Jacqueline Wilson, how can you tell how age appropriate they are?(33 Posts)
DD soon to be 8 has just read the Suit Case Kid which she's loved, the only problem is some of the language. DD for example asked me what "slut" meant. I don't know if that was the only bad language used but was a little shocked as the book was from the school library.
She's keen to read more JW which I don't mind but hope to be able to help her choose what is suitable for her age. This made harder by the fact she has a reading level of a 10.5 year old, therefore can read book beyond what may be suitable. But having gone from bookworm to hardly reading last year, she's now reading again but not as avidly as she was so don't like to discourage her in any way.
My dd has read a lot of JW. I must admit I've only dipped in and out of them and I don't like them much. They seem so depressing and tbh sail a bit close to the mark imho regarding subject and language.
But dd is a bookworm and thankfully reads other things too. I've had the same problem with dd reading at an advanced age. She'll read everything going and is fast too so she's gobbled up nearly everything available in school.
She had a Kindle for Christmas and typed in 'free books for girls'. I should have checked what she'd got but she did it without telling me and ended up with something very er..adult shall we say which I deleted. She's onto Black Beauty atm which is safer ground for now.
A lot of teachers despair with JW - she has such a huge fan base and fan club that girls sometimes get hooked on her books and then its hard to get them to look at other authors. Good readers are not just children who read, but children who read a variety of styles of writing.
Equally she is an author who writes about 'issues' and these 'issues' are only relevant to some children. Its a bit of a judgement call with your child - but as a teacher and librarian my advice would be to encourage a variety of authors early on and steer her away from JW.
if you are stuck about reading ages look at the www.lovereading4kids.co.uk website which tries to age band books. My website www.booksteensandmagazines.com has age recommendations but its for teen books only and I don't include JW at the moment as I'm concentrating on less well known titles.
There is also a Werepuppy On Holiday book. Haven't read it, but presume it is as age appropriate as the Werepuppy.
I read dustbin baby
and cried and am about to start reading more of my DD books that way I know exactly what she is reading.
'Wilson is one of the 750 authors to have put her name to a petition against age guidance, a publisher initiative to include the ages at which a children's book is aimed on its back cover.'
Just read the above, dated 21.8.08 in an online Guardian article. What a surprise! Jacqueline Wilson would potentially lose a lot of sales if the content were rated for age appropriateness. Not sure what the outcome was - will have to look into it.
They are age rated on the website (but stupidly not in the books) www.jacquelinewilson.co.uk/the-books/ - on the left of the page.
Oh i wish i came to the forum before I played the CD that came with the Guardian to my 6 yo. She's fond of audio books at bed time so I didn't even think twice before playing this particular CD after saying my goodbyes and closing the door. About an hour later I hear her crying in bed (the cd had finished long before) and it took me another half an hour to calm her down and talked through the things that upset her from the story. THEN I came to check what you guys thought of Jacquline Wilson's The Cat Mummy! (really wish I came here first!!).
I just bought 'The Suitcase Kid' for my 6 year old. I didnt look at it properly first, and my oldest DD is 6, so that book will have to be put away for a few years...
have you tried any of the Michael Morpugo books? they are fab and really lovely stories. I don't want my dd reading any JW books just yet (7) I don't think they are age appropriate even tho she could easily read them. I do think that JW is a bit overrated as a writer
I too have had this problem with JW and Cathy Cassidy. We have found Anne Fine to be a lot better.
Whotookmymemeorystick, what was the title of the first book you mentioned in the under 12 section of your library? I agree about "Frome Hereabout Hill" by Michael Morpurgo - Some of the stories in that are great for Year 6 but certainly not that one!
As a general rule JW titles with "Corgi Pups" on the spine are for first readers, "Young Corgi" for next level and "Corgi Yearling" for around 9+, anything with just "Corgi" on the spine is definately for teenagers. Hope that helps.
If she likes Jacqueline Wilson she might also like Anne Fine, who writes books for a variety of ages, but, like JW, "issue-based" stories. There are quite a few suitable for 7-8 year olds.
"The Monster Story Teller" by JW is suitable for a youger child, IMO.
If she is good reader then you could try things like Heidi, Ballet Shoes, Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, The Borrowers, Harry the Poisonous Centipede, Witch Baby and Me, How to Train Your Dragon, The Tail of Emily Windsnap - there are lots of classics and new writing that are worth reading, and a bit of a challenge, but are not inappropiate in terms of content. I would stick to the younger level Hilary McKay and Karen McCombie though.
You do have to watch out for the age level that some publishers put on books - many are just plain wrong, IMVHO.
Oh well, then perhaps not Vicky Angel then. I've read some of the books, which seem fine, but not others. My dds don't seem too traumatised or overly-knowing though, maybe they gloss over these bits.
Fennel, I'd dispute the suitability of Vicky Angel - which I took back to my DD's school this very morning as I didn't enjoy being asked by a 7 year old what prostitution means! Also the word "slag", and the fact that the central character bemoans having died without having the chance to experience sex (that bit was in a section which DH was reading to her as her bedtime story, so he had to do some very rapid re-wording!).
A shame really, cos I thought the central story was really well handled. But the characters are teenagers and I'm really not sure that this book belongs in a primary school library at all (DD is my eldest though, so I'm not very well up on what age older kids really start reading about sex!).
I think we might hold back from JW for a bit, though Tracy Beaker and Cliffhanger both went down a treat.
I would leave JW until she's a bit older. I read a few when I was a bit older and they are quite heavy. Tracey Beaker is a good one, it has been made into a series for Cbbc and isn't too grown up but I would still read it first.
My 8 and 7yo dds have read quite a few. Some of the ones I'd consider suitable for a 7/8yo, besides the ones mentioned here:
Connie and the water babies
also, as others have mentioned:
My dds have read a couple of the ones probably not suitable for this age too - Dustbin baby, illustrated mum, but we talk about the issues which they deal with and I quite like these opportunities. We know lots of children in situations similar to the books so I find it helpful as a discussion starter - children who've been adopted or are in children's homes, children who have possibly fatal illnesse, children whose parents die or desert them. These things do happen to our acquaintances and my dds do notice, so I don't see the books which deal with the issues as too inappropriate. Real life is pretty inappropriate at times.
I read them first with dd1 and now dd2 is reading them.
Thing with reading them first is you know what the questions are going to be and in what contex the words are used.
ALL the kids in JW's books are unhappy! . It gets wearing after a while and a lot of the older kids (at my school anyway)have given up on her for this very reason.
OK. I may be over cautious here, but I wouldn't let a 7 year old read ANY Jaqueline Wilson - even the ones for younger readers without reading it myself first. Even if they are suitable, they all contain themes and ideas which I would want to be prepared to discuss. The Cat Mummy, for example has a very unhappy child keeping the body of a dead cat in her wardrobe.
Small problem in pre reading dd books is the time factor. She's can speed read and I can't what takes her a night will take me two.
That is one of the main reason I possed the question of what JW is age suitable for my dd. So need to know what the younger novels are.
I'm really shocked about your libraries. Mine is quite strict about the categories and no new book comes in without it having been rated.
Looks like you may have to read them yourself first.
I had a look at one at the library in the under 12 section. Thank goodness I did as the girl gave a boy in her class a blowjob, even though she didn't want to, just because everyone else did.
Our library burnt down a few years ago and all the stock is brand new. I think that they hadn't had time to scrutinise each book. Also we rented a Michael Morpurgo audio tape rated under 12 that detailed a teen contemplating, at length, suicide. Which was nice on a 6 hour car trip.
Do have a flick through first. All her books are interesting, you just need to be sure of the age-group.
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