DD9 prefers books that are on her reading level or just below, and is looking for a series similar in style / reading level that would be set in a different historical period. Is there anything like this?
She doesn't like anything too dramatic, too tragic, and doesn't like mystery.
The Royal Diaries and the Dear America series were the first ones I thought about when I read your post, but they aren't series with recurring characters.
The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich tells about the same time period as Little House, but from a Native American perspective. There is death and hardship portrayed in the plot. There are sequels too.
Anne of Green Gables and Emily of New Moon and the other series by L.M. Montgomery might suit, but there are dramatic, tragic events. I still can't read about Matthew's death near the end of Green Gables or about Walter or Dog Monday in Rilla of Ingleside without getting teary-eyed.
They are not a series and the reading level is higher than the Little House books, but Karen Cushman has written several books about Medieval times that are terrific. They feature spunky, smart girls and she's done a lot of research for historical accuracy
- The Midwife's Apprentice
- Catherine, Called Birdy
- Matilda Bone
I feel like I am missing something obvious, but I can't think of what it could be. If I do, I'll post again, lol!
There are the American Girl books. Some of them have parts that would be difficult for a sensitive kid (Kirsten's best friend dies in one of the books). The Molly books (World War 2) and Rebecca books (1918), were good and I don't remember anything too upsetting.
We've read and enjoyed the books based on Laura's mother Caroline and her daughter Rose.
Caddie Woodlawn is also similar to the Little House books, although I think it is set earlier, like the 1820s.
Second the Louise Erdrich book! I loved the Little House books when I was a kid, too, but now I struggle with how to present them to my own kids because of the racism. Erdrich's book offers a little balance to the viewpoint of the lhotp books.
i dont have a problem with the racism only because as a child i just knew it was wrong i was taught already that stuff like that wasn't ok so i knew when i was reading it that it was just something that happened along time ago. now if it was the same cercumstance in a book set in modern times i dont think i'd be ok with my child reading it. but if your child is taught that certain things are wrong there going to realize it in the books
The All-of-A-Kind Family books by Sydney Taylor are about a Jewish family set in NYC, right before and during the start of WWI. They go in an out of print, but they are great reads, especially for girls who enjoy historical fiction.
Thought of another - The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew by Margaret Sidney, and sequels. I'll be honest and say that I haven't read them in decades (my own dc weren't interested) so I'm not sure if there's a lot of drama. I still recall the charming language, though ("receipt" = recipe).
I think the obvious series that I couldn't recall earlier was Little Women and it's sequels by L.M. Alcott. The reading level is higher than the Little House series though and there is tragedy - the death of Beth, for example.