My son (7 – about to be 8) was not interested in reading. What books he brought home from the library were non-fiction – generally about animals. He has always loved "fact" books. We went to the library to try out some books and he fell in love with Captain Underpants. He read every one in short order, then the 2 Super Diaper Baby books, then the Black Lagoon series – all of them in about 3 days. I have been reading Wee Free Men (Terry Pratchett) to him, but those books are too old for him to read on his own and I am running out of ideas for him. I just ordered a Stinky book (Megan McDonald) - hoping he will like it, but I would love some other recommendations.
It's We Recommend, in which we use our superpowers 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.
All the brave young men! Not that this particular piece has to be about boys, really. As hard as I find it to believe, some kids somehow find themselves (or we find them) in the "not interested in reading camp." A very nice 10-year-old girl was at my house the other day, and while Chestnut and I were wrangling about how and when she would do her homework, overheard one of us say "And of course save the reading part for last as a reward."
She said, "Wait! You save the reading for last…for fun? I would rather do a thousand math sheets than do 40 minutes of reading." And bear in mind, this was reading a novel of your choice. I can't understand it or explain but I must acknowledge that this is somehow the case for many people.
Often, though, as with our question today, something happens that changes this person. And if and when it does, we would be wise to honor it properly.
First of all: Captain Underpants, YES. Because: why not? What's tricky for me is that I don't know (exactly) what he liked most about the Captain. The silliness? The rudeness? The whole package? In any case, the question remains: what next?
I originally thought I should go with The Day My Butt Went Psycho, for obvious reasons. (Also, interesting to me at least, is that this was originally called The Day My Bum Went Psycho due to the author's being Australian, which because I am a stupid American I think sounds even odder and funnier.) However, it's not really a great book. I mean it's fine, but—I want to offer this young gentleman a great book.
So I went to one of the excellent resources out there for boys, Guys Read. Bear in mind: this is an excellent site for any kid. It offers a certain easiness that makes kids feel less like they are being scolded and more like they might just find something awesome to read. It is maybe not being as closely curated as one would wish (I spotted a few inaccurate titles) but it offers kids a chance to vote on how much they like a book by clicking buttons, and hey—when you're 7 that's kind of awesome.
And there I saw a book that is really and truly a great and silly book, that made me realize—duh!—why did he love Captain Underpants? Because it's funny! And so I would give him Sideways Stories from Wayside School:
Because it's great. And it's funny.
I am, however, aware that I myself am not in possession of a 7 about to be 8-year-old son. So maybe others can chime in, and tell this kid what to read?