Friday, December 30, 2016

Books of December - Books for Kids who "Don't Like Reading"

A friend asked me about books for her sixth grader who'd rather play sports than read.  He's a good reader, just not an avid reader.

I finally put together a list.  It is NO WAY COMPLETE.  I didn't even touch fantasy (Percy Jackson, The Ranger's Apprentice, Harry Potter) horror or adventure.  I barely touched mystery.  But, here it is, my incomplete list of authors (and some of their books) for kids that don't like to read.

Dear L,
   I am so sorry that it took me so long to get this list to you.  I will start with the names of sports authors that middle school boys like.  I linked to the author's home pages below.
Mike Lupica - He writes with boy and girl main characters - mostly boys.  The books frequently address family, friendship, responsibility, and sportsmanship issues. 
Kwame Alexander - a poet who writes in a verse style.  Don't worry.  His books read like novels and move very, very quickly with lots of sports action.  His books Crossover and Booked,  have been winning awards all over the place.  

Jason Reynolds - I particularly like his novel Ghost which centers on track and field.  His characters are likable and real. 
Robert Lipsyte - He's been around for awhile.  His books appeal to middle school and teens.  He makes it to almost every Boys Read booklist.
Fred Bowen - is a sports columnist for the Washington Post.  Check out his website.
Carl Deuker's books are for high school kids but they are so popular.  Look at one before giving them to your middle schooler, though.  They may include stuff that is meant for older readers.
John Feinstein books never stay on the shelf.  He writes for teens mostly but his books are very popular.
Josh Berk - the director of the Bethlehem Area Public Library, has written two GREAT books about baseball in middle school, Strike Three You're Dead and Say it Ain't So . I am seriously hoping he writes another book in this series.

Getting active kids to read has inspired book series and organization such as Boys  Check out their lists.  The lists include non-fiction and fiction titles.
Jon Scieszka started a whole movement with Guys Read, including books of short stories written by some of the best writers in children's lit.  Check out the Guys Read website.

Gordon Korman - his books are funny and move quickly.  A few center on sports and almost all of his main characters are boys (or animals) who are more interested in messing around than in reading or schoolwork.  Check out The Chicken Doesn't Skate for a fun book with lots of hockey action.
Gary Paulsen - Paulsen writes about the great outdoors. Check the age range because Paulsen writes for teens as well.  It doesn't look like he has a separate Paulsen only website, so I linked to his Wikipedia article.  Your son probably knows all about Hatchet.  It's a survival story and it's awesome.
Carl Hiaasen - writes for the Miami Herald and mostly writes for adults but his book, Hoot, written for young teens has been made into a movie.
Louis Sachar has written some of the weirdest books ever.  His books deal with the emotions of competition and survival in the social life of middle schoolers and teens.  His latest, Fuzzy Mud, received great reviews.
Tom Angleberger 's books all deal with middle school.  No sports here but the books are quick reads and very funny.
Varian Johnson - I just finished the second book in his Jackson Greene series, To Catch a Cheat.  Jackson Greene is a middle school con man who is trying to go straight.  His schemes are incredible!
I hope this gives you a place to start.  Ask the librarians at the public library.  I am sure they know the books that middle school kids are asking for - beyond The Wimpy Kid and Big Nate (both a little too young for your son, I think.)
Don't forget to ask about non-fiction as well.  Some kids don't like to read "made up" stories.
Good luck.  And Happy New Year!
Hey, it's December and this post is about books - Books of December works, right?

No comments:

Post a Comment