Do your kids like Pippi Longstocking? You've come to the right place. Sure, you could read more books by Swedish author, Astrid Lindgren, (and you should!) but why not also pick up one of the books on this list? The stories included here feature quirky girl and boy characters on marvelous adventures. Sometimes they get into trouble, sometimes they are a bit subversive, but they are always good natured and friendly, just like Pippi.
Yes, indeed, I did include a number of titles featuring Nordic characters and authors, but your kids will also love the books about kids living completely different lives than Pippi. Be sure to also check out our list of books for kids who love Anne of Green Gables.
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Books Like Pippi Longstocking
Before we get into books by other authors, Astrid Lindgren's non-Pippi books are marvelous. We have especially enjoyed the Emil series, which we read aloud multiple times, as well and The Children of Noisy Village. Ronia, the Robber's Daughter is also great. I could go on!
by Frida Nilsson
Nilsson's rambunctious 6 year old heroine, Hattie, will quickly become your child's new best friend. The narrative feels episodic, in the vein of Ramona, with Hattie learning lessons, understanding consequences and experiencing a range of emotions. Delightful! Because of Hattie's young age, I heartily recommend this title as a chapter book read aloud suitable for ages 5 and up.
Adventures with Waffles
by Maria Parr
Trille considers Lena his best friend, but he sometimes worries she doesn't feel the same way. But it doesn't stop the pair of them from getting into mischief with can lead to hilarious results. Lena has her own insecurities, especially her desire for a father. One of the things I especially enjoyed was the emphasis on intergenerational relationships, and–of course –Auntie Granny's delicious waffles.
When Mischief Came to Town
by Katrina Nannestad
In early 20th century Denmark, an orphan girl meets her grandmother for the first time when she goes to live with her after the death of her mother. Inge Maria is a free spirit and even though trouble seems to follow her wherever she goes (hilarious trouble, to be sure) the townspeople and her grandmother can’t help but fall utterly in love with her. I thought Nannestad masterfully handled Inge Maria’s grief over her mother’s death, her joyous attitude towards new experiences, and her headstrong imagination.
The Last Last-Day-of-Summer
by Lamar Giles
This is one of the quirkiest books I have ever read aloud and my 10 year old absolutely loved it. Cousins Otto and Sheed live in a Virginia county known for strange happenings. Together they have worked to solve many mysteries but this is the last day of summer and they are not ready for it to be over. They encounter a mysterious man with a camera that stops time and that's when the weirdness really begins! Zany, imaginative, not-a-little-bit-surreal, yet still thoughtful. This is a really fun read aloud for ages 8 and up.
Astrid the Unstoppable
by Maria Parr
We fell in love with Astrid in this Norwegian import and this book is by far one of our favorite read alouds. Plucky Astrid, who earned the nickname, "The Little Thunderbolt" may remind you of other intrepid heroines like Pippi Longstocking. She loves to explore her beloved Glimmerdal, and her best friend is a crotchety old godfather, Gunnvald. One winter, a family comes to stay in the holiday cottages and Astrid finally gets some local friends to go adventuring with. But then she learns a secret about Gunnvald and things might never be the same.
Stinkbomb and Ketchup-Face and the Badness of Badgers
by John Dougherty
If your kids love over the top weird and crazy, this British import is for them! Stinkbomb and his sister Ketchup-Face are certain the badgers are responsible for their missing money. So they head out to meet King Toothbrush Weasel to foil the evil, treacherous bad-news badgers. This series is incredibly silly and kids will LOVE it. I read it aloud and particularly enjoyed the metafictional narrative elements. There are six books in the series.
Millicent Min, Girl Genius
by Lisa Yee
It's tough being 11 and already in high school. As a consequence, Millicent doesn't have many friends, but she is trying! Now she finds herself tutoring Stanford Wong and making friends with Emily, who doesn't yet know Millicent's genius status. Millicent decides to keep the truth from Emily and lets Emily think Stanford is tutoring her instead of the other way round. Funny dialogue and misadventures resulting from Millicent's questionable decisions make this a "keeps 'em up all night" read.
The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher
by Dana Alison Levy
This book made me laugh out loud. A family of 2 dads and 4 adopted sons (all together they span several ethnicities and religions) lead a rather disordered and hilarious lifestyle. The boys all have different personalities, which could lend themselves to stereotypes, but thankfully do not. After finishing this book I wanted to move right in to the Fletcher household, if only to try out their DIY hockey rink. (You’ll have to read it to find out.)
The Mighty Miss Malone
by Christopher Paul Curtis
This is the funny and poignant story of Deza Malone and her family as they struggle during the Great Depression. Deza is a likable, smart protagonist who observes the ironies, joys and hardships around her. Her scamp of a brother, Jimmie has a gorgeous singing voice and could become a star if he could just stay out of trouble. Her father survives a boating accident, not fully intact, and when he moves away to find employment the rest of the family must go in search of him. Curtis paints a vivid portrait of the 1930s filled with interesting characters.
The Dark Lord Clementine
by Sarah Jean Horwitz
Clementine's father is The Dark Lord, and Clementine has always understood that she will take his place one day. But now her father has been cursed and Clementine must figure out a way to break the curse before he disappears. Venturing off the farm into the village, Clementine unexpectedly makes friends and learns the value of community. She also discovers her true nature and that her father's "reign" may not have been so dark after all. The quirky humor and wordplay to keep readers interested.
The Problim Children
by Natalie Lloyd
This is the tale of an extremely bizarre bunch of siblings who are left to their own devices while their parents are abroad. The house they are living in goes "Kaboom!" and they move into their grandfather's house in the nearby town. Only one of the residents, Desdemona O'Pinion, wants the house for herself and schemes to try and get the seven children sent to seven different continents. The Problim children, however, will not be deterred and they use their ingenuity to thwart O'pinion. Children who enjoy Dahl-esque antics and humor will like this new series.
by René Goscinny
My son absolutely loved this classic French book. It is a collection of short vignettes about the mischievous and charming Nicholas and his gang of friends from his all boys school. Each story contains Nicholas's droll and deadpan commentary about the adults and his humorous descriptions of his friends, their cellphone-free antics and the inevitable chaos. Both my son and I laughed ourselves silly. One of the early stories does have the boys playing "Cowboys and Indians" but as I've written before, I use these as teachable moments instead of rejecting the book outright.
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