recommend books to interest 10-yr old girl?

taragirlApril 8, 2008

Hi, I'm writing on behalf of my neighbor, whose girls I babysit. The ten-year-old girl really dislikes reading; she says it's "boring." She is pressured by her school teachers, her parents, and her older sister to read, and we think all the pressure is making her associate books with unpleasantness.

Can anyone recommend a really tantalizing, irresistable, un-put-downable book that might jump-start her reading addiction?

BTW, her interests are in "fake animals" -- "webkins," "my littlest petshop," and other cartoons, toys and internet sites about "animals." She and her friends share these toys and construct elaborate soap-opera stories around them. She is quite smart and makes very good grades in school, and she's in the advanced classes.

Thanks in advance for your suggestions; I'll forward them to her mom!

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I do not know of any books about webkinz or littlest petshop. But, I do know some books that other girls her age enjoy.

The following are series of books:
Nancy Drew
Sweet Valley Twins
Babysitters Club
Junie B. Jones (maybe a little bit of a young read, but funny books)
Choose your own adventure books-you read these and get to pick the path the character takes....quite fun! Then you can go back and read where other choices would have landed your character.

Not sure how mature she is, but there is a book that I read with my children that are near her age. It is called "A Child Called It". It is based on a true story about a boy who was horrible physically and mentally abused as a child by his own mother. My children and I read the whole book together in 2 nights because they did not want to stop reading it.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 8:17PM
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Harriet the Spy & The Tale of Emily Windsnap (series) are a couple that my daughter loves. Good luck - what a nice thing for you to be concerned with! Very honestly, I think it is a real shame that so many kids (girls, especially) are hooked on all of the webkins/computer junk. Nothing like getting lost in a book!

    Bookmark   April 8, 2008 at 9:13PM
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Please do not take this wrong but...

You read A child called it to your 10 year old? Out of curiousty... how did that go really because I read that book... actually I read the whole series dealing with his teenage years and adult years and from what I can remember (and how could you forget) that is not something I would read to a 10 year old.

Like I said please dont take it wrong but I was just surprised by that.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 10:35AM
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I also read "a child clled it" I think that book would be disturbing for a child. I wouldnt even consider reading that with my son. Thats just my opinion!

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 11:46AM
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I haven't read that book, but I can suggest it to her mom and leave it up to her discretion. But the idea of reading something that is in some way disturbing, or titillating, or very scary, is actually what I had in mind. Didn't we all want to read the "Judy Blume" books *because* we were told not to? (due to risque topics like menstruation and sex) I thought about telling her mom to leave some trashy romance novel in the house for her to find! (Just KIDDING!)

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 2:52PM
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I haven't personally read them, but I have a friend who's 10 year old boy really likes "The Maximum Ride" series by James Patterson. I think "The Angel Experiment" is the first book in the series. They sound like they would be good for girls too.

I find what was popular when we were kids just doesn't seem to cut it these days.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 4:28PM
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momof4 and kym,

I am a teacher and a 6th grader (who was 12) of mine told me I should read it because she had and it was one of those books you can't put down (when we were in a discussion about good books). So the next time I went to the library with my own kids I checked the book out. That night as I sat on the couch reading while the kids were reading books they got they asked me what the book was about. So I read them the back cover and they asked me if they could read it with me. So my 13 yo sd, 11 yo sd, and 9 yo ds took turns reading pages with me. We discussed stuff that we read and they were feeling sad for the boy but I really thought it was a good book for us to read together. It led us to some great discussions on child abuse and "bad people". Honestly after reading the book I think they all appreciated me more than before because they realized how some kids have it really horrible! My kids complain about having to do chores and having to go to bed at a certain time, after reading that book together they really realized how whiney they were over nothing. My 11 yr old made the comment "I thought our chores were rough (loading the dishwasher, vaccuuming, etc.) but he really had it bad!"

Kids are exposed to so much now even just watching the news or reading a newspaper. I would much rather be the one to read it with them and be able to discuss it with them.

But I know that the book may not be for everyone, that is why I made the comment about maturity by my suggestion for the book. I know that some kids may not be able to handle reading something like that.

    Bookmark   April 9, 2008 at 4:57PM
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My daughter read a child called it and told me she had to get all the subsequent books. (I think she was 13) I read part of it and while it's very sad and I cringed at some of the things he endured, I don't think it's any worse than most of the television shows and movies that are full of sex and violence. My SD's mom let her watch the movie 'lady in the water' which my daughter who is 17 said was too scary... SD has also watched jackass 2. I think that's worse than letting her read a book like 'a child called it'.

Personally, I enjoyed the little house series. I bought the full boxed set this year. I also know my ex's kids were hooked on the goosebumps series when they were that age. My son loved Harry Potter books too.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 3:03AM
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I completely forgot about the Little House On the Prairie books! I still have mine and loved them when I was a kid!

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 9:16AM
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Anne Rice has some really good novels that I enjoyed as a kid. Christy :)

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 12:54PM
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I also have the Little House series. I bought them for my daughters at about that age too. Bet she would like those.

mom2emall- I havent read that book in forever and ever. I think I will skim over it again and maybe consider reading it with my son. If not now in a couple of years. You made some good points about appreciation. I do think so many kids today need to have more of it.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 2:08PM
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The series about "Lemony Snicket". They made a film about one of the books.

The stories are easy to read, and very entertaining.

To engage the child, an adult could start off reading to her.

I have the whole series of LS, its a great for the child to go back and read again.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2008 at 10:04PM
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Head to your local library and ask the staff members for suggestions. They know thier customers and books - not only that, but you'll save money by not buying books.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 7:35PM
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I will always recommend the Harry Potter books. They are long, but most kids cannot put them down. 10 is a good age to read the first one. The series has been known to turn the hardest cases of non-readers into bookworms. ;o)

The Goosebump series (R.L. Stein) was hugely popular a few years ago, but is still a favorite on the bookshelf at my kids' school. Creepy stories, haunted houses, kids caught in supernatural mysteries. Fast reads, and so many books in the series that if she likes one she'll find a lot more like it. New books are still coming out, too.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Jeff Kinney) is very popular series right now, but I have not read any of these yet. It's very new, there are only 2 out, but another is coming. They are humorous.

I LOVE the kids' novels by Carl Hiaasen, "Hoot" and "Flush." They are stories of environmental wrong-doing adults foiled by the earth-conscious kids in the funniest, most ironic, "poetic justice" situations. Smart kids will get the irony. My 11 y/o DS is also a bright kid, but really not much of a reader. He loved both those books, laughed through them, and stole a couple one-liners. They are risque enough to be "cool" to kids, defiant kids question authority, a coupls "damns" and "hells" in the text. But the prevailing message is "Do the right thing." Great books, in my opinion. (But know that kids' books is not Hiaasen's main genre. If she likes the author, don't let her get into the other books he writes for adults. Those are for mature readers, R-rated situations and language including the f-bomb.)

She might like books by Kate DiCamillo (Because of Winn-Dixie, Tale of Desperaux, and others). They are either realistic fiction featuring animals/pets, or fantasy with animal characters.

There is the Redwall series (Brian Jacques). Those are fantasy about animals, rodents mostly, and set in a sort of medieval setting, with castles and heroic battles to save the village, sort of mice as knights.

Varjak Paw (SF Said) is a fantasy/mystery about a house cat who goes into the world to save his family. I didn't read it, but my 11 y/o read it twice, so it must have impressed him!

The poetry collections of Shel Silverstein. I was given Where the Sidewalk Ends when I was 10, I still have it, dated and inscribed "Love, Mom and Dad." My kids read it. They all like hearing the poems, but it's my 11 y/o that gets the humor and play on words.

Some more titles/authors that might appeal to her b/c they are fantasty and some feature animals.
A Cricket in Times Square, George Seldon
Indian in the Cupbord, Lynne Reid Banks
James and the Giant Peach, Ronald Dahl
Rats of NIHM series, Robert C. O'Brien

Well, sorry to go so long, you hit one of my favorite topics. Hope there is something there that helps.

    Bookmark   April 23, 2008 at 11:37PM
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I'm going to say something heretical:

If the girl is smart, gets good grades, and is in advanced classes, does she have to enjoy reading? Why not just leave her alone? Not liking reading doesn't seem to be hurting her, and it's not going to damage her future if she's on the right track otherwise. I know plenty of successful, professional people who seldom read books. Some have degrees in the sciences, some have MBAs, all have jobs and are engaged with the world. They just aren't big readers.

And if you really still feel that she needs to be encouraged to read, if she's an advanced student and ten years old, it might be better to go for books meant for older kids, not younger ones. It might address her "reading is boring" stance, if she's facing more challenging material. Although I don't think very highly of them anymore, she might like the Anne McCaffrey series that starts with Dragonsong. I thought that was a great book when I was about 11. (It has plenty of fantasy creatures, as well as a fair amount of melodrama.) I was always a big reader, though, so she might not like what I liked.

Another approach would be to look more at nonfiction than fiction. Most of the non-reading adults I know tend to read nonfiction when they read. Nonfiction books for kids never seemed very good to me when I was growing up, but perhaps there are some that are better now? Or alternately, so long as they don't address inappropriate topics, she might be okay with nonfiction from the adult stacks.

(Although, honestly, I still think it would be best to just let her be. I loved reading growing up and disliked math. Trying to make me love math would have been an exercise in futility, and I still made it through calculus. It's possible to do things when necessary without loving them.)

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 12:33PM
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Thanks to everyone for their suggestions! And Sovra, your "heretical" idea is definitely a valid point! (Besides, I just love heretical ideas in general.)
But here's my thoughts on that: she lives in a small circle of people (as most of us do) with not much variety of experience or exposure to new ideas. As her babysitter, I'm sometimes concerned at her limited interests and constrained frame of reference. When I was her age, I had read Dickens and Austen and the Anne of Green Gables series, which gave me fascinating insights into different people, places and times. I think, I really do think, these "out-of-body" experiences helped me gain perspective and compassion. I wish the same for her. I'm not her mom, of course. But her mom also wants her to read for a more practical reason -- it's a quiet, positive way to fill the hours when she would otherwise be bored, such as on car trips or in waiting rooms, etc.
It's a very interesting observation that "non-readers" like to read non-fiction. I noticed that, too, when I tried to get my mother to read some of my favorite books. She reads "Reader's Digest" and... well, that's about it. She has read and helped edit some of her friends autobiographies, too.
I will start to explore this little girl's interests in non-fiction. Maybe an account of the rise of the corporate empire of Webkins!!!

    Bookmark   April 24, 2008 at 2:09PM
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My daughter LOVED the Warriors Series by ERIN HUNTER. ( there are 6 or 7 in the first series

she read ALL 6 books in less than 2 weeks. Stayed up til
2 am on school nights and I had to take it way for a day.

There is a second series out now called "the new Prophecy" Warriors that I am waiting to surprise my daughter with over the summer.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 12:08AM
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i am a 10 year old thousands of people as you cans see i am not verry good at spelling any way dont get the names of the books and just serch just read to the end because there is an important thing abous half way throughand i am in an oportunity class i was pick ed along with 60 other students out of and i loved the siries of books called molly moon there are 5 at the moment (as fa as i know of ) the
first is molly moons incredable book of hypnotism

the second is molly moon stops the world the

third is molly moons hypnotic time travle adventure

the forth is molly moon micky minus and the mind machine and the forth is moly moon

and the 5th is morphing mystery
you probably wont find the 5th one if you serch molly moon because it hase only come out a couple of months ago.

i also liked the micky dolton series
thanks for reading i hope i helped

    Bookmark   February 18, 2011 at 5:20AM
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