June 28, 2007

Help Me!

It’s so hard to find good reading material for my older kids. They love to read, but it’s a full time job finding stuff that is appropriate. We hit the library and I scour the shelves looking for something with substance. It seems like most pre-teen books for girls are about chasing boys, being nasty to other girls, or how to be a teenage witch. For boys you can choose between horror or evil or, hey, more horror and evil!

It seems like the safest books I’ve found are the ones written more than 50 years ago, but I’ve also found that my kids DO judge a book by its cover. If it looks old it’s a turn off. So if I can find them republished with an updated cover, well, then we’re all happy.

I’ve managed to buy myself some time as my daughter (10) begins the Nancy Drew series. And the only way I got her to read those, in all their antique glory, was because I took her to the movie first. I’m figuring with over 100 books I can relax for a few months while she works her way through those.

But my son, (11) who likes the fantasy/adventure genre, stumps me. Right now he’s reading a series by Edward Eager about magic wishes. He’s also really enjoyed a few of Cornelia Funke’s books and went through a season where he devoured every Star War’s Jedi Apprentice book he could find. But it’s hard to find fantasy books that don’t confuse good and evil. I don’t mind them reading about it as long as the lines are clear.

So what books have your kids read and loved? I’m hoping to get a nice long list from all my genius bloggy friends so all I have to do is print it out and cross it off for the next school year. And as a little incentive, since technically your input will be my homeschool reading plan for next year, otherwise known as occupying-their-minds-with-something-productive-so-mom-can-get-some-stuff-done, I’m offering a little incentive.

Write a post on your blog, recommending some good reading material and linking back to this entry. Then enter your link in the Mister Linky at the end of this post. Your name will be entered into a drawing to win a Butterfly Garden from Insect Lore! And these are so cool! I just received mine today and we’ll be using it for a biology lesson for school.

So lay it on me! Help me come up with some reading ideas and spread the word so I can get a nice big juicy book list!


Cindy said...

There is a series by Gilbert Morris called The Seven Sleepers... fantasy by a Christian author. Has he read the Narnia series? Tolkein? Despite the risk of being branded a sinner bound for the depths of hell, I'll confess that my oldest daughter has read the Harry Potter books and loved them. Scott read them, too, (I only read one) and they were able to talk through stuff. If your daughter needs a break from Nancy, let me know... my girls are HUGE readers and I've been able to find some things they've loved recently.

Gayle said...

Ok, I am not going to link myself for 2 reasons:
1. I am stumped (and in the same boat with you, so I can't wait to read your list!!)
2. I already have a Butterfly Garden, but for those of you who don't...this is an AWESOME prize!
The only thing that I can think of for girls is the Elsie Dinsmore series. They are old books that have been updated, and they are chock (chalk?) full of scripture.

Rachelle said...

My kids are younger than yours so I don't have much advice to give you. But I will be keeping my eye on this post for future reference. :-)

Mandi said...

I like to get ideas from some of the homeschool ministries catalogs like Vision Forum and Veritas Press - I was surprised to find quite a few of the titles at our library - you can also check out their websites - I agree the best books are the older ones and my suggestion is to get them and read the first few chapter with your child and let them get into the story and want to read more for themselves - whenever I am reading a book to my kids you will always find my 9yo daughter in her room at night reading ahead because she just can't wait to see what happens next! ( :

Another idea would be to promise a family movie night watching the movie of the book when they finish.

Some of the great classics can be purchased for next to nothing in nice new covers from CBD - they call them mass media or thrift publications - published very cheaply so they can be sold very cheaply. I just bought a hardcover of the book 'Heidi' for $2.99 - it is actually a very nice looking book with a great picture on the cover (BTW - if you have never read Heidi - read it - read it now!!) ( :

One last idea is finding audio version for them to listen to at night - I know this does not replace reading - but builds other skills - and is a great way to get the classics in when they won't read them based on an old cover. Libraries usually have a great selection of these - we have listened to 'Where the Red Fern Grows', 'Stuart Little', 'Little House in the Big Woods', 'Island of the Blue Dolphins', Dicken's original 'A Christmas Carol' (excellent - btw!) and oh so many others in this way!

Hope these ideas help-

Shari said...

Have you tried the Redwall series by Brian Jacques?


Halfmoon Girl said...

I have a few ideas. I will post when I am able- I am off to bed right now, getting some sleep for a big day in the city tomorrow.

Cindy said...

You've been crowned by my on my blog. ;)

EE said...

I'm going to go through my kids' books and then get back to you. My middle daughter is an avid fantasy reader...unfortunately not my cup of tea. I do, however, read most of what my 12 year old daughter reads...boy, have we had some teachable moments arise from these books;)

Angela said...

My boys love the "My Life As..." series. They have very strange names like "My Life as Dinosaur Dental Floss", or "My Life as a Big Foot Breath Mint". The main character is Wally McDoogle. A blundering pre-teen who never fails to learn a character lesson through his crazy antics. My oldest two (10 and 8) often laugh out loud when reading them. Granted, my oldest by can wiz through them, but he still enjoys them.

They are written by Bill Myers, the creator of McGee & Me from Focus on the Family. I just bought a lot of seven on e-bay. Our library also has a pretty fair selection.

Renae said...

I second the suggestion of the Redwall series by Jaques. We (yes, I pre-read them before my son) enjoyed them and good/evil are clearly defined....and good wins!

Caroline said...

I have a son who hates reading in general, but devours the harry potter books - all 700+ pages of them. We are biting our nails waiting for the last one. We've all read them numerous times, and they are awesome. C.S. Lewis' Narnia series is also great.

ComfyDenim said...

Donita Paul has some fantasy books that are quite good and would be age appropriate.

This blogger actually has written her own fantasy books for youngsters - you might give her a looksee.


I'm not entering the contest-- just wanted to give my $.02 worth.

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