January 28, 2013


I can’t imagine where he gets it from, but Zachary is far lovelier to live with when he’s into a book. Better yet, a series, since single books are over too soon; he prefers a longer-term commitment. The problem is that he’s slamming through reading at such a steady clip now, it’s hard for me to keep up.

He’s just about to finish the Wrinkle in Time series. We’re waiting for An Acceptable Time to come in at the bookstore. Any suggestions as to where to go next? He’s eight, so it needs to be pretty clean.

Thanks in advance for your contribution to my sanity.

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  • Reply Shari January 28, 2013 at 3:01 am

    D is currently obsessed with the Guardians of Ga’hoole series, which is massive. I’m not sure how it compares to a Wrinkle in Time though….I feel like that’s fairly sophisticated. But you were looking for ideas, so there’s one. And this series has captured her imagination like nothing I’ve ever seen — including Harry Potter.

    • Reply emily January 28, 2013 at 3:02 am

      Oh, yes, he’s read them all. And met the author. That lasted us MONTHS.

  • Reply Shari January 28, 2013 at 3:02 am

    Hey, has he read the House with a Clock in It’s Walls by John Belkin (illustrations by Edward Gorey)? And then there are two that come after it, I believe. It’s a little scary, but age-appropriately. And it is one of my favorites. Oh, also 39 Clues — another endless series. We’ve only read the 1st book but it seemed fine to me, from a “clean” perspective.

    • Reply emily January 28, 2013 at 3:04 am

      Hasn’t read the Belkin. Thank you!! He’s read all the 39 Clues except the one about to come out.

      • Reply Jennifer Wharton January 28, 2013 at 3:37 am

        That’s John Bellairs actually, with some continuations written by Brad Strickland. They can be pretty scary, I usually recommend them a little older, but if he can handle Harry Potter they’re probably fine. You might also try the Rangers Apprentice series by John Flanagan, Septimus Heape by Angie Sage, Fablehaven by Brandon Mull, Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo, Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas, Tunnels and sequels by Gordon Roderick. These are all fantasy/adventure series that I recommend for the 8-12 age group, especially fans of Rick Riordan and Harry Potter. Also, Chronus Chronicles by Anne Ursu, that’s another mythology based series. I think there are four?

        • Reply Shari January 30, 2013 at 2:22 am

          Duh. I knew it was John Bellairs. My brain clearly shut off mid-sentence. Either that or I was too focused on Edward Gorey. Thanks!

          • Jennifer January 30, 2013 at 2:51 am

            I was just debating whether or not to weed them in my library, so they were on the top of my brain!

  • Reply Jenni January 28, 2013 at 3:07 am

    Gary Paulsen’s Brian’s Saga (Hatchet, The River, Brian’s Winter, Brian’s Return, Brian’s Hunt) is wonderful but Zachary will fly right through them. Has he read Christopher Paolini’s The Inheritance Cycle? That series should keep him engrossed for a while. Avi’s Crispin series earned rave reviews from my nephews when they were only just slightly older than Zachary, but I haven’t read it myself. I loved Arthur Ransome’s Swallows and Amazons series when I was eight, and I recently read and loved Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. It’s not a series, but it’s a wonderful read. I hope I’ve hit upon something he’ll like.

    • Reply emily January 28, 2013 at 3:08 am

      Awesome. Thank you!

  • Reply Heide January 28, 2013 at 3:11 am

    My nine-year-old loves the Warriors series, and the Percy Jackson books, plus there’s at least one other series by Rick Riordan. Inkheart has a few sequels, as does Eragon; there’s the Chronicles of Chresthomanci and others by Diana Wynn Jones; Redwall has a gajillion books (and you can get them used); there’s the Chronicles of Narnia. Sherlock Holmes, maybe? Agatha Christie?

    • Reply emily January 28, 2013 at 3:14 am

      He’s read all the warriors and everything by Riordan, as well as the good Narnia books. But none of the others. Thank you!

  • Reply Matt January 28, 2013 at 3:12 am

    The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexandrr (starts with the Book of Three)
    The Mad Scientists’ Club -sorry I can’t remember the author
    The Borrowers or The Littles
    The Redwall books by Brian Jacques
    The Nimh books (Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh)
    So You Want to be a Wizard -Diane Duane (can’t remember what she calls the series, but this is the first one)
    I can go on, shoot me an email if you want more or more depth on these ones

  • Reply Heide January 28, 2013 at 3:14 am

    Through the Eyes of a Child and Children’s Books in Children’s Hands are two education textbooks I found helpful in identifying books for my kid; they both list gazillions of books in various categories and rank them by reading level as well as age level.

  • Reply Heide January 28, 2013 at 3:15 am

    Oh, and also the Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott. Sorry for leaving so many comments.

  • Reply Matt January 28, 2013 at 3:18 am

    If you go with the Bellairs books, there is a whole separate series apart from the House With the Clock in it’s Walls, but these books are really creepy and used to give me nightmares into 5th and 6th grade (probably later than that, too, but I certainly wouldn’t admit that it happened a few months ago when I reread one, no siree!)

  • Reply catherine January 28, 2013 at 3:24 am

    The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander!!

  • Reply Karen January 28, 2013 at 3:39 am

    You know I am just taking notes here!

  • Reply Marnie January 28, 2013 at 5:37 am

    A couple of thoughts (although I have more experience with older readers):
    -The Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix — there are seven of them; I haven’t read her latest series The Missing but they look popular and intriguing as well
    -Wings of Fire Series
    -The Giver, Messenger, Son and Gathering Blue
    – the Artemis Fowl series
    -the Sammy Keyes series by Wendlin Van Draanen (might not be age appropriate as the main character is in eighth grade but there are a whole slew of them)
    -and this may be too old school but The Indian in the Cupboard (I also highly recommend Lynne Reid Banks two books about the Israeli/Arab conflict One More River and Broken Bridge; I loved them in middle school).

  • Reply kate January 28, 2013 at 7:42 am

    The Artemis Fowl books are a hit here, as well as a series called Pendragon by D.J. McHale. The Gregor the Overlander chronicles are great, too. I’m taking notes myself from these comments!

  • Reply Varda (SquashedMom) January 28, 2013 at 7:42 am

    Ditto on the Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander. Also a single book by him but worth it because it’s so wonderful – Time Cat.
    The Earthsea series by Ursula LeGuin.
    “The Underland Chronicles” series by Suzanne Collins.
    “Adventurers Wanted” series by M. L. Forman.
    Also possibly hunt out OLD Bobsey Twins or Nancy Drew books from yard sales – the original stories.
    Louis Sachar: Wayside school series (3 books) and Holes.
    The “Young Samurai” series by Chris Bradford (great semi-historical set in 16th cent. Japan)
    “When You Reach Me” by Rebecca Stead. The main character in it is obsessed with A Wrinkle in Time.
    The Van Gogh Cafe by Cynthia Rylant
    When he gets a little older – 10? -: The Giver series (4 books) by Lois Lowry is stunning. Before that maybe her other books: Number the Stars or Gossamer.
    Good Luck!

  • Reply Megan January 28, 2013 at 8:33 am

    The Dark is Rising series – Susan Cooper
    100 Cupboards trilogy – N.D. Wilson
    Tiffany Aching series – Terry Pratchett (anything Pratchett really, although at 8 the Aching books are probably most age appropriate)

    • Reply Shari January 30, 2013 at 2:26 am

      I have to chime in here. The Dark is Rising Series is my favorite series of all time. I still read the entire thing every few years. I gave my 8 year old Over Sea, Under Stone a few months ago and she loved it but The Dark Is Rising (the book) didn’t hold her interest. I’ll try again in a year. Maybe your 8-year-old wouldn’t lose interest though.

      Also, I’m thoroughly benefiting from this post. Thanks!

  • Reply Carmel January 28, 2013 at 11:02 am

    Have you heard of Emily Rodda (an Australian author)? She’s written the Deltora Quest series (8 books), Deltora Shadowlands (3 books) and Deltora Series 3 (4 books). She’s also recently published a trilogy – The Three Doors Trilogy. My daughter (8) and nephew (9) are huge fans.

  • Reply Linda Petersen January 28, 2013 at 2:43 pm

    You are so lucky that your son has something so great to be interested in. My children never really read, so I have no suggestions.

    • Reply emily January 28, 2013 at 4:05 pm

      I absolutely know how lucky I am, especially since one of my favorite things to do is watch kids read and talk about books with kids.

  • Reply Pam Brunskill January 28, 2013 at 11:44 pm

    I know you said your son’s already started the Harry Potter series on his own (I waited too long, too). The Artermis Fowl series is excellent, and a lot of kids who like HP also like Artemis Fowl. Because of Winn Dixie and The Tale of Despereaux are fabulous. Of course, there’s always the classic Charlotte’s Web. Other favorites include From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, The Westing Game, The Great Gilly Hopkins, the Wayside School series and Holes.

    -I taught 3rd and 6th graders and have an 8 year old myself.

  • Reply Lau January 29, 2013 at 1:10 am

    Little House On The Prairie! (9 books, I believe).

  • Reply Ashley R February 2, 2013 at 1:56 am

    “Calvin” (my 8-year-old who reads just like Zachary) just picked up the Rangers Apprentice series at the library and loves them! Also, he really enjoyed the Lyonesse: Well Between the Worlds and is just starting the sequel. This post is full of great ideas to keep my reader occupied for a bit. Since he’s at about one book a day, I could still use a lot more. Keep the ideas coming!

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