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  1. #1

    Default Age-appropriate books for 8yo advanced reader?

    My son has been reading way above his grade level for some time and I find it difficult to find books that are a good fit for his young age but also challenge him in terms of reading level.

    He's gone through the Percy Jackson Lightning Thief series, the first 4 Harry Potters (holding off on the later - darker - books until he turns at least 9!), all the Boxcar Children, many of the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drews, many of the Wimpy Kid and Geronimo Stiltons, the Dan Gutman sports series, the How to Train Your Dragon series. Are there any books/series out there that aren't too mature (talking about crushes or love interests, alcohol/drugs) or violent (no suicides, please).

    We have done lots of classics already (Wizard of Oz, Trumpet of the Swans, Charlotte's Web, Roald Dahl books, Stuart Little, Indian in the Cupboard, Great Brain, Half Magic, etc. etc. etc.). We also subscribe to National Geographic (kids and adult subscriptions), and many many other magazines.

    It's getting to the point where he's bored of many titles that are "for his age," and is now just reading graphic novels or comics, like Calvin & Hobbes and the Far Side compendiums, for fun. I want to keep him challenged but don't want to expose him to ideas and concepts that too mature.

    We are working on the Narnia series and will begin the Hobbit soon. Any other ideas are much appreciated. Thanks so much for reading this far and for any suggestions!

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  3. #2


    Bias upfront: I tend to opt for literature over series books for dd10. Narnia and any Tolkien though would be great methinks! And if fantasy is what he likes, that's a deep category (about which I know nearly nothing though!).

    Have you looked up the Newbery awards lists? I've found some great ones hidden in the runners-up category. And if you're worried about content there's usually enough written about each book that you should be able to judge it beforehand.

    This is also a good site for books: Hoagie's Lists

    I have also had some luck finding new titles through the listmania! feature in Amazon.

    And then: check with your local librarian! S/he will surely be able to help you.

  4. #3
    Senior Member Enlightened JenWrites's Avatar
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    May 2012


    My daughter absolutely LOVED the Gregor the Overlander series, and I've heard good things about the Wondla and Fablehaven series, as well.
    Kali: 5/03
    J.C.: 8/11
    Homeschooling since: 6/12

  5. #4


    Swallows and Amazons series by Arthur Ransome! My kids adore these books from the 1930's about a group of adventurous kids who sail, camp, and explore. There are about 12 or so books, mostly set in England. No violence or dark themes, just great camaraderie and fun.
    Mother of two monkeys...daughter age 10 and son age 11.5.

  6. #5


    You might also have a look at the Mensa kids list and the NPR 100 books list (though not all of the books on the latter will be age appropriate). Has he read classics like Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, Robinson Crusoe, the Jules Verne and Jack London books? Those have all been popular with my DS (who is one year older than yours) inthe past 2-3 years.

    And I second asking your local librarians for suggestions.

  7. #6


    Diana Wynne Jones has lots of great books for that age/ability, especially Homeward Bounders, the Chrestomanci series (written about 20 years earlier than Harry Potter--Rowling actually "borrowed" several elements of her books from Jones, including horcruxes and the put-outer), the Dalemark Quartet series, and the Howl's Moving Castle Series. Also highly recommend Terry Pratchett's The Wee Free Men, Nation, and The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents.

  8. #7
    Senior Member Evolved BakedAk's Avatar
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    Mar 2012
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    I love this site! I could have written the first post, including the entire book list the op mentioned. Thanks for all the suggestions!

    OP - has your boy read the Deltora series, by Emily Rodda? Would he be interested in the Redwall books?

    Mommy to Girl-13 and Boy-11, trying to keep my head above water with farm, school, home and art.

    You shall know the truth and the truth shall make you odd.
    (Flannery O'Connor)

  9. #8


    This is so awesome! Thanks so much, everyone, for the suggestions. I can't wait to dig into the titles and see what might interest him. I, too, favor literature over many of these modern series (e.g., Wimpy Kid) but I do need to take into account his developing almost-tween preferences. I think the only way I can get him to digest the classics is by reading them to him, especially if they are not the simplified "kid versions."

  10. #9


    The Edward Eager Books(there's 7 of them), the Bagthorpes saga by Helen Cresswell, and the Sisters Grimm series.
    Homeschooling mom to three elves(7yrs,6yrs, and baby), and two homeschool-graduated giants(21 and 20)
    My Blog: Three Owls Homeschool

  11. #10


    Read anything by Frances Hardinge lately? Guaranteed to challenge his vocabulary!

    But man, oh man, these comments are heavy on the fantasy and sci-fi! Now, I love fantasy and sci-fi myself, but lemme finish making dinner and I'll see what else I can think of.

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Age-appropriate books for 8yo advanced reader?