We Recommend: Books about…American Culture?

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.

 Well, faithful readers, we have reason to rejoice (I think so anyway) because this is yet another return visitor whom we have helped before. But now, it's different.

We live in Australia and are heading to America for three months at
the end of this year.  We will be based in Boston, but will also be
exploring other parts of the country, and spending Thanksgiving with
distant relatives in Arizona. Obviously in Australia (as everywhere) we
get a fair bit of exposure to American culture, but I would be really
interested in some ideas for the 8 – 10 year age group that deal
interestingly with American history and culture, perhaps especially
history relevant to Boston and New England.  We have read the Little
House series, and Caddie Woodlawn and quite a number of other regular
recommendations on your website (Understood Betsy, Betsy-Tacy, lots of
Judy Blume, the Penderwicks, Ramona et al).  Your help is greatly

OK, I absolutely know people will ahve excellent ideas on this one. But for me? There's only one real choice. It came to me in a blinding flash.


Is it too dorky for me to pick this? Probably yes. And yet! It's set in Concord, and it's about the Transcendentalists in New England, and the Alcotts, and Walden, and Thoreau…I just had no choice, can't you see that? For heaven's sake, it's my namesake, I couldn't just forsake it. (But maybe Little Women, too? Just because why not?)

Anyway, I believe (I hope?) that you guys have all sorts of other American,
New England, Boston books for the 8- to 10-year-old crowd.

(Also, this cover in no way resembles any of the many I have owned, but it is so awesome and majestic and creepy that I had to put it here. Thanks, GoodReads!)

Any ideas? Put them in the comments, if you will.


10 thoughts on “We Recommend: Books about…American Culture?

  1. The most like recent historic fiction is Firestorm. I know it is about Chicago but it was really well like by my 10 year old daughter. Also another fun on is mixed up files. She just read that for school and we went to NYC for spring break so heading to the met was a highlight. But it is a fun book for that age and can be related to any big city/museum experience. My younger daughter talked about trumpet of the swan when I asked her about Boston. She is 7 and really liked that book. I will keep thinking i know there have to be more book ideas.


  2. -Sarah Bishop- (o’dell) and -My Brother Sam is Dead- (collier and lincoln) are two historical novels we read in fourth grade alongside -Johnny Tremain- , growing up in the Boston area. -Little Women- (Alcott) was another- historical and fiction and Concordy! If they were older I would recommend -the scarlet letter- and some witch trial books and a trip to Salem. -Clementine- (pennypacker) is current fiction, lives in Boston, and does Boston-y things and addresses key stuff like Red Sox loyalty, grin. There are also a jillion books about whaling / New Bedford and Nantucket that are not coming to mind. -make way for ducklings- (mccloskey) is about the public garden and the swanboats, but may be rejected as a picture book?


  3. The Witch at Blackbird Pond? Not sure if the ages are right for it, and it does present a very specific/strange part of American history, set right in the New England area.


  4. What about the American Girl series(es)? I wouldn’t call them great literature, but I loved them myself in the 8-10 year old time.


  5. Edward Eager’s “The Thyme Garden” – just re-reading to my ten year old. Magic and History of New England.


  6. Oh Gosh, I remember The WItch of Blackbird Pond’ from my own childhood. These are all excellent suggestions, keep them coming and thank you.


  7. How about titles in the Dear America series? I can’t really remember what the reading levels are for those.


  8. Can I tell you how satisfied I am that you FINALLY recommended the book that brought me here to your blog (I did a Google search re the title and stayed).
    I do love Diamond in the Window so think it is good choice. Will try to think of others.


  9. The Diamond in the Window was my absolute favorite book when I was a child (and I was probably sucked in by that particular cover!). Also loved The Princess and the Goblin (written in 1872!) by George MacDonald. You might think its age – and the princess association – would make it a no-no to current kids, but I gave it to my now-18-year-old son when he was 9 or 10, and he loved it. Another book I read in HS, re-read many times, and turned out to be a good book to read aloud to my kids when they were past picture books, was Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury.


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