'Good' books for 11 year old DS(26 Posts)
DS is a keen reader but I'm always struggling to find books for him that will stretch and develop his reading but aren't too advanced and therefore put him off. At a recent parents evening his English teacher suggested he should be reading adult books by now and suggested 1984 which we tried (and I know I read at the same age) but he didn't get into it. I'm struggling to think of anything else.
My ds liked 1984 at 14 but did enjoy Animal Farm earlier, he already knew about Stalin and we chatted about who the other characters represented. He's interested in history so at that age he also enjoyed Biggles books and the early Hornblower stories as well as books aimed at children but written a while ago, so that the language is more challenging than that of modern books, e.g The Silver Sword.
What sort of books has he enjoyed reading recently?
Hobbit? or LOTR - my DS read both at that age
39 Steps or similar - maybe Sherlock Holmes - language is difficult but could team with watching some of the films?
Lord of the flies/Treasure Island/Anthony Horowitz
Thanks, he read Animal Farm and liked it but I think he'll enjoy it more later when he's studied the Russian Revolution and it's aftermath. He has read a few Biggles but that's a good idea as there's loads more and the Hornblower ones. I don't think I know The Silver Sword though I've seen it mentioned on here.
He's read The Hobbit and the first LOTR but not that keen, he's not hugely into fantasy. He's also read a lot of Sherlock Holmes which he enjoyed despite finding the language challenging. 39 steps is a thought, what's that like to read? He likes spy/adventure stories which is not my cup of tea!
Not sure about Lord of the Flies, isn't that a bit grim (another I've not read!) but read and enjoyed Treasure Island and all Anthony Horowitz some years ago.
Most recent books he has read, to give you some idea, are The Hunger Games trilogy, the first two Hitchhikers, the most recent Robert Muchamore, two Charlie Higsons and Animal Farm! He's interested in history/spies/adventure/mild horror, he wanted to try Stephen King but I gather the school librarian steered him away from that.
So on the list so far I have:
The Silver Sword
Lord of the Flies
Any others? And thanks for all help!
Has he read the Gerald Durrell books?
I loved the Saint when I was that age, but I'm not sure it counts as 'improving'
DS - same age - has recently read
The Curious Incident of the dog in the night time
Terry Pratchett - various
Bzerk / reloaded
Life of pi
Pure, Julianna Baggott
Numbers series by Rachel Ward
39 steps fairly similar to Holmes (if not a bit easier) as far as language goes iirc. DS's English teacher recommended it when he was in Y7.
has he read Plague/Lies/Gone? Teen rather than adult fiction but went down very well here. TBH, I often think it doesn't matter what they are reading, as long as they are reading and enjoying it.
what about Le Carre - the Smiley series (can't remember how grim they are)
yes, LOTF is quite grim - I read it at 15 and was early enough for me
I was about that age when I first read "The Eagle has landed" (Jack Higgins). They aren't that much worse than the cherub series except more people die and not always from the "bad" side.
If you're looking for stretching, then I don't think Biggles is what you're looking for, unless there's a different levels for them-my ds (mad about planes and WWII) enjoys them and he's much younger! Silver Sword is also a children's book, dh remembers it being the first chapter book he read-a struggle but he was determined as he'd seen a film of it, so I suspect a little easy for your ds.
What about more classics types: Prisoner of Zenda, Brother Cadfile (or however you spell it)some of the Captain Marryat (Midshipman Easy/Children of the New Forest-children's stories, but quite hard as the language is a little dated), Watership Down, Bond series, Reach for the Stars (Douglas Bader biography). There's also more John Buchans-39 steps is his best known, but I think there were 5 in the series.
I have an avid 11/12 year old and some of the books he has enjoyed which are 'good' books have been:
The Outsiders by S E Hinton
mortal Engines by Philip Reeve
Gods and Warriors by Michelle Paver
Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman
There's a Boy in the Girls Bathroom by Louis Sachar
I put together reading list here if it helps:
Dc has been reading a lot of fact and bio about WW1 and WW2 would any of that interest him?
Susan Cooper - not just the Dark is Rising series, but all her other stuff is excellent too.
Alistair MacLean too - high action and adventure and no sex scenes - proper British respect for The Ladies in them like James Bond but they all keep their clothes on.
Cider with Rosie
The Scarlet Pimpernel
I don't see WHY he SHOULD be reading adult books. so what if he is capable of reading them, he is 11. I don't think the teacher should be saying something like that.
I was a very advanced reader and was told similar things (and am still cross about it as you can tell) and I HATED the stuff they thought I should read. Luckily my teacher mother said I should read stuff I wanted to so I spent a couple of years reading things below my age supposedly but I was much happier, then I went on to reading autobiographies and biographies and settled down into those. I can't help with suggested texts as I only really can think of girl ones but please don't let them make him think he has to read older stuff to develop more when in reality he should just be reading to have fun. I loved Dick King Smith at that age - way below my ability but much more fun and relaxing.
perhaps try some autobiographies (you may wan to select people carefully to make sure they aren't too erm colourful)
Thank you for all your thoughts and suggestions.
Of course the most important thing is that he enjoys books and reading, I am not going to insist he reads nothing but classic adult literature from now on and I don't think his teacher meant that either. I just wanted a range of ideas to suggest to him when he is wandering vaguely around the library wondering where to start! Some of the very best books I read were suggestions from my mum during my teens and I'd like to do the same but since DS and I like different things I find it harder.
Anyway, from my own shelves but inspired by this thread I have given him 'A curious incident of the dog in the night time' and 'The secret diary of Adrian Mole' (which he will start when he has finished the Jeremy Clarkson book he's currently reading - nothing but high class literature in this house!!) and then I'm suggesting the following:
'She is not invisible' Marcus Sedgewick
'I am David' Anne Holm
'The Silver Sword' Ian Serralier
Any Alistair MacLean
'My Family and Other Animals' Gerald Durrell
'The Outsiders' SE Hinton
'Noughts and Crosses' Malorie Blackman
Thank you all so much, I really feel I have some direction now.
Another thought - maybe his teacher could give some suggestions!
Certainly I know at that age our english teacher would suggest books / authors to people that they might like to look out for (ie for individual reading, not class books, if that makes sense).
I'm not actually sure that 'adult books' is necessarily a helpful category, as it is probably more intellectually challenging to read many of the current well written teen books than it would be to read the trashy adult market thrillers a lot of us read at 11/12/13.
He's 11. I have a reading 12 year old, and I haven't given him Noughts and Crosses yet. I think he's too young, and it will either really upset him, or it will go over his head and it'll spoil it for when he's old enough.
I really don't get this "should be reading adult books" thing. Or the "stretch and develop" thing either. If a child is reading, then just let them get on with it, the reading will develop as the brain does.
When I was young, I read adult books and the classics because there wasn't anything else! There are loads of fantastic books for kids nowadays, so they don't actually have to read adult books.
Oh, and I really suspect that, as people subtract units of alcohol and cigarettes when they talk about their consumption, they also subtract years from the age when they read and enjoyed the classics!
I loved the Riddle of the Sands (quite Buchan like) at about that age (but accept I may be susceptible to the misremembered age thing).
I agree that older children's literature is often a bit more challenging wrt language.
How about Jules Verne?
Kidnapped, The Black Arrow and other RL Stevenson
I agree completely curlew. There are so many fantastic books written for preteen and teen boys these days that I don't see why they have to read old classics or adult's books.
My DS is an avid reader and he would just not get as much enjoyment out of reading some of the older books (written twenty plus years ago) as he does get from reading the Cherub series, or The Hunger Games or the other current books that the kids his age are all into these days.
I loved Sherlock at 12, the eagle has landed at about 13, The day of the Jackal is superb, but very detailed.
Desmon bagley, and Dick francis are easy adult books.
LOTF is only fit for lighting fires, it is vile
I've just bought ds who is 10 the Wrinkle in Time quintet, recommended by another MNer. They look fab.
Ds really enjoyed the earlier Malory Blackman books, Noughts and Crosses is next.
My experience, as an English teacher and a mother, is that it is far more important that your son enjoys his reading. He may well be able to read an adult novel but being forced to read one will soon stop him enjoying reading. Children's books are fab these days so just let him enjoy reading as pure pleasure. Totally agree with Mortal Engines also anything by Phillip Pullman. If he likes dystopian fiction Maggot Moon is amazing, although very distressing so maybe too old, if you want humour Skulduggery and Artemis Fowl are great and hugely popular with adults!
Theodore Boone books - John Grisham
The Graveyard Book - Neil Gaiman ( of the Coraline fame, a Carnegie medal winning author)
Brian Selznick's books for the wonderful style of narration (Hugo, the movie, was based on his book The Invention of Hugo Cabaret)
The Arrival - Shaun Tan - A book with no words, just pictures soulfully telling the story of an immigrant.
Also - A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
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