Books you can read too, for 11 and up? To talk about together.

(49 Posts)
alsoaperson Wed 06-Mar-13 07:13:53

I'm thinking of doing a book club (of two!) with my eldest boy who's 11 and an avid reader, though I'm worried he'll lose interest if I don't feed him something good (and challenging) and fast. I wondered if some mums here might like to do it too.

The first book I'd like to read is called Wonder. It gets super excellent reviews (see link below) and I think he'll love it or hate it; so I thought it might be nice to get grown up opinions first :-)

Anyone interested?
I've put up the whole book list on here. Wonder is third on the list. If you take a peek at the others, I'd love to know if you (or your kids) have read any of these already and what you thought.

alsoaperson Wed 06-Mar-13 07:14:43

when I say 'mums', obviously I mean 'parents'. Sorry dads...

madamehooch Wed 06-Mar-13 08:18:34

Wonder is a brilliant book to start with.

Cosmic is also a good choice.

alsoaperson Wed 06-Mar-13 08:29:42

Ooo! I'd love to know more! Who read it and what did they think?

OldBeanbagz Wed 06-Mar-13 08:56:09

My DD and i have both just read Wonder and really enjoyed it. DD knew a child with a large birthmark and it made her realise just what they'd had to put up with on day to day basis.

Would also second Cosmic as i think it made my DD think about how difficult being a parent can be.

Another of our favourites is The London Eye Mystery which i recommend to loads of people.

I haven't read any of the others on your blog but i have been thinking about My Sister lives on the Mantlepiece.

alsoaperson Wed 06-Mar-13 09:41:01

Thanks OldBeanbagz! I'm going to add Cosmic and The London Eye Mystery to my list. I'll put them on the blog once I've read them as the post is too big already!

What was it you liked about the London Eye book?

alsoaperson Wed 06-Mar-13 17:24:48

Any more for this one?

hardboiled Wed 06-Mar-13 18:10:25

Holes, by Louis Sachar.

KingscoteStaff Wed 06-Mar-13 18:56:38

Feather Boy, by Nicky Singer
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness
Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
His Dark Materials Trilogy by Phillip Pullman
The Garbage King by Elizabeth Laird

these have all gone down well with my Year 6 G&T book club.

ApplyYourself Wed 06-Mar-13 19:03:04

A monster calls.

mrz Wed 06-Mar-13 19:51:30

Varjak Paw S Said

alsoaperson Wed 06-Mar-13 21:48:40

Love the sound of The Knife of Letting Go, and A Monster Calls!
Varjak Paw S Said sounds really intriguing!

Any more?

alsoaperson Wed 06-Mar-13 21:49:30

Holes is a great choice too, but I know a lot of secondary schools bought this one in bulk so I was thinking to avoid.

Anyone have any thoughts on whether kids should read books likely to be studied in advance?

hardboiled Wed 06-Mar-13 22:13:19

IMO there's no point in actively avoiding them if it's the book your child wants to read. In DS case, he chooses his reading, reads an average of eight or ten books a month and at that rate I'd be lost if I had a list of "must not touch"!! So what if he encoounters them again in a few years. He will be more mature and will read new things in them.

FriendlyLadybird Wed 06-Mar-13 22:41:12

Ooh! This looks like a good list. DS has enjoyed Holes and Skellig, also the Noughts and Crosses series. He also read The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas -- lots to talk about.

alsoaperson Thu 07-Mar-13 09:56:35

Ah! Forgot about Skellig ! Funnily enough we do Holes in Y7 - Skellig and Boy in the Striped Pyjamas in Y8.
My son loves Malorie Blackman Noughts and Crosses, also Pig Heart Boy (Y8 also).

Now I'm thinking I should have put more books on the list.
I didn't include
A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time either and boys 11 and above who don't 'get' English often love that one (there are no - obvious - emotions in the main character!)

Oh, and Private Peaceful That's really good - used in Y6 at a private school I know and there's lots to talk about there too - plus it gets them ready for 'War Poetry in Y9.

So - to hardboiled if your DS reads a lot, which have been his favourites?

Allice Thu 07-Mar-13 10:01:12

my daughter is younger, 8, and loves to read. We're reading Anne of Green Gables together as she found some of the language hard going. We're both really enjoying it, I've not read it before. She's gone as Anne to school today.

Think we'll tackle the classics together, would be grateful any recommendations.

Picturesinthefirelight Thu 07-Mar-13 10:02:29

I logged in to recommend Wonder oddly enough. I'm going to read it once I can it off dd and her friends.

OldBeanbagz Thu 07-Mar-13 10:42:30

alsoaperson The London Eye Mystery kept us all in suspense. I was reading it to both my DC (then 6 & 9) and when we got to the end of each chapter they'd be begging me for more. We were racking our brains trying to work out how Salim went missing but there were so many twists in the tale that we neve r worked it out.

Another book that i read chapter after chapter to my DC is Frozen in Time by Ali Sparkes. There's a cliffhanger at the end of just about every chapter!

Ferguson Thu 07-Mar-13 17:50:38

Old fashioned, maybe, but I have always loved all the Arthur Ransome books, and they indirectly 'teach' history, nature, and sailing.

Swallows and Amazons was the first. Coot Club is set in real locations, which can all be found on the 2-1/2inch OS Broads map.

Watership Down is also a real setting and can be found on maps; the housing development that drove out the rabbits is now the outskirts of Newbury.

alsoaperson Fri 08-Mar-13 07:43:02

I think it's so hard to step up into the Classics! Sometimes kids study Frankenstein at KS3, but the language is intensely complicated and there are long boring sections (for kids, I mean - sorry Mary Shelley).

Things like Gulliver's Travels and Treasure Island are often suggested but I wonder if they'd be too complicated too. (Never read and I'm a Literature grad. Shame on me!)

Anyone found a Classic their child literally couldn't put down, I wonder?

lljkk Fri 08-Mar-13 07:55:43

A Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time

It's terrific but I think best for age 13-14+. Frank talk about how lovely wanking is (wanking proper with a mess), for instance. In the context of a lad who is socially restricted in ways no child would grasp without firsthand experience.

Same For ^My Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece^; terrific read but well hard, is your 11yo really mature enough to deal with the recurrent racism and maggot dick comments? Never mind when the poor lad's cat dies.

And both those books deal with parents who seriously, repeatedly, let their kids down, I think they're more difficult emotionally than any Jacqueline Wilson.

come to think of it, my 13yo is about ready to read those, maybe I will fetch for him now. I haven't heard of most the items on OP's list so will file away for the other bookworms.

My girl likes classics but DS usually not.

With 11yo DS I could have tried The Hobbit, Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Horrible Histories, Watership Down, Swallows & Amazons (book1), the Machine Gunners, The Railway Children, maybe The Secret Garden. Lighter reads would be some of the JacWilson books and the popular comics like The Donut Diaries.

lljkk Fri 08-Mar-13 07:58:25

Ah, but I see you were happy for him to read THG already, oh well, we probably have different perspectives.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Fri 08-Mar-13 08:02:18

Agree that there's nothing wrong with something a little bit lighter than the more teen-y books on your list.

DD and I enjoyed the Percy Jackson and Artemis Fowl books, and we've just been reading Truckers by Terry Pratchett to the DCs - any of his younger readers ones would be good apart from the final Tiffany Aching one which has a very grim beginning.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Fri 08-Mar-13 08:03:40

Oh and anything by Frances Hardinge would be suitable.

hardboiled Fri 08-Mar-13 09:42:50

Anyone found a Classic their child literally couldn't put down, I wonder?

Treasure Island when he was in Year 5. It's not that complicated for a relatively advanced reader which I suspect are the DC we are catering for on this thread.

I second the Hitchhikers series proposal, DS was hooked till he finished all the books and forced us to follow suit. However, I read Curious Incident myself and would not like him to read it yet, I thought it was very upsetting emotionally. He wants to, though.

alsoaperson Fri 08-Mar-13 22:03:42

LadyIsabellaWrotham OMG I hadn't even thought of whether it was inappropriate probably because I wasn't concentrating properly. I read The Curious Incident myself and there's bad language and dog-murder, and other emotional stuff, but then I thought, actually, he's going to get more 'raw' stuff once he hits secondary and I didn't think it would hurt him, but now I'm thinking - what if it will?!?

It's a really interesting question. What's suitable for an eleven year old?
I guess I thought I was giving him a literary run-up to the horrors that await him in secondary and also when my other half bungles his way through giving DS 'the Talk'? We're divorced so unfortunately my kids have had some emotional stuff already for real (though we obviously shielded them from as much as we could).

Anyone got any opinions on what's suitable and what's not?

hardboiled Fri 08-Mar-13 23:40:45

This is what you need:

alsoaperson Sat 09-Mar-13 09:08:36

This is fab. I've never seen reviews like this before: basically what might freak a child out! Thanks

FriendlyLadybird Sat 09-Mar-13 21:52:07

It's a modern classic, but my DS read The Lord of the Flies in a sitting. He said he found it gripping though he didn't like like it.

I'll tell you who I've just thought of -- John Wyndham: the Day of the Triffids, The Chrysalids, and that one with the children with golden eyes. I think I read a lot of his books at around that age.

I also loved The Children of the New Forest, The Prisoner of Zenda, The Count of Monte Cristo (though that might have been a bit later) and Sir Walter Scott. I was something of a Romantic, as you can see!

I tried reading Gulliver's Travels recently and gave up - I can read just about anything and rarely give up!

Huckleberry Finn is a classic, dh's favourite book, my dd read it and The Hobbit, without us knowing.

LadyIsabellaWrotham Sat 09-Mar-13 22:07:49

DD is a great reader but I've not yet been able to tempt her with any classics apart from Nigel Molesworth - he counts, right?

I've read Ballet Shoes and The Hobbit to her, but she won't read them to herself.

FriendlyLadybird Sat 09-Mar-13 22:18:08

The curse of st custard's and goriller of 3B? Of course he counts!

hardboiled Sat 09-Mar-13 22:34:47

Oh friendlyladybird I read the Count Of Montecristo aswell at about 11 and in my case I developed a weird obsession with it, I ended up reading it about three times! I have to say in all these years I had never heard anyone who had had the same experience.

Lord of the Flies is so so upsetting...sad I don't think I want DS to read it yet.

Startail Sat 09-Mar-13 22:40:49

Lord of the Flies is the only book I would use to light a fire, truly vile.

I love Percy Jackson and could quote huge chunks if Hitchhikers at that she.

The later Philip Pullmans, need Very good readers to really understand them.

I liked Sherlock Holmes at 12, the short stories are more accessible.

Startail Sat 09-Mar-13 22:43:25

DD1 likes animal farm, it's short!

I hated Brave New World because I had to do it for O'level, put interesting concepts and some very dodgy science.
Interesting discussions to be had as to how cloning is actually done.

Startail Sat 09-Mar-13 22:44:20

At that she? Age blush

ItsallisnowaFeegle Sat 09-Mar-13 22:46:19

Anything by Terry Pratchett.

Tubegirl Sun 10-Mar-13 08:21:46

Have you tried Rosemary Sutcliff? She writes historical novels, several on Arthurian legend, some on the roman empire.

jellybrain Mon 11-Mar-13 18:09:07

Couldn't open the link but Ds loved the Book Thief and has (stolen) re read my copy several times. He is 12 and a keen reader.

Interesting point. Would you let your kids read Lord of the Flies? I mean, it's a satire on a kids book, but it's so scary!

Startail Sat 16-Mar-13 00:31:35

I almost bought a £1 copy of Lord of the flies, just so I could burn it.

It is a truly vile book, absolutely the book I least want to ever read again.

rockinhippy Sat 16-Mar-13 01:07:47

Fantastic thread & links in replies, just what I have been needing for my 10 yr old DD - thank you smile

I recently posted a thread over in the G&T section asking for safe YA book recommendations as I didn't get many suggestions to an earlier thread posted in here a few weeks back, lots of classics, but she's just not interested at all - her tastes aren't at all "girly" whatever that isgrin - lots of good suggestions over there that might interest you - sorry I can't link.

Quite a few mentioned here & she is probably going to be reading Wonder soon too.

She has just finished James Pattersons Maximus Ride series - 8 books which she just couldn't put down & rabbit tend on & on excitedly to me about the plot smile - so I would recommend those & there's a couple of others she recently finished & loved that I have listed in my other post, but can't remember right now - Em Bailey wrote one, I think the title was Shift, but I'm not certain

I've been worrying about overly graphic sexual content, but otherwise I'm with you in that it will get grittier in secondary school, besides my DD is happier reading books that have her biting her nails with both fear & excitement & she's sensible & mature for her sge, so I'm happy to follow her lead with that.

Most older classics she pulls faces at though, but she is showing quite an interest in some George Orwell titles & does seem to realise they are old, so I've downloaded them & see how she gets on when she's finished her current book.

rockinhippy Sat 16-Mar-13 01:09:50

Doesn't seem to realise...

rockinhippy Sat 16-Mar-13 01:16:46

Just realised I've written George Orwell - I meant H.G. Wells blush - War of the Worlds, Invisible Man & Time Machine

notnagging Sat 16-Mar-13 05:18:30

Why not just do the classics? Dickens, Shakespeare you can get them in child friendly versions.

nooka Sat 16-Mar-13 05:43:39

I have an 12 and 13 year old and we share lots of our books. Mostly YA sci-fi or fantasy at the moment, I'm also not sure how we'll move on to different types of fiction, although I think that both genres can be thought provoking.

Both dd and ds have found it frustrating to cover books at school that they have already read at home (I found it very annoying as a child too) so I'd say if you can it's better to explore stuff they might not come across otherwise.

What are the best child friendly versions of Dickens? I've enjoyed blogging about my project to force persuade my kids to read Shakespeare. I'd so love to know what I can use to do the same for the second big man in my life. Shame his books are all so biiig!

Hm? Might need to start this thread again! Dickens help anyone?

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