(Photo credit: Eric Horst via Flickr.com)

This week, it’s the girls’ turn.

Last week, I posted a list of book recommendations that ought to keep the ten-year-old boy in your life reading for a long time.  But even though I focused on boys because I initially sought suggestions for my own son, I thought I ought to come up with a list of recommendations for girls, too.  With lots of help from you, I have.

Each of the books or series below has been recommended for girls (or girls and boys) who are about ten years old by one or more blog readers via blog comment, Facebook comment or email. (Some of these books will work for younger kids.)  As with last week’s post, I’ve added a bit of commentary here and there, as well as a couple of titles I couldn’t resist including.

One note before we get to the recommendations: some of you may wonder why I’ve divided the books by gender.  Why, you may ask, is it necessary to separate books into “boy” and “girl” categories?  Can’t girls and boys read and enjoy the same things?

Yes, of course they can.  Plenty of quality storytelling transcends gender–just ask J.K. Rowling.

But we ignore reality if we pretend that boys and girls aren’t at least a little bit different, and sometimes they seek out different reading material.  For example, you’ll see the very popular American Girl books on the girls’ list below.  Parents of boys, what do you think?  How many of your tween sons are going to read those books?  If we want to encourage all of our kids to read, we have to accept that one of the many factors that can sometimes influence our kids’ reading choices is gender.

Keeping that in mind, I’ve created two lists below based on the recommendations people sent in: one for girls, and one for both girls and boys.  But remember: these are just lists.  As always, you know your kid best.

Ready?  Here we go.

For Girls


  • Anatopsis, by Chris Abouzeid
  • The Sisters Grimm (series), by Michael Buckley
  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo
  • Dragon Slippers (series), by Jessica Day George
  • Island of the Aunts, by Eva Ibbotson (includes lots of humor)
  • The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls, by Elise Primavera (“Perfect novel for getting reluctant readers into bigger books.”  — Chris Abouzeid, author of Anatopsis)
  • Theodosia Throckmorton (series), by R.L. LaFevers (ancient Egyptian artifacts; how fun!)
  • Dragonsong (first in the Pern: Harper Hall trilogy), by Anne McCaffrey (a YA route into McCaffrey’s famous world of Pern)
  • Enola Holmes Mysteries (series), by Nancy Springer
  • Trixie Belden (series), by multiple authors (a bit dated; think Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys era)

Historical fiction

  • Catherine, Called Birdy, by Karen Cushman (medieval England)
  • A Murder for Her Majesty, by Beth Hilgartner (Elizabethan era)
  • The Diamond of Drury Lane, by Julia Golding (mystery in late 18th-century London)


  • Ivy and Bean (series), by Annie Barrows (will likely appeal to girls a bit younger than 10)
  • A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder, by Richard Peck
  • The Kneebone Boy, by Ellen Potter (tough to categorize; elements of mystery, fantasy and adventure)

Realistic Fiction

  • Vet Volunteers (series), by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • Because of Winn Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo (Newbery winner)

A Few Classics

  • The Little Princess, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Anne of Green Gables (series), by L.M. Montgomery (I read these books repeatedly growing up and loved them.  Now, as an adoptive mom, I appreciate them from a different angle.  Adoptive parents may want to take note of the protagonist’s adoption story, and expect some questions or even initiate a discussion with your young reader.)
  • Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott

Its Own Category

  • The American Girl books, both fiction and non-fiction.  (I know, I know.  But I consistently hear good reviews, so I believe the books are worth checking out.)

Graphic Novels

  • Amelia Rules! (series), by Jimmy Gownley

In the “Anything They Write” Category

  • Kate DiCamillo
  • Margaret Haddix
  • Cynthia Lord
  • Cynthia Rylant (some of her books target a younger audience)


For Girls and Boys


  • The Chronicles of Prydain, by Lloyd Alexander (Newbery winner; fantasy plus humor)
  • Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt (not an adventure story; a quieter read)
  • The Mostly True Story of Jack, by Kelly Barnhill
  • The Dark is Rising (series), by Susan Cooper
  • Matilda, by Roald Dahl
  • The Witches, by Roald Dahl
  • D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, by Ingri D’Aulaire
  • Coraline, by Neil Gaiman (next up on my list to read to ten-year-old “Jack” at bedtime; hopefully, it won’t give me nightmares)
  • The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman
  • Edenville Owls, by Robert Parker
  • Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling (but you knew that)
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society, by Trenton Lee Stewart
  • Breadcrumbs, by Anne Ursu
  • The Sword and the Stone, by T.H. White

I’ll Call Them Classics

  • Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh (Jack and I are reading the sequels now; they weren’t all written by Fitzhugh, and so far, the quality is variable)
  • Pippi Longstocking (series, though not necessarily sequential), by Astrid Lindgren

Adventure/Historical Fiction/Fantasy/Graphic Novel

  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick (tough to categorize; wonderful to read)


  • An encyclopedia set, such as one published by Dorling Kindersley (DK Publishing) (to inspire reading in new areas of interest)

Not So Much to Read as to Amuse

  • The Encyclopedia of Immaturity (two volumes), by Klutz (give at your own risk)

More Sources for Additional Info

If you have any additional recommendations or comments, please add them below.  And once again, thank you for contributing to these lists and helping to keep our kids reading!

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