We Recommend: Chapter Book for Thoughtful 7-Year-Old

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.

12 thoughts on “We Recommend: Chapter Book for Thoughtful 7-Year-Old

  1. Laura Ingalls Wilder is a super choice Diamond. Sticking with the same level of difficulty, I would also recommend:
    -Fortunately the Milk (which is hilarious).
    -The Moffats (and those series) and Ginger Pye
    (also Pinky Pye)
    -Box Car children–the series after #25 or so is much better


  2. I’m going to add The Cricket in Times Square, almost anything by Dick King-Smith, and the Henry Huggins and Ralph Mouse books by Beverly Cleary (although note that Ralph Mouse does get into some sticky situations…).


  3. Maybe Mrs. Piggle Wiggle? (I’m having a hard time remembering the reading level though) Or perhaps the Magic Tree House series?


  4. What about Encyclopedia Brown? And there used to be a Three Investigators series (Jupiter and his friends built a clubhouse in the junkyard and solved mysteries, as I recall)…


  5. I actually think Harriet the Spy might be too difficult for a 7 year old (if not the reading level, the emotional stuff). Gone Away Lake.
    My Side of the Mountain.
    Farmer Boy (by Wilder)
    My Father’s Dragon
    Geronimo Stilton series


  6. My thoughtful advanced reader adores Paddington. She’s read them on her own and has asked to read them together too and she was in gales of laughter. They’re funny and cozy and, as she says, no real hard parts. For a sensitive soul, this is a boon. In a somewhat similar vein, Nanny Piggins was a hit with her as well as Nurse Matilda (upon which the great film Nanny McPhee was based).


  7. My 7yo adored Benedict Society BUT there are also very hard parts for a sensitive kid. The second one was the first book that ever caused her to burst into tears because she thought something really bad had happened. She was completely crushed. Good news is we did a read-ahead and assured her it would turn out ok. But I wouldn’t rush a sensitive kid into it. They might even love it more at 9 or 10.


  8. My 9 year old and I just finished reading Frindle together. Frindle is not scary at all and raises some fun questions about language and word origins.
    I remember really liking How to Eat Fried Worms as an 8 year old.


  9. What a coincidence! A friend referred me to your blog to look for ideas for my own sensitive voracious reader 8 year old… and the current post is full of ideas!
    I can tell you that my daughter loved Harriet the Spy. She also really loves the Humphrey series by Betty Birney and Encyclopedia Brown. She’s currently reading her way through the Bailey School Kids series.


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