20 Books I Can’t Wait To Force My Kid To Read

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My daughter doesn’t really take after me. We look alike, which is kind of awesome, but beyond that there’s little that we share. Her dad has the cooler job and shares most of her interests; science, science, video games, and science, so I just kind of sit back and let them nerd out together. But there is one thing that she does have in common with me, and that’s reading.

I was an early reader when I was little, and so when she started reading early too, I breathed a sigh of relief because after a few years of just kind of staring at her and wondering what she wanted, I suddenly knew I could handle it. I got this.

Books were my escape from my less-than-ideal situation at home, as trite and cliched as that sounds. I was the weird kid in the library all the time; all summer long, and then when I got to school, I weirded up the stacks there, too. I was constantly procuring hall passes to go sit in the library and read until school was over. Now that my kid has stepped up to easy chapter books, I’ve started thinking more and more about all the books that I’ll foist upon her, mostly as an excuse to procure and read said books again for myself, even the more fluffy-type stuff. This summer is a great place to start, since I have absolutely no plans to schedule her days out for enrichment as I work. After that, I’ll just feed her a steady stream of books until she graduates high school.

20. Sweet Valley High

These books gave me a very skewed idea of what high school was going to be like.

19. The Babysitter’s Club

Oh, Kristy. It was such a good idea.

18. The Saddle Club

I always wanted to be Stevie, who was so quirky and laid back, unlike stuck-up Lisa.

17. The Dollanganger Series

A reminder that no matter how much your family sucks, it could always be worse; your gran gran could be serving you poison cookies.

16. Goosebumps

Mah fervrit!

15. Anything by Roald Dahl

Escapism, for 8-12 year olds.

14. Madeleine L’Engle’s Kairos Works

I was never a huge fan of The Chronicles of Narnia the way my brother was, but I did love the Kairos Cycle of Madeleine L’Engle’s Christian-flavored books.

13. Redwall

It’s like A Song of Ice and Fire but with badgers and mice and stuff and without incest.

12. His Dark Materials

My brother reminded me how much of a snob I was about books when I was my daughter’s age, never allowing him to play dæmons with me because he hadn’t read the books.

11.The Giver

The original dystopia for the kiddies.

10. The Time Machine

I would have been an Eloi. Elois 4 Lyfe.

9. Julie of the Wolves

I wanted to be able to communicate with animals so bad.

8. Animorphs

I wanted to be able to turn into animals so bad.

7. Hatchet

This paired with Julie of the Wolves made me feel like disappearing into the wilderness was totally feasible.

6. The Westing Game

Someone really needs to name me as an heir and then give me trivia clues because I win so many beerbuxx at trivia its not even funny.

5. Sideways Stories from Wayside School

Actually, my kid is reading this now. I forgot how subtly funny this can be.

4. Any of the Choose Your Own Adventure Books

Confession: I always used to try to take the easy way out by being pragmatic and not choosing to go down the dark hallway/tangled forest path/with the mysterious sorcerer, but it always sent me back to the beginning for being a cheater.

3. Bridge to Terebithia

This book gave me my first experience of bookfeels and I cried in the public library.

2. The Phantom Tollbooth

Read this to your kid because they will learn vocabulary and sound like proper little lords and ladies.

1. The Harry Potter Series


I picked up Harry Potter and The Sorcerer’s Stone when when it came out in the U.S in 1998 and I was 11, which meant Harry was 11 and we grew up together in our respective boarding schools but mine had less hijinks and chocolate frogs.