Kids' Books

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Kids' Books

Post by Moon Ray on Mon May 07, 2012 8:18 pm

What was your first favorite book series?
What books did you read in elementary school?
What book let you discover your favorite genre?

I'm looking for recommendations/ discussion of good kids' books. Elementary level through early teens. I have a preference for fantasy and sci-fi, but I'm open to almost anything. I prefer good writing, but I value plot excitement, provoking themes, and accessibility as well.

I've read most of the popular stuff. (BFG, Holes, Ella Enchanted, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, etc.) But mention it, just in case. Especially if you have something to say about it.

For me, I started with the Box Car Children series. It's a really big series and I don't think I read the end of it. From what I remember, it's about four orphans who live in a boxcar in the first book, and then get rescued by their rich grandfather and spend the rest of the series having adventures. It was fairly simple and episodic, looking back, but the two older siblings were always taking care of the younger ones -something I could identify with. Also, I don't think it's just me: kids prefer to read about older people, or at least mature people their own age.

(Unless the younger characters are funny. I can't really get excited by the Wimpy Kid Dairies, but my younger students swear they're hilarious.)

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Re: Kids' Books

Post by Nation on Sun May 13, 2012 10:08 pm

Series of Unfortunate Events is a good one that's got a bit of fantasy, a bit of mystery and a bit of everything else. One of my favorite book series that's actually entertaining for all age groups.

How to Eat Fried Worms and Charlotte's Web are classics that I felt helped me develop during my childhood in some bizarre way.
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Re: Kids' Books

Post by Lara on Mon May 14, 2012 6:59 pm

I loved the Box Car Children series! As a kid, I read those, The Baby Sitters' Club books, Animorphs, and Nancy Drew. Oh how I loved Nancy Drew. Still do...Actually, I still have a weakness for all four of these series, and collect the books...

I also enjoyed reading the Unicorns of Balinor series, so much. There are 8 books (I think), and it was about...a young girl discovering magic and unicorns, and the villains (and possibly dark unicorns) trying to stop her from fixing the world, or something. It's been a while, and I lost my copy of book 7 and still haven't found a replacement for it, so I haven't reread them...

I know books geared towards children/young teens tend to be a bit "easy on the mind" when it comes to story, but they are just as capable as "adult books" when it comes to character development and interesting, if lighthearted at times, plots. So I still enjoy rereading them from time to time.

Animorphs, for instance, was fantastic at developing "deeper" character relationships and plot twists, even if it was for young teens. I was able to relate to some of the characters, but I always wondered what would be happening in the next book that I picked up, especially since while there's an overall storyline, many of the books don't relate exactly to the previous one in the series.

Oh, and one more that just came to mind...the Ever World series. A group of teens being transported to an alternate dimension with fantasy creatures, having to survive and work together to get out. There were other tie-in plots but that was the main premise that I can remember.
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Re: Kids' Books

Post by Moon Ray on Mon May 14, 2012 7:44 pm

I remember the Baby Sitter's Club books! That might have been the second series I ever collected. Right around that time my parents told me I had to buy my own books if I was gonna consume them like popcorn, so I had to sell the ones I had already read to help pay for my habit. But I remember liking the books a lot. They were episodic and good at driving a scary mystery without making the subject dark. There was a movie too. And the little sister series, for a slightly younger audience.

I wish they would re-release the Box Car Children and Baby Sitter's CLub books with some improved cover art. The stories aren't actually all that dated, but I might as well be holding up a VHS tape of The Brady Bunch episodes when I show them to the current generation of kids.

Animorphs, I'm afraid I never got into. I saw the TV show a couple times, barely understanding it. But I never read the books. I've had people tell me it's worth it. Apparently, the series gets pretty serious -which is appropriate for a war to save the planet. I'm thinking about giving it a shot now. How long is the series anyway?

A Series of Unfortunate Events was kind of brilliant! The approach, the subject matter, the characters were all pretty rare in kids books. I think, only Roald Dahl had similar tones and themes -except his books actually got happy endings. I only got three or four books in, because when I was reading them they were only being released in expensive hardcover. I might try finishing the thing now digitally. I'm still pretty curious about the secret society thing.

Ever World I read with mixed feelings. I thought the premise was wicked. Kids being transported to Mythology Land, while still living out their lives in the real world. It offered so much! But I felt the execution was a big let-down. I ended up skipping a few books in the middle of the series when I realized I wasn't missing anything, and jumped to the conclusion.

Did anyone ever read the Left Behind kids series?

I'm going to go read How To Eat Fried Worms (what an idea) and the Unicorns of Balinor books.

I'd like to read Nancy Drew. I figure there's a reason she's lasted so long. Is there any particular Nancy Drew book you'd recommend? How does the newest movie hold up, in a fan's opinion? Did you know there are computer games?
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Re: Kids' Books

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Mon May 14, 2012 9:07 pm

Deltora Quest! Very Happy

And subsequent works by Emily Rodda.
Deltora Shadowlands, and Dragons of Deltora
As well as her Rowan of Rin series.

They're short books, but they're awesome!
Hugely got me into reading and fantasy.

There were more books I've read over the early years, of course, before and after, but that was the big one for me, as I was growing up. Very Happy

I do remember reading Goodnight Moon when I was reeeeeally little, though. ^^
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Re: Kids' Books

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Re: Kids' Books

Post by Lara on Tue May 15, 2012 1:35 am

They have re-released the Box Car Children books; it’s just that the cover art wasn’t updated more than redefining lines, if anything (I know this because the covers look different when you hold them up to each other…and I refuse to buy the new covers, since I like to collect one entire series, rather than some of each era). All or nothing! I agree that the Baby Sitter’s Club books were great at suspense sometimes – especially the “Mystery” series (less than 20 books) and the “Super Mysteries” (11-13 books). I collected the Little Sister series for a time, but then donated most of them to the library as I got older. I started donating the Baby Sitter’s Club books as well, but decided that I wanted to collect them before getting rid of most.

See, your view on Animorphs is kind of funny, because I never got into the TV series! The video game was fun though. Definitely worth it, especially because you don’t have to read the entire series – if you really wanted, you could pick a character and only read the books with them on the cover, since that means they’re the focus. You’d be missing some things here and there, but not a ton. I don’t know if the books that I have are the end of the series, but the highest number I own is 54, and I have some “specials” for the series as well.

I didn’t take to Series of Unfortunate Events until after they made that movie of books 1-3. My mom used to read the series and it just didn’t interest me…but I loved the actors cast for the movie, so I wanted to read the books so I’d be prepared for the next movie…which never came. ): Sad. I read them all from the library; once I picked up the first book, I couldn’t put the series down.

I do agree that Ever World wasn’t the greatest in the middle. I think I skipped a book or two as well – not because I wanted to, but because I didn’t own all of them…but when I realized that I didn’t miss anything in the story after reading 5, then 7 (numbers examples only), I didn’t really care.

Sorry, never read the Left Behind Kids series. Never even heard of it, actually…

Any particular Nancy Drew book? Whoo boy… Well, I’d recommend the original series over the newest ones (though they’re all good…and if you really want, they have Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys super mysteries where they work together. Those are great!). Maybe just start with book one (The Secret of the Old Clock” and see if you like that. That was a pretty good one. I have most of the originals because I collect the series (all three eras of it, actually…). =) They’re a fun read, though definitely for a younger audience. If by “newest movie” you mean the 2007 one, I actually liked it quite a bit, even though it was clearly for a young audience as well. If you’re going to watch Nancy, though, I’d recommend the original TV series/movies! (The movies from this series in particular. They’re my favorites.) And yes, there are many computer games – 26 currently, in fact! I own 1-25, and am currently playing through 25 (slowed down due to school…). They’re absolutely fantastic.

Goosebumps scared me as a child. I refused to touch the books or watch the TV series...
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Re: Kids' Books

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Tue May 15, 2012 2:44 am

Also, I've never read these, but you know the movie Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole?

Series of chapter books. Yup. ^^
Guardians of Ga'Hoole

I see them at the library where I work, along with almost all the books you all are mentioning. BoxCar Children, Nancy Drew, Goosebumps, Babysitters Club, Series of Unfortunate Events...

I love my job. ^_^
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Re: Kids' Books

Post by Moon Ray on Tue May 15, 2012 6:47 am

I read some of the Ga'Hoole books! There's actually a lot more to them than the movie suggested. And, frankly, I thought it was a little dark for the age level. An Evil Big Brother, murder, betrayal, brainwashing, war,... fur realz. I thought the movie toned it down a little.

Using the same train of thought I also read a few of the books that How To Train Your Dragon came from. They're not exactly terrible, unless you were expecting something like the movie. They took a LOT of liberties with the original story. I still thought it was funny though.

I've seen -not read- some of the Deltora Quest stuff and thought it might be good for anyone reading the above two. I never seem to manage to pick up the first book though.

I like the idea of Nancy Drew video games. (I played Carmen San Diego once upon a time.) It's just pseudo-educational enough that parents don't whinge on about you keeping the children busy in front of the computer.
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Re: Kids' Books

Post by Lara on Tue May 15, 2012 1:38 pm

Quite true. It's surprised me over the years, exactly how much I've learned from Nancy Drew. XD
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Re: Kids' Books

Post by Gadreille on Wed May 23, 2012 10:15 am

I do remember reading Babysitter Club, Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, Goosebumps (and other R.L. Stine novels, my favorite being Curse of the Werecat), and quite a few stand alone novels like Walk Two Moons, The Dollhouse Murders and The Egypt Game. I was in battle of the books a lot so I know I read much more than this, but I don't remember what I read.

The beginning of Harry Potter was the end of my childhood. The first four I read in jr. high, the fifth book not coming out until high school.

Also, when I was very young my dad read The Hobbit to me which was my earliest glimpse into the world of Tolkien. Beyond that I remember having a kids version of the Hobbit (I know, I know, The Hobbit is already a kids novel. But hey, I was like, five! It even came with a tape that read it to me Smile ) that I'd read over and over again.
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Re: Kids' Books

Post by Lara on Wed May 23, 2012 4:09 pm

Excellent, someone else who called it the Battle of the Books! I was in that for a few years. =) Though few of the books I read really stood out to me.

I loved The Egypt Game. Did you know there's a sequel to it?
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Re: Kids' Books

Post by Gadreille on Wed May 23, 2012 4:13 pm

XD

I didn't! I'll have to try and find them both and read them.
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Re: Kids' Books

Post by Lara on Wed May 23, 2012 4:28 pm

It's called The Gypsy Game. It's got the same feel to it as the first one, so it's pretty awesome. =)
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Re: Kids' Books

Post by Gadreille on Wed May 23, 2012 4:30 pm

I'll definitely look for it. I forgot to respond to what you said, about how the books didn't stand out in your memory. It's the same for me. I think that we had to read through them too quickly or something. Either that or the stories on the list weren't as enticing. Just as I finished writing this, I remembered another: Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry.
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Re: Kids' Books

Post by Lara on Wed May 23, 2012 5:13 pm

Haha, I think an entire part of my shelf is dedicated to old books from the Battle. I know I'm staring at Airborn right now, and I remember really liking Fever 1793.
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Re: Kids' Books

Post by Moon Ray on Wed May 23, 2012 5:18 pm

I had to go look up the Battle of the Books. Now I feel a little gypped that my schools never did it. Then again, I was never a fan of school-assigned reading. They always chose the most depressing books. Roll of Thunder, for example. Someone gave them the idea that books with happy endings are noneducational.



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Re: Kids' Books

Post by Lara on Wed May 23, 2012 7:44 pm

Ha. Well, the Battle of the Books was purely optional for me. I came back to it each time because it was something I enjoyed doing, and it gave me the opportunity to read, and occasionally enjoy, books I'd never have thought to read.

It kind of made me feel the same way when I joined the book club here for a while. I read a couple of good books that I'd never have known existed while I was participating.

Answering the questions for BotB was pretty annoying though, just because you'd be on a team and not know any of the answers to questions you were asked, but know all the ones that the other teams were asked. Or you'd agree to be on the team for a specific book and then know all the answers in another round instead.
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