The Oregon Book Report - Book News from Oregon

What are the happening books for kids?

May 20, 2010

By “Miss Nelson”,
Salem Elementary Teacher,

As a teacher, I try not to spend too much of my own money on my classroom, but when it comes to new books that the kids are dying to read, I find it hard to resist. One particularly challenging demographic is the reluctant, below-grade-level, male reader. Lots of thought and study has gone into finding solutions to motivate them to dive into a good book, because research tells us that kids need to be reading about two hours a day in order to make one-year’s growth per year.

With that in mind, here are some the books I splurged on because it is so rewarding seeing a string of little boys more excited about books than soccer:

1.    The “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series. These award-winning books are written in the style of a journal faithfully sketched and written by a scrawny middle-schooler who finds himself always getting the short end of the stick.

2.    The “Bone” series. These colorfully illustrated books are in a very popular genre called graphic novels. They are as long as a chapter book and have very advanced vocabulary, but are accessible to struggling readers due to the pictures accompanying each text box and speech bubble.  I can never keep these books on the shelf, and the girls love them too!

3.    The “Ricky Ricotta” series. These books are very easy reads but are still entertaining enough for older readers. The books feature Ricky Ricotta and his Mighty Robot in their adventures against nemesis across the galaxy. They also include fun, interactive cartoons that you can flip back and forth to see the action sequences take place!

4.    The “Stink” and “Judy Moody” series. Judy Moody is a grouchy but extremely endearing and charismatic third-grader whose stories are filled with humor about school and family and friends. Her little brother, Stink, is a bit of an underdog who was such a great character that he ended up with his own beloved series as well. These books make great read-alouds, but the versions you can buy on tape add so much color and life to the story, that I have to recommend both. And of course, the kids love reading them to themselves over and over.

5.    Then there are the classics: Books by Judy Blume or Roald Dahl, “Horrible Harry” books, “Henry and Mudge” books, and “Captain Underpants” books. (The “Captain Underpants” books probably aren’t old enough to be classics, but they are older than the rest of my selections so they ended up at the bottom of the list.)

So if you have an upper-elementary, or middle-school aged child in your life, these are my humble recommendations.

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Discuss this article

bubbleboo @ The Thought Bubble May 20, 2010

Thanks for these suggestions – my son is 7 but with a reading age of 13-14. It’s difficult to find challenging books on a literacy level, but with content suitable for an infant-age child!

He loves Dahl, and Enid Blyton – but his absolute favourite author is Michael Morpurgo and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend his books (which span many age ranges) for kids!

Gina May 20, 2010

Don’t forget Twilight. Never seen kids devour books as much.

aha May 21, 2010

Oh Just saying the word Judy Blume brings back memories. She is a classic. I read everyone of her books in the school library and there were lots. I wonder if kids will still love them as much as we did. Pass them on anyways.

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