Now that I know I’m having a little girl (or will likely be having a little girl), I’m starting to think about the things I’ve lived through and everything that’s changed since I was a kid (and everything that hasn’t).

I’m already thinking about the music we’re going to play for her and the things we’re going to expose her to (I imagine there will be Saturday nights on daddy’s lap watching hockey and I know I’m going to take her swimming as soon as we’re allowed to so she can get the hang of the pool.

And I’m thinking about all the books that I read that helped me along and which of those I will pass along to her. I want her to devour books and I want to try and pass on the ones that I still love today.

The books I remember most from my pre-teen/teenage years were Paula Danziger’s. I read them all and loved them dearly, but when I take a moment to think about it, that may be because a lot of her characters had divorced parents or parents who were going through divorce. My parents were divorced and it helped to read about how other girls had gotten through it. Also the fact that her girls quite often had issues because of all the things they’d been through. I also appreciated Danziger because unlike Judy Blume, her characters didn’t always get their period in the middle of the book and weren’t necessarily overjoyed about it when they did. I loved Judy Blume but I hated that. I never understood what was thrilling about menstruation.

But, my little girl will have to read some Blume too. I think it’s a requirement of growing up female, there might even be laws. My choices would be Just As Long As We’re Together and Staring Sally J. Freedman as Herself.

I’m fairly certain that by the time she’s a teenager she will have already read the Fudge books (or had them read to her). I love the Fudge books.

I would also recommend the Anastasia Krupnik series by Lois Lowry. I will buy her Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach and The BFG. She will fall in love with Ramona Quimby the same way I did. She will have countless Robert Munsch books and hopefully the books on tape that are ten times better than the books themselves.

Of course, I want to get my hands on as much Gordon Korman as possible, specifically the Bruno and Boots series, though my favourite of his is Losing Joe’s Place.

I have no doubt that she will have her own library growing up, including the Anne of Green Gables series that I’m assuming will be a gift from her grandmother Christmas by Christmas – that’s how I got them all.

We’ll probably have to throw some Babysitters’ Club and Nancy Drew in there as well. I read them voraciously until I slowly started realizing that they’re all written by formula. I imagine that she will identify with Mary-Anne much like I did, because I picture her with brown hair and glasses just like me.

And I have told Joe that he will finally be forced to read the Harry Potter series when our daughter gets wrapped up in them, as I am sure she will, and I will do my best not to ruin it for her.

My real problem, I think, is the in-between books. I know what little kids love to read, and I know what older girls are interested in and what I can steer her towards, but I don’t know what to do with them when they are between picture books and real chapter books.

What were your favourite books as a kid? What do your young adults love to read?

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