Is it difficult to make your 10-year-old pick up a book at home? Don’t despair! It often takes just One Good Book to turn on a reluctant reader to the joys of reading.
Over the years, I’ve come up with a personal shortlist of go-to titles for girls and boys that you can find in any good bookstore:
1. Geronimo Stilton. Lots of illustrations, with chapters as short as 2 pages! A good choice for kids just getting started on chapter books.
2. Captain Underpants. Part comic book and part chapter book, this is boy humor through and through (as its runaway success proves).
3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and other books by Roald Dahl. While Charlie is the best known, Matilda is the one book that Roald Dahl was satisfied with when he finished – the only book he never felt that he had to rewrite.
4.Where the Sidewalk Ends and other collections by Shel Silverstein. There is a Shel Silverstein poem for every reader, young and old alike. Kids who don’t really like poetry will make an exception for him. (And yes, he wrote “The Giving Tree” too.)
5. D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths. “All the great gods and goddesses of ancient Greece are depicted in this big, beautiful classic, lovingly illustrated and skillfully told.”This is a book for tweens and teens that you can order through local bookstores. And it will be worth every peso.
Books without illustrations that I personally love:
1. Holes. I have yet to find someone who did not like this book. It’s literally in a class all its own! (Recommended for age 10 and up – younger readers may not grasp all of it.)
2. Millions. If you’ve ever gone to a Catholic school and/or dreamed of becoming a real millionaire as a kid (better both!) then you’ll take to this clever, funny, unique story.
3. The Artemis Fowl series. A juvenile James Bond operating in the fairy world, with very entertaining and likeable friends. Book 4 (The Opal Deception) is probably the best.
4. Percy Jackson and other series by Rick Riordan. Famous for good reason. Part of required reading in some schools – and for once, students aren’t complaining!
5. The Secret Series by Pseudonymous Bosch. Consistently rated 5 stars out of 5 by both parents and kids. This series is not just secret, it’s… super!
I just realized that the first 4 books have been adapted either for TV or the big screen. Proof of kid appeal and a good sign that your reluctant reader would like them, too!
How about the Harry Potter? I’ve found that his story as told by JK Rowling is a bit too dense for reluctant readers (especially the first instalments). Have them cut their teeth on more accessible titles first. Don’t force books that don’t really appeal to them – even if those were the books you loved growing up. When it comes to reading, get them through the door first… and soon they won’t want to leave the room.
By Vanessa Bicomong, manager and personal book recommender at The Learning Library