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Reluctant Reader

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Reluctant Reader Favorites


I have been working with reluctant reader book groups for 10 years now (ages, 9-14) at a local school. I truly love working with this group of readers. They challenge me to figure out what books will turn them into life long readers and I love challenges. I read strong girl and strong boy theme books, but I must admit to having a deep empathy with reluctant reader boys and young men.

Early Readers

Erica Silverman's Cowgirl Kate and CoCoa: Horse in the Housecowgirl kate and her horse cocoa book cover

Erica Silverman, a winner of the Dr. Seuss Award, has a refreshing smart and sassy series with a horse named CoCoa and her owner, Cowgirl Kate. The newest book, Horse in the House, makes this former horse owner and rider wishing to grab a saddle horn and mount up. There are 5 books in this series, and each book is a level two reader with a wonderful sense of humor. Boys and girls both love Cowgirl Kate and her horse CoCoa, and will read about their adventures together many times! $15.99 hardcover from Harcourt Children's Books.

$5.99 from Harcourt Children's Books first four in paperback

First to Second Grade Readers (5-8)

fly guy book coverTedd Arnold's Fly Guy series, the latest is Hooray for Fly Guy

Tedd Arnold won the Dr. Seuss award for the first book, Hi Fly Guy. Most parents as well as their children love these silly books about the boy Buzz and his pet fly named Fly Guy and their harmless, but gross adventures. There are five books in this series,your child will love them all.

$5.99 in hardcover, $3.99 in paperback from Cartwheel Books

fancynancybookreportJane O'Connor's Fancy Nancy series, the latest is Fancy Nancy-Dazzling Book Report

Fancy Nancy was introduced to us as a picture book character. She is now available as a level one early reader. Fancy Nancy loves learning to speak the French language, and big fancy words. She loves to dress up in her unique style. She's outgoing, artistic and loves to try new things. Your child will want to reread these books numerous times.

$3.99 paperback, $15.99 hardcover from HarperCollins

Second to Third Grade Readers (7-10)

Andy Griffifths' series- Just Annoying, Just Disgusting.....Just Annoying book cover by Griffiths

This Australian author understands children and their sense of humor, especially physical and practical jokes! These books are just so awful, just so stupid, just so shocking and that's just their titles. Meet the little boy named Andy as he drives his parents and older sister crazy. Don't worry about giving your children ideas, believe me, most children have dreamed about doing these practical jokes already.

$5.99 paperback from Scholastic
winddancers book cover

Sibley Miller's Wind Dancers series- If Wishes Were Horses

This new series has four miniature horses born with fairy wings. They are brother and sisters, who together learn the values of sharing, listening to each other, and thinking about others besides themselves. There are gentle life lessons taught here with a light hand bundled up in the love of tiny horses with fairy wings. This combination in a second grade reading level is like a candy bar full of chocolate and peanut butter, delicious and impossible to eat just one. Collect and read all four, with hopefully more coming soon.

$6.99 in paperback from Feiwel & Friends

Fourth to Fifth Grade Readers (9-13)

barn stormers book coverPhil Bildner & Loren Long's BarnStormers-Tales of the Travelin' Nine (Games 1,2,3)

Author Phil Bildner and illustrator Loren Long, have written a series about the early baseball years (1899) and its players. These books has three kids, Griffin, Ruby & Graham and with their parents who are helping baseball develope and grow in popularity as we know it now across our country. In each book, the children are traveling from game to game with a magic baseball. There are a lot of twists, turns and unexpected events to keep the most reluctant reader who enjoys baseball very interested. Try the CD which includes all three books. The reader can follow along listening with audio download. If you enjoy baseball and mysteries, this series is a perfect fit because each book is about 150 pages long with informative illustrations, and fun plot twists.

$10.99 each in hardcover from Simon & Schuster


finfantastic book coverLiz Kessler's Emily Windsnap, FinFastic Friendship Book

This four book series (hopefully more coming) is magical, full of friendship lessons and rules about being a mermaid. Emily knows she is adopted, but when she joins the swim team she learns much more about herself. The newest book is an activity filled book about sleepovers, friendship advice, and fun things to do like other mermaids. The four books in series are:The Tail of Emily Windsnap, Emily Windsnap and the Castle in the Mist, Emily Windsnap and the Monster from the Deep, and Phillippa Fisher's Fairy GodSister. These books have been a favorite among reluctant reader girl book groups. Girls who want to imagine themselves older or in Middle School truly love these books. Parents no worries about content, here. There's drama about friendships, but it is not done meanly.

$5.99 in paperback from Candlewick,

Sixth to Eighth Grade Readers (11-13)

Shane Berryhill's Chance Fortune and The Outlaws seriesShane Berryhill's chance Fortune book cover

The series is about superhero kids, and their school. Josh Blevins always wanted to be a superhero. So he changes his name to Chance Fortune and states,"I have unusually high level of good luck", as is his superhero ability. Us, parents would describe this superhero ability as a strong dose of common sense. Of course, the school, teachers, and classmates do not see it that way. The pacing is accelerated. The second book, Chance Fortune in the Shadow Zone is fine follow up to first book and is available only in hardcover, $17.99.

$6.99 in paperback from Starscape

Jane Yolen's Pay The Piper (A Rock n Roll Fairy Tale)jan yolen's Pay the Piper book cover

Jane Yolen is one of my all time favorite authors. She is a brilliant writer for readers from babyhood to adulthood. This series written with her son, Adam Stemple stretches the old fairy tales into a rock n roll road trip. Its' adventure time for Callie, a 14 year old girl who must rescue her younger brother from the Pied Piper. The reader will truly enjoy every page. Quickly paced, smart dialogue, and rock n roll lyrics to boot, this series will surprise and delight its readers. The second book is Troll Bridge: A Rock N Roll Fairy Tale. We are anxiously waiting for news of the third book in this series.

$7.99 in paperback from Starscape

High School and Up (14-18)

suite scarlette book coverMaureen Johnson's Suite Scarlett

This author writes wonderfully fun and sweet, stand alone (non repeating character) books. Her sixth book, Suite Scarlett, goes to paperback in early May, 2009. The book has Scarlett Martins, age 15, and an aging film starlet, Mrs. Amberson coming to terms with each other. During Scarlett's summer vacation job, she learns about the life of this elderly actress: her loves, triumphs, and regrets. But of course, there's romance in the air, when Scarlett meets gregarious Eric thorough this C-list retired actress. Now things don't look so bad this summer in New York City at the family owned Hopewell Hotel. The dialogue pops off the page. Also, memorable are the silly, funny events, as they occur around famous city landmarks. This book is a winner: your daughter will love to read, reread it. And when they should be studying for those exams, they will reading Maureen Johnson's books, happily instead.

$8.99 paperback from HarperCollins-Point

fight game book coverKate Wild's Fight Game-Book 1

This British film documentary director and writer has a new series about a gifted gypsy teenage boy named Freedom Smith. He is given no choice about joining a black ops secret police group. He struggles with tough choices between personal freedom vs the community good. Kate Wild understands the hidden community of British gypsies. Yes, there is some very honest rough language, and brutal fight scenes. But fight clubs do occur in many high schools in our region. This book makes a strong statement for classroom selection, and as a book group selection. Its sequel, FireFight, out now in hardcover only. I strongly recommend both books.

$7.99 in paperback from The Chicken House,Ltd.
daniel X book cover

Below is a list of other favorites for High School age reluctant readers-

Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Story of a Part Time Indian

James Patterson's Maximum Ride series, with the latest, MAX

James Patterson's Daniel X series

Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series

Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson series

Francisco Block's Dangerous Angel Weetzie Bat series

P C Cast's House of Night series

Terry Trueman's books, No Right Turn, and Cruise Control

Walter Dean Myers' books,(any of them) Monster, Game,Slam, Fallen Angels

Maureen Johnson's books,13 little Blue Envelopes, Girl at Sea, Suite Scarlett,

Meg Cabot's any of them, except the Allie Finkle series, try Avalon High

Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series.