Fave books for 2010: books for girls {+ boys} + giveaway

by kath_red on 02/12/2010

in Books

Welcome to my fave books of the year series of posts. Over the next week I will be showcasing my favourite books of the year, today and tomorrow its kids books, then next week it will be cooking, sewing, yarn and general craft books too.

These first two posts of kids books are not necessarily craft related – although there are a couple of creative books included. However as a mother of 2 veracious readers at different levels in primary school I am always on the look out for interesting, different and new books that will capture my kids imagination and enhance their love of literature and help them to think outside the box. These books are not just for kids though – since throwing out our tv a few years ago we have ‘family novel’ time in the evenings, where we take turns (well its mostly me) to read a chapter (or 2 or 3) from our current novel or series of novels. Since the children are only a couple of years apart their reading interests are not so different, and we take it in turns to choose the next book. In 2009 we read the whole Harry Potter series, then this year we read all three books in the The Mysterious Benedict Society, and have polished off quite a few others too, including some old faves like The Borrowers , and some new faves which I will tell you about in this post. And you know – we all look forward to these evening reading sessions, as the kids get older they take a turn at reading a few pages aloud, and we all sit enthralled with our evening snack (a bowl of fruit, crackers and cheese and sweet treat and pot of herbal tea or hot chocolate) and can’t wait to find out what happens next. Sometimes we are so engrossed that we forget the time and end up getting to bed late. It has become a much loved part of the whole day for everyone.

Today I will giving away a copy of 2 of these fabulous books mentioned here today to 2 readers (thank you to the publishers) so please for your chance to win, leave a comment telling me your favourite books for kids. Comments will be open for 48 hours and winners will be chosen at random and will be notified via email. (Read down for which books are up for grabs.) thank you for your great book ideas – will be having fun sifting through these in the coming weeks. Comments are now closed and the winners will be notified.

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry. Yearling (2010).

The Willoughbys was a surprise hit for us, I originally bought it because I am a sucker for a cool cover. It has been described as Lemony Snicket like (but as we have not had the pleasure of reading that series of books I can’t comment). But we did find it incredibly amusing, the references to other children’s literature throughout is well done and the vocabulary is fun and and educational – with ‘old fashioned’ words like Odious, Diabolical and Affable, which are all referenced in the glossary. The four children who are the centre of the story are wonderfully written, tongue-in-cheek references, comedic moments and startling truths are played out throughout, but the best thing for me and for the kids were the delightfully shocking moments when the bossy older brother Tom would dictate various rules of the game that none of the others understood but all accepted, for example during a chess game, “only boys can play, and the girl will serve cookies each time a pawn is captured,”. Such a clever, witty book that both kids and adults will surely love.

The Mysterious Benedict Society. Trenton Lee Stewart. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; (the first in the series published in 2008, the next 2009, and the 3rd 2010)

I had heard about this book and originally just purchased the first one to see if we would like it, of course we all did, then I bought the second, and of we had to pre-order the third – we waited quite impatiently for it to arrive. A set of four unusual and clever children are sort of thrown together in a most unlikely fashion in order to solve an even more unlikely mystery, with lots of adventure and solving of puzzles along the way. What kept us on our toes with this series of books was the gentle way the mysteries kept on coming, the children’s talents were carefully revealed and their skills put to the test, and plenty of new twists revealed along the way. This series has a baddy of course who is dangerous and clever and not very nice at all. An exciting series of books that everyone in the family will love.

The Graveyard Book. Neil Gaiman. HarperCollins (2010).

I first bought this book because of the accolades it had won and didn’t really know what it was about, except it was a dark strange tale of a boy growing up in a graveyard and raised by ghosts. I gave it to my 8 year old boy to read (he reads above his age level and is into macabre stories) but he started to read it and found it a bit scary and so it was put away for a few months. Until we needed a new book for our family novel session and I hit upon this book on our book shelves to read. My son was correct that the first chapter (where a murder takes place) is quite creepy, but its quick and not bloody, the baddies in the book tend to be a bit shadowy, but the main character is a beguiling clever and strange boy, who we see grow up and really come to love, and the premise of the story is so interesting and different, and the various ghouls, ghosts and creatures in the dark are addictive. Don’t be put off by the fact that this is a macabre ghost story – it is age appropriate and kids and adults will both love it. + I have a copy of this book to give away – so leave a comment here to be in the running to win this book – and let me know your favourite kids story – I would love to find out about other macabre, ghoulish ghost stories for kids. comments closed – winner will be notified via email.

The Magical Worlds of Harry Potter. David Colbert. Berkley Trade (2008)

Yes this is not a 2010 book, but we only just discovered it whilst looking for more books for our Harry Potter addicted kids. There are a lot of these Harry Potter offshoot books available, and it was a minefield researching which one to get my primary school age children. Not too childish, not too theoretical – this one fit the bill perfectly. With just enough facts and interesting information about all the characters, the mythological beings, information about magic and folklore and the real historic basis for many of the characters, and creatures that are in the Harry Potter series. For young serious Harry Potter fans – this book is essential reading.

Diary of a Wimpy Vampire. Tim Collins. Michael O’Mara Books (2010)

A hilarious mash-up between those awkward romantic teen vampire books and the hugely popular graphic novel series –Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I was a bit suspicious of this book at first, but my daughter had seen some of her friends at school reading it and so when we saw it at the bookstore on special we had to buy it. And to tell you the truth, after I sat down one afternoon with my cup of tea to check it out, I was a bit addicted. Its not really a read out loud book, because of the graphic novel nature of the book, but it is a laugh-out-loud, as it is full of awkward pre-teen angst, with some funny vampire stuff thrown in as well. Fantastic book for reluctant readers, but also for any kid who likes a fun book.

The Double-Daring Book for Girls. Miriam Peskowitz. William Morrow (2009)

Like the previous book Daring Book for Girls this book is full of activities, information and how-tos on all sorts of topics that every girl will want to know – from how to dye your hair, to information on notable women astronomers, to how to conduct a Japanese tea ceremony to making your own lava lamp. My daughter loved the first book and might even love the second book more – she keeps it by her bed and flicks through reading bit here and there to get ideas and then enact those ideas the next day. + I have a copy of this book to give away. Tell me your favourite book for girls or boys, a book that sparks the imagination and is teeming with creative ideas. Leave a comment here – you have 48 hours to enter. comments closed – winner will be notified via email.

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1 Tara December 2, 2010 at 10:27 pm

My son loves the Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Harry Potter books, of course, but he’s also a big fan of Tintin and the Amulet graphic novel series – and stealing our Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman books. :D

2 Betsy December 2, 2010 at 10:35 pm

Rachel LOVED the Penderwicks on Gardam Street so much that she read the other novel Jeanne Birdsall wrote about them. It was great to see her so enthused about reading after a year of not enjoying it!

3 P Maxwell December 2, 2010 at 10:40 pm

My favorites are the classics: C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, and The Neverending Story by Michael Ende. I could go on and on, but I think instead of relying on the movie versions, those books still need to be read and loved.

4 Catherine December 2, 2010 at 10:54 pm

my husband really likes Neil Gaiman… because he has teamed up with Terry Pratchett at some stage (who he really, really likes!). It’s not exactly ghoulish, but the story “where’s my cow” by Terry Pratchett is a picture book with some ghoulish sounding characters, like Foul Ole Ron, Coffin Henry and Sergeant Detritus – our daughter has loved it since she was 18 months old (probably due to consistent reading by her dad!)

5 John Manning December 2, 2010 at 10:58 pm

Great books! At a recent meeting with my ten-year-old daughter’s teacher, she informed me that she is reading above her fifth grade level and we should be looking for Junior High level books for her. I polled my friends on facebook, and I got plenty of great suggestions. Here are a few:

The Hobbit
Lord of the Rings
D’Lacey “Fire Within” series
Madeline Engle books
The Princess Bride
A Wrinkle in Time
Momo by Michael Ende
The Chocolate War
A Separate Peace
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

6 Kirstin Bailey December 2, 2010 at 11:07 pm

I loved the Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books when I was a young girl. They were awesome, and went quickly… each had a little lesson in them too! Happy reading!

7 Diane December 2, 2010 at 11:25 pm

My daughter’s favorite books are Igraine the Brave and Nim’s Island–we love a plucky heroine at our house!

8 Ally December 2, 2010 at 11:39 pm

My son absolutely loved The Mousehole Cat by Antonia Barber. It is a heartwarming story based on a true event. The illustrations by Nicola Bayley are stunning. I highly recommend it to all my friends, as it is enthralling to kids, and a pleasure to read to them.

9 Leanne December 2, 2010 at 11:47 pm

I was a big fan of Madeleine L’Engle’s Wrinkle in Time.

We just bought two new kids books that look very promising, one pirate themed and one Viking themed:

The Dread Crew, Kate Inglis http://dreads.squarespace.com/
Odd and The Frost Giants, Neil Gaiman http://www.amazon.ca/Odd-Frost-Giants-Neil-Gaiman/dp/0061671738

Not spooky, but good books for the kidlets and me, too :)

10 Rachel December 2, 2010 at 11:53 pm

We love everything by Oliver Jeffers. Most of all – Lost and Found.

11 jackie December 2, 2010 at 11:55 pm

We have the The Mysterious Benedict Society on our “to read” list. Current favourites for our 6 year old son are :
The City of Ember (4 book series)
Harry Potter
Anything by Roald Dahl
Pippi Longstocking
The Rover Adventures
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

: )

12 RachelJ December 3, 2010 at 12:09 am

If you like ghoulish stories (and stories with strong girl characters), you should the May Bird trilogy by Jodi Lynn Anderson. Great reading, lots of interesting characters.

13 Suzie December 3, 2010 at 12:23 am

I remember sitting for hours and reading all the adventures of the Berenstain Bears.

14 Jennifer December 3, 2010 at 12:27 am

I really want to read The Graveyard Book myself! Screw the kids!

15 julie l. December 3, 2010 at 12:37 am

I always loved the Hardy Boys books–they made me want to learn to tie knots and whittle!

16 Thouraya December 3, 2010 at 12:55 am

I love EACH PEACH PEAR PLUM for little ones and HARRY POTTER for the older crew!

17 Katie December 3, 2010 at 1:04 am

I love The Bridge to Terabithia. It is such an imaginative book.

Obviously Harry Potter is right up there too.

18 Stephanie December 3, 2010 at 1:05 am

Hmm, I don’t know if I know of a lot of creative books for kids. I’ve seen some cooking books and I have a recycling craft book somewhere. I thought that the Series of Unfortunate Events was great for kids with vocabulary and imagery. From my childhood, Roald Dahl and Shel Silverstein both wrote books that were crazy and off-beat, making ordinary things extraordinary.

19 Amelia December 3, 2010 at 1:37 am

The Bagthorope books by Helen Cresswell. Lovely and hilarious, still some of my cava. Oh, and Gordan Korman’s old books. And to whomever said Mrs. Pigglewiggle- yay! I’m so happy someone else knows those. They rock!

20 Bronwyn December 3, 2010 at 2:12 am

Love the sound of the Neil Gaiman book – my daugher (9 at the time) loved the “Something Wickedly Weird” series by Chris Mould (truly that’s his name!) Great books with really spooky illustrations throughout and interesting characters and plot.

My favourtie book is most definitly “Tale of Despereaux: the story of a mouse, ” by Kate di Camillo – beautiful imagery, a soft but real touch with good and evil, light and darkness, very readable out loud, and for me, truly a gem.

21 Colleen December 3, 2010 at 3:02 am

My favorite books for children are also my favorite books for anyone: The Wrinkle in Time series by Madeline L’Engle. The books are relatable for both boys and girls as they go between following the brothers or sister in different books, so neither gender is more central. The incredibly fantastical aspects of the books still leave me thinking today! I think they also spark an interest in science and history as well. I know I’m not doing them justice, but even with such wonderful contemporary literature, these classics definitely hold their own!

22 Bellgirl December 3, 2010 at 5:04 am

My son loves the Milly-Molly-Mandy stories- like The Borrowers, they’ve stood the test of time. I’d love to win the prize and make our own lava lamp ;) bellgirlsblog [at] gmail [dot] com

23 se7en December 3, 2010 at 5:10 am

Just asked my sons: anything Roald Dahl, Richard Scarry, Where the Wild Things Are…and his favorite right now Joshua Mowll has a brilliant trilogy : The Guild Trilogy… packed with intricate foldout maps and amazing technical diagrams of spy gadgets and exploration tools. And my daughter loves and adores Heidi, anything by Enid Blyton and Marguerite Henry…

24 triesti December 3, 2010 at 6:19 am

My current favorite is “An awesome book of Thanks” by dallas clayton. Love his drawing. Love his message, plus for each book sold he gives away another book to those who need them.

25 Kate December 3, 2010 at 9:05 am

It sounds to me like your family might enjoy Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series. It has a variety of girls and boys out and about doing adventurous things that usually but not always include boats. Crafting is an integral part, and never emphasised as special.

26 SuAnn December 3, 2010 at 9:28 am

I’ve read (and loved) most of the books you’ve mentioned. We seem to have similar tastes In literature. I would recommend that you try the Molly Moon series. My kids absolutely love them. I’m a children’s librarian so I’m constantly reading kids books. Also, you should try the new Brixton Brothers series if you like mysteries. Both my son (age 12) and I found the first book hilarious. Also, the Name of this book is Secret series and School of Fear. Both great reads.

27 elaine December 3, 2010 at 9:31 am

I love Neil Gaiman picture books and of course the Hobbit, Chronicles of Narnia, and any Roald Dahl are awesome! My kids love Roald Dahl especially.

28 ~Heather December 3, 2010 at 9:36 am

Roald Dahl for sure and the Little House series is such a superb window into mid 19th century midwest living, I can’t believe how much I learned from the books as I’ve been reading them aloud to my children. We’ve been slowly picking up the Sesame Street series of books from the 80’s and those have been going over great too!

29 sarahjane December 3, 2010 at 10:17 am

What great suggestions! Last year, I gave my ten year-old sister “Walk Two Moons” by Sharon Creech. I still have my copy that my mother gave me when it was published, and it was great to pass the title onto my sister.

30 Lisa December 3, 2010 at 11:16 am

I would love to win a copy of “The Graveyard Book”. There are so many wonderful books for young readers, it would be hard to pick one. We (my twin daughters, 10, and I) love anything that Lois Lowry and Patricia Reilly Giff have ever written…and “The Witch of Blackbird Pond” and “Goose Girl”. Right now, we’re reading “August Moon” and that’s good too.

31 jessica December 3, 2010 at 11:37 am

I really loved Charlottes Web growing up. I read and reread it so many times. A close second was the Little House on the Prairie books.

32 Jill December 3, 2010 at 11:50 am

Like many others here, i grew up reading Roald Dahl and Shel Silverstein. Oddly enough, i was just telling my husband about Mrs. Piggle Wiggle the other evening! I absolutely can’t wait until my kids are old enough to read Harry Potter to them. My son’s in the Dr Seuss stage and my daughter chews on board books:-)

Glad to hear a good review about the Benedict Society – it looked interesting in the bookstore, maybe i’ll add it to MY Christmas list this year! Thanks for all the reviews!

33 Jupiter December 3, 2010 at 11:56 am

There are so many excellent books for kids…I think sometimes I’d rather read kids books than big people books. Lately The Series of Unfortunate Events books are what’s being read here and I think they’re great. Also the Percy Jackson series was devoured by all 3 of my girls…. and I’m sure my younger boys will love them too when they’re old enough so those are definite keepers.

34 Jannette December 3, 2010 at 1:01 pm

Well, we are only just entering the land of reading with our 3, but for reading-out-loud-books we are still enjoying the ones that I grew up with: Roald Dahl, Lewis Caroll, etc. Harry Potter is starting to feature too, and recently Carol Duffy has been a wonderful discovery.

35 UK lass in US December 3, 2010 at 1:07 pm

I’ll have to go through these comments for ideas – I was just asking people the other day for good children’s book recommendations. I didn’t even know that there was a secord daring book for girls out.

Hmm, I’m sure lots of people have mentioned the classics. My son is currently reading The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy, which I remember as being a fun read. I’ve also been on the look out for the Famous Five books by Enid Blyton.

36 wendy December 3, 2010 at 1:32 pm

Oh, the Neil Gaiman book looks fascinating – we loved Coraline (the book)! Around here, we read the Narnia books, Enid Blyton, Thornton W Burgess, E Nesbitt, L M Montgomery, Roald Dahl, the Harry Potter books, Eoin Colfer, Terry Pratchett… the list is very long. Books are so great!

37 Seanna Lea December 3, 2010 at 1:58 pm

I love coming of age stories and pretty much any book with a strong female heroine.

My top favorites (no particular order):
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
A College of Magics (a bit older), Caroline Stevermer
the Protector of the Small Series, by Tamora Pierce

38 Libby December 3, 2010 at 2:01 pm

I’ve been stalking {hmm… watching from afar sounds better} whipup for a while and feel compelled to comment on a post about my favourite thing–words! :)
At school, in our Carniege Shadowing group, we read The Graveyard Book and seemed to really divide the club. Some hated the way it ended, some loved it. I’m the latter. It wasn’t a perfectly concise ending, leaving you knowing exactly what happened to everyone and I really liked that aspect.
Other books I love? I’m a sucker for lovely classics, like Lucy Maud Montgomery, Charlotte Bronte and Louisa May Alcott books, and I’m defintely a fan of urban fantasy {I like ‘Wings’ by Aprilynne Pike} and also realistic fiction and historical fiction. I’ll read near enough anything!

39 Susan Troidle December 3, 2010 at 2:10 pm

We have many of the above mentioned books – all of them winners and no real losers. I have read a bunch of Neil Gaiman and have gone back and forth on getting The Graveyard Book, wondering if it would be too much. Would love to win it. Moms and Dads should check out Gaiman’s Anansi Boys on audiobook for a great listen.

40 Jen Ballot December 3, 2010 at 2:52 pm

Thank you so much for the wonderful list of 2010 books. This is just what I need! I’m a pro when it comes to finding good picture books, but ever since my kids graduated to “real” reading, I’ve felt a bit lost. My kids’ favorite book for 2010 was RISSA BARTHOLOMEW’S DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE. I confess we got this book out of the library because there was a gnome on the cover. There are, indeed, gnomes in the book, but this is realistic fiction, not fantasy. And it’s so true-to-life and well written.

41 sangeetha December 3, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Both my kids are very young their favorite (and probably many others) is Good night moon

42 Shanna December 3, 2010 at 3:12 pm

I ‘ve always like Roald Dahl and of course the Harry Potter series. Loved those. My kids are now reading the Wimpy kid books and Beverly Cleary. Thanks for the chance to win.

43 Inspired Kathy December 3, 2010 at 3:19 pm

The Big Book of Boys Stuff and The Diary of a Wimpy kid have got my 8 year old reading.

44 Angela December 3, 2010 at 3:27 pm

If you and your kids want well-written books with a touch of scare (they love that chilly feeling, especially when you read out loud to them, complete with character voices and accents) you can’t go past ‘The Witches’ by Roald Dahl. Oh, and Neil Gaiman features again with ‘Coraline’.

45 Angela December 3, 2010 at 3:30 pm

Oh, and I forgot ‘Johnny and the Dead’ by Terry Pratchett. Great stuff; witty social commentary, plus ghosts!

46 Kristen December 3, 2010 at 3:31 pm

Harry Potter for sure!

47 Sara Shalom December 3, 2010 at 4:51 pm

I love Elsa Beskow’s books for kids. They are old fashioned, down to earth and magical.

48 Casey December 3, 2010 at 5:03 pm

Pipi Longstocking. Caddie Woodlawn. Wacky Wednesday. The Penderwicks.

49 Jen R December 3, 2010 at 5:09 pm

When I was a kid, one of my favorite books was Tuck Everlasting.

50 MILA December 3, 2010 at 6:50 pm

My favorite were the Chronicles of Narnia….AND anything Roald Dahl.

51 Kirsten N December 3, 2010 at 8:51 pm

My 12 yo twin boys love the “Tommorow when the war began” series by John Marsden.

52 Rachel December 3, 2010 at 9:26 pm

What a great post! I always loved getting books as a kid, and many of my favorites were ones I received as gifts.

I think one of my top favorites is Dealing with Dragons, by Patricia Wrede. I love the idea of a princess running away to stay with a dragon and then trying to avoid being rescued by a prince.

53 Kate December 3, 2010 at 11:38 pm

My 3-month-old son ADORES “Socksquatch” and will be getting his very own copy for Christmas (after we’ve checked out the library copy 3 or 4 times)…but my husband and I can’t wait until he’s old enough for The Series of Unfortunate Events and Redwall books.

54 Judith Kramer December 4, 2010 at 6:18 am

I read the whole Tillerman Cycle by Cynthia Voigt in college for a paper. I couldn’t wait until the next one was published. My favourite is Homecoming.
Other childhood favourites are:
– Chronicles of Narnia
– books by Astrid Lindgren (Pippi Longstocking among others)
– The Famous Five, Enid Blyton
– The Hobbit

55 Pattij December 4, 2010 at 10:56 am

My favorite children’s books have always been the “Little House on the Prairie” series, I devoured them and give them to my grandkids now!

56 Shannon December 4, 2010 at 12:45 pm

My son loves the Percy Jackson series also, and the Uncle Stinky series books (a little lesser known) He also really loves the Wimpy Kid series.

57 Deb White December 4, 2010 at 1:14 pm

I have to say, as a teacher of grade 6/7, the Rick Riordan series (Percy Jackson) has a lot of staying power. The newest one, “The Lost Hero” is awesome- it invites the reader into the world of Roman mythology, seeing the blend of the Greek and the Roman. I also have to say, however, that the Red Dawn Chronicles (the Egyptology series by Riordan) is a dud. Terrible editing, inconsistencies throughout- it was like he wrote it a while ago, shelved it and then his publisher threw it out into the market without really preparing it well. So- other than that- Riordan rules. (and for girls- get into the Anne Ursu set-the Cronus Chronicles (?)-I think is the name)

58 Regina December 4, 2010 at 1:59 pm

I still read my books from childhood – including all the Laura Ingalls Wilder books, Anne McCaffrey, Ursula LeGuin, the Hobbit etc., plus who can forget Judy Blume’s classics. If I could move into a library – I would!

59 lauren December 5, 2010 at 1:10 pm

I personally love Neil Gaiman- he’s my favorite author but I remember being madly in love with the Wrinkle in Time series. I actually want to go back and re-read those now that I think about it…

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