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Reluctant Reader Favorites-Winter


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

Tedd Arnold's FLY GUY six book series-

Tedd Arnold, a winner of the Dr. Seuss Award, has another Fly Guy book out, Fly Girl Meets Fly Guy. The seventh book is out now. The young boy named BUZZ has a pet fly called FLY GUY and they have wonderfully funny, gross food adventures together. And this newest book about Fly Guy is one of sweetest and funniest Valentine's Day I have ever heard in the early format/style.

$5.99 from Scholastic hardcover, $3.99 paperback ( first two books only)

Mo Willems' Elephant & Piggies series

Mo Willems also has won the Dr. Seuss award for this series. Both Elephant & Piggie have humorous adventures together and emotional reviving expressions are simply a treasure to behold. Your children will ask for these books to be read often and enjoy learning to read them on their own.

$8.99 from Candlewick hardcover Pigs Make Me Squeeze.

First to Second Grade Readers (ages 5-8).cat on the mat is flat  book cover

Andy Griffiths' The Cat on the Mat is Flat.

Andy Griffiths won the Dr. Seuss award for his first book, The Cat on the Mat is Flat. Most parents as well as their children love these silly rhyming books about the Fred, a cat and mouse. This Australian author understands children and their sense of humor: especially practical jokes and physical fall down humor. Andy Griffiths' books works wonders with reluctant readers and that's why I mentioned his books so often! The second book in the series is only in hardcover for now, THE BIG FAT COW GOES KAPOW!! The illustrations are black/white drawings, so give your child colored pencils and have them color in the illustrations, making the book more to their liking and style.

$12.99 in hardcover, $6.99 in paperback from Feiwel & Friends Books (120 pages)

Erica Silverman's CowGirl Kate & CoCoa Her Horse series

Award winning author Erica Silverman has a new early reader series illustrated by award winning artist, Betsy Lewin. This 5 book series works very nicely for many readers. Three to four short stories within each book with a total of 48 pages of delight and amusement as Kate and CoCoa go thorough their day together. Another Cowgirl Kate due in April 2010, titled:Cowgirl Kate and CoCoa-Spring Babies. The series continues to grow better with each book.

$5.99 paperback, Newest $15.99 hardcover (Horse in the House) from Blue Apple Books

Second to Third Grade Readers (ages 7-10)

Andy Griffiths' books and his Schooling Around series

This Australian author understands children and their sense of humor, especially physical and practical jokes! Andy Griffiths' books work wonders with reluctant readers and that's why his books are mentioned so often.His Schooling Around series (average 200 pages each) and are so quickly paced with physical and practical jokes, us adults would suffer whiplash if we read too many of them. As with his Dr.Seuss award winning series (Big Fat Cow Goes Kapow!) reluctant readers are able to read and enjoy every page in his books, especially for our young boys in our lives.

$5.99 paperback from Scholastic (eight book series so far)

Steve Voake's new series Daisy Dawson

Daisy Dawson is part of a three book series with lovely young girl who is able to talk and understand animals she meets in her life. Of course, this ability leads to harmless complications in her daily routine as she goes to school. Refreshing and wonderful to read aloud too. The second book, Daisy and the Big Freeze and the third book, Daisy and the Secret Pond are only available in hardcover but worth every penny. Your child will want to reread and visit Daisy and her animal world adventures over again and again.

$5.99 in paperback from Candlewick

Fourth to Fifth Grade Readers (ages 9-13)

Michael Buckley's newest book NERDS-National Espionage, Rescue Defense Society-

Former writer for the cartoon network show SPONGEBOB SQUAREPANTS,and author of the Sisters Grimm series has created a new cast characters your child will want to reread and revisit often as possible. The cast has two girls and three guys who have super powers, and naturally high IQ's and are very creative in their struggles against evil in our world. This book is full of zany humor we have come to expect from SpongeBob Squarepants, too! You need these books for your students.(mid 4th grade reading level) Your children will thank you.

$14.99 from Amulet Books (just published in October 2009)


Amelia Rules by Jimmy Gownley

(available in two formats- graphic novel and book )

This seven book series (hopefully more coming) has created a wonderful girl full of feistiness and creativity. Amelia Rules is not done meanly. (less than 180 pages each) If you are worried about the age of the character, Amelia, for your reader, then have your child read Gownley's graphic novels first, the Amelia Rules book series. The graphic novel will overcome any resistance to this author.

$9.99 and up in paperback from Atheneum

Graphic Novels for the Dark Winter Days & Nights-

Sixth to Eighth Grade Readers (11-13)

Shannon Hale's award winning graphic novel, Rapanzel's Revenge and its follow up out in Jan. 2010- Calamity Jack

Its Pecos Bill meets Rapanzel: its Robin Hood and Sleeping Beauty all rolled up and mixed together in the most amusing and entertaining ways. This adventure is on going, and your middle schooler will demand its sequel: Calamity Jack which is out in January 2010.

$18.99 paperback from Bloomsbury USA Childrens, hardcover $24.99

Kazu Kibuishi's Amulet series The Stonekeeper (book 1, & book 2)-

Born in Japan, Kibuishi moved to USA with his mother and brother when he was quite young. He grew up in California where he currently lives with his wife. This new series by Kibusihi is for the middle schooler and kids loves the striking drawings and poignant story line as brother, Navin, and sister, Emily with help from talking animals and robots struggle to rescue their mother in a parallel universe.

$10.99 each paperback from GraphixBooks

High School and Up (14-18)

Graphic Novels, and the teenagers will love these books!

Cat Burglar Black written and illustrated by Richard Sala

A young white haired orphaned teenager,Katherine (called Kay) struggles to leave her criminal family behind her, when she attends an all girl academy high school. Only to discover more hidden facts about her ferrous relatives. Big on Girl Power and atmospherically drawn, Kay needs to discover all of her family's past secrets to free herself in her present life. (128 pages)

$16.99 paperback from FRIST SECOND Books

James Patterson's newest series DANIEL X-book1 & book 2daniel X book cover

Daniel X is an orphaned alien whose family was sent to Earth to rid it of criminal evil aliens: there's a most wanted list for the Aliens. When his parents are killed in the first chapter of series, Daniel X makes the list his personal quest to finish his parents work. His personal weapon is the power of his imagination and ability to change reality as we know it. Daniel X is action packed, and full of cliches, but its a fun ride with the master of suspense. (128 pages)

$14.99 in paperback from Little Brown for Young Adults


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 (Now in paperback from Little Brown)

Ally Carter's new 3 book series-I'll Tell You I Love You, But Then I 'll Have To Kill You! ( a comic look at Spy High School run by ex spooks)

James Patterson's Maximum Ride series, with the latest, Fang in March 2010

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 ,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.

Kate Wild's Firefight and Fight Game