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<p>I am looking for a series to buy for my niece for Christmas and am drawing a blank.  She is 10 but reads at at least a 10th grade level, if I had to guess.  She is quite naive and socially a bit backward, and her family is pretty strict about content: nothing fantasy, nothing remotely mature.  She is not even allowed to read the Harry Potter series due to the sorcery content. She has read every Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys mystery she can get her hands on and prefers the "original" versions.</p>
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<p>Any suggestions?</p>
 

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What about some of the classic children's books? I loved the Secret Garden, The Little Princess, the Shoes books, Black Beauty, Thursday's Child, Treasure Island, Around the world in 80,000 days, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the Oz series (dunno if that would qualify as fantasy).
 

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<p>How about books by Elizabeth Goudge?  My sis-in-law recommends the series starting with A City of Bells.  </p>
<p>My daughter read  The Little White Horse by her and loved it.  It does include a bit of a fantasy element though.  The reading level was high with wonderful vocabulary, but the plot only had mild peril and no overly adult themes.  It had some adult themes like taking responsibility for past actions, but not the kind of adult themes we sometimes limit our little ones exposure to. </p>
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<p>What about classics like Anne of Green Gables?  or perhaps Jane Austen?  My daughter loved Pride and Prejudice.  She also enjoyed Twain - The Prince and the Pauper and Tom Sawyer.  </p>
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<p>Sadly, my daughter is a big fantasy reader so I'm having trouble thinking of other alternatives!</p>
 

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<p>I would also second classics--- how about Louisa May Alcott.  Little Women, Little Men & Jo's Boys.  If you wanted to do more, you could include the rest of her books.  Is Mark Twain too "much"?</p>
 

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<p>Thanks for the suggestions!  My mom started me on the classics around this age as well, and I lent my niece my library, so I think she has read quite a few of the titles above from there. I LOVED Little Women and the rest of Alcott, but I worry that SIL will think the content too "mature".  The Elizabeth Goudge recommendation is not one I have heard--thank you, mom2ponygirl!  I will check that out.  As for Twain, yeah, a little "too much", Tiredx2!  And I found his work painful to read at that age :) so I hate to buy it for someone else.</p>
 

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<p>Phillipa Pearce is wonderful too. "Minnow on the Say" and "Tom's Midnight Garden" are my favourites.</p>
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<p>Miranda</p>
 

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<p>What about the <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FComplete-Avonlea-Poplars-Rainbow-Ingleside%2Fdp%2F0553609416" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">Anne of Green Gables</a> series by L.M. Montgomery?</p>
 

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<p>What about The Giver? To Kill A Mockingbird? I don't know if those would be considered "too mature".</p>
 

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<p>I would stay away from <em>Mockingbird</em>. The whole Tom Robinson trial is about an alleged rape, and the book uses the "n word." Definitely not something for a sheltered 10 year old. </p>
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<p>I second (third?) the <em>Anne of Green Gables</em> series. I adored them as a child. I also was really into the Trixie Belden series, but I'm not sure if that's still around. </p>
 

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<p>I've been all over the boards lately recommending <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FPenderwicks-Summer-Sisters-Rabbits-Interesting%2Fdp%2F0375831436" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">The Penderwicks by Jane Birdsall</a>. There are only two books so far, but I think they'd fill the bill. They're about 250 pages and have an old fashioned feel, but are set in the contemporary era. It's a story of 4 sisters and their dad. Their mom has already died of cancer 4 years earlier when the book starts and there are mentions of her, but it's one of those things that is more sad for an adult reading it than a kid. No violence at all, but very fun. I think they'd be perfect.</p>
 

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<p>I was all set to suggest the original Sherlock Holmes stories by Arthur Conan Doyle, based on her preference for mysteries. Then I remembered that Sherlock was a cocaine addict, and can't recall how prominent that little character fact is in the stories. It's been a long time since I read them, and my memory is clouded by the Hollywood and BBC versions that have played it up. They may or may not be appropriate, I'm really not sure. </p>
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<p>I thought of Jane Austen, also suggested by pp, but wondered if the romances would be considered "too mature".  They are certainly tame compared to most teen fiction these days. It's hard to know what some parents will find objectionable. </p>
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<p>Eva Ibbotson writes some charming books for tweens/early teens that are historical fiction - <em>Journey to the River Se</em>a, <em>Star of Kazan</em>, etc. She also writes some fantasy (<em>The Secret of Platform 13</em> and others), so you may have to be careful if you pick her books. </p>
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<p>Karen Cushman writes some really good historic fiction for young teens - <em>The Midwife's Apprentice</em>, <em>Matilda Bone</em> etc. about plucky girls who are making lives for themselves in medieval England. </p>
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<p>How about some non-fiction? Something like Walden by Thoreau or some inspiring biographies (Rachel Carson, Georgia O'Keefe, etc.) Hmm, maybe not O'Keefe (affairs etc.)</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>beanma</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282177/books-for-naive-10-yo-reading-at-a-high-school-level#post_16078519"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I've been all over the boards lately recommending <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FPenderwicks-Summer-Sisters-Rabbits-Interesting%2Fdp%2F0375831436" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">The Penderwicks by Jane Birdsall</a>. There are only two books so far, but I think they'd fill the bill. They're about 250 pages and have an old fashioned feel, but are set in the contemporary era. It's a story of 4 sisters and their dad. Their mom has already died of cancer 4 years earlier when the book starts and there are mentions of her, but it's one of those things that is more sad for an adult reading it than a kid. No violence at all, but very fun. I think they'd be perfect.</p>
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<br><br><p>THANK YOU!  They DO sound perfect,and I like that there are more coming.  I will check those out.  </p>
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<p>To whomever recommended the Anne books, I am pretty sure she has read those.</p>
 

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<i>A Girl of the Limberlost</i> is a classic full of "old-fashioned values" that your niece's family would approve of. Plus, a great story and wonderful protagonist!<br><br>
<a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FGirl-Limberlost-Gene-Stratton-Porter%2Fdp%2F1934169315%2Fref%3Dtag_dpp_lp_edpp_ttl_in" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">http://www.amazon.com/Girl-Limberlost-Gene-Stratton-Porter/dp/1934169315/ref=tag_dpp_lp_edpp_ttl_in</a><br><br><i>A Girl of the Limberlost (1909) by Gene Stratton Porter is the story of a poor Indiana girl Elnora Comstock who lives with her emotionally abusive mother, a stern heartless widow, at the edge of the Limberlost Swamp. Elnora attends school against her mother's wishes, fighting every inch of the way for her dream of an education, and collects and sells moths and other rare biological specimens from the swamp to pay for her schooling, books, and bare necessities. At first a laughingstock of her fellow students, Elnora persists against unfair odds, and asserts her true self.<br><br>
A wonderful turn-of-the-century novel of discovery of identity, wonders of nature, friendship, family trust, love, and the process of growing up in the magical shadow of the Limberlost.</i>
 

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<p>The first four or so pages (and the last line) of the second Holmes novel, <em>The Sign of Four</em> are ALL about cocaine - what Holmes uses, why, how he administers it, how Watson feels about it, that Holmes also uses heroin.  The first Holmes novel, <em>A Study In Scarlet</em> has the Mormons as the main villain (Brigham Young makes a shadowy cameo appearance).  I love both books, but I wouldn't recommend either for a sheltered ten-year-old.  <em>The Hound of the Baskervilles</em> might be pretty cool, though, and there are some good collections of the short stories.   </p>
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<p>While I prefer not to read abridged versions with my own children, the Holmes stories are widely available in editions that have been abridged for children.  Those might be well worth looking into in this case. </p>
 

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<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FHomecoming-Tillerman-Cynthia-Voigt%2Fdp%2F0689863616%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fs%3Dbooks%26ie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1291002512%26sr%3D1-1" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">Homecoming</a> and <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FDiceys-Song-Tillerman-Cynthia-Voigt%2Fdp%2F0689863624%2Fref%3Dsr_1_2%3Fs%3Dbooks%26ie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1291002512%26sr%3D1-2" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">Dicey's Song</a> by Cynthia Voigt</p>
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<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FCaddie-Woodlawn-Carol-Ryrie-Brink%2Fdp%2F1416940286%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fs%3Dbooks%26ie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1291003046%26sr%3D1-1" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">Caddie Woodlawn</a> by Carol Ryrie Brink</p>
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<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fs%2Fref%3Dnb_sb_ss_i_0_13%3Furl%3Dsearch-alias%253Dstripbooks%26field-keywords%3Dtrixie%2Bbelden%26sprefix%3Dtrixie%2Bbelden" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">The Trixie Beldon mystery series</a> by Julie Campbell</p>
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<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FCreatures-Great-Small-James-Herriot%2Fdp%2F0312330855%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dbooks%26qid%3D1291003242%26sr%3D1-1" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">All Creatures Great and Small</a> (and the following books in the series) by James Herriot</p>
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<p><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FJonathan-Livingston-Seagull-Richard-Bach%2Fdp%2F0743278909%2Fref%3Dsr_1_1%3Fs%3Dbooks%26ie%3DUTF8%26qid%3D1291003348%26sr%3D1-1" rel="norewrite" target="_blank">Jonathan Livingston Seagull</a> by Richard Bach</p>
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<p>I wouldn't stress so much about what level the book is at and instead go with interests of the child. Even most adult novels top out at the 5th grade level. You'll be quite limited if you are looking for actual 10th grade material. Both mine were at or above the high school level in reading at that age but they were still 10 and so still wanted books they could actually relate too. My DD was more than capable of reading "Pride and Prejudice" at 10 but she balked at reading anything involving romance. At 13, she can't get enough of it lol.  </p>
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<p>How about horse novels? We know tons of girls (myself included) that just loved series like "The Black Stallion" or "Misty" or "National Velvet." I second "Anne of Green Gables" and reccomend "Emily of New Moon" by the same author. She might like the "Little House" series though she may have already read them. Unfortunately, most of my regular reccomendations are fantasy. It's too bad your niece can't read them as fantasy is one of those genres where you can find LOTS of higher level material that is appropriate but can also interest young readers.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>whatsnextmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282177/books-for-naive-10-yo-reading-at-a-high-school-level#post_16078784"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>I wouldn't stress so much about what level the book is at and instead go with interests of the child. Even most adult novels top out at the 5th grade level. You'll be quite limited if you are looking for actual 10th grade material. Both mine were at or above the high school level in reading at that age but they were still 10 and so still wanted books they could actually relate too. My DD was more than capable of reading "Pride and Prejudice" at 10 but she balked at reading anything involving romance. At 13, she can't get enough of it lol.  </p>
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<br><br><p>ITA, DS is younger, so the age vs. reading levels in question are different, but when finding books for him interest and content take precedence over reading level. Some of his books are challenging for him to read, but most of them are an enjoyable easy read for him.</p>
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<p>With that in mind, I'm going to suggest <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Encyclopedia Brown</span>.  They have recently been re-released in a boxed set.  They are a very easy reading level, but they fit with the interest in mysteries, and are very age appropriate.</p>
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<p>Is the concern over anything fantasy one of scariness, or is it about religious beliefs?  If it's about scariness, we could probably think up some pretty gentle fantasy type books to start her on, such as some of the E. Nesbit books.  If it is about religion, then possibly they would be ok with things like the <span style="text-decoration:underline;">Narnia</span> books, which were written by a fairly religious man.</p>
 

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<br><br><div class="quote-container"><span>Quote:</span>
<div class="quote-block">Originally Posted by <strong>stik</strong> <a href="/community/forum/thread/1282177/books-for-naive-10-yo-reading-at-a-high-school-level#post_16078678"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a><br><br><p>The first four or so pages (and the last line) of the second Holmes novel, <em>The Sign of Four</em> are ALL about cocaine - what Holmes uses, why, how he administers it, how Watson feels about it, that Holmes also uses heroin.  The first Holmes novel, <em>A Study In Scarlet</em> has the Mormons as the main villain (Brigham Young makes a shadowy cameo appearance).  I love both books, but I wouldn't recommend either for a sheltered ten-year-old.  <em>The Hound of the Baskervilles</em> might be pretty cool, though, and there are some good collections of the short stories.   </p>
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<p>While I prefer not to read abridged versions with my own children, the Holmes stories are widely available in editions that have been abridged for children.  Those might be well worth looking into in this case. </p>
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<p>Ah, thank you for clarifying. The abridged versions are a idea. I don't like abridgements either, but they may be the answer. </p>
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<p>The Girl of the Limberlost is a good suggestion. When I was about 8 or 10, I liked it and <em>Freckles</em>.  </p>
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<p>I was going to recommend Trixie Belden too. </p>
<p>A great place to search for books is Chinaberry.  <a href="http://www.chinaberry.com/" target="_blank">http://www.chinaberry.com/</a>  They're well reviewed books. </p>
 

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<p>Thanks for all the new suggestions!  There are some great ones I had forgotten. She is a horse lover, so I bought her <span style="text-decoration:underline;">The Black Stallion</span> boxed set two years ago, and her other aunt gifted <span style="text-decoration:underline;">The Little House</span> series a while back as well. I'm keeping <span style="text-decoration:underline;">The Chronicles of Narnia</span> in mind for her birthday if she hasn't read them already or possibly Anne/Emily all of which I really enjoyed!</p>
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<p>eepster--The concerns about fantasy are both.  She may now be getting old enough to deal with the scary factor, though.  As for reading level, she does prefer books that are a bit more challenging to read.  I was much the same at her age--it could be a good story, but if it was too "babyish" I didn't enjoy it!  The challenge of reading was part of the fun.</p>
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<p>I am just back from the book store.  I ended up buying <span style="text-decoration:underline;">The Penderwicks</span> and its sequel (the first won the National Book Award--who knew!) and <span style="text-decoration:underline;">The Mysterious Benedict Society</span> by Trenton Lee Stewart. The latter is the first in a series, and the synopsis on the back cover sounded fun.  If she likes it, she can get the subsequent books later.  I was jealous, though, that children's paperbacks are so affordable--I got all 3 for $25.  I wish I could buy my own reading material so cheaply!!</p>
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<p>Does anyone know anything about the Enola Holmes series?  I read about it briefly when I googled to find mystery recommendations, but I haven't heard anything about it otherwise.</p>
 
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