My kids are a little older (11, 9 & 6) and out of the Robert Munsch phase and into the JK Rowling phase. This used to be easy for me – I taught grades 4 through 7 and could list off recommended “good” books. Things have changed and some of the books that I loved as a child have left my kids yawning. One of my all time favourite books, The Witch of Blackbird Pond left my daughter questioning the sanity of every character and mine as well for giving it to her.
So I took a step back on the pushing and the recommending and I started to notice what they chose for themselves. This past summer was a great time for reading around here. My 9 year old son seems to have turned the corner from reluctant reader to active reader and has started to seek out books that interest him rather than having me force him to read. It’s a nice change.
One book that he has really enjoyed is
Mike Stellar:Nerves of Steel by K.A. Holt. Written directly for this age group, Mike Stellar is a fast talking, quick thinking, smart aleck kind of a kid who is a bit shocked when he finds out that he’s moving to Mars in 8 hours. There’s suspense, intrigue and plenty of humour. It shot straight at my own little smart aleck’s sense of adventure and fun. I have to admit to really enjoying it myself.
Another series that they are devouring is the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan. Starting with The Lightning Thief
The best example I can find that they love these books is that they keep coming to me to read passages from them. They love them so much they have to share. Cool, eh?
Here’s the amazon summary of the first book:
The escapades of the Greek gods and heroes get a fresh spin in the first book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, about a contemporary 12-year-old New Yorker who learns he’s a demigod. Perseus, aka Percy Jackson, thinks he has big problems. His father left before he was born, he’s been kicked out of six schools in six years, he’s dyslexic, and he has ADHD. What a surprise when he finds out that that’s only the tip of the iceberg: he vaporizes his pre-algebra teacher, learns his best friend is a satyr, and is almost killed by a minotaur before his mother manages to get him to the safety of Camp Half-Blood–where he discovers that Poseidon is his father. But that’s a problem, too. Poseidon has been accused of stealing Zeus’ lightning bolt, and unless Percy can return the bolt, humankind is doomed. Riordan’s fast-paced adventure is fresh, dangerous, and funny. Percy is an appealing, but reluctant hero, the modernized gods are hilarious, and the parallels to Harry Potter are frequent and obvious. Because Riordan is faithful to the original myths, librarians should be prepared for a rush of readers wanting the classic stories. Chris Sherman
#2’s other favourite and often re-read series are the Bone books by Jeff Smith.
Personally I didn’t have a problem with handing them to an 8 year old but when I went looking for photos to go with this story I found that other parents thought less of me for that. The Bone books weren’t really written for small children and so the adventures can be a bit dark. Classic comics other than Archie and Jughead do tend to lean toward the dark and dramatic. The thing was that when #2 was so reluctant to read these books made him stop his danged whining and read. So I’m recommending with a caution that you should probably read them yourself first to judge if it’s something you want your kid to read. No judgey if you decide to take a pass on that one.
Other hits around here have been The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch and the rest of that series – If You’re Reading this it’s Too Late and This Book is not Good for You. My daughter howled her way through that series. And Carl Hiasson’s wonderful Hoot, Scat and Flush
In other news…thank goodness for the autosave feature on these diaries because I closed the danged thing by accident and it was still there after finished cursing and reopened the page.
So aimed at older kids from say 7 to 15 – what are your kids loving? Are they open to your favourite books or are they helping you to discover new stuff?