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Initial post: 29 Jun 2010 18:57:42 BDT
Last edited by the author on 29 Jun 2010 18:58:43 BDT
K. Allsopp says:
I'm looking for a fiction book for 9 year olds set in the Victorian era, can anyone help?

Posted on 29 Jun 2010 18:58:59 BDT
K. Allsopp says:

Posted on 29 Jun 2010 20:46:58 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Jun 2010 13:50:08 BDT
Maria says:
I can think of quite a few (Dickens for a start, Sarah Waters novels - which I haven't actually read and are meant to be very good, but I'm not sure would be the best choice for a 9yr old) - and another someone recommended to me recently, called The Ghost Writer by John Harwood - again, probabily not quite right for a child).

The only thing I can think of is a series someone told me about once, called The Historical House series; that might be worth checking out.
I'll keep thinking!

Posted on 29 Jun 2010 22:16:30 BDT
R. Woodham says:
What about A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett? (I LOVED this at that time). Or something like Thursday's Child, and Far To Go by Noel Streatfeild. It depends on what kind of a reader your 9 year old is, but I'd say a lot of Dickens could be quite a challenge, to be honest (they tend to be long and wordy in my opinion unless your 9 year old is a really keen reader).... The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley. Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass. Ummmm. Also will keep thinking

Posted on 30 Jun 2010 01:48:39 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Jun 2010 01:49:03 BDT
M. Dowden says:
I think perhaps The Water Babies may be a bit too young. You haven't said if you are looking for a boy or girl's type book, or just generally. There is always The Young Visiters, which if memory serves me the author was only about 8 or 9 when they wrote it. At 9 they would probably have no problems handling A Christmas Carol, and more for boys, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. R Woodham mentioned Alice in Wonderland, and there is Treasure Island as well as some adult classics that have been condensed for children. There is a lovely illustrated edition of The Hound of the Baskervilles for children by Walker Books which may be alright.

The problem is that there wasn't really a market as such for children's books, except for devotional type books, so most of what we class as children's books for that era were written actually for adults. I was thinking of Kidnapped but it is so long since I have read it I can't say for certain if at 9 you would be able to take it all in, but I suspect you could.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2010 13:57:44 BDT
Maria says:
What I meant was that Dickens was an obvious choice in terms of the era, but I think I did say his novels might be a little heavy for a 9yr old. I'm still having trouble thinking of many that are aimed at children - A Little Princess was a good idea, though I think the problem is, to engage a 9yr old today, you might have better luck with a modern novel set in that era, rather than earlier fiction as the style can be quite off-putting for children. Only, like someone said - there aren't many!

Has anyone suggested The Secret Garden? (Same author as A Little Princess) And I could be wrong (I haven't actually read them myself) but didn't phillip pullman write a crime/mystery series for children, set in the Victorian era, with a female detective? I can't remember the titles though!

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2010 14:21:52 BDT
Maria says:
The Ruby in the Smoke (Sally Lockhart novels) I've not read it myself, so not sure on the age suitability, but I'm pretty sure it's fine for children.

This is the product description on Amazon:

`Soon after Sally Lockhart's father drowns at sea, she receives a strange anonymous letter. The dire warning it contains makes a man die of fear at her feet. Determined to discover the truth about her father's death, Sally is plunged into a terrifying mystery in the dark heart of Victorian London, at the centre of which lies a deadly blood-soaked jewel.`

From the reviews, I got the impression that it's a novel read by adults and children, but not too difficult for children to read alone.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2010 15:55:21 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Jun 2010 22:35:20 BDT
LEP says:
What about the Laura Ingells Wilder, Little House on the Prairie series. They must be set in the late 18C, as the family were farming pioneers.

The Secret Garden and also A little Princess - Hodgson Burnett
Little Women
Anne of Green Gables
Tom Sawyer - Mark Twain
Black Beauty?
Gulliver's Travels
Swiss Family Robinson?
The Water Babies wouldn't be too young, it has lot's of underlying themes in it for discussion.

Where I've put ?, I'm querying the period not the suitability.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2010 16:40:37 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Jun 2010 16:49:03 BDT
LEP says:
Memoirs of a London Doll (1846) - R H Horne
Edward Lear - A Book of Nonsense (1846)
Hans Christian Andersen's Fairy Tales (1846)
Robinson Crusoe
Captain Frederick Marryat's childrens books. His most famous Children of the New Forest in set in the English Civil War, so may not be appropriate. However, he has written others.
Tom Brown's Schooldays (1857) - Thomas Hughes
Nathanial Hawthorne's Wonder Book (1851) also Tanglewood Tales (1853)
Black Beauty was written during Victorian times (1877)
What Katy Did (1868) - Susan Coolidge
R M Ballantyne - The Young Fur Traders (1856) and Coral Island (1858)
Robert Louis Stevenson Treasure Island (1883)
George MacDonald, At the Back of the North Wind (1871) and also The Princess and the Goblin (1872). Apparently C S Lewis used these on which to base his Narnia series.
Oscar Wild, The Happy Prince and Other Tales (1888)
Tolbot Barnes Read, The Fifth Form at St. Dominics (1887)
Rudyard Kipling, Stalky and Co. (1899)
Frances Hodgson Burnett, Little Lord Fauntleroy (1886). Her others, A Little Princess and The Secret Garden are Edwardian, 1905 and 1911.
Oliver Twist and also A Christmas Carol - Dickens
Peter Pan (1902, so only a year out) J M Barrie
The Hunting of the Snark - Lewis Carroll
Heidi (1880) - Johanna Spyri
Uncle Tom's Cabin (1894) - Harriet Beecher Stowe
Old Christmas Recalled (1886) - Washington Irving

You'll have to judge which ones are suitable for 9 year olds. Heidi is now used as an example of how disabilities were judged/portrayed (very un PC by modern disability rights campaigners).

Posted on 30 Jun 2010 22:12:12 BDT
M. Dowden says:
The whole problem with anything before the 20th century is that no one really wrote for children, it was mainly books for Sunday School prizes. It does seem a bit of a puzzle, and I have never really come across a suitable answer, the only exception to this is of course poetry. I don't know if the reason may have been that if you were poor your child was already working and if you were rich your child would be getting really good private tuiton and be reading books that we would think were a bit advanced for their years. It still amazes me in the differences in education. Nowadays the classes are minute to what they were in some cases and there are more subjects taught, but you don't see the great sweeping changes and inventiveness of say the 19th century.

LEP has given quite an exhaustive list, but at the time virtually every book on it would have been read by adults, possibly also to their children. The first kind of family book as such for all could be considered as Grimm's Fairy Tales. If you went into the 18th century you have Gulliver's Travels which is nowadays considered as ok for all, and at 9 you would get the fun of it, although obviously not all the satire, indeed you wouldn't get everything from it unless you know the period quite well. The Mary Poppins books, although the first wasn't published until the 30's have that same kind of Edwardian feel that is in Peter Pan. Someone mentioned Pullman's Ruby in the Mist and the others in the series, that is set in Victorian times. With Dickens for instance the only book that he wrote specifically for children was a history book, which if you see don't get. Dickens may have been a great writer but things change over the years, and some of it is erroneous. I don't know if Oliver Twist is ok for a 9 year old or perhaps a bit advanced, The Old Curiosity Shop falls into that same catergory.

In reply to an earlier post on 30 Jun 2010 22:29:23 BDT
Last edited by the author on 30 Jun 2010 22:38:07 BDT
LEP says:
I would have generally have agreed with you M Dowden. However, the site I checked on Google actually says that many of the books I've listed were written for children. Not Dickens obviously, and Black Beauty was written for adults to alert them to and try and stop cruelty to animals. However, the Ballantyne, MacDonald, Hawthorne, Coolidge and several of the other books were for children. Whether to be read by children or read to children.

I think K Allsop is looking for Victorian set books which we would now consider suitable for 9 year olds, so several of those suggested on this discussion would apply.

Posted on 1 Jul 2010 00:02:37 BDT
For able readers, I would recommend Leon Garfield's "Smith" about a pick pocket who gets into all sorts of scrapes after he witnesses the murder of the gentleman whose wallet he's just lifted. Garfield wrote several historically set novels for children including "Jack Holborn" and the funny "The Strange Affair of Adelaide Harris". "The Wolves of Willoughby Chase" used to be a school favourite but I think it might have a Jacobian setting. I also remember a story called something like "The Bonnie Pit Pony" involving two children and the pony they worked with in a coal mine.

Posted on 1 Jul 2010 01:11:03 BDT
M. Dowden says:
LEP the only one I have a problem on your list with is Robinson Crusoe. Not the actual story, but is the children's version written in more modern English? Like me you probably have one based on the original version which we would have to agree may be a bit archaic in language for a child. We are all silly, because I don't think any of us have mentioned The Jungle Books. LEP you mentioned Washington Irving, and I know you used to be able to get hold of an edition for children with the likes of Rip Van Winkle and other such stories in. Another story that should be alright, though it is Edwardian is The Lost World. I believe that there were two seperate Robin Hood stories that came out at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, but you would have to probably do a search for them as there are a few such novels.

Posted on 1 Jul 2010 01:53:24 BDT
M. Dowden says:
The Bronte sisters wrote books to themselves when they were young about fantasy kingdoms such as Angria. I know that these were available a couple of years ago, so they probably still are.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jul 2010 09:44:25 BDT
S. Vogler says:
If you want stories written now about the Victorian era - Hetty Feather and the Lottie Project by Jacqueline Wilson.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jul 2010 16:16:52 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 Jul 2010 16:20:22 BDT
LEP says:
Rider Haggard was another author mentioned on the Google site that gave dates. However, I'm not sure re. 9 year olds. 12 year olds + I would have thought.

What about Jules Verne, Victorian surely? Around the World in 80 days would be very suitable I would have thought and there's also 20,000 Leagues under the Sea etc. Just looked him up re. Wikipeadia. He wrote Journey to the Centre of the Earth in 1865 and Around the World about 8 years later, he was French of course, but does that matter?

Posted on 1 Jul 2010 20:13:13 BDT
M. Dowden says:
LEP I think you are right about Haggard, not that a 9 year old wouldn't necessarily not understand it, but that it may appear a bit boring at such an early age. I was going to say Kipling's Kim but I think that may fall into the same catergory as Haggard. Definitely Verne's more well known books, and if I remember rightly I read War of the Worlds at about that age and enjoyed it immensely.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jul 2010 22:26:06 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 Jul 2010 22:28:12 BDT
LEP says:
M Dowden, I don't know about Kim. The Jungle Book is obviously suitable and I can remember reading the story about Rikki Tikki Tavi, the Mongoose, when I was about 9 and enjoying it; read it at school I think. it might possibly be in short stories, I'm not sure. Trouble is Kipling strays into the Edwardian era, which is why I only listed Stalky and Co.

In reply to an earlier post on 1 Jul 2010 22:45:06 BDT
Last edited by the author on 1 Jul 2010 22:45:56 BDT
LEP says:
Moonfleet (1898) - J Meade Falkner - "smuggling/adventure/gripping storyline". Only problem is the action actually takes place in 1757.

Treasure Island - R L Stevenson (1883) "considered one of the first adventure stories written specifically for children". Again like Moonfleet, and indeed Children of the New Forest, the action may actually take place before the Victorian period, as it's about pirates.

Posted on 2 Jul 2010 00:11:20 BDT
Garrett Carr says:
Much of the discussion above has become convinced that K. Allsopp wants books written during the Victorian era, but actually the request was for books SET during that time. If its the atmosphere of Victorian England your after then Philip Pullman's Sally Lockhart series is excellent.

If the wider world in the 19th century is of interest then "Stop the Train" by Geraldine McCaughrean is a brilliant vision of pioneering days in the United States. Full of fascinating historical detail and a good story too.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2010 09:13:47 BDT
Maria says:
That's what I was saying before - books set in rather than written during. At least I thought that was what was asked for in the original post. Though, any book written during the Voctorian period stands a good chance of being set then too, it's just that the language style isn't as likely to appeal to children as a modern novel set in that era.

In reply to an earlier post on 2 Jul 2010 11:05:08 BDT
Parker says:
There's a series of American books which are avaliable on Amazon, starting with "Meet Samantha - An American Girl" about a 9-year old girl living in Victorian times in the US. My daughter really enjoyed them.

Posted on 2 Jul 2010 13:39:36 BDT
A reader says:
Mortlock, by Jon Mayhew, is a ripping Victorian adventure story. Published by Bloomsbury.

Posted on 2 Jul 2010 16:03:20 BDT
M. Dowden says:
The Prisoner of Zenda, or is that for someone a bit older? Not too sure, but it is a good story.

Posted on 12 Jul 2010 21:53:39 BDT
Parker says:
There is a series of historical fiction books called, "My Story" published by Scolastic, which are aimed at this age range. They are in diary form and there are a couple set in Victorian times.

Workhouse; a Victorian Girl's Diary 1871 by Pamela Oldfield
Mill Girl - a Victorian Girl's diary 1842 - 1843 by Sue Reid
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