My boss’ boss asked me to come into her office the other day. My heart started beating fast. I wondered if I was being fired, how I’d make rent, reviewing my week for anything that could have gone wrong… when she asked ‘Do you know of any books I could give Cole?’ Cole is her seven-year-old, a second grader, and he’s testing gifted in reading and math. I’ve given her book ideas before, but now his reading volume is going beyond the usual bounds… and he’s already been through the Wimpy Kid books and started the Boxcar Children series in earnest. So she asked me for recommendations (and scared me to death in the process).
Top Ten Books for a Gifted Seven-Year-Old Boy
1. Big Red by Jim Kjelgaard – Jim Kjelgaard’s dog books were staples in my mother’s read-aloud repertoire. Each morning we begged for just one more chapter of these stories. As someone else said, Jack London-lite.
2. Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard & Florence Atwater – Hilarious, all-ages hijinks with penguins, ill-advised decisions, and many, many blocks of ice.
3. The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket – Another funny, sarcastic book featuring three children with astonishingly bad luck.
4. Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones – The first in Jones’ Chrestomanci series, this book features a pair of siblings with power to throw worlds out of whack.
5. Redwall by Brian Jacques – I’ve never read this one, but judging by how quickly my brother Joey devoured the entire series, it was a complete hit.
6. Hatching Magic by Ann Downer-Hazell – I have a weakness for books about dragons. This one reads younger than most of my favorites, and features time travel, chocolate, and (of course) magic.
7. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin – Another I’ve never read, but my sister sings the praises of this for all readers, all ages. And yes, I will read it soon.
8. Because of Winn-
Dixie by Kate DiCamillo – The only book on the list that I’m a little hesitant about, because I haven’t read it and have only the internet (and the Newbery!) to tell me how awesome it is. Oh okay, I’ll stop.
9. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien – Talk about a film that scared the living daylights out of my siblings and me! The book is not quite as terrifying, but just as gripping.
10. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins – Did you know that the author of The Hunger Games wrote a middle grade series? I remember liking this book quite a lot and passing it along to my brother, who also gave it a vote of confidence.
Tell me: what books would you recommend for an avid boy reader, aged 7?