books for voracious 7 year old that aren't pulp-fiction or teen / preteen - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 22 Old 09-23-2010, 12:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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dd, age 7 can read at a 5th grade level, according to the RL given on the books. She read The Penderwicks and loved it.

It is not easy to find longer chapter books at her reading level that are also suitable in theme. In picture books it is so easy to find ones that are really creative and portray strong characters - we still read them, but she also likes books that she can curl up with for hours.

Right now we seem to run into boy-girl themes, gossip, name-calling etc, and just a lot of low-quality series.

help!

relaxed-unschooler mama to dd (2003). hoping for second one. love being a mama!!
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#2 of 22 Old 09-23-2010, 01:27 AM
 
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I hear ya. My dd has been reading above her maturity level for a while and we have the same concerns. Some ideas off the top of my head from what we've read, though I don't know what reading level they would be.

Black Beauty
Misty of Chincoteague - plus others by the same author
My Side of the Mountain - others by the same author look good but we haven't read them yet
Where the Red Fern Grows - there's a scene with a couple of bullies in it, there's a tragic accidental death, and the ending is really, really sad. Besides that it's a really good story
How do you feel about the Little House on the Prairie series?
A Little Princess
The Secret Garden
Anne of Green Gables
Emily of New Moon ( by L.M. Montgomery as well)
Five Little Peppers and How They Grew - the language in this one is old and tends toward really long sentences so might be kind of hard to read
The Box Car Children
The Bobbsey Twins series


None of those are "perfect". Some have social issues, some have some minor bullying/name calling but they're not the gossipy/catty kind of stuff that seems to be so abundant on the library shelves. Sometimes I look for books that are typically considered "boy" books. They're less likely to have romance in them but may still have bullying. Also, the classics tend to fit our guidelines better.

Dd likes the Animal Ark series. They're formulaic but seem okay otherwise. The boy and girl are just friends. I do get a bit irritated when the immediately jump to the conclusion that somebody is "bad" when they don't always have all the info.

Dd also enjoys some biographies (Helen Keller's comes to mind). I know our library has a special section for biographies in the kids and young adult sections.

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#3 of 22 Old 09-23-2010, 02:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks for the suggestions. we will definiltey try out the horse books and some of the others on your list. i hope she likes them. its hard to find anything in The Box Car Children or The Bobbsey Twins series that she hasn't already read. Mystery books are usually good though, for showing girls and boys doing interesting things. My Side of the Mountain I remember as being really "cruel" though I dont remember why and it is 30 years since I read it.

I wasnt thrilled about reading LHOTP at first but for one, beggars can't be choosers, and for another, I decided it was better to read it and discuss the problems than to skip it, esp in light of the difficulty we were having finding good literature. SOmeone suggested the Birchbark Series to provide a different view, esp of the Native American experience, which we will plan to read when she is a little older.

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#4 of 22 Old 09-23-2010, 04:14 AM
 
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DS read 'Freddy the Pig' when he was about your DD age
http://www.freddythepig.org/

There is also 'Mercy Watson' which are quick reads and have lots of pictures. DS at 10 still loves these
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_no...s=mercy+watson

'Hank the cowdog' not a favorite but our librarian suggested these too
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss...efix=hand+the+

Anything by Cynthia Rylant -Gooseberry Park was a favorite
http://www.amazon.com/Gooseberry-Par...226108&sr=1-12

Classics
http://www.amazon.com/Mr-Poppers-Pen...ef=pd_sim_b_39

Yep a couple years ago ds loved books where animals were the main characters!

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#5 of 22 Old 09-23-2010, 04:21 AM
 
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Forgot to add (sorry its late here and I'm a bit 'off') is to make friends with your childrens librarian. I did this when DS was about 3-4 yrs old and she has been a total lifesaver for me. Even now with ds being 10 and reading books from all over the library she holds my hand as we wander the stacks and yes, the kids librarian can leave the kiddie area !

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#6 of 22 Old 09-23-2010, 04:27 AM
 
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From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil. E. Franweiler
Surviving the Applewhites
The Phantom Tollbooth
anything by Roald Dahl
All of a Kind Family
Dragonrider
George's Secret Key to the Universe


and all of the great material above...
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#7 of 22 Old 09-23-2010, 05:55 AM
 
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We love, love, love Kate Dicamillo:
Because of Winn-Dixie
The Tiger Rising
The Magician's Elephant
The Tale of Despereaux.

The Ivy + Bean books by Annie Barrows were also very good.

Katherine Paterson is wonderful.

Try The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, it was wonderful.

We enjoyed The Spiderwick Chronicles.

All of the Ramona (Beverly Cleary) books were good.

Dang, there's tons of books but I can't think of any because it's the middle of the night.

Edited to add: The Sunken Kingdom series by Kim Wilkins. The covers on these put me off, but my husband and 5 year old insisted and they were wonderful. We read them twice. It's a fun story, plus the two siblings work together, which is a rarity
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#8 of 22 Old 09-23-2010, 09:23 AM
 
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I'd suggest:
anything by Astrid Lindgren
anything by Beverly Cleary
Tove Jansson's Moomin books
Igraine the Brave - Cornelia Funke
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH - Robert C. O'Brien
The Silver Crown - Robert C. O'Brien (could be too scary for some kids)
Coraline and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (excellent books, but also could be too scary for some kids)
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#9 of 22 Old 09-23-2010, 02:16 PM
 
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The Mysterious Benedict Society (I think there are 3 now?)
Un Lun Dun by China Mieville
The Sea of Trolls and sequels by Nancy Farmer
Eva Ibbotson - Journey to the River Sea and others - dd loved these. I think The Star of Kazan had horses in it.
Diana Wynne Jones
Susan Cooper's The Dark is Rising series
Andrew Clements (Frindle and others)
Judy Blume (Fudge etc.)
The Judy Moody books
The Clarice Bean books
Hilary McKay's Casson Family books - Saffy's Angel etc. - brilliant!
Avi (all sorts of titles)
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#10 of 22 Old 09-23-2010, 10:38 PM
 
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Some of my favourites when I was about grade 3- 5 were:
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
A wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle (there were a number in the series but I recall this one the best)
The Narnia books (C.S. Lewis)

I'm going to have to check out some of the suggestions by others. My oldest daughter will be ready for some soon!
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#11 of 22 Old 09-23-2010, 11:28 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheery View Post
My Side of the Mountain I remember as being really "cruel" though I dont remember why and it is 30 years since I read it.
Maybe becuz he hunts? or becuz he keeps a hawk as a pet and for falconry? On this note I should mention that Black Beauty is really a strong commentary on the mistreatment of horses at the time so it does contain some descriptions of the animals being treated badly.

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Originally Posted by NoraC View Post
The Narnia books (C.S. Lewis)
How could I forget these!?!


Also remembered Dick King-Smith has a lot of good books. He's the author of Babe: The Gallant Pig among many others.

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#12 of 22 Old 09-25-2010, 12:11 PM
 
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Does she like fantasy? Tamora Pierce has some great series, Gail Carson Levine's Ella Enchanted, Diana Wynne Jones as mentioned above, Wee Free Men from Terry Pratchett would be great to read together-you'd probably like it too, it's very funny!
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#13 of 22 Old 09-25-2010, 12:22 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post
Forgot to add (sorry its late here and I'm a bit 'off') is to make friends with your childrens librarian. I did this when DS was about 3-4 yrs old and she has been a total lifesaver for me. Even now with ds being 10 and reading books from all over the library she holds my hand as we wander the stacks and yes, the kids librarian can leave the kiddie area !
Ours is Ellie. I call her our drug dealer. We visit her every Saturday morning, and she hooks us up with our weekly fix.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JSerene View Post

The Ivy + Bean books by Annie Barrows were also very good.

All of the Ramona (Beverly Cleary) books were good.
Especially these.

For voracious readers at that age, we've had good luck with series. They seem developmentally "comfortable."

For good female protagonists:
Sisters Grimm
American Girl books (surprisingly good and tame - all except for Addie which lead to nightmares. Historically accurate and female protagonists that are all strong in some way - intelligent, caring, brave, etc)
Dear America and Princess Diaries - follow on to the American girl books, similar quality, but a series notch up in reading difficulty. Written in diary form, similarly historically accurate and tame.

When you finish off the American Girl, Dear America, and Princess Diaries, the secret, according to our dealer, Ellie, is that these are all written by young adult/children's authors already writing in a similar style/time period.
That led us to: Kathryn Lasky and the Guardians of Ga'hoole
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#14 of 22 Old 09-25-2010, 12:33 PM
 
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Freddy the Pig Series - Walter R. Brooks
The Far-Flung Adventures Series - Paul Steward and Chris Riddell

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#15 of 22 Old 09-25-2010, 12:43 PM
 
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My 9 year old is loving the Lemony Snicket series. I guess it's kind of dark, but I like them.
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#16 of 22 Old 09-25-2010, 12:54 PM
 
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The Indian in the Cupboard and others, Lynne Banks
The Cats of Cuckoo Square series
Four Dolls and others by Rumer Godden
Miss Hickory
The Night Fairy
Fairy Realm series--easier, but a very nice series
Catwings

Island of the Blue Dolphins is pretty grim, and the A Wrinkle in Time series may be over the head of most 7yos thematically (and is also scary in parts)

grateful mother to DD, 1/04, and DS, 2/08

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#17 of 22 Old 09-25-2010, 10:51 PM
 
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Edward Eager, Half Magic, The Well-Wishers, etc
E. Nesbit, although warn your ds that it is okay to ask what things are since Nesbit's stuff is set in edwardian england. Five Children and It is a good starting point.

for a 7 year old, I'd like to second or third Dick King-Smith particularly if he likes animals. However, do NOT then watch the Babe movies as they are both scarier than the books and annoyingly preachy.


don't get hung up on level, mind you, if he's reading that well then volume is the important thing so he can gain fluency and enjoy himself.
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#18 of 22 Old 09-27-2010, 05:20 PM
 
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I wouldn't give Tamora Pierce to a seven year old. They're written for older children, and even the Circle of Magic books, which skew younger, can be dark and violent.


Heidi is a good read, with complex language, but it has a strong Christian theme, which may or may not be right for your family.

I second the Edward Eager suggestions. Miss happiness and Miss Flower by Rumer Godden, and the sequel, Miss Plum, are good. The Betsy-Tacy books are great and the boys/dances/crushes stuff only comes in in the high school books, so the first five or so are just fine.

Geofizz, are you talking about the Princess Diaries, by Meg Cabot, or the Royal Diaries, by various authors in the same manner as the Dear America books? I wouldn't give the Princess the Diairies to a seven year old, because the content is PG-13 IMHO.
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#19 of 22 Old 09-28-2010, 02:44 PM
 
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The American Girl books really are surprisingly not-awful. And the History Mysteries, featurng the same characters but at a higher reading level, are similarly not-awful! They were smart enough to hire well-respected established children's authors to do the books, I think that's the key. They did, however, make my daughter want a hundred-dollar doll.

We'll have to try Dear America and Royal Diaries.

If these and Little House (since you mentioned reading them) get your kid interested in pioneers/American history, there are tons of good books that are fine for young kids -- Understood Betsy, Caddie Woodlawn, The Sign of the Beaver. I adore The Witch of Blackbird Pond, but parts are upsetting and it's also a little romance-novelly for a seven-year-old.

Since The Penderwicks was a hit, definitely try Elizabeth Enright's books like The Saturdays, Thimble Summer, and Gone-Away Lake -- Enright was the inspiration for The Penderwicks! Also, A Year Down Yonder and A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck are charming books about city kids living for a few months with their tough, curmudgeonly country grandma. Granny is hard as nails and has a mean mouth -- all the neighbors are terrified of her -- but she's also incredibly loving in an unsentimental way. Nothing scary or upsetting happens, as far as I can remember.
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#20 of 22 Old 09-28-2010, 04:01 PM
 
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My DD is super into the Hardy Boys Nancy Drew Super Mystery series. It's Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys working together to solve more grown up mysteries. They're in their late teens/early 20s, the mysteries are a bit more intense and there is a teeny, tiny bit of romance. Just a very hint of it - perfectly innocent.

But, my DD is devouring the books. She says they make her heart race, she can't wait to get to the next page and is completely engrossed.
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#21 of 22 Old 09-28-2010, 04:57 PM
 
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Ooh, I'll add another shout out for the Tiffany Aching books. My 8 year old adores those. Likewise, the Eager books and anything by Tamora Pierce.
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#22 of 22 Old 09-29-2010, 08:16 PM
 
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The Borrowers series
The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Wrede
Spiderwick Chronicles
The Wind in the Willows
Bruce Coville's Unicorn Chronicles
Igraine the Brave or almost any Cornelia Funke books.
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