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Please help -- Reading recommendations, 8 year old girl, science fiction

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Our 8 year old daughters is 2e, Asperger's and gifted.  About two years ago, she read most of the Animorphs series. The school librarian said that she is the only student in the school who checks out Animorphs, with a few individual exceptions here and there as other kids want to check out the books with her encouragement. 


Our daughter has read most of the books over and over again, but there are a few she will not read.  She has read Harry Potter volumes 1-5 over and over, but will not read 6 and 7 as they are too scary. 


The point is -- we need some new material!  She wants to read sci-fi, and she even writes sci-fi, but she wants something a lot like Animorphs or Harry Potter but new.  She also read all of the Inponderables series a few times by the time she was through with kindergarten.  http://www.amazon.com/Penguins-Have-Knees-Imponderables-Book/dp/B000F7BP7K/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1341789340&sr=8-2&keywords=imponderables+in+books


The other series she likes and reads often is the Nasty Nature series by Nick Arnold. 


She reads very fast and she is incredibly picky about what to read. Her elementary school librarian is not much help other than not getting rid of the Animorphs.  Should I ask the middle school librarian? 


Also, on the subject of reading, the school was reluctant to test her beyond the same DRA 40 score she has had since she entered 1st grade, so I don't have an accurate idea of her reading level. 


Please help. She is bored this summer and we don't know where to turn.  She likes robots, legos, sci-fi, and fantasy.

post #2 of 24

Fantasy and sci-fi my 9-year-old has enjoyed:


Spellfall series by Katherine Roberts

Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordon; Red Pyramid series by the same author

A Wrinkle in Time and others in the series

Gregor the Overlander series

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (wonderful after "A Wrinkle")

City of Ember and People of Sparks by Jeanne DuPrau

The Magician's Elephant by Kate diCamillo

The Giver by Lois Lowry


She's also really liked The Hunger Games and the last two Harry Potters, but the above are all less intense/violent than those.



post #3 of 24
Hi, I myself love science fiction, fantasy and harry potter! smile.gif there are a few science fiction books that I've been meaning o check out but didn't yet have the time to, maybe you can take a look at them to see if they are suitable?

Across the Universe by Beth Revis.
Maximum ride by James Patterson (I am planning to read this to see if it's right for my 8 yr old boy)
My son did like I Am Number Four though he glossed over all the romance part (yeech!) and is looking forward to the final installment. The writing is not fantastic so I didn't want to buy it but borrowed instead. It improves in the second book The Power of Six which I did buy.

Pitched a bit higher, The Mysterious Benedict Society is a fun read but they may need some help with the second half to extract the meaning.
The Amber Spyglass trilogy is yet a little higher because of the contents but not suitable for Christians.
This classic fantasy series may come in handy when she is a bit older.
The Belgariad series by David Eddings

Not fantasy or science fiction but more survival tale that my son did enjoy and is suitable for their age:
I am David by Anne Holm ( sometimes published as North to Freedom). It's also good for unit studies on geography and political systems.
post #4 of 24
I hesitated a little on The Giver, which I do own, and vetoed Hunger Games (which i also have)because my son was going through a patch of nihilism and intense emotions. I would recommend reading through them first before deciding.
post #5 of 24

The only science fiction I can think of is The Green Book, which is probably completely unlike the Animorphs books, but both my kids loved it.


Some fantasy ideas:

the Silverwing series by Kenneth Oppel

the May Bird series by Jodi Lynn Anderson

The Hobbit

The Silver Crown by Robert C. O'Brien


All of those (except The Green Book) have scary parts, but probably none are scarier than the first 5 Harry Potter books.

post #6 of 24

Aww, I saw the topic title and was totally gonna recommend Animorphs. I can see why she's all but ruined for other children's literature after reading the awesomeness that is Animorphs. ROTFLMAO.gif


Anyway, the author of Animorphs also wrote a series called Remnants. It's about a group of people who escaped Earth shortly before it was destroyed by an asteroid. I've only read the first book.

post #7 of 24

His Dark Materials Series (Philip Pullman) was a big hit with mine around that age, although it might be too scary for some kids, I'd consider it a read together sort of book.  Also the Dark is Rising series (Susan Cooper).  Lighter but fun_ "Moongobble and Me" and rest of series, "How to Tame a Dragon" and "Spiderwick".  Right now my oldest (12, also 2E with Asperger's) is reading the Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas - this would be totally on par with the level of a child reading Harry Potter books, both in terms of the mechanics of reading and content.  Second the "Gregor the Overlander" series and "A Wrinkle in Time".  He hasn't read "Animorphs", maybe we'll check it out.


About the getting stuck on certain books, from someone who's been there done that with their kid.  Even with the Asperger's, if you want to gently nudge to get a little more range, look at what special interests your child has.  We had a surprise move out of only fantasy and sci-fi this year.  The school librarian noticed my son's non-fiction interests in farming and wilderness lore and "My Side of the Mountain" and the kid's classic "The Yearling" ended up being big hits.  If your daughter has some particular interests, it might spark some broader interests.  My son's interests even lead to broadening out to having a baking business at Farmer's Market, using his own fresh produce and that of other market farmers.  Interests can be a powerful tool, especially with reading.

post #8 of 24
Originally Posted by deminc View Post

Maximum ride by James Patterson (I am planning to read this to see if it's right for my 8 yr old boy)


This series is probably pretty close to the Animorphs. There are some early scenes that might be disturbing with evil scientists experimenting (torturing) the children, but the rest has the same element of continuous action and adventure. I find Patterson's writing is pretty bad and didn't really enjoy the characters - Max is a smug, irritating character - but that's a personal view. I also really disliked how Patterson makes all scientists and science in general to be a source of evil in the world - at least until the 4th book or so in the series. I figure some scientists and teachers probably took him to task about his portrayal of scientists and asked him to moderate his writing, and he finally turned out a book where the scientists are trying to do some good. 


If some humour might appeal, she might enjoy:

The Nose From Jupiter series by Richard Scrimgeour (sci fi)

- The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex. (sci fi)

- Pure Dead Magic series by Deb Gliori (fantasy) 


Along the lines of Harry Potter , I don't think I've seen mentioned: 

- The Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage (fantasy)

-The Bartimaeus trilogy by Jonathon Stroud (fantasy)



- Redwall series by Brian Jacques (fantasy) 

- re-told fairy tales like Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine and The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (fantasy) 

- Among the Hidden series by Maragaret Peterson Haddix (dystopian future about families allowed only 2 children)

-Obernewtyn series by Isobelle Carmody (post-apocalyptic novel with teens with supernatural powers like ESP - might be a little mature for a 9 y.o.) 


I'm having trouble thinking of true sci-fi titles - space travel, androids, etc. I'm wondering about if novelizations based on Star Wars or other sci fi movies might work for her.

post #9 of 24

These might be a bit too kiddy but I''ll suggest them anyway:

The Faraway Tree is a series by Enid Blyton

Groosham Grange by Anthony Horowitz

post #10 of 24
I just posted a list of books on the previous thread (selecting reading material for young gifted child, I think it was. Since I hate all the typos I gwt when typing on the android, but look at the other thread.
post #11 of 24

I really like Anne McCaffery's books, though the main series is probably better for mid to late teens, there is some romantic love/mating referances.


But there is a trilogy for younger readers:


The Harper Hall trilogy, or The Harper Hall of Pern in its omnibus edition
post #12 of 24

My daughter who is a huge Harry Potter fan has enjoyed
--Charlie Bone series
--A Fire Within (a series)
--Mysterious Benedict Society (not sci fi, but a great book)

If you google "if you liked harry potter read" it brings up some websites with other recommendations

post #13 of 24

Raider's Ransom and Fire and Flood, both by Emily Diamand. They're dystopian but more middle grade than YA, and not too scary. Exciting and very funny, with a strong female lead. If she likes robots, she'll love these ;)


My son (also 8) is a fan of Harry Potter and loved all the Rick Riordan books (there are three series-- Percy Jackson, Kane Chronicles, Heroes of Olympus). I posted a list of his favorites on my blog:


post #14 of 24

I don't know if these would appeal to her, but Piers Anthony's Xanth series is appropriate for younger kids as far as I recall.  It is mostly puns and an alternate fantasy world.  Nothing too racy.  I can't say the same about his other material, though, so don't make the mistake I did of suggesting them to dd by showing her one in a book store @ which point she zoned in on the Incarnations of Immortality series and insisted that she'd like that better.  Since mine was 10 at the time and fairly okay with emotionally challenging material, I did give in and let her read them but she decided herself after getting a few books into the series that it wasn't appropriate. 

post #15 of 24

Hmm, I loved the Xanth books as a 11 or 12 year old-- all those puns-- but I do recall some fairly explicit sexual content. Might be worth taking a good scan through before giving those to an 8 year old.

post #16 of 24

Thanks, it has been so long since I've read them that I perhaps I am mistaken.  I just didn't remember anything of that sort in the Xanth series.  I recall reproduction of skeletons being accomplished by taking bones from the mom and making a new baby skeleton, for instance.  I don't remember anything more explicit but now maybe I should go back and take another look!

post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 

Thank you so much for these suggestions. I am printing this out (after editing out the stuff about the school librarian) and taking it with us to the library and bookstore tomorrow.  She was just complaining that all the books are boring, and of course they are boring after the 50th read.    I also appreciate so much having a forum where I can ask questions like these and not be scolded for pushing her, etc.  Just a bunch of similar moms who say, hmmm.... how about this?  Thank you.

post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Cyllya View Post

Aww, I saw the topic title and was totally gonna recommend Animorphs. I can see why she's all but ruined for other children's literature after reading the awesomeness that is Animorphs. ROTFLMAO.gif


Anyway, the author of Animorphs also wrote a series called Remnants. It's about a group of people who escaped Earth shortly before it was destroyed by an asteroid. I've only read the first book.


My daughter just read your words and said: "finally, another fan!"  She says she has heard of Remnants and she wants to try it. 

post #19 of 24

I cannot recommend The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series by Michelle Paver highly enough.  The first book is "Wolf Brother".  These are some of the best books my son and I have read together in a long time.


My son (age 12 and an avid sci fi/fantasy reader) is really enjoying the series The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scot.  I haven't read it so can't speak to it personally.  He says he likes it better than Harry Potter.


I second the Rick Riordan recommendation for those three series, but don't make the mistake of picking up his adult stuff for your child - it is *very* adult.


My personal all-time favorite fantasy writer is Mercedes Lackey.  Unfortunately, most of her books eventually get into some sexual situations so I wouldn't be comfortable giving them to my pre-teen.  The only series that doesn't is the "Foundation" trilogy, but it does start with a child living in a truly awful situation which might be upsetting for a younger reader.

post #20 of 24

JK Rowling was heavily, HEAVILY influenced by Diana Wynne Jones.


At her age I'd start her on the Chrestomanci books -- probably start with Witch Week, then Charmed Life, then Lives of Christopher Chant.   See how she likes them.


For some STUPID reason?  Chrestomanci books (pointed at younger kids) are coded as YA at Barnes and Noble, while Howls Moving Castle (more of a tween/teen romantic fantasy) is coded as Juv.  

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