We Recommend: A Dad Reads to His Daughter—The Long and Short of It

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.
– See more at: http://www.thediamondinthewindow.com/the-diamond-in-the-window/we-recommend/#sthash.PEfDR5Nf.dpuf

It's We Recommend! Where you write in to see if we can find the perfect book for your kid, and we, you know, try to do that. If you'd like a recommendation, just email us at thediamondinthewindow [at] gmail [dot] com, with as much relevant (and irrelevant, why not?) information as you can, and we'll try to find the perfect book. And the truth is, even if we don't find it, all the great suggestions are in the comments.

OK, this one is complicated, so we're going to go slowly.

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.
– See more at: http://www.thediamondinthewindow.com/the-diamond-in-the-window/we-recommend/#sthash.PEfDR5Nf.dpuf

First: the writer has been having an awesome time reading aloud to her son, who is 10. The proof?

My 10 year old son Reed asked that my husband and I to read
Sherlock Holmes to him – this was a departure because it had gotten so
that most nights Reed just wanted to read on his own. He rarely asked us
to read to him anymore (so sad!). Now we've got this great tradition
and it's worked so well since the Sherlock Holmes stories are short-ish –
my husband reads to him a few nights, then I get a few nights, etc. And
though I'm not a mystery reader usually, I have really enjoyed these
stories. All three of us are totally hooked on Sherlock Holmes now, it's
great!

But! Not so fast! She has a daughter, and they have been reading longer books together, which has also been awesome.

My daughter Amy is 8 and an avid reader and listener of books on
her iPod Touch. Loves loves loves Harry Potter (has read all the books
4+ times each) but also loves the Rainbow Magic series [which I can't
stand, but she persists in loving them with her whole heart]. She was on
a Fudge kick lately, and she likes the Goddess Girls, Whatever After,
and Fairy Realm series, as well as The Girl Who Circumnavigated
Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making
.

A couple of weeks ago I decided we should pick a
book that we share, with me reading it to her solely, not her reading it
on her own. I chose The Secret Garden (though I somehow never read it
myself – I wasn't encouraged to read much when I was a kid) and it's
been going so well. Both of us look forward to this special time
together every night, and sharing this story together. It's wonderful to
have the shared feeling of excitement in wondering what will happen
next.

What next? Well, this.

I have two requests for recommendations – first for a book that my
husband might read to our daughter solely on his own, and then something
more in the short stories vein that will allow us to take turns reading
to her. We're about halfway through The Secret Garden so I'll be crossing my
fingers that you get to my recommendation!

Wow. OK, that's two (2) books for the young lady: a longer read aloud to get into with her dad (I think), and shorter stories for people to switch off with.

OK, people, I'm telling you right now that I'm going to go predictable. Given the resounding success of The Secret Garden, and given that it's a dad reading to her, for the long book, I am going with that most daddy's girl of all books, A Little Princess.

LittlePrincess7

It's just so good!

Now, for the short stories. There are so many ones, and I must say that this girl seems to me a fairy tale sort of person, and fairy tales are so compact and strange and wonderful. But I worry that we're going to pull her down the tunnels into the land of the 19th century with its problematic issues. Plus, we want a little balance, so maybe…oh, maybe these?

154078452

There are many MANY books in this series, so you will never run out, and each story is pretty short and strange and worth talking about.

OK, now for those of you who will be LESS predictable. What have you got? Put it in the comments.

17 thoughts on “We Recommend: A Dad Reads to His Daughter—The Long and Short of It

  1. Some longer book suggestions–we dont do short stories really. We recently read The House Above the Trees by Ethel Eliot and all loved it, including my husband. Such a great lead female character! I think that Heidi by Johanna Spyri might also be a good choice, given the love between Heidi and her grandfather. You know, even The Hobbit might work well. We read it to our then-three year old and were surprised how much she got out of it and how well she dealt with the exciting parts. The Hobbit could be a great read-aloud for the whole family. Just avoid the movie, but that’s my own snobby opinion.

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  2. Shortish stories: Mrs. Piggle Wiggle and its sequels
    Longer books : Understood Betsy might just be the perfect book to read to an 8 year old girl. And The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge – who I believe is a favorite of J.K. Rowling. I would also think about “Journey to the River Sea” by Eva Ibbotson.

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  3. I read out loud nightly to kids ages 7, 10, 13, so I’m always looking for things that have enough action to keep the 7yo interested and also enough depth that the 13yo doesn’t roll her eyes all the way to the back of her head. We have had good luck with the new Peter Pan series by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson. I recommend the first one at least for a good read aloud for almost any age.
    Also, you can’t go wrong with Roald Dahl as a read aloud. The BFG is so amazing, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, James and the Giant Peach, and Fantastic Mr Fox are not far behind.
    I don’t have any suggestions for short stories though, other than maybe a book of myths, if she likes that kind of thing. D’Aulaires’ book of Greek Myths maybe?

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  4. Toys Go Out and its sequels might be a good choice for the short story read-aloud– each of its stories/chapters is pretty self contained, and it reads aloud wonderfully.

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  5. I enjoyed reading the unabridged Grimm’s Fairy Tales with my dad as a kid about that age…we just skipped some of the darker ones. Maybe Matilda for a longer book? Little house books–maybe Farmer Boy? Maybe some Tamora Pierce too? The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E Frankweiler or Dr. Doolittle maybe.

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  6. For the short stories–how about The Princess Tales (there’s at least two volumes) by Gail Carson Levine. They’re humorous retellings of fairy tales, really good stuff.

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  7. YES to Roald Dahl – fun for all ages.
    And this may be a little outside the box but what about the Childhood of Famous Americans series (or as I call them, “little orange biographies?”) Most libraries still carry them, and they are interesting AND informative.
    Just a thought –

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  8. This might be going a little bit off message in terms of the girl’s taste, but having once been an 8 year old girl I can’t resist recommending any of the Wayside School books (for the short story format). One of my happiest childhood memories is sitting in my elementary school library listening to our librarian read them aloud (and every single kid LOSING IT).

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  9. Short stories – The Violet Fairy Book (any of the colors), or the Dover books have lots of short story collections – Celtic stories, Jewish stories, etc. My daughter has loved these. Longer read-aloud – what about Birchbark House or Westing Game (another mystery)?

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  10. Thank you so much for taking my request, and to everyone who has responded! I feel like I’ve won a prize here…so many amazing books you all have shared with me. I have a list together for our next trip to the library. I think there are some great matches here and am really looking forward to reading these books…oh and my daughter will love them too!

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  11. My older daughter received a copy of Wildwood by Colin Meloy when she was 8 or 9. First her dad read it to her, then she read it to herself, and now she’s having her dad read it to her again. I plan on getting her the sequel as a surprise long-road-trip present later this month.
    All of which is to say, it comes highly recommended by my girl.

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  12. The Betsy Tacy books are a little young at first, but might be good. Also, Island of the Aunts, The Time Garden, Emily of New Moon, Anne of Green Gables.
    I second recommendations for Understood Betsy or Tamora Pierce’s books (the Page/Knight series that takes place in Keladry not the Circle books that are for older readers). Enright books are our go to books, especially The Four Story Mistake and the two Gone Away Lake books. Swallows and Amazons (skim a bit until they get to the island) and the first Boxcar Children are both good adventures.

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