In Part 1, I listed a few of my very favorite authors and recommended books for each of them. This time, I want to mention a few of my favorite stand alone books (which may or may not have other related books or other great books by that author). As a reminder, these are recommended for 7-12 year olds. For the younger ones, you may want to read them aloud together, while the older kids can read them independently (and if the younger ones can and want to read them alone, that’s great too!) Let’s get started! If you aren’t familiar with these books, you may want to read them first to make sure you feel they are appropriate for your kiddo.
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
Omri gets a cupboard for his birthday, and his great-grandmother’s key fits in it just right. After locking a toy Indian in it, Omri discovers that the key has magical powers! The toy comes to life, revealing his name and a whole life that he has been pulled away from. This book is full of imagination and fun and is sure to get kids looking at their toys in a whole new way!
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
This is a sad, but beautiful story that nearly everyone has read. And those who haven’t, should. A young girl named Fern saves a piglet from being killed for being the runt of his litter. She names him Wilbur and cares for him. But Wilbur is still in danger of being eaten one day, like most pigs are. A kind spider named Charlotte befriends Wilbur and hopes to save him by weaving messages about how wonderful Wilbur is in her web. This causes quite a stir, and Wilbur becomes a star. But will it be enough? And what happens to Charlotte?
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
As a child, I was captivated by this unique story, which is based on the true story of Juana Maria, a Native American girl who was left alone on an island for 18 years. In the story, Karana’s tribe lives on an island together until the tribe is threatened and leaves by boat… except for Karana, who gets accidentally left behind. On the island, year after year, she must learn to survive and thrive on her own. This is a book about survival and learning about who you are and what you’re capable of.
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
This is a book for kids who want something completely different. It’s silly, goofy, outrageous, and just plain weird! I was a big fan of this book as a kid. It’s about a school that was supposed to be built with 30 classrooms side by side, but was instead built with 30 classrooms going up 30 floors! And the strangeness only begins there. The chapters are short and fun, filled with hilarious characters and clever ideas.
Matilda by Roald Dahl
I read this with Mr. 7 this past summer. We took turns reading chapters to each other, and he loved every bit of it! It isn’t a short book (which is part of the reason why we read it together), but it is filled with fun! It’s about a very, very smart and kind little girl named Matilda whose family is not as smart and not nearly as kind. When she goes to school, her teacher is wonderful, but her principal is horrible! Matilda finds creative ways to get back at the grown-ups who don’t treat her well, and meets some lovely new friends along the way. The story is super funny, and there are a lot of “oh my goodness! She’s actually going to do that???” moments. Roald Dahl is a British author, so be prepared to explain what a telly, mummy, knicker and other common British words mean.
I know lots of other great books for this age range, so I’m sure you’ll get another of these posts soon! This should get you and your kiddos started until then. 🙂 Enjoy!