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12yr old grandson, not an avid reader, suggestions for books?

33 replies

wink1970 · 10/01/2019 16:23

Hello MN

My 12yr old DGS isn't an avid reader, he would much rather be playing Fortnight or watching YouTube. He also thinks he's cooler than he really is, and older.

I mention this as I want to engage him in reading so want some 'cool' teenager-y books to buy in and have here for when he stays over (which is a fair amount as I actually love him to bits!). His Mum, my DSD has recently started a 'screen reward scheme' that 'buys' him 1/2 hour of screen time for every 2 hours of pleasure reading (as opposed to homework) and I want to encourage that too.

Any ideas most gratefully received. He tried HP but didn't get past the second book, likes conspiracy theories and myths, has a growing interest in history, and we managed to get through the wimpy kid books together a few years ago.

Thanks in advance,

OP posts:
Branleuse · 10/01/2019 16:26

forcing or bribing a child to read for pleasure defeats the object.
Have you tried comics or non fiction?

Shimy · 10/01/2019 16:36

Branleuse - I forced mine and it worked.took away every single gadget when they were about 7 and 10yrs, all they had was books. It took a while. 15minsreading everyday andthey couldn’t do it fast enough. Then one day they were reading and each dc was chuckling at their book! I thought aha! Ds1 went up to to top set for English and though he doesn’t read for pleasure much anymore managed to get an A* in English and Literature at GCSE. Ds2 became a voracious reader and writer and has entered many competitions and plans to become an author.

I don’t know if this would work with a 12yr old. But it can work if nothing else does. They read the usual popular teenage series ( all gone off my head now) Alex rider series, etc

wink1970 · 10/01/2019 17:11

hi Shimy

I was forced too as a kid, decades ago, & I am a massive bookworm as a result. I like to think of it more as 'encouraging' Wink

Ah, the Alex Rider ones sound a good idea, I vaguely remember DSD and DSS reading those... thanks,

OP posts:
Nandocushion · 10/01/2019 17:13

We have the same issue with DS11. He likes the Tom Gates series by Liz Pichon - not sure if that's too young for a 12yo. But we also do graphic novels because they are more like comics to him so he prefers them. He also seems to prefer nonfiction, so how about something like this, which is one of my son's favourites atm: And Then You're Dead

rightreckoner · 10/01/2019 17:15

There are Alex Rider graphic novels which my son likes (same issues).

IToldYouIWasFreaky · 10/01/2019 17:30

My 11 year old really loves the Alex Rider books. There's another series by Anthony Horowitz, The Power of Five, which he got for Christmas but has not read yet. They look good though and aimed at perhaps a slightly older audience than Alex Rider?

Tom Gates and Wimpy Kid are also popular. He really likes David Baddiel's books too.

If your grandson likes myths and history, has he tried the Percy Jackson ones? They are all based on Greek myths.

I keep trying to get him into Terry Pratchett but he's not keen, which is a shame as I love the Discworld series.

My DS usually only reads fiction at night or first thing in the morning. It's rare that he picks up a fiction book during the day as there's too much else he'd rather be doing (like Fortnite...Hmm) He will pick up non-fiction for a browse though - football annuals and magazines, books of facts and he absolutely loves sports programmes. My boyfriend has a season ticket for a rugby team and brings him the programme from every match and he reads every single word!

comebacksoonsusan · 10/01/2019 17:32

Wolf Brother series.

theknackster · 10/01/2019 17:34

DS2 is enjoying the 'Mortal Engine' books...there was a film of the first one released before Christmas, which may or may not act as a sweetener.

bookmum08 · 10/01/2019 17:36

Yes reading books shouldn't be a chore and something a person has to be bribed to do.
Try gaming magazines. There are several aimed at that age group.
Graphic novels as others has suggested are good - just about every genre is avalible in graphic novel form.
Things like the Goosebumps series. Easy to read so they are fun and there is loads of them. But as long as he can read but just doesn't want to sit down and read a novel don't make it become obsessed with 'forcing' him.

Shimy · 10/01/2019 20:53

Massive bookworm here too, although slid a bit when the kids came along as can't read a book in peace. DC also read the Michael Grant series. Over summer ds2 (14) read the book in the pic. He was rather obsessed with this as its packed with so many interesting facts and you can open to any topic that interests rather than from page to page.He at first thought it was a 'baby book', but has now found its full of fascinating facts some of which they've covered briefly but not as indepth in school. This book alone has made him very interested in science.

12yr old grandson, not an avid reader, suggestions for books?
12yr old grandson, not an avid reader, suggestions for books?
12yr old grandson, not an avid reader, suggestions for books?
wink1970 · 11/01/2019 12:01

Brilliant, thank you all, I will look into these.

OP posts:
wink1970 · 11/01/2019 12:03

Also, just to make it clear we're not tying him to a chair and making him read Wink his mum just wants to take away the ipad every now and then and give him an alternative of 'play out' or read, or do crafts... anything but screentime. And I fully support her in this.

OP posts:
YogaDrone · 11/01/2019 12:09

My son's 11 and not a big reader but he loves Derek Landy's <a class="break-all" href="https://smile.[[//" rel="nofollow noindex" target="_blank"> Pleasant books]] Tag line - "Meet Skulduggery Pleasant: detective, sorcerer, warrior. Oh yeah. And dead."

YogaDrone · 11/01/2019 12:11

pants - that didn't work. Trying clicky again Skullduggery_Pleasant

BlueChampagne · 11/01/2019 12:57

Graphic novels and comics might also be worth a try. Asterix? He's maybe at the top end age-wise, but The Phoenix comic might be worth looking at.

wink1970 · 11/01/2019 16:20

Thanks all, I have ordered most of these and shall enjoy reading them before he does !

OP posts:
Witchend · 11/01/2019 22:41

Cherub books are an older version of Alex Rider in a lot of ways.

JoyceDivision · 11/01/2019 22:45

Charlie Higson series (The Dead, The End etc, about 9 books in total, about young adults / teenagers surviving after a zombie apocalypse,DD is a super busy ok need and she devoured these)


Cherub series

Graphic novels are a good alternative, even humorous ones such as corpse talk Grin

JoyceDivision · 11/01/2019 22:46

That should read DD is an Uber book worm GrinBlush

SageYourResoluteOracle · 11/01/2019 23:22

Just to add a another one into the mix- The 1000 Year Old Boy by Ross Welford is brilliant (main character has lived through many eras including Viking times)

And for a kid who's into Fortnite and feels he needs to be cool, a Young Adult book that I cannot recommend enough is Out of Heart by Irfan Master. It is YA and aimed at 12+ but definitely has the 'cool' factor.

rosablue · 11/01/2019 23:47

Last year ds (then 12 and not a big reader) became completely engrossed in the Itch series by Simon Mayo. It seemed to have links with science/geology more than history but he couldn’t read it fast enough. He also enjoyed the David Walliams books for the last couple of years but this year didn’t want the new one for Xmas.

He prefers non fiction - he’s used to love football and nature comics but over the last couple of years I’ve found that he adores the How It Works magazines and is often reading them when I go to turn his lights off at night. He has all the old copies still so dips in and out of them, particularly if an article he remembers ties in with something he is doing at school. We got him a subscription for it at Xmas - less than half price on Black Friday so worth keeping an eye on if it’s of interest.

He got the Percy Jackson set for Xmas too but hasn’t started it yet - we’ve been busy and he’s sporty so he’s keeping it for when the bad weather hits and he’s not able to go out as much.

Have you discovered The Book People? They often have sets of books much cheaper than other places have just a couple. Maybe have a look at the site with him, see what is suggested for his age (including a bIt younger if he’s not into reading much) and see if there’s anything that grabs his fancy if you are happy to buy books for him.

Also have you tried him with audiobooks? Maybe for something like Harry Potter he would be better off listening to the audio book or even reading along (it’s supposed to be word perfect) - if he’s reading slowly it might all just turn into a word salad he struggles to keep track of, particularly if he’s not good at putting the best voices/intonation/phrasing/rhythm etc into it, whereas listening to somebody who can read well is a whole different experience and will also help him to realise he can read in his head like that too.

YogaDrone · 12/01/2019 09:48

I've just ordered The 1000 Year Old Boy as recommended by Sage (thank you).

I absolutely loved Irfan Masters' "A Beautiful Lie" - I have it somewhere so I'll see if DS would like to read it. If he enjoys it I'll get him Out of Heart. although they sound like very different novels!

wink1970 · 21/01/2019 13:46

Hi All, just to give an update and thanks. DGS stayed the weekend as was thrilled with his books. He's half way through the 'and now you're dead' and has the first Percy Jackson and Skullduggery ones by his bedside for next weekend.

... and he didn't even take his phone to London on Saturday when we went Museum visiting - no prompting! faints in shock Grin

OP posts:
greenelephantscarf · 21/01/2019 13:49

the maze runner
the hunger games
dr who
krabat (the sorcerer's mill)

1hello2hello · 22/01/2019 14:13

Chase - Linwood Barclay
Young Samaurai series
Infinity Drake

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