As Samantha gets older (how is she in third grade already?!), her interest in books is obviously changing. Gone are the days when we would curl up in her bed and read Won’t You Be MyKisaroo? every. single. night. Still, I plan to curl up and read to her every night until she finds it unbearable—which means we’ve changed things up a bit.
Instead of reading books below her reading level, we’ve moved on to books that are at or above it. It’s been fun to introduce her to Nancy Drew and The Babysitter’s Club and other classics I read when I was younger. And it’s also been fun to discover new books that we’re both reading for the first time.
I’ve decided to round up some of our current favorites to share with you guys. Because they’re awesome.
Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris
My mother-in-law picked this one up for Sam and as soon as we started it, she was hooked. This is one of those books that I read her a couple of chapters of and she stayed up reading until she couldn’t keep her eyes open. We ended up with two bookmarks and her trying her hardest not to spoil any plot twists—and there are a few.
Christian is a boy who lives in a cave with a troll as his adopted father. Spying on a nearby castle with his telescope, Christian falls in love with Princess Marigold—an outcast who loves books as much as he does. Princess Marigold refuses to marry just because everyone thinks she should and soon Christian gets a job at the castle and finds himself unraveling a love triangle and trying to stop a power-hungry Queen. Filled with drama, comedy, a strong princess, and just enough fantasy, this book (which is part one of a trilogy!) is fabulous.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
A classic that many of us have read, A Wrinkle in Time was really fun to enjoy with my daughter. Samantha loved the magical creatures, which she says were really easy to picture in her head because of the great descriptions.
A little above her reading level, Samantha wasn’t too confident reading it on her own, but she liked reading it together so that I could explain more difficult vocabulary or help untangle any confusion she had. Like Once Upon A Marigold, she really enjoyed the combination of fantasy and characters that are easy to relate to.
North of Nowhere by Liz Kessler
While it doesn’t include any mythical creatures, this book still has a healthy dose of fantasy. When Mia’s grandpa mysteriously goes missing, Mia and her mom go to the tiny fishing village her grandparents live in to help out her grandma. While they try to solve the mystery of where her grandfather has disappeared to, Mia finds Dee’s diary on an empty boat and the two become pen pals—but there’s a lot about Dee that’s mysterious too.
Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
I’ve seen this one mentioned all over the place lately and my interest was piqued even further by the cover. When I saw that it’s about an eccentric, comic-book loving girl and a superhero squirrel, I knew we had to check it out.
A Newberry Medal winner, this fun novel is sprinkled with comic-like illustrations. The combination of the illustrations and an author that refuses to write down to kids (I actually had to look a word up to tell Samantha what it meant) is really refreshing and solidified the story as one of our all-time favorites.
The Doll People by Ann M. Martin
I’m not sure how we found this one, but we didn’t realize it’s by the author of The Babysitter’s Club books until we were halfway done with it. It’s so good and so different from the Ann M. Martin books I knew and loved.
This one is about a family of dolls who live a very sheltered existence, moving around carefully only when their owners are sleeping or out of the house. When 8-year old Annabelle Doll finds her missing aunt’s diary, she becomes determined to search for her—much to her careful family’s chagrin. Everything changes when the Funcrafts (another family of dolls) move in.
Do you have a bedtime reading ritual? What are your favorites?