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Discovering New-to-Me Children's Books by Jill Kemerer

Discovering New-to-Me Children’s Books

Last year I started a list of children’s (and young adult) books I kept seeing around the internet. I hadn’t read children’s books in years, and I got nostalgic about the ones I loved growing up. I figured it couldn’t hurt to try something different or to reread old favorites.

The first book I read was La Petit Prince (The Little Prince) by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It moved me, and I was hooked. Soon I began ordering a book or two every few months.

Recently I read a graphic novel version of The Giver by Lois Lowry. Powerful and surprisingly loose-ended. I enjoyed the story, and I know if I’d read it as a child, it would have stayed with me. It’s one of those books that disturbs you, makes you think.

I also read From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. A delight from start to finish. I laughed out loud. The children were so real. I wish I would have read this as a kid!

One of my favorite books as a kid was A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle. I read it again as I got some sun on my deck this summer. It was just as terrific as I remembered. I read the entire series when I was young. I might revisit the other books in the future.

Another author I’d read reviews about was Morgan L. Busse. I took a chance on the first book in her YA trilogy The Ravenwood Saga. I’m so glad I did. I ended up reading all three, Mark of the Raven, Flight of the Raven, and Cry of the Raven in the span of a week. Excellent storytelling!

Up next? The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. I’d never even heard of this book until recently, so I’m looking forward to seeing what it’s all about.

I don’t exclusively read children’s books or young adult books. In fact, the majority of novels I read are romance novels. I tend to read a lot of nonfiction, too. But I find the children’s and YA novels jolt me out of my expectations. It’s always fun getting lost in a new adventure.

Do you ever read children’s books? What are some of your favorites?

Have a terrific week!

Jill Kemerer is a Publishers Weekly bestselling author of heartwarming, emotional, small-town romance novels often featuring cowboys. She hopes to encourage readers through her books the way so many books have encouraged her. Jill's essentials include coffee, caramels, a stack of books, her mini-doxie, and long walks outdoors. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two almost-grown children. For more information, visit her website,

This Post Has 17 Comments

  1. I enjoy reading to my kids a lot, and a long the way we have discovered a huge number of very good books. Just to mention a few: The Year of Miss Agnes by Kirkpatrick Hill, The Wheel on the School by DeJong, It’s a Jungle Out There by Ron Snell, The Broken Blade by William Durbin. Every year, I usually end up reading more children’s books than any other books.

  2. We used to read the Tacky the Penguin series when the boys were little. The kids allowed me to make silly voices for each of the penguins, especially Tacky. As they got older, I would read their books when they were done reading them. Where the Red Fern Grows made me sad when I would read it, but I still loved it. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series was just an easy read that made us laugh based on situations. I think we played “Cheese Touch” in our family for two years. Our final family favorite when the kids were very little was, “There’s a Monster at the End of this Book” with Grover. They all loved that book for some reason (and so did my wife).

    1. Aww, I love this, Jason! I have never heard of Tacky the Penguin! I’ll check it out–I’m sure the library has it. The Diary of A Wimpy Kid series was a MUST read in our house, too! The Cheese Touch–totally forgot about that! Too funny. 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi Jill, this is so cool. I love children’s books and one of my biggest regrets is that I didn’t become a children’s librarian. Children’s books made me a writer!
    I read “Wrinkle in Time” in sixth or seventh grade and was blown away. It was my generation’s “Harry Potter.” And it was basically children, especially one strong little girl, solving their own problems. The witches advised and Mr. Murry encouraged, but the kids had to do most of it themselves.
    My favorite series as a child was the Betsy, Tacy and Tib series by Maud Hart Lovelace. Kind of like Little House on the Prairie only in a small town and just before World War I. The three girls got into plenty of “don’t try this at home” scrapes.
    Closer to my own era, I enjoyed Edward Eager’s “Magic” series, about children having magical adventures. My favorite of these was “Knight’s Castle,” Eager’s riff on “Ivanhoe,” with a toy castle and knights who come alive at night. Some of the Fifties references are dated but fun, and Eager has a sly sense of humor that makes his books fun for adults.
    Better get back to work, Thanks Jill,
    Kathy B

    1. You would be a fabulous children’s librarian, Kathy! Yes, you nailed it about Wrinkle in Time. I felt the same. It was a complex concept that I loved. I had the entire Betsy, Tacy, Tib series, too! My aunt got them for me, and I read them over and over. I’m adding the Eager’s series to my list! Thank you!

  4. Pokey Little Puppy (A Little Golden Book) is a favorite one. So is. There’s a Monster at the End of This Book and There’s Another Monster at the End of This Book. (Just read those to a baby not to long ago.) Any of the Winnie the Books. There’s the series that got my daughter interested in reading when she around ten. The series was called Adventures in the Northwoods. We gave those away several years ago and she’s been wanting to reread them. I’ve started to get her the series again. Oh, yes! I can’t forget the Berenstain Bears!

  5. I love reading and writing books for children. “Licky the Lizard” and “Grumpy the Gator” share how God created us all and God loves us all. 🙂 I love reading books to Rowan. Soon, I’ll be reading to Eden. 🙂

  6. My daughter picked out the Mark of the Raven for me for Christmas a couple of years ago. I’m so glad she did, I have all three in the series. And I just got in the mail a children’s book that my daughter’s teacher is reading to them called Trouble River by Betsy Byars. It’s really good, but I had to buy it because the main character has my middle son’s name. And the books I have on KU right now for my middle son is The Virginia Mysteries by Steven K. Smith, which are really good also. You are never too old to read any book.

  7. I too loved Wrinkle in Time. Don’t forget the C.S. Lewis classic Narnia series – loved them as a child and still reread them every few years. Another series the whole family really enjoyed was Redwall and all the rest of them. Written by Brian Jacques. I have collected almost all of them and reread them. Here’s a list of some I enjoyed in no particular order:
    Boxcar Children; Trixie Belden mysteries; Honey Bunch series; Bobbsey Twins; Happy Hollisters; Nancy Drew; Hardy Boys, The Borrowers; The Secret Garden; Louisa Alcott’s Little Women, Little Men, Rose in Bloom, etc.; Anne of Green Gables series; Pollyanna; The really old Elsie series; Wind in the Willows; Little House on the Prairie series.; Pippi Longstocking; Heidi; Swiss Family Robinson; Phantom Tollbooth; Bridge to Taribithia; The Railway Children; Amelia Bedelia; and I could go on and on. 🙂 And don’t forget Dr Suess. I think I still have several mostly memorized from reading them so often to the kids.

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