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Quality literary fiction for 9-10 yo, that is not overwhelmingly depressing? - Page 2

post #21 of 32
Originally Posted by Jane93 View Post

Sorry for the serial posting -- can't seem to edit earlier posts!  Also, if you like Tamora Pierce, Diana Wynne Jones is great.   Jones has a number of good books out there - she might also be familiar to some as the writer of the book that was the basis for the movie "Howl's Moving Castle".


I do think that many of Pierce's and Jones' books are verging on YA so they might be better a little later or they may work since you are looking for read aloud stuff. 


I know you're looking for books and not movies, but I can really recommend the "Howl's Moving Castle" that was mentioned and also "My neighbor Totoro" and "Spirited Away", two other Ghibli studios movies.

post #22 of 32
Thread Starter 

Thank you! I have a good list now. Btw, we *adore* My Neighbour Totoro. Haven't watched the Kiki's delivery...as it is characterised as 'darker'. But the last time I thought about it was a year ago.

post #23 of 32

Oh, Kiki's Delivery Service isn't dark at all!  Watch it!

post #24 of 32

The OP mentioned two things that are very popular in Children’s literature these days that my son definitely is not a fan of: dark depressing books and fantasy.

With the exception of the Percy Jackson series, my son really does not go for all the fantasy books (I am the fantasy addict these days!). He likes books that take place in the real world.   He also hates books that are too depressing. He read the first page of a Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket and did not want to read any more, even though I told him that it actually is supposed to get humorous later on. Same goes for the Graveyard book Neil Gaiman. The baby’s parents get stabbed to death in the first chapter!  Not his cup of tea at all!

The writer Judy Blume has written a number of both children’s and YA books that are both realistic, honest and  funny and sometimes not so funny . The problems the children   face are real ones that kids can identify with, but not super tragic like losing your parents or things like that. My son just read  Then Again Maybe I won’t and loved it. It is more for preteens but when he was younger he loved her Fudge books and Sheila books.   Blume has received numerous literary awards and her works definitely can be considered "quality literature".

 Here is her website: http://www.judyblume.com/


Edited by raksmama - 8/16/11 at 12:28pm
post #25 of 32

jalilah - Gordon Korman might work for your son.  

post #26 of 32

If you can get a hold of a copy I always recommend A.A. Milne's Once Upon a Time. It is a beautiful, well written book that really has as much to give to an adult reading it for the first time as a small child. It is set in a classical fairy tale setting, with a king (or two), a princess, a prince charming and all that but written with such a lot of humour, and unexpected twists and turns, that even if the underlying story is rather serious (two kings going to war with each other over something very silly) you can't help but laugh and feel good in the end. So, highly recommend that one since even if it is old, it still holds it fascination today.


Another favourite of mine is Roald Dahl. Again, an author you will enjoy as much as an adult as a young child because the stories have such depth. They read wonderfully aloud. A few invented words here and there, true, but not any strange ones. The underpinnings of his stories are usually rather dark (orphaned children, poor children) but usually the stories themselves have a positive note to them since they are about the children finding friendship and happiness in life. Matilde might be a good one to begin with, or Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. (Might have got the titles wrong, since I have them in Swedish).


Some already mentioned Neil Gaiman, and I will second that. I especially love The Graveyard Book. Which also have a bit of a dark underpinning (it is sort of, in a very roundabout way, a murder mystery) but is written with a lot of love and humour too. Though, I will say that if you have a sensitive daughter who is easily scared perhaps Neil Gaiman is better left until she is a bit older, or for daytime reading (if you do any). Because some chapters made me have very vivid dreams afterwards.


The three authors just mentioned have that in common that they have written their books not so much for children, as for their own enjoyment with a mind to the age appropriate. You can really feel it when you read them, in the way the language flows over the pages. In the way the stories twist and turn, making even an adult reader wonder where the story will end up. Also you said you wanted books that does not make your tongue knot itself, trying to pronounce strange sentences. These definitely will keep to that. Even if the vocabulary is rich and varied in them (none of that mind numbing "easy reading" language) I think most ten year olds will not have any problems whatsoever with them. The few new words there might be offers a nice chance to widen the vocabulary.


Anyhow, at the age of 10 I was still too young too really appreciate Anne of Green Gables (that I saw mentioned above). Yes, the first part of the book might work. With school, and meeting Gilbert and Diana and all that. But really, I would wait until she is a teen before introducing that, because I think it is best read in the age where you start to be aware of true romance, which I really wasn't until around 13-14.



post #27 of 32

Some that haven't been mention:


Susan Creech's "Bloomability"  (but skip her award winner "walk two moons"--it is a great book but very sad)


I liked the book "Al Capone Does My Shirts" by Choldenko


And how about the "Alice" books by Naylor.  If you read through them, Alice grows up.  It is very realistic and covers things that would really happen to a young girl--puberty, first loves, etc.  Alice's mother did die when she was little and sometimes Alice will mention it or try hard to remember her mom.  That aspect is done really well though and neither me, nor my dd cried about it.  (I am more likely to sob than she, though she has currently banned all "dog" books from our house)  Just read reviews and the later books aren't that great.  I stopped reading them about where Alice is in 9th grade.


Speaking of dog stories, there is "No More Dead Dogs" by Gordan Korman-- main character doesn't want anything to do with another book in which the dog dies.  This is humerous and fun.



post #28 of 32

I just read one to my kids that probably should be mentioned on this thread: The Garden Behind the Moon, by Howard Pyle.  I really liked it, and the kids did too, most of the way along, but at the end when I asked DD how many stars she would give it, I was a little surprised that she only said 2 or 3.  Apparently she felt the ending of it was "too mysterious."  It was a little mysterious to me, too, but I kind of like that in a book.  (It is fantasy, so maybe not quite what your DD would like best, Midnightwriter.)

post #29 of 32

I'm thinking back on what I liked... a lot of it was series though... the Wizard of Oz series (there's a lot of them), Laura Ingalls Wilder's books. I think for either of those, though, any one given book can stand alone. What about Louisa May Alcott? Some of her stuff may be hard for a 9-10 year old to get into, but reading it with a parent might help with that.

post #30 of 32

I am going to take note of many of the books we have not yet read in this thread.  Thanks.


My kids loved Grace Lin's Where the Mountain meets the Moon.  My ds also read The Year of the Dog by Lin at school and really liked it.  We read a mix of books for boys and girls and my dc seem to like both.  Both loved the How to Train your Dragon series, but it is more boyish with the main hero being a boy.  Both dc liked The Tale of Despereaux by Kate Di Camillo.  We also read Eduard Tulane and the one about the Tiger, but Despereaux was better to us.  This summer we read Heart of a Sumari, which was fiction, but based on the historical figure Manjiro aka John Mung.  We also read Hugo Cabret, which had amazing graphics as well as a story that made them interested the film director George Melies and automata. 


I read Howl's Moving Castle books (there were 3) by Diane Wynn Jones to my dc a couple years ago, and they really loved them.  We opted for the stories opposed to the movie with ds because he gets over excited by movies.  The kids did see the movie Kiki's Delivery Service and loved it too.  We do have the book, but only ever started it- never finished.  We have a Studio Ghibli book for My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away that has images from the movies with text.  Kids like to read it, but it is not a chapter book.  We also got the graphic novel that The Cat Returns was based on.  It is good, and I enjoy graphic novels.  


We are currently reading the 2 nd Percy Jackson book The Sea of Monsters.  Both ds (10) and dd (7) love it.  There are male and female characters- it is a lot like Harry Potter.  I read all the Harry Potters, but after reading the 1st one to the kids a couple of years ago, they did not want to hear any more.  They thought it was scary, yet they loved it and talk about it still today.  


post #31 of 32

I think I was reading a lot of the classics at that age.  Many have already been mentioned - I could add:

History-ish (some actually historically based, some simply set in that era)
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm
Pollyanna (my mom's favorite book, she loves it and recommends it to everyone)
Across Five Aprils
Island of the Blue Dolphins
The Witch of Blackbird Pond (I don't remember this being that horribly sad/scary)
Little House books (Laura Ingalls) 
Also- First Farm in the Valley:  Anna's Story (Anna Pellowski), which is similar to Ingalls' books, but about a first-generation American Polish family (have not read the rest of the series, as our library only has the first book!). 
Anything Louisa May Alcott (An Old-Fashioned Girl, etc.; they're not all as sad as Little Women, which I adored at that age)

Nory Ryan's Song - about the Irish potato famine.  It's sad at times but ends well, and good history.  Lily's Crossing, by the same author, is also good, about WWII and the lead character, a girl, is a very 'real' kid (compulsively lies at first, for instance). 
Understood Betsy
(And others mentioned by previous posters, like Heidi, which has its very sad parts, but comes 'round so wonderfully in the end)

It's not fiction, but I also loved biographies and autobiographies at that age - especially of Presidents/First Ladies. 

Fantasy-ish - we loved The Night Fairy, too, so bear that in mind with these suggestions:

Many good ones have been mentioned - I'd say that if you're not that 'into' fantasy, Madeleine L'Engle's "Wrinkle in Time" quintet is good.  Scary at times, but never for long.  Science sprinkled in, and Meg is such a nice strong girl character! 

Also previously mentioned - To the Mountains of the Moon (Lin) is wonderful.  And not as "fantasy," more of a fable feel to the book. 
A total princess story with a strong princess (I'm pretty anti-princess):  Ivy's Ever After
Also, The Ordinary Princess (M.M. Kaye), another anti-princess type book
The Hobbit (and Lord of the Rings trilogy), in my opinion, are not the same sort of fantasy as so many of the modern fantasy/sci fi books for kids.  Excellent books, and your daughter may like them if you haven't tried them with her.  Especially The Hobbit
Also mentioned above, I know I read The Princess and the Goblin in the fourth grade and liked it very much! 
Jenny and the Cat Club - about a club of cats.  A fellow Mothering mom recommended it, and it was a fun chapter book to read.  Nothing scary! 

Contemporary - well, we haven't read a lot of that.  How to Eat Fried Worms was a book I loved when I was 3/4 grade and suspect speaks to kids today too (as with the Ramona books etc. but I think those are younger than your dd).... A lot of people talk about Diary of a Wimpy Kid

I was also reading Jack London, Where the Red Fern Grows, Old Yeller, Bridge to Terabitha, etc. when I was that age - but those books are by and large, sad.  I discovered early in my life that I like a good tear-jerker.  My 7 year old does not -- all the books I've recommended above, I have either read to her (or she's read), or I am confident that she would be OK with them. 

post #32 of 32

Children of the Longhouse by Joseph Bruchac

The Birchbark House by Louise Erdich

Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry

The Anne of Green Gables books by L. M. Montgomery

Sarah, Plain & Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

Heidi by Johanna Spyri


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