Magic Tree House series is great. There are 25
or so of them - small chapter books - and each is
about a certain time in history. Reading these is all
of the history you need for a lower-elementary age
Longstocking. There are several books in this
series. We've also seen some badly-dubbed movies.
Moffats, Ginger Pye (a Newberry winner
which involves a lost dog), The Witch Family,
etc., by Elanor Estes. I really like the way she
writes - there's a style to it that's all her own.
Borrowers, by Mary Norton (and sequels) - little
tiny people who "borrow" things they need.
Often inspires much play with small dolls and
dollhouses. Several books in the series.
Littles. Like the Borrowers, but shorter books at
an easier reading level.
Dunn, especially for the scientific type of kid!
Reed, who also has a kind of scientist/inventor
very special favorite Homer Price. Tame and
very much fun. You MUST read "the donuts"
chapter of Homer Price aloud to your kids sometime
during their childhood (and I do voices for the
characters, which is pretty easy with this one).
Away Lake and Return to Gone Away - very
gentle and nice, by Elizabeth Enright
House on the Prairie, etc.
Children. (Warning - in the first book the
children's parents have died and they are on their
own. Also, due to the short, easy-to-read sentences,
this book makes a lousy read-aloud.)
of Oz - there are quite a few books in this
series, and they're not as scary as the movie. My
oldest has read them over and over again.
in Wonderland, of course - my favorite.
like the Berenstain Bears Chapter Books. They
do tend to have an "issue", but it's
presented in a somewhat complex way - take a look at
one - it's better than you'd think. And there's a
picture on every page, and the characters are
familiar from the picture books - great as a first
Poppins - there are several books in the series.
couldn't forget good old Ramona! This is the
classic age for Ramona the Pest, her sister Bezus,
etc. by Beverly Cleary. Also try Mouse on a
Web (Warning - Charlotte dies at the end.)
Trumpet of the Swan, and whatever the other one by
that author is.
and of course Paddington Bear by Michael Bond
- these are just perfect and there's a zillion of
them. (Warning - they're very English and some of the
words may be unfamiliar.)
Brown. Each chapter is a stand-alone mystery, and
there are a whole bunch of these. We also got a video
from the library once - not bad.
Warp Trio series (Knights of the Kitchen Table (I
think?) and others) - a nice follow-up to the Magic
Tree House books.
Eddie and Betsy/Billy books by Carolyn Haywood. Very gentle.
horse lovers, there's the Black Stallion books
by Walter Farley and Marguerite Henry's books (Misty,
Betsy Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace.
The American Girls books are have some parts that are not for sensitive kids. There are several series of them, each about a girl from a different period in American history. There are six or so books in each series. (You can also spend a small fortune on the dolls and their accessories.) My boys refused to have anything to do with them, till I played one of them on tape - they were mesmerized after a minute or two. However, we listened to the Colonial ones on tape, and the "man who was mean to the horse" was pretty scary. Kirsten's series seems to have a death in almost every book. .
not chapter books, we like the "Something
Queer" series by Elizabeth Levy. She's also
done a couple of time travel chapter books.
not chapter books - classic comic books - Calvin
& Hobbes, Rupert Bear, Snoopy.
Tintin is also a favorite here, classic good
guy/bad guy stories written in the '30's and
translated into every language known to man (well,
almost), but check the content and see if you're
comfortable with it first.
very excellent Usborne puzzle/maze books. (We've got
"Time Trip to Ancient Rome" at the moment.)
books by Usborne.
just-8-year-old enjoyed Harry Potter, but it's full
of some seriously scary stuff - not for the younger
like the Famous Five series of adventures, by Enid
Blyton, but catching bad guys is the theme (and these
are hard to find in this country).
Family is a nice series by Sidney Taylor. Jewish kids
growing up in New York early in the 20th century.
keep putting The Great Brain series in front of my
kids, but they've rejected it - I really enjoyed it.
Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien
Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - a
classic Newberry winner by E.L. Konigsburg - two kids
run away from home, hide out in the Metropolitan
Museum of Art, and solve a (non-scary) mystery.
Childhood of Famous Americans series of biographies
(I read all of the ones my library had when I was
Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster. This does not
work at all as a read-aloud, because it's hard to
catch all of the puns and double meanings. Schools
tend to teach this book in sixth grade, but my kids
read it MUCH earlier.
Children and It, by E. Nesbit (and anything else
she's written - we like The Wood-Be-Goods, also The
Story of the Treasure-Seekers) - may be a little
scary for younger children, but do consider it later
Edward Eager has done a number of Nesbit-like books
that are gentler and more American.
the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh.
and Amazons, by Arthur Ransome. A series with lots of
camping and sailing.