Readers 9 and up

A Book List of Mysteries for All Ages

Mysteries are the perfect type of book to read on a cold and blustery fall or winter night. If your child loves the thrill of following clues along with the danger and suspense that literary detectives always encounter. I’ve got a list for you.

So get a fire going in the fireplace, grab a cozy blanket and a mug of hot chocolate, and dive into one of the following books.

Book #3: Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

My kids are back in school and I am excited to get back to sharing books with you. To transition into business as usual, I'm starting things off by highlighting my favorite reads from this summer. Today is day 3; let me tell you about book 3.

Book #3:  Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

Quick Pick Books for When Your Kids Don't Know What to Read Next

Have you ever walked into your local public library with your kids determined to emerge well-stocked with armloads of books only to find yourselves overwhelmed and unsure what books to pluck from their overstuffed shelves?

Me too! 

With so many options, it can be challenging to figure out exactly what book to read next. If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, here are 10 books (covering a variety of genres and ages) to give you some direction. The next time your kids feel library overload, see if they'd like to give one of these stories a try: 

5 (or more) Novels in Verse that Will Make you Fall in Love with the Genre

The first time I pulled a novel in verse off the shelf, I opened it, saw that it looked like one long poem and quickly put it back. A year later I decided to give one a try and checked out a copy of Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse. I quickly learned I had made a mistake by putting that book back on the shelf so long ago. After that, it did not take long for me to fall in love with the genre.

 Most novels in verse contain well-crafted stories told through carefully chosen words. I am often amazed at how different authors utilize poetry, some through free verse and others through more structured forms of poetry to tell their stories.  The novel in verse is also accessible to a wide variety of readers. Because of the large amount of white space on the page, they are relatively quick reads making them a good pick for avid and reluctant readers alike. 

Below are five-is to get you started. Please add to the list in the comments. I am always on the look out for more. 

Biographies, the Graphic Novel edition

Readers come in all shapes and sizes, with ALL kinds of different likes and preferences. For kids who connect more with pictures than words, graphic novels can be a great tool to encourage a love of books and stories. 

Biographies can be a harder sub-genre to find within the graphic novel world, but I went on a hunt at my local library to see what I could uncover. I found a few I want to share, and was even able to cajole a few of my kids into reading along. Although, they are all inclined to pick up a graphic novel that is lying around our house without any pushing from me. My boys especially really love them. 

Below is what I found. If you have any recommendations to add, I'd love to hear them in the comments!

Nine-year-old girl seeks Classic Heroines

Alea is a smart, responsible and creative nine-year-old who is currently in 3rd grade. She is a reader. She loves getting lost in a story. She especially likes funny stories and books that help her learn what life was like “back then.” She does not appreciate it when characters use words like “OMG” and “What the heck?” When she’s not reading, Alea loves ballet, playing outside and snuggling with her mom. When asked if there was anything else she would like to say about books and reading, she gave the encouragement to “Read on!” She is my kind of girl. 

I am excited to give Alea a few personalized picks. To help me help her, I asked Alea to share three of her favorite books and one she was not so crazy about. Here are her favorites:

Quick Picks: What I've Been Reading

You know that feeling when you finish a good book and you just want to tell someone about it?  I've got that feeling! They are books that don't quite fit any of the upcoming book lists that will be appearing on the blog. But, I can't wait to share them... so I won't. 

Below are four books I read over the past month and had to share now.

Quick Picks AKA What My Kids Are Reading

As I have been blessed with a large passel of kids with a variety of ages, interests, and reading levels, I thought I’d do a “quick pick” list inspired by them. Below are the books my kids are currently reading. If you are looking for ideas for your young reader, maybe one these books will interest them.

3 Fun Series for Puzzle-Loving Kids

As books go, there are your run-of-the mill mysteries in which a crime or problem of some nature needs solving and the reader follows along as the hero or heroine goes about solving it. And then, there are those books that engage the reader in a more personal way, offering up the puzzles for them to solve alongside the characters within the story in which they are engaged. 

The Mysterious Benedict Society does this (which is one of the reasons my daughter loves it), so I went on a search to find more.

After a bit of sleuthing, I found some! The following book series will engage your child's detective skills and are just plain fun to try to figure out while you read along. The writing is not amazing in a few of these series (that is the literary snob coming out in me), but the puzzles are abundant and the books are, simply put, fun to read. (That is, if you like that sort of thing My dear Watson.)

If you have a puzzle-loving kid, you might want to give the following series a try:

Eleven-year-old Boy Seeking Page-Turning, True-to-Life Stories

Drew is a eleven-year-old boy who loves to be outdoors. Some of his favorite things include:  nerf wars, exploring, rip-sticking and jumping on the trampoline. Drew doesn’t love reading, but he doesn’t hate it either. As his mom says, “he is growing in his like of it.” A slower reader by nature, Drew’s favorite books draw him in right away with a strong hook. He leans towards nonfiction and historical fiction and if a book looks too big or has too small of print he has a hard time starting it. 

Drew’s mom asked me for a few personalized picks. To help me help him, I asked Drew to share three of his favorite books and one he was not so crazy about. Here are his favorites:

Two Books to Peruse for President's Day

It’s Presidents day, which stands out to me mostly as a day of no school. But, as it was set up as a day to celebrate George Washington’s birthday (which is offically on February 22) and Lincoln’s too (February 12), I will support the decision to take off school, close down banks and give our postal workers a much deserved day of rest. 

In honor of our first president and the many that followed, I have two fun books you might want to check out.

10 Books to Celebrate and Learn from Black History

February is Black History month, and in my mind there is no better way to learn about and from history than through the power of story. From slavery to the civil rights movement, African Americans in our country have walked a road marked with hate and injustice. That said, I am reminded of a quote by Fred Rogers:  When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.

It's true. In the midst of tough and scary things, there are always helpers; and in the darkest times of African American history in our country, there were bold and brave, multi-colored helpers. 

Obviously, racial issues are still a struggle today. Reading stories of others who stood up to hate or were the target of it builds compassion in our kids. It opens the door to conversations that need to happen in our homes and in the larger world abroad. I hope this list of books is one that will help all of us seek to understand, help us to remember the past, and inspire us to continue to work towards healing and compassion in the future.  

Guest Post: 10 Books Every Child Should Read Before Leaving Elementary School

My sister recently asked me if I had to pick 10 books every child should read before they leave elementary school, what would they be. While I have a few ideas, I immediately thought the ideal person to answer this question would be a school librarian. So I asked ours. The list he gave me is fantastic and I am excited to share it with you.

The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom is an amazing little book. Set in one of the darkest times and places in recent history, it shines with hope, wisdom and love. I thought it might be a hard to read because parts of this story, parts of Corrie’s life, were unimaginably hard. Instead, I found that it was filled with reminder after reminder of God’s presence in the midst of the unimaginable. Reading it was not a dark and despairing experience, but a hope-filled one. Even the saddest parts were filled with hope because of God’s work in the lives of his servants.

8 World War II Book Recommendations for Kids

About a year ago, I had the opportunity to accompany my daughter on a field trip to a Holocaust museum. As to be expected, it was a sobering experience. I remember our guide telling us there were three kinds of people participating in the events of that time; corroborators, bystanders, and up-standers. The corroborators aligned themselves with Hitler and helped him carry out his work. Bystanders, didn’t necessarily align themselves with Hitler, but they did nothing to stop him and nothing to help. Up-standers, on the other hand took a stand for what was right and worked in small or big ways to make a difference. 

Over the past few months I have been reading a variety of books set against the backdrop of World War 2. The following list of book recommendations follow characters that experienced this historical period from many different perspectives and locations. These stories are filled with tales of up-standers. Some are more subtle than others, but all offer us lessons to learn from. In my opinion, lessons wrapped up in a good story oftentimes make the biggest impact, help us to remember, and maybe spur us on to make a difference in our own time and place.

If you are looking for Historical Fiction (plus one nonfiction) set against the backdrop of World War 2, below are eight-ish suggestions, separated by setting.

Inspiring Biographies for Kids

There are people in this world who have lived amazing lives and done amazing things, literally changing the world for the better. Some accomplished this in big and famous ways; others made their impact flying under the radar of public awareness. Regardless of how they did it, a life well-lived is an inspiring thing. We all want our kids to grow up to be productive members of society and make an impact for good. What better way to inspire them, than sharing stories about real people who did just that? 

Below is a list of three biographies (including one series of biographies, so really a whole lot more) that have made an impact on our family.

A Book List for Dog Lovers who want the Dog to Live On.

There is nothing quite like a good dog story. Dogs are loyal and love unconditionally. They help their owners through tough times. They follow their kids everywhere and love them well. The problem is, so many of these books end with a dead dog. I will freely admit that I love a good cry at the end of a well-told story, but sometimes you just want to read about a dog who survives to love on. You want to close the book with warm fuzzies instead of cold, wet tears.  If you or your child can identify with this sentiment, the following list of dog stories is for you. 

Rain Reign

This is one of those books that sticks with you long after you have read it. Watching Rose grow and evolve through her relationship with Rain is a joy. Her bravery in the face of hard circumstances and tough choices is inspiring. She has a lot to teach those who read along, young and old alike. I hope you will consider Rain, Reign for your young readers. It is most definitely one of the good ones!