Reader Mailbag: Kids Book Suggestions
In the February 2016 newsletter (subscribe to the right) I asked What books you recommend for kids – to help us plan for a kid orientated site. Thanks for the feedback everyone. Some people seemed to get a bit confused and think I was asking what books I should read to my own kids but that’s okay! All feedback is appreciated.
Susan: Kids Site?!! Great idea! My granddaughter is 15 months and her half-sister is 5-1/2. Both girls enjoy the Sheep series by Nancy Shaw – the best part? The whole family gets a kick out of the antics of the sheep.
Barbara A M: Been a long time since I had one thing enough to read to, but my daughter at the age of your kids love “Howliday Inn” and the other two books that were in that series. On the adult side, I just finished reading Orphan X by Greg Hurwitz – really liked it and I understand a movie may be in the making.
Elizabeth: I’m a school library media specialist and am excited about the new children’s website!! When does it launch? I use your website for some of the books that the middle schoolers and high schoolers read, but will welcome the new one. I would love for some kind of categories for ages, or reading levels.
Donna: I would recommend going to your favorite bookstore and asking their recommendation on what kids their ages are reading. Even kids want to have discussions on books their reading, but they don’t want to be left out because they aren’t reading the “in” books. Another avenue I have found that my own kids loved, was the books that won awards. Check your library for a list of the recent Caldecott Medal and Newbery Medal winners. Good luck, just remember their tastes may not be the same as yours, so go with whatever it is they like! Once they’re hooked, it’s easy.
Janet: I absolutely LOVE this idea. I work in a library for K-8th grade and use your sight all the time for our middle school books. It would be wonderful to include all kids. Keep up the great work, I love your site.
Jane: My grandson enjoys reading Magic Tree House books and they are all on the 3rd grade reading list. The books he has read to me are interesting because the children, a brother and sister point to a page in a particular book and then they are whisked to the place pictured. They have visited the old West, Egypt, an African plain and different places and different times in history. The children are challenged with riddles, danger and situations that require problem solving.
I recently read “It Was a Dark and Stormy Night” by Janet and Allan Ahlberg which I found to be entertaining and filled with good vocabulary, humor and great illustrations.
Grandson also likes a series of books called “The Diary of Tom Gates” This is a series of books that read and look like a child’s diary. These are from the UK. George’s dad is from the UK as well, so lots of familiar UK expressions and vocabulary.
Jan: Hi Graeme! Well, my son is now 32. But…when he was little I read him a story every night at bedtime. He LOVED Dr.,Seuss. Even started reading them to me! So, here it is, MANY years later and out comes the last book from Dr. Seuss. “What Pet Should I Get?”. My son had just about every pet in the world so I bought the book, wrote a “Mom Thing” in it and listed all his pets. Well, Christmas Day I gave it to him and….he got tears in his eyes , hugged me and said, “I love you, mom.” Reading to your child never gets old!!!!!
Barb M: Hi,
I enjoy your newsletter so much!!!
I have grandchildren in college, so this response goes back a long time.
I read the entire Laura Ingllas Wilder, ‘Little House’ series, and the books by Roald Dahl to my children.
My granddaughter was the reader – the entire ‘Lemony Snicket’ series were favorites that we read together.
lpiazza: The child reader that I’m closest to is an 8 year old boy who is into graphic novels. He also loves to be read to, and appreciates books that are beyond his reading abilities (classics). Two suggestions: if you have a local library, he might appreciate reader’s advisory from the youth librarian; and, given the recent surge of interest in the film “The Revenant”, the 12 year old might enjoy a book entitled “Hugh Glass, Mountain Man”. As always, preview it for suitability.
Eileen: I volunteer to read with kids and they love Roahl Dahl, Julia Donaldson and captain underpants !!!!
Sally R: In answer to the Feb question. The Red Wall Series by Brian Jacques. My boys (2 yrs apart) would come to my queen size bed and I’d read Harry Potter, really turned the eldest into a reader. My younger son LOVED the Red Wall series, I would read aloud to him with all the accents – he loved it and would continue reading on his own. We’d laugh and cry together as the tale unfolded.
I liked the series as there was really bad and good characters – both male and female. There were strong female main characters.
It’s my understanding Mr. Jacques taught blind students and wrote his books with them in mind – they’re very descriptive, colorful, exciting, etc.
WV: Narnia series, all JRR Tolkien, Laura Wilder series, L. Frank Baum, Every Star Trek book I could find, Every Star wars book. WW2 Soldier/sailors personal accounts and autobiographies. Ernie Pyle.
Vicki: For the 12-year-old – since Harry Potter and Percy Jackson don’t appeal to him, try Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It’s one of the best books for that age group I’ve read in a long time. It was recommended to me by a 10-year-old reader.
I have 8 and 10 year old granddaughters. Magic Tree House, trite as it is, hooks a lot of kids. There is a children’s mystery series by Gordon Alpine feature Edgar and Allan Poe — twelve-year-old identical twins. My older granddaughter got hooked right in. They might work well for the Wimpy Kid fan. And have you tried Captain Underpants? I don’t think my girls have read them, but they pull in a lot of readers.
Treva: I have an 8 year old grand daughter that likes the Rainbow Magic books. I am not sure how many she has but I bought her 6 for her birthday. I have bought books for the parents to read to the grandkids based on books that where read to me. One has all the Mary Poppins books, one has all E.B. White books, one has the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe series, and one has all the Beatrice Potter books (Peter Rabbit).
Beth: I READ BOOKS TO MY 5 AND 6 YEARS OLD GRANDCHILDREN EVERY TIME THEY VISIT
THEIR FAVORITES ARE DISNEY CHARACTER RELATED
I HAVE BOOKS FROM DISNEY, GOLDEN COMPANY MOSTLY
5 AND 6 YEARS OLD GRANDCHILDREN
ALSO READ BOOKS CONCERNING VARIOUS TOPICS
MANNERS CHORES KID RESPONSIBILITIES ETC
WE FINISH ONE AND THEY RUN BACK TO BOOKSHELF FOR NEXT ONE
MY 11 YEAR LOVES WIMPY KID BOOKS AND MIDDLE SCHOOL BOOKS
Alan: In regard to your question about getting kids reading more challenging books…..I always BRIBED mine! That is, for a REALLY challenging book, they got $5., for a less challenging one, $3.00!
There are just so many conflicting things to DO with one’s time, unless you strictly limit TV watching, video game playing etc, they’re just NOT going to turn to a book first!
My step grandson was about 8 when the Harry Potter fad hit, and he read ALL of the books, but he was a very bright kid with limited video game/ TV time……and no sports or other activities either (which I disagree with, but thats just me!)……
Now that its not a fad that they’re hearing about in school or from friends, I imagine it would be hard to get a kid into a long series like that…but the earlier books in the series ARE easier, they DO get harder as the series progresses, if that helps any…..
For my less-likely-to-read for pleasure son I began reading the Lord of the Rings trilogy to him at age 6, we worked our way all the way through it…..in his 13th year, in the summer, he himself CHOSE to re read all of it, on his own! He is now a dedicated reader and works in a profession job (in IT); his older brother always loved fantasy/ sci fi, and still does today, as a working professional person…….BOTH of the them tell me “I don’t know anyone who really reads”, meaning for pleasure, I guess. WHICH is sad!
My older son loved the Douglas Adams books and there was a good, funny book about zombies, LONG before the current fad! but I no longer remember the author’s name……
So, anyway, thats my 2 cents worth on getting kids to read!
(My opinion: DON’T buy any of the horribly written “children’s classics” books!)
Mimi: my 2 1/2 yr old granddaughter loves for me to read to her. she loves books with sound. She also loves books with great pictures about “monsters”. Her favorite book right now is Penelope Pig (is planning a party). I love that you are starting a children’s book list. Children’s books are so expensive and I hate buying them and then having the child not be that into the book. Stuck with it!
Shanna: I love that you are making a site just for kids! I am a 5th grade teacher- my students are aged 10-11. Currently the most popular series I see my kids reading include Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Stick Dog, Harry Potter, The Sisters Grimm, and Indian in the Cupboard. Although not very popular, once in a while I have a couple of students interested in Nancy Drew or The Hardy Boys, so I think those would be good to add as well.
Lisa: Children’s books – Junie B. Jones series, The Best (Worst) Christmas Pageant Ever & Halloween Ever, Roald Dahl (The BFG) – these are great read alones or read alouds! Younger kids still love Clifford the Big Red Dog, Pete the Cat series is a big hit too!
I taught kindergarten, first, second and third grade for 25 years and preschool for many years before that!
Edy: I have 2 great-grandsons, 6 months and 3 years old. I read Dr. Seuss books to both, only the oldest loves the rhymes and youngest loves the colors. My 13 year old granddaughter has moved thru Harry Potter, Goosebumps and Diaries of Wimpy Kid. She has progressed to Flowers in the Attic. But when she was younger, we spent hours reading just about anything together.
Denise M: I have read the Theodore Boone series by John Grisham. Your 12 year old may like them. Your 8 year old may like Carl Hiassen’s kids books: Scat; Chomp; Hoot. Those are the only 3 I remember offhand. My kids are grown. John and Carl are my favorites and I tried the kids’ books and really enjoyed them.
Dianna: Good day!
A terrific series of books for kids (and adults) is Freddy the Pig by Walter R. Brooks. I loved reading them as a young girl, and started listening to the audio books, as well as re-reading them a couple of years ago. The author was an editor and writer for The New Yorker, and the illustrations are delightful. The books are very funny, but also have insights into human behavior. The reader for the company, “Recorded Books,” is excellent. Perhaps your children will enjoy listening to books being read, and then feel more like reading them.
Another good series are the books about horses by Marguerite Henry, like “Misty of Chincoteague.” Beautiful illustrations by Wesley Dennis accompany each book. These are classics.
Dick King-Smith wrote “Babe,” as a book first. He has other fun books to read, with lots of humor.
Natalie Babbitt is an excellent American author, very imaginative.