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Need Book series ideas

post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 

I have twin 8 yr olds.

 

Last year 2nd grade ended with the wonderful teacher saying that both girls needed to challenge themselves in self-selected reading material- they both tended to pick below reading level and/or things they have been reading for a long time (Geronimo Stilton, Magic Puppy,etc). She acknowledged she stopped testing at mid 4th grade level and they had no trouble with it. But being 7 (at the time) they were too young for a lot of the content.

 

Also-- neither is willing to read w/o illustrations. Both will pour over fabulously illustrated copies of Alice & Wonderland or illustrated Heidi, etc but if there are no illustrations or 'long' it goes back on the shelf. We do a lot of high level picture books and non-fiction as well.

 

Any good illustrated series that would work for young 8 year olds?? They both tend to gravitate toward sets or series that they can sink into.

 

Usually I have great book ideas--- but somehow there seems to be a gap that would full-fill what we are are looking for: High reading level, age-appropriate for 3rd grade, with illustrations of some sort (black & white fine) but still a chapter or anthology-style book.

post #2 of 41

How about The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck? Both combine graphics and literature. They can go 20 pages without words. Have you tried Winnie the Pooh? I don't know if they are all illustrated but we had a series that is illustrated (not Disney... classic Pooh,) They might like the Cobblestone Cousins. They aren't high reading but lovely stories. Actually, several of Cynthia Rylant novels offer illustration. Roald Dahl as well.... we have an entire set and they are heavily illustrated.

 

My daughter really liked short stories at that age too... cultural folk tales, Greek Myths, children's collections by Louisa May Alcott and Oscar Wilde were hits and ours offered illustration.

 

You might also consider Shel Sylverstein or Jack Pruletsky. I'm sure I butchered those names. Fun poetry. High vocabulary and reading level (at least in Jack Pruletsky) and each poem with it's own picture.


Edited by whatsnextmom - 1/26/14 at 9:31pm
post #3 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post
 

How about The Invention of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck? Both combine graphics and literature. They can go 20 pages without words. Have you tried Winnie the Pooh? I don't know if they are all illustrated but we had a series that is illustrated (not Disney... classic Pooh,) They might like the Cobblestone Cousins. They aren't high reading but lovely stories. Actually, several of Cynthia Rylant novels offer illustration. Roald Dahl as well.... we have an entire set and they are heavily illustrated.

 

My daughter really liked short stories at that age too... cultural folk tales, Greek Myths, children's collections by Louisa May Alcott and Oscar Wilde were hits and ours offered illustration.

 

You might also consider Shel Sylverstein or Jack Pruletsky. I'm sure I butchered those names. Fun poetry. High vocabulary and reading level (at least in Jack Pruletsky) and each poem with it's own picture.

Thanks-- I will try Hugo & Wonderstruck!

 

We have read Cobblestone  Cousins, Poetry, Little House Books, & Roald Dahl (they LOVED most of them-- a few were 'scary' and they put aside). We got some illustrated classics called Classic Starts that are 3-6th reading level with lovely illustrations every few pages- plus side is there is noting overly mature and there is a lot of fun old-fashiond vocabulary in them!

 

Found a few fairy tale collections that they may like as well.

 

It is just such a weird little spot for reading material! We are very much trying to get one DD to read more fiction and that is proving a challenge to find at her interest and level.

 

Both do not like drama, scary, sad, or intense situations if they are at all realistic or could happen (fairies and make-believe are fine since they can not happen in real life)--- so finding fiction reading material is proving to be thought-provoking.


Edited by KCMichigan - 1/27/14 at 8:22am
post #4 of 41

In reality, they don't need to be reading challenging material to grow. Sometimes at the awkward age vs appropriateness stage it's better to let go that notion. I think it's pretty normal. At least it's normal for my kids. My DD didn't require illustration but at 8, she wasn't pushing for a challenging read. She read a lot of the same things her peers were reading despite having unusual ability. There were some exceptions like Potter and Molly Moon at the 5-7 age but 9 is when she started to consistently reach for more. Seriously, she went from reading largely Geronimo Stilton type books to To Kill a Mockingbird.... and it wasn't just preference... she was driven to them. My DS was similar. He hung on to the "young" books a little longer but there was a noticeable shift in him around 10 towards more mature and challenging text. 

 

I guess what I'm saying is that despite the teacher saying they need more challenging material in personal reading, I'd continue to let them read whatever they are drawn to whether it's Dr. Suess or Lord of the Rings lol. They only need to love reading to progress. Sooner rather than later, I suspect they will be reaching for those classics all on their own.

post #5 of 41

Totally agree with whatsnextmom about the supposed necessity of "challenging fiction reading." I've seen similar things happen with my kids. I like my kids to be exposed to challenging vocabulary, complex characters and themes, and great literature ... so I read aloud to them every night. Their own reading was always entirely according to their whims and inclinations. Often they chose to read very little, or very "unchallenging" books. No worries.

 

My youngest dd began reading advanced novels years ago, maybe around age 5 or 6, but her appetite for fiction was minimal. Sometimes it would take her months to finish a book, and she lost interest part-way through more often than she finished them. Well, at age 10.5 she suddenly became a novel addict and she now burns through two or three a week, everything from The Wind in the Willows to The Hunger Games. 

 

Miranda

post #6 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post
 

In reality, they don't need to be reading challenging material to grow. Sometimes at the awkward age vs appropriateness stage it's better to let go that notion. I think it's pretty normal. At least it's normal for my kids. My DD didn't require illustration but at 8, she wasn't pushing for a challenging read. She read a lot of the same things her peers were reading despite having unusual ability. There were some exceptions like Potter and Molly Moon at the 5-7 age but 9 is when she started to consistently reach for more. Seriously, she went from reading largely Geronimo Stilton type books to To Kill a Mockingbird.... and it wasn't just preference... she was driven to them. My DS was similar. He hung on to the "young" books a little longer but there was a noticeable shift in him around 10 towards more mature and challenging text. 

 

I guess what I'm saying is that despite the teacher saying they need more challenging material in personal reading, I'd continue to let them read whatever they are drawn to whether it's Dr. Suess or Lord of the Rings lol. They only need to love reading to progress. Sooner rather than later, I suspect they will be reaching for those classics all on their own.

I hope so.

 

We have an *open* bookcase at home with everything across the reading/interest levels with heavy emphasis on past/current obsessions of their choosing. But the school reading 'logs' that we turn in are supposed to be at their 'just right' reading level. Teacher this year is restating they need to document higher level books and she wants to see more fiction….usually I let them read whatever since they are good at self-monitoring and selection. But report cards state they need to fill book boxes at school with 'level' book.

 

I think the teacher ,too, forgets they are young for grade by a decent margin. Most if not all the kids in their literature circles are 9/ 9+ and both DDs are young 8. They are low on pop culture/girl drama interest so books like "Cupcake Wars & Dear Dumb Diary" stuff that is popular is not something they reach for (not complaining about that!).

 

They actually turned to illustrated classics on their own (Black Beauty, Heidi, Alice in Wonderland, etc) because of the rich storylines and lack of * kid-drama* that occurs in  many current books geared toward their age  bracket. Non-Fiction is popular too--- no worries about 'scary' and lots of illustrations! We have been doing a lot of magazines as well-- Cricket, American Girl, Discover, Zoo Books, etc. Plus side is that can fulfill the school requirement and DDs 'illustrations' requirement - downside is they are quick reads!

 

They are both reading Pippi Longstocking series, which is great but only a few books (with small black & white illustrations every few pages)….

post #7 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by KCMichigan View Post
 

But report cards state they need to fill book boxes at school with 'level' book.

 

3rd grade report cards don't matter. I know, at the time, they seem to be very important and the staff will drill into you how important they are but, they are not. It's ok to tell the teacher you don't agree and that for the time being, you want them to have the freedom to choose the material that attracts them. So they get marked down in reading... big deal. They'll go to 4th grade and that teacher will see what strong readers they are and that will be the end of usefullness of 3rd grade report cards. 

post #8 of 41

8!  They can't be 8!  Have I been on this board for that long!   

 

King of the Wind and some of the other Marguerite Henry books have good illustration, although they are often very realistic and can cover some emotionally intense material.  

 

I wonder if there are any graphic novels written for younger kids?

post #9 of 41
Graphic novels... try Bone, Mouse Guard and Amulet. Not sure if they'd pass muster at your school, but my kids liked them.

Miranda
post #10 of 41
My DD was very much like that. She loved Pippi and most Roald Dahl and loved Shel Silverstein. She read all of Beverly Cleary's books, starting with Ralph Mouse. She really liked the Dick King-Smith books at that age, they are animal stories with lots of illustrations, and he was prolific, so that kept her busy for a while. She also loved the Willoughbys and Clementine, and Ivy and Bean, they are girl friendship stories but low on drama.
post #11 of 41

I'd second the Beverly Cleary, esp. the Ramona series.Not a lot of pictures, but some. Also Ivy and Bean, both my dds love those. (9 yo is kinda past, 6 yo is just starting to read them.)

9 yo read Magic Tree House all last year, can't remember if they had pictures, but I think they might have. Also Boxcar Children. We just started Prydain Chronicles, though they don't have pictures.

post #12 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by richella View Post
 

Also Ivy and Bean, both my dds love those. (9 yo is kinda past, 6 yo is just starting to read them.)

9 yo read Magic Tree House all last year, can't remember if they had pictures, but I think they might have. Also Boxcar Children. 

 

Those are great suggestions in terms of content and illustrations, but unfortunately they're pretty much all at a 2nd grade level, while the OPs girls are being asked to reach beyond their 3rd grade level for more challenging material that better matches their (>4th grade) reading level.

 

KCM, a few more books I thought of ... Edward Eager's "Half Magic" books (I think there are seven). They're sparsely illustrated with pen & ink, from the 1950s, very gentle but fun, reading level maybe 6th grade. And The Wind in the Willows is available in some lovely illustrated versions. It's content-appropriate for kids as young as 4 or 5, but the reading level is probably 7th grade. D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths, and their Norse Myths one, might be good. Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, George MacDonald's Princess and the Goblin series. And the Narnia Chronicles have been published by Harper Collins as a lovely single-volume colorized illustrated version. Out of print, but your library might have it.

 

Miranda

post #13 of 41

Thought of some others. How about Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle? It's a little dated (50's) but the short stories are humorous and illustrated and at a higher reading level like most of the children's books back then. Both my daughter an I loved the "Mother West Wind" series... all short stories about animals and a little illustration. 

post #14 of 41

I also have an 8 year old who can read at a high level, but shies away from anything that looks too long and prefers books with lots of pictures.  Some things he's enjoyed: 

 

the How To Train Your Dragon series (5th grade level or higher)

the Horace Splattly series (4th grade level)

Tony Abbott's Underworlds series (4th grade level)

the Dragonling series (4th grade)

 

He also has enjoyed the Bone and Amulet graphic novels.

post #15 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by squimp View Post

My DD was very much like that. She loved Pippi and most Roald Dahl and loved Shel Silverstein. She read all of Beverly Cleary's books, starting with Ralph Mouse. She really liked the Dick King-Smith books at that age, they are animal stories with lots of illustrations, and he was prolific, so that kept her busy for a while. She also loved the Willoughbys and Clementine, and Ivy and Bean, they are girl friendship stories but low on drama.

 

 

They LOVE Dick-King Smith books. The *british* language is fun to play with in his "Lollipop the pig" stories. They have enjoyed those books for a long time and I think I found the suggestion here on Mothering!

 

We've done Clementine, Ivy &Bean. Neither liked Beverly Cleary so far- they have started a few, but did not continue.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by richella View Post
 

I'd second the Beverly Cleary, esp. the Ramona series.Not a lot of pictures, but some. Also Ivy and Bean, both my dds love those. (9 yo is kinda past, 6 yo is just starting to read them.)

9 yo read Magic Tree House all last year, can't remember if they had pictures, but I think they might have. Also Boxcar Children. We just started Prydain Chronicles, though they don't have pictures.

 

 

As before, they tried Ramona. Did Ivy & Bean and Magic Tree house long ago….though they have reread some of the newer MTH books and gotten new information out of them. The higher #s are 3-4th grade reading level vs the 1/2nd levels of the first 20 or so in the series.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post
 

 

Those are great suggestions in terms of content and illustrations, but unfortunately they're pretty much all at a 2nd grade level, while the OPs girls are being asked to reach beyond their 3rd grade level for more challenging material that better matches their (>4th grade) reading level.

 

KCM, a few more books I thought of ... Edward Eager's "Half Magic" books (I think there are seven). They're sparsely illustrated with pen & ink, from the 1950s, very gentle but fun, reading level maybe 6th grade. And The Wind in the Willows is available in some lovely illustrated versions. It's content-appropriate for kids as young as 4 or 5, but the reading level is probably 7th grade. D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths, and their Norse Myths one, might be good. Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book, George MacDonald's Princess and the Goblin series. And the Narnia Chronicles have been published by Harper Collins as a lovely single-volume colorized illustrated version. Out of print, but your library might have it.

 

Miranda

THANKS!! I forgot about 1/2 Magic! I loved those books a child and yes- they are gentle and fun read. 

 

Myths scared one of my DD- she read some of them and had nightmares of Medusa for weeks….not fun.

 

I will have to look up Princess & Goblin! 

 

Thank you! I forgot about some of those from my childhood!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daffodil View Post
 

I also have an 8 year old who can read at a high level, but shies away from anything that looks too long and prefers books with lots of pictures.  Some things he's enjoyed: 

 

the How To Train Your Dragon series (5th grade level or higher)

the Horace Splattly series (4th grade level)

Tony Abbott's Underworlds series (4th grade level)

the Dragonling series (4th grade)

 

He also has enjoyed the Bone and Amulet graphic novels.

 

I will look into those, I am familiar with any of them but How to Train your Dragon- THANKS! They have done Geronimo Stilton Graphic Novels and BabyMouse Graphic novels but they have not ventured into anything else.

 

 

 

It is so nice to get new ideas!!! Thanks everyone!

post #16 of 41

If your kid was frightened by myths, she might not like the Underworlds series.  It's sort of Percy Jackson lite.  The Princess and the Goblin might also be too scary.  (It's a good book, though.  My DS enjoyed it as a read-aloud when he was about 6.)  The Golden Key is a shorter, less scary George MacDonald book that Scholastic Book Wizard says has a grade level equivalent of 5.9.  There's a version illustrated by Maurice Sendak.  Another one I thought of is George's Secret Key to the Universe (and sequels.)  Science fiction with lots of educational facts, grade level 5.5.  We've done these as read-alouds.  Not too scary, I think, though there is danger.  But my kids aren't easily scared, so I may not be a good judge.

post #17 of 41
Paddington.Bear? My DS also enjoyed Half Magic. The Penderwicks? Heidi?
post #18 of 41

The Saturdays

All Of A Kind Family

Noel Streatfield

Arthur Ransome

Railway Children and other E Nesbit

Wolves of Willoughby Chase

 

Have to agree that pushing books for a report card box is not the way to go (homeschooler's perspective for what that's worth!). But maybe the teacher is noticing that the girls are ready for something more robust, if the right books were strewn in their path? If she is pushing bland series books with a higher Lexile, that's not a teaching recommendation I'd take seriously, but if she's encouraging them to try picking up something richer, that seems reasonable. 

post #19 of 41

I asked my advanced 9 yo and she suggested the Andrew Clements books. They're not series, but thematically similar. She can't get enough of them. School Story, Extra Credit, all the titles have school themes. She also suggested Nancy Drew.

post #20 of 41
We just discovered Boxcar Children have been made into graphic novels. They had quite a collection at our library. Zita Space Girl and Amelia Rules are also graphic novels that get devoured at our house. They're admittedly probably a little on the lower end (DD hasn't been assessed, but we estimate she's around third grade level), but I know how difficult it is to keep those bookshelves stocked.
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