and isn’t appropriate, but I would not hesitate to let my ten year old read these books.

  92. ONE Mariachi
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

    A few books I thought I’d mention as well
    Rudyard Kiplings – Jungle Book was a favourite as a youngin, he’s got several other short stories that are great as well.
    The Belgariad and Mallorean by David Eddings was probably the main reason I got into Fantasy at that age. Great books!
    Eoin Colfers’ Artemis Fowl Series was one i read at about 13-14 but only cos that’s when they were written, they would be fine for your daughter.
    Also one I can’t believe hasn’t been mantioned, The Otori Trilogy by Lian Hearn. Amazing series set in a fantasy Japan, really cool eastern styled fantasy book that I definitely recommend for everyone. Read the prequel after the trilogy though if you go for it.
    Another thing you could do is get her books with ancient, Norse/Greek/Egyptian/Celtic myths in it. My grandfather would read me stories like that when i was 6- 12 and it was some of my fondest memories. Built a huge love for all the culture and history of those amazing areas as well!

    • alaskpeggy
      Posted September 25, 2010 at 12:31 PM | Permalink

      I was just about ready to suggest Kipling, and here he is! Jungle Books (not to be confused with Disney’s mistreatment of them) are ageless and filled with adventure, strong human and animal characters, and great storytelling. Also his Just So Stories are delightful and present a wonderful read-aloud opportunity in which parent & child can take turns reading.

  93. Priya
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    I remember two of my favorite fantasy books (at the age of 10) being The Castle in the Attic and The Battle for the Castle by Elizabeth Winthrop.

    Although she may be a more advanced reader, I also remember loving Bruce Coville’s My Teacher is an Alien series (and his ghost stories, too) and Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar.

    Robin McKinley’s Beauty and her short stories are some of my favorites even now.

  94. LaFleur
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

    Not sure how many of these have been mentioned yet, but these were some of my favorite series as a kid (and some books that I’ve read lately that I’m positive I would have loved as a kid).

    Redwall books by Brian Jacques: I adored these books as a kid, I must have read the first 15 of them at least 4 times.

    Fablehaven Series by Brandon Mull: Great new (ish) series that i would recommend to any pre-teen reader in a heart beat.

    Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

    Inkheart series by Cornelia Funke: I love these books. also by Cornelia that are excellent: The Thief Lord, Dragon Rider.

    Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

    Charlottes Webb by E.B. White

    The 13th Reality Books by James Dashner

    Thats all I can think of right now, but I hope these are useful.

    • Mags
      Posted September 20, 2010 at 3:36 AM | Permalink

      Warning: Charlotte’s Web and Where the Red Grows are both tear-jerkers. I cried when I read those at her age.

  95. dormantdrake
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:11 AM | Permalink

    A lot of good suggestions so far, but here are a couple I haven’t seen yet…

    The Firebringer Trilogy by Meredith Ann Pierce (Birth of th Firebringer, Dark Moon, The Son of Summer Stars)
    The Firebringer by David Clement-Davies
    The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede (Dealing With Dragons, Searching For Dragons, Calling on Dragons, Talking to Dragons)

    As a note, I started reading Anne McCaffrey’s Dragonrider books (starting with the first!) at 11 and Mercedes Lackey (the Magic books, no less) at 12. Depending on the child these books may soon be candidates.

    (I also read Clan of the Cave Bear at that age and simply skipped “the boring bits”. I had a bit of an odd stance about sex scenes: they were boring and not worthy of my attention.)

    • dormantdrake
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:16 AM | Permalink

      Oh, while I think of it, I also liked: Walter Farley (The Black Stallion, etc) and Marguerite Henry (Misty of Chincoteague and all those other books about horses).

      I still have my old copy of A Wrinkle in Time, myself. :)

    • katryn
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

      I second both the enchanted forest chronicles and Anne McCaffrey’s Pern series. If you’re worried about maturity level McCaffrey’s Harperhall trilogy is clean, but the rest of the various series portions are spotted with some non graphic but mature scenes.

      • katryn
        Posted September 17, 2010 at 12:20 PM | Permalink

        Also as a side note: Patricia C. Wrede co-wrote a wonderful series of books starting with Sorcery and Cecelia, set in a magical victorian england that is definitely worth reading.

    • freezingsheep
      Posted September 17, 2010 at 3:36 PM | Permalink

      Two books really stick in my mind from childhood:

      1. A Wrinkle in Time

      2. Chocky, by John Wyndham.

      If your daughter likes the first she is almost certain to enjoy the second. The story centres on a child (YA, if you prefer) whose imaginary friend is actually a visiting alien.

      I agree about the Clan of the Cave Bear series, which I loved, but think my mum wouldn’t have let me read them if she had actually finished the first one!

    • Darmys
      Posted September 18, 2010 at 8:06 AM | Permalink

      I know what you mean about sex scenes just being the boring bits and skipping them. I believe most of my sex education did end up coming from books however, even skipping I still picked up enough that when other kids at school were sharing about how you could fall pregnant from kissing I stood there unable to understand why they could possibly think that.

      I can’t remember my parents ever telling me that I wasn’t allowed to read anything at any age. I read or tried to read a lot of things as I was growing up, some things I devoured others I gave up on, I guess that they were just beyond what I was able to understand at the time.

      My recommendation, a book that I just adored as a young girl was “Child of the Morning” by Dorothy Sharp Carter. Which is about the first female Pharaoh of Egypt, Hatshepsut.

  96. Widow Of Sirius
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:17 AM | Permalink

    I can’t suggest A Series of Unfortunate Events enough. Everything that was inside those books helped me grow as a person sneakily, while I just loved the damn things.

    I’ll be the first to admit that my expertiese isn’t in REALLY YA lit: I teach high school English, so the books I recommend to them aren’t the same I’d recommend to you.
    Nevertheless, my 12 year old niece is an expert, and she loves to share with me, so here are a few things she constantly tells me to read:
    The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black. They’re short and interesting, although they’re not like Lemony Snicket books for me where I wanted to read them again when I was older.
    The Artemis Fowl Series by Eoin Colfer. She was kind of annoying about this one also :)
    Really, everything I would suggest is already on the list, but I thought I’d emphasize those a bit.

    I’ll be stealing from this list, but know that your daughter almost made me think my live wouldn’t be COMPLETELY over if I had ONE kid and she looked JUST like that. She’s adorable, but I’m too selfish to have children.

    Happy reading :)

  97. raws
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:17 AM | Permalink

    People have mentioned Tamora Pierce but no one mentioned my favorite books! The Immortals, starting with Wild Magic, was and are my favorite books by Tamora Pierce. I read them when I was in 5th grade and have been rereading them since. I even skipped school to finish the books!

    Just thought I’d put in my two cents.

  98. leitmotiv
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:22 AM | Permalink

    I read lots of Roald Dahl. My favorite was the Witches and the BFG.

    The Hobbit would be a good read too.

    I read a book as a 6th grader that involved a kid from Europe and storks. Don’t remember much more than that. Wish I could find out the title of that book.

  99. Crim
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

    Earthsea Saga – Ursula K Leguin
    The Dark is Rising Sequence – Susan Cooper
    Red Wall Series – Brian Jacques

    • ka243
      Posted September 19, 2010 at 2:10 PM | Permalink

      I loved The Dark is Rising as a teenager and enjoyed redwall very much as well. The poems/rhymes from the dark is rising were very well written and well enough anchored in the story that I still remember them 15 years or so later.

      On the lighter side, check out Brandon Sanderson’s Alcatraz versus the evil librarians.

    • xjm
      Posted September 19, 2010 at 7:09 PM | Permalink

      Those three series would be my top recommendations as well. Those are the childhood books that I’ve kept for the past twenty years (those, and L’Engle’s Time series, and LOTR).

      I also recommend Anne McCaffery’s Dragonsong and Dragonsinger, which are appropriate for a pre-teen. The third book, Dragondrums, is also probably good but you’d want to use parental discretion. There is one implied sexual encounter in the third book, but it’s very discreetly written and appropriate for a mature 10-12 year old, I think. (I actually remember having an argument with a fifth grade classmate as to whether the passage implied sex at all; it’s obvious to an adult but not so much to a kid.)

      The great thing about Le Guin and McCaffery is that if your daughter likes their YA trilogies, then she is set for a TON of reading material once she is ready for more teen/adult material.

      • cyrinthian
        Posted September 20, 2010 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

        I read Dragondrums several times as a child but probably haven’t read it in almost 20 years (I’m 29). I don’t remember a sex scene and now I’m wondering about what exactly was said!

        • xjm
          Posted September 22, 2010 at 5:41 PM | Permalink

          It’s not so much a “sex scene” as a “sex linebreak.” ;) It’s on p. 220-222 in the newest edition, when Menolly and Sebell are sailing to the Southern Continent.

  100. kungfusinger
    Posted September 17, 2010 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

    Ooh! and pretty much anything by JASPER FFORDE. The Thursday Next series is about a woman who has the power to enter fiction at will and joins the Jurisfiction policing force to keep the characters within their own books. This series starts with The Eyre Affaire. Since his books deal with well known classics such as Jane Eyre (which I also recommend as a YA read) it got me into reading the classics too.

    He has also written some Nursery Rhymes Mysteries in which all of the nursery rhyme characters live together. The first one is The Big Over Easy which deals with the investigation surrounding Humpty Dumpty’s death.

    The latest book of his I have read is called Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron and is about a distopian future where for some reason everyone can only see one colour (all other colours are grey) and the societal hierarchy is based on which colour a person can see and how well they can see it. He is planning another two books in that series, though I don’t know when they are coming out. Maybe I should harass him.

    • cyrinthian
      Posted September 20, 2010 at 6:49 PM | Permalink

      Shades of Grey definitely has quite a bit of adult content, though. Just calling it “youknow” doesn’t make up for the fact that there is so much sexual content.

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