We Recommend: Sci-Fi for a 6-Year-Old, in Which I Fail

It's We Recommend, where (when?) you request book recommendations, and we attempt to reach our hands into the rushing river of children's literature and yank out the right book for you (or yours). Want a recommendation? Just email us at thediamondinthewindow (at) gmail (dot) com, with the reader's likes, dislikes, loves, interests, reading habits, and anything else you think might be helpful, and we'll do our best. And always, always look in the comments on these: it's where the very best suggestions are. – See more at: http://www.thediamondinthewindow.com/the-diamond-in-the-window/we-recommend/#sthash.D3KryaZM.dpuf

 

It's We Recommend, where (when?) you request book recommendations, and we attempt to reach our hands into the rushing river of children's literature and yank out the right book for you (or yours). Want a recommendation? Just email us at thediamondinthewindow (at) gmail (dot) com, with the reader's likes, dislikes, loves, interests, reading habits, and anything else you think might be helpful, and we'll do our best. And always, always look in the comments on these: it's where the very best suggestions are.

Now let's not think about this next one as difficult. Let's think about it as challenging

My son is turning six in one week. We are a homeschool family and so he has absorbed a LOT of chapter books through his older sister (nine years old, horse and fantasy lover). He likes fantasy well enough, but I think the genre that is truly going to set him on fire is science fiction, because he is a natural-born inventor, he loves anything scientific, and he's crazy about anything mechanical. He "invents" a different kind of robot every single day. The problem is that I didn't get into science fiction until high school, so my knowledge of the genre starts with A Wrinkle in Time and Ender's Game. The only book we've read lately that falls into the sci-fi category is Tony DeTerlizzi's A Search for Wondla, which should have been perfect for us, but which missed the mark for reasons I cannot identify. Is there anything at this age that will gratify a future tech-head who doesn't yet have much real-world
grounding in science?

Wow, so here is my theory: Perhaps what the young gentleman is looking for is not science fiction so much as, well, science? You know, like, good old, nonfiction, science stuff?

I say this because many young excellent gentlemen (and women!) of my acquaintance lately have been seeming like they're yearning for, well, information, for want of a better word. And I think that with a lot of kids, and (not to be sexist, but probably sexist anyway) a lot of boys especially, the desire for narrative is less strong for a while.

So. I can prattle on about various theories all I want, but theories alone don't give this person anything to read, do they? They do not. In my mind there is some perfect kid's version of Thomas Edison's life, except it'a not a biography exactly, more like a history of each invention, and then also it would have big pictures of the inventions, and….

OK. Focus. I can focus, I swear I can. What's a science-based, engrossing book that has robots in it? Or at least, science?

And I think it's time that I admit failure: I don't know a book. So I looked and looked till I found something that looked right. Is it right, though? I do not know.

9781556526855

I read a few pages, it looks good, but…I don't know. I mean, I think 6 years old is too little for I, Robot, right? But are their other sci-fi books for little kids? Am I barking up the wrong tree?

Help me, readers! I bet you guys know what he should read. Put it in the comments!

13 thoughts on “We Recommend: Sci-Fi for a 6-Year-Old, in Which I Fail

  1. How about “The Iron Giant” by Ted Hughes (better known as the source for the film of the same name)? I haven’t read the “Commander Toad” series by Janet Yolen but her other books seem spot on with their intended age ranges. I agree that “I, Robot” has a bit too much political commentary to be captivating to a 6yo. There is always “Tom Swift” although are they even in print anymore? Arrgh, how old does that make me?

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  2. One of the very first choose your own adventure books is Your Very Own Robot. Not scary like other titles. My six year old devoured the copy I acquired some time around six years old.

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  3. The Magic Sewing Machine by Warner!! It’s fantastic and just right for that age.
    Eleanor Cameron’s The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet.
    Issac and Janet Asimov’s series Norby the Mixed-Up Robot.

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  4. how about David Wiesner’s new (and mostly wordless) picture book Mr. Wuffles–aliens and their space ship figure heavily in the plot, and the young man in question might have a fine time inventing his own story to go with the illustrations.
    And I’d like to second the suggestion of the Iron Giant!

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  5. If he loves to invent, maybe he’d like “the Boy Who Harnessed the Wind: Young Readers Edition. It’s the true story of a 14 year old boy who figured out a way to bring electricity to his Malawi village.

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  6. There are a lot of non-fiction books about inventions for kids. I think “What a Great Idea!”, for example, may be promising, and there are also books about megainventors like Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and George Washington Carver, and a nice book by Kareem Abdul Jabar about African American inventions and inventors called “What Color is My World?” Anything by Steven Caney is interesting, too, but they’re more instructional in nature.
    My kids enjoyed the Mushroom planet books, but Norby may be a bit old, I am not sure. I saw a series by Michele Torrey involving Doyle and Fossey, science detectives that might be more up a 6 year old’s alley.
    Also, my kids enjoyed the last few episodes of Nova about building things colder, wilder, and safer. They were on in the last month. Raw to Ready is also neat. Both on PBS. I know they’re not books, but they were interesting!

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  7. Hmm, Science, Fiction, and possibly fun…. I’m going to go with the Andrew Lost book series. Science fiction and goofiness. I’m also going to recommend George’s Secret Key to the Universe. These may be more fiction with science than science fiction, but hopefully they hit the mark.
    I’m with you, though, Diamond, non-fiction science will be great I imagine!

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  8. As long as there is a read aloud option (as most of these are not at a level for typical 6 year olds to read on their own).
    I second, The Mad Scientist’s Club.
    Also any of the Danny Dunn’s too- especially The Homework Machine
    Try to find any of Daniel Pinkwater’s elementary school novels- probably at the library:
    Fat Men from Space
    Alan Mendleson, Boy from Mars
    The Rolling Stones by RObert Heinlein

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  9. Back with more contemporary suggestions whihc I got from a good sci-fi/fantasy children’s book blog:
    Stinker from Space by Pamela Service
    Norby, the Mixed up Robot by Isaac and Janet Asimov
    Brother from a Box

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  10. From the mom of the kid in question: thank you SO MUCH for all of these titles! It is exhilarating to have a list of so very many books that I’ve never heard of. He received the Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom planet for his birthday and we haven’t cracked it yet but will soon. We did, however, check out from the library the Magic Sewing Machine, the first Choose Your Own Adventure book, and Mr. Wuffles, all of which were giant hits, as predicted. Thank you thank you. What riches are contained herein.

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