Whether you’re looking for a book for a girl you love or you missed these along the way in your childhood, here are nine of my top titles for girls.
The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
This book offers some profound insights about how love can hurt, but how it’s also what makes you real.
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
I’m not sure if this is an adult book that can also be appreciated by kids or a kids book that can also be appreciated by adults, but it holds up for any age, any generation. I remember reading it and having my eyes opened to the wonder and mystery just under the surface of ordinary life. I also felt a special kinship with Meg, who doesn’t seem to fit in with her peers but finds herself uniquely equipped to deal with another world once she arrives there—a world she never even dreamed of.
The Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
This was the first book I remember reading that didn’t have a happy ending. Although I felt indignant about it at the time, I grew to appreciate the beautiful picture of friendship painted in this book and how the characters’ grief prepared me to face my own losses.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
This book serves as a reminder that friendship can blossom just as surely as flowers do, that miracles are possible, and that hope is worth clinging to.
“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?” . . .
“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine.”
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
I think every girl has a little bit of Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy in her. These sisters helped me grow up and figure out who I was, and they showed me how to stay true to what I stood for.
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
I read this series so many times the books are now practically falling apart. After I read each book as a kid, I’d give it to my grandmother (she of the red hair and the spunky personality, just like Anne) and we’d talk about it together. Looking back, I suppose it was my first impromptu book club.
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
I must have overlooked the parts about dysentery, the lack of indoor plumbing, and the absence of central air, but I desperately wanted to go back in time so I could be Laura. This book offers a poignant snapshot of a particular era in our country’s history, and it’s rich with themes of family relationships and the tough times can help us learn and grow.
“There’s no great loss without some small gain.”
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
This book is pure fun. My sister and I loved wearing colorful stockings and putting our hair in pigtails, Pippi style.
Winnie the Horse Gentler by Dandi Daley Mackall
This book came into my life when I was an adult, like a long-lost friend, but it’s a story every girl should read. Horse lover or not, every girl will connect with the ups and the downs of being a kid, the longing for friendship, and the way the funny moments of life weave together with the more serious ones.
What were your favorite books as a kid? I’d love to hear your list.