An American Girl

"An American Girl" is a large set of books. Each story is set in its own time period and features one girl. So far, stories have been written about seven different girls: Felicity (1774) who lives in an American colony; Josefina (1824), who lives on a ranch in New Mexico; Kirsten (1854), who is a pioneer; Addy (1864), who lives during the Civil War; Samantha (1904), who lives in a city with her rich grandmother; Kit (1934), who lives in Minnesota during the Great Depression; and Molly (1944), who lives during World War II. My favorite is Samantha, because she is rich and beautiful and wears fancy clothes. (Men are so shallow.)


Web:

http://www.kidsbooksandpuppets.com/americangirls/amergirl.html
http://www.kidsreads.com/series/american-girl.asp


Blume, Judy

If you are, or were, a teenage girl, you probably know Judy Blume (1938-), the author of "Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret", "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing", the Fudge series, and many other popular books. For many girls, it was Judy Blume who taught them what it would be like to have a period, develop physically, make and lose friends (and boyfriends), and generally live through the difficult teenage years.


Web:

http://falcon.jmu.edu/~ramseyil/blume.htm
http://teacher.scholastic.com/authorsandbooks/authors/blume/bio.htm
http://www.judyblume.com/


Book Reviews Written by Adults

The most intelligent, knowledgeable, interesting, special people I know all have one thing in common. When they were kids, they liked to read, read, read. Many children are natural readers, and you don't have to encourage them. Left to themselves, they will make a regular pilgrimage to the library and return with an armful of books week after week. However, if your children don't take to books naturally, there are three valuable favors you can do for them: (1) Encourage them to read. Take them to the library every week. (2) Turn off the TV. (For yourself as well. You need to set an example.) (3) Teach them to memorize the alphabet forwards (A, B, C...) and backwards (Z, Y, X...).


Web:

http://www.childrenslit.com/th.htm
http://www.kidsbookshelf.com/review.asp
http://www.readersread.com/cgi-bin/reviewlist.pl?genre=children


Book Reviews Written by Kids

There are so many good books in the world, you will never get to read them all. So how can you decide which ones you want to read? One way is to look at reviews -- descriptions of books -- written by other kids who have already read the books. If you are thinking of reading a particular book, you can see what other people thought about it before you even get the book. Even more important, if you are looking for ideas for a new book to read (as I always am), you can look at some reviews first. I have found many good books in this way, and I bet you will too.


Web:

http://www.eduplace.com/kids/rdg/chall.html
http://www.stonesoup.com/main2/bookreviews2002.html
http://www.worldreading.org/


Children's Literature Resources

The Net has lots and lots of literature especially for children. Here are some Web sites that can help you find what you need for your kids. You will see book reviews, tips on using books, information about children's books and their authors, as well as links to other children's literature resources on the Net.


Web:

http://www.carolhurst.com/
http://www.cbcbooks.org/
http://www.dalton.org/libraries/fairrosa/
http://www.faqs.org/ftp/faqs/misc-kids/books/faq
http://www.kidsreads.com/

Usenet:

Google Newsreader rec.arts.books.childrens


Cleary, Beverly

I love the books of Beverly Cleary (1916-). Some of my most pleasant memories are of the many hours I spent reading and rereading the Henry Huggins books (and, to tell you the truth, I still like to read them once in awhile). When I was a kid, the Huggins books were Cleary's best known works. Today, she is better known for the books about the young pest Ramona and her long-suffering sister Beezus. Personally, I prefer Henry (who lived on Klickitat Street), his dog Ribsy, his friends Robert and Scooter, and the tales of all the goofy things he would do. Beezus and Ramona were in the Huggins stories, but they weren't my favorite characters. I guess that's because I'm a guy.


Web:

http://teacher.scholastic.com/authorsandbooks/authors/cleary/bio.htm
http://www.beverlycleary.com/
http://www.multcolib.org/kids/cleary.html
http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/cleary.html


Dahl, Roald

Do you think you would like funny, imaginative stories filled with lots of strange and cruel events? How about books in which children are able to be rude to adults, and the bad people always get into trouble? If so, you will like the kids' books written by Roald Dahl. The best ones are James and the Giant Peach (published in 1961), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964), The Magic Finger (1966), Fantastic Mr. Fox (1970), Witches (1973) and Matilda (1988). Roald Dahl (1916-1990) was born in Wales, although his parents were Norwegian. Dahl's father died when Dahl was only four years old. Soon after, Dahl was sent away to a boarding school, where he stayed for a long time. School was awful for Dahl. Not only was he homesick, but many of the students were beaten, both by the teachers and by other students. That is why, in his stories, Dahl does not have much sympathy for adults who tell children what to do. That is also why his books teach that people who are good are rewarded and people who are bad are punished (especially adults).


Web:

http://falcon.jmu.edu/~ramseyil/dahl.htm
http://www.kirjasto.sci.fi/rdahl.htm
http://www.roalddahl.com/
http://www.roalddahlfans.com/


Dr. Seuss

Growing up is just not complete without Dr. Seuss. Can you imagine being a kid and not knowing the Cat in the Hat? Or passing through this world without spending hours reading "Green Eggs and Ham" out loud, over and over and over, till your mother finally takes away the book and sends you outside to play? Dr. Seuss (1904-1991), whose real name was Theodor Geisel, published 44 books from 1937 ("And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street") to 1986 ("You're Only Old Once!"). He is truly one of the treasures of the twentieth century. It's hard to decide which is more fun, Seuss's playfully superb verse or his whimsical drawings. It is difficult to imagine a child growing up in the English-speaking world without bonding with the good doctor. One of my researchers, Carrie, lived in San Diego as a child. Geisel and his wife lived in nearby La Jolla. When she was a teenager, Carrie used to drive past Geisel's house and wave. She never honked, though, 'cause that would be rude.


Web:

http://falcon.jmu.edu/~ramseyil/seuss.htm
http://www.carolhurst.com/authors/drseuss.html
http://www.seuss.org/
http://www.seussville.com/
http://www.veaweteach.org/bibpar.html


Freddy the Pig

Between 1927 and 1958, the American writer Walter R. Brooks (1886-1958) wrote 26 children's books about Freddy the Pig. Freddy lives on a farm owned by Mr. and Mrs. Bean, near the town of Centerboro in upstate New York, along with many other animals, including Mrs. Wiggins (cow), Jinx (cat), Charles (rooster), Henrietta (hen), Alice, Emma and Uncle Wesley (ducks), Hank (horse), Robert and Georgie (dogs), and Eek, Eeny, Quik and Cousin Augustus (mice). All the animals can talk, but Freddy is, by far, the most talented. In the course of the books he becomes a detective, a poet, a newspaper publisher (founder of the Bean Home News), a banker (he starts the First Animal Bank), a pilot, a football player, a politician (when Mrs. Wiggins runs for president of the First Animal Republic), a magician, a baseball coach, and a lot more. I have a large Freddy collection and have read each book many times. In fact, much of what I know about human nature, I learned from Freddy and his friends.


Web:

http://www.freddythepig.org/
http://www.harley.com/freddy-the-pig/


Goosebumps

Most adults know nothing about Goosebumps stories, except that kids like to read them. So, for your parents, here is a quick guide to understanding Goosebumps. 1. There are lots and lots of Goosebumps books. 2. The books are written by R. L. [Robert Lawrence] Stine (1943-). 3. There are lots and lots of Goosebumps books. 4. The covers are created by Tim Jacobus (1959-). 5. There are lots and lots of Goosebumps books. 6. The books are scary, and even kids that don't like to read will read Goosebumps. 7. There are lots and lots of Goosebumps books.


Web:

http://www.scholastic.com/goosebumps/


Hardy Boys

Frank and Joe Hardy are the sons of Fenton Hardy, a well-known detective. They live in Bayport, a small town on a bay, three miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean. The boys live with their parents in an old stone house, where they have their own laboratory above the garage. Frank and Joe go from one mystery adventure to another, outwitting just about everyone and bringing numerous bad guys to justice. Although the Hardy Boy books are published as the work of Franklin W. Dixon, no such person really exists. The series was originally created by a publisher named Edward Stratemeyer, and, over the years, Hardy Boy books have been written by a number of different authors. (Stratemeyer is also responsible for creating other popular series, such as Nancy Drew, the Bobbsey Twins, Tom Swift and the Rover Boys.) I loved reading the original Hardy Boys books when I was growing up. However, starting in 1959, the books were changed significantly to bring them up-to-date and to shorten them. If you are a real Hardy Boys fan, I recommend you look for the original editions, which are a lot better than the modern versions.


Web:

http://www.hardy-boys.net
http://www.seriesbooks.com/hardyboysindex.htm
http://www.thrillingdetective.com/hardys.html


Harry Potter

The English writer J.K. (Joanne Kathleen) Rowling (1966-) has planned a series of seven books chronicling the adventures of Harry Potter, a teenage wizard-in-training. Although Rowling is only part way through the series, she has managed to create a set of characters and a setting that have captured the interest of children and adults around the world. The saga starts with Harry, an 11-year-old orphan, suffering a miserable life in the house of his mean aunt and uncle. Harry's life changes unexpectedly when he receives a very special invitation to spend the next school year studying at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Each of the books chronicles one year of Harry's training. (There are seven books, taking Harry from 11 to 17 years old, because Rowling has determined that this is how long it takes to train a wizard properly. However, so far, she has only written five of them.) As you read the Harry Potter books, you will encounter the well-known theme of good versus evil, clothed in an imaginative array of characters and activities (such as Quidditch, a type of soccer played in the air on broomsticks, in which some of the balls attack the players). My all-time favorite character is Hermione, one of Harry's classmates, because she is very, very smart, knows everything, and has, in her own way, a great deal of personal charm. (But then, I always have had a weakness for very, very smart women.) Will Harry marry Hermione one day? Only time will tell. In the meantime, all I can say is that if he doesn't want her, I do.


Web:

http://www.hp-lexicon.org/
http://www.mugglenet.com/
http://www.sirlinksalot.net/potter.html
http://www.the-leaky-cauldron.org/
http://www.thesnitch.net/forums/

Usenet:

Google Newsreader alt.fan.harry-potter


Lemony Snicket Books

The Lemony Snicket books tell stories about three siblings: Violet (a girl), Klaus (a boy), and Sunny (a baby girl). Violet, Klaus and Sunny are left on their own after their parents die. (The children's last name is Baudelaire, which is the same name as a famous French poet, who lived about 150 years ago, and who wrote gloomy poetry.)

Violet, Klaus and Sunny are smart, cute and very resourceful. However, they are never in peace because Count Olaf, a mean greedy man, continually tries to find ways to take all the money that was left to them by the children's parents.

The author refers to the stories as "A Series of Unfortunate Events". This makes sense because the things that happen to the three children are truly horrible. However, the books are actually fun to read because everything is written tongue-in-cheek (which means it is all really one big joke).

What I like best about the stories is that, whenever the author uses an interesting word, he tells you what it means. You will find that reading these books is not only fun; it's an easy way to learn new words.

By the way, "Lemony Snicket" is not the author's real name. His real name is Daniel Handler. (But don't tell anyone I told you.)


Web:

http://www.lemonysnicket.com/
http://www.unfortunateevents.com/


Nancy Drew

Nancy Drew is the teenage heroine of a large series of girls' mystery books, written by a syndicate of authors and published under the pen name of Carolyn M. Keene. The first Nancy Drew book ("The Secret of the Old Clock") was published in 1930 and, ever since, Nancy has captured the imagination of generations of young women. Nancy is an amateur detective, who solves mysteries that baffle her father Carson Drew (a lawyer and widower), her friends George and Bess, and her sometimes boyfriend Ned Nickerson. Nancy lives in the town of River Heights with her father and their housekeeper Hannah Gruen. Nancy's appeal lies in her ability to be feminine (she is intelligent, attractive, gracious, dresses well and has excellent manners), while demonstrating strength, resourcefulness and bravery. And, oh yes, she has a cool roadster.


Web:

http://www.bookloversden.com/series/girls/Drew/Drew.html
http://www.mysterynet.com/nancydrew/
http://www.thrillingdetective.com/nancy.html

Usenet:

Google Newsreader alt.books.nancy-drew


Narnia, Chronicles of

The Chronicles of Narnia (an imaginary land) is a series of seven children's books written by the Irish writer C.S. (Clive Staples) Lewis (1898-1963). In 1931 at the age of 33, Lewis became a Christian, eventually becoming one of the most published intellectual Christian writers of his generation. The Chronicles of Narnia were published between 1950 and 1956, starting with "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe". Despite the overly religious themes (Aslan the Lion, for example, represents Jesus), the Narnia tales have been a favorite of children for several generations.


Web:

http://cslewis.drzeus.net/
http://www.factmonster.com/spot/narnia1.html
http://www.narnia.com/

Usenet:

Google Newsreader alt.books.cs-lewis

Listserv Mailing List:

List Name: merelewis
Subscribe To: listserv@listserv.aol.com


Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin

The stories and poems of English writer A.A. (Alan Alexander) Milne (1882-1956) have been a favorite of children for many years. The most well known characters are Winnie the Pooh -- the Bear of Very Little Brain who lives in the 100 Acre Wood -- and Christopher Robin (a boy). The other characters are Eeyore (a donkey), Piglet, Tigger (a tiger), Kanga and Roo (a kangaroo mother and son), Rabbit and Owl. Everyone has his or her own favorite character. I like piglet. My copy editor Lydia likes Tigger. When life gets hectic, Winnie the Pooh provides a soothing sense of comfort for everyone. If you like Winnie the Pooh, be sure to read Milne's wonderful verses in the collections "When We Were Very Young" and "Now We Are Six". Interestingly enough, Milne wrote these stories and poems for adults. He preferred to read his own son (Christopher) stories by P.G. Wodehouse.


Web:

http://www.just-pooh.com/
http://www.nypl.org/branch/kids/pooh/winnie.html
http://www.pooh-corner.com/index2.html
http://www.poohthebear.com/

Usenet:

Google Newsreader alt.fan.pooh
Google Newsreader alt.fan.tigger