Books for ds - age 8, reading age 13ish.

(43 Posts)
beansmum Thu 21-Feb-13 00:37:02

At the moment ds is getting through a book a day, things like Percy Jackson, the Alex Rider books, Artemis Fowl. I'm happy for him to read whatever he wants, I don't want to push him, but I can't keep up with the demand. I was thinking that something a bit more difficult might slow him down a bit but he's not necessarily going to be interested in books aimed at teenagers. Any ideas? It doesn't have to be fiction - he likes non-fiction too. Science, dinosaurs and history.

MrsShrek3 Thu 21-Feb-13 01:04:47

I've got one of these too. Done Harry potter? How to train your dragon and the rest of the series? Lots of books by Michael Murpurgo are good for this age group, Kensuke's kingdom and so on. I think reading age is less of an issue (ds2 is 9, reading age 15) it's more to do with keeping them entertained. We've currently got six books from the local library as his book habit is both too expensive and too many bookshelves are required grin To be fair, he does re-read, but that's not entirely the point wink

Alonglongway Thu 21-Feb-13 01:11:36

Hunger games, noughts and crosses, the carbon diaries. All good modern stuff. And have you gone back into classics - William, Jennings, CS Lewis. I am David, Judith Kerr

deleted203 Thu 21-Feb-13 01:12:21

What about some older 'classic' ones, such as:-

The Narnia series
The Hobbit
The Weirdstone of Brisingamen
'The Dark is Rising' by Susan Cooper
Anything by Diana Wynne Jones, but particularly Charmed Life and the Chrestomanci series.

For more recent stuff has he tried:-

Skulduggery Pleasant
Midnight for Charlie Bone
The Time Riders series of books?

MrsShrek3 Thu 21-Feb-13 01:17:55

I kinda assumed that Narnia, Hobbit, Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy and all the classics would have been done, sorry....
Also reading Terry Pratchett here, alongside a load of nature non-fiction smile

beansmum Thu 21-Feb-13 01:31:15

He's already read a lot of these but some good ideas, thanks!

I haven't read a lot of the more modern teen fiction, so I'm always a bit unsure if it's suitable, but I guess he'll tell me if he doesn't like it.

madamehooch Thu 21-Feb-13 10:27:26

beans - I think you're quite right that books for teens are not going to necessarily interest him at the age of 8.

There is sometimes the assumption that, just because a book is aimed at teenagers, it is harder to read that those aimed at a younger audience. This is often not the case. The Hunger Games is no harder to read that Percy Jackson and Skulduggery Pleasant. It's the content that makes it more appropriate for an older child. I think the problem is is that a lot of teen books are very 'readable' as the author's intention is that they be read by a wide audience, not just by good readers. The upshot of this is that younger 'good' readers find books such as Hunger Games and Robert Muchamore very accessible but neither series is aimed content wise at an 8 year old.

It sounds like the books he likes to read 'Percy Jackson', 'Skulduggery', 'Artemis' are quite genre specific - fantasy/action. My advice would be to widen what he reads to include other genres, rather than to automatically go for something 'older.' The problem, of course, is finding these books in bookshops and libraries. I would highly recommend a gem of a book called 'The Ultimate Book Guide,' (ISBN 9781408104385) which recommends over 700 top titles from all genres aimed at 8-12 year olds. Some of them are now out of print but most should be available second hand from the internet.

I am also involved in a book testing project and am looking for children to send books to over the Easter and summer holidays. If you're interested, you can always PM me for further info.

Sherlock Holmes
Jules Verne

booksteensandmagazines Thu 21-Feb-13 16:26:16

It is hard to find books with a high reading age and a suitable content - the tendency is to use classics as generally the content is suitable but they are harder to read because the language is more difficult. Some titles that might appeal are:

Call of the Wild by Jack London
Treasure Island by Robert Stevenson
My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
The Hatchet - Gary Paulsen

More modern books aimed at the 11+ market where the content is still appropriate:

Trash by Andy Mulligan
Soldier Dog by Sam Angus
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
Shipbreaker by Paolo Bacigalupi
Gods and Warriors by Michelle Paver (and her other series Chronicles of Ancient Darkness)

I have read all of these (apart from the Chronicles of Ancient Darkness) as I run a review website for teenagers so you can have a quick look at the plot summary and my review to see if it might appeal. The link is

Takver Thu 21-Feb-13 17:01:27

I think MadameHooch's advice is really good. As she says looking at different genres is a very easy way to find lots more books to read.

Having said that there are a few more adventure/action/fantasy books I can think of that dd has enjoyed which might suit (if he hasn't read them!)

Temeraire series
Eragon series
Diana Wynne Jones - Chrestomanci series in particular but loads of the others too
Susan Cooper Dark is Rising series

I assume he's read the Swallows and Amazons books? If not they are long and there are 12 of them so might last a while grin

Other genres:
The Roman Mysteries (there are loads of these) by Caroline Lawrence
all the Laura Ingalls Wilder Little House books

Non fiction - presumably it depends what he's interested in - obviously the advantage of being an early fluent reader is that you can read a wider range of books on subjects that interest you. DD is very keen on wildlife/nature so has books on birdwatching, wildlife behaviour etc.

Re-reading is also a useful habit to get into if you are a fast enthusiastic reader . . .

MadameHooch, I'm sure dd would volunteer if you want more book-testers! (She's 10 going on 11 though, so maybe too old for you)

Takver Thu 21-Feb-13 17:03:37

Of course it depends on how big your library is (ours is minute, so ordering books is our only option) but I remember as a child simply starting at A and working my way around the room week by week, 4 books a week from each of the two local libraries smile

madamehooch Thu 21-Feb-13 17:21:36

Hi Takver. I'm actually looking for booktesters of all ages so your DD would be most welcome. If you just PM me with the books she currently likes to read, I'll know the appropriate level reading wise.

wearymum200 Thu 21-Feb-13 19:38:06

I too spend a lot of time keeping up with ds1's book habit. From our recent selection
John Flanagan Ranger's apprentice (there are 12 of these, hurrah) and Brotherband chronicles; Paul Dowswell Powder Monkey trilogy; three musketeers, journey to the centre of the earth (Puffin classics versions); Ian Serraillier; Ronald Welch historical fiction; and our latest unputdownable, the Operation Red Jericho trilogy (by which he has been totally gripped).
Am not sure what age any of the above are aimed at, but guessing 10 plus reading age?
It's a great "problem" to have, that of keeping up with their reading matter, bbut it does require a lot of library visits...

DewDr0p Thu 21-Feb-13 19:45:15

YY to Swallows and Amazons. Also there is a range of adventure books by Willard Price which is great.

Takver Thu 21-Feb-13 21:00:44

Thanks, MadameHooch, I'll pm you

beansmum Thu 21-Feb-13 23:46:30

I can't get him to read Swallows and Amazons! I keep trying. I have all mine from when I was a child but he doesn't like the look of them. In fairness they are VERY old and falling apart but I refuse to by him shiny new editions (which I'm sure he'd read) when I already have them.

Good advice about branching out a bit Madamehooch. He does tend to stick to adventure/fantasy type stuff. I might try and introduce him to some of the older detective fiction, I have loads of that lying around and it's fairly age appropriate. No child abuse and psychopaths like all the modern stuff.

And lots of good ideas for stuff similar to what he's already reading.

MrsShrek3 Fri 22-Feb-13 00:01:54

slight hijacking, sorry.
random question for all of you fellow parents of avid readers. I'm having the kindle debate again. I think he'd like one, and the free classics and 20p price tags of some books are rather appealing. but we love real books too much. Can a kindle cohabit? just to keep the word count at "neverending" potential in attempt to beat small bookworm? he loves to re-read btw so he's always got a current and often well thumbed book. Just musing...

beansmum Fri 22-Feb-13 00:11:07

I have an ereader - not a kindle. I don't use it for leisure reading, just for articles/cases/books I need for uni. I don't think it's the same as a real book at all. But lots of people love them. Helpful.

Shanghaidiva Fri 22-Feb-13 00:36:28

Noughts and crosses is vg, but content not really suitable for an 8 year old - executions, suicide, teenage pregnancy, abortion...

booksteensandmagazines Fri 22-Feb-13 08:42:19

I have two sons who are avid readers and we got them kindles with the same kindle account so they can share their books and read the same book at the same time (avoids one waiting for the other to finish a book).
They also read print books though as we love them and have a sort of library at home. So they can work together. Also their school is not keen on letting them bring e-readers in so they need print books for reading lessons.

lljkk Fri 22-Feb-13 10:44:59

My boys won't read any dated classics, either.

Up to you but I would not want my 8yo to read Hunger Games. I think even Alex Rider is pushing my comfort zone for an 8yo.

Nothing better than taking them to library & getting to know the series & books, yourself.

I am thinking likes of 39 Clues, Lemony Snicket, Measly books, Gregor of the Underground, Watership Down, Beast Quest, Tintin, My Story books, Terrible history/science books.

lljkk Fri 22-Feb-13 10:51:38

Hardy Boys, Famous 5, age-appropriate Jacq Wilson.
The Machine Gunners (not the rest of Westall, though).
Biggles! Very un-pc. But there are literally dozens of them.

Jane Blonde, if he will read books about girls.

lljkk Fri 22-Feb-13 10:52:24

Oh, and all the science books, like "Why is Snot Green?" "Book of general ignorance" Guiness World Book of records (maybe).

(I'll shut up now).

A Wizard of Earthsea (and anything by Ursula K Le Guin)
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (and anything by Joan Aiken)
Kevin Crossley-Holland's Arthur trilogy

loopsngeorge Sat 23-Feb-13 19:51:50

Was going to suggest Wolves of Willoughby Chase as well.
In the latest book people catalogue there is a series called The Mysterious Benedict Society, advertised for Harry Potter fans which looks interesting.
Eva Ibbotson is another author that has been recommended on here - DS (8) really liked One Dog and His Boy so I've got one of her fantasy stories out of the library for him. And also Emil and the Detectives for something completely different!
Just remembered Louis Sachar - DS loves the Wayside school stories and A Boy in the Girls' Bathroom. There is another one - Holes which is a year 6 reading text.
My brother used to like Betsy Byars - don't know if her books are around much now but I know they were well thought of when we were kids.

BoringSchoolChoiceNickname Sat 23-Feb-13 20:04:10

Lemony Snicket, and the classics like Just William, Jennings, Narnia, E Nesbit, Mary Poppins, Dr Doolittle, Phantom Tollbooth, are good for challenging language but suitable content. Temeraire books, whilst fun, I would consider unsuitable for an 8 year old due to content.

If you don't mind evangelical atheism then Dawkins' Magic of Reality is an excellent read for a bright 8 year old

sittinginthesun Sat 23-Feb-13 20:09:39

Has he read any Michael Lawrence? Jiggy McCue etc? My DS loves them (but won't touch Swallows and Amazons or C S Lewis). The Silver Sword was a hit, though.

My DS is a very avid reader too, skulduggery pleasant is the current series of choice but trying the classics too. A fantastic book is Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie. It is a children's book, beautifully written and may well be a good read? It's written in the magic-realist style and is packed to bursting with super characters, adventure and language play. (my DS is also 8)

He's also read the over sea under stone series (I had my copies still from when I was young) and really enjoyed those.

beansmum Mon 25-Feb-13 01:39:18

So many good ideas - thanks!
Just sent granny a massive amazon wishlist...hopefully she'll bring a pile of books with her next time she visits.

I'll encourage him to re-read some of his books, and read for himself some that I have read him over the last couple of years. With some of these recommendations, and what we already have, we should be able to keep up the supply for a couple of months at least!

Methren Fri 01-Mar-13 00:55:58

I feel your pain aver keeping up with the book demand! Has he tried any of these?

Rosemary Sutcliff (historical fiction about Roman Britain - e.g. The Eagle of the Ninth)
Nicholas Fisk (sci-fi - e.g. Trillions, Space Hostages)
The Prince in Waiting series by Jon Christopher
The Phantom Tollbooth
The Great Brain series by John D Fitzgerald
The Adventure series by Enid Blyton (The Castle of Adventure etc)

Jessepinkman Fri 01-Mar-13 01:06:58

Not boyish but...the borrowers, the secret garden, a little princess. Anne of Green Gables, Tom's Midnight garden. Here's one for boys...Coram Boy by Jamila Gavin.

rockinhippy Fri 01-Mar-13 01:21:53

I've had similar with my own DD who is a bit older, it's great but keeping me on my toes trying to keep up with her & finding books that she will read that are 12/15 rating as opposed to 18 IYSWIM - she's now eating up James Patterson Maximilian Ride Series, they are YA books & I think there's 8 of them, they were recommended by a friend who had just finished reading them as suitable for a younger advanced reader & a fantastic read - DD is now obsessed with them smile

SilverBellsandCockleShells Fri 01-Mar-13 10:35:32

I was just coming along to post something similar so these are all great recommendations. Looking for Kindle recommendations too as bookshelves are full to bursting and I reckon the Kindle will be a good option for holidays, etc. to save taking a pile of books.

Anyway, my son's current favourite is Tales of the Five Kingdoms which I found for a bargain on Book People. He read all five in a week and has declared them better than Harry Potter (which held his heart for well over a year). Now he wants to go as one of the characters for World Book Day next week, which is a whole new problem ... :-)

rockinhippy Sat 02-Mar-13 11:44:52

Oh I can't believe I forgot all about the massive series of books that kept my DDs book obsession fed for a long while at this age R L Steine Horror books, there's a big series called Horrorland that she absolutely loves, chattered on about them so much I even read them myself & they are good smile he also had the goosebumps series, there's hundreds of books to choose from, so well worth looking into - I should as my DDs book taste has never really been particularly girls, she still mostly favours horror & science fiction.

rockinhippy Sat 02-Mar-13 11:45:52

Gawd iPad fail again hmm

Another vote for Watership Down (as long as he's not easily upset as bits of it are scary and sad). Also, DS and I are currently working through Mrs Frisby and The Rats of Nimh, which is terrific; moderately challenging vocab, interesting concepts but nothing too emotionally complicated for an 8 year old.

SOrry, meant to add, my DS is a very good reader as well, but also quite probably somewhere on the autism spectrum, so things that are a bit emotionally complex don't really work - and I wouldn't be at all keen to let him at The Hunger Games or suchlike just yet because it would just bemuse him.

Did anyone say Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising series yet?
It's my favourite ever children's book. First read it when I was 10, and have re-read it nearly every year since.

We had this problem with DS2. His reading age at 9 was measured as 14, and that has been the general pattern, but he doesn't like scary stories or violence.

At 8/9, he enjoyed The Water Babies, Tarka the Otter, The Ingo series (Helen Dunmore), The Gurdiams of Ga'Hoole series (Lasky), The Hobbit, A Wrinkle in Time (L'Engle) and its sequels.

At 10, he liked the Hitchhikers Guide series, Tripods series (John Christopher), The City of Ember and its sequels (DuPrau), Shapeshifters series (Ali Sparkes).

He turned 11 yesterday and is reading the series by Rick Riordan that has The Red Pyramid, The Serpent's Shadow and The Throne of Fire.

That should be 'Guardians of Ga'Hoole'.

I also have the following ready on the shelf:

His Dark Materials (Pullman), The Dark is Rising Sequence (Cooper), The Wizard of Earthsea (LeGuin), The Giver (Lois Lowry), Eragon (Paolini) and the Timeriders series (Scarrow).

DS1 is 13 but his reading tastes are very different. The titles on his shelf read like the original longlist for the names of the horsemen of the apocalypse: 'The Fear', 'Plague', The Fury', 'The Enemy' etc.

Mind you, I was That Kid when I was younger, used to drive my mother nuts (and also used to quietly get hold of all sorts that Wasn't Really Suitable such as HP Lovecraft and Alan Garner (far too much sexual and class tension for 8 year olds)).

Nicholas Fisk is interesting and I certainly liked some of the books as a kid, but I think they have dated a bit. Mind you, I also think that a lot of the best books for this sort of young-but-keen reader were the ones published in the late 60s and early 70s.

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