Posted by: Tracy Barsamian | February 18, 2016

Little Girl Lit

betsy tacy

I hated to read as a little girl.  HATED it.  Though I never particularly liked to read, my reading flame was fully extinguished when my fifth grade teacher assigned the book The Hobbit.  First, science fiction wasn’t (then and isn’t now) my genre AT ALL!  Second, the book was way too complicated…I couldn’t follow the plot line.  Being required to read a book that was too hard about a subject that disinterested me was too much.  I shut down.  I decided that I hated to read and stopped reading for pleasure completely.  It wasn’t until my late twenties that I started to read for pleasure.  I got really into Jennifer Weiner’s books.  Thank you, Chic Lit!  Light.  Fluffy.  Like a dessert.  And who doesn’t like a chocolate moose topped with whipped cream?  I now read much meatier novels for pleasure and information these days.  But, I really needed Ms. Weiner and her contemporaries to help me learn to love to read.

I think my cautionary school tale is why slow homeschoolers intuitively know we have to suffer through the Rainbow Magic series with girls between the ages of 5 and 8.  And why we follow our children’s leads and don’t force them to “move up” to higher level novels before they are ready.  It’s why we wait ’til our children want to graduate to thicker books with more complicated plots instead of pushing them to read more difficult books just because they’re ready from a “skills” perspective.

Also on the bright side, by homeschooling my children, I am getting the opportunity to read all of the amazing Little Girl Lit that I missed out on growing up!  And really, the very best titles are the oldies, but goodies.  Many of these books would have been available when I was a child.  And so, without further adieu, here a few OFF KLTR favorite Little Girl Lit titles…

Picture Books

Knuffle Bunny (and the sequel) and Edwina by Mo Williems

The Red Thread: An Adoption Fairytale and The Ugly Vegetables and everything ever written by Grace Lin! 

The Seven Chinese Sisters by Kathy Tucker (illustrated by our beloved Grace Lin!)

Snowy Day and everything ever written by Jack Ezra Kates!

Younger Chapter Books (that my five, almost six year old loves!)

Claude series by Alex T. Smith (fresh! but so silly and funny!)

Cobblestreet Cousins by Cynthia Rylant

Ling and Ting series by Grace Lin

Mercy Watson series by Kate DiCamillo

Chapter Books (that my nine, almost ten year old loves!)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator and Matilda and everything ever written by Roald Dahl

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice Dagliesh

Starry River of the Sky and anything ever written by Grace Lin!

Wind Boy by Ethel Cooke Eliot

Series Chapter Books (that my nine, almost ten year old loves!)

American Girl Historical Books, like this favorite from the 1970’s Good Luck, Ivy! and Kit Kitterage from the Great Depression.

Betsy Tacy and Winona’s Pony Cart by Maud Hart Lovelace

Encyclopedia Brown by Donald J. Sobol

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

Ivy and Bean by  Annie Barrows

Katie John series by Mary Calhoun  (out of print – check your library!)

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Magic Treehouse by Mary Pope Osborne and Sal Murdocca

Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald

The Pacy Lin Novels including Year of the Rat, Year of the Dog, and Dumpling Days by none other than Grace Lin!

Have a favorite Little Girl Lit book that should be included in this list?  Please post it in the comments!


  1. Well, this is a well-timed post! We just finished reading the first Harry Potter with G last night, and started book 2 tonight. And today at the library I picked up a Junie B. Jones book for E. I remember my niece reading them when she was little and figured we’d give it a shot. Maybe read a couple chapters at bedtime. We ended up reading the whole book in one sitting as soon as we got in the house. I think we’ve found some winners!

  2. I loved reading the magic treehouse series to my kids!

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