We Recommend: The Return of the Advanced Reader

It's We Recommend! In which we post a request that's been sent to us, and do our best to get that person the right book. Know a kid who needs a book to read? Send us (at thediamondinthewindow (at) gmail (dot) com) his or her likes, dislikes, favorites, quirks, and any other reading information that might be helpful, and we will think on it, and pose it to our oh-so-helpful readers. And look in the comments—all the best recommendations are there.

Hey, guys—we have a returning We Recommend-er! (Yeah, not a word, not graceful, not anything really—let's just move along.)

I am asking again for some help, my daughter is 9 now, and continues reading well above her grade level. I am running into some problems finding books that don't have inappropriate content, and by that I mean mature themes, language, and even a lack of magic- she believes in Santa, fairies, and the like. She really enjoys magical stories Ella Enchanted, The Princess Diaries, Harry Potter, The Tale of Emily Windsnap, Aquamarine, and everything I could find from those authors. She also likes historical fiction, American Girl, Girls of Many Lands, Esperanza Rising, Anne of Green Gables, Sarah Plain and Tall, I, Coriander. I will say she loves books about animals and has read many different series about adopting puppies, kitties, and horses.

Ah, the young but avid reader. There are, luckily, so many books for these sorts of kids. The ones that spring to mind are Half Magic, and really, all of Edward Eager and for that matter his inspiration, E. Nesbit. Also the ones she must have read: A Little Princess, The Secret Garden. A great favorite (ahem) The Diamond in the Window. Chestnut suggests Fly by Night, as well as Septimus Heap. Also, Chestnut adds, the Very Honorable League of Pirates, and Dragon Rider. Not to mention The Thief Lord, and Inkspell (though maybe not the other two books in this series). And maybe The Thirteen Clocks as well. Chestnut would also like to add: The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland on a Ship of Her Own Making. The list goes on and on. Oh, and has she read the Betsy-Tacy books? Those are wonderful!

But the one that I love, love, love, that Chestnut devoured over the past few years, is this:


Magic! Girls! Geese! Adventure! Everything a person could want. And there are many, many books in the series, and they are all incredibly satisfying.

I am all but certain my most excellent readers will have even better ideas than these. If you have a book for this questing 9-year-old, put it in the comments, by all means.

15 thoughts on “We Recommend: The Return of the Advanced Reader

  1. Great suggestions! We have discovered Eleanor Estes: Ginger Pye, Pinky Pye, Rufus M, The Moffats. We love them. And I’ll second Chestnut’s suggestion of Septimus Heap, although some parts are a bit graphic.


  2. Not quite yet- but soon- the Protector of the Small series by Tamora Pierce. Actually my similar daughter read the first two in the series (First Test and Page) which were fine, the second two should wait a year or two though.
    Wrinkle in Time and sequels.
    Eight Cousins
    The Borrowers
    Island of the Aunts
    Understood Betsy
    Our Own May Amelia
    Ordinary Magic
    Dealing with Dragons / Searching for Dragons / Calling on Dragons / Talking to Dragons (a quartet)


  3. I would recommend:
    Caddie Woodlawn
    Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer)
    Five Little Peppers (and how they Grew)
    Ballet Shoes
    Sisters Grimm series
    Eva Ibbotsen’s Which Witch (and others)


  4. Not a magic book, but how about When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. It is such a very interesting book…time travel (so, kind of magic) and mystery. Can’t really say too much without giving it away.
    I also second Chesnut’s suggestion of Fly by Night and also Twilight Robbery if she ends up enjoying Frances Hardinge – I personally love her. I also second the suggestion someone else made of Ordinary Magic. Howl’s Moving Castle and Charmed Life by Dianna Wynne Jones.


  5. Loving so many suggestions here, especially Understood Betsy and Whangdoodle (great magic in that one).
    How about The Egypt Game by the late great Zilpha Keatley Snyder (so sad to hear she passed away)
    Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry is a great next level horse book
    Nancy and Plum is a cozy orphan triumph story along Wolves lines by Betty Macdonald of Mrs. Piggle Wiggle fame
    And finally, The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright – no magic but…so great and exactly what you want when you are 9. The second book in the series Four Story Mistake is still my 12 year old daughter’s favorite (and one of mine).


  6. The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander starting with the Book of Three
    As others have mentioned anything by Eva Ibbotsen – Especially Which Witch, One Dog and His Boy, and Journey to the River Sea.
    And I second the suggestion of Diana Wynne Jones who is wonderful, especially: Howel’s Moving Castle, the Chrestomanci Stories and Archer’s Goon.
    And I also seccond the Elizabeth Enright suggestion. Anything by her is great, all of the Melendy books starting with The Saturdays, but also the two Gone Away Lake
    And pretty much everything everyone else said The Diamond in the Window is great even if you have to resort to buying it on ABE or any other used book site. Also if she hasn’t read the Ruth Chew Magic books they have been reissued in paperback and are also great!


  7. I’m also voting for books by Elizabeth Enright and The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder.
    And has she read The Phantom Tollbooth?
    Also, the Moomintroll books by Tove Jansson are odd but enchanting
    I think really digging into the list of Newbery winners could work well–I especially enjoyed Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell, Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski, Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright, Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes, and Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry
    argh, there was some other title I wanted to mention but it’s slipped my mind…


  8. Oh! Such great titles!
    I am sure you have thought of the Laura Ingalls Wilder series.
    Frindle was a favorite of my kids.
    That is all I can think of right now….


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