"Book Club" - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 02-10-2014, 09:19 PM - Thread Starter
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My eleven year old half sister and I live in two different states and have a decent age difference (I'm 21). I was talking to her last week and she asked if the two of us can start a book club. Both of us are voracious readers so I agreed. She asked that when I come home this weekend that I have a list of books ("at least two pages!") that the two of us can read together.


She's very smart and a fast reader who reads above her age level (I think that my dad said "8th Grade Level" or something like that last time I asked.) Currently she is interested in dystopia societies (read all of The Hunger Games and is in the middle of Divergent), World War II and fantasy. She is also a huge Dr. Who fan. I'm looking for interesting books that will give us a lot to talk about. Generally she is not very interested in phone conversations so books are the only way the two of us really stay connected.


So far my list includes:

*Tamora Pierce series


*Among the Hidden (etc.)

*Harry Potter

*The Giver/Gathering Blue/etc.

*Maniac McGee

*A Wrinkle in Time


She asked me about The Diary of Anne Frank, but I can't remember when I read it.

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#2 of 6 Old 02-11-2014, 09:54 AM
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Hi. What a nice idea for two sisters. For WWII novels, you might like:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein  

Both would be challenging in terms of reading level, since they were written for young adult audiences. They may be too emotional/disturbing for an 11 y.o. but if she's reading The Hunger Games, she might handle them.  


Less challenging would be Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. 


I am David by Anne Holm also comes to mind. 


There are a few books that I haven't read, so can't vouch for them, but they are by good authors or they are often mentioned on lists about this subject:

The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne


If she's open to reading about WWI, then Rilla of Ingleside by L.M. Montgomery is a good depiction of the home front during that war. 


If she's open to reading about other cultures: 

The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis might be a good choice (I think it's called Parvanna in some countires). It's about a girl in Afghanistan.  It's the first of a trilogy. 

Ellis also wrote Three Wishes, a non-fiction book of interviews of Palestinian and Israeli children. 

The Shepherd's Granddaughter by Anne Laurel Carter is also about that part of the world. 


Dystopic series: You mentioned the Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix already, and it's the one I often recommend for that age. The Giver et al is another popular choice. Maybe she would like Tomorrow When the War Began by John Marsden and its sequels. It's written for teens, so beware, there is some romance/making out/sex. 

City of Ember by Jeanne du Pre, and sequels

House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer and its sequel



Fantasy series: The Thief by Megan Whelan Turner and its sequels. It's awesome. 

The Golden Compass etc. by Philip Pullman


Un Lun Dun by China Mieville is a fantasy standalone. For some reason, I think a Dr. Who fan might like it. There's nothing to connect them, so I can't say why I think that. 


You may want to check out the Newbery and Prinz award winners and honour lists for some ideas. 


My adult DS is reading Ursula K. LeGuin for the first time and loving her stuff. There's lots there for the middle school reader. 



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#3 of 6 Old 02-11-2014, 01:05 PM
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I only have one suggestion off the top of my head - Wonder.

How kind and wonderful of you to take time to connect with your sister in this special way.

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#4 of 6 Old 02-12-2014, 09:34 AM
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One of the scriptwriters for Dr Who, Ben Aaronovitch, has written a series about magic cops in London, very enjoyable - Rivers of London, Moon over Soho, Whispers Underground and Broken homes. Adult themes, including sexual deviancy (as well as a lot of plain old sex in Moon), bad injuries and references to a "wizarding holocaust". I probably would not start out on them with an 11 yo (though from what I have heard of the Hunger Games they are not exactly gentle books) but you may want to check them out yourself, laugh your head off, and put them on a list for later.

MeDH DS1 10/06 DD 08/10 DS2 10/12with SB and
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#5 of 6 Old 02-12-2014, 09:41 AM
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Was it Miranda who has made it a project for her family to go through all the Newberry medal winners together? I have always thought it sounds like such a nifty idea, though not being English speakers, we'd have to do them all in translation. It sounds like just the thing for the two of you. You could also listen to audio versions and whenever you are home, watch movie versions together as well and talk about how adapting books for  the screen changes or enhances the story.

One website I have always wanted to bring up here is tv tropes http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HomePage (covers all kinds of narrative tropes, not just in tv, but also literature, manga etc) as well, because it is such a fun way to deconstruct stories, in particular fantasy which, lets be honest, is kinda made up of them. I think a pre-teen/almost teenager would enjoy that one.

MeDH DS1 10/06 DD 08/10 DS2 10/12with SB and
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#6 of 6 Old 02-12-2014, 10:43 AM
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The Foundation Trilogy by Isaac Asimov is classic science fiction with interesting and imaginative social science themes. It's often a hit with young people. These books are probably high school level. The writing style is relatively uncomplicated as I recall, but they are above Hunger Games level. I checked scholastic.com for the reading level and it is listed as grade 10 level. Maybe you and your sister will be able to enjoy this in a year or two if she is currently reading at grade 8. I recommend the original three books of the trilogy, Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation. The rest of the books written after these three are junk.

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