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Best Books for a 5-Year-Old Girl

I hope you can help? I’m looking for suggestions of great books to read a 5-year-old girl. As many of you know, I’ve read to our about-to-turn-5-year-old every night before bed for the past 5 years. It was my wife’s suggestion, and gives us great daddy-daughter bonding time. I recommend it to any parent.

Since she turned 4-years-old we’ve graduated from picture books with simple stories, to proper story books with chapters and plots. The first we read was “The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe”, with some of the more scary bits skipped over by me. We also read the “Wizard of Oz”, which she loved.

The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe - adaddyblog.com

When she asked to read the C.S. Lewis book a 3rd time, I bought her “The Hobbit” as an alternative. We’re half way through it now. I’m concerned, while they are good books, even Oz has a bit too much violence. I do my best to edit it out somewhat while reading. Don’t want to give her nightmares.

I’d love your advice on books a 5-year-old girl will love. She likes adventures, and it’d be super if they have a young heroine—a positive role model—someone she can identify with. A few like “Little House…” and the Avonlea books spring to mind, but are they right for a 5-year-old and will they keep her attention?

Besides tapping some of the older classics, as I’ve been doing, are there some newer book series that include an element of adventure and education (without it being too obvious), and have enough of a suspenseful arc to keep her interest, but not too scary or violent? I’d really love your advice!

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The Chronicles of Narnia - The Lion the Witch and the Wordrobe - C.S. Lewis Quote

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  1. Niamh Stenson

    Anything by Roald Dahl, I have 2 girls aged 5 & 7, they have loved The Twits (3times!) Fantastic Mr Fox, James & the giant peach (apparently daddy can do better voices than mummy on this one!) The magic Finger and we are starting Danny the champion of the world this week. Good luck, can’t wait to see more suggestions

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thank you so much for your help. I’ve really been struggling to find the right books for our daughter. My wife was asking friends about this just the other day on Facebook, and Roald Dahl was one of the highly recommended suggestions. I will definitely check those out. Voices often tend to be a daddy specialty, but I’m not exactly sure what that says?

      Signs pointing to my Daughter's and My Favorite Children's Books

  2. Nick

    C.S. Lewis’ other Narnia books read just as well, if she likes “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”. You might also try Redwall, by Brian Jacques. There are about 20 books in the series which features talking animals as the main characters. It also has a very simple and straight forward view of good vs. evil, which could be good for a younger reader. Like Lewis’ or Tolkien’s books, the Redwall books are geared towards kids closer to 7 or 8 years old, but would do well with a parent reading. My daughter was still really into the princesses and fairies at that age, but there are some good series that run that theme as well. I would start with the Rainbow Fairies series, which features little girls who interact with the fairy world and get to help in different ways through each book. Happy reading!
    http://www.rainbowmagiconline.com/
    http://www.redwallabbey.com/

    1. Michael Schmid

      Like many little girls ours does like her princesses and fairies. But when it comes to books she seems to favor adventures. I tried to get her into The Wind in the Willows (I read her the Toad and Frog books when she was younger), But after a while she seemed tired of the animals, perhaps there wasn’t enough action. Are there any animal novels with more car chases? Apparently Mr. toads wild ride wasn’t sufficient? Just kidding. Really appreciate your advice, and will definitely check out Redwall. And the rainbow fairies may be just the perfect mix of girly and adventure. Thanks again.

  3. Rachael Jablonski

    My kids (2 daughters and a son)loved Charlotte’s Web, The Boxcar Children and Matlida.

    What a fun tradition and what great memories for you and your family!

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thanks so much, Rachael. The tradition was my wife’s idea, and a super one it was, I agree. BTW, I’m American, but lived in Europe on and off as a kid, and believe it or not I missed some of the books that people that most children here read. Charlotte’s Web, The Boxcar Children and Matlida are a case a point, though as a boy I’d have probably chosen the Hardy Boys over Matilda, anyway. Thus my need to find good books for my daughter. Thanks so much, Rachael! I will absolutely check these out… literally, at the library. We’re lucky to have an annex walking distance from our house.

  4. Tiddsmom

    Famous five by Enid Blyton. My dad would read them to me and I was probably about 5 or 6

    1. Michael Schmid

      Not sure how I never heard of these. I’m so glad I posted this. Thanks so much! For anyone else, like me, who doesn’t know about this series of books Ann-Marie is suggesting, I looked them up:

      The Famous Five are a group of children who have the sort of adventures most kids dream about, in a world where ginger beer flows and ham rolls are a staple diet. Julian, Dick and Anne get together with their cousin George in the first adventure, Five On A Treasure Island.

      George is actually a girl who wants so desperately to be a boy she crops her hair and struts about doing boy things. She hates it when people call her by her correct name, Georgina. She has a dog called Timmy—oh yes, and an island. Most kids just have a dog, but George’s parents own Kirrin Island and let her run around on it as if it were her play-thing.

  5. timmi

    http://www.amightygirl.com/mighty-girl-picks/top-read-alouds here is a great list lots of female heroes and my recommendation would be little house on the prairie

    1. Michael Schmid

      What a wonderful list of books they have! Per your recommendation, do you think Little House will be either too old for her or two slow? I’ve never read it so I don’t know what it’s really like. I’ve noticed at her age (almost 5) she gets bored if there’s not a fair bit happening in a book. I’m sure that will change as she grows, but was wondering if there was enough going on in Little House to keep her focused? I’ll definitely give it a try. Thanks so much!

      1. Timmi

        Maybe start with Farmer’s Boy, I have not read this one, but heard from other mom’s who have boys that have a hard time getting their boys to read the series start with this one, so there must be more going on here. I actually haven’t read Little house since it was read to me when I was like 4 by my sister, but I remember, enjoying their adventure in a calm and settled way. Plus I loved that I could relate when I went to our Prairie museum in our town. Lots of living history in this book maybe wait a year or if you can read at a different time of day, maybe after lots of play, to see if she finds a different type of book more appealing.

  6. Bonnie

    James and the Giant Peach, the Ramona books (includes Ramona and Beezus and more!) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Fudge, Superfudge, and any other Judy Blume books. Hold off on Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret for a few years, the Magic Tree House series is EXCELLENT, age appropriate, female protagonist and educational, too!

    I’d love to do a book review as a guest blogger. Let me know what you think. Check out my “About” page for my bio.

    Good luck and feel free to ask me about any more books or anything else.

    Great blog!

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thanks for your great suggestions, Bonnie. I was doing some searching on Amazon.com and came across the Magic Tree House series and wondered if it was good. As far as writing a guest post, while it’s not something we do very often, I visited your site and would definitely consider it. You can write us via our contact link on the bottom of the page.

  7. Jess

    As a girl that was once 5 and addicted to reading here is just my opinion: Ramona series (all of them) and any other books by Beverly Cleary, Judy Blume books are great for that age as well. I liked Little House growing up but never read the majority of the books (boring honestly, the TV show was much better), as she gets older then I would start with the Boxcar Children, and Dicey’s Song (and the rest of the series by Cynthia Voigt) both have more “grown up” plot lines but were wonderful boxes. American Girl books are also a great series but then you may be opening a door to the dolls ;), along with The Secret Garden, Anna of Green Gables (which I did prefer to Little House)… hope that helps and good luck!

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thank you so much, Jess. These are super recommendations. I’ve looked up those I didn’t know online and I’m sure she’ll love these!

  8. Theycallmemom

    Another series that I recommend is the Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia C. Wrede (first book, Dealing with Dragons). It has a strong female lead, Princess Cimorene, and dragons and wizards. My kids both enjoyed it at 5 and 7 years old. They are both boys, but naturally its important for boys also to be exposed to strong female heroines in literature. My husband was fond of the story when he was a kid, and that is why we read it to our boys, so it certainly transcends time and gender to be a good classic children’s tale.
    We read most of the Little House series this year and it held their attention at 6yo and 8yo, but I think the 8yo got the most out of it. I read all those books multiple times as a girl and I highly suggest having them around the house. Good stuff.

    Cheers!

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thank you. I like the idea of reading her books with a strong female lead. Too many of the old Disney fables, for example, send the wrong messages.

  9. Mary Kathryn Johnson

    Magic Treehouse Series – that should keep you busy for at least a year! A Brother and Sister go on adventures throughout history helping people and ensuring events actually happen with the help of their magic treehouse! The sister is the younger of the two, and she is very in tune with nature and animals. She is the impulsive one, and I think your little girl might relate to her well?! 😉

    These books fueled my sons’ imaginations for a long time, and I just can’t get rid of them even though my boys are 12 and 15.

    Book 1 is “Dinosaurs Before Dark”, and you can get them in paperback, kindle, audio cassette or audible versions!

    http://www.amazon.com/Dinosaurs-Before-Dark-Magic-House/dp/0679824111/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1373212864&sr=1-6&keywords=the+magic+treehouse

    Happy Reading Daddy!

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thanks, Mary Kathryn. My daughter and I read the first one at your recommendation while we are at Barnes & Noble. 🙂

  10. Melissa @ Bless this Mess

    We just finished reading the My Father’s Dragon series (my daughter is 6) and it is so so good! Highly recommend them!

    1. Michael Schmid

      Hi Melissa,

      My Father’s Dragon is not one we’ve read. Not sure how I missed it as it’s been around for half a century? I’ll definitely check the series out. Just found these on Amazon. Thanks, Melissa!

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