What to Read?

Dear Lazyweb,

I need suggestions of books that Elliot might like to read. Together we’ve read James and the Giant Peach (and others of the same ilk), we’ve read Magic Tree House and he can read some on his own, he’s read some Frog and Toad and some Henry and Mudge. What fills the gap between what he’s read and Harry Potter?

I asked the librarian at his school: can you recommend some beginning chapter books that are at Elliot’s level? And I got this response from the district reading specialist (I don’t think it was supposed to be forwarded to me unedited)

I wish parents could forget about the whole idea of a ‘level’ on a book.  Kids should be reading for interest and fun.  Parents could spend time talking about the text with their children.  Enjoying parts of the story that help them understand plot and setting and characters is very important.  Levels are so arbitrary and it’s unfortunate that teachers have to use them.  Thinking with the text is a strong reading strategy that will benefit all readers.  Reading books that have some kind of interest to the reader is more important than whether or not it’s a ‘just right book’  for them.

Right, I wish that too – but WHAT to read? Apparently I should have used the word appropriate, age-appropriate themes and reader-appropriate vocabulary. I asked a similar question at Barnes and Noble and was pointed to a wall of books. Yeah, that’s helpful – clearly they’re not commission based there.

I did attempt to crowdsource this on Facebook and got a few great suggestions that I’ll be checking out. However, Facebook is temporal and a blog is FOREVER! So, I thought I’d readdress the issue.

Maybe you know of a an online resource that acts like Amazon’s recommendation tool … if you like Henry and Mudge you’ll love (and be able to read) …and if there’s no such thing did I just come up with my million dollar idea?

4 smart people left their mark:

  1. pamela, 7. February 2010, 13:53

    Here Be Monsters, by Alan Snow
    The Mysterious Benedict Society, by some guy (they are reading this now and LURVE it.)
    all the horse books by Marguerite Henry
    The Mowgli Stories, Kipling
    Heidi, Joanna Spyri
    Mary Poppins

    The Mister read all of these to Miss O, and they loved them. He said to tell you that Heidi and Mary Poppins might come off girly at first glance, but they’re really not.

    Also, you could friend Kristie Miller on effbook. She’s one of my friends, and she’s the librarian at our school, and she’s freaking brilliant. Also, she has a kid the same age as our kids (yours and ours) who is also brilliant like yours and ours. Tell her I sent you.
    pamela´s last blog ..dis is de time on schprokets ven ve goes de crazies. My ComLuv Profile

  2. Lynn, 17. February 2010, 21:40

    I am into the classics like Winnie the Pooh and Beatrix Potter. I’m thinking about Ramona…. Or the Mouse and motorcycle. What about Lion Witch and Wardrobe? I know it was a big Christian thing but when I was young, I just loved the book for the story.

  3. Catherine, 18. February 2010, 10:54

    Elliot’s not ready to read Narnia on his own. They’re out of reach in both vocabulary and theme. As for Beatrix Potter and Pooh, he wrote them off as being “for babies”. We did find Clifford early chapter books, Encyclopedia Brown and were recommended Secrets of Droon. Some of the Magic Tree House books are okay, they just vary so widely from book to book.

  4. Sara Lacey, 25. February 2010, 8:57

    The Phantom Tollbooth! And Choose Your Own Adventure is popular here. Encyclopedia Brown.