For my first ever Top 5 Wednesday, I’ll be recommending some of my favorite children’s books. Top 5 Wednesday is a group started by Lainey and currently run by Samantha, and the Goodreads group is here.
This list was difficult to narrow down, because I read all the time as a kid. However, I did end up with 5 kids’ books that aren’t Harry Potter/Series of Unfortunate Events/Percy Jackson-level popular and that are still definitely worth a read.
May Bird by Jodi Lynn Anderson
The May Bird trilogy is so delightfully fun and creepy. We follow May Bird, a young girl who is more interested in the mysterious lake in the woods behind her house than in spending time with her peers who constantly make fun of her. One day she falls into the lake and enters into an unfamiliar world of strange people and an evil villain. I loved this trilogy for its action, creepy atmosphere, and great characters.
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
A young orphan responds to an ad in a newspaper for opportunities for “gifted children looking for special opportunities.” After going through a series of tests he becomes a part of a task force of four unusually talented children seeking to infiltrate the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened. This novel is incredibly fun and quirky, with lovable characters and a tone somewhat similar to A Series of Unfortunate Events.
The Secret Order of the Gumm Street Girls by Elise Primavera
This book was perfect for young Abby who loved The Wizard of Oz, magic, and girl power. In this (kind of) retelling, we follow the 5 girls who live on Gumm Street, who all detest each other. They’re forced to work together when they are sent in a car full of jelly beans in a tornado to the land of Spoz. This book is so strange and definitely unlike any other story I’ve ever read, but it’s a ton of fun. All the characters are endearing and fantastic, the plot has a ton of twists and turns, and it’s just a wild ride overall.
The Candy Shop War by Brandon Mull
The Candy Shop War is honestly so iconic. I only have vague memories of it, but they’re all super weird and fun. This book basically follows the story of a few kids who become entangled in a magical crime ring led by the owner of a candy shop who makes candy that gives whoever eats it some sort of magical powers. What else could you possibly want from a book?
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
When You Reach Me seriously messed me up as a kid. It was the first mind-bending time travel book I ever read, and I think it might’ve started my love for that very specific type of book. Once again the specifics of this short novel escape me, but I do remember that it’s a book I went into not knowing what it was about and that it featured elements of time travel. Also, it helped me remember the Supreme Court case Miranda v. Arizona for my AP Gov class so that’s a plus.
Those have been my top 5 children’s books! If you’re reading this, comment some of your favorite kids’ books so we can reminisce together.