Classic chapter books for a 9 year old

This list includes books my girls loved at age 9 as well as recommendations from readers. One of the things I like about the list is that many of the main characters are around 9 years old and in middle childhood. I find that many recently published chapter books have main characters who are much older than the children who read them (especially the easier to read books).

At age 9, Lou returned to young Milly Molly Mandy's adventures revealing a transition she was going through that fits right with Rahima Dancy's descriptions of the nine-year change. She was seeking a little more reassurance. She was sleeping with about 10 stuffed animals and Julia. At the same time, she was asserting her individuality and taking great pride in her work--whether it be a poem she had written or a spelling test she had aced.


Reading together provides such a nice connection for a child going through transitions. I really regret letting Hels completely sink into her own private reading world and want to figure out how to remedy it. As she enters adolescence, I think books would open up all sorts of conversations. In the meantime, it will be a delight to sink into a big chapter book with Lou that celebrates a strong girl as she encounters life.



The list:
* means Lou and I have read it and enjoyed it. Hels has read some others as well.

*The Secret Language
*Alice in Wonderland
*Little Men
*B is for Betsy (series)
*Betsy Tacy Tib (series)
*Little House on the Prairie (series & other related series)
Trolley Car family
Bobbsey Twins
*Narnia series
*Anne of Green Gables
*Understood Betsy
Caddie Woodlawn
*Ballet Shoes (series)
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
*No Flying in the House
The Borrowers
*E. Nesbit's books
Mary Poppins
My Side of the Mountain
*Famous Five (series by Enid Blyton)
*Happy Little Family (series)
Wonderful Adventure of Nils
*Finn Family Moomin trolls
Thorkill of Iceland
*Penderwicks
The Worry Week
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Beyond the Paw Paw Tree
Seven Little Australians
Wind in the Willows
*Pippi Longstocking (series)
Swallows and Amazons (series)
Emily of New Moon (series)
*Twig
*Big Susan
House above the Trees
Lois Lenski's books
A Norwegian Farm
A Norwegian Family
Esperanza Rising
Becoming Naomi Leon
Ella Enchanted

From Australia:
Bottersnikes and Gumbles
The Magic Pudding
Snugglepot
Cuddlepie
Little Fur series
Tashi Series

Happy Reading!

patience  – (October 8, 2008 at 3:17 PM)  

Great list! We have read many of those books and loved them. Emily of New Moon was LM Montgomery's favourite series, I think - if I recall correctly, it was the character closest resembling her. It's a great book for a nine year old undergoing changes. Although Anne is still my favourite!

Thank you so much for the link to Rahima's article on the nine year change. I have been looking for good information about this for ages!

myartemismoon  – (October 8, 2008 at 5:09 PM)  

Best wishes with the reading! I know when we were growing up my parents reinstated reading aloud together each holidays with someone reading aloud whilst a job was in progress, shelling peas, untangling fishing lines, ironing, etc. What drew us in was the chance to have a turn ourselves reading or sharing the story, and also being involved in the "work" being done.

Tammy  – (October 8, 2008 at 7:45 PM)  

Thank you for posting all of the book suggestions together. I was going to make a list from what everyone posted, and printing this out will be so easy. :)

Dawn  – (October 8, 2008 at 8:49 PM)  

Thank you so much for putting together this list. I've read enough of the books on the list to know that you've got some great suggestions there and I trust that my daughter and I will enjoy some of the others we haven't read yet.

Angela  – (October 8, 2008 at 11:21 PM)  

thank you so much for the list! my oldest is almsot 6, but her daddy has been reading her The Borrowers at night before bed, 1 chapter at a time. she LOVES it. when she has misplaced something around the house, she honestly thinks a Borrower has borrowed it!

RunninL8  – (October 9, 2008 at 1:53 PM)  

I should start collecting now!
I love having my own library of kids books-however small! Years ago, when I was in my 20's I started to collect piscture books. i would by one with each paycheck. It only lasted a few months though, and now more then 10 years later, I'm sorry I didn't keep up with it!
Just saw your WAXED LEAVES!!! I'm now going to scrounge the house for wax! I'm without a car for a few days and can't get to Michaels. Thanks for sharing that!!!

Lori  – (October 9, 2008 at 3:53 PM)  

great list - there are some new things on there we can check out!

Angela  – (October 10, 2008 at 5:40 AM)  

WOnderful list! A few years ago, I visited the house of a grandmother who had a special bookcase just for her grandchildren. It was filled with these classics and more. She told me how much the children looked forward to reading them with an eagerness they didn't have for those from home or the library, as it has become a special tradition to visit "Grandma's Library." I loved the idea of this, and started collecting many of these classics to store away soon after.

Poppy and Mei  – (October 10, 2008 at 6:47 AM)  

Ah! What a list!
Where to start...where to start? XXxx

Growler  – (October 10, 2008 at 8:25 AM)  

One author I forgot: Louise Fitzhugh, who wrote 'Harriet the Spy,' 'The Long Secret,' and 'Nobody's Family.' I still re-read Harriet every few years. Might be a little heavy going for a 9-year old, but I first read it at 10 and have loved it ever since.

Maymomvt  – (October 10, 2008 at 1:27 PM)  

Angela-I love the idea of "Grandma's Library." When sorting books I do think about which ones I want to have for grandchildren. I really try to buy the classics in hardcover, whether new or used, so they will last longer. I wonder though--books are printed so much more cheaply than in the past. I wonder how yellowed it will all be in 30 years!

Lisa Anne  – (October 10, 2008 at 4:52 PM)  

What a great list, we have read so many of them and a few new surprises to check out of the library. I really love children's literature.

Wyldhare  – (October 10, 2008 at 6:27 PM)  

That is a fantastic list of books, so many are so well loved in our house as well! Did you know there is now a second Penderwick book? It is still only in hardback though.

GeoBroad –   – (June 16, 2010 at 3:13 PM)  

VERY nice blog, I'm a NEWBIE and wanted to ask if you might share how you set up the tabs or drops or whatever you call them for various topics I love that, mine is about weightloss/healthy foods, dog training, house maintenance/remodeling, just in the BABY stage, but here is the URL The GeoBroad and Dot Spot

Suse  – (August 8, 2010 at 1:39 AM)  

I can't see the Rowan of Rin series on this list, so I shall suggest it here. Written by an Australian author, Emily Rodda, the books (in particular the first one) are perfect for the 9 year old going through that nine year old crossing.

Rin is a kind of generic archetypal village, and Rowan the main character is a 9 year old boy, very gentle, shy and undervalued by his community, unsure of himself, small and considered a weakling, who leads a group of villagers on a classic quest journey and saves the land. It's quite brilliant, and perfect for the vulnerable nine year old reader. Rowan is a reluctant hero, whose gentleness and compassion solve the problem and win out over the brasher, braver villagers.

My boys all devoured it, and it's beautifully written. There are five books in the series, all of them good, but the first is a classic. Highly recommended for 8-13 year olds.

xlpharmacy  – (November 23, 2011 at 2:38 PM)  

Great list, my son is 10 years old and he just love to read, some of these are going to be perfect for him.

Laura  – (September 9, 2012 at 4:08 PM)  

I read many of these growing up and look forward to revisiting this list with my daughter in several years. One book/series I enjoyed at this age was the "Great Brain" books. Based on the author's true childhood around the turn of the century, they are part history/part almost unbelievable but based on actual events...from simple things like the town thinking their family was crazy to upgrade to an in-house "water closet" to finding an outlaw hiding out in their barn. Aside from being exciting and entertaining, I remember being able to relate to the main character (younger brother to the "Great Brain").

(Also, I believe the nine-year-change article has moved and can now be found here: http://www.waldorfinthehome.org/2012/02/parenting_the_nine_year_old_1.html)

JF –   – (September 21, 2012 at 2:06 AM)  

thanks for this list. from these, which ones would you recommend for my just-turned-7 year old? she's a voracious reader already, literally unstoppable, which means she's reading book series that are more for older kids. please let me know asap, and i'll get it for her. thanks!
JF

Sarah  – (September 24, 2012 at 9:05 AM)  

JF--I loved the Betsy series by Carolyn Haywood--they are chapter books that work as read alouds or for good readers, but the character is a first grader in the first book "B is for Betsy". Love them and my girls did too. Have fun!

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