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15 Best Children’s Books for Summer Reading

I’ve been shopping recently looking for the best children’s books for girls. Our daughter is almost six-years-old and I have read to her nightly since she was a baby. Besides the library, I’ve been looking for favorite children’s books at Barnes & Noble and Half Price Books.

The bookkeepers have been super about pointing me at ideas, such as the best chapter books for girls. One I had not read that they mentioned was “The Boxcar Children” series, so I’ve added it to my list below. I’ve included other famous children’s books as well.

Anne of Green Gables

What are you favorite books for girls? As a boy, I read a lot, and devoured books by Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. I was also quite fond of the Hardy Brothers. Makes me wonder if she might enjoy the Nancy Drew series of mysteries. You may have discerned a trend. I tend to like older books.

That doesn’t mean, however, that I’d not consider new books. While no longer a “new” book, my daughter and I just finished the first Harry Potter book. She really wants me to start on the second one, but I’m worried it may be to scary? I assume the later ones would be much too dark?

The Boxcar Children

While worrying about Harry Potter being to scary, I read her the first of the Chronicle of Narnia books, as well as The Hobbit. Despite some less than child-appropriate content she wasn’t scared or upset by them, though I did do a little bit of editing while reading aloud.

Here is a list of books I’ve put together to read our daughter this summer. What books to you recommend? Are there any in this list that you think might not be appropriate for a 6-year-old girl? I really appreciate your help and advice!

  1. Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott
  2. The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams
  3. Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
  4. Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White
  5. The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  6. Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling
  7. The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
  8. A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle
  9. Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  10. Anything by Roald Dahl
  11. Black Beauty, by Anna Sewell
  12. The Boxcar Children, by Gertrude Chandler Warner
  13. The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien
  14. The Wizard Of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
  15. Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery

What should I add to this list?

9 comments

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  1. Justin Knight

    We are of like minds. My son’s summer break is fast-approaching and I am also stocking up on books. He’s 7 so we’re doing the Magic Tree house books. He also likes anything about our solar system or dinosaurs. I’ve signed him up for a karate class too. Keeping them busy and happy AND off of electronics isn’t easy!

    1. Michael Schmid

      Hi Justin! Our daughter is about to start kindergarten, and while she can sound out words, she’s not reading on her own yet. I’ve been wondering about the Magic Tree House books. They seem like they’d be good for young readers to read themselves. Short, fun and not too intimidating. I’d have loved them when I was young. Right now, as I’m doing the reading, I’m looking for longer books with more involved vocabulary. Concerning your son, you need to find him a book about mutant-ninja dinosaur astronauts! 😉

  2. Mat

    The Boxcar Children is a great mystery series that I loved as a kid. It definitely touches on some themes that MAY be too much for a six-year old (they were orphans taken in by their grandfather, if memory serves). It is handled well in the writing and their family bond always serves as a focal point.
    Since you are doing the reading: try the How To Train A Dragon series or the Percy Jackson series.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thanks so much, Mat. Someone mentioned this series to me just this weekend. The Boxcar Children sounds like it’d be good as soon as she’s able to do her own reading (she’s about to start kindergarten). I’ll check into How To Train A Dragon series or the Percy Jackson series. Are they very scary? I’m worried about too much negative/scary imagery causing nightmares and such?

  3. Dana Wilson

    Hi Michael,

    The Boxcar Children is written at about a second grade reading level, FYI. My kids loved them. I would be careful with Harry Potter; we avoided that as they did get darker and darker…, IMHO.

    Some other suggestions you might consider:
    The Velveteen Rabbit (or How Toys Become Real), by Margery Williams
    The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne
    When We Were Very Young, A.A. Milne

  4. Dana Wilson

    Oops! Hit ‘return’ too early…

    A Bear Called Paddington, by Michael Bond
    Stuart Little, by E.B. White

    Enjoy your reading! :-)

    1. Michael Schmid

      Some other suggestions you might consider:

      The Velveteen Rabbit (or How Toys Become Real), by Margery Williams
      The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh, by A.A. Milne
      When We Were Very Young, A.A. Milne
      A Bear Called Paddington, by Michael Bond
      Stuart Little, by E.B. White

      Thanks so much for the suggestions, Dana! :) We did read the Velveteen Rabbit, and of course A. A. Milne’s Pooh tales, but had not read his book of poems “When We Were Very Young” or its companion volume “Now We Are Six”. Must remedy that. And of course, who doesn’t love Paddington Bear and Stuart Little. Thanks again!

  5. Mary

    Also “Now we are six” the other A.A. Milne poetry book!

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thanks so much, Mary. I was just reading about those two books yesterday afternoon. Not sure how I missed them before now. Love Milne, so will definitely introduce our almost 6yo daughter. Thanks!

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