5 Favorite Maine Kids Books

From our 100 Maine Books package: Bookseller Ellen Richmond, of Waterville’s Children’s Book Cellar, on the young people’s books she cherishes.

Kids Books | Pexels: Cottonbro
Pexels: Cottonbro

Charlotte’s Web | by E. B. White


“A classic in any sense of the word,” Richmond says. “It’s a book about love, friendship, generosity, and the belief that life goes on — perfect for this particular time in history, yes?” Published in 1952 and still a bestseller.

Blueberries for Sal | by Robert McCloskey

“Kurplink, kurplank, kurplunk. Need I say more?” Richmond calls the 1949 Caldecott Honoree, which McCloskey both wrote and illustrated, “a simple story of community and contentment.” 

Lost on a Mountain in Maine | by Donn Fendler

Right up to his death, at age 90, in 2016, Fendler visited schools to share his story of being lost on Katahdin. “It’s an amazing, true survival story that captures the imagination of children and adults alike,” Richmond says. “If a customer tells me, ‘I’ve never read it,’ I know they didn’t grow up in Maine, since nearly every fourth- or fifth-grade class reads it as part of the curriculum.” 

The Circus Ship | by Chris Van Dusen

Though inspired by the true story of a steamship carrying circus animals that sank in Penobscot Bay, The Circus Ship is silly, not sad. “Fun and easy to read aloud,” Richmond says, “and the two-page spread of hidden animals is a treat.” 

A Handful of Stars | by Cynthia Lord

Richmond is a fan of Lord’s middle-grade novels, in which “youngsters learn life lessons like empathy, courage, trust, and kindness in stories that are enjoyable, realistic, but not preachy.” She especially likes A Handful of Stars because it’s set in Washington County, where her father grew up. The book’s “sensitive portrayal of migrant workers is particularly timely.”

52 Main St., Waterville. 207-872-4543. Support Maine booksellers! During the COVID-19 shutdown, Richmond is dispensing recommendations and taking orders (with free shipping) by phone, by email, and at facebook.com/childrensbookcellar.

See more books every lover of Maine should read!


June 2020 issue