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Novels for a 12-year-old obsessed with planes/flying

(25 Posts)
spiderlight Fri 07-Jun-19 10:57:09

DS is 12 and a very able but reluctant reader. He's recently developed an obsession with planes and decided he wants to be a pilot. I've found plenty of factual books about planes but I'd like him to be reading more proper chapter books as well to help with his attention span. Any ideas? He's read 'Grandpa's Great Escape' and loved it, but is a bit old for David Walliams now.

GeorgeTheBleeder Fri 07-Jun-19 14:51:49

Antoine de Saint-Exupery - Flight to Arras

John Buchan - Mr Standfast (The third Richard Hannay novel.)

Kenneth Oppel - Airborn (I admit I haven’t read this, but it’s on the shelves and I wasn’t going to stop at a meagre two books. blush)

pollyhemlock Fri 07-Jun-19 16:04:24

Airman by Eoin Colfer
The Explorer by Katherine Rundell

spiderlight Fri 07-Jun-19 16:23:42

Excellent. Thank you both! I've also ordered the first Biggles book for him.

GeorgeTheBleeder Fri 07-Jun-19 16:37:22

I feel slightly mortified at having so few flight-focussed books at my fingertips.

Ask me about girls’ boarding school stories, now ...

woodcutbirds Fri 07-Jun-19 16:38:45

I came on to say Airman by Eoin Colfer too. Fantastic book and just right for his age.

FunnyTinge Fri 07-Jun-19 16:42:19

"First Light", Geoffrey Wellum

Autobiography of a spitfire pilot. Absolutely amazing book, I thought.

pollyhemlock Fri 07-Jun-19 18:40:45

You could also look out for two in the My Story series, Battle of Britain by Chris Priestley and Flying Ace by Jim Eldridge. The characters are fictional but the events are real. Not sure if they are still in print, but Amazon will probably oblige, or your local Library.

Witchend Fri 07-Jun-19 23:34:25

Ds has been fascinated by planes for years.
Biggles
Reach for the Sky (Douglas Bader)

But most of all fact books-everything from the Haynes manuals for planes through history of RAF, The Spitfire Handbook etc.

MrsTerryPratchett Fri 07-Jun-19 23:43:58

Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

About flying but not planes.

GeorgeTheBleeder Sat 08-Jun-19 06:45:08

Well, this is mildly revelatory. Over roughly twenty hours the entire MN collective has managed ten books (+ JLSgrin) on planes and flying. Ten.

I’m old enough to remember many of my favourite books emerging from a publisher’s list of ‘Books for Girls’ - and to remember how subversive it felt when I bought or asked for anything from the ‘Books for Boys’ list. But I’d assumed that women in their 40s, 30s, 20s would have gone through their childhoods without such (admittedly flimsy) constraints.

Where are all the Petrovas? grin

SoonerthanIthought Sat 08-Jun-19 06:56:12

Flambards is about early 20th century teenagers, one of whom wants to be an aviator. I remember it as somewhat emotionally harrowing in parts - cruel uncle. Not sure but worth a try?

SoonerthanIthought Sat 08-Jun-19 07:03:29

And slightly different direction for a 12 yr old, Kate Atkinson God in Ruins is fascinating about the life of WW2 pilots of bomber planes. Not written for 12 yr olds obviously and a lot of it is not about that - but maybe he could skip to the wartime bits! (It's also I think intended to be read after Life after Life!)

MrsTerryPratchett Sun 09-Jun-19 03:24:44

@GeorgeTheBleeder I'm fairly sure a very tiny part of MN is visiting children's books. Try on AIBU.

thislido Sun 09-Jun-19 11:39:26

Has he read Roald Dahl's autobiographies? The second one, Going Solo, covers the period of his life as a pilot, but the first one, Boy, is also worth a read.

Upzadaizy Sun 09-Jun-19 13:01:15

I was thinking of the Flambards series too.

I’m not sure there are really the flying equivalent of, say, the Swallows and Amazons series, which sustained my childhood when I was in exile from the Lake District.

thislido Sun 09-Jun-19 15:18:11

If he enjoys Going Solo, there’s also Roald Dahl’s Over to You: Ten Stories of Flyers and Flying. It’s one of his adult books but I think I must have read it around about 11 or 12, because it wasn’t long after I read the Henry Sugar book and I can date that to being about 10 years old. I don’t remember there being anything in Over to You that was wildly unsuitable for a 12 year old but my reading was entirely unrestricted so it’s unlikely it would have struck me that way.

MightyAtlantic Sun 09-Jun-19 15:23:05

He might like Black Dove White Raven by Elizabeth Wein, although it's fairly long and probably aimed at older teens.

AnnaComnena Sun 09-Jun-19 15:26:52

Nevil Shute's Trustee From the Toolroom has some flying in it. Other parts of the story include navigation and engineering. It's for adults, but should be accessible to a 12yo.

vdbfamily Sun 09-Jun-19 15:29:43

My son has read the whole Biggles collection through twice. Would definitely recommend

spiderlight Mon 10-Jun-19 08:50:31

You lot are brilliant- thank you! Loads to look at. He absolutely loved Boy so I'll get the second Dahl autobiography for him. He'll quite happily read books aimed at adults if they're factual/biographical.

FreeFreesia Mon 10-Jun-19 15:16:14

B for Buster by Iain Lawrence

spiderlight Mon 10-Jun-19 20:41:40

@FreeFreesia - he'll love that one. My dad was stationed in Yorkshire in the RAF and we went up there on holiday last summer to see the site of his old camp, so anything set in Yorkshire will really appeal to him.

FreeFreesia Mon 10-Jun-19 21:08:30

Hope so!

EmCamB Thu 18-Jul-19 08:44:49

DS loved: Biggles, Dahl's autobiography, Colditz story.

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