[DWJ] recommendations

Janet Eastwood janet.eastwood at hotmail.com
Sun Jul 28 19:38:57 EDT 2013

You'll have to forgive me if I repeat what others have said; I can't remember what all has been mentioned by now. 
The problem with Tamora Pierce's Circle books is that while the original Circle are okay for middle readers, the later books (Circle Opens and The Will of the Empress) are in places very explicit. It might be hard to keep a ten year old from reading the less child-appropriate material if she likes the first four (I feel like I'm being a censor here, but it's hard not to cringe at the thought of a ten year old reading about Briar's sex life, even though I read about Alanna's at not much older).
The Perilous Gard is a lot of fun, I'm glad somebody brought that one up. I'd also recommend Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke. Zita (and sequel The Legends of Zita) is a graphic novel about a young girl (somewhere between six and ten, I'd guess) who ventures into space/another world to save her best friend, who has been kidnapped - and it's (partly) her fault. Zita is spunky with a beautiful sense of agency. She's got definite heroic qualities as well as a few that make her a less than perfect child.
Merrie Haskell - The Princess Curse; Handbook for Dragon Slayers. 
Megan Whalen Turner - Instead of Three Wishes; The Thief (and sequels). The Thief's sequels are probably a bit old for a ten year old, but definitely put these on the list for when she is a bit older. Turners characters, plots, and world-building are exquisitely done. And she had the excellent taste to dedicate the fourth Thief book, A Conspiracy of Kings, to DWJ :)
Brian Jacques? Not that his Redwall saga are perfect, but I loved them. 
Kenneth Oppel - Silverwing and sequels. 
Kit Pearson - recently, A Perfect Gentle Knight. 
Sarah Ellis - Pick Up Sticks (and others). 
Cornelia Funke - not all of her work is great for younger children (or at least, not for those who like happy endings; I still don't like the Inkheart series). But Igraine the Brave, which features a young (ten or so?) girl who wants to be a knight, while her older brother takes after their wizardly parents, is fantastic. 
Kate Coombs - The Runaway Princess. Fifteen year old Meg resents being offered as a prize to any prince who can perform three tasks, so she and her friends decide to foil the princes by saving the poor, helpless dragon, witch, and bandits...
Lawrence Yep - Ribbons (and sequels) is about a half-white, half-Asian girl living in the states, who more than anything else, wants to dance ballet. 
Sharon Creech - Castle Corona and pretty much everything else. 
Barry Deutsch - Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword (and sequels). Mirka is a girl in an Orthodox Jewish community, and she wants to slay dragons and be a hero. Graphic novel. 
Cynthia Voight - Bad Girls is the only thing I've read by her, but I enjoyed it: two fifth-grade girls refuse to put up with the class bully, and wreak havoc throughout the school year. 
Karen Cushman - Catherine, Called Birdy and other books set in the middle ages. Bold protagonists. 
Kate DiCamillo - Because of Winn-Dixie; The Tale of Despereaux
I'm sorry that most of these feature white protagonists; most of the books I've read that don't are either too young or much too old for a ten year old. Oh and Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier (sixteen year old Indo-American girl trying to figure herself - and everything else - out during the summer before grade twelve) on the list for a few years later. Also, Feeling Sorry For Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty. 

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