5 Book Series for Elementary-Age Girls

I haven’t made it a huge secret that when I was a kid, I was a huge book nerd (I still am a book nerd, but I’m also a very tired book nerd, so I don’t read nearly as much as I used to or as I would like to). When the other kids in our neighborhood were out running around on long summer nights, I was holed away in the house somewhere, reading. All. the. time. Often the same books over and over again (which I still like to do…and not all of them are books that show off my literary prowess–I’ve read The Firm an embarrassing number of times.)

My 7-year-old daughter has reached the stage where the she’s outgrown the little story books and she’ll often become totally immersed in the longer chapter books. And, like I did when I was her age, she loves books that are a part of a series because she can revisit the characters again and again. So I’ve put together a list of 5 of her favorite series of chapter books. Some of them are newer and some of them are old classics that are just as magical to her now as they were when I was her age. (Unless specified otherwise, I’m just linking to the first book in the series.)

1. The Boxcar Children.

Boxcar Children

looooooved The Boxcar Children when I was in elementary school (and so did my son when he was in his first few years of elementary). If you’re unfamiliar with these books (especially the first one), they’re about four orphaned children who set up a home in the woods in an old boxcar. I would dream about finding an abandoned boxcar and living in it (although the whole being an orphan thing was kind of my big hangup) and being awesome and resourceful like those kids were. Especially that beef stew they made, or the potatoes by the fire. It’s a wonder they didn’t inspire in me a greater desire for campfire cooking…

2. The Never Girls series. 

The Never Girls

These books are my daughter’s all-time favorites. She’ll read them again and again and talks about them like they’re her real friends: “Can you believe Lainey did that?!” Lainey who? Did what? And then I remember we’re talking about books. It’s about a group of real girls who are magically transported to Neverland, so they’re for a girls a little older than the Tinkerbell scene. They’re cute and sweet and I think the artwork on the covers is little girl magical perfection.

3. The Ramona Series.

Ramona Series

This is another series that I loved as a kid (and actually, my son really loved these books when he was in 1st-2nd grade). We kind of missed the boat with Ramona the Pest–she didn’t have the attention span to listen to it when she was smaller and now that she can read them on her own, she’s more interested in Ramona when she’s a little bit older. But she relates a lot to Ramona’s hilarious antics and kind of feeling like the misfit middle child.

4. The Friends for Keeps series.

Screen Shot 2015-03-11 at 10.23

I snagged the first book in this series for her on a whim at the school book fair–I felt like she could relate to a lot of it (changing friendships, girl drama, etc.) She ended up really, really loving these books and I like that it handles the ins and outs of girly relationships in a real and responsible way.

5. The Baby-Sitters Club.

Babysitter's Club

You guys…they’re still here! These were my ALL-TIME FAVORITE books from about 3rd-6th grade. I read them againandagainandagain–like to the point where the covers were gone. When I went on my son’s field trip in November, I was so happy to see an entire new generation of 4th grade girls experiencing the BSC (I always wanted to be Stacey, but in reality, I was pretty much Mary Ann.)

So these are a few of her favorites, but between these series, there are plenty of books to keep your kiddos occupied!

P.S. The Winner for the Blendtec Giveaway will be announced first thing in the morning, so stay tuned! 🙂

 

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45 comments

  1. My son loves the boxcar children also. So if you have sons and daughters it would be a great series to purchase because they can go either way.
    My daughter is in first grade and is in LOVE with Never Girls and so is everyone else in her class. Thanks for the other suggestions.

  2. Oh, The Babysitter’s Club! I also read those againandagainandagain. I used to love reading in the tub and would sometimes disappear and read an entire BSC book in one bath. Ha! Many of my copies of the books suffered water damage. My mom was a nice lady. 🙂

  3. My son loves boxcar children books too! And the first one is definitely the best-he was so intrigued by it for all the same reasons you were.

  4. I am also a huge book nerd who loves to read my favorites over and over again! Although as a kid I wasn’t usually inside reading…I was on a swing, or sitting on a tree branch! One of my favorite parts of being an elementary school teacher is that I’ve never had to stop reading children’s literature.

    I adored the Boxcar Children, Ramona, and the Babysitter’s Club as a kid. I hadn’t heard of the other two series but I will keep them in mind for my students. As a kid, my all time favorite series was the Little House books. I also loved Anne of Green Gables and the Bobbsey Twins. Right now my students are really into the “Whatever After” series, which are quite entertaining.

    1. I absolutely adored Anne of Green Gables too!!! My copies are falling apart! They are the only books that I can read over and over and over.

      What grade do you teach?

  5. Thanks for this list! My daughter is in 3rd grade and is a huge reader. It can be hard to find books that she likes, that aren’t too easy, that aren’t too scary (she’s pretty sensitive) and that don’t overly focus on the boyfriend/girlfriend thing (that kills me).

    She really enjoyed The Doll People series by Ann M. Martin of BSC fame, especially the first book. She’s also loving The Penderwick’s series. There’s a little of the whole 10 year old boys and girls liking each other (which my daughter thinks is ridiculous), but the books read like a delightful old classics. She also just got some Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books out of the library and she’s loving them! My nephew who is her age loved them, too!

    1. So, apparently I read way too much YA, but some of my favorites are the Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa, the Graceling series by Kristin Cashore, Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi, Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor, and anything by Cassandra Clare. As far as actual adult authors, I’ve been a little obsessed with Ken Follet (Pillars of the Earth was amazing). I also have become a follower of Neil Gaiman, though I haven’t read as many of his. If you are looking for something lighter, I love Jen Lancaster, Jennifer Weiner, and Sarah Addison Allen.

  6. I loved to read (still do) when I was younger, but I never got into the series, so I feel like I need to go back and read all these that I missed out on.

  7. Love the suggestions. Thank you! I faithfully check your site every day (except Tuesdays) and Thursdays are my favorite! I had the baby sitters club game. Good times. Thanks for the fun reminder.

  8. These are so helpful – my second grade daughter was just asking for more suggestions…thank you!

  9. Perfect! I have a fourth grade girl and LOVING this list. She’s read a couple but some are new so I’ll be checking into those right away! She’s not a huge reader but has quite a bit of reading to do with her homework assignments so we are always looking for book ideas … She just finished reading Wonder and it was her first successful cover to cover chapter book that she actually looked forward to reading daily 🙂 thanks for putting this together and sharing 🙂 Plus … She loves your recipies ( she will try anything if I tell her it’s from Kate and Sara … Yes, we talk about you like we actually know you ) … So I can just tell her these are your favorite books and she’s sure to give them a chance 🙂

  10. OMG. I love to read but alas the only one I can relate to are the Beverly Cleary books. We have read them here too to our kids and my daughter (4th grade) has re-read them all to herself. The problem I’m having is keeping up with her reading level. It seems like a lot of books for her age are well below her reading level. We’ve got her reading the harry potter series (even though I think they are too scary – no one agrees with me), and the new-ish series called the Clique authored by an old MTV producer – she is really getting into those. Thanks for some suggestions – would love to hear the 4th grade boy version soon!

    1. I agree with you about Harry Potter, I’m being pretty cautious with my fourth grader too, you definitely aren’t the only one. You could try the Gregor the Overlander series by Suzanne Collins (boys & girls) or the Percy Jackson series (there are 5 in each of those series). My first grade boy is loving Flat Stanley as well as the How to Train Your Dragon series. Little Women might work for your 4th grader and Anne of Green Gables (at least the first few). I don’t know where you live but here in Oregon we have a competition called “Oregon Battle of the Books” and if you google that there are years worth of lists of 3rd-5th grade level books for boys and girls. The last 2 years have had great suggestions. Just thought I would throw all that info in because I have a hard timing keeping up with age appropriate books for my reader too. 🙂

  11. Thanks for book suggestions! I have daughters in 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th grades and a son in 9th and they all LOVE to read. We’ve done a lot of the books you suggested, but there are some new ones we’ll look for. We always love finding a new series because it means the book will last longer than a day or two.

    A few comments mentioned looking for something for 4th graders. My kids have enjoyed the Redwall series by Brian Jacques and the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. Both series have at least 20 books, so they’ll keep your readers busy for a while. My 5th & 7th graders have also enjoyed the 11 Birthdays series by Wendy Mass (and her other books, too). My 7th grader loves anything by Rebecca Stead. We all loved Wonder, too. Hope that’s helpful to someone.

    1. p.s. I just reserved a bunch of these at our library for my girls.

      I also wanted to mention that http://www.theliteratemother.org/ is a fantastic resource for people looking for books for their kids. We have discovered a lot of our favorites through their recommendations. It’s a group of moms who read and review books and they give recommendations for what’s appropriate for what age group and why. We love their site!

  12. I just thought of another one – the Family Tree series by Ann M. Martin. It’s 4 books, each about a different generation of a family.

    I just finished a long-term substitute job teaching grade 5, so as I put books away I’m coming up with a few more suggestions. I love the “Dear Canada” books and I believe there is a similar American version. They’re the diaries of girls at various points in history, so the characters aren’t the same from book to book but there are lots of books to read. Another Canadian series I love (for a bit older audience) is the Breadwinner series, about girls in Afghanistan.

  13. I loved (still do) the Redwall series. And my absolute favorite book for this age group is Ella Enchanted. Also the Dealing with Dragons series by Patricia Wrede. So hilarious and awesome!

  14. I just read Wonder after my child said I needed to read it. Great book! I also just read my 6 year old the “Ever After High” books and loved them too. They didn’t have as much of the boyfriend-girlfriend story line as the videos might portray. The first 3 books are written by Shannon Hale, whom I adore…Goose Girl, Princess Academy. Good books!!

  15. We have 8 and 5 yr old daughters that are really into reading. Some other series that we have tried and loved are:

    Magic Tree House (there’s a TON)*
    Clementine
    Geronimo Stilton (also a TON)*
    Thea Silton (spinoff of Geronimo Stilton)
    Rainbow Magic Fairies (also a TON)
    Mercy Watson (these are a little easier to read)

    * I think these would appeal to both genders

  16. Box Car Children & Babysitters club were what started my life long love of reading!! I can’t wait to share them with my kids!! My daughter and I are watching the Ramona and Beezus movie right now. It is one of my most favorites!!!

  17. Thank you for a lovely list (Babysitters Club was a huge part of my life!!!!). I’m hoping you can weed through a list of series for boys as well 🙂 I am going to compile a list of potentials from the other commenters here 🙂

  18. All of my grandchildren love the Boxcar Children! They are actually reading the books that I bought for my daughter many years ago, that she kept all of these years!
    Thanks for the suggestions, I’ve already reserved the others at the library for my 7 year old granddaughter and will be reading the comments for other suggestions.

  19. We love Shannon Hale’s books at our house, and her new series, The Princess in Black, would be great for this age group!!

  20. My 7 year old daughter and I areee with all of your suggestions! Have you seen The Boxcar Children movie? I got it at Target. It’s very good! My 4 year old enjoyed it too!

  21. my daughter also lived rescue princess and critter club at that age. She also still loves the who was /is, what/where is biography, and history books!

  22. I remember feeling devastated when my mom told me she could only buy me one Babysitters club book a month. So I learned how to babysit and spent all my money on books!
    My 1st grader and I just started the Fairybelle Sisters. They are tinkerbelle’s sisters who live on another island. We are loving it! It has all of the fairy fun that rainbow magic does but no jack frost or goblins. Plus the toy kitten came alive with magic fairy wind and turned into a fairy kitten! We will have to try Neverland girls for sure. My daughter and her cousins want to go to Neverland so badly!

  23. Thanks for the list. My daughter (8) loves Pippi Longstocking. She’s read the first book at least twice. She’s enjoyed Narnia and Little House as well. I am looking forward to introducing her to Wrinkle in Time in a couple of years. Maybe this will get us out of the fairy book funk.

  24. Oh, we all wanted to be Stacey. Or else Dawn, all breezy and California-beautiful. Love this list!

  25. My daughter is 7 as well & loves the Nancy Clancy chapter book series. I’ve been meaning to check out the Never Girls series… sounds like it may be a hit.

  26. My 7-year-old daughter is an avid reader and love these series:
    Magic Tree House
    Clementine
    Ivy & Bean
    A to Z Mysteries

    1. My daughter is a bit older now (10), but I couldn’t believe no one had mentioned Ivy & Bean! She loved those books! And I loved them too, because although the girls get into trouble, they are strong and smart and brave. (Plus the illustrations are fantastic!)

      1. Oops…and I should also mention another one by the same author, Annie Barrows – The Magic Half. My daughter LOVED this book, and there’s a sequel now (haven’t gotten to it yet, but will soon!).

  27. The Baby-Sitters Club. Words can not express how much I loved that series. And I may or may not have discovered the television series on Netflix by chance (I never knew it existed!) and I may or may not have stayed up past midnight watching three or more consecutive episodes, just for old times sake. (Note: This low budget show did an impeccable job as far as casting is concerned; I was amazed I knew everyones’ names before they were even introduced, including the kids they babysat!) (Note: Once a nerd, always a nerd.)

  28. I’m excited to explore those series! The only one I’m familiar with is the Ramona series and of course the babysitters club! Those were among my favorites also. One series my oldest was obsessed with is Junie B. Jones! She’s a reader who will read books over and over again too. And to my delight, she LOVES the original Nancy Drew series! She started those in grade 3. I won’t let her read the newer versions yet. I’m scared they will be so different than the original and I want her to absorb and continue to appreciate those first.

  29. I loved those series too, well, most of them. I wasn’t familiar with the The Never Girls or Friends For Keeps, but will have to check them out. The other series I loved (and still do) is Little House on the Prairie. The Babysitters Club is definitely an all-time favorite! Thanks for sharing!

  30. LOVED the Boxcar Children and Babysitter’s Club books as a kid! I wanted to be Dawn so bad. But I was totally Mary Ann. I also really liked Trixie Belden (she was like Nancy Drew only way cooler) but those books are hard to find. Sweet Valley Twins books were my all-time fave, though. It’s the Wakefield twins for a younger audience…maybe 5th-6th grade? Thanks for the trip down memory lane! I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough to read my old favorites.

  31. For slightly older girls (and boys!), we just discovered The Mysterious Benedict Society. There are only 3 or 4 books, but they are WONDERFUL. I bought the first book for my daughter, and picked it up to flip through…. and finished it in 2 days.

  32. There are some fun ones in this list. My littles are into The Horse Valley Adventure series by Liana Allen, lmabooks.com. Donkey’s Kite is the current one and my kids WILL NOT put it down! Good stuff!

  33. Both my kids loved Little House in the Big Woods as well as the others in the series. Charlotte’s Web, Hatchet, Stuart Little, Secret Garden, The Wind and the Willow, and The Hardy Boys were favorites in the elementary years.
    In jr high the favorites have been for my daughter The Yearling – her most favorite and As You Like It comes in second this year for 7th grade. When my son was in 8th grade he read both the Iliad and the Odyssey, loved them both and still talks about them.

  34. The Betsy Tacy Tib series is the favorite series of most little girls we know. The series follows the girls as they grow up. Delightful girl characters inspire girls’ imagination and to love the little things in life.

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