Kids who are intimidated by a thick book can still enjoy them. Listening, reading on the Kindle, or even watching the movie version can get kids interested in books. Here are some books and graphic novels you can find in at least one of these digital formats. As always, our selection of books are those that can help children recognize and better understand executive-functioning and social-emotional learning skills that are used by the book characters and that can be transferred into their real lives.
Book Title: The Stonekeeper
Author: Kazu Kibusihi
Book Type: First in a series of 7 as of October 2016
Genre: Comics & Graphic Novels, Science Fiction, Fantasy
Recommended Age Group: 8-14
Also Available as: Audiobook, E-book
Thinking Skills Used: Task persistence, planning, and time management
Book Summary: From Amazon, “After the tragic death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of her deceased great-grandfather, but the strange house proves to be dangerous. Before long, a sinister creature lures the kids’ mom through a door in the basement. Em and Navin, desperate not to lose her, follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals.
Eventually, they enlist the help of a small mechanical rabbit named Miskit. Together with Miskit, they face the most terrifying monster of all, and Em finally has the chance to save someone she loves.”
From Dr. K, This is a six part animated series, good for young readers. It has children in the role of heros and problem solvers and provides a great introduction to graphic novels for elementary school children. It can also be enjoyed by adults too. Themes and skills include; Planning abilities, flexibility, creativity, loyalty, family, and friendships. I really enjoyed the illustrations and the ongoing nature of the story, which continues with Amulet Book 8, soon to be released in September 2018.
Talking Points: How did the characters in the book work together to solve problems? Did they ever get stuck? Were the main characters in danger, and how did they escape?
Book Title: A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning
Author: Lemony Snicket
Book Type: First in a series of 13 as of October 2006
Recommended Age Group: 8-12
Also Available as: Audiobook, E-book, Whispersync , TV Series
Thinking Skills Used: Planning, social awareness, and metacognition
Book Summary: From Amazon, “Are you made faint-hearted by death? Does fire unnerve you? Is a villain something that might crop up in future nightmares of yours? Are you thrilled by nefarious plots? Is cold porridge upsetting to you? Vicious threats? Hooks? Uncomfortable clothing?
It is likely that your answers will reveal A Series of Unfortunate Events to be ill-suited for your personal use. A librarian, bookseller, or acquaintance should be able to suggest books more appropriate for your fragile temperament. But to the rarest of readers we say, “Proceed, but cautiously.”
From Dr. K, I did not like these books, but many children do. They are frustrating for people like myself, who always like to see the good guys win! There is also an acclaimed TV series to go along with the books. The characters are engaging and keep readers coming back for more.
Talking Points: Were there any “bad guys,” and what did they do? What did you learn from reading the book that you might be able to teach someone else?
Book Title: Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Author: Jeff Kinney
Book Type: First in a series of 12 as of November 2017
Genre: Comics & Graphic Novels, Movies
Recommended Age Group: 8-14
Also Available as: Audiobook, E-book, Whispersync
Thinking Skills Used: Planning, flexibility, and focus
Book Summary: From Amazon, “Boys don’t keep diaries―or do they?
The launch of an exciting and innovatively illustrated new series narrated by an unforgettable kid every family can relate to
It’s a new school year, and Greg Heffley finds himself thrust into middle school, where undersized weaklings share the hallways with kids who are taller, meaner, and already shaving. The hazards of growing up before you’re ready are uniquely revealed through words and drawings as Greg records them in his diary.”
From Dr. K, This series is probably the most popular series of books among the late elementary and early middle school children with whom I work. They love reading these books, enjoy the simple drawings, and seem to be able to identify with the main character. For me, the stories are bit repetitive, and as much as I enjoy books for children and young adult, this is far from my favorite series. But if they get children to read, teach them a bit about problem solving, and make them want to read the next book, I’m all for it.
Talking Points: What did you like about the “bad guys,” and how would you help them to become better? Which character did you like the most in the book, and why?
Book Title: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Author: J.K. Rowling
Book Type: First in a series of 8 as of July 2016
Genre: Science fiction, Fantasy
Recommended Age Group: 9-12
Also Available as: Audiobook, E-book, Movies, Illustrated Editions
Thinking Skills Used: Flexibility, task persistence, social thinking, working memory, and social emotional learning.
Book Summary: From Amazon, “Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That’s because he’s being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he’s really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.”
From Dr. K, Harry Potter is the best selling book series of all time, with more than 400 million copies having been sold. As with many children, I claim it as my favorite series and am in the middle of reading the books for the third time, except now I am reading the illustrated versions. For those of you looking for a great gift to give a child or who know someone who is a big Harry Potter fan, consider gifting them the illustrated versions of these books, because they are wonderful. Overall, the characters are endearing – who could ever dislike or not respect a friend and leader such as Harry Potter? Of course he broke a few rules on the way, but it was always in the interest of doing what was right. It’s a great series for helping kids to think about the decisions they make.
Talking Points: How did the characters in the book work together to solve problems? Did they ever get stuck, or were the main characters in danger, and how did they escape?
To read how the right combination of content and reading technology can help your child learn to love books, see Get Your Child to Read by Getting Rid of Books.
Featured image: Flickr user She’s Thunderstorms