Classical Childrens Books

Classics for Girls

Favorite Stories of Girls In Literature

Here is a book list of classics for girls that every avid reader should check out. The main characters are girls or young women who face the problems of their time and have been read and re-read for years. Stories from ancient times to modern times provide inspiration, adventure, and entertainment.

Girl Reading and Dreaming

Stories and Books for Girls

This list of best classical children's books showcase the favorite stories of girls in literature.

Adventure, excitement, and the quest to make the world a better place keep these books on the top of the best sellers year after year.

If you know a girl who likes to read - or even one who doesn't - these books will keep her turning the pages for the next adventure.

Girls On The Frontier

Captive Indian

By Lois Lenski

True Story
Ohio and Pennsylvania
1958: French and Indian War
Molly preferred to be outside playing rather than inside studying or doing housework like her sister Betsy. But when she is captured by Indians, she longs for her family and home in Marsh Creek Hollow. At first, Molly resists the efforts of the Seneca to make her one of their own tribe. But eventually she finds a new home and new family.

The Cabin Faced West

By Jean Fritz

Pennyslvania Frontier
A true story written by the great-great-grand-daughter of the main character. Ann's family has moved away from town life in the American colonies to the far Western Frontier. At that time, the far West was Western Pennsylvania. Ann is not happy with frontier life, until a very important person comes to her cabin.

Sarah Whitcher's Story

By Elizabeth Yates

A true story
New Hampshire
Sarah is lost in the New Hampshire wilderness. The community unites to look for the child, but with time all hope is lost. Sarah and her father are the only ones who still have hope.

The Courage of Sarah Noble

By Alice Dalgliesh

This is the true story of a young girl who travels with her father through the Connecticut wilderness in the early 1700's. Sarah's resolve to be brave is tested when her father leaves her with a tribe of Native Americans. Sarah learns about bravery and friendship.

Little House Books

By Laura Ingalls Wilder

The most famous of pioneer stories, the Little House books were written to preserve the tales of life on the prairie and growing frontier. More titles following this family are listed in sets of classic literature.

Caddie Woodlawn

By Carol Ryrie Brink

Historical fiction - based on author's grandmother
Entertaining story of a spirited pioneer tom-boy

Toliver's Secret

By Esther Wood Brady

Grades 4 to 6
Ellen and her mother have gone to live with her grandfather after her father dies in the American Revolution. Now British soldiers have taken up lodging in their home. Ellen knows her grandfather has a secret she is keeping, but never imagined that he was sending messages as a spy for the Americans. When he is injured she needs to take his place. The quick and easy trip turns out to be anything but quick and easy and Ellen needs to keeep her wits about her.

Pioneer Girls

Little House Books

By Laura Ingalls Wilder

The most famous of pioneer stories, the Little House books were written to preserve the tales of life on the prairie and growing frontier. More titles following this family are listed in sets of classic literture.

Caddie Woodlawn

By Carol Ryrie Brink

Historical fiction - based on author's grandmother
Entertaining story of a spirited pioneer tom-boy

A Gathering of Days

by Joan W. Blos

Rural New Hampshire
Catherine is fourteen and records all her important notes in her new diary; especially the times she shares with her best friend Cassie who lives on the next farm. It will be a year of change when she gains a new step-mother but looses her best friend. And with talk of slaves escaping to the north, there will be change for their community as well.

Sarah Plain and Tall

By Patricia MacLachlan

Historical fiction
Late 1800's
Kansas Prairie
Mail order bride, a widower and his two children

Anne of Green Gables

By Lucy Maud Montgomery

Late 1800's
Prince Edward Island, Canada
The delightful story of an orphan child who goes to live with on a country farm by mistake. See her other stories in sets of classic literture.

Rebecca of Sunnybrooke Farm

by Kate Douglas Wiggin

Maine, 1890's
Those who like Anne of Green Gables will also enjoy meeting Rebecca, the dark-haired dreamer from Sunnybrook Farm. Raised in poverty by her widowed mother, Rebecca leaves the farm to live with her spinster aunts who have little imagination or comprehension of their adventurous nieces.


By Eleanor Porter

Late 1800's
Pollyanna is the precocious orphan with an optimistic streak her wealthy pessimistic aunt can't destroy.

Daddy Long Legs

By Jean Webster

Late 1800's
New England
This story illustrates the changing culture at the turn of the century. Judy was raised in an orphanage, but now has the chance to go to college due to an anonymous donor. She describes her entrance into the wider world through a series of letters to him.

More Stories of American Girls

Keep the Lights Burning Abbie

By Carol Ryrie Brink

Based on a true story
Off the coast of Maine
The most important job of a lightkeeper is to save the lives of those at sea. When her father, the lightkeeper is gone, Abbie knows she must keep the lights burning.

Strawberry Girl

By Lois Lenski

Birdie Boyer is the strawberry girl who lives on a berry farm in the backwoods of Florida in the early 1900's. The family endures many of the hardships of farming - including heat and cold. But a greater challenge is the brewing feud with their neighbors.

The Story of My Life

By Helen Keller

This autobiography of Helen Keller starts with her childhood "discovery" of language, and continues through her life. Unable to see or hear due to an illness in infancy, her teacher and companion, Anne Sullivan, helped her learn to communicate.

More Stories of Children Overcoming Disabilities

Behind Rebel Lines

The Incredible Story of Emma Edmonds, Civil War Spy

By Seymour Reit

Biography - 5th Grade and Above
This particular book is a newer version (1988) of a true book no longer in print (Nurse and Spy in the Union Army - 1860's.) Emma disguised herself as a man in order to serve in the army. Her ability to disguise herself allowed her to cross enemy lines multiple times in various disguises as a spy. But even the people she was working for never knew who she really was until after the war. Emma successfully appealed to the US Congress in 1884 to have her status as a deserter changed. An incredible story that shows the times in an intriguing light.

Find other classic books from the Civil War.

Blue Willow

By Doris Gates

Janey's family lost everything in the Great Depression. Now they move from place to place as migrant workers, the only possession they have left is the Blue Willow plate of her mother's. Janey longs for a friend and a home she can stay in longer than a few weeks. Perhaps here in this abandoned shack her dreams may come true. Or maybe she will lose the one thing she still has.

See our Blue Willow Unit Study to get the most out of this Depression Era book.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

By Mildred Taylor

Published 1976 - Historical Fiction
It is 1933 and Cassie Logan's family live in rural Mississippi. They are one of the few black families who own land, but trouble is brewing over it. Even with Mama working and Papa having to leave home to work on the railroad they may not be able to keep their home. Cassie and her brothers face danger as they learn how racism affects their family. Other stories about the Logan family have also been written by the author.

Out of the Dust

By Karen Hesse

Historical Fiction
1934 - 1935
Written as a series of diary entries, Out of the Dust tells the story of a family in Oklahoma which encounters personal tragedy as well as the Dust Bowl.

More Depression Era Books.

After the Dancing Days

By Margaret Rostkowsky

Grade 5-9
Post WWI Historical Fiction
Anne's father is a physician caring for severely wounded soldiers who have returned from the war. She befriends one of the men now having to face life with painful disfiguring injuries. Anne also learns what really happened to her Uncle Paul who was in the war.

Letters from the Corrugated Castle: A Novel of Gold Rush California

by Joan Blos

5th-9th Grade
California Gold Rush
Eldora is an orphan who has moved to California during the Gold Rush with her aunt and uncle - the only family she has ever known. An unexpected letter comes from a wealthy ranch owner stating Eldora is her daughter. Will Eldora be able to go from rags to riches; living in a corrugated house her aunt and uncle made to living in a luxurious ranchero? With changes all around her, Eldora learns the true meaning of family and friends.

Girls from Other Lands

A Little Princess

By Francis Hodgkin Burnett

A story of a British heiress attending a private boarding school in London who loses her father and her fortune.


By Johanna Spyri

Swiss Alps
Heidi loves living with her grandfather on the Swiss Alps. When moved to the city with a wealthy family where she yearns for her life on the mountain. A favorite classic story of life on the alps.

The Diary of Anne Frank

By Anne Frank

This is the real diary, originally written in Dutch, of a Jewish girl who was hiding from the Nazis between 1942 and 1944. She later died in a concentration camp. This is the most serious and reflective of the books on the 7th grade reading list.

World War Two Stories for Kids.

Mara, Daughter of the Nile

By Eloise Jarvis McGraw

Historical Fiction
Grades 4 - 8
Ancient Egypt - During the reign of Hatchepsut
1500 BC
Another exciting story of ancient Egypt by the author of the Golden Goblet. Mara is Babylonian by birth, but has been an Egyptian slave as long as she can remember. Because she knows the Babylonian language, she is taken on as a spy by someone trying to other throw Queen Hatchepsut - one of Egypt's most famous pharoahs. But Mara lives a dangerous life as a double spy.

Stories from Ancient History.

Mine For Keeps

Jean Little

Reading Level: 4th - 8th Grade
A heart touching story of a nine year old girl with cerebral palsy. Sally lives in a school for children with disability but dreams of living with her family. When a rehab center opens in her town, a new life begins for her.

National Velvet

By Enid Bagnold

Realistic Fiction
Sussex England - rural
Reading Level: 5th - 8th Grade
A fourteen year old girl becomes the owner of a marvelous piebald horse and dreams of entering him into the National Championship. Her determination to overcome multiple obstacles reflects the champion-spirit her mother displayed a generation before. Many of the classical horse stories are from the late 1800s and early 1900s.

More Stories from the Early 1900's

Girl Detectives

Some may argue that these classic detective stories are not truly literature; but no-one will dispute that they are well-loved.

Girls can join Nancy Drew, the teenage girl detective; or Trixie Belden and her club of friends, or Cherry Ames the nurse/detective on their vigilant adventures to solve crimes and prevent injustice.

Teen Detectives

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