At Intellectual Takeout, we strive to offer not only commentary on current events but also tangible advice for engaging with our increasingly chaotic world. That’s why we’re proud to present this ongoing series of literature recommendations.
Previously, we’ve featured books for young girls, and we’re excited to publish a part two with 10 more selections. Whether you’re reading the more challenging books to a 6-year-old or handing all these tomes off to a 12-year-old, these texts are perfect for your daughter, granddaughter, young sister, cousin, or neighbor. Avid and reluctant readers alike will find fairy tales and adventures to capture their imagination.
Read the previous list here.
1. Hans Christian Andersen. The Wild Swans. 1838.
“[This fairy tale] tells the beautiful and soulful story of a young girl and her journey to find her lost brothers. Upon discovering that they have been transformed into swans, she sets off on a difficult journey, enduring many hardships on her quest to return them to their human form.”
2. Christoph von Schmid. The White Dove. 1841.
“Filled with the intrigue of knights and nobles, thieves and robbers, this is a story of friendship and sacrifice. A little girl agrees to give up her precious white dove to prove her friendship, and lives are miraculously saved.”
3. Willa Cather. My Ántonia. 1918.
“Through Jim Burden’s endearing, smitten voice, we revisit the remarkable vicissitudes of immigrant life in the Nebraska heartland, with all its insistent bonds. Guiding the way are some of literature’s most beguiling characters: the Russian brothers plagued by memories of a fateful sleigh ride, Antonia’s desperately homesick father and self-indulgent mother, and the coy Lena Lingard. Holding the pastoral society’s heart, of course, is the bewitching, free-spirited Antonia.”
4. Bess Streeter Aldrich. A Lantern in Her Hand. 1928.
“The Place: Nebraska. The time: the 1870’s, when every day on the prairie brought its threat … of hostile Indians, of prairie fires, of blizzards, and the overwhelming threat of accident or illness to the little homesteading family, Will and Abbie Deal and their babies. Hope, faith, and hard work finally make real for the Deals and their neighbors the dreams of productive farms and prosperous towns, of schools and hospitals, of well-paved roads to bring them close to the rest of the century.”
5. Arthur Ransome. Swallows and Amazons. 1930.
“The first title in Arthur Ransome’s classic series, originally published in 1930: for children, for grownups, for anyone captivated by the world of adventure and imagination. Swallows and Amazons introduces the lovable Walker family, the camp on Wild Cat island, the able-bodied catboat Swallow, and the two intrepid Amazons, Nancy and Peggy Blackett.”
6. Willa Cather. Shadows on the Rock. 1931.
“In 1697, Quebec is an island of French civilization perched on a bare gray rock amid a wilderness of trackless forests. For many of its settlers, Quebec is a place of exile, so remote that an entire winter passes without a word from home. But to twelve-year-old Cécile Auclair, the rock is home. … [Willa Cather] gives us a spellbinding work of historical fiction in which great events occur first as rumors and then as legends—and in which even the most intimate domestic scenes are suffused with a sense of wonder.”
7. Jean Brown Wagoner. Martha Washington: America’s First First Lady. 1947.
“In this narrative biography, you’ll learn all about Martha Washington’s childhood, from her birth on June 2, 1731, to her time growing up on her parents’ Virginia plantation, to marriage George Washington in 1759. Discover what Martha did for fun—and how her confidence and ability to host large social events prepared her to help her husband lead a new nation.”
8. Hilda van Stockum. The Winged Watchman. 1962.
“This acclaimed story of World War II is rich in suspense, characterization, plot and spiritual truth. Every element of occupied Holland is united in a story of courage and hope: a hidden Jewish child, an ‘underdiver,’ a downed RAF pilot, an imaginative, daring underground hero, and the small things of family life which surprisingly carry on in the midst of oppression. The Verhagen family, who live in the old windmill called the Winged Watchman, are a memorable set of individuals whose lives powerfully demonstrate the resilience of those who suffer but do not lose faith.”
9. Wyatt Blassingame. Combat Nurses of World War II. 1967.
“Here are the stories of the courageous young women who served as nurses at Pearl Harbor, Corregidor, Anzio, Battle of the Bulge, Iwo Jima, and other fighting fronts of the second World War.”
10. Ann Weil. Betsy Ross: Designer of Our Flag. 1983.
“Betsy Ross is remembered as the maker of the first American flag, which was secretly presented to General George Washington in Philadelphia in 1776. But what was she like as a kid?”
Intellectual Takeout does not necessarily endorse any particular publisher. All credit for these descriptions goes to the original sources.
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