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May 31, 2006


Now, see, I was going to suggest "Secret Garden", but now it looks as if I'm just copying your initial idea. Still, here's my one sentence justification: It's the world's most perfect children's book, combining mystery, gothic, adventure, and ghostly elements without ever actually tripping headlong into the fantastical.

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell. It was one of my childhood favorites!

Description: An American Indian girl and her brother struggle to survive after being mistakenly abandoned on an island by their tribe.

Harriet the Spy.

Reasoning: Do the words "Best Book Ever" mean anything to you?

Hahaha! I'm loving it. I spoke to the girl's mother and she's very flattered and thanks everyone.

Keep 'em coming!

"The Last Unicorn" A modern fairytale. & I just loved that book.

Decisions, decisions... but I'm going to go with _Nobody's Family is Going to Change_ by Louise Fitzhugh because it has such excellent life advice for pre-teen girls.

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery.

By the way, if I were to change my answer I'd certainly second, "Harriet the Spy".

Ok, with Jen and your challenges, I have TWO reasons to browse my library shelves for ideas. These things don't just pop into my head y'know.

But just so I don't get left out, I submit Flashcards of My Life by Charise Mericle Harper. It is not a classic, it is darn near brand new, but it totally reflects what a young girl today goes through as she navigates the difficult worlds of school, friends, and crushes. Plus, it is very funny. (would I suggest anything that wasn't?)

What a nice thing that you're doing! It's so hard to pick just one. But since her parents are scientist, let's go with "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle.

Gotta say "Harriet the Spy," "From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler," and "The Egypt Game."

Please let us know the winner!

Oh wait, I'm supposed to pick a winner?

Oh, I was going to say "From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler", but someone beat me to it.

Second choice: Heidi by Johanna Spyri.

_First Test_ by Tamora Pierce, book one of the "Protector of the Small" quartet (and the rest of the quartet. ok, really *all* the Tortall books by Pierce)

Because the girl is STRONG, because the world is magical, because my daughter loves these books with a passion.

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin.

What pre-teen girl doesn't love Turtle?

*Little Women* -- because it marvelously portrays both traditional and nontraditional women (and their roles and interests) as strong, fulfilled, worthwhile and compelling.

Because "Harriet the Spy" has already been claimed, I'll go with "Because of Winn-Dixie" because it's a funny, inspiring story of a girl coming to terms with a difficult past. And because it stars a lovable dog, too. And -- all the other characters are memorable, too. And -- it's a literary descendent of "To Kill a Mockingbird."

I'm a stranger here, but I'm also a bookloving older teenager, so I thought I'd throw in an idea....

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher.

A wonderful story of a young girl's transformation from being unable to think for herself to being independent and confident in early 1900s America.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle would be my first choice. I love the message against conformity and for thinking for yourself. I second the nomination of The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

Many thanks to all! I know the family is going to love the whole list.

'Journey to the River Sea' by Eva Ibbotsen - brilliant writing, vivid evocation and the journey as quest into the soul.
If I were only allowed another I'd say Dianna Wynne Jones's The Ogre Downstairs.

Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll.
These books helped me sort through the turbulence of adolescence.

Well, since HARRIET THE SPY is taken, how about Betsy Byars' hilarious memoir (and reflection on writing), THE MOON AND I?

Well Anne of Green Gables has been a comfort book for me since I was young, but since it's already been mentioned...L.M. Montgomery also has other books, such as the Emily of New Moon series about a young girl who wants to be a writer.

Pick one book? Ha!

I hereby add to the list: "The Paperbag Princess" by Robert Munsch. A very short, very funny story that's a good twist on the classic fairy tale princess.

My other all-time favorite is "A Town Like Alice" by Nevil Shute. Too old for pre-teen? Not sure. It's a "war romance" written in 1950. The main character is a realistic, strong, woman who is not a princess, magic, or pretend but survives difficult situations, recues herself and still lives happily ever-after.

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Anne Boles Levy

Literary Weed Whackers

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