- Books, Literature, and Writing
10 Great Children's Books That Will Get Kids Reading.
Ten Great Books And Authors That Your Children Will Enjoy.
We all know that while some children love to read, others show little interest in books, particularly the boys. As a teacher, I am keen to get all children reading more regularly and more importantly enjoying reading. Here I am going to suggest 10 books or authors that might capture the interest of your children and get them reading. The books will be for younger and older children as well as young teenagers with a more boy focus, however that doesn't mean girls won't love some of these titles too. The recommended ages are meant only as a guide, obviously some children will be ready for these books slightly younger than the recommendation.
I will try to avoid the obvious titles like 'Harry Potter' and 'The Chronicles of Narnia' as the chances are, if they were interested in these titles, they would have read them already. I will also try to include a range of styles and genres to give you more chance of finding something that interests them.
Even if there is only one book in the list that they read, then as a teacher I am happy and hopefully it might spark a greater interest and encourage them to read more books by the same author, or more in the genre. Don't forget to let me know if your children enjoy any of the titles, or if you have some suggestions of your own!
10.' Horrid Henry'.
Recommended For Ages 7-9.
While I was teaching in England, Horrid Henry was easily the most popular book character in every year 3 class I taught. The series of books revolve around a Henry who is naughty as the title suggests, his brother Perfect Peter, his friends who all have alliterative names to tell us about their character, his teachers and his friends. The books are usually made up of 3 short stories, in each of which Henry gets up to some sort of mischief which is naughty, but usually not too bad. This involves him tricking his brother, trying to get out of something or trying to make money.
The stories are quite short with fairly straight forward vocabulary which makes them accessible to most young readers. They also involve situations which children can relate to and contain lots of childish humour. There are approximately 20 books in the Horrid Henry library too, which means if your children do take to them, there are plenty of of other titles to choose from.They are written by Francesca Simon and illustrated by Tony Ross who is responsible for several other illustrated books which children love, and also created 'The Little Princess' which is now a successful animated TV show. Horrid Henry is also now a successful cartoon series itself as well and has also been made into a stage show.
If you have children between 7 and 9 then they are definitely worth a try. I highly recommend them.
9. 'The Hunger Games'.
Recommended For Ages 12+.
Ok, so I am jumping on the bandwagon a bit here, but children are loving the film version of this at the moment so take advantage and use it as a way to get them to read more.
This trilogy by Suzanne Collins is set in the future, where a boy and a girl from different areas of a nation called Panem must fight to the death in televised games to win food for their district. May sound a bit gruesome, but it is a great read, after all they don't usually make bad stories into movies do they?
If your children loved the movie then why not give it a try?
8. 'Holes' by Louis Sachar.
Recommended For Ages 9+.
This book is all about an unfortunate young boy called Stanley Yelnats, who gets sent to a special camp called Camp Green Lake for young criminals when he is found guilty of stealing some shoes that belong to a big sports star that were being auctioned for charity. The book jumps between Stanley and a story about his ancestors, one of whom had brought the family bad luck by stealing a pig from a fortune teller.
At the camp the children are forced to dig holes in the now dry lake bed. It turns out they are looking for treasure, which by coincidence had once belonged to another of Stanley's ancestors who had been robbed by the outlaw Kissin' Kate Barlow.
The book is made up of lots of short chapters which is great for children who struggle to concentrate for longer periods and contains lots of twists and interestingly nicknamed characters such as Armpit.
Like many of the other books on the list, this has also been made into a movie in 2003. Another great read for children aged nine and above.
Oh, and by the way, yes his surname IS his first name spelled backwards.
7. The 'Artemis Fowl' Series.
Recommended For Ages 10+.
This series by Eion Colfer is another excellent read for children who are becoming more confident with their reading. The story is about a teenage genius and criminal Mastermind named Artemis Fowl. It is a cross between a science fiction, a fantasy and an action novel.
The books involve lots of fantasy creatures such as dwarfs and fairy elves, but they are not the traditional creatures we imagine when we hear those words, for example the fairy elves are from a a special Police squad called LEPrecon who sound a bit like the Navy Seals, and the Dwarf called 'Mulch Diggums' is an expert burgular who rapidly eats his way through the ground to get into buildings but not before opening a flap at the back of his trousers to dispose of the soil as he eats!
There are currently 7 action packed books in the series, with the eighth being released in mid 2012. They are great reads and again I highly recommend them.
6. 'The Guinness Book of World Records'
Recommended For Ages 8+.
A very different book to the others in my list, but still a really interesting read. Boys in particular seem to love non-fiction books and love finding out about the weird and the wonderful. They may not spend hours reading it in one go, but this is definitely a book they will go back to again and again.
You'll soon be tired of hearing about the world's tallest dog or the world's biggest pizza! Well maybe you will, but you children won't. Maybe it will even inspire them to break the record for the world's tidiest bedroom. Well maybe not, but we can dream can't we!
5. Books by Anthony Horowitz.
Recommended For Ages 10+.
If your kids like James Bond then they will love Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider books. Alex is a teenager whose Dad dies mysteriously and in the first book he decides to investigate. Lucky for Alex, his Dad had made sure he learned lots of useful skills as he grew up which help him along the way. In these action packed books Alex saves the day on a number of occasions where only a teenage spy could infiltrate the devious plots of the villains. The first book 'Stormbreaker' was made into a Movie in 2006.
Horowitz has also written a number of other series of books including his 'Power of Five' series, his 'Horowitz Horror' books and the funny 'Diamond brothers' series which includes titles such as 'the Falcon's Malteser', 'The French Confection' and 'I Know What You Did Last Wednesday'.
I have read several of his books personally and enjoyed every one. They are also titles which children who are becoming confident readers should enjoy. Again I highly recommend your children give them a chance.
4. 'Horrible Histories'.
Recommended For Ages 8-12.
History is boring right? WRONG! Children love reading these funny and gruesome books about various times in the past. These books present history in a fresh and interesting way to make the children want to find out more. They retell the past with all the blood and gore that children love. Your children will enjoy reading them and learn about the past at the same time.
The books by Terry Deary have been hugely successful with more than 60 titles in the range, selling millions of copies worldwide and being made into a successful TV show. If only the history books we had in school had been as interesting!
Another series of books I highly recommend you try.
Recommended For All Ages.
Alright, I know this is a very broad heading indeed, but I felt it was important to include a comic book in here and choosing just one to recommend was just too hard. If you have read any of my other Squidoo Lenses then you would have seen this coming and are probably surprised it is only number 3.
I love comic books. They are a great genre of reading material that are often over looked or dismissed because 'they are just pictures'. But to dismiss comics so quickly is to dismiss one of the most likely ways you will actually get a child who does like reading back into books. Children, particularly boys, love superheroes and aliens. Just look at the range of Spiderman branded clothes, games, stationery, lunchboxes and other merchandise that is available. Look at the big films coming this summer - The Avengers, Amazing Spiderman and the latest Batman. Don't forget the cartoon too, Ben 10 is huge with young boys at the moment. He is a character created by an artist who draws comics and of course there is a comic for Ben 10 too. Young boys love superheroes so we would be stupid to ignore this and miss a huge opportunity to support them with their learning.
There is a huge range of comics out there, so it is very likely that there is a title your child would enjoy no matter what their age. So what are you waiting for, get down to your local newsagent or even better your local comic book store and buy them some comics! Don't forget about 'Free Comic Book Day' in May too where lots of local comic stores give out selected comics for free!
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2. 'George's Marvelous Medicine'.
Recommended For Ages 7+.
I know I said I was going to avoid the obvious choices, but no list of great children's books would be complete without at least one Roald Dahl Book in it. Quite frankly I could have put any of his books in here and it would have deserved its place, but i decided to go for this one as it is my personal favorite.
The story is about a small boy George who lives on a farm and is left at home with his old, mean Grandma and told not to forget her medicine. He thinks her current medicine is doing her no good as she is still horrible so makes up his own from all the liquids and powders he can find around the house. It turns out his medicine causes some marvelous things to happen.
Children love this book. I have read it to children in primary school who I teach on several occasions and it never fails to grab and hold their attention, particularly when Grandma finally gets her medicine.
If your child hasn't read this already, then I would recommend it highly. It is also fun to read to children, especially if you put on the voices and make the sound effects!
Roald Dahl on Amazon.
1. Phillip Pullman's 'His Dark Materials Trilogy'.
Recommended For Ages 10+.
This is one of my all time favorite series of books ever, and I'm not just talking about children's books. I first read these books as a teacher trying to find some good books for school, but I absolutely loved the series. This fantasy series revolves around a young girl Lyra who is from a parallel world to ours, where everyone's soul is visible to others as something called a daemon, which by adulthood has taken the shape of something that represents their character. She travels her own world and across into parallel worlds on an epic journey. I will not attempt to tell you more about the story as I will not do it the justice it deserves.
The series is made up of three books, although the titles of these varies depending on the country you live in. Thy are 'The Northern Lights', 'The Subtle Knife' and 'The Amber Spyglass. In America the first book was retitled 'The Golden Compass' which was also the title of the film they made based on the first book starring Daniel Craig and Nicole Kidman, but please do not judge the book by the average film they made from it. It really is an excellent read for children who are more confident readers and for adults too. I really can't recommend this book highly enough.
Books or e-Reader?
Some say books are going to be replaced by digit e-readers and Kindles. What do you think?
Do you prefer to read a proper paper book or to read from an e-reader?
Some great sites relating to children's books.
- The Lovereading4kids website
A great site where you can read extracts from thousands of children's books. You do have to register, but it is free. An excellent way to try before you buy and an excellent resource for teachers. No plugins required for this one!
- Horrid Henry Homepage
A great site to get a feel for the books with lots of related activities. A free website, but plugins are required to view it properly.
- Roald Dahl books
Loads of activities linked to his books for children, parents and teachers. If you love his books, you'll love this website.
If you agree or disagree with any of my choices please don't hesitate to let me know!