We Recommend: 6 1/2-year-old girl seeks awesomeness

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.

It's back! And it's a fun one, because just reading it makes you remember how much fun it is to start reading. All of a sudden you can fly, just anywhere. And lo, she is flying. See?

I stumbled across your website as we have just discovered the "Katie Woo" books and are looking for other recommendations for similar books. My daughter is 6.5-yrs-old and in Grade 1. She loves The Kingdom of Wrenly, The Adventures of Sophie Mouse, Mermaid Rock, The Cobble Street Cousins. I have read her all of The Magic Treehouse series, we are onto Greetings from Somewhere, and I have read aloud all of the animal books by Jill Tomlinson. There are a few great series that are a little bit too long for her to read yet like Piper Green, Violet Mackerel, and the Sword Girl books. She does not like Geronimo Stilton, Flat Stanley or Nate the Great. And we haven't tried any of the Junie B. Jones or Ivy and Bean type ones because I don't really like sassy, bickering characters that focus on school yard drama… haha…. Any suggestions for us!? Primarily looking for easy chapter books with some colour pictures that my daughter can read aloud like the Katie Woo books. Fairies, mermaids, strong, creative female main characters are a bonus.

Fairies! Mermaids! And wow, that Katie Woo has some special powers. Remember this? And the terrifying follow-up? Sometimes I still worry about that librarian hiding behind her desk while the little girls rattle the doors bellowing "Katie Woo! Katie WOO!"

Anywoo (ouch, sorry) what about this young lady? So many wonderful books for her! My first thought was The Fairy Realm, because oh! She would love them! But then I asked Chestnut, and she reminded me of all that is good. In other words, she remind me of this:


I have no idea why that is so gigantic. But the thing is: she is right. These books are wonderful, and they will be so utterly satisfying.

But…you all must have ideas, right? Mermaids? Fairies? Strong female characters? Books she will read on her own? Doesn't this sound like a wonderful pleasure? Please put all your excellent ideas in the comments, so she can read them all.

We Recommend: Extreme Challenge, All in the Family Edition

Yes, it's We Recommend, where you write in looking for a book for your son/daughter/niece/cousin/you, and we use our superpowers to find the perfect book. Just write us at thediamondinthewindow (at) gmail (dot) com, with the age, interests, and reading preferences of your person, and we will do our best. For the absolute best recommendations, look in the comments, it's where they're all hiding.

OK, people, it's not one, it's not two, it's books for THREE people. And only one of them is a kid! But I believe in you, readers! So, to arms!

Olivia Grace age 5: likes Tinkerbell, but not princesses; likes cooking, her brother, God, doggies, Olivia the Pig, and generally being the boss. Does not like princesses, getting dirty, anything sticky or yelling.

Jason’s 27, likes chocolate, cats, dogs, food, anything Philadelphia, God, soon-to-be-fiancée Amanda, Modern Family, Veggie Tales, South Park , Arnold Schwarzenegger & The Rock, (Sofia Vergara although he denies it); hates reading (the last thing he read for fun was the cover of an animorph book in the 90s), hates suits and hates show offs.

Amanda’s 27, loves reading, writing, languages, a good clean party, God, dogs, loved Madeline books, loves Antonio Banderas; hates Alice in Wonderland, & Dr. Seuss & secretly detests Pride & Prejudice, and absolutely loathes eggs.

Well! This is a pretty pickle. Let us first attend to Olivia Grace, age 5. I must say, for a young lady who likes Tinkerbell and being the boss, there's someone who springs to mind.


Oh, how I love Lilly! Her sense of herself! Her gumption! Her wit! Her zip! I feel anyone Olivia Grace will cotton to her immediately, and then there are other, excellent Lilly books to follow.

But we're not done yet, we have Jason. And for Jason, I must say that I have a feeling about this…. Hates suits? Hates show-offs? I am hoping that he will love Stephen King. Because I do, too. But which one? Well, he liked the cover of the animorphs book, so I'm going with this. Because it's about an animal? I don't know, I'm trying here.


OK now, almost home: we still have Amanda. Who does NOT like Pride and Prejudice. Loves Madeline, but hates Alice in Wonderland. I am thinking that we need to go with contemporary, realistic…something orderly. And with languages in it. This is a little crazy, but it's sort of French, and contemporary-ish, and boy do I hope it works.

I worry it's too self-conscious, and that I'm being too literal, but maybe?

And if not: help me, readers! Can you come up with a family of books for these people? Put them in the comments!

The Good, the Bad, and the “Oh, That”

Happy post-thanksgivukah haze to all of you. And now, a blow by blow of the brutal, unforgiving book-gift-giving process.

We start with the 10-year-old boy. A sweet guy with a reading disability, he's tricky to buy books for, and I can tell you that we pretty much failed, though others were more successful. We got him:


His reaction: "Oh. This."

His other aunt got him:


His reaction: "Cool!" He proceeded to read it for the rest of the evening.

Ahem. On to: more books, and other nieces and nephews.

The 5-year-old. We got him: A really beautiful illustrated book that was very long and narrow, with illustrations of buildings going up and then falling down. No, I don't remember the title or author, because apparently I'm trying to cement our reputation here as being pretty out of it.

His reaction: Heartbroken weeping, though later he did read it with his mom, tears drying on his face.

The 8-year-old cousin who is a very, very nice little girl. We got her:


Her reaction: she glanced at it, then went chasing after her big cousins to see what they were doing.

The 5- and 7-year-old nephews were given a collection of books that were given to this blog. These were:


Reaction: A quite-satisfied sort of "Yeah, they really do have bad drawing!"


Their reaction: 0. My response: This book is so cool, it's skeletons! Their response to my response: 0.

There were maybe 5 other books in the pile, and after 1.3 seconds necessary for the Stick the Dog comment, the books were shoved under the dining room table and everyone ran out of the room.

Then there's Chestnut. She got this:


Yes, it was because of you people telling me about it. Thank you! She got it from her aunt, though, not from me. Her reaction: YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Diana got this from her aunt on my strong, strong recommendation:

Roz Chast_Cartoon

Her reaction: Oh. Thanks.

She also got these:


Her reaction: Oh, look at these.

Are you noticing the lack of exclamation points here? Are you getting the level of difficulty we all face?

We face a very high level of difficulty.

But this is just the nieces and nephews, aunts and uncles version. Stay tuned, as we find out: what went down when WE tried to get Chestnut and Diana books they would like.

Spoiler alert: (And I say this even before we have given them.) I think they won't like them so much. Sigh.

We Recommend: Is There Life After Katie Woo?

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.

 Here's another side of the story. Just as you don't necessarily want your super-reading 8-year-old to be reading about making out, so too do the not-as-ready-to-read-right-now 8-year-olds to be reading about, you know, bunnies.

This is how I found out about Katie Woo:

I am an elementary librarian
and I have two girls (third graders, but reading at the early second
grade level) who have read all of the
Katie Woo books, loved them and are struggling to find a new series. Any suggestions? I tried the series,
Max and Zoe, but that hasn't captured their interest.
Thanks in advance, for any
help that you can give me. They come to the LMC everyday looking for a
new book, so I hope I can offer something soon that they will like! I
want to keep them reading!
OK, people, they are coming EVERY DAY. Clearly, we have to do something. So I went and checked out Katie Woo. Here's what we're looking at:

Now I want you to take a look at those shoes, please. Those are some happening shoes. Those are the shoes that girl who is in third grade might want to read about, you know?

So, how do we find something that will be at a comfortable reading level for these young ladies, but will also be thrilling enough to keep them reading? My first thought was Iris and Walter (though—correct me if I'm wrong—isn't there a terrible movie about adult illiteracy with Robert DeNiro and Jane Fonda by the same name? I saw it on a plane 100 years ago). But then I worry, too, that those won't have enough pizazz. I want to offer these girls some pizazz. I guess they also might go for Fancy Nancy or one of those, but there needs to be some sass, is what I'm sensing. So, here goes: I am a little bit worried that the small type will stymie them, but at the same time: I think this might be love. Who am I talking about? Why, Babymouse of course.

I am not totally, totally sure, though, because nothing is worse than giving a kid a book that is too hard and turning them off.

So, librarians, teachers, parents, readers: what do you think? Got any sassy, exciting, easy-to-read books for a pair of young ladies? Apparently they need an answer soon.

We Recommend: FUNNY!

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.

There is a clear subsection of you for whom this will, as they say, resonate. Because the truth is, some people just love funny. Last year on Thanksgiving when we went around the table saying what we were thankful for, Diana said "Comedy!" Read on:

My 9 yr old son read his first book independently yesterday, Captain
Underpants #3. It was lovely to see him in bed with the flashlight
resting on his shoulder, reading away, just as he has seen me do every
day of his life. He was pretty pleased with himself getting to chapter 9
the first night and then finishing it the 2nd night. His only complaint
was that his hands got tired holding the book!

Prior to this almost all of his reading has been online, so as a
book-o-holic, it has rather warmed my heart to see him enjoying an
actual so much – carrying it around, telling his friends he is reading
it, and showing me his favorite bits.

But while we have lots of books piled all over just waiting for the
right moment, he has told me he is only interested in reading really
funny books and I am struggling a bit to think of more titles. With me
doing the reading he has enjoyed diverse stories like The Moffats, Mrs
Pepperpot, Ronia The Robber's Daughter, Winnie The Pooh, Artemis Fowl,
etc, but for himself he is asking for serious humor only.

I have The Giggler Treatment, that's a direction I think he might like
to go. And I will look into Diary of a Wimpy Kid. He also loves physical
humor like the "Make Them Laugh" scene from  Singing in the Rain. He likes silly, funny, and of course, the more references to
nether regions the better for this 9 yr old!

We have Calvin and Hobbs, but from his obvious delight in finishing 9
chapters in one go, I am thinking he is wanting chapter books just now.

OK: the real sense of a kid behind this one just kills me. Of COURSE he wants something funny! But what shall we do? I mean, there are a whole lot of books that speak to just this type of person, a few of which have found their way to our bookshelves. Diary of a Wimpy Kid? YES. We also have Just Annoying, and who can forget, The Day My Butt Went Psycho? I mean, soon enough this young gentleman will be watching  Monty Python on Netflix (if we're any guide), but what book to recommend?

You'll see, of course, that I had no choice but to go straight to Diana. Her pick? This.


I asked her if she was sure it was funny. And? She's sure.

But one is not enough! I ask you, picture this kid with the tired hands gleefully reading Captain Underpants, and see that you have a noble calling to fulfill! Find some funny, Captain-Underpants-like books for this guy, and put them in the comments!