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« My little sister's all grown up | Main | Growing Up Fast »

November 28, 2004



I went through the whole Narnia series four or five times when I was younger, but then again when I was just out of college. The biblical links seemed pretty heavy-handed (particularly in The Magician's Nephew, but also in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardobe) when I was older, but they were way over my head when I was younger. It might just be something you see as an adult.

That said, the middle books in the series - particularly, I think, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, maybe also The Silver Chair and Prince Caspian, and definitely The Horse and His Boy - are not so obviously allegorical.

Is Jean George's "My Side of the Mountain" too young for them?


How about Roald Dahl's The BFG? Or Katherine Paterson's Bridge to Terabithia, or The Great Gilly Hopkins. They are all favorites of mine. (There is some language in Bridge that may not be appropriate to read aloud.) Also, Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. I've never read Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt but have wanted to...


Adventure classics always worked for me. The Call of the Wild, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Horatio Hornblower books.

Ms. F.

Some books I remember liking, that perhaps your students haven't encountered: Anything from the Anne of Green Gables series (or perhaps that's not exciting enough?), or what I always thought of as the "Horse" books--The Black Stallion, Black Beauty and the like? My mother used to read those to me. Also, I also liked the book "Dragonsong" by Anne Macaffrey, about a girl who pursues her love of music in the face of adversity. Unlike some of her other books, it's aimed more at young adults, but without the "crushes and kisses" if I recall.


What a wonderful after-lunch ritual! Another possibility is Walk Two Moons by Sharon won the Newberry in 1995 and, like Holes (what a great book) it has ample opportunities for higher-level questions.


Wow! Thanks so much for the input! I am so excited! I am ashamed to say that I haven't read a lot of these, and some I'd like to go back and re-read. What's so great is that I have my 4th graders for two years, so there is a good chance that I could get through ALL of these with them!


How about the Susan Cooper Series:

Over Sea Under Stone
The Grey King
Silver On The Tree

Wonderful, full of magic and friendship and no kissing ! A different take on King Arthur that kept me interested and which I still go back to again and again.


Here are some of the books that we loved reading to our kids. It always amazes me how many wonderful childrens books there are. Your post makes me want to get all of these out and read them again on my own.

The whole "Swallows and Amazons" series by Arthur Ransome. The books are mostly set in the Lake District of England, and center around the adventures of a group of children, often involving sailing. A nice aspect is that the girls in the group are leaders, not simply followers of the boys.

"Gone-Away Lake" by Elizabeth Enright, and the rest of her works.

E. Nesbit's "The Railway Children", and her others.

Edward Eager's "Half Magic" and his others.

We, and our kids, loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder "Little House on the Prairie" series. We avoided seeing the TV series so as not to spoil the books.

We also read an engrossing magic / fantasy book called "Tom's Midnight Garden," by Phillipa Pearce (sp?).


So, let me first admit that I have no idea what 12 year olds read these days. My experience working with youth has been primarily limited to high school age (though all the data suggests that people generally rise to the task, which I assume is why you're trying to read books that are a level or two up).

When I was younger, I liked reading the Norby series of books by Isaac Asimov. Not a bad introduction to sci-fi - the first book in the series is Norby the Mixed-Up Robot. This might be a little below their level.

Are the Newberry Medal winners too easy as well? Or perhaps too well read?

I'm a big fan of Lloyd Alexander as well. The Black Cauldron series is well known, and some of the other series are great (The Westmark Trilogy comes to mind).

Short stories could be useful as well (I'm not sure if you're trying to limite to novels or not) - with some pre-screening, certain Sherlock Holmes stories could be effective (not to mention leading to great discussion of modern day manifestations, how perceptions change over time, etc), as could some of Phillip Dick's (author of the short stories that inspired Minority Report, Total Recall, etc) works.

I'm a fan of the series of books that makes up the Ender Wiggins Saga by Orson Scott Card as well. Here's the short story that inspired Ender's Game. Definitely a lot of mature issues in this book, but it's also interesting in that Card later wrote a book telling the same tale, but from the viewpoint of Bean, another character in the book. Chapter one of Ender's Shadow is here. Again, the whole series could lead to great discussion - specifically as to what it's like being a kid in an adult run world . . .

Sorry for the sci-fi heavy list . . .


Autumn, it's remarkable that you do this with your kids. When I was in 7th grade, one of my favorite teachers of all time did exactly this. We'd come back from lunch and recess, sweaty and hot and racing from basketball and kickball, and we'd turn the lights off in the classroom, with the picture windows along one side of the room illuminating our desks. Sometimes he'd even encourage us to put our heads down and just listen - I can still smell that desk, an earthy combination of synthetic wood and chemical cleaner smell.

Of all the books he read to us, the one that everyone liked the best was To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee. Good story, adult themes but not too racy. Remember, I even went to a crazy conservative christian school, and this one went over fine with the parents and kids alike.

Just a suggestion - reading your posting immediately brought me back to those moments of feeling the sweat slowly dry off of my forehead, and that smelly smelly desk.



i have alot of childrens books for sale,Evelyn Witter The Mystery of the Missing Bicycles lois axeman 1987 childrens press chicago The Reading well series good, no DJ first edition

Suzy Kline OOPS! A PUFFIN BOOK Dora Leder 1989

albert g.miller Bambi gets lost disney's 1972 random house
Bob Graham First there was Farnces isbn#0-02-737030-5 1986 Bradbury Press w-DJ
Charles Schwartz Charlie Browns Cyclopedia Vol.# 3 1980 Funk & Wagnalls inc.
David Korr Sesame Street ABC toy chest Nancy W. Stevenson 1981 Western Pub. Co. Inc.
Ellen Weiss Fix it, Please Bill Morrison 1980 Western Pub. Co. Inc.
Featuring holidays Charle Browns Cyclopedia #12 1980 Funk & Wagnalls inc.
Fredrick Forsythe The Decever 1991 bantam books
Gen Leroy Taxi Cat and Huey {dog story} 1992 harper collins
George Stewart Ancient Pioneers the 1st americans 2001 Natonal Geographic
Glenette Turner Surprise for Mrs.Burns Dan Siculan 1971 albert whitman and co.
Groiler Club The resuers down under 1993 Disneys wonderful world of reading
Helen Rushmore Look Out For Hogans Goats mimi korach 1969 garrard pub. Co.
isbn#0-8021-1309-5 Churchills Generals editor John keegan 1991 Grove Weidenfeld
Janet Palazzo What make the weather Paul Harvey 1998 Troll Communications
Jerome Martin Mitten/Kitten Presto-change-o Daniel Collins 1991 simon and schuster
John Saul When the wind blows 1981 A dell Book w-DJ
Joy Wilt Handling your ups and downs Hergie Hergenroeder 1979 educational products inc.
Joy Wilt Your one of a kind Hergie Hergenroeder 1979 ready set grow book
Joy Wilt Saying what you mean Hergie Hergenroeder 1978 Weekly Reader
Judi Barrett Cloudy with a chance of meatballs Ron Barrett 1978 Scholastic inc.
kali gezi and ann bradford illus. mina gow mclean 1980 The Mystery at Mystery Falls the childs worldTHE MAPLE STREET FIVE,
kali gezi and ann bradford illus. mina gow mclean 1980 The Mystery of the blind writer the childs worldTHE MAPLE STREET FIVE,
Mary Serfozo The big bug dug Jefferey Scherer 2001 My first hello reader PB
Matt Novak Newt An I can read book Matt Novak 1997 Harpers Collins Publishers
Melanie Martin Morris the millionaire mouse G. Brian Karas 1989 fiddle sticks Troll assoc.
Melinda Luke The Quasar Caper and asterik adventure Jean Pierre Jjacquet 1984 Random House
Mercer Mayer Just Camping Out a golden book 1989 Western Pub. Co. Inc.
Michaela Montean Sesame Street Monsters, monsters Richard Walz 1987 Western Pub. Co. Inc.
Michaela Muntean Sesame Street look what I found John Costanza 1981 Golden Press
Nancy J. Hopper Lies especially for girls 1984 lodestar books
Norman Birdwell Clifford the dog who cried wolf scholastic cartwell books PB
odille ousley Ranches and Rainbows 1959 ginn and co.
Paul Hess Rain Forest Animals 1998 animal worlds
Robert Quackenbush Henry's Important Date 1981 Parents Magazine Press

Elizabeth Baker Tammy Camps in the Rocky Mountains Beth Krush 1970 Houghton Mifflin Co.

a childs book of famous stories 1940s? p.w. coussens
Joy Wilt Mine & Yours - A Children's Book…Responsibilities Hergie 1978 Educatonal Products Divison Word, Inc
Joy Wilt You Can Do It - A Children's Book about Being Creative Hergie 1980 Educatonal Products Divison Word, Inc
Mariellen Hanrahan My Little Book of Boats Tom Dunnington 1974 A Golden Book
Stan and Jan Berenstain The Berenstain Bears' Christmas Tree 1980 Random House

Kristi D.Holl Perfect or not, here I come A TrollBook 1986 troll associates paper back, good 146
Bruce Weber Weird Moments in Sports bruce howard katz 1975 Scholastic book paperback excellent
Humerous stories from highlights Marvin Composes A Tea A Highlights 1992 boyds mills press paperback excellent
Humerous stories from highlights The Itch in a Hitch A Highlights 1996 boyds mills press paperback excellent
My Brother Daniel A Hiighlights - Brother's and Sister's Stories from 1996 boyds mills press paperback excellent
alfred hitchcock and the three investigators The Secret of Shark Reef alfred hitchcock 1979 random house new york paperback fair condition
R.L. Stine How I broke up with Ernie 1990 pocket books paperback good
Ken and Pat Kraft Grow Your Own Dwarf Fruit Trees cornerstone library 1974-1975 cornerstone library paperback great cond.
Ann McGovern If you grew up with Abraham Lincoln George Ulrich 1966 scholastic PB
Barbara Park Junie B. Jones and some sneaky peeky spying Denise Brunkus 1994 Scholastic Inc. PB
David Adler Cam Jansen and the mystery of the stolen corn popper Susanna Natti 1981 Scholastic inc. PB
Nancy Carlson Pictures Puffins I like me 1990 Viking Penguin PB
Joy Wilt Needing each other Hergie Hergenroeder 1978 weekly reader books ready set grow
William E. Jones and Minerva J. Goldberg Going to kindergarten 1968 ODDO Publ. Co. Rough Condition
Betty Cavanna Don't Bite Your Grandmother's Ear Dora Leder 1975 Macmillan Pub. Co. solo book PB

whitman pub. Co. mother goose her own book mary royt 1932 e.m kovar
Jan Ormerod When We Went To The Zoo 1990 Lothrop, Lee & Shepard

Joseph Hergesheimer The Three Black Pennys (dj) David Hendrickson Alfred A. Knopf 1961

Bernard Waber Ira Sleeps Over 1972 Houghton Mifflin Co.
Betty Cavana Don't Bite Your Grandmother's Ear 1975 Macmillan Pub. Co.
Emily Perl Kinsley The Sesame Streeet Pet Show Normand Chartier 1980 Western Pub. Co. Inc.
Joy Wilt A Kid's TV Guide Ernie Hergenroeder 1979 Weekly reader book
Lorinda Bryan Cauley Clap Your Hands 1992 G. P. Putman & Sons
Patricia Lynn Farm ABC Gladys Truly Michell 1954 Merrigold Press
Phil Baron The World of Teddy Ruxpin - Quiet Please Russell Hicks et al 1986 Worlds of Wonder, Inc.
Stan and Jan Berenstain The Berenstain Bears' Learn To Share 1992 Reader's Digest Kids
Stan and Jan Berenstain The Berenstain Bears' Visit Farmer Ben 1993 Reader's Digest Kids
Stan and Jan Berenstain TheBerenstain Bears' Home Sweet Tree 1992 Reader's Digest Kids
The Berenstain Bears and the Prize Pumpkin 1990 Random House

The Case of the Missing Hoopaland Elizabeth Levy John Trotta 1975 Macmillan Pub. Co. Hard Paper, excellent cond.
Kate William Francine Pascal's Sweet Valley High The Love Bet a bantam book 1990 especially for girls hardback excellent
R.G. Austin The Castle Of No Return mike eagle 1982 pocket books hardback fair
Jean Craighead George The Thirteen Moons, The Moon of the Moles Robert Levering 1969 thomas y. crowell co. Hardback, no DJ, good condition

NEIL WEINBORN The USA a chronicle in pictures 1ST EDITION 1991 Reed international books limited great, isbn#0-8317-1399-2 DJ
Herbert S. Zim Phd 278 Species in full color FISHES 1956 Simms and Schuster great, no DJ

Elizabeth Levy Something Queer at the library a mystery Mordicai Gerstein 1977 Weekly reader book great
Ida Delange The Old Witch's Party 1976 great
Lamsweerde Ziggy and his music 1968 Ideals Pub. Co. great
Lamsweerde Ziggy What Animals Say Ideals Pub. Co. Great
Moonbird stories Green Dog goes home 1982 Groiler Enterprises Inc. great
Robert M. McClung White Foot the story of a wood mouse Robert M. McClung 1970 great
Selected by Marvin Kaye Masters of Terror and the Supernatural - A treasury of spell binding tales old and new 1985 Double Day & Co. Book Club Edition great
Stan and Jan Berenstain The Berenstain Bears' On Time 1992 Reader's Digest Kids great
Stephen Cossgrove Hucklebug 1975 A Serendipity Book GREAT
William K. Durr and others Skylights 1981 Houghton Mifflin Co. great

Larry Kettelkamp Magic Made Easy Larry Kettelkamp 1954 Morrow Junior Books good, with DJ
George W. Stimpson Why do some Shoes Squeak and 568 other popular questions answered 1984 BELL PUB. CO good, no dj isbn# 0-517-455749
The Frankenstein Wheel Paul W. Fairman frankenstein horror series 1972 Popular Library New York Good, paperback

leonard kessler here comes the strikeout 1965 harper & row

Jean Bethel The Clumsy Cowboy 1963 Gosset & Dunlap
Leonard Kesster I made a line story and pics 1962
Mary Adrian The Fireball Mystery Reisie Lovette 1977 Weekly reader book
Mercer Mayer Liza Lou and the Yeller Belly Swamp 1976 Random House
Michael Berenstain The Horned Dinosaur - Triceratops Michael Berenstain 1989 A Golden Book

Edith S. McCall The Buttons at the zoo 1954
fred gibson Old Yeller carl burger 1956 harper and rowe

Beatrix Potter The Story of A Fierce Bad Rabbit Frederick Warne & Co.
Bobby Hamsa Fast Draw Freddie 1984 A Rookie Reader
Carolyn Haywood Away Went The Ballons 1973 Morrow Junior Books
clyde robert bulla White Bird leonard weisgard 1966 thomas y. crowell co.

Kendal Fact Finder It's A Fact! 1980 treasure press
weisinger- johnston- supervia A First Reader in Spanish revised edition 1950 the odyssey press
Al Horowitz Chess for beginners a picture guide 1969 Barnes and Noble
Margaret J. Baker Homer goes to Stratford W.T. Mars 1958 Prentice Hall Inc.
John Berendt Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil 1994 Random House
Larry Callen Cabbage Patch Kids - The Just Right Family 1984 A Parkers family book
bushy tail 1930 ?
Jerald Beim The smallest boy in the class 1949 William Morrow and Co.
Barbara Williams Emily Arnole McCULLY Mitzi and the terrible tyrannosaurus rex Emily Arnole McCULLY 1982 Weekly reader book E.P. DUTTON
Alfred Slote COLAR a tale of outerspace anthony kramer 1981 j.b. lippincott
John O'Hara appointment in samara,butterfield 8, hope of heaven dj 1934 random house
Patricia Lee Gaugh Aaron and the green mountain boys Gaugh Margot Tomes 1972 Coward mccann &georhegan
philippa green mulford especially for girls Golden boys sister 1986 delacourt press
phyliss anderson wood I think this is where we came in 1976 signet vista book
Sheary Suiter The Right Kind of Guy especially for girls tempo books
the authorized story of american gold Magnificent Seven DJ 1996 bantam books
the young folks shelf of books Volumes 1,5,6,7,8,9,10 Colliers juior classics the crowell collier pub. Co.1962
I have more,contact me, [email protected] for complete list of books, I may have what you are looking for Thank you!

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