Thursday, January 03, 2013

"THE" book for a reluctant reader.


Les Blatt was talking about the great children's book THE WESTING GAME last week. I can well remember my kids reading this one endlessly. And I read it too.

If you were going to recommend a book to a reluctant reader of ten or so, what book would you choose to persuade him that reading is his/her entry into a world like no other.

I always pick the same book. It is TOM'S MIDNIGHT GARDEN. I would read this book right now if it was one my shelves. Maybe I will go to the library tonight.

What would you choose? 

28 comments:

George said...

Diane recommends TALES OF A FOURTH GRADE NOTHING by Judy Blume. Diane also likes When You Reach Me By Rebecca Stead (Newbury Award winner) and a great time-travel plot!). I would go with the Harry Potter books.

Anonymous said...

Jackie says it depends if the kid is a good but reluctant reader or a weak reader, but assuming the former she agrees with George - Harry Potter.

I liked that Stead book too, though I'm not sure the average 10 year old would get it as much as a slightly older kid.


Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Not familiar with the Stead book I will have to look into it. Judy Blume certainly brightened my kids' lives. Also Ellen Raskin.

Anonymous said...

I must admit I have never read either of the books you mentioned, Patti. I will pick them up at the library.

The Stead is very good. I also enjoyed her new one, LIAR & SPY, though I'd definitely recommend WHEN YOU REACH ME, especially for a fellow time travel book fan like you.


Jeff M.

Margot Kinberg said...

Patti - You've made a really good suggestion. And Iwas going to suggest Harry Potter too, but I see I've been beaten to it...

Ron Scheer said...

My kids were avid readers from an early age and didn't need encouragement. My son, I believe, was especially fond of THE BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Harry Potter certainly has the story to draw someone in. But I wonder if it almost seems like a mountain to high to climb for some reluctant readers. I often think a funny book would be the way to entice young boys.

F.T. Bradley said...

Harry Potter is pretty heavy on the narrative, so not always the right fit (my youngest is a most reluctant reader).

I like the WIMPY KID books, and graphic novels for the most reluctant of readers--there's a new one, a retelling of A WRINKLE IN TIME that's pretty good. The ALEX RIDER series is a favorite with a lot of middle-graders too, and takes it out of the graphic novel realm.

I recently read an older Nancy Drew book with my youngest, and was blown away by how dated the story was. Makes me think I should re-read some of my favorites, see if they hold up...

Charles Gramlich said...

Andre Norton's "Breed to Come."

John said...

I highly recommend Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbit. It's sublime on so many levels -- haunting and moving and suprisingly a funny book.

Boys may be more easily lured into reading funny books, but I think its a mistake to go that route. I think Fleur is right -- action oriented stories are best for the reluctant reader. That's what fiction is really all about anyway.

Gerard said...

Action is almost always good for boys. Humor is also a good bet. My boys are not reluctant but greatly enjoy the WIMPY KID series.

Boy #1 is in fourth grade and recently tore through the nine books of the RANGER'S APPRENTICE adventure series by John Flanagan.

Tie-in books work well with STAR WARS and LEGO currently popular here.

Prashant C. Trikannad said...

Patti, I would introduce a reluctant 10-year old and over to the delights of Enid Blyton, Hardy Boys, Richmal Crompton, Roald Dahl, C.S. Lewis, Mark Twain (Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn), Charles Dickens (Pickwick papers), Rudyard Kipling, and Robert Louis Stevenson.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Tuck Everlasting was another favorite.
Can't wait for my grandson to be into WIMPY KIDS. And DOUBLE VISION.
I loved all those books Prashant but I was an obsessive reader rather than a reluctant one.

Richard R. said...

I have trouble matching age with book level, but WIND IN THE WILLOWS comes to mind. Is it too young? Also, perhaps Robert Heinlein's TUNNEL IN THE SKY.

F.T. Bradley said...

I thought of Mary Downing Hahn's CLOSED FOR THE SEASON just now; great for both boys and girls, and a solid contemporary mystery.

Kieran Shea said...

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen or perhaps The Great Brain by John D. Fitzgerald.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I remember my son reading ONE FAT SUMMER and laughing hysterically. He was always a reader but that one sent him over the moon. Sometimes humor is the way to go.

Anonymous said...

Our nephew loves the How to Train Your Dragon books. He is also a devotee of Calvin and Hobbes. Our older niece loved the Potters and has read several other similar series since. When they started the first book my sister read her a chapter each night. She is now a champion reader and we've sent her a lot of books. She loved Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series. (She just turned 13.) Anything with fantasy, magic, and a strong heroine appeals to her. She read The Hunger Games too.

When Jackie was in charge of social studies for grades 3-6 and then middle school she (and I) read a lot of the books she chose for the kids, including TUCK EVERLASTING, BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA, A WRINKLE IN TIME and historical stories like MY BROTHER SAM IS DEAD.


Jeff M.


pattinase (abbott) said...

Great list, Jeff.

Sandra Scoppettone said...

Harriet The Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Anonymous said...

Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach
Rodman Philbrick, Freak the Mighty
Bill Crider's Mike Gonzo books and A Vampire Named Fred


Jeff M.

Anonymous said...

For reluctant readers, Jackie said the first thing that boys actually wanted to read was the Goosebumps books.

Jeff M.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I have that saved (HARRIET) for the granddaughter that isn't coming. And a lot of other books. Can't bear to give them away. But hope people are still reading books like THE GREAT BRAIN, HARRIET THE SPY, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. GOOSEBUMPS came later. I hit the wall for these books in about 1980.

Gerard said...

I think my brother read the GREAT BRAIN books.

Both my kids really took to CALVIN AND HOBBES and recently got stuck on GARFIELD.

I cannot recall much of what I read at that age. I bought a lot of CHOOSE-YOUR-OWN-ADVENTURE books and remember enjoying WESTMARK by Lloyd Alexander.

Jerry House said...

THE CIRCUS OF DR. LAO by Charles Finney
SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES by Ray Bradbury
THE WIZARD OF EARTHSEA by Ursula K. Le Guin

At age ten, Mark was really into Percy Jackson. Artemis Fowl and Alex Ryder are among his favs now.

At the same age, Erin was just outgrowing the WARRIORS series by "Erin Hunter." For some reason, anything animals seems to work well with most young girls (at the same age, my suister was heavily into WalterFarley's Black Stallion books). So perhaps Brian Jacques Redwall series?

Most recommended reading lists from schools and libraries do a good job listing books kids really want to read (along with some titles they feel kids SHOULD want to read). These lists are always a good place to start.

pattinase (abbott) said...

I never read a single fantasy book and neither did either of my kids. We were all rooted in reality. I am sure we missed a lot. I also never read fairy tales or science fiction. But as an adult I can easily see the charm in fantasy books for kids. I was a late bloomer I guess. Now the kids books I like most are the ones with fantastical elements.

Richard R. said...


WHAT IS THIS I HEAR ABOUT U OF MISSISSIPPI? Want to share your thoughts?

Chris said...

I'm with Mr. Shea on Hatchet by Gary Paulsen, and I'd also throw in The Call of the Wild by Jack London.