1. Seppuku
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    Seppuku Member

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    Books for young girls

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Seppuku, Jul 17, 2009.

    I'm just writing a piece where one of my characters is an intelligent girl at the ages of 10, she's very much into reading, her father is going to take her down to Borders, one of her favourite places.

    But I am a guy and an adult, so I don't know what a good book is for a young girl and I think I need a few recommendations to research. I know when I was around her age Jacqueline Wilson was what was interesting for girls, heck I even read one of her books (as boys started reading them too...at least in our school), but I don't think they're the sort of books my character would read, as JW deals more with 'family' issues, and I don't think my character could relate the them so easily, because both of her parents are very loving and the fact my character has medical condition kind of brings the family closer together.

    I think she'd be more interested in tales of bravery. I think she's too young for teen romance, so none of this Stephanie Meyer stuff. She reads very well for her age - so her books can be outside of the age 10 range, but I've not decided yet what she's interested in (hence I need this bit of research), though she did visit the British Museum with her parents and that really got her interested - so she's got a couple of books to do with the Mesopotamian exhibit as she was amazed by some of it - though her Dad explains what's in the books to her, as Mesopotmia is a bit of a steep topic. But that's not really the kind of thing she'd be excited by on a special visit to borders.

    If anybody knows of any good lists of recommendations, or know of some popular fiction/authors for that age, then it'd be most helpful as it saves asking the librarian the next time I'm able to make it down to the library and it means I can look online for reviews before hand. ;)

    Thank you.
     
  2. Anders Backlund
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    Anders Backlund Contributing Member

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    Well, I don't know if I can recommend anything; I'm in that pesky "don't really read a lot at all" phase of my life right now. Plus, much like yourself, I'm an adult male. >>

    Still, I think you've already set yourself on the right track here: she'd read whatever she finds interesting that isn't completely over her head. Rather then staying away from books she can't relate to, have her express that to show that she did try them on. That will say something about who she is and how she reads.

    In my experience, kids who read a lot will read pretty much anything. In Sweden, the ages 8-12 are sometimes referred to as bokslukaråldern - literally "the book devouring age." I don't think you necessarily need to have her read "girly stuff," so to speak.

    Anyway, when in doubt, go through the classics: Lewis, Baum, Carrol, Dahl, Ende!
     
  3. Elistara
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    Elistara Member

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    I think, at that age, if I remember correctly, I liked Roald Dahl. It was quirky; different.. made for a fun read. Not just any Roald Dahl though - I couldn't ever read the chocolate factory one, or james and the giant peach either, never could get past the first chapter. More like, Matilda, BFG, The Twits... that kind of thing.
    I think I was the biggest reader in my year at that age, and started reading at age 3, so was an advanced reader.. but my family was also different to the one you described, so maybe an explanation for my oddball taste. :)

    What about The Saddle Club? Or Paul Jennings? Though I never got into either of them, they sound appropriate for a 10 year old girl.

    Still ask the librarian, she might come up with something you feel more comfortable with. Good luck!
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    as an adult male trying to write about a young girl, it seems to me you need to consult a number of young girls, not just books... with their parents' consent, needless to say, since your motives could easily be misconstrued in today's benighted, perv-rife world...
     
  5. Rei
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    Rei Contributing Member Contributor

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    Judy Blume. She is one of the top writers of girls books that I know of. She's also very honest in ways many other writers published in that age group won't be.
     
  6. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    The way you describe her, she likely isn't going to be reading at her age level. I would look at books for the average 12-year-old.

    Since you wanted them to be tales of bravery and such, maybe she'd read books like these:

    - Holes
    - Millions
    - Sammy Keyes
    - Flush
    - Inkheart
    - Chasing Vermeer
     
  7. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Harry Potter might be up her ally. When I was around her age I loved reading the books. In fact the first Harry Potter book was pretty much what got me into actually reading.

    I am sure your character would have no problem understanding it. Then again thats sorta up to you I guess :p
     
  8. Ferb
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    An "intelligent girl," no matter the age, probably wouldn't be interested in things her peers are interested in. I wasn't intellectually superior to my peers when I was 10 (and I'm still not), but I was interested in tales of bravery which involved The Famous Five (by Enid Blyton), The Secret Seven (also by Enid Blyton), and The Three Investigators (by Robert Arthur). Sometimes I also liked The Baby-Sitters Club (by Ann M. Martin), which I believe is worth mentioning because it takes immense bravery to deal with toddlers and babies when you yourself are only 13 or 11.

    If the story takes place in contemporary times, though, using the list of the books that people have given simply won't cut it. These authors may be well-known 15 years ago, but mention them now and it's a dead giveaway that you're not as in the loop as you want to appear. I agree that it would help to actually know 10-year-old girls if you want to write about one, although I imagine your character would enjoy female-geared classics like Little Women, The Secret Garden, Heidi, and Anne of Green Gables. Not that she would shun gender-neutral classics like The Call of the Wild, Treasure Island, and Gulliver's Travels.
     
  9. Seppuku
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    Thank you for the replies, they're all very helpful suggestions.

    I didn't know that, but I think that's a useful piece of information.

    I didn't think of that, the classics are seemingly timeless and I think 'the classics' are the sort of thing that'd interest her. Lewis fits in with how I see may character.

    I think Matilda is appropriate, whilst she wouldn't relate the family, I think she'd relate to a character who loves to read and is intelligent, she might enjoy the funny side of it, I wouldn't see why not - I'm sure any kid would like revenge on a teacher they really don't like - I think a couple of teachers did get the nickname 'Trunchbull' when I was at school.

    As far as Paul Jennings, I remember his books, they were my favourite as a kid - I think there are a couple of stories she might like, like the story about the cat who could read, I can't remember the name of the book, though I think she might have read that at a younger age.

    Perhaps yes, hopefully I'll be getting my Storytelling group into schools this year, so I can see opportunities to talk to kids. Though that part depends entirely on if anybody actually wants to do it. I have friend who's been on work placement working as a teacher at school, so I might ask her to get me into contact with the school she was working at, though she might already have some experience in dealing with 10-year olds to know what they are like.

    I'll check her out, thank you.

    I'll look those up, thank you. I know Holes was quite popular amongst boys and girls when I was a kid, though I never read it.

    This is perhaps a true observation and something I'll consider, the books you've listed would probably be in her parents' collection, and I'm sure her parents would encourage her to read them and enjoy them, so I'll definitely pick up some of those.




    [edit] The book I was just thinking about was called 'Railway Children' by Edith Nesbit, I think this would be a book she might read - it's not popular but it could be one of those special books, it might appeal to her in that it's something different to read.

    But thank you all, this is most helpful. ;)
     
  10. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if we can go by IQ scores, i was an 'intelligent' young girl... and by ten, i was in the midst of devouring the iliad and the odyssey, shakespeare's complete works, the 20-volume 'book of knowledge' and all the nancy drew and hardy boys titles i could get my hands on... plus, just discovering the pioneers in sci-fi fun...

    hope that helps some...
     
  11. Seppuku
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    I think it does actually - it suggests that she will be able to read pieces more complicated than I was expecting. As she's really interested in ancient history after her trip to the British Museum, so then the ancient classics might be a suitable thing as well, like The Iliad, The Odyssey, The Metamorphoses, The Epic of Gilgamesh etc. So I'll put those into her book collection. So she'll have a few mainstream classic children books like Matilda, and the Narnia books, some of the lesser read classics like Railway Children, or any Enid Blyton books and some of the ancient classics.

    What makes those books suitable is that she might be introduced to things like Dahl, Lewis or even JK Rowling (if she picks up on the Harry Potter craze) at school, her Grandmother has given her some of her old books from when she was a child - like the Railway Children and the Famous Five. Her father is a History professor, which helped her interest in ancient worlds as he'd tell her about them and no doubt be subject to some of his lectures. So with an interest in ancient history you can't miss having ancient mythology or some of the classics in your inventory. Naturally something my character will pick up on.

    Now what I need to do is flick through those books and decide which ones she might mention - I already have her sitting in her hospital bed reading Railway Children, I just need to fill in the blank where the Nurse tries to make conversation for that particular moment. ;)


    Thank you. ;)
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i'm glad my childhood eclectic reading habits gave you a new slant on your character... happy writing!
     
  13. Lalis
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    Lalis New Member

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    Meg Cabot! There is always a good book by Meg Cabot for a girl to read, regardless of her age. Especially Princess Diaries *-*
     
  14. Kimberley
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    Kimberley New Member

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    I don't read much but at age 12 I did read "The Outsiders" in class, maybe she could have choosen it on it's own as she sounds more older within reading.
     
  15. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I read Eoin Colfer when I was young and I still do, he's great!
     
  16. Jackalyn
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    Tamora Pierce, particularly her Song of the Lioness series or the Circle Of Magic. I read those books when I was that age and loved them.
     
  17. Seppuku
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    Ah, cheers guys. I've written a short story with this character (though I'm planning on using her as another character for a larger story) though for the short story I only used 2 books as the objects, the Narnia series and Homer and I think they've helped in developing her character a bit more, but lets hope I've got it down on paper well enough to win the competition. ;)
     
  18. Main Crick
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    Aha! finally something I canc ontribute with!
    I'm 14, so maybe not so much but I'm close.
    I read books with no images since I'm six and I am very interested on mythology and history since I was very young and watched Discovery Channel with my dad.
    My dadd himself is very found of ancient cultures -he even named me Ishtar! she's a goddess in Mesopotamia, you could as well know her by Inana.
    Well, I read much history books at ten. I was deeply in love with Jean M Auel books. Yeah, exept I skipped the crazy-hot-sex pages there are all over the book.
    I read Tai Pan at that age as well. If she's that much of a reader I dont think she'll be too barbie-girl. Not against it, but it wouldnt fit.
    Dont make books sudenly appear in her hands, because they dont do in real life. A good hiistoric novel could be hard to find, so she'll probably have to wait. Multi-booking is something you often do at that age. Make some her favorites and some she takes time readingg them.
    The health problem; beware. Health problems not alwaays bring families together.
    I guess she'd prefer staying home rather than going to the park or anything: inside she has books, her family and she's safe (Depends on the sicknes she has, of course.)
    Bravery is something that gets a bit boring for girls to read. Maybe she'd preffer characters more like her, smart and not always mucle-macho.

    Maybe she'd try to be strong and pretend not caring of her sickness, everybody does that. Are the parents over protective? Or do they fight a lot between them?

    If the first, she's going to need some space, but will also like the attention.
    When parents fight alot kids become what holds the family together, presured between the parents' problem.

    Well that's a lot to say, but I think that's all i can say.
    God luck!
     
  19. amateur
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    when i was 10 i read lorf of the rings for the 1st time also classics i read include bronte and hardy so if you wish for her to be quite clever then she can read any of the classics (i was strange i read the hobbit for the 1st time aged 7) Some girls like me hate Jaqueline Wilson and books like hers and stick with the classics and adventure stories
     
  20. amateur
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    however some girls, especially those into history and philosophy don't read that type of book they read Bronte sisters austen , and other classics

    also try little women Louisa May Alcott
     
  21. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I scanned the replies to this question, and I didn't see this comment so I'll make it.

    Be sure that the books you pick are not 'trendy' and on the shelf today, but won't be in a few months. Why? By the time you finish writing the novel, and find representation, and then find a publisher and then it goes throught he publication process (often taking 12-18 months in itself), those books you selected today to represent a bright girl may have no meaning or relevance if and when when your book reaches the bookshelf.

    There are probably books that have been on the shelf for years and will continue to be. I'd narrow your list (or at least one of the books you intend to mention) to something enduring.

    Hope that makes sense.

    Terry
     
  22. Far Away
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    When I was that age, I loved a series of books called "Dear Canada". They have "Dear America" books as well, if you don't live up here. Basically they're just fictional journals by girls who have lived in some great historic past. There is one about Loyalists, the gold rush, etc.

    There are also some from ancient times. I had two, one by a Korean princess and one about Cleopatra. They're fictional, of course, but a good read if you're around that age.

    There is also another series of books... something about a girl named Abby? she has red hair, I know that much. I can't remember the name at the current moment.
     
  23. Twisted Inversely
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    Twisted Inversely Senior Member

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    Or a more simple solution why don't you make a book or series of books up? Something like “the black freighter” in Watchmen or “where’s my cow?” in the discworld series. Among other things the book won’t age like real life titles and since you have complete control over this fictional stories content you can make it mirror or supplement events in the story proper.
     
  24. Bontemps
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    That is an excellent idea. I was in a similar boat to the original poster and was reading this thread for ideas as well. This seems to be a great way to go, timeless and inventive.
    Cheers TI
     
  25. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    ^ But don't make it too obvious. That's one of the things I liked about the Black Freighter in Watchmen - it didn't add anything to the story in terms of plot or character development, but this tangential subplot mirrored aspects of the story perfectly and the metaphor was very well-developed yet always subtle. It never tried to say "Look!! This means this!! Like what's happening with X!!!!"
     

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