“Grown-Up” Books (For the Kid in You)


When did you start to love reading? Can you remember the first book that did it for you?

Why, yes I do remember–so glad you asked! I was in third grade at my local public library with my friend Margaret (a bookworm and savvy reader a few years older than me). She thrust Lois Lowry’s Anastasia, Again at me so I shrugged and checked it out. I spent the rest of that afternoon on my front porch for hours happily lost in the book. I was a reader. And I haven’t looked back since.

Over the years, I have found that the phase of life in which you read a book affects your outlook on it. Have you ever re-read a beloved book only to find you now despise it? Have you discovered that you still love that same book but notice a lot of different stuff now? If you’ve grown up reading chances are you have many fond memories of the greats you read as a kid. In this line of thinking my colleague Meaghan Darling and I put together some recommendations of titles to try now based on what you liked when you were younger.


* The Witches by Roald Dahl –Beautiful Creatures (2010 Morris Finalist) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

Some witches are good, some are bad—but all are powerful!

* How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell – Eragon (2004 Teens Top Ten) by Christopher Paolini

An unexpected meeting. A new training partner. The epic tale of a boy and his dragon.

* Number the Stars by Lois Lowry The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Both focused on the Holocaust, the brave protagonists of each story secretly help a friend in hiding or in a concentration camp.

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* Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (Best Books for Young Adults 1999 2000, 2004, 2006, 2008 & Teens Top Ten 2004, 2006, 2008)- Fan Girl (2014 Best Fiction for Young Adults) by Rainbow Rowell

Finally, a book that celebrates the awesomeness of fan fiction!

* Ramona Quimby series by Beverly Cleary  — The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (a 2009 Prinz Honor, 2009 Best Book for Young Adults, 2009 Teens Top Ten) by E. Lockhart

Ramona and Frankie are strong, smart girls who find themselves in some pretty hilarious jams.

* Anastasia, Ask your Analyst! by Lois Lowry –OCD, The Dude and Me by Lauren Roedy Vaughn

Mental health is important for a young girl!

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* Coraline by Neil Gaiman  — The Graveyard Book (2009 Newbery Medal Winner) by Neil Gaiman

Spooky settings, creepy characters, paranormal beings — oh my!


* Holes by Louis Sachar — Boot Camp (2008 Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers) by Todd Strasser

Just a couple of “bad boys” trying to escape unjustified hard labor.



* The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum —Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige

Dorothy like you’ve never seen her before! Oz is a dystopian society.

* Cinderella by Marcia Brown– Keeping the Castle by Patrice Kindl

Features a crumbling castle, evil stepsisters, and witty dialogue– and bears a striking resemblance to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.


* The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Anderson — September Girls by Bennett Madison

Mermaid adventures for the modern day.

* Peter Pan  by J. M. Barrie –Second Star by Alyssa Sheinmel

In this modern remake of Peter Pan, Wendy Darling sets off to find her missing surfer brothers, John and Michael.  Set in California where all “flying” is done on surfboards.


* Joey Pigza Series by Jack Gantos —Carter Finally Gets It Trilogy by Brent Crawford

A comical look (laced with boy humor) at a boy trying to survive the school year.


* Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney — Miracle Wimp by Erik P. Kraft

Just two dudes trying to navigate the school scene. Doodles and diary entries galore.

* Nancy Drew Series by Carolyn Keene — Gallagher Girls Series (2009 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 2010 Teens Top Ten) by Ally Carter

Nancy had it all — mystery, espionage, intrigue, and great hair. Fast forward 25 years to modern technology and cyberstalking and you have the Gallagher Girls.

Spooky_HUB* Goosebumps Series by R.L. Stine — Anna Dressed in Blood (2011 Reader’s  Choice Nomination) by Kendare Blake & The Girl From the Well by Rin Chupeco

With stories of ghost hunting and the Japanese legend that inspired the film The Ring, the spook factor goes up a notch… or ten.

* Babysitters Club Series by Ann M. Martin — Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series (2002 Best Book for Young Adults Top Ten, 2003 Teens Top Ten, 2005 Teens Top Ten, 2009 Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults) by Ann Brashares

Good friends, funny adventures, and great wardrobes!

Additional requests welcomed!

-Tara Kehoe,  currently reading The Secret Place by Tana French, and guest blogger Meaghan Darling,  currently reading This Star Won’t Go Out by Esther Earl

One thought on ““Grown-Up” Books (For the Kid in You)”

  1. Second grade…The Boxcar Children! I craved having my own boxcar and filling it with my own discovered “treasures!” I don’t think I’ve quite outgrown that desire :-)

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