Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tough to Find Books for This Tween Boy

I am having trouble finding good book reads for my younger son who is now 11 years old. He has no diagnosed reading disabilities and no signs of any problems either. This son of mine taught himself to read befor he was four, and I put the finishing touches at age four (after he begged) by teaching him the hard phonics like 'ght' and such.

He enjoyed realistic fiction the most, the juvenile fiction for ages 9-12 such as Andrew Clements.

He liked Diary of a Wimpy Kid and reads some manga but not a lot of the graphic novel format, as he doesn't find much that jives with his interests.

He loved Harry Potter (which he just finished this summer) but is not interested in other good fantasy genre juvenile fiction books such as the Septimus Heap series. He loved the Rick Riordan series that started with Lightning Thief but he is not as passionate about his Kane Chronicles series. He liked the mythology tie but isn't a mythology junkie.

He's heard Narnia on CD and read aloud and seen the couple of movies that are out so he refuses to read the rest.

He pushes away the classics and anything that looks "babyish". He is not interested in stories set long ago that seem too old-fashioned such as book about American kid's lives in the early half of 1900. He doesn't want to read medieval tales such as Robin Hood.

My husband likes fast paced military and spy thrillers and is a Jack Higgins fan. My son stumbled upon a military thriller for young adults co-authored by Higgins, First Strike, and he loved it. My husband just started reading it out of curiosity and said, "they wasted no time jumping right into the action".

This son of mine also is not interested in reading non-fiction, he's not one of those kids with passions about topics that will read anything and everything to learn more about it.

Although this son loves lacrosse he has no interest in reading sports themed fiction.

In addition I have a sibling conflict thing going on where my younger son doesn't want too much to do with anything his older brother likes, so he even resists reading fiction that he knows his brother read and loved.

He does love to read when he finds something of interest. He carries books around with him to read while waiting around for this or that appointment.

I don't want him to dissolve more into listening to MP3 player songs or playing handheld video games when the day comes that he owns his own mobile smart phone. I also don't want him to turn into a texting addict which I know he will, when the day arrives that he gets text messaging.

I am at a loss here. Do you have any book suggestions for my son? Thanks!

Some Books Mentioned in This Post


Rayann said...

Recommends from me and my 14 year old son:

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card is a classic sci-fi novel about a kid about your son's age who goes to "Battle School" in space.

Empire, also by Orson Scott Card, is a fast paced thriller with a sci-fi twist, political themes, and plenty of action scenes and car chases.

Artemis Fowl books by Eoin Colfer: elves, dwarves, trolls, fairies, and a REALLY smart kid with a lot of money. LOL

Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo is about a kid who finds out he has a special power: he can hear people talking in photographs.

Ranger's Apprentice by John Flanagan is a series about an orphan kid who falls in with the protectors of the kingdom. Magic, battles, monsters...

You can tell we like sci-fi and fantasy. :)

My Boys' Teacher said...

My husband is a 12 yo boy at heart and recommends Ender's Game, Empire, and the Shannara books. At that age he remembers liking Robinson Crusoe and Huck Finn. Isn't there a book out there that's titled something like "books boys like to read" or something like that? I thought there was...

My husband hated reading until his senior year of high school. The two books remembers reading that changed his mind were Jurassic Park and The Firm. Those are for an older audience, but worth remembering I think. My husband loves to read now but was definitely a late bloomer there.

Good luck!

dstb said...

My 12yo would definitely recommend the Artemis Fowl and Ranger's Apprentice books.

He also liked the Hungry City Chronicles by Philip Reeve.


Karen said...

My 10 year old liked airborn by kenneth oppel - even though it was a touch 'older' for him.

Dueteronomy 6 Mom said...

My niece loved the Alex Rider books - lots of adventure.

BentonvilleGal said...

I'd second the Ranger's Apprentice and Artemis Fowl books. Both are great and full of action. My kids also really liked the Fablehaven series and Rick Riordan has a new series (starting with Red Pyramid) he might like.

I recently got my 11 yo "Black Ships Before Troy" to go along with our study of ancient history to the fall of Rome history study this year. He read it in a day and could hardly wait to pick up "The Wanderings of Odysseus."

My 8 and 10 year old also like "Animorphs" but I'm not sure about the literary merit of that series.

Diane said...

My 12 year old daughter really enjoys The Peter and the Starcatchers series by Dave Berry and Ridley Pearson. Four books int he series so far with another coming out this year. This series is great, even I enjoy it. All about who Peter Pan was, how Tinker Bell came to be, etc. Not babyish in the least.

bakinchick said...

Interesting thread ... I've got a 11 year old girl, but her tastes definitely run toward fantasy.

We second, third, whatever the Ranger's Apprentice series by Flanagan.

Another series of Orson Scott Card's is the Tales of Alvin Maker which is a "reimagined" American history with fantasy elements. My husband says he's "pretty sure" it would be appropriate, but I'd recommend a quick parental read-through just in case.

In the Star Wars genre, we listened to a novelization of The Clone Wars by Karen Traviss that I really enjoyed. The clone troopers got to have a real voice in it.

It sounds to me like you're looking for "fun" reads here, but could you leverage this opportunity to get him to read books that you want him to read? I have the not-too-terrible problem that my daughter reads and reads, but she is obstinate in her genre choices. I have a list of great books I'd love for her to read, but they don't fit very neatly into a category ... so I'm making a list of 100 books or so she could tackle over the next year or so. I plan to over an occasional treat for every 10-15 books she reads off my list ... but there's no pressure. I'm counting on the draw of a small reward. *fingers crossed*

Fatcat said...

Deltora Quest series, Animorphs, Ranger's Apprentice (the best!), Peter and the Starcatchers, 39 Clues.

Hope this helps!

Susan said...

Suzanne Collins's pre-Hunger Games series "The Underland Chronicles" starting with Gregor the Overlander. Also the series by Pseudonymous Bosch starting with The Name of This Book is Secret are two series that my son enjoyed between the ages of about 10 and 13. Also Ridley Pearson's Kingdom Keepers. They're fun books, not exactly enriching books (Collins's books are dark) but they kept my son reading.

MinnaBrynn said...

Maybe: Alex Rider Adventures (or others) by Anthony Horowitz. Rick Riordan has another series dealing with the Olympians: Heroes of Olympus(my husband tells me it kind of ties in with the Percy Jackson books).

refinedbyink said...

I love the "Keys to the Kingdom" series by Garth Nix for young male readers. I also love his "Seventh Tower" series, which is for younger readers and his "Abhorsen" series, which is for older readers.

Neil Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book" is a pretty good read.

If you like Harry Potter, Susan Cooper's "The Dark is Rising" series is a pretty good fit, but start reading the series with "The Dark is Rising" and NOT "Over Sea Under Stone". The first book in the series isn't so good and you won't know you missed it.

The kids at my library (I'm an elementary librarian) also love Artemis Fowl, and some boys love the older Johnny Dixon books by John Bellairs. And all of my kids at summer camp loved "City of Ember" by Jeann DuPrau and "The Name of this Book is Secret"/"If You're Reading This, It's Too Late" from Pseudonymous Bosch.

Good luck finding something he likes and Happy Reading!

Jenny W. said...

Hi Christine! We just discovered your blog and would love to suggest a book for your son, though he's almost a year older and the problem may have resolved already! My son (and brothers, as kids)LOVED My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George. Our sensory workshop for this book attracted quite a few 10-12 year old boys, and they all got really into this story about running away to live in the woods alone. It's a more recent classic, just old enough to be clean and healthy, and packed with fun facts about nature - every kid we know who's read this has gone out to the nearest tree and tried to reenact some scenes! For ways to make this book even more fun, check out our free "sights and sounds" page and look at our gallery shots of the fun things we did to bring this book to life. We have an experiential workshop guide for this book, too, so creative, sensory ideas abound! We hope this helps!
Jenny & Becky
LitWits Workshops