I’m Told it’s a Good Problem to Have

I have parents telling me that ALL the time. Where they can’t get their kids to read…. I can’t keep M in books. I check out 10-15 a week, and that doesn’t even last. I try to keep up with all the recommended books that bloggers read, but I am losing the ability to keep track of which ones I want to read and which ones M would want to read (though honestly, they’re often the same thing), putting holds on things as I see them. When that doesn’t work, we scrounge the shelves looking for things that sound interesting, and while we generally find good ones, sometimes we come up short.

Like today.

So I decided to turn to you, dear readers, who read so much more than I do: what should M read??

Let me tell you a bit about her. She’s a precocious reader, reading at a 10th grade level. However, she’s not quite 12, so obviously there’s some things I’d rather her not experience (though I admit that’s just me…) — though I admit that it’s hard to judge what’s “acceptable” or not…. Anyway. She tends toward fantasy (she loves Eragon, Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, Bartimaeus, the Magik series, and so on), but she also likes well-written historical fiction and contemporary fiction. In short, she’ll read just about anything. She’s not read much non-fiction, but I’m not sure if that’s because I don’t really know what’s out there or because she doesn’t want to read it. She’s also a bit sketchy on the classics… I think that’s because she’s not that interested. But I suppose if there was a really good novel she’d like it no matter when it was written, right?

Also, if you had this problem (which is a lot harder than many well-meaning people think it is), where else (besides blogs) would you go to find lists of books recommended for 7th-10th graders??

Please help me!!! (Thanks a million!)

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28 thoughts on “I’m Told it’s a Good Problem to Have

  1. Well the first book I thought of was one of my favorite books growing up. It’s called <>Invitation to the Game<> by Monica Hughes. Here’s the short of it:“Unemployed after high school in the highly robotic society of 2154, Lisse and seven friends resign themselves to a boring existence in their “Designated Area” until the government invites them to play The Game.”

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  2. That was me as a child. The thing that saved my mother (since the internet was not around) was finding a good book recommender at the local university bookstore. The woman who worked there knew who I was (even though I never met her; if I could, I’d thank her) and always recommended lots of great books to my mother.I’ve also had great luck asking librarians for suggestions, either by asking ones that know the reader in question or by asking different ones each time to get different ideas.And I really loved rereading books.Good luck. It really is harder than you’d think!

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  3. Thanks amanda — M hasn’t read much straight up Sci Fi and that one sounds interesting. Amira — I’ve asked librarians in the past for recommendations; it’s just that at our library, the librarians are most often hiding behind the desk and aren’t really that accessible for recommendations (though I have asked them on occasion). But, a good bookseller…. that might be helpful. Thanks. You’re right: it is hard. I empathize with your mom. πŸ™‚

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  4. Wow, Melissa, you probably read more childrens/YA lit than anyone I know! But I’ll try…Let’s see, have you tried Celia Rees? I read her Witch Child and thought it very good. I’m reading an ARC of her next book, Sovay, and it is very good as well. Also, at her age I ripped through quite a few of the more adventurous classics. I loved Dumas and Hugo. I also hear many started Austen at that age. Somehow I missed that boat. There is also The Witch of Blackbird Pond; I loved that one. I bet you could look up some of her favorites on Amazon and find Listmania lists of other books favored by those who like the same books. I really need to get back to that Magyk series.

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  5. How about Diana Wynne Jones? Tamora Pierce? Matthew Skelton? James A. Owen?I’m wracking my brain.Jeanne Birdsall. M. T. Anderson. Kate Dicamillo. Carl Hiaasen. Eion Colfer. Cornelia Funke. I just love her. And Linda Buckley-Archer’s The Time Travelers and The Thief Thief were good.

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  6. I am a 6th grade teacher. I found my way here from the Newbery Project. Some of the books my students really enjoyed are–1. No More Dead Dogs2. The City of Ember 3. Firegirl4. Among the Hidden5. Face on the Milk Carton6. Schooled7. Four Perfect Pebbles1. Miracle on 49th Street2. Children of the Lamp3. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment4. Stormbreaker5. Uglies6. Son of the Mob7. Peter and the StarCatchers8. InkspellSo now get her to help me. What are some of her favorite YA books? I am always looking for the “good ones”. hahaha

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  7. Has she read The Belgariad series by David Eddings? It’s high fantasy, and I really enjoyed it at her age (and I had the same higher reading level thing going on). And if she likes it, there’s a whole nother sequel series and then two whole other series set in a different world. Would keep her busy for a little bit! I’m sure there’s no sex in them; romance is definitely hinted at, and there’s love, but it’s pretty much left at that. (When two of the characters, who are married, decide to have a baby, they end up planting a tree, lol) No swearing either. There is some violence, since in any high fantasy you’re fighting something, but it didn’t bother me and I’m really sensitive to violence. Hope that helps!(Also, I reread the Anne series a bunch! And this was just the age when I read Pride and Prejudice for the first time and absolutely loved it)

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  8. Hi, I have relatively recently found the world of book blogs and enjoy yours a lot. I tend to have a bad memory when it comes to books, but I do remember what I like, if not the details. πŸ™‚ I enjoyed and would suggest: 1. Robert C. O’Brien’s The Silver Crown2. The Perilous Gard by Elizabeth Pope3. The Changeling by Zilpha Keatley SnyderI like more than one book by Richard Peck and Eileen Dunlop (and generally, once I find a book I like, I will check out the author’s other work as well-true of the authors above as well). Just thought I’d mention a couple of older books that might not get mentioned with newer ones!

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  9. My daughter has loved all of the books in the Maximum Ride series so far – she’s 11 and reads at a high school level, too. I agree that it’s hard to find books that are at her reading level that are also at her maturity level.

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  10. heather — thanks for the names; she’s read books by quite a few of them… but there are some we’ve not heard of and should check out.erin — no worries; thanks for the link to Little Willow. I thought of her as a resource, but didn’t want to dig through her site looking for recommendations. joyce — she’s read quite a few on your list, but there are some that she hasn’t. Thanks. πŸ™‚ I’ll have to sit her down and get her to let you in on some favorites. I know she really liked Here there be Dragons and Ever by Gail Carson Levine off the top of my head.Eva — no she hasn’t. Thanks! That does sound interesting. And Somer… she hasn’t read that one, either. I agree: it’s hard to find ones that fit everything. But it’s worth it to keep trying… right?

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  11. My son is very much the same way! Luckily we are very close to the library. She has probably already read this, but at that very age I read the Lord of the Rings and loved it. I also very much enjoyed the Shannara series by Terry Brooks. There are now several of those to read, but I have to admit my son did not like those as much as I did, or as much as he liked LOTR.

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  12. Neil Gaiman has written a few young adult books in amongst everything else, and he is, of course, essential reading for anyone interested in fantasy. Odd and the Frost Giants, the short one he wrote for world book day, is pretty good.It is, however, vitally important to make sure it is his young adult work you get hold of, and not one of his normal novels. They wouldn’t be anywhere near suitable.

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  13. stu — heh. I agree about Gaiman. However, I tried getting Coraline for M and she turned her nose up at it. (She’s also turned her nose up at Terry Prachett in spite of glowing recommendations from extended family.) Perhaps I’ll try the Frost Giants to see if it gets a warmer reaction from her.

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  14. When I was her age I loved reading series. I think I read all the Nancy Drews out there. I also loved a series called Mandie by Lois Gladys Leppard. I don’t remember the reading level but it’s about a 12 year old girl and starts in the year 1900. I loved them because there was always a mystery to solve and it was historical. They are Christian in theme though.

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  15. Wow, that sounds like me at that age. I devoured books (still do) and I was well above my age in reading level, but very sensitive emotionally and not ready to handle books for teenagers.Here are some books that I really enjoyed and some of which aren’t necessarily that commonly read these days:Miscellaneous genres:– <>The Enchanted Castle<> and <>The Railway Children<> by E. Nesbit– <>The Secret Garden<> and <>A Little Princess<> by Frances Hodgson Burnett– <>The Four-Story Mistake<> and <>Then There Were Five<> by Elizabeth Enright– <>Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm<> by Kate Douglas Wiggin– All books by L. M. Montgomery (Anne of Green Gables, Emily of New Moon, and many others)– The Trixie Belden mystery seriesFantasy genre:– The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper– books by Lloyd Alexander (The Black Cauldron, etc)– The Earthsea trilogy by Ursula le Guin– The Half-Magic series by Edward Eager (was out of print for a while, I think, but a quick search on Amazon indicates that it might be back in print)

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  16. One of my favorite series is a fantasy/historical fiction series called The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness. The first book is < HREF="http://abbylibrarian.blogspot.com/2008/02/mini-review-wolf-brother.html" REL="nofollow">Wolf Brother<> and there are currently four books in the series. I love them! Historical fiction-wise, I can heartily recommend < HREF="http://abbylibrarian.blogspot.com/2008/03/mini-review-green-glass-sea.html" REL="nofollow">The Green Glass Sea<>, < HREF="http://abbylibrarian.blogspot.com/2008/03/book-review-black-storm-comin.html" REL="nofollow">Black Storm Comin’<>, < HREF="http://abbylibrarian.blogspot.com/2008/02/mini-review-hattie-big-sky.html" REL="nofollow">Hattie Big Sky<>, and < HREF="http://abbylibrarian.blogspot.com/2008/02/mini-review-drowned-maidens-hair.html" REL="nofollow">A Drowned Maiden’s Hair<> (these are all books that are on our state book award nominees this this year for grades 4-8). Hope these help… good luck! πŸ™‚

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  17. Sarah — thanks for your suggestions. She’s read about half of your list, but that leaves the other half… she tried Nancy Drew and (much to my chagrin) didn’t like it all that much, but perhaps she’d like Trixie Belden. I’ve checked out a couple of Ann Rinaldi books for her, Corrine. I think she liked them. What was your favorite? Abby — thanks for reminding me about that series. I remember thinking while reading your posts that M would like them, and forgot to write them down. πŸ™‚

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  18. What about the “A Family Apart” series by Joan Lowry Nixon (I think) It is about a family that is split up and sent on the orphan trains out west. I loved them when I was your daughter’s age! Also – I second the Tamora Pierce series – she is always a sure bet with the fantasy lovers. Also – Shannon Hale (Goose girl, etc) STORM (a more recent title) Anne of Green Gables, The Phantom Tollbooth (classics) The Sorcery and Cecila series may also be a good one. It may be fun to read one of the “classics” together. There is a realisic fiction out in paperback right now called “The Mother Daughter bookclub” about a group of girls that meet with their mothers (reluctantly) to read “Little Women” reading both of them together might be fun. Good Luck

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  19. I have a similar “problem” with my 12 year old son. I second these: – The Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper– books by Lloyd Alexander (The Black Cauldron, etc)And will add (a variety, not all fantasy): – The Enchanted Forest Series by Patricia C. Wrede– Swallows and Amazons (and the rest) by Arthur Ransome– Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card– The Cat of Bubastes by G.A. Henty– the series by Garth Nix that includes Sabriel (this one I’ve not read, but my son loved it)

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  20. <>Howl’s Moving Castle<> by Dianne Wynne Jones is fantastic. If she likes it, you might let her watch the movie – they’re very different, but both VERY good. This is the story of Sophie, a young girl who ends up being cursed by the Witch of the Waste. The curse makes her old and, unfortunately, as part of the curse, she can’t tell anybody that she has been cursed. She ends up moving in with the infamous Wizard Howl as his maid. Fantastic. I can’t say enough good things about this one.< HREF="http://paperspineblog.com/2008/05/03/un-lun-dun-by-china-mieville/" REL="nofollow">Un Lun Dun<> by China Mieville< HREF="http://paperspineblog.com/2008/05/18/elsewhere-by-gabrielle-zevin/" REL="nofollow">Elsewhere<> by Gabrielle Zevin< HREF="http://thisredheadreads.wordpress.com/2008/05/05/a-curse-dark-as-gold/" REL="nofollow">A Curse Dark as Gold<> by Elizabeth C. BunceI’d also suggest checking out < HREF="http://www.teenreads.com/" REL="nofollow">Teen Reads<> for tons of fantastic ideas.

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  21. redhead — thanks for the titles. The only one she’s read is Curse Dark as Gold, so we added a few there. Kris — I had forgotten about Sabriel; I read it several years ago and enjoyed it also. The rest on your list, alas, she’s read already… (see what I mean??)Mrs. Y — we’ll check out the Nixon titles (you were right)… she’s seen the Mother-Daughter one at the bookstore and was interested in it, but the library doesn’t have it (yet). Hopefully soon.Corrine — alas, the library has 26 Ann Rinaldi’s but not that one. Sigh. πŸ™‚Thanks all for your input! She really appreciates it…

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  22. Heh heh, it IS a good problem to have. She’s just about the age I was at when I fell in love with “hard” sci fi: Asimov, Heinlein, etc. And Ray Bradbury. And of course OSC. πŸ™‚

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  23. Check out http://www.clau.org. It’s a link to the Children’s Literature Association of Utah. Every year they choose 10 good books in the YA category (& 10 in 4 other categories.) for kids to vote their favorites or least favorite. The YA backlist goes back to 1991 & the Children’s fiction backlist goes back to 1980. The books are usually pretty good (and clean)and covers many different genres. The link also has lots of other links to check out.

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  24. Hi there,I followed your link from WeeklyGeeks and have been browsing through some of your past entries.A lot of my local bookstores (chains mostly) put out yearly/bi-annual TOP KIDS READS brochures with books voted in by kids of different age brackets. Do your local bookstores have that?I’m happy to send you a copy of some of the lists I have if you’re interested, though they are intended for a range of ages and some will be too young for her – then again, I enjoy reading them, so who knows.Let me know if you’re interested. Happy reading!Rebeccarebeccajohnson47@gmail.com

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