It's We Recommend, in which we attempt to find readers the perfect book. Got a kid who needs a recommendation? Write us at thediamondinthewindow (at) gmail (dot) com with the age, reading tastes, favorite books, and any other relevant (or irrelevant) information, and we'll give it a shot. And really? All the good suggestions are in the comments.
Perhaps you remember a We Recommend from a long time ago, when a teacher wrote in asking for help selecting presents for some kids who were leaving her class? First of all, you guys rocked the recommendations, because the presents were apparently a hit. And, the teacher wrote in AGAIN asking for help. Can you even deal with what an awesome teacher this is? But I've got to warn you all: this one is a challenge.
I've got a boy, ten years old but young for his age, with some learning difficulties, sweet and loving and quirky and silly. His reading level varies from day to day, so it's hard to pin down, sometimes he'll struggle with Dr Seuss and some other days he'll read sentences out of Natural History books fluently. We'd like to get him reading chapter books, which he has resisted so far. My plan is to find an easy chapter book series that he just won't be able to resist – but I've no idea what that could be. He *loves* animals and wants to be 'a naturalist' when he grows up, and he also likes pirates and Star Wars.
Wow. And the nonfiction ones (at least sometimes) are easier than the fiction? Or at least the Dr. Seuss? Well it sounds like context helps. I'm going to go with the loving animals, and the naturalist side of things.
What's frustrating is that there are a whole lot of Junior Veterinarian and horse early chapter books, but they are pretty aggressively girl-oriented. I must say, he also makes me think of Hatchet, which is of course too hard. And of Trumpet of the Swan. The whole idea of wilderness and animals and all that. But a series is also requested (and with good reason, it sounds like) because if he is thrilled and inspired by one then the others will be all the more tempting.
I am thinking of Ranger Rick, to be honest. I know it's not a series, and it's not even a book, but it will entrance him I think, and there will be longer stories for when he's ready for that, and shorter ones for when things are not going that way. Though a quick look at the web site seems to indicate that Big Backyard might be easier.
OK, so here's what I'm doing—something I never do. I am going with an author I know, but a series I don't. I love Cynthia Rylant—she has the crazy ability to know what is compelling to kids. And these books look lovely, with a special emphasis on sea animals. That's right, it's the Lighthouse Series. (Sorry, the link is just for one, I couldn't find a good home for the whole series).
I fear I may have traveled too far from his Star Wars and pirates love, but I couldn't think of the right thing. All the lovely woodsy E.B. White is too hard I think. And this does look really sweet.
But what I'm really getting at here is: hey excellent readers, got any suggestions? Put them in the comments (please!).