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Books for 7-9 year olds
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Books for 7-9 year olds
I'm wondering if any parents out there have had success
''crossing reading interests'' with their kids so that they
can read to both of them at the same time... I guess age
matters (this used to be easier when they were both
younger). My oldest will be 8 in a few months and she's an
advanced reader, mostly wanting to read to herself, but I
(selfishly?) crave the connection of still reading together.
My 4-year-old likes longer books lately (William Steig, some
chapter books like Mercy Watson and Mr Putter and Tabby). I
wonder if there's something I'm not thinking of that would
enchant them both?
Loving to Read Mama
You might try hidden object books like the ''I Spy'' or ''Can
You See What I See?'' series. My kids (3 and 5 years) both
love these books and they take turns picking which page to
look at. If the older kid is finding things too fast or
getting bored waiting for the little one to catch up, have
her help the younger one along by giving clues to where
the objects are.
If the older child is a good reader, and you want family
time... why not have the older child pick a book and read it
to the younger one? They'll enjoy it and so will you!
Have you tried the Magic Treehouse series? By Mary Pope
Osborne? My husband and I have read all of them (there
are about 45 books in the series) with our 7 year old
daughter and they are fantastic! Start with the first one
in the series and work your way through. The series is
about a brother and sister who find a treehouse filled
with books, and when they open a book, will be transported
back in time to be a part of the story. Most of them are
factually based, and I've learned a lot by reading them,
actually. In the beginning of the series, the brother
writes notes in a journal that he always carries with
him. When my daughter was ''too shy'' to read in front of
us, we could always get her to agree to read Jack's
journal entries since they are short and easy to read.
Now, she's reading on her own and we really miss the
books. I think the stories would be fun for a 4 year old
My 4 and 6 (almost 7) year olds love The Faraway Tree
stoires (Enid Blyton). It's 560 pages. The adventures are
fun but fairly bite-sized so your younger child won't get
lost in a complex plot. Very imaginative.
I think it is set in the 1930s. Three kids move to the
edge of The Enchanted Wood which has a tree with various
magical creatures and lands. They climb the tree and have
Our kids are about the same age and we have all enjoyed sharing books
like Charlotte's Web, Wind and the Willows, All of a Kind Family, Magic
Treehouse series, James and the Giant Peach, etc. A newer graphic
novel called the Invention of Hugo Cabret worked for the different ages
It's been a bit of a long haul through first grade for our son
learning to read. He's *almost* at the point of wanting to pick up a
book by himself and try reading alone, but he's not there yet.
I'm kind of dreading the extended pause from reading the summer break
forces on us and would love to hear what other parents do/have done to
keep up reading skills over summer.
Here's what we do already--what should we change/add/do another way?
We read books to both kids at night and during the day on weekends,
and we encourage quiet/reading time every Sunday morning. We are firm
about no TV on school nights -- and for the most part our kids watch
TV only on weekend mornings when we're asleep or on family movie
nights. We have no game consoles etc. And we try and model reading as
enjoyment and relaxation too -- hard sometimes! -- by finding the time
to read books, magazines, etc. when the kids are around (obviously
this is not something we do a lot of...)
I know that eventually reading will come to him, but the timing of the
summer break is bad for us as far as his confidence and enthusiasm
around reading is concerned. And we really want him to start second
grade excited about reading.
All libraries have summer reading programs. Check your
I would also talk to his teacher and ask him/her for
There are reading lists (through your school or on the
internet) you can get and have your son work through over
the summer. Make a game out of it with a reward at the end
for the number of pages read.
--Reading is Fundamental
I'm a second grade teacher and all my students do an
internet based program called Raz Kids. Not sure if a parent
can get a subscription but you might want to check them out.
There are no pop ups or ads of any kind. You can start them
off at any level you want. Talk to your child's teacher this
year about what level (it should explain the levels on the
website) they should start at. After they read and answer
quizzes, they get points and build a ''rocket room''. Highly
motivating. Just go to www.raz-kidsdotcom
You don't say where you live, but in the Oakland Public Library in past years
there has been a summer reading program where kids can earn credit for
reading books over the summer. They use stickers to keep track of their time
and can return the book of stickers for a prize or a free book. The free books
aren't high quality but it's still fun for the kids to pick one out of the bin.
Hopefully this program will happen again this summer, or look at other library
systems near you to see if they do the same thing.
Loves to read
Have you tried some non-traditional ''boy'' type reading? Either something
appeals to the typical ''boy'' scatological sense of humor and is easy reading
the Captain Underpants series), or perhaps something of the graphic novel
variety (maybe the ''Bone'' series), or even some of the more commercial
book'' style ones geared toward kids who like Pokemon or Bionicles or other
(Scholastic carries a bunch of these, and some kids' libraries do too). Some
this may seem a little junky, but what kids read doesn't matter nearly as much
that they read.
This might get him hooked enough to read during the summer. My son LOVED
LOVED LOVED all of this stuff. He didn't really start reading until about this
in first grade, then got completely hooked on Captain Underpants, and now in
4th grade... well, he's deep in a series he found in the Young Adults section
our library, and literally can't put the books down.
We have a voracious reader, but I have three suggestions. 1)
Take turns reading aloud at night. Your read a page (or a
paragraph), then he reads. 2) Go to the public library and
sign up for a summer reading program. They usually ask the
kids to list the books they read and when they've read X
many, they get a prize. 3) Find a series of books to get him
hooked. At that age, Magic Treehouse was great.
Try the summer reading program at the Berkeley or Oakland
libraries. I hope and assume they will be continuing this
program this year. I also have a rising 2nd grade son
who has not yet embraced reading, and am definitely going
to do the program (I have done it in the past with my
daughter). In Berekely, at least, children visit a
Berkeley library in June and choose a goal: read 10
books, 10 hours, or 1000 pages. They get a little journal
to keep track of their progress. When they have visited
the library 2 more times and have accomplished their goal,
they get a prize, which they also get to choose. Examples
are a free ice cream at Ben and Jerry's, free bowling at
Albany Bowl, stuffed animal, or book. We did the Oakland
program one year too, and it is similar.
I highly recommend taking your son to your local library to
participate in their summer reading program. Both Berkeley
Public and Oakland Public have incredible resources and
quality programming to help facilitate childrens' interest
I suggest that your child have easy books to read. His
confidence will growth when he is a more fluent reader.
Don't pressure him to read challenging books when he is
reading independently. At these times he should read books
that are just right (not too hard, not too easy). When he
reads to you, an you are there to help him sound out
words, or to encourage him to self-correct, then more
challenging books could be used.
You are doing so many things that model a love of reading.
Keep it up. I find that kids who are fluent readers and
have lots of great books that are appropriate and
available do eventually find success as readers.
We are in nearly the same boat (perhaps even the same
one...is that you seated next to me??).
Anyway, my MIL says that she paid her sons (my husband and
his brother) 10 cents a page (back in the early 70s since
they are now 45 and 42 yo)...and that is what got them
reading on their own. She suggested it to my SIL for my
niece last summer and it seems to have worked out well.
I am planning on it too. Probably against all the
''parenting rules,'' but hey, it WORKED!!! My BIL reads
constantly as do my PIL, my parents and my husband and
I...so looks like I am in for some cashola paid to my 6.5 yo
Looking forward to the other replies in case there is
something even better than this one...
Want to keep my son reading too; he really just started
You'll be happy to hear that the public libraries do a
great job of keeping kids reading throughout the summer.
They offer a summer reading game in which kids win prizes
for time spent reading or the number of books read
(details vary by library system and by year).
In addition, they have special programs for kids and
families during the summer, such as puppets, magicians,
music, etc. As we get closer to the end of the school
year, the libraries put out program schedules and details
on the reading game.
And of course, while you're at the library, bring your son
to browse the level of books he's reading, such as picture
books or easy readers. Often young readers want to read
everything in a series once they've enjoyed a certain
book. Have fun discovering all the great books they have
for kids these days and your son will too.
I would suggest joining a summer reading club through the
library and/or your local bookstore. We personally love
the one from the Storyteller bookstore in Lafayette, which
rewards you with a party featuring a live storyteller, ice
cream, and $15 coupon for use in the store if you satisfy
your mutually agreed upon reading contract (the program
costs $20 to join so you're still out $5 but it's worth it
if it motivates your child as it does mine). The library
ones also give you halfway and completion prizes. Our
school has a program as well, with the students getting a
small prize when they return their form in the fall. I
find it's not the prizes themselves that are the
motivators, but the child knowing s/he has a goal to
achieve and getting the satisfaction of having ''earned''
the reward. Good luck!
Your post reminded me of our son, now a fourth grader. At
the same age, I worried that he would never LOVE reading the
way that I do. Then he found the ''Captain Underpants'' series
by Dav Pilkey, and the world changed. I knew he had been won
over when I had to take the books out of his hands to go to
bed, to eat.... Fast forward to now: he just finished the
entire series of Harry Potter in 8 weeks, and loves to read.
Why Dav Pilkey? Lots of pictures, engaging narrative, and
well...potty humor. The kids love his books, and once you
love reading, the world opens up in new ways.
Fan of Dav Pilkey
hi, my 7 1/2 year old son has finally become a reader and
has been voraciously consuming the first 3 Harry Potter
books. However, I'm not sure if the rest of the books are
appropriate at this age--I've read them myself (tho' it's
been awhile) and I think he'll enjoy them more when he's a
bit older. (He's admitted that he skipped over some of the
scary parts in Prisoner of Azkaban.) There are a lot of
great recommendations in the archives, but I'd love
recommendations specifically for engaging, adventure-type
books appropriate for the 7-9 year old reader. I already
know many of the classics--I'm mostly looking for the
post-J.K. Rowling writers. thanks! book lover
You might check out (pun intended!) the Lighting Thief
series by Rick Riordan, or the Gregor the Overlander series
by Suzanne Collins, both of which my son just loved. My
college roommate is one of the founders of the web site
StorySnoops, which is well worth checking out for lots of
additional recommendations for young readers
I highly recommend The Secret Benedict Society - my duagher
loved it - we needed to back off Harry Potter after #6 where
it got kind of dark. Also the series by Rick Riordan on the
Olympians were fun and got her very excited about Greek
mythology. Good luck! anon
Try the Secrets of Droon series. My daughter (who eagerly
read Harry Potter) loved them in elementary school. They
didn't appeal to me but not all books or movies can hit the
spot both with adults and children. We both loved the Rick
Riordan Lightening Thief series, too, but if you're
concerned that later Harry Potter books are beyond your
child's developmental level, you might want to wait to
introduce them to your second grader. Read one first. SLB
At your local library you will generally find a list of
recommended books for various age groups and reading levels.
Also, look up the lists of award winners such as the
Caldecott, Newbery, Coretta King Scott Award, etc. Also,
check with your children's reference librarian for
I'm really happy to see all the new books out there
with brave, smart and strong girls, and quiet and
smart girls, etc. etc. For my son, I'm not finding books that have
boys as such well rounded protagonists. Most of the books for
boys that I've found emphasize brawn and cockiness, which
is one positive aspect (when appropriate), but boys
who are gentle and smart I'm not seeing that
often. Some of the older books have this but then have
one-dimensional girls and my son *knows* that girls can
do anything so finds them pretty silly. He's getting
convinced that people expect boys to just run into things
Any suggestions for the 8+ crowd?
I asked my 10 year old for recommendations and this is what
he came up with:
The Great Brain series, by John D. Fitzgerald
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Also there is a series of Great Illustrated Classics,
includes The Three Musketeers, Robinson Crusoe, Around the
World in 80 Days, and others.
One of my very favorite childrens' book series is Gregor
the Overlander by Suzanne Collins. It has lots of action
and adventure but it also touches on a lot of themes of
family, responsibility, consequences of actions, etc.
Gregor is a multi-dimensional hero who has to solve
problems with his brain. The action can be a little intense
at times ... my daughter read them at 8 no problem, but a
more sensitive child might find it too much. The first one
is the tamest so you could try that and then decide whether
to carry on with the series.
mom of a reader
Thoughtful boy characters include Jeff in Solitary Blue by Cynthia Voigt and
Jonas in The Giver by Lois Lowry. Both books are fairly contemporary American
and full of moral and psychological crises and suffering. If you're interested in
older, kinder less earth-shaking but no less intelligent and perceptive views of
boyhood, check out these characters in some of the old British classics: Tolly
and Ping in the Children of Green Knowe and the other Green Knowe books by
Lucy Boston, and especially Dick in Winter Holiday, Coot Club, Pigeon Post,
Great Northern, and others by Arthur Ransome. (All of these are also great
books for girls, and decent, thoughtful reading for adults too, for that matter.)
- a reading mom
Two books come to mind immediately:
1. Swallows & Amazons - excellent male & female characters,
and I think just about right for an 8 year old...
2. My Family & Other Animals - a true account of a family
moving from England to Cofu, Greece - written from the
perspective of the author (a boy) at 10. Check it out - it
may be a bit beyond the 8 year mark, but I remember my mom
reading it to me when I wasn't TOO much older & laughing,
Another Avid Reader
Try the Blue Balliet books-Chasing Vermeer, The Wright 3,
and the Calder Game. I thought they were excellent and the
main characters are 2 boys and a girl with 3 very different
personalities who solve mysteries when they work together.
My son also liked The Phantom Tollbooth.
The Beverly Cleary series which include novels about Henry
Huggins are classics, which were written decades ago, but
still hold up. My hell-on-wheels grandson enjoys them. He
also loves the ones about Henry's pesty little neighbor,
Ramona. These books are good because they deal with
feelings and conflicts children often experience.
Rowan of Rin a series of 4 books by Emily Rodda describes a quiet sensitive boy
who has a number of adventures where his strengths and fears are shown. The
first book is probably fine for an 8 year old, I read them to my boys when they
were 9-10 yrs, and my sensitive boy found the final book in the series to
frightening to read.
mama of a very sensitive boy
My 9-year old loves the Percy Jackson and the Olympian books. The Artemis
Fowl books were also a hit (Artemis does start out cocky, but learns better).
''Holes'' is just terrific. The Series of Unfortunate Events books are also worth a
Help! My 9 year old daughter has gone nuts over the Twilight Series.
I reluctantly let her read the first 3, after I read them, but I have
said ''no'' to book 4 because it seems like too much sexuality for a 9
year old. This has, of course, just made her determined to read it
anyway. How do others handle this issue for kids that are good at
reading -- we try to steer her to age appropriate books, but she's
often wanting to read books more meant for teens. Any thoughts are
--need a reality check
Oh, the sexuality thing. And they're getting younger and younger
and younger as they are exposed to it. I think that even if you
forbade the Twilight books (and hey! she's reading!) your
daughter would get plenty of exposure to steamy stuff in
conversations in school, DVDs, TV, Youtube, magazine ads! My
solution to this with my thirteen year old boy has been: talk,
talk, talk. Instead of just trying to whip it away from her,
saying ''you're too young for that,'' start talking about how the
vampire/sexuality thing is interesting and a little scary. Death
and sacrifice and sex... With my son I acknowledge sexual
feelings as normal and good but also very powerful and
potentially harmful when unleashed at a young age. In a way,
that's what the Twilight books are about, so you can address how
they combine sexual passion with death wish. How can sex be
good? How can it be harmful? What kinds of relationships are
good (hint: not ones where you have to donate blood in order to
be loved). How old should you be before thinking of getting
involved physically with someone, and why? Obviously nine is too
young for that kind of involvement, but fantasies are normal and
OK -- it's just interesting and useful to inquire into why
certain fantasies (Twilight) are appealing on such a large scale.
I don't think it's too early to start having conversations with
your daughter about sex, especially if she can read (and is into)
Twilight. And to give some perspective -- my son once googled
''sex'' on the internet and guess what came up. We've already had
our big ''internet porn conversation.''
just trying to keep up
That 4th Twilight book is really the pits, isn't it? I think,
though, that she's going to find a way to read it come hell or
If I were you, I'd offer to read it with her or to her IF and
ONLY IF she's willing to talk to you about it while you're
reading. I guess you could skip the sex parts if you want, but
they are not intense. There's so much more to object to!
Then you read it to her and tell her (keep it simple) why the
book bothers you. And if I were you, I'd restrict that to a few
1)the book portrays sex as not okay, even for a loving *married*
couple... and that's just kind of crazy.
2)the book has some truly bizarre imagery of what pregnancy and
mothering are like.
3)The idea of imprinting is not something that usually happens to
humans, despite our romantic ideas of finding ''the one right
person.'' And no matter what anyone says, imprinting on a baby is
4)Ultimately the book is poorly plotted. Trust me: there is
nothing like pointing out the conveniences and contrivances of
the plot to deflate the dramatic love of a book.
5)Renesmee is a dumb name. (Just kidding on that last one)
Middle School Teacher
It's my experience that if they are really determined, they're
going to do it anyway. Also, they're all interested in what
older, cooler kids do. When I was 12, I hid a book that had sex
in it, where the plot point was the teenager had an abortion. I
hid it under my mattress and my mom never knew.
It's a sad state of our society that this is what our children
are exposed to. You have Miley Cyrus at a teen event working a
stripper pole during her act, sexualized clothing meant for
children, and exposure to the full gamut of adult subject matter
from a young age. To some degree, you have to live in a cave or
become Amish to avoid it. Or have your kid in a Waldorf school
and be careful to give her a secluded life until she's older. But
is that really the answer?
You did open the door with this thing. So see it through. Read
the book WITH her. Make an agreement that you're going to talk
about each chapter together. This way you can give guidance about
the subject matter. This is much more work for you, but I bet
she'll read this book anyway, and if she does it secretly, she
won't be able to talk to you about her ideas, fears, concerns,
I know how you feel, at least somewhat. My 8 year old son read
some of the Twilight series,and is waiting for when I am done
with the books so that he can read it. I told him there was a
lot of kissing (yuck!) going on there, but he said he would
just skip those pages and was more interested in the rest of
the story. So, maybe that's what your daughter is doing.
She can even read the more racy pages, but I doubt she will
really ''feel'' them, because she hasn't experienced any of that
herself. She will have to re-read the books when she's much
older and had actually kissed someone to really get it.
It's not just about the sexual stuff. There are many other
meassages there that she won't understand now. Just like with
Harry Potter and the author's thoughts on the bout of her
clinical depression that's only obvious to people who had that
For your girl, it must be just the perfect love story, with the
added benefit of advocating sex AFTER marriage only (the 3rd
book goes on and on about the physical temptations that both
Bella and Edward fight).
It must feel weird (at least!) for you to see your girl read
things like that, but you won't be able to limit her. I was
like your daughter a long time ago, and I used to hide under
the blankets with a flashlight reading books my parents
wouldn't let me read - or when it was just too late to read.
Instead, you can talk to her about the books she's reading.
She'll still be influenced by the book, but she will also hear
your opinion and will be able to form her own.
reader and mother of a reader
I read the Twilight series because several of my fifth grade
students were reading the series. I was appalled. First, it is
extremely poorly written, and second, the content of the last one
is pornographic. If your child hadn't read it already, I would
have said don't let her. Since she has read the series so far
she'll probably find a way to read the final book whether you
allow her to or not. I suggest you read the book to her, and find
a way to skip the more offensive material. Older children still
benefit from being read to and it can provide some extra bonding
time for the two of you.
Not a Fan of Twilight
I am confused by the nature of some of the responses posted here.
More than one writer has suggested you can't stop your daughter
from reading something inappropriate - really? I was a very
advanced reader and brought home a Jackie Collins novel when I
was 11. My mother said no and took it away. Guess what? I
didn't read it! I think the Twilight books are too much for a
nine year old (and I have read them). I would simply tell her
that these are for an older child and that she is free to read
them when she is - years old. There are many more appropriate
books that are classics and actually well written. Roald Dahl,
Lousia May Alcott, J.K. Rowling all have work that would be
better suited to her age. Not to be overly critical, but I meet
a lot of parents who seem to feel that access to adult topics in
movies, TV, or books makes their child more advanced in some
''hip'' way. These kids seem to get in more trouble later on as
they believe they are ready for grown up behaviors while they
lack adult perspective.
A Piggle-Wiggle Fan
I found this article by local children's book writer, Dashka Slater, to be quite
interesting. If the link doesn't work just paste it into your browser. It's worth the 15 or
so minutes it'll take to read it.
Check it out.
As a school librarian I feel that the decision about what is
appropriate for a 9 year old is one that should be made by
parents, but with their children so that they can understand
how, and why that decision was made. I don't think that banning
books is the path to take. Kids will obtain books without
parent knowledge. But, kids are usually very good at
deselecting books that are not personally appropriate for
them... they simply stop reading when they find the material
boring or overwhelming.
There are many book review sources available in print and
online to help. If you look at Amazon you will be able to see
excerpts from several review publications. Reviews of
children's and young adult books have age or grade ranges
included. You can usually use these recommendations to help
guide your choices. The recommended age range is not based
solely on reading level. They also take into account the
content of the book. (Publishers also look at the age of the
protagonist when assigning recommended ages of readers.) I also
suggest that you go to your local library and speak with the
Children's or Young Adult librarian. They are professionals who
are familiar with a wide variety of books both classic and
contemporary. They can steer you and your child in the right
As far as the Twilight series goes I would generally not
recommend it for 9 year olds though I know some who have read
it and say that they have enjoyed it. In short it is a teen
romance novel with all that the genre has to offer... light
reading, a lot of romantic chase with very tame physical
encounters, a plot that moves along at a brisk pace, some
action and adventure; it's fun, but not great literature.
to me the most troubling aspect of the story is Bella's persuit
of Edward despite the fact that she knows he is dangerous. Not
a great message for young women, but one that is common in
literature... Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights & Rhett Butler in
Gone With the Wind are just two examples. He's simply a stock
I would not describe any of the Twilight books as pornographic.
Though the relationship is consumated in the fourth book, after
they marry, the author doesn't go into great detail. If a 9
year old has managed to wade through the first three books and
maintain her interest (most won't) she is probably going to
find a way to get her hands on the 4th one and read it.
YA book fan
My son is an advanced reader for his age (7) which is wonderful but presents
challenges. He has read the entire Harry Potter series which he LOVES, but
the last books in the series were certainly meant for a more mature, or
older child. I wouldn't mind except that the stories, and disturbing themes
(deaths of major characters, torture, etc.) affected him quite negatively.
As such i have now banned Harry Potter from his reading for at least a year
(and am reading his books before he does!), but am now faced with finding
reading that is challenging (i.e. complex story lines and characters)
without the 'death and disaster' plot line. He's read all the Cornelia Funke
books (which are fantastic! They have some mature themes but nothing really
disturbing) and has moved on from shorter chapter books such as Magic
Treehouse, etc. He's not interested in Artemis Fowl and Lemony Snicket
(which present the same issues).
Do you have any recommendations of any terrific authors or books? He's read
all of Roald Dahl (and others like Wind in the Willows and we've read Chron.
of Narnia which unfortunately was quite racist). I understand that books at
higher reading levels were meant for older children, so it's unlikely to
find such innocent themes but here's hoping! Thanks!
Little Reader, Big Appetite
we found some wonderful books in the u.k. this summer that are
not as complex as harry potter (so maybe too young for your kid)
--they are rich in language but not too mature in content.
In particular, the trouble with owls, and watch out for witches
(hilda offen), the boy in the biscuit tin (heather dyer, some kids
find a magic kit and it works and it turns out they save a grownup who
was trapped by a spell gone awry years ago). Also
more generally we liked dealing with dragons and the 3 sequels
(patricia wrede, alternates between boy and girl protagonists), the
spaceship under the apple tree (from 50's etc,
so kind of old but a fun quick read), the phoenix and the carpet
(nesbit), there are also Enid Blyton books (secret seven, etc.)
that are lovely. And Swallows and Amazons.
good luck, I look forward to seeing what other people post!
a parent of another voracious reader
Yes, I had this problem with my 7 y/o. She is a voracious reader
which ups the volume of books in addition to the advanced reading. We
get about 8 books a week from the library. These are a combo of
so-called picture books which can be read quickly (in 10 minutes or
so) because there are some terrific books out there that I don't think
we should ignore, chapter books (say, Arthur, Bailey School Kids,
Dragon Slayers Academy), and ''novels'' which are longer (200 pages or
more?). We have a section in the library which has a large selection
of these novels for 10 y/o and above (which we read anyway) by authors
like Barbara Park, Cornelia Funke, Louis Strachar, Dahl, Kate
DiCamillo, etc. We are holding off on Potter so we have something new
when she is older and can handle the darker parts. Some of the books
we have ended up with have also been geared for middle school which
can be difficult to screen (I don't have the time to read what she
reads at this point). So, basically, find a section that he can peruse that has the novels and get a
variety of stuff. Our school gives a summer reading list for
intermediate readers so that we can order these from the local
A few suggestions:
-Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing, Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great,
and Superfudge, all by Judy Blume
-The Wizard of Oz books (there are many! The ones written by L. Frank
Baum are best)
-Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
- The Phantom Tollbooth
-From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
-Summerland by Michael Chabon
-The BFG, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory,
and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, all by Roald Dahl
-The Trumpet of the Swan, Charlotte's Web, and Stuart Little by E.B.
Finally - and perhaps most importantly - help your son develop a close
relationship with a good children's librarian. I was an early and
advanced reader, and having someone who knew me and was also
well-versed in children's literature made a HUGE difference in my
Still a bookworm and a bookworm's Mommy
2 recommendations to try
The Magic Treehouse series - There are a set of easier books, and
then there is the ''Merlin Missions'' which are more difficult
We really liked these books a lot
Based on his reading habits so far, you might like a Series of
Unfortunate events - I personally wasn't as thrilled, but I know some
kids who loved them.
2 other books that my son (10 years but average reader at best) has
loved were Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Igraine the Brave
This is a *perfect* question to ask your local children's librarian.
When I was still working as a librarian, I prepared a list of about 25
titles for a boy with exactly the same issue -- his interests were
that of a 7-year-old, so he didn't want to read scary or romantic
stuff, but his reading skills were very advanced. He especially
enjoyed the ''classic'' stuff I recommended -- mostly American kids'
novels of the late 1950s and 1960s. I noticed in your post that you
are aware of racial bias, which is a good point to keep in mind when
reading these older books -- their attitudes toward race and gender
are far from modern. The librarians at the main Berkeley and Oakland
Public Libraries can keep this in mind when they make recommendations
I wish I still had my list for you!
-- Children's Librarian (on hiatus)
Your message took me back to the totally inappropriate things I read
in 6th and 7th grade, although by that age it was more the sex than
the violence that was questionable.
I highly recommend Tomorrow's Children, edited by Isaac Asimov, a book
of science fiction short stories about kids. It has been out of print
for a really long time, but I suspect you could find a copy at a
library. The Hobbit might be a good choice. The Lord of the Rings
probably not. I read it in junior high, but there's a big difference
between 7 and 12. Just did an Amazon search... What about Island of
the Blue Dolphins, A Wrinkle in Time, Call of the Wild, White Fang,
The Phantom Tollbooth, My Side of the Mountain, The Cay, The Westing
Game, Little House on the Prairie, Mrs.Frisby and the Rats of NIMH,
The Redwall Books by Brian Jacques, Dragonworld, the Great Brain books
by John Fitzgerald, the Twenty-One Balloons, the Trumpet of the Swan,
Wizard of Oz books. ItbDecember 2001s been a while since I read these, but I donbDecember 2001t
recall anything particularly objectionable, and all are very good.
What about non-fiction? Biographies might be of interest. I recall
reading a biography of Helen Keller in 5th grade that I enjoyed, but
don't have any other specific recommendations. Mythology is goobdsome
adult themes, but not disturbing imagery a la Harry Potter.
Ah, the days when I had time to read!
There are lots of great books out there. Here are some of my
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, the Great Brain books by John
D. Fitzgerald, The Secret Garden by Burnett, anything by EB White
(Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, Trumpet of the Swan), Mrs. Frisby and
the rats of NIMH by O'Brien, The Best School Year Ever & The Best
Xmas Pageant Ever by Robinson, Swallows & Amazons books by Ransome, My
Father's Dragon by Gannett, books by EL Konigsburg, books by Dick
King-Smith (Babe, Funny Frank, many more), James Herriott books maybe,
Natalie Babbitt books (the Search for Delicious, Tuck Everlasting,
etc.), Bedknob and Broomstick, the Little House series by Laura
Ingalls Wilder, Freddy the Detective books by Brooks, and Pippi
Longstockings books by Lindgren. I look forward to seeing what others
Here a some books we love:
- My Side of The Mountain by Jean Craighead George -- about a boy who
lives by himself for a year in a hollow hemlock tree in the Catskills.
- The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene du Bois -- about a retired
school teacher who attempts to drift in a balloon around the world,
but lands on an island near Krakatoa which has a most fascinating
- Diary of an Early American Boy by Eric Sloane -- an annotated diary of
a 18th century American boy, with lots of beautiful drawings of how
All of these books still hold my interest even as an adult, but aren't
violent or overly sophisticated.
Oh, almost forgot an absolutely wonderful series called Swallows and
Amazons by Arthur Ransome. The stories take place in England (between
the wars?), and are about a family of children who sail to an island
in the little lake they live on and have many adventures.
Has he checked out Zilpha Keatley Snyder? My favorite, The Egypt Game,
takes place in a city that is almost certainly Berkeley. Other books
of hers include The Famous Stanley Kidnapping Case, The Headless
Cupid, and Blair's Nightmare ( a trilogy). They are probably easier
than Harry Potter and certainly shorter but I really loved them in 3rd
or 4th grade as a good reader. Also, ''From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs.
Basil E. Frankweiler''--the original ''night in the museum'' story.
As a kid I was an advanced reader - two series I really enjoyed were
the little house on the prairie books (laura ingalls wilder), and the
great brain series (john d. fitzgerald). Neither has excessive
Try The Secret of Platform 13 by Eva Ibbotson. Her other books are
great too, but this one is mild while exciting. It does involve a
kidnapped kid, but my 7 year old had no problem with it.
- J.R.R. Tolkein (or just The Hobbit, for now, if you think the whole
series a bit too heavy)
- Diane Duane (there's scary stuff but it's much less random than in HP,
and is framed in an optimistic way)
- Diane Wynne Jones (Howl's Moving Castle)
- Rosemary Sutcliff writes excellent historical stories, mostly of boys
- Watch out for Animorphs series - At the end of the series (dozens of
books) the good guys lose and the planet explodes. My brother-in-law
had this as a read aloud and was really angry about it.
- Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories
- Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series (a bunch of kids mad on
sailing and camping on an English lake in the 20s - really very lovely
stuff, but skip the one where they are on the South Seas.)
- Lloyd Alexander - retellings of Welsh myth
These are all books we read aloud and alone and are still treasured by
my much older now kid.
Check out Shaun Tan's ''The Arrival'' It's an incredible graphic
(wordless)novel with an amazing story about a man who leaves a land of
oppression to find a better life for his family. You can revisit this
book time and again and always notice something new. It was intended
for older kids, but I've given it to several kids all under ten who
loved it. I can't wait until they reprint his other books!
I, too, have a boy who loves to read, is an advanced reader for his
age and shies away from the scary/negative. He is 9 and he literally
devours books. He just finished a series that begins with a title,
The Lightning Thief. I think there are 4 in the series. The stories
have something to do with mythology and current times... I honestly
cannot keep up with the many plots he describes to me every day. But
the series was not disturbing to him, just very enjoyable. He also
LOVED the Laura Ingalls Wilder books. He really resisted (thinking
they were ''girls'' books), but once I started reading the first out
loud, he started sneaking them into his room and finished the series
before I knew he had even started! The Black Stallion, Hardy Boys,
the Charlie Bone series, The Great Brain series, The Secrets of Droon
series... The last are shorter, but there are lots of them. What
about biographies or mythology? It is tough because kids like ours
will go through these shorter kids books so fast, but aren't ready emotionally for the heavier
themes of longer books. My kid honestly goes through books like they
Mom of another avid reader
I wanted to recommend this great new blog specifically for and
about children's literature. What is age appropriate, great
read aloud or self reading for various interests, it is pretty
cool and the blogger is a mom of three (ages ranging from 3 to
14) she works in a book store and adores children's lit.
check it out. http://www.books4yourkids.com/ marion
Has anyone used Junior Great Books with their child? Have they been used at school,
enrichment class, home-school curriculum, or at home? How are they used? Does your child
always follow the grade level of the books?
Does anyone know what pieces of the Junior Great Books are used with an individual
child? Have you tried to get a morning Great Books discussion group going?
I have an almost second grade daughter that could use the critical thinking skills that
come with the discussion of the Junior Great Books, but I think that the grade level
books seem to be below where she is right now. I do not want to put a lot of pressure
into this activity and want it to be something we enjoy doing together.
Raising a Reader
I've used the program with older kids in middle school. I think it's a great program. You should check
out their website where you can order free sample units that include the type of interpretive
questions that will make the reading most valuable for discussion. The program teaches that there are
3 types of questions to ask about a text: factual, interpretive, and qualitative.
The key isn't the reading level (you said you feared it was too easy), but the level of the
discussion. There is a sample unit for the story Jack and the Beanstalk, for example, that have
fostered really in depth discussions with middle school kids. If you are that interested----and it
would be fun for you and your child if done well----you might consider signing up for one of their
teacher workshops that would show you how to do it. Again, their website is very informative, as are
the people you call through their number.
I will say that it's wonderful if the person leading the discussion understands the program. I'm not
sure how successful you'll be just picking up a few of the books and diving in.
Middle School Teacher
Any recommendations for a book that simply and clearly
introduces basic science concepts for 8-10 year olds? I am not
looking for science activities or glossy pictures or a multitude
of plates with captions. The book my kid uses at school uses
difficult terms without adequately explaining them and doesn't
make clear how things work. I need a supplement. Any or all
areas of science will do, even books written several decades
ago, provided the presentation of basic concepts is clear and of
interest to that age group.
I don't have a specific recommendation for a science book
myself, but I would recommend calling or visiting the Discovery
Corner Store in the Lawrence Hall of Science.
I used to work there, and can guarantee that they have a ton of
books on science and very knowledgable folks to help you find a
good one. Their number is 510-642-1929.
I have always been impressed by Usborne's science and social
science books. Check out Usborne: www.MyUsborneBookstore.com.
My 7 y.o. son is a great reader, sails through all the basic
stuff at school. He loves to read at home, in the car, outside,
anywhere, and becomes so distracted by what he is reading that
he forgets about whatever else may be going on. Recently he is
reading comic books almost exclusively - super heroes,
adventure, fantasy, etc. I am thrilled that he is such an
enthusiastic reader - but concerned a bit about his focus right
now on comics. I read aloud to him every day, he reads aloud to
his younger brother frequently, and he loves hearing chapter
books read aloud. But his own reading choices are usually
comics, and I am concerned that he may drift off in to a fantasy
world of super-attenuated heros etc. Should I be worried about
this? Or just support the fact that he is such an avid reader,
and let him come to his own choices of reading materials? His
dad, who lives out of state, has always been a big comic book
aficianado, and I know he and our son share this interest, so I
don't want to come between this common ground between the two of
them. His dad definitely encourages the comic books, and has
recently started a subscription to a super hero comic book for
our son. Do I need to worry, or just let things take their
Sorry to be so long winded.....
My daughters and their friends of both genders have enjoyed
certain ''comic books'' since about age 7, some of which perhaps
have slightly more redeeming value than some of the superhero
comics. You're already reading chapter books to your son, so
perhaps what you might consider is finding some other comic-based
series which you might enjoy having around.
The Tin-Tin comic novel series by Herge has a ''boy reporter''
globe-trotting protagonist, his faithful dog, and an amusing cast
of characters. My kids read these over and over. You can find
these at the library, or at most book stores and comic book
stores. The Asterix comic novels are also enjoyable, although I
don't find the english versions as funny as the French originals.
My kids have formed opinions about Julius Caeser based on Asterix!
Even for my 9 year old, who reads complex chapter books well above
grade level, an afternoon with Calvin and Hobbes is still
appealling. The collections of Calvin and Hobbes comics by Bill
Watterson are wonderfully funny (available at the library or often
on sale at Borders). Also well worth searching for are the
collected comic book versions of the Akiko comic books by Mark
Crilley. The protagonist is a 10 year old girl who embarks on a
sort of Wizard of Oz odyssey in space when she is called upon to
rescue the Prince from the Planet Smoo. Her companions are a
robot (Tin Man), space cowboy (Scarecrow), cowardly academic
(Lion) and an enigmatic floating balloon-head named Poog. These
originally came out in comic book form and then were collected
into 5 books and then after that became chapter books, but try to
find the collected series (at Cody's and at comic books stores.)
Since this interest in superhero comic books is a positive way for
your son and his father to connect, and I don't think most
standard superhero comic books are not that bad. If the child has
other positive real live people around, I doubt he'll be overly
influenced by the comic books. The comic book form has even
produced superb adult books such as Maus by Spiegelman, so I
wouldn't dismiss it as a literary form.
there's a book titled ''Understanding comics: The invisible art''
that might appeal to you--it explains the powerful techniques of
visual imagery in comics! I use it in an undergraduate course on
literacy & education at Cal. It's by Scott McCloud, 1993.
My husband grew up with his nose in one comic book or another.
He was a Dungeon and Dragons geek, and soaked up sci-fi and
fantasy titles like a sponge. Today he is a third-year law
student at Boalt, has an MPP from the Goldman School of Public
Policy, speaks fluent Russian and French, and is one of the most
intellectually curious and brilliant guys I've ever met (which
is why I married him) And he STILL loves to read comics. Come to
think of it, I've never met a comics reader who wasn't clever
and interesting. Sounds like your son fits the mold. Get him
that subscription, lady!
A comic-loving mom
I wouldn't worry too much about the comic books. While there are
certainly comics with questionable female role models, etc., the
genre reinforces a child's need for moral definitions and allows
them the ability to fantasize within a defined context. Comic
books can be a great lead-in to authors like Tolkien (and
related fantasy) or science fiction. Also, comics satisfy
visual learners. I recommend asking for recommendations from a
clerk at one of the local comic shops. They are able to steer
you towards compelling comic novellas, recommend challenging age
appropriate material, and steer you clear of comics that may not
match your beliefs/morals. He may never grow out of it, but
hopefully it will keep his love for reading going strong.
I have been an elementary school teacher for 15 years and I
always encourage children to pick their own reading material.
That's the trick to teaching them to love reading. You have
nothing to worry about! You are really lucky that your son is
not only good at reading but really enjoys it and shares a bond
with his father. I think it would be a big mistake to try to
interfere. He is getting exposure to plenty of other literature
genres at school, from being read to and reading to his sibling.
Let him expand his tastes at his own pace and respect his
I really understand your concern as my son was TOTALLY into comic
books (in high school, though.) And now he's OUT of comic books.
I'll attach a recent email from him . . .
''I went through my Chuck Palahniuk phase quite a few months ago.
He's inspired, brilliant, but ultimately a one-trick-pony and
there's no doubt in my mind that I'd find in Lullaby just what I
did in Choke and Fight Club.
As I'm devoting most of my time to reading right now I've got a
few projects going at once. My primary one is working my way
through an overall history of Philosophy (after finishing The
Metaphysical Club to my satsifaction), which has been quite
illuminating to the overall vision of things. In addition to
that, I'm prancing through Stephen Wolfram's book on complexity
theory and am picking and choosing at William James' excellent
collection of essays in The Will to Believe. As for novels, I
just started Salman Rushdie's Midnight's Children and am working
my way through Arundahti Roy's absolutely precious The God of
Small things. I realized about halfway through that its worth is
due primarily to the incorporation of the better elements of
Kingsolver's Poisonwood Bible into a more involving storyline.
The latter always seemed a little impersonal to me, despite being
brilliantly conceived (much the same effect that the recently-
ambandoned Allende's work achieved on me).
Heh. Adam's book club. Bollicks to Oprah.''
So, there's hope that he'll expand his reading list!
Mom who worried too much
As long as your son's behavior is okay (not fighting, trying to
jump thru windows, etc) I wouldn't worry about the superhero
comic books - its great that he is such a reader AND has
something to share with his Dad. With my son that loves comics,
I started giving him comic format history books just to widen
his reading material - there are several on US History, World
History, African-Americans, etc. and he loved those also (as
well as Calvin and Hobbes and Garfield). Through comics, he
developed a love of reading and now in middle schools reads
EVERY night on his own - mostly fantasy/adventure. He began
developing an interest in comics as art and as a form of
expression and is now developing his own comic strips. So, I
think comics have been great for him - interested him in
reading, writing, and art.
Comic books are a wonderful way for kids to enjoy reading, but
it's true that the medium is not taken seriously as a legitimate
form of literature. That is beginning to change, of course,
especially after Art Spegelman won the Pulitzer prize for ''Maus''
- a comic book. By its nature the medium is richly imaginative,
and it does help foster imagination. This is not to suggest that
your son will begin to live outside of reality because of his
interest in comics. Parents have worried about the harmful
effects of comic book reading since the beginning of its history.
There's a great docummentary film called ''Comic Book
Confidential'' which addresses those fears.
I can speak from personal experience about the positive effects
of comic book reading. I learned how to read from comics long
before I began school. I have enjoyed them for many years, and I
began writing and drawing my own comics when I was in college. I
find the medium is a wonderful way to tell a story, to make sad
things funny, for example. It's true that the medium attracts its
share of... well... nerds. I have never known anyone for whom a
comic-inspired fantasy life took over reality. What can happen
however is obsessive collecting, attending conventions, and
pretty much being a ''nerd''. And as is the same with television,
movies, video games, etc., the medium is filled with stuff which
is not appropriate for children, you know the drill, so use your
It seems like a lot of chapter books are geared more toward girls.
Does anyone have a nine year old (or that age range) reader who has
books *beyond* Harry Potter that they like? I'd like to encourage
my son to read more this summer but I need some good books to plant
around the house.
The ''Dark is Rising'' series, starting with ''Over sea, under
stone,'' has long been one of my favorites--the main character in
book 2 (Dark is Rising) is Will, an 11 year old boy with, of
course, ancient powers that he learns about when he turns 12!
i'd recommend starting with ''The Dark is Rising,'' and then if he
likes it, he can go back to meet the other kids in the series,
or forward to meet them in ''Greenwitch.'' They're set in England
and Cornwall, and full of Arthurian legend stuff. Written by
I have the same problem locating good chapter books for my son
and we've been through all four Harry P. books. My husband and
I decided to go back to the classics of our own childhood and it
has worked well, especially the books by Jules Verne. There are
some very good editions for young readers that include very cool
illustrations with technical-looking cross-sections of the
submarines, photos and sidebars along with the classic stories.
There is also a series, I am not certain of the name, I think
it's ''Hello America'' or something like it, my son read and
enjoyed one of the books in the series ''The Journal of Sean
Sullivan'' By William Durbin. The book is a fictional
reconstruction of a boy's diary who is working on the railroad
in 1868 from Nebraska to Utah.
I hope other parents have more recommendations for us.
Over the years I have found that some of the best books for
older kids were printed in the 40s and 50s. I used to haunt the
children section of used book stores but an even better way is
to do a book search on the Internet. Below are some books my son-
-who is now 15 and a great reader--really liked.
Books by Howard Pease (The Tattooed Man, The Jinx Ship,
Hurricane Weather, Foghorns, The Black Tanker, Secret Cargo,
The We Were There series published by Grossett and Dunlap.
There are dozens and dozens of titles. In all of them two kids--
usually 12 and 14--are ''there'' during some moment of great
historical importance. Some of the titles, just to give you an
idea, are We Were There at the Battle of Gettysburg...at the
Boston Tea Party, ...With the Pony Express, ...at Pearl
Harbor, ...With Florence Nightingale in the Crimea, ...At the
Battle of Lexington and Concord, ...At the Normandy Invasion.
If you buy one book all the others are listed.
''In print'' is the Brian Jacques' Redwall series. My son really
loved these books though I am not quite sure why--I didn't think
they were that well written but he didn't care.
Then, there are the great sea faring series: C S Forester's
Captain Hornblower and the Alexander Kent series.
My son also loved the Tin Tin and Astrix cartoon books. He read
every single one of each of those series and they actually have
sophisticated vocabularies. In fact, I think comic books are a
great way to introduce kids to the classics. There are several
comic book stores around where you can buy great old
comics...Moby Dick, The Last of the Mohicans, Treasure
Island...On and on. I figure once you read the comic sone day
you just might pick up the real thing. These old comics can be
expensive, but if you are not collecting, just looking for good
reading material, buy the ones with less than perfect covers--
they are much cheaper.
A couple of recommendations and then a pitch.
Lots of stuff by Roald Dahl (Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, James and the Giant Peach,
Lots of stuff by Judy Blume (Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing,
Lots of stuff by Beverly Cleary (Henry Huggins books, Mouse and
9 is not too young to start on the Hardy Boys mysteries, if he is
If fantasy has grabbed his attention, then how about the Hobbit?
Or the books in the Wizard of Oz series (true, it starts with
Dorothy, but quickly moves on to include a whole variety of
Bay area author Zilpha Keatley Snyder has cranked out a number of
wonderful books, including the Egypt Game, and the Headless
Generally, you can check out books on the Newberry Award and
Newberry Honor lists, as well as the Caldecott Medal and Honor
lists (although I think the Newberry is more in your age range).
And here's the pitch. Go talk to a children's librarian. The
books I have listed are ones that came to the top of my head from
my own childhood. But there are new, fabulous books all the
time, and they can tell you what's hot and what's not. Better
yet, get your son to talk to the librarian -- he can tell the
librarian what he likes and what he doesn't.
Merrilee, daughter of a children's librarian
My son also read all of the Harry Potter books multiple
times, and I've been on a year-long quest to find other books
he approves of. We failed miserably on the Madeline
L'Engle books (too heavy on the fantasy), but I found some
others he likes a lot:
''A Series of Unfortunate Events'' (a series of books--need to
read in order) by Lemony Snicket
''Artemis Fowl'' by Eoin Colfer
Anything by Daniel Pinkwater (not series but individual
novels for young adults)
''Holes'' by Louis Sachar (but your son probably read this
My son still has to be encouraged to turn of the PS2 and
read, but at least he is reading!
My 7.5 year old son and I have been enjoying the Beverley Cleary
books (Henry Huggins, etc). Although they were written in the
50's, we find many of the issue still relevant (and funny!). My
son also likes the ''Clues Brothers'' - Hardy Boy books for
younger readers. I'm not too fond of them, though.
Here are few suggestions from the ''Walton boys all time
favourites'' bookshelf: Everything by Gary Paulson,''Hatchet''
etc.; Absolutely everything by Roald Dahl; Many books by Louis
Sachar such as ''Holes'';Books by David Almond such as ''Skellig''
and ''Heaven Eyes''. Donna Jo Napoli's ''Stones in Water''; E. L.
Konigsburg's books such as ''The View from Saturday'' and ''From
the Mixed up Files....''; ''The Last of the Really Great
Whangdoodles'' by J. A. Edwards, and a really fun book
called ''The Number Devil: A Mathematical Adventure''. Happy
My son loved Harry Potter and we've also had trouble finding books
with equal appeal. Here are some we've read or that were recommended
The Phantom Tollbooth
books by Roald Dahl
A Wrinkle in Time
A Series of Unfortunate Events (this got to be too much for my son
after the first volume, but he was five at the time)
There are already many good recommendations in today's e-mail.
One other author my son has really enjoyed is Dick King-Smith.
Written for slightly younger children, perhaps, but the humor is
ageless, and they should be an easy, entertaining read for a 9-
year-old. Our favorites are Martin's Mice (about a cat who
keeps mice for pets instead of chasing them), Three Terrible
Trins (about triplet mice who are trained by their mother to
take revenge on the cat who ate their father), and one called
something like Magnus Mouse, about a mouse who's mother dined on
some super vitamins when pregnant and produced a GIANT mouse
with a voracious appetite. These books are lots of fun.
As a grade schooler my son loved John Bellairs mystery series---The
Specter from the Magician's Museum", "The House With a Clock in Its
Walls" etc. and also the "Wayside School" books by Louis Sachar.
For a boy who likes the Harry Potter series, try ''Black and
Blue Magic'' by Zilpha Keatley Snyder. This is a really great
book that I read over and over again as a child. It's about a
boy, also (coincidentally) named Harry, who does a good deed for
a man he thinks is just a clumsy traveling salesman. As a
reward, he gets a magic bottle containing a potion that gives
him wings and the ability to fly.
The book is especially great for its very realistic descriptions
of San Francisco in the 1940s, landmarks like the Zoo and
Alcatraz Island, and very believable descriptions of the
logistics of learning to fly. Just a wonderful book. Highly
recommended (especially for those of us who always dreamed of
being able to fly).
Our son enjoyed the C.S. Lewis Narnia series.
Another "magical" author is Edward Eager, who wrote a
series of books, some of the titles including "Magic or
Not," "Knight's Castle," "Half Magic," etc. A two part
series our son also loved is "The Wreckers," and "The
Smugglers" by Iain Lawrence. Don't forget E.B. White's 3
childrens books, which are classics and appeal to any
child, and Laura Ingalls Wilder, whose books are not
only for girls (although my son hasn't and probably
wouldn't pick them up on his own). My son did enjoy
having "Farmer Boy" read to him. It's the story of
Almanzo Wilder's boyhood in New York, and it's a good
Happy reading to you and your son!
I wanted to mention the Lloyd Alexander Prydain Chronicles: The
Book of Three, The Black Cauldron, The Castle of Llyr, Taran
Wanderer, and The High King. Also some of the books by Jay
Williams: the Danny DUnn series and The Hero From Otherwhere.
I second the rec for E. L. Koenigsburg, and also want to mention
Louise Fitzhugh: Harriet the Spy and Sport. Mary Norton: The
Borrowers series. Elizabeth Enright: The Saturdays, The Four-
Story Mistake, etc. A book called Carry On, Mr. Bowditch (can't
recall the author), about early navigation. And I agree, talk
to the children's librarian, because let's face it, what we
grown-ups know about from our own experience may not be the most
I tend to agree, too, with the lukewarm mention of the Brian
Jacques books -- I read the first Redwall book, and ended up
concluding that if I were 10, I'd probably love it, but for the
adult me, it was a poorly developed and cliche-ridden
disappointment. Harry Potter is VASTLY superior.
Our son has loved many of the books others recommended. But the
one series left out of the discussion is the Uncle Remus Tales.
Brer Rabbit's cunning at trapping others in their own failings
really brings out the Trickster in little boys. Get these in the
new abridged editions with illustrations.
I just remembered the Great Brain books, which both my brother
and I really enjoyed in our childhood. Can't recall the
author's name, but there is a whole series of the books
Another chapter book series that I haven't seen listed yet is the
Freddy the Pig series by Walter Brooks. I ADORED these books as
a child (as a girl I read adventure, fantasy, science fiction,
history and mystery - still do). I was delighted to find these
books in print again and gave a couple to my 11 year old son. He
absolutely LOVED them and is begging for more. A sampling of
titles includes: Freddy the Detective,Freddy the Pilot, Freddy
and the Pirates, etc. Freddy is a pig who lives in an
alternative reality where at least the animals on the farm where
he lives (like Mrs. Wiggins the cow) talk and act pretty much
like humans. Grownups will like these stories too, they're witty
and have an ethical core.
George Selden ''The Cricket in Times Square'' (a classic)
My husband's favorite when he was a child: ''The Jack Tales''
collected by Richard Chase (these are absolutely hilarious
Appalachian folk tales)
Can anyone recommend some good baseball-themed books for
my baseball crazy nephews, ages 7,8 & 9? I've looked
through the baseball section at cody's and found baseball
dictionaries and trivia collections, etc., as well as
baseball-themed picture books for younger kids and short
worshipful bios of stars like sammy sosa. They have all
of those. What I'm looking for, if they exist, are
chapter books that are wonderful stories in their own
right but have baseball themes, fiction or non-fiction.
Are there kids equivalents of "Field of Dreams" or "The
Iowa Baseball Confederacy" or "If I Never Get Back"
(wonderful novels for adults that happen to be about
Matt Christopher has written numerous book about baseball
for just that age.
Also if you want to give him a real treat, take him
down to Dave's Dugout in Albany.
There is a series of chapter books by Matt Christopher
that are probably just what you're looking for. Different
books about different sports -- baseball, hockey, soccer,
etc.. My 7 year old really enjoys them.
I don't know of any baseball novels, although I suspect they're out there.
I just wanted to let you know that I have this great book called
"Shadowball." It's a nonfiction book about the so-called "Negro Leagues" of
the early 20th Century. All the pictures are from that Ken Burnes
documentary on baseball. It's very beautiful and informative. There might
even be more chidren's books from the "Baseball" documentary.
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