Wanting my child to read a book that doesn't involve warring factions, them and us situations and children old before their time

(83 Posts)
burntthesprouts Fri 12-Feb-16 01:10:24

...that really. My DS is 12 and will devour books and then not read for months - he's gone through Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, Wolf Brother, Noughts and Crosses, The Hunger Games, the Narnia series, Divergence (sp?) - I rejoice in the fact that he's reading and then realise that all the books involve outsiders battling against authority, being thrown into horribly adult, merciless situations and surviving but being damaged in some way. Please can someone give me ideas for books that are uplifting that don't involve the main character being crucified/martyred/tortured etc. And toilet humour/silliness, whilst it amuses him, won't sustain him for the length of a novel. Was thinking Great Expectations but then thought I'm just being a ponce and he might not be ready for Dickens yet! And actually Pip gets shafted on all fronts doesn't he - bloody hell Drama innit!

GreatBritishBakeOff Fri 12-Feb-16 01:39:31

Has he read Terry Praychett? He wrote many wonderful books with humour, drama and enough action to keep the pages turning. I started reading Pratchett around that age and utterly loved them all.

burntthesprouts Fri 12-Feb-16 01:56:47

No he hasn't GreatBritishBakeOff and neither have I but always admired him from a distance. Might try his books because they are very clever AND funny. My DS has read the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy and enjoyed that - am I right in thinking that Pratchett is similar in a sci-fi, fantastical way?

Gruach Fri 12-Feb-16 02:00:56

Erm ...

Emil and the Detectives

The Call of the Wild

Letters From a Lost Uncle

Watership Down

Anything by P. G. Wodehouse

- off the top of my head. But you know he's just going to read what he wants, don't you? Did he actually request "uplifting" books?grin

Has he read everything by Susan Cooper, Rosemary Sutcliff, Alan Garner, Ursula K le Guin, John Wyndham?

Oh - something brilliant and absorbing and on a grand scale - the Gormenghast trilogy.

burntthesprouts Fri 12-Feb-16 04:04:55

Watership Down uplifting??!!

Thanks Gruach for your suggestions there's some good ones in there (and don't get me wrong, Watership Down is one of my favourite books especially in the 'making me cry' stakes!)

I'm just seeking balance and so far, the emphasis in my DS' reading has been a little skewed. I will investigate some of your other suggestions!

HermioneJeanGranger Fri 12-Feb-16 04:57:29

Terry Pratchett
Philip Pullman
The Eragon series
Neil Gaiman.
Bill Bryson.

busymum17 Fri 12-Feb-16 05:16:21

DCs have recommended:

- Artemis Fowl series
- My side of the mountain series
- Ingo series (maybe a bit more girly though?)
- Anything by Diana Wynne Jones
- My family and Other animals
- The Weirdstone of Brisingamen
- Percy Jackson
- The Wizard of Earthsea (12 probably a bit young to fully understand some other Ursula le Guin?)
-Inkheart books
- His Dark Materials series

Not all uplifting obviously

FindoGask Fri 12-Feb-16 05:20:51

I was always a keen reader as a child and my parents were pretty strict (very strict by today's standards) but even they let me read pretty much what I wanted! Sometimes my dad would punt an occasional childhood favourite of his my way - Rosemary Sutcliffe or Rudyard Kipling, but generally I was left to like what I liked.

ChalkHearts Fri 12-Feb-16 05:35:45

YABU to try to control / influence his reading.

He's reading really great and thought provoking books. Leave him to it.

Mistigri Fri 12-Feb-16 05:53:12

I think it is very difficult to control or guide a 12 year old's reading, beyond banning unsuitable stuff (and even that's not easy in a world of e-books).

DS has just turned 13, and in the last year he's moved on from children's books to adult sci-fi, the books he has read so far seem fairly tame though - he's more interested in space exploration/ adventure type literature than dystopian/fantasy type novels.

DD was very into fantasy and by the age of 12 had read some wholly unsuitable things, but I censor very little (for books anyway).

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Fri 12-Feb-16 06:06:31

YABU. All the great children's authors do epic conflict, eye watering violence and fearsome moral choice because that's what children like. Mau burying everyone he knows in Nation, Sparrowhawk chasing the Shadow beyond the East Reach, and Red Riding Hood turning the wolf and the 3 little pigs into fashion accessories (according to Dahl).

Oysterbabe Fri 12-Feb-16 08:29:11

Was just coming on to suggest Pratchett's. I started reading it at 13 and loved it.

Gruach Fri 12-Feb-16 08:33:03

Sorry OP - I had meant to add an explanation for the inclusion of Watership Down, but it was late and now I've forgotten what it was.

I'd also planned a lengthy disquisition on the absolute necessity of outsiderhood, mercilessness and redemption in all worthwhile fiction - but I see DTTYC has done it for me.star

At 12 I was reading a lot of Georgette Heyer. D'you think he'd like those?

acasualobserver Fri 12-Feb-16 08:36:54

Make some recommendations but don't get fussed if he ignores them. Continue to rejoice that he is reading at all.

Trills Fri 12-Feb-16 08:36:55

Gone series by Michael Grant.

Only kidding.

It's a brilliant series but exactly not what you asked for.

Gruach Fri 12-Feb-16 08:39:48

wink Was the emoji I was searching for ..

Arkhamasylum Fri 12-Feb-16 09:34:12

Let him read what he likes.

BernardsarenotalwaysSaints Fri 12-Feb-16 09:40:52

I'm another one who recommends Terry Pratchett. Think I started on them at about 11 or 12. I think Dickens may be a bit of a stretch at that age (I love classics but do have to be in the mood) you could always try him on Christmas Carol nearer December though as it's all short stories so will give him a taste of his writing style. Also what about James Herriot? I still enjoy those books immensly.

TheRealBarenziah Fri 12-Feb-16 09:47:04

I agree with the sentiment that books of that style are popular exactly because that is what children and teenagers like. At that age, books that take you outside of your own experiences, that help you understand the world and your place in it, are important.

That being said, I second the John Wyndham recommendation. I devoured his stuff from age 11-15. The Chrysalids is still my favourite book ever.

RafaIsTheKingOfClay Fri 12-Feb-16 09:49:02

I think a lot of the books mentioned are going to fall outside the OPs criteria.

Pullman's Dark Materials is definitely out, as is Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series.

How strictly are you defining children being thrown into adult situations?

BadDoGooder Fri 12-Feb-16 10:13:58

Second Terry Pratchett, Neil Gaiman and anything by Douglas Adams.

However, I was an obsessive reader at 12, and read anything I could lay my hands on, and was never censored from any book.
My favourites at 12 were Hitch Hikers, Terry Pratchett, and I think that year I read "Oranges are not the only fruit" and "Cider with Rosie" about a hundred times each! I had read Lord of the flies by 10!
I don't think censoring books is a good idea, my mum credited me with enough common sense and critical thinking skills to approach the issues raised properly. She always said if there was anything I didn't understand, I should talk to her about it, but I don't think I did!

timeKeepingOnMars Fri 12-Feb-16 10:20:17

My Dad bought 1984 and Brave New world for me at that age.

James Herriot books - they were very good read and was PG Wodehouse.

My younger children are already giving the disc world books ago.

How about Robert Heinlein? I loved his books, at your ds's age, and still do.

I'd also suggest the Pern novels, by Anne McCaffrey, though those do have some adult bits in them.

What about classic detective fiction - the Lord Peter Wimsey novels by Dorothy L Sayers, for example.

Joan Aiken's books (Night birds over Nantucket, The Wolves of Willoughby Chase etc) are great for that age, I think.

SurelyYoureJokingMrFeynman Fri 12-Feb-16 10:44:32

Second the James Herriot books.

I also enjoyed Born Free and its sequels.

Although I agree with PP that you should just make them available rather than attempt to control his reading.

queenoftheworld93 Fri 12-Feb-16 11:14:17

YABU to try and influence what he reads. I was an avid reader at that age and tend to go through phases - right now it's thrillers but before that I loved silly romantic comedy types. At your sons age I loved similar books. They're often well written and explore sensitive subjects without your son having to experience trauma/war etc for himself. Might help develop empathy. I remember the Harry Potter series and noughts and crosses teaching me an awful lot!

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