7 Children Realistic Fiction Books Like The Penderwicks

Children Adventure Story

Step into the heartwarming world of family adventures and timeless friendships! If “The Penderwicks” by Jeanne Birdsall captured your heart with its delightful blend of sibling bonds, quaint adventures, and lovable characters, you’re in for a joyous ride. In this post, we dive into a collection of books that echo the charming essence of the Penderwick family’s escapades.

Each of these gems offers a unique celebration of childhood, kinship, and the small yet significant moments that define our lives. From sun-drenched summer holidays to mischievous adventures and the unbreakable ties of family and friends, these books are like a cozy blanket, ready to wrap you in stories of love, laughter, and learning. So, gather around, as we go on a journey through enchanting tales that are sure to become your new favorites, much like the Penderwicks!

7 Books Like The Penderwicks (Children’s Adventure & Realistic Fiction)

The Penderwicks is a popular realistic fiction book with many crazy fans. As readers, we need to try reading something different, something that’s not our norm. It helps us become better readers and understand what we love.

Books like “The Penderwicks” offer more than just entertainment; they provide a wholesome and enriching experience that readers of all ages can enjoy. They are perfect for those who seek stories that are both meaningful and light-hearted, capturing the essence of childhood and the beauty of everyday life. Let’s talk about seven similar realistic fiction books.

NameKey FocusTropes
Wonder by R. J. PalacioA heartwarming and inspiring novel about a young boy with a facial deformity attending school for the first time, exploring themes of kindness, acceptance, and the challenges of being different.Coming-of-age, physical differences, middle school setting, multiple perspectives, bullying, family dynamics, empathy, resilience, friendship, social acceptance.
Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg SloanA touching novel about a young, highly intelligent girl dealing with the sudden loss of her parents and finding solace and connection in a diverse, unconventional community.Coping with loss, child prodigy, emotional journey, diverse characters, found family, overcoming adversity, middle school challenges, personal growth, resilience, community support.
The Great Trouble by Deborah HopkinsonA historical fiction novel set during the 1854 London cholera outbreak, following a young street urchin who assists Dr. John Snow in solving the mystery of the disease’s spread and proving the waterborne theory of cholera.Historical setting, medical mystery, young protagonist, public health crisis, Victorian London, scientific discovery, survival story, real historical figures, adventure, social commentary.
The Honest Truth by Dan GemeinhartA moving and powerful story about a young boy with cancer who runs away from home with his dog to fulfill his dream of climbing Mount Rainier, exploring themes of bravery, friendship, and the pursuit of dreams against all odds.Childhood illness, adventure journey, animal companion, personal challenge, emotional narrative, resilience, friendship bonds, nature setting, coming-of-age, introspective journey.
Absolutely Almost by Lisa GraffA touching novel about a young boy, Albie, who struggles with feeling ‘almost’ good enough in various aspects of his life, from school to friendships, and learns to appreciate his own unique strengths.Self-acceptance, learning disabilities, family dynamics, school challenges, friendship, character growth, emotional resilience, middle-grade fiction, identity exploration, everyday struggles.
Out of My Mind by Sharon M. DraperA compelling novel about a brilliant girl with cerebral palsy who, unable to speak or write, confronts the challenges of being misunderstood and underestimated, as she strives to share her thoughts and intelligence with the world.Disability representation, overcoming adversity, communication barriers, inner strength, young protagonist, resilience, misunderstood character, middle school setting, empowerment, family support.
Rules by Cynthia LordA heartwarming novel about a young girl who creates a list of rules to help her autistic younger brother navigate the world, exploring themes of family, autism, understanding, and the complexities of human relationships.Autism spectrum, family dynamics, sibling relationships, coping strategies, emotional growth, middle-grade fiction, friendship, acceptance, life lessons, perspective-taking.
Books Like The Penderwicks List

1. Wonder

Wonder tells the story of a boy named August Pullman, who was home-schooled for a very long time, and he was born differently than we. He was born with an abnormality. His face is disfigured, and the story talks about how he adjusts to going to school with other kids and how his family adjusts to it. It’s told from his sister’s point of view, from his point of view, and it’s a fantastic, well-written story.

One of the things I love about this book is that it never tells you what its face looks like, which means so much to me as a reader. It doesn’t matter what he looks like. That has no part of the story. Who cares? It doesn’t change who he is, and it doesn’t change their personality.

As readers, sometimes we look for that information, but the story never does. It doesn’t make a big deal about the fact, and it leaves it up to you. You decide how you want the child to look. But the story does an excellent job of telling the reader that it doesn’t matter. I highly recommend it after The Penderwicks.

Author: R. J. Palacio
Average Rating: 4.8/5
Category: Children’s Diseases & Physical Illness, Daily Activities
Number Of Pages: 320
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

2. Counting by 7s

This was a bluebonnet for a lot of our readers. So if you were in fourth or fifth grade last year, there’s a good chance you might have seen this book had it read to you or read it yourself. It is a story about a young girl named Willow, and she’s an adopted child. It’s hard to describe this book of love without giving away too many spoilers.

But unfortunately, a tragic event happens to her adoptive family, and she has to find a new family again. Here, Willow is like a savant. She is unbelievably intelligent and weird, and not everyone understands her or understands what she’s going through. If you’re looking for a personal story that has a character who has to adapt, this is an excellent book for you. I would consider this a problem novel. That’s a type of realistic fiction like The Penderwicks.

Author: Holly Goldberg Sloan
Average Rating: 4.7/5
Category: Orphans & Foster Homes
Number Of Pages: 416
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

3. The Great Trouble: A Mystery of London, the Blue Death, and a Boy Called Eel

This is a historical fiction in London during the cholera epidemic. Cholera is a sickness that people can get that can be pretty fatal. This is a story about the events and how a little kid, a street urchin, and a street rat were able to help a famous doctor find the cause of the cholera epidemic in London, which resulted in a lot of deaths.

The main character in this story is a boy named Eel. He is rough and tumbles. He takes care of his community and his little brother. But he’s got a weird backstory, and his life hasn’t always been that great. Eel meets a lovely young and attractive doctor who takes them on a journey to help solve what could be causing all these random and rapid deaths throughout his neighborhood.

If you like reading about history, this is a great book to pick up at the end. It has some great notes about where the author got her ideas from, the facts in the story, and what happened during that time. You get to see many characters’ similarities and themes similar to The Penderwicks.

Author: Deborah Hopkinson
Average Rating: 4.7/5
Category: European Historical Fiction, Mystery, Detective, & Spy
Number Of Pages: 272
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

4. The Honest Truth

This is a challenging book to read, but it is an amazing story. It is about a young child who is ten years old. He has cancer, and he doesn’t think he has long to live. So he runs away from home, takes his favorite dog with him, and wants to climb a mountain. It’s a very dark personal journey. But at the end of it, it’s about the power that we have inside of us. The moral lessons and beliefs are very inspired by The Penderwicks.

Many of us have someone in our life who, unfortunately, has been touched by cancer. It is a very personal, complex story, but it’s a story about friendship and love that we can get from our pets. Sometimes, we have these mountains that we can’t climb in our lives. But trying to do so by yourself is almost a dangerous and deadly event in our lives. We need other people to help us. I hope you pick it up in the library.

Author: Dan Gemeinhart
Average Rating: 4.7/5
Category: Survival, Mental Illness
Number Of Pages: 240
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

5. Absolutely Almost

This is a fun book, and it’s a story about a kid named Albie. He goes to school, and he’s almost good at sports. He can almost do the math, but he’s never quite there. The story focuses on Albie, and he has to go through some changes. His best friend is on a reality show, and their friendship starts to change a little bit. He has to go to a new school, and they’re bullies.

I would suggest a problem novel if you like realistic stories. But you don’t necessarily want to deal with something as heavy as a boy trying to the mountain with cancer. It is a bit more lighthearted fare. Albie has some problems that he has to solve, such as The Penderwicks. He is a great character, and this one might look a bit thick.

Author: Lisa Graff
Average Rating: 4.7/5
Category: Children’s Books on Disability & Babysitting
Number Of Pages: 320
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Mass Market Paperback

6. Out of My Mind

This book is about a young girl named Melody, who has a photographic mind. A photographic mind means that pretty much she has a powerful memory. She needs only to be shown something once and boom in the head what she sees.

But there’s one problem with Melody: She can’t talk. She can’t communicate or speak, at least not very well. She goes to a school where she has this brilliant mind, and they’re still treating her like she’s a preschooler doing the same lessons over and over again.

This book does a great job of showing a window into what some of our students deal with at school. We are all very different. But no matter what, we are all unique, and we are all-powerful. So, this is a book that I would suggest to any students interested in some of our friends who have special needs.

Author: Sharon M. Draper
Average Rating: 4.8/5
Category: Family Life Fiction
Number Of Pages: 320
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

7. Rules

This is another book about a young girl, but instead of the main character in this story having a disability, she’s taking care of her brother, who has a disability. It’s the story of a girl named Catherine who wants to live a normal life. But she’s got a little brother, David, and he has autism. So, Catherine tries to take care of David as best she can.

She tries to teach him how to behave in public, how to always keep his pants on around other people, and how to act normal. That’s the one thing she wants: to live an everyday life. But it’s hard for Catherine because she loves her brother.

But sometimes, she feels angry with her brother, like it’s a burden she has to bear. Then she makes some new friends who are also a bit different. This is a beautiful, remarkable, amazing story. If you like The Penderwicks, then you must read it.

Author: Cynthia Lord
Average Rating: 4.7/5
Category: Medical General Psychology
Number Of Pages: 224
Available: Audiobook | Paperback | Hardcover | Kindle | Audio CD

Last Words

These stories, brimming with the magic of everyday adventures and the warmth of family ties, remind us of the simple yet profound joys of being together and growing up. Each narrative we’ve explored is a testament to the enduring charm of stories that celebrate the beauty of familial bonds and the unadulterated wonder of childhood.

So, as you turn to these heartwarming tales, may you find laughter, comfort, and a little bit of adventure waiting for you in each chapter. Until our next exploration into the charming world of family and friendships, happy reading and happy living!

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Pauline Jackson

I like to talk about popular books. My book review inspires you to read and save time. Also, I summarize the book and give you the best lessons or ideas that can change your life. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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