Friday, June 21, 2013

The List: Breaking Down the Best 100 Books Of All Time for Reluctant Readers

So there have been a ton of "Best Books Lists" floating around Pinterest. When I opened most of these lists, I realized, I've read the majority of the books and while some of them really are great, certain kids will not want to read them. So I thought I would harness my knowledge of middle grade books and break these lists into what I call the Best Books for Reluctant Readers. I plan to deconstruct or compile a new list every Friday, so check back if you need more recommendations.

First, what is a reluctant reader you (didn't) ask? This is your kid age 8 - 12 that hates to read, sees it as work or a chore, or can't be bothered with boring stories. One of my daughters, age 9, I still consider reluctant because she will put the book down if it doesn't keep her attention. She has started The Lion, The Witch, & The Wardrobe like 3 times and still can't make it to when all the kids are in Narnia. She's seen the movie, she knows it gets good, but the beginning set up in England is way too boring for her. So yeah, CS Lewis isn't going to make this list. Gasp! I'm not saying it isn't a great book, it just isn't for your reluctant reader. You savvy?

So my first list to break down comes from The Children's Book Guide: 100 Best Children's Chapter Books of All-Time.

All-Time Best Books Your Kid Will Actually Finish:
Reluctant Readers (Girls & Boys 7-9)

  1. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  2. Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
  3. The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
  4. Redwall by Brian Jacques
  5. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O'Brien
  6. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  7. Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
  8. The BFG by Roald Dahl
  9. Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
  10. A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snickett

Reluctant Readers (Girls 7-9)

  1. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitz...
  2. Judy Moody series by Megan McDonald..
  3. Matilda by Roald Dahl
  4. The Witches by Roald Dahl

Reluctant Readers (Boys & Girls 8-12)

  1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  2. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
  3. The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
  4. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (and series) by J. K. Rowling
  5. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
  6. The Lightning Thief (Percy Jackson series) by Rick Riordan
  7. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan (should read Percy Jackson series before starting this series)
  8. The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
  9. Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
  10. The 39 Clues series: The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan
  11. The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke
  12. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  13. Holes by Louis Sachar
  14. The Hobbit by J.R. Tolkein

Reluctant Readers (Girls 8-12)

  1. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
  2. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli
  3. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Yup, that's it. I know. There are other books I would put on my RR list but I was just deconstructing The Best 100. Sometimes it only takes a few of these RR books to hook your child on reading. When they are ready, have them dive into the list below. I put them in order of how I would introduce them to my kids.

When They are Ready for Something More

  1. Stuart Little by EB White
  2. The Borrowers by Mary Norton
  3. Frindle by Andrew Clements
  4. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  5. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
  6. The Boxcar Children by ...
  7. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
  8. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis 
  9. Peter Pan by JM bu...
  10. The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
  11. The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
  12. The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Stewart
  13. The Golden Compass by Phillip Pullman
  14. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
  15. Coraline by Neil Gaiman
  16. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  17. Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  18. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
  19. Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Curtis
  20. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  21. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  22. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
  23. Stone Fox by John Gardiner
  24. Shiloh by Phyllis Naylor
  25. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (may be a bit too girl book)
  26. The Giver by Lois Lowry
  27. The Invention of Hugo Cabret by brian Selznick
  28. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick
  29. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

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