May 23, 2011

Good Books for the 7-10 year old Crowd

Several months ago, I started thinking about how important it is for children to learn how to discuss what they read. I learned how to "book talk" around the dinner table. My parents are both avid readers and my Dad would periodically hand us a book that he thought was particularly excellent (like Mrs. Mike), we would all read it, and then we'd discuss it around the table. (Mrs. Mike is particularly excellent.)

Miriam is the oldest, so she is reading a lot of books that the other children aren't. She doesn't like to discuss books with me. These discussions go like this:

Me: "How did you like _______ ?"

Miriam: "I loved it!"

Me: "What did you love about it?"

Miriam: "Well, I liked that . . . [realization dawns that explaining takes awhile] . . . just read it yourself."

To better facilitate "book talk," I created a book club for girls age 7-10 and invited Miriam to join. So far we've met three times. Today was the first time I hosted and was able to listen to the actual book discussion. It was wonderful! The girls had so many funny things to say! I couldn't believe how much Miriam contributed. Yeah!

I think all the books picked for our monthly meetings are excellent (yes, I picked them) so I thought I would share them with you. Any of them would make great summer reading. These books, although geared toward the younger crowd, are good enough to be read by readers of all ages.

I'm not writing a synopsis of the books so I linked the titles to amazon so you can easily find out more if a book interests you. No, I do not get a kick-back from amazon.

The Wish-Giver by Bill Brittain is a classic tale of wish-making gone awry.

Girls Think of Everything by Catherine Thimmesh. This book has a series of short entries about different inventions created by women. Awesome.

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink. Vivacious redhead--what's not to love? :)
Out of Darkness: The Story of Louis Braille by Russell Freedman. Freedman is the man when it comes to nonfiction for this age group. Loved this book.
The Horse-Tamer by Walter Farley. If the author sounds familiar it is because he wrote all the Black Stallion books. I like those, but this is my favorite Farley.
The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli. This is a great medieval historical fiction about the plague. No head-banging monks. Sorry.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg. This is the book the kids read for this month and listening to them talk about it was hilarious. They loved the idea of running away, bathing in a fountain, and sleeping in dusty beds. For our activity we carved Ivory soap with butter knives. Michelangelo we aren't, but we had fun.
The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander. This is the first book of the Prydain Chronicles, which include The Black Cauldron--which all of you know because you read my blog. This is, of course, my favorite writer for middle readers. Alexander is the king of fantasy for youngsters. Love, love, love this book and this series.

Gentle Ben by Walt Morey. One of my favorite animal books--right up there with Popper's Penguins (although My Friend Flicka is still the best animal book ever. Ever. Read it, you'll see what I mean.) Apparently there are two books called Gentle Ben about a boy and a bear (I just learned this searching for a cover image). I haven't read the other one. When you search at your library, check the author.

And that is it. I realize I've posted a lot of book recommendations lately, but hey--everyone needs a good book to read!

PS A little heads up--there is going to be a giveaway for my units on another blog. I'll announce it here on the day of. Stay tuned!

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