It’s We Recommend! In which we post a request that's been sent to us, and do our best to get that person the right book. Know a kid who needs a book to read? Send us (thediamondinthewindow (at) gmail (dot) com) his or her likes, dislikes, favorites, quirks, and any other reading information that might be helpful, and we will think on it, and pose it to our oh-so-helpful readers. And look in the comments—all the best recommendations are there.
I am in California! Which is nuts, but extremely nice at the same time. And last night I had the rarest of all We Recommend scenarios, the one in which I meet a person, who in this case has a 7-year-old, and my excellent friend says to her, "Ask her! She'll know the right book!" And I try to come up with something.
So what we have here, friends, is not a letter or email, but a vague, half-remembered, probably inaccurate reporting of a conversation, like so:
My 7-year-old son loves to read, and we're looking for chapter books for him, but he's also easily scared, so nothing too scary. We were thinking of Harriet the Spy, is it going to go over his head?
So first we have to bow down and acknowledge the overall awesomeness of Harriet the Spy, which is a wonderful book, and which he would certainly love. And also maybe we should make time to notice that we have forgotten whether he likes fantasy, or realistic books, or what (oops. Our excuse = jet lag). Suffice it to say that he reads a lot of chapter books already, and is hungry for more.
Onwards. I've been thinking, first of all, that of course he should read Harriet the Spy, because everyone should read Harriet the Spy, whether they get all the nuances or not. It's just fun, and he can reread it when he's 11 and understand more. But. What else should he read?
It seems to me that he is of that age and disposition when the classics make all the sense in the world. For instance, The Trumpet of the Swan and Stuart Little are long and rich and absorbing, but not at all scary. For other fun, I mentioned Secrets of Droon. And then this morning, as I hung around at 5am drinking coffee that was WAY too strong (can you tell? Is it totally obvious?) I thought: heavens! He should read this!
I know there are all sorts of opinions on which is best, but if you want the honest truth (and who doesn't?): this is the best one. The big bladder catch! The smoking of the ham! Pa! Ma! Maple sugar candy made in the snow! All of it.
What's that, you say? He's already read that? Well, that's entirely possible isn't it. Which is why it is SO IMPERATIVE that you put your own suggestions for what this literate young person should read in the comments.