It's We Recommend, in which we use our superpowers to find readers the perfect book. Got a kid who needs a recommendation? Write us at thediamondinthewindow (at) gmail (dot) com with the age, reading tastes, favorite books, and any other relevant (or irrelevant) information, and we'll give it a shot. And really? All the good suggestions are in the comments.
You know, we talk about superpowers up there at the top, and I have…evolved, my thinking about those. See, if you were in my house, and you were sad or confused or in need of solace, and you said, "And the worst part is, I just finished my book and I have to ride the subway the whole way home without one!" Why then, I would be able to ask you a few relevant questions and then dip my hand into the shelves and come up with the perfect book. Well, maybe not dip exactly, but you know what I mean.
Or maybe, if we were browsing slowly through a bookstore together, you and I, and you said, "I'm going to Greece for a week, and I need a book that will see me through. See, I just broke up with my honey, and we were supposed to go together, and I can't refund the tickets, what do you think I should buy?" I could help you find the right book for that, too.
But I must also note: that when I was in the bookstore the other day, buying presents, I was befuddled. Overwhelmed. Uncertain. There I was, ready to buy a book for people I actually know and love, and I had no idea what to get. And when I got this week's We Recommend question, I felt that way again. Why? I don't know. See if you feel the same.
My daughter is in second grade, but reads well into a 3rd grade and even some 4th grade chapter books. I want to encourage her, but don't want to seem overly pushy. Here is a list of books or series' that she has enjoyed.
Daisy Dawson Series
Kitty Corner and Puppy Place books
Horrible Harry series
Ivy + Bean
She likes "Frankly Frannie" books, but I am constantly highlighting the slang words, such as fabulicious, which are on almost every page, and if it is highlighted she knows it is not a real word!
OK, first of all: I, too, have issues with intentional fake words, particularly those meant to replicate Children's Adorable Neologisms™ (bestest, etc—and yes, I'm referring to you, Junie B. Jones. You are my enemy.).
But underlining them? It never occurred to me. It must be so tiring. I am not familiar with Frankly Frannie; I hope they're not terrible to read and that it's not torture do do so.
But I'm just avoiding the question here, right? I must say that my gut, as it always is, was The Cobble Street Cousins. Followed closely by Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. And then I thought: why don't I know any current books—other than the ones she's already read, Ivy and Bean? Chestnut warned me off Clementine. I suppose we don't quite know what this girl loves: people? pets? mysteries? Maybe the Box-Car children? But I wanted to find something new, and wonderful, and fun. See, the excellent thing about this kid, is that it seems like she would like any of these. But what would she love?
Plus there are maybe a billion of these, so they will last, and last, and last.
But I am unsure. If they were making a giant movie about superhero me, this would be the part where I go somewhere else and let my costume get all disheveled and generally demonstrate a lack of belief in my powers and their use to mankind (this vision more or less puts me as an alien, which I guess is fine). Soon to happen: a small, injured kid will be perilously close to falling off a cliff, and only the right book will save them. Or something. I don't really know. Meanwhile, you guys should put all your useful suggestions in the comments, and then we can all meet at the superhero bar.
16 thoughts on “We Recommend: 7-Year-Old Girls and the Things They Love”
OMG! (sorry). I also have a 7 yr old daughter, who has read many of those same series as the requestor’s child, and she LOVED Fairy Realm. There are only 10(!) which was a large disappointment to her.
My daughter also reads Clementine, Just Grace (a whole series of Grace) and Mallory books. I would mainly call those trashy, but I am trying (thanks to you Diamond) not to say/think things like that.
She also likes:
Capitol Mysteries series
Sea Queens by Jane Yolen
Greek Myths by D’Aulieres
Edward Eager – we read all of them recently
Dragon Slayer’s Academy (20 book series, very similar in length/difficulty to A-Z mysteries)
The Magician’s Boy by Susan Cooper
Dick King-Smith is good for books about animals
I’ll try to think of some more options. I’m trying to figure out (or my own kid) whether it’s the right moment for A Wrinkle in Time. I’m always terrified of introducing things too early and having them rejected.
How about the Mercy Watson books by Kate DiCamillo?
My daughter is seven, and I hesitate to mention this, but she loves Captain Underpants and also Ook and Gluk by Dav Pilkey. I completely understand why many parents would reject those books. (our school library doesn’t even have them.)
my daughters (6 and 7) have enjoyed the Grace, Mallory, Clementine, series(es?) immensely. The younger just finished the Sisters 8 series, which she love, and the elder just flew went through the entire Mackenzie Blue series, which I was not 100% comfortable with, but I trust my librarian, who felt it was acceptable. They have both also read Judy Blume’s Fudge series, as well as Beverly Cleary’s Ramona – these might work for you as well? How about something visual like Geromino Stilton? Also, Cam Jansen!!! How could I forget! Hope these help 🙂
How about Betsy-Tacy and Tib by Maud Hart Lovelace? All of a Kind Family by Sydney Taylor The “other” Betsy books by Carolyn Haywood.
I also have a 7-year-old girl who has read and loved most of the series listed above. She also enjoys the Animal Ark series and the Warriors series. One of her friends adores the Enid Blyton books. And my goal is to get her interested in the Shoes books by Noel Streatfeild.
Catwings is lovely, and short. There are four books and it’s just perfect for a 7-year-old who loves to read but doesn’t want to be overwhelmed.
Another really lovely series, that’s pretty new, is Anna Hibiscus, by Atinuke. The eponymous main character lives in “Amazing Africa” with her large, happy, and boistrous extended family (including her mother, who is from Canada, and who, the illustrations make clear, is the only Caucasian family member). There is something of a through-plot, involving Anna Hibiscus wanting to go visit her grandmother in Canada to see snow, but mostly it is just wonderful self-contained chapters about her life and her family and relatively small problems that get solved. I can’t recommend it highly enough. And there are no cutesy neologisms.
I wouldn’t call Clementine and Grace trashy by any means. They’re simple reads, and the kids sometimes use goofy language, but it feels real, not manufactured.
And what is it about finding books for 7 yr olds? This is when I ran into problems finding books for my own daughter, and I’m sure I’ve seen requests from others in the same situation. In any case, this is where I get to share the love–I asked a similar question 2 (!) years ago, and got wonderful suggestions. http://www.thediamondinthewindow.com/the-diamond-in-the-window/2010/10/we-recommend-heavy-reading-mild-only-child-edition.html.
One more suggestion:
an “Adventures of Minnie and Max” book came into our house last night. It’s a series about a girl detective and her cat.
Seems great, so far, according to the 7 yr old.
It’s by Patricia Reilly Giff, and since I got it at a school book sale, it’s marked “reading level N” if that means anything to you.
She could try Milly, Molly Mandy. My daughter adored it. It is very old fashioned but for some reason it appealed to my girl at that age. Also seconding All of a Kind Family.
B is for Betsy by Caroline Haywood
and Wolf Story (which is an ideal read aloud “chapter book” for slightly younger kids too) was just released in a new edition as part of the New York Review collection! Funny and gentle.
My almost 7 year old LOOOVES the Franny K Stein series by Jim Benton about a girl mad scientist and the Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series by RL LaFever. Lately we’ve read aloud Charlie & the Chocolate Factory (big hit), the Best Christmas Pageant Ever (hilarious), and we’re about to start Ballet Shoes (hope it’s not too early for that one…). I remember loving Mrs. Piggle Wiggle as a kid, but Maeve hasn’t really gotten into them yet.
Thank you all! My daughter will be set for a good while! I am so lucky to have found this site! I am going to make a search and see if I can get a few for the holiday break coming up! She started a Junie B. Jones last year and never finished it, and told me those were ok, but she doesn’t want anymore. Frankly Frannie at least has larger words in bold face, but they mix up correct and incorrect so it is easy to breeze through and highlight. I don’t know if that is proper to do, but I really wouldn’t want her to begin using absutively in her writing assignments! You are a fabulous site and I appreciate the prompt post and replies!
Laura…Mom of the 7 yr old who likes it all!
A nice follow-up to the A-Z mysteries, but with a bit more depth is the Boxcar Children series. My daughter liked those a lot. They are probably about 4th grade level, I think.
The Fairy Realm ones are a good choice. They are fairy-related but not as cloying or repetitive as the darn Rainbow Magic fairies.
Gail Carson Levine has done some simpler Fairy Books/Princess Books…
There is a Nancy Drew series for younger readers. I think it is called Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew. Very much like the A-Z mysteries. I think Alexander McCall Smith has a few mystery books out about “Precious” which seem fun and good–his Akimbo series was recommended to me on this site over a year ago and those were a huge hit for my son.
I think Chestnut was too harsh re Clementine. True, she is not quite Ramona, but the books are waaaaay better than Junie B. For city dweller me, they have the added bonus of being urban as well. (Clementine lives in an apartment building where her dad is the super and her mom is an artist.)
Also, since you wrote that post about characters and race in a fairly recent post, I thought I would pass along this Diversifying the “Best Of” Lists, too. The requester would need to lscroll towards the bottom to see what was good for her 7 y.o.