It's We Recommend, in which we attempt to find the right book for anyone who writes in. Want to try? Send us an e-mail describing your reader, age, likes, and anything else that might be helpful, and we'll see what we can do.
One of them is among us.
I think you'll agree that this next request for books doesn't have an entirely grown-up sound to it. I have a sneaking suspicion that this was written by, at least in part…a kid.
Now if you ask me, that's all the more reason for all of us to think long and hard about what the heck to recommend. Because it's not an easy one.
daughter, Schmegege, would like information about books she may like to
read. She does not particularly like fantasy but likes things about
space. She likes things about people in history including biographies.
She loves to sing and dance and likes to be with friends. She is funny,
whether she’s trying to be or not. Basically, Schmegege rocks but needs
some books she might like to read. Reading is not her favorite thing to
do but when she finds a good one she loves it. She is 9 years old
and a rising 4th grader.
Further questioning turned up the fact that … Schmegege likes Because of Winn Dixie, but did NOT like Despereaux.
So what do we do for her? I tell you, I wish I knew more books about space. I vaguely remember something about Martians that I read and loved when I was a kid, but I can't turn up more than that. Maybe the cover was green? I loved it.
But that doesn't help Schmegege out any, so back to the drawing board. Here's what I think: maybe the Winn Dixie + the biographies indicates a penchant for realism. So here goes:
This is a sort of intense story about a girl who's had trouble reading, who doesn't fit in comfortably at school, who only wants to rebuild engines (if I'm remembering it right). What I do remember is the sense of realness, and people struggling with—and overcoming—real problems. I don't know—will she like it? There's a chance.
But what do you guys think? She was bold enough to ask for an idea, let's see if we can help her out, right?
12 thoughts on “We Recommend: Suspicious Schmegege Edition”
Sharon Creech’s _Walk Two Moons_?
And, for what it’s worth, I read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy when I was 10, I think. Much went over my head, but I loved it anyway. It’s got space and funny, though not realism. Maybe it’s around the corner for this reader?
A Wrinkle in Time? Maybe that is too much fantasy, but I will plug it any time it even sort of fits. Oh, and I loved Walk Two Moons…
Caddie Woodlawn, Little House…I read those fairly early on.
There are simplified versions of A Little Princess if she’s not up to the original. Also Secret Garden.
They just started republishing the Babystters Club books.
Homecoming, by Cynthia Voigt? And the great thing about that is, if you like it she’s got lots more books out.
Helen Keller’s Teacher, a biography about Annie Sullivan, is really good.
Brynna and I read, “I was a Sixth Grade Alien” last year, which was a ton of fun. Very silly. I will also say that for SciFi, I think 10 is a fine time to start with adult materials. Hitchhiker’s Guide is awesome, and Rendezvous with Rama is also really nice. “I, Robot” by Isaac Asimov is a great start into the “harder” SF. I also can’t say enough good things about Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I was probably 14 when I read it, but I would think it’s appropriate for a 10 year old. The problem with that is that the sequels really aren’t.
Podkayne from Mars (Heinlein) maybe next year, not quite yet though.
My Teacher is an Alien.
A little young but good- Miss Nelson is Missing.
Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher
My Father’s Dragon
My Side of the Mountain
I can’t remember the title of the book, but maybe someone else can… two boys discover an ad in the paper advertising a build your own rocket contest and win and end up in space with a chicken. I won’t give away the end. I think the cover was greenish, so maybe we’re remembering the same book.
Am I way off base with “Harriet the Spy”? It’s really funny without being a comedy. It realistically portrays what it’s like to be a kid, and (interestingly to me, when I read it) it has a lot of funny little details, like dumbwaiters, that I had never heard of before. Maybe it’s just that I think it’s like “Because of Winn Dixie” in some undefinable way. But I loved it, and she might too.
I used to love Robin Klein, and “Halfway Across the Galaxy and Turn Left” and its sequel “Turn Right for Zyrgon” would fit Schmegege’s interest in space perfectly.
Actually, there’s a lot of really good Australian writing for about this age group. Morris Gleitzman also comes to mind, although to my knowledge he hasn’t written anything space-themed. I loved the hilarious “Blabber Mouth” and its sequels. As far as Schmegege’s interest in history/biography goes, several novels are set against particular historical events. Although these are often rather sombre (the rise of AIDS in the 80s in “Two Weeks with the Queen”, the Holocaust in “Once”, “Then” and “Now”) they’re dealt with really well in the context of the story.
The true meaning of Smekday.
I don’t know if anyone sees these comments when I post months and months later, but I just found your blog.
The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet books are well, wonderful and about space and resourceful kids.
On the more realistic side, I would recommend my favorites from when I was a little older: Julie of the Wolves, The Wolves of Willoghby Chase, Blue Willow, and My Side of the Mountain.