We have both loved reading since we were children. Sitting under a warm blanket, with a plate of cheese and crackers, or on the hammock in the backyard enjoying a nice breeze, a good book has always been a pleasant companion. One good thing to come from this crazy time is reading a lot more, and we think that this is the perfect time to re-read some books we loved when we were younger. Reading familiar books can be so calming and fun, as well as providing an escape to when things were simpler. We have created a list of a bunch of books that we loved when we were a bit younger and still do, which you should absolutely read if you have the chance. However, these 10 were the ones we decided to write about, because they are either underrated (in our opinions), have important themes, or are just written exceptionally well. We hope that you find a fun and relaxing book to read!
The BFG by Roald Dahl- Amethyst
Sophie is an orphan who embarks on the adventure of a lifetime when she is snatched from her bedroom window by the Big Friendly Giant, and taken to the land of the giants. At first she is terrified, but the BFG is very kind and treats her well, even educating her about his work catching and spreading dreams. As their friendship grows, Sophie’s presence attracts the unwanted attention of Bloodbottler, Fleshlumpeater and other giants. After traveling to London, Sophie and the BFG must convince Queen Victoria to help them get rid of all the bad giants once and for all. This is a super adorable and fantastical story, and it makes a great escape from boring life. In our opinion, it is one of the best Roald Dahl novels, although some other great ones include Matilda, Fantastic Mr. Fox, James and the Giant Peach, Danny the Champion of the World, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White- Amethyst
The story begins with two swans choosing a place to set up their nest, and starting a family, and they are discovered by a boy named Sam Beaver. One of the cygnets, named Louis, is born without a voice, and he struggles to keep up with his siblings. Sam takes Louis under his wing (pun fully intended) and brings him to school, where he learns to read and studies the greater world, in order to communicate better, and meets a beautiful swan named Serena. However, swans cannot read, so Louis’ father steals him a trumpet. Louis works as a musician around Boston and in the Philadelphia Zoo to pay off his trumpet debt, and becomes rather famous. This is such a beautiful, timeless, and classic children’s story, which touches on wildlife facts as well as fiction. We love the strong theme about overcoming challenges, growing up, and embracing who you are.
Betsy and Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace- Turquoise
This book is part of a series and the first book is one of my favorites. It is about two young girls growing up around 1915. The book starts off with Betsy and Tacy becoming friends and follows the many adventures they have together. When they first meet, Tacy is very shy but when she goes to Betsys’ birthday party they become close friends. In this book there are also many really nice illustrations that are so fun to see. They have many wonderful adventures, such as making a playhouse, having dinner together, and making a new friend named Tib. There is such great imagination in this book which helps the girls have wonderful adventures.This is the perfect childhood book to re-read during this time as the adventure is so soothing and just an overall wonderful read.
Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder- Amethyst
This memoir explores the daily life of Laura, growing up in a cabin with her Ma, Pa, big sister Mary, baby Carrie, and their dog, Jack. This includes many chores around the house, as well as making sure they have enough food for winter. The family is largely self sufficient, so they make all of their own belongings and gather all of their food. Some major events that take place include Christmas when they visit relatives, a sugar snow which means they make a lot of maple syrup, a trip to the store in town, and a fight between Laura and Mary where they get a whipping from Pa. This is such a nice relaxing read because it brings readers back to a time when things were incredibly simple, and is told from the perspective of a likable little kid. As you read, it starts to feel as though you are part of the Ingalls family. All of the books in this series are wonderful, but we chose this one because it is probably the happiest.
Where The Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls- Amethyst
SAD STORY ALERT!
Billy is a kid from the Ozark Mountains in Oklahoma, and wants to own a pair of coonhounds more than anything, but his family cannot afford them. So, he works for several years, and finally earns the money to get them. His grandfather buys the dogs for him, and he must get them in secret because his parents do not approve. He names the two hounds Old Dan and Little Ann, and the three of them are inseparable. He painstakingly trains them to hunt raccoons, and with Old Dan’s strength and Little Ann’s smarts, soon they are unstoppable. Billy faces mean kids and threats to the safety of his pups, but his bravery and wits always gets them through. When Billy’s grandpa enters them in a raccoon hunting contest, the hounds take first place, and the family is overjoyed. The book does have its highs and lows, but it ends up being an uplifting story overall. This may not be the most relaxing and happy story, but it has a bunch of nostalgia for me, so I had to include it on the list. When I was in fourth grade, my teacher would sit us down in a circle and read this book to us, one chapter at a time, over the course of a couple of months, and it was everyone’s favorite part of the week. Although the world it describes is not like anything I have experienced, the themes of bravery and self sufficiency are universal.
Half Magic by Edward Eager- Amethyst
Four children, Jane, Katharine, Martha, and Mark, were having a boring summer, until they found a magical coin. This coin will grant any wish, but only half of it, so they must wish for twice what they actually want. Some disasters follow like creating half a talking cat, being nearly kidnapped in a desert and Martha, the youngest, half disappearing. They do, however, get to go on exciting adventures too, such as jousting with Sir Lancelot, meeting Merlin the magician, and best of all, finding themselves a brilliant new stepfather. We love how this book takes realistic childhood experiences and mixes it with the power of newfound magic, to create a masterpiece that makes a wonderful story.
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine- Turquoise
Ella Enchanted is a new take on the classic fairy tale, Cinderella. It is about a girl named Ella who is cursed by a witch named Lucinda, when she receives the “gift” of needing to be obedient. This means that Ella must do whatever anyone tells her to do, even if it could endanger her life or the lives of others, making her constantly at the whim of those around her. When her mother dies and her father remarries an evil woman who has two daughters, they constantly boss Ella around. Her stepsisters learn about the curse and try to use her leading her to run away. She goes on an adventure to try to lift the curse and many crazy things happen. This is an amazing book and Ella is a very strong inspiring character. I think that this is a wonderful adventure to read during this time. The book is also a really wonderful movie so if you don’t want to read it you could watch it.
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson- Amethyst
SAD STORY ALERT!
This book is about two fifth-graders, Jess Aarons and Leslie Burke. Jess has been practicing all summer for the school recess races, and gets beaten by Leslie, but they still become friends. Leslie is being bullied for dressing and acting differently, and her parents are often working so much that they don’t have time for her. Jess is pressured into giving up drawing, which he loves, to do things like watch sports and be more ‘manly.’ The two of them find a place in the woods that they name Terabithia. The only way to get there is a rope swing across the creek. They call themselves the king and queen of Terabithia, and when they’re there, they use their imagination to live in a world where they are able to forget about any problems they have. The ending of this book is really sad, but it is also such a moving book and it’s very inspiring. Get ready for the waterworks if you choose to read this one!
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart- Amethyst
The Mysterious Benedict Society is part of a series about a group of gifted children, named Reynie, Sticky, Kate and Constance. They must pass many tests from Mr. Benedict before being chosen for a quest. Their mission involves going to a school, run by Mr. Curtain, and investigating the mysterious messages being broadcast to the entire world. At this school, the children must avoid being indoctrinated by the strange messages that they are constantly subjected to. The characters are so unusual, which makes them much more fun to read about, and it is a really amazing adventure. If you are looking for a book that you won’t be able to put down this is definitely the book for you. Additionally, this book is part of a series, so if you like it there is a lot more.
The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright- Turquoise
The Saturdays is the first book in a four book series. My personal favorite book in this series is probably The Four-Story Mistake which is the second book in the series. This book is about a family with four children: Mona, Rush, Miranda, and Oliver. They also have a father and a housekeeper and caretaker named Cuffy. They live in New York City in the 1930s. They decided that they all wanted to have adventures so they used their allowances and each had a great adventure in the city, one Saturday for each of them. Some of these adventures include going to the circus and going to the opera. The siblings have such a nice relationship that is so nice to read about at any age. The characters are so wonderful and all the books are amazing and so calming. I really enjoy listening to the audiobook version when I need something calm to listen to.