I’ve always loved to read. Always. As a kid, I’d be able to read a couple books a month. Perhaps even a week. I’m glad to have passed a love of books to my kids. The problem that I’m starting to face is finding books that are age appropriate, but challenging for my kids.
My daughters were both reading before kindergarten, and now at 9 and 10 years old read at 8th and 9th grade levels. So the challenge begins. There are plenty of books available for them at their age group, and do read them – quickly. But finding a book to challenge them that’s age appropriate – not so easy.
So here are my opinions on a few of the popular books being read in middle and high schools these days.
My eldest came home from school a few weeks ago with a permission slip to read The Hunger Games. I laughed. Are you kidding me? Kids killing kids, and graphically! I’d read the books years ago, but thought them to violent for my young lady. She’d read all the Harry Potter books, and there is some violence and death… but somehow it’s not the same.
She read the first series of Percy Jackson – I liked that the characters were closer to her age, and educational at the same time as entertaining. Not sure about the whole “send-12-year-olds-on-life-threatening-quests-without-adult-guidance” thing, but hey, it’s fiction. As a Christian, there were a few concerns about the fact that the Greek gods parented all these kids with different partners. When she read it, I don’t know that it quite stuck in her head. At the same time, she has friends who have divorced parents, so maybe she just assumed that was the case with the Greek gods and their children. The second series The Heroes of Olympus, however, I would not let her read. The characters were older, all in relationships, and some behaviors a 9 or 10 year old girl doesn’t need to be exposed to yet.
She came home with another book request – Cinder. So I read the whole Lunar Chronicles collection over a few weeks. I enjoyed them – I’ve always loved a different perspective on fairy tales. But I’m still not sure if it’s OK for my girls. A few offhanded references to “escorts” and quite a bit of graphic (werewolf) violence make me nervous to let her read them. Maybe just the first one – maybe.
I’ve reached out to teachers and librarians. There were a lot of “Let me look into that” comments. But so far, nothing that has peaked her interest that would also challenge her. I’m always open to suggestions – so please send your kids’ favorite books my way!
Well, nothing recent. More on the classics later.