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Posts in Middle Grade Books Category

Pam

Thursday Three: School

Posted by Pam on August 19, 2010 at 10:47 AM in Middle Grade BooksPicture BooksRecommendations
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All right, I acknowledge the fact the summer is ending and school is beginning. Yes, in many areas, school has already begun, but here in Virginia, we are putting our heads in the sand - preferably at the actual beach - and trying to ignore the whole thing. Admittedly, it's easier to believe summer is endless when it's ninety degrees outside, but for today I'll try to get into the mindset of a back-to-school mom with three titles:

Kindergarten Cat
by J. Patrick Lewis, illustrated by Alice Busby

Kindergarten CatThe kindergarteners come to school to find that there room has it's own cat - and what a smart kitty she is! She may not know her colors or numbers, but she listens to the teacher's lessons and responds. And boy, is she cute. While many books approach kindergarten with a list of all the things kids do, this slight story allows the reader to see what happens in a more natural way. The illustrations are engaging with a childlike feel, rich colors, and a diverse class. The rhyming couplets seem a bit strained, but it's unlikely to bother the target audience who will be thrilled with the idea of a cat in a classroom as even a remote possibility.

The Exceptionally, Extraordinarily, Ordinary, First Day of School
by Albert Lorenz

The Exceptionally, Extraordinarily, Ordinary, First Day of SchoolAs the new student, John, describes his old school to his new librarian, everyone gets the idea that it may not have been the least bit ordinary. Particularly the readers who are treated to the pictures that accompany John's often ordinary descriptions. For instance, while he simply talks about his school being really old, we can see that it is a bizarre castle with talking ravens and hungry stone lions. There is also a sidebar with definitions and facts and related notes about items in the pictures.. The oddities, facts, and little jokes in the illustrations make this a fun book for older kids heading to school.

Junie B's Essential Survival Guide to School
by Barbara Park

Junie B's Essential Survival Guide to SchoolWhile the Junie B. Jones books begin with her as a kindergartener, everyone knows that books titled just Junie B. indicate that she is in first grade - and so we find in this book of school tips. Fans of the series will enjoy the usual banter and antics of Junie B. (though superfans may miss the artwork of Denise Brunkus). The advice isn't all that vital, tending more toward, "Do NOT NOT NOT pour chocolate milk from your thermos on the head of the person in front of you!" But actually, that chapter summary of riding the bus is right on target, " Sit Still, Behave Yourself, And Be Glad You're Not Walking!" At the end of each chapter is a section for the reader to add his or her own thoughts or drawings on the topic - like favorite clothes to wear or funny ways to get to school. Overall, the book isn't - despite the title - an essential Junie B. purchase, but is a fun way to approach back-to-school with a light touch and a bit of learning. (Because the little parent secret of Junie B. is to see what NOT to do so as to learn and discuss what one SHOULD do.)

For more back-to-school books, look at this earlier Booklights post.

Links to material on Amazon.com contained within this post may be affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site MotherReader.com may receive a referral fee.

Pam

Thursday Three: From the Top 100 Children's Novels

Posted by Pam on March 4, 2010 at 10:42 AM in Chapter BooksMiddle Grade BooksRecommendations
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The countdown of the Top 100 Children's Novels is on hold as the amazing author of the list, Betsy Bird, gets Internet access at her new apartment, and I am on pins and needles waiting! I don't blame her as she's a nice person, good friend, and deserves some time off to move her earthly belongings from one place in New York City to another, but it's so hard to wait when the results have been so interesting. Sure, a few of my choices have made it on and I expect a few more will before this show is over, but the real fun is seeing what other people thought of as their favorite books. Fascinating.

As I've gone through the countdown, I've seen many other titles that I could have chosen, but here are three books that I listed that have made it so far. What do you think?

All-of-a-Kind-Family
by Sydney Taylor
All of a Kind FamilyAt #79 we find this classic about a poor, immigrant, Jewish family living in New York City in the early 1900's. The book is about the everyday - chores, market trips, make-believe games - mixed with a helpful and healthy dose of Jewish traditions. It's historical fiction at its finest, putting the reader in the world while celebrating the time period. As for why love this book, I must quote myself for what I wrote for the countdown: Because the joy that the girls had in choosing what to spend a nickel on outweighs most of the excitement I could imagine then or now. It made me crave a dill pickle from the barrel, for goodness sakes.

The Bad Beginning
by Lemony Snicket
The Bad BeginningComing in at #71 is the first book in this Series of Unfortunate Events. Here the Baudelaire children first become orphans and are placed with Count Olaf, who will soon become the villain in their long tale of woe. The wit and wordplay in the books bring in the fans, along with the ever-more-complicated mysteries that grow deeper with each title. What I still find interesting about this book over ten years, is that it tends to get a love it or hate it reaction. While the Amazon ratings for The All-of-a-Kind Family were overwhelmingly five stars with a handful of low ratings, the ones for The Bad Beginning come in at about a 6:1 ratio for the book. Unusual for a book of this caliber.

Little House on the Prairie
by Laura Ingalls Wilders
Little House on the PrairieI'm actually surprised that this book is already making its appearance at #42, making me wonder if any other books in the series will show up later. While this title is not actually the first book in the series - that would be Little House in the Big Woods - this is the one that really kicks it off, letting the reader get to know Laura, Mary, Ma and Pa as they travel and set up a homestead on the prairie through difficult times. When I was a kid I loved the first books in the series, finding the other ones boring, but as an adult, I think that the later books are better written, with stronger characterization and plotting. I used The Long Winter in my mother/daughter bookclub and the girls there all thought the book was too slow, and most of them had given up on the series earlier because they were bored by the books with their extensive descriptions of scenery, food, and house-building. In fact, while my generation loved these books, personally I've yet to find a kid who also adores them - which may explain the lackluster place on the countdown.


If you click on the links in the reviews, you can read the extensive write-up done at Fuse#8 at School Library Journal. To be totally upfront, I also selected Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin which made the list at #81, but if I extol the virtues of that book one more time I going to be suspected of getting some kickbacks. Also, you might wonder where Harry Potter is, to which I guess Top Ten. Right?

Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site MotherReader.com may receive a referral fee.

Pam

Thursday Three: Newbery Contenders

Posted by Pam on January 14, 2010 at 3:31 PM in Middle Grade BooksRecommendations
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Last week I shared three of the Cybils Fiction Picture Book finalists that I believe have a strong chance to win a Caldecott medal. So this week I could complete the list of Cybils finalists, or I can make my best guesses for the Newbery.

Following Susan's wonderful breakdown of the awards, and in the interest of putting you ahead of the library crowd in getting to read them, I'm guessing that one or more of these three books will make the list.

When You Reach Me
by Rebecca Stead
When You Reach MeMiranda is comfortable with her friends, family, and generally her New York City life. But it feels as if things start to shift when her best friend Sal pulls away from her. Left adrift in sixth grade, she meets new people and tries new things - but is most intrigued by the strange notes appearing for her eyes only. The story is clever, layered, interesting, and intelligent. The buzz is big, the hype is high, and the love is loyal for this title. I won't be surprised to see it somewhere on the list, and maybe even as the winner.

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
by Grace Lin
Where the Mountain Meets the MoonSeeped in her father's fairy tales and pushed by her mother's sighs, Minli leaves home to search for the Old Man of the Moon to change her family's fortune. Along the way her kindness makes her many friends, who turn out to provide the help she needs. Incorporating Asian fairy tales with her own adventure, this is a beautiful book of love, friendship, and gratitude. The full color panel illustrations throughout add to the astonishing beauty of the book. And just look at the cover! Lots of people are hoping for a Newbery for the delightful book and author too, but it may be too light and happy for another award that tends towards death and calamity.

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate
Jacqueline Kelly
The Evolution of Calpurnia TateThe hardest thing about this book is making the one sentence description sound gripping. It's the story of a girl in 1899 who discovers the world of science under the tutorage of her grandfather. Calpurnia Tate is the youngest of a bunch of brothers, and can sometimes get lost in the shuffle to spend time at the creek looking at plant specimens or holed up in Grandfather's lab, testing the fermentation of pecans to wine. But for all this exposure to science, she's still growing into a woman at the turn of century and wonders when she'll have to put away her magnifying glass for a mop. Wonderful historical fiction that doesn't focus on death, dismemberment, or abject poverty - which is why it may not be taken seriously enough to win the Newbery.


The wonderful children's librarian, and former Newbery committee member has her predictions at School Library Journal with the discussion continuing in the comments. The results will be announced on by American Library Association on Monday.

Links to books in this post are affiliate links for the Amazon Associates program, for which the site MotherReader.com may receive a referral fee.

Pam

Thursday Three: Halloween

Posted by Pam on October 22, 2009 at 2:40 PM in Middle Grade BooksNonfiction BooksPicture BooksRecommendations
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I usually forget to talk about Halloween books until it's too late for parents to find them at the library or bookstore, but not this time. With the candy and costumes in the stores for weeks, it is getting hard to ignore what used to be a one day event with homemade costumes and sugar-frenzied children. So if we're going to extend the festivities, let's get a little reading in there too.

The Hallo-wiener
by Dav Pilkey
The Hallo-wienerThis is my absolute favorite Halloween book because it works for preschoolers to fifth graders. It's the story of a dachshund who is always teased by his doggie classmates, but especially after his well-meaning mother gives him a hot-dog costume for Halloween. But when his doggie friends are spooked by a ghoul, it's the little dog who saves the day. It's a funny book, but you can add a little spooky suspense when the ghoul comes into the picture.

The Halloween Book of Facts & Fun
by Wendie Old
The Halloween Book of Facts & FunThis weekend I was introduced to this book, to which I had to say, "Where have you been all my child-rearing years?" What I love about this book is right there in the title - it's facts and fun. There are instructions for carving a pumpkin and having a Halloween party. There are safety tips and riddles. There are chapters about traditions, witches, jack-o-lanterns, Dracula, and more. There's even a full page bibliography. A perfect book for the classroom or home, maybe doling out a chapter a day in the build-up to the Big Event.

The Squampkin Patch
by JT Petty
The Squampkin Patch Speaking of build-up, you'll find it in spades in this suspenseful, creepy and sometimes scary book for older kids. In the story, the Nasselrogt children hide from their parents, and end up getting shipped off to the Urchin House. When their parents show up to find them, their odd last name makes the files lost to the director. After a horrible time at the Urchin House, the children escape and end up at a mysterious house surrounded by a pumpkin patch -- or so they think. It turns out that patch holds something strange and frightening that is coming to a head on Halloween. Filled with dark humor and interesting characters, the book shows a very strong Lemony Snicket influence in the writing, which should make it a natural pick for lovers of the Series of Unfortunate Events books. A little odd, but certainly unforgettable.

Susan T.

Volcanoes!

Posted by Susan T. on October 20, 2009 at 11:55 AM in Easy ReadersMiddle Grade BooksPicture Books
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From preschool through second grade or so, my son loved to read about volcanoes. A while back, I rounded up some of our favorites, most of which I read aloud. For all of you with young scientists (aged about four to seven) in the house, here's our list, with some notes:

Why Do Volcanoes Blow Their Tops? by Melvin Berger. Picture book, lots of facts, Q. & A. format. Includes directions for making a grand baking soda/vinegar/dish-soap explosive concoction using an empty soda bottle. Because of this book, "magma" has been a part of my vocabulary for the last seven years.

Hill of Fire, by Thomas P. Lewis. Illustrated beginning reader about the farmer who stumbled across a volcano (the beginnings of one) while plowing. About the 1943 eruption of Mexico's Paricutin. A Reading Rainbow selection.

Volcanoes, by Stephanie Turnbull. From the Usborne Beginners series, a nice introduction to the subject, short bits of text, index, glossary, recommended web sites--all in 32 pages.

The Magic School Bus Blows Its Top: A Book About Volcanoes, by Gail Herman, with illustrations by Bob Ostrom. You can't go wrong with Ms. Frizzle, the extraordinary science teacher, and her class.

An Island Grows, by Lola M. Schaefer. A colorful picture book for preschoolers and early-elementary kids.

Magic Tree House #13: Vacation Under the Volcano, by Mary Pope Osborne. Early chapter book about Pompeii, from the popular series.

Volcanoes! Mountains of Fire, by Eric Arnold. Advanced beginning reader about the eruption of Mt. St. Helens.

Volcanoes! by Jeremy Caplan. Another advanced beginning reader, with photos.

Volcano, by Nicholas Harris. Pompeii from the Ice Age into the present, with tabbed pages. Picture book for older readers. Part of a series called Fast Forward. Vesuvius included, of course.

For older readers, there's Seymour Simon's Volcanoes, a Smithsonian picture book with vivid photographs.

Pam

Thursday Three: Hispanic Heritage

Posted by Pam on October 15, 2009 at 1:59 PM in Middle Grade BooksPicture BooksRecommendations
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For the last day of National Hispanic Heritage Month, here are three books for preschooler to tween.

What Can You Do with a Rebozo?What Can You Do with a Rebozo?
By Carmen Talfalla, illustrated by Amy Cordova
Bright, lively pictures show the many ways you an use a rebozo - a traditional Mexican woven shawl - from a cradle to a cape. The rhymes are a little labored, but the cultural portrayal is well-done and the feeling is fun. The artwork won the 2009 Pura Belpré Illustration Honor, and the book contains a brief historical discussion about rebozos.

Armando and the Blue Tarp School
by Edith Hope Fine and Judith Pinkerton Josephson; illustrated by Hernan Sosa
Armando and the Blue Tarp SchoolThis book is based on the true story of a teacher who set up a school in Tijuana, Mexico with only a blue tarp. The poverty of the children is harsh, and their garbage dump surroundings vile. But with hard work and hope, the children begin to go to school. This is a picture book, but due the the theme and length is intended for school-age children. Interesting and inspirational, it manages to teach without being preachy. The real story is included at the end of the book, as well as a glossary of Spanish words.

Confetti Girl
by Diana Lopez
Confetti GirlWith lots of Spanish words and Hispanic culture, this isn't an issue book about being Latina. It's just the world that Lina Flores occupies with her boy-crazy best friend, her quiet, studious dad, and her own school worries. Gentle is a good word to describe this middle-grade book. It's gentle on conflict, issues, humor, and culture. Sweet and fun, the book also shares dichos - little sayings - that form the chapter titles and appear through the book, like "Los amigos majors son libros." Books are your best friends.

Ann

International literature for children

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As I mentioned at the end of last month's posting, I traveled to Glasgow, Scotland in September to attend an international symposium on picturebook research. What a thought-provoking meeting it was! I want to share some of what I learned as it relates to the September postings on Booklights.

One very interesting presentation dealt with the end papers of picture books. As you are reading to your children, be sure to talk about the entire book....the cover, the title page, but also notice the end papers. More and more frequently, illustrators are using the inside of the front/back covers to tell part of the story.

cover missing sheep.jpghands end page.jpgFor example, in Mircea Catusanu's new picture book The Strange Case of the Missing Sheep, Catusanu includes hands for counting sheep.This serves as a preface to the actual story. A book created for children ages three and up, the humorous text and illustrations will also keep the adult reader entertained

chicken .jpgchicken papers.jpegYou may remember that Susan T. included in her introduction her latest favorite book, The Chicken - Chasing Queen of Lamar County, by Janice N. Harrington, pictures by Shelley Jackson.The end pages of this book cleverly lead the reader to know that feathers will fly as the chickens are being chased.

Another picture book with fabulous end papers is Peter Sis' Madlenka's Dog. Madlenka's neighborhood is "in the universe, on a planet, on a continent, in a country, in a city, in a house on a block where everyone is walking a dog." The end papers start narrowing the story in by showing the view of the universe, with the planet. Sis then zooms in closer on the page opposite the book's title page. So the end papers actually start to establish the book's setting.madlenka end page.jpeg

When reading this book with your child, also be sure to remove the cover and look at the front and back illustrations. Sis has even used the covers to help describe the setting for Madlenka's search for a dog.madlenka cover01.jpg

another world.jpgThis month's postings have provided many great suggestions for books to read aloud to older children. A book by Brazilian author Ana Maria Machado that would be an ideal read aloud for sixth/seventh graders is From Another World. The book won the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2000. It reminds us all that the horrors of slavery were not limited to the United States. Brazil shared many of the same brutalities toward African slaves that our own history includes.

big spill.jpgFinally, I can't help but add a penguin book from South Africa to Pam's September 3rd Thursday Three. Peter, Pamela and Percy in the Big Spill relates the oil slick off of Cape Town that harmed many sea birds in 2000. I think that reader Terry who posted a comment and must enjoy nonfiction will also like this link that supports the story told in picture book format.

Happy Reading, Ann

P.S. It is not only our nation's capitol with a fabulous fall book festival; Nashville has many of the same authors visiting us the weekend of October 9-11. I hope that all of you in the area will come visit us for the Southern Festival of Books! And like Pam, I'd love to host you.

Susan

Out of this world

Posted by Susan on August 5, 2009 at 12:00 AM in Middle Grade BooksNonfiction BooksRecommendations
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I recently read a book that was so good it made me want to shout about it from the rooftops. But my roof is incredibly slanted, my voice doesn't reach that far and my neighbors would think I was extremely odd. So, all in all, blogging about it seemed like a better idea.

What's the book about? Something really original, right? Something unique, that nobody else has written about? Nope. It's about man landing on the moon, a subject that has been fully explored this year because of the 40th anniversary of the iconic Apollo 11 mission.

Mission Control.jpg

How is this book different from all other moon books? Three reasons:


The research
Andrew Chaikin is an expert on the manned Apollo missions. He's the author of A Man on the Moon, a comprehensive 700 page book for adults that explains every minute detail of the Apollo space program. It was also the basis for the HBO miniseries From the Earth to the Moon. Chaikin has done exhaustive research on the missions, read thousands of transcripts, and reports. He's interviewed a multitude of NASA employees including every Apollo astronaut except for Jack Swigert who passed away in 1982. He knows what he's talking about.

The illustrations
Astronaut Alan Bean journeyed to the moon as part of the Apollo 12 mission and was the fourth moonwalker in history. After retiring from NASA, he became a full time artist. The fantastic paintings in the book encompass several decades of his work.

Bean imbues his pictures with details that only the 12 men who have walked on the moon could know. He shows us what it was like to land on the moon, walk in space and conduct science experiments. His captions capture a true sense of the experience and makes the reader feel (almost) if they had traveled into space, too. His pictures of both astronauts and equipment are incredibly detailed right down to the accessories on each astronaut's space suit.

The writing
NASA's universe is very technical, complicated and filled with acronyms. Chaikin and his co-author and wife Victoria Kohl, manage to bring this world to kids with clear and thorough explanations that never become condescending, dull, repetitive or confusing. Also included are extremely informative sidebars that answer common questions and point out intriguing aspects of Apollo. For those looking for more information, check the back for a good overview of additional material.

Take a look at the title of the book again. Mission Control, This is Apollo: The Story of the First Voyages to the Moon. As of right now, the Apollo missions have been the only moon missions. Nobody has been back since December, 1972. I love the optimism and vision in the subtitle that suggests that the Apollo missions are the first of many.

All in all, a great book. As an added bonus, Alan Bean's paintings are currently on display at the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC through January 13, 2010. Can't make the trip? Check out Alan Bean's online gallery and enjoy your trip from the earth to the moon.

Team Moon.jpg For another excellent book on the subject, I highly recommend Catherine Thimmesh's Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon. It shows what a team effort the moon missions really were and provides a terrific behind the scenes perspective. This well researched book won the 2007 Siebert Informational Book Medal.

Got a favorite space book of your own? I'd love to hear what it is.

Jen

More Series Books Featuring Adventurous Girls

Posted by Jen Robinson on July 20, 2009 at 6:00 AM in Middle Grade BooksRecommendations
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Last week I suggested several current series with adventurous girl protagonists. Commenters to that post pointed out a few notable oversights, and I'd like to share those this week.

sistersgrimm.jpgMichael Buckley's Sisters Grimm series was suggested by both Stephanie and Laura. I actually had this series on my mental list at one point, and then neglected to include it. I've only read the first two books (reviews here: The Fairy Tale Detectives and The Unusual Suspects), but there are seven books available. This is an excellent series for elementary school readers. It features two sisters who find themselves in the family business of investigating criminal behavior among the EverAfters (fairy tale characters living real lives in a particular town). The irrepressible Puck was my favorite character from the first book, The Fairy Tale Detectives. They're lovely hardcovers, too, excellent gift books.

YoungWizards.jpgDiane Duane's Young Wizards series (currently at eight books, with a ninth expected in 2010), was recommended by Deva Fagan. This series actually has two primary protagonists, a boy and a girl who are wizard partners in a society that lies hidden within our own. The presence of a very strong younger sister character makes this series definitely qualify for inclusion. Nita, Dairine, and Kit are all among my favorite characters. This is a series in which the magic is relatively mathematical, and in which real-life family dynamics play a strong part, too. As with many series, the books do get a bit darker as the series progresses, with the later books more suited to middle school and up than elementary school. The only one that I've reviewed is the most recent, Wizards at War, because I read the other books before starting my blog. (And, in fact, this series is one that kept me reading YA as an adult, even when I wasn't blogging.) The first book is So You Want to Be a Wizard, in which Nita discovers a wizard's manual, and is partnered with Kit.

200px-Sandry's_book.jpgDeva and My Boaz's Ruth also both recommended Tamora Pierce's books (specifically, the Protector of the Small and the Circle of Magic series). I hadn't included Pierce because I think of her books more as straight-up YA, but Deva and Ruth both remind me that these series start with the characters around 10 or so. The only Pierce title that I've reviewed is Wild Magic (#1 in the Immortals Quartet). But I have read the first Circle of Magic book, Sandry's Book. The first book in the Protector of the Small series is First Test. Tamora Pierce is known for writing about strong female characters, and her books are huge hits with teen readers. I personally tend more towards fantasy that is set in and around our modern world, rather than your knights and castles sort of fantasy, which is why I haven't read more of these. But I have read enough to feel quite comfortable recommending these books.

My Boaz's Ruth also mentioned several older titles that feature strong girls (Trixie Belden, etc.). This reminded me of a list that I created on my blog in 2006, 200 Cool Girls of Children's Literature. I started with a list of a few girls from children's literature who I thought were smart, brave, strong, and independent. With the help of many, many reader suggestions, I eventually collected a list of more than 200 cool girls. I later added a Cool Boys list, now at about 175 or so. Mary Lee and Franki from A Year of Reading were inspired to create their own list, of 100 Cool Teachers of Children's Literature, which is delightful. And TheBookDragon collects "Great and/or Infamous Librarians in Children's and YA Literature" in her sidebar. One day, I'll find time to update the Cool Girl and Boy lists with my discoveries from the past three years. Meanwhile, I thought that I would share the links here, in case any of you find them useful.

Jen

Series Books Featuring Adventurous Girls

Posted by Jen Robinson on July 13, 2009 at 6:00 AM in Middle Grade BooksRecommendations
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A commenter on my personal blog asked an interesting question the other day about book recommendations for girls. Susan wrote:

"My friend and I each have a son and daughter in the 3rd to 5th grade range. We were talking about what the kids were currently reading. In the course of our conversation, we both agreed it was much harder to find books that our girls were interested in than our boys. Given that I often read about the reverse here and on other kidlit blogs, I thought I'd mention it.

There are some great series that are more geared for boys like The Ranger's Apprentice, The Overland Chronicles and even the Percy Jackson books. While many girls enjoy these books, they have more of a boy bent to them to me. The series books for girls are about fairies or horses or mean girl behavior. In terms of currently popular series books, you've got those subjects or the Clementine/Ramona/Junie B. Jones genre which our daughters loved but have outgrown.

Where are the adventure series with the female main character that have our daughters eagerly anticipating the next book being published? There are lots of good single books, but I find that my kids dig into the series more. I haven't run across a great series that appeals more to my daughter than my son yet."

I responded briefly to Susan last week, but I thought that this might be a topic that other parents would find interesting, so I have expanded on my response here at Booklights. I think that the proliferation of adventure series with boy protagonists happens because of a common perception that boys won't read about girl heroines, but girls will read about boys. This was mentioned in a recent post by Mr. ChompChomp at Guys Lit Wire. He said: "I read somewhere that the reason Disney makes so many more "boy" movies than "girl" movies is that girls will go to see boy movies but boys won't go to see girl movies. "We don't like it. That's just the way it is," Disney executives say. But if you look at the girl movies that they make, it's no wonder guys aren't interested. They are nearly all about princesses."

I do think it's a bit of an unfortunate situation, for girls and boys, resulting in fewer adventures with girl protagonists, and kids of both genders potentially missing out on great books. I also think that this viewpoint is probably why there seem to be more adventure series out there centered around male protagonists.

Fortunately, I have several ongoing series to suggest that feature girls as the hero. In all cases, I've read at least the first book or two. They are listed roughly in age order, from books for elementary schoolers up to books that I think will also work for girls in middle school.

gilda_joyce_cover.jpgThe Gilda Joyce series, by Jennifer Allison, about a young girl who is a "psychic investigator". These are very fun, and set in a more modern setting. Gilda is fun, smart, and a bit wacky. There are four books out, and hopefully more on the way (I wasn't able to confirm that). The first book is Gilda Joyce, Psychic Investigator (reviewed here).

THEO_crop.jpgThe Theodosia series by R. L. LaFevers, featuring Theodosia Throckmorton, Egyptologist and adventurer. These are historical / supernatural mysteries, featuring a smart Victorian girl who runs rings around her distracted parents. There are 2 books out, and a third on the way. The first book is Theodosia and the Serpents of Chaos (reviewed here).

enola_holmes1.jpgThe Enola Holmes series by Nancy Springer, featuring Sherlock Holmes' younger sister. Enola runs away and starts her own detective agency, and is more than a match for her smug older brother. There are five books currently available in this series, and I would imagine that more are on the way here. The first book is The Case of the Missing Marquess (reviewed here).

Blackbringer pb cover sm.jpgLaini Taylor's Dreamdark series, about Magpie Windwitch, the strongest and feistiest of fairies. Currently the first book, Blackbringer, is available in paperback, with the sequel, Silksinger, due out in September. Others are planned for this series. Don't let the books being about fairies fool you - these are excellent books for strong middle grade and middle school girls.

suddenlysuper.jpgElizabeth Cody Kimmel's Suddenly Supernatural series, featuring a middle school girl who discovers that she has psychic powers. Despite the supernatural aspects, these books also feature realistic tween friendship dynamics. There are currently 3 books available. The first book is Suddenly Supernatural: School Spirit (reviewed here).

kiki.jpgKristen Miller's Kiki Strike books, about a team of tween girls who fight crime in New York City. These books are clever and quirky, with interesting settings (including a city below NYC). There are currently two books available, and I'm hoping for a third. The first book is Kiki Strike: Inside the Shadow City (reviewed here).

Once they are ready for young adult books, there are tons of series featuring female protagonists, including Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games series and Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls spy series. And there are other series books for younger girls that are wonderful, though not "adventures". For example, The Penderwicks books by Jeanne Birdsall and the Casson family books by Hilary McKay.

Readers, can you suggest any other series with adventurous female main characters that will have middle grade girls "eagerly anticipating the next book being published"? And if you're interested in the issue of gendered readers' advisory in general, check out Lisa Chellman's recent post on this subject.

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