There are really some lovely choices, and I hope that they resonate with your girls!
Title: The Friendship Doll
Author: Kirby Larson
Target: Grades 4-6
You do not have to love dolls (or even particularly like them) to love this book! Larson takes the real story of 58 dolls sent from Japan to the US in the 1920’s, to be ambassadors for friendship, and follows the path of one doll and the people she encounters. This is really more like four separate stories of the lives that the doll affects. Miss Kanagawa (our doll heroine) is influential with a young socialite, a girl whose father has lost his job in the Depression, an avid reader in the back woods of Kentucky and an Okie, making her way to California.
The fact that this is based on a true event, makes it all the more interesting. Since it takes place during the Depression, children will get a real look at life during that time from many vantage points. It’s the children’s stories that are the most compelling. The doll is really a tool to tell their stories. I was amazed how complete each story was, even though each one was only about 50 pages.
Alot of the books I have read recently had not been worth blogging about, so I was thrilled to get my hands on this story. I was completely drawn in to each of the girls adventures. Larson is a wonderful story teller and this book is hard to put down.
Title: The Winnie Years - Ten
Author: Lauren Myracle
Target: Grade 4-6
I kept thinking as I read this book that it would be a wonderful story for my daughter when she gets older. It is really incredibly charming! The main character Winnie faces all the challenges of a typical 10 year old: a mean girl, friends in her class getting boy crazy and the daily trials of maintaining friendships. The lessons that she learns are ones that every parent hopes to teach their daughter! Oddly the book kind of reminded my of Ivy and Bean, the tween years!
Winnie is spunky, well just a downright goofball, which will keep readers engaged and laughing. Each chapter is a month in her life where we hear about a highlighted event. We are also introduced to a cast of characters who will appear in subsequent books.
I wouldn’t call this an award winning book, but if you want your daughter to read about a real girl, with real everyday problems that are handled in a sensible and caring way, then this is a great book to give them. The author has written books about Winnie up to fourteen, which I have not read, but if they are anything like Winnie at ten, then they will be a delight!
Author: Kevin Henkes
Target: Grades 3-5
I picked up this book because I love Kevin Henkes’ picture books (Chrysanthemum, Lily and the Purple Plastic Purse) and was excited to see what he had written for an older crowd! It is about a girl, Alice, who takes an annual trip to Florida where she sees the same families every year, and they have become like her family. The only difference is that this year some of the regulars can’t make it, and that threatens to ruin the whole week, and her birthday week at that!
This book is very much about Alice’s feelings, and Henkes does a beautiful job of capturing a 9 (almost 10) year old girls fears, happiness and anger. I guess Alice reminded me alot of myself at that age, only more mature. I think most young girls will related to her tangle of sentiments and hopes.
This book is actually quite small in size and the chapters are short, but it is packed with great stuff, so don’t be fooled into thinking this is a book for a younger age group. If you buy it for someone younger than third grade I am afraid the content will disappoint you! This is not an action book, a good way to describe it might be a quiet book (which is my biggest concern), but if your daughter loves reading about a well developed character, who probably shares some of the same worries and expectations, then this is a winner!