Thursday, March 4, 2010

Another List for Advanced Readers

It has been more challenging to find books for my daughter to devour than last year! She is in second grade and now about seven and a half. She just tested (informally) at a fourth grade comprehension level but is still reading for pleasure above that. Below are the books she has read with my approval so far this academic year.

I have several books about books and have spent many hours researching online and reading, trying to find books that are appropriate to her maturity and reading level. In general, for this age I seek out books that:

  • paint a positive picture of family life

  • avoid witches, spells, and such

  • do not contain violent crimes or excessive or unpunished mischief

  • include quality friendships

  • have virtuous main characters

  • are not terribly scary or suspenseful

  • protect her innocence with regards to romance

  • are truly well-written and not too formulaic

How do I determine if a book meets these requirements? One of the first things I look at is when a book was first published. If it was before 1950, chances are it meets most of the above requirements and merits a library request. Next, I check the subject matter by reading online summaries, continuing to read until I feel I can rule it out or need to hold it in my hands to decide.

If it still looks okay, I request it from the library and read the dust jacket. Sometimes I can tell right away if it is an appropriate choice or not; sometimes I read the first and last chapters and one from the middle to make a decision. If it is a series, I am now sure to review each title independently after some tricky conversations about silly superstitions (sidewalk cracks, ladders, etc...). And, as you will see, once I find a good author, I snatch up whatever he/she has written!

Once I have done these things, I then hope and pray I have made the right decisions and that God will help me iron out any mistakes. I have chosen not to pre-read every title she reads, but I do ask her about what she has read to see what sticks in her mind. Plus, when I hear her say things that I did not teach, I ask about where she heard or read it. That helps me get an idea what does stick with her and which books teach valuable things.

Without further ado, here is the list. All were read independently and not required reading; I have not included our shared reading or read-alouds. Perhaps it will help you find some new titles for your voracious reader! Keep in mind you need to do your own evaluation to determine if these suit your needs, as they do not necessarily meet every single one of my above requirements. Some of the titles for our academic studies, in particular, were chosen to carefully teach about some difficult times in history like the Holocaust and the Civil Rights Movement, and may not suit your child.

Please add titles of your own in the comments, as well! I'll try to post what else she reads this year in May or July (June being baby month!).

Misoso by Verna Aardema

Aesop’s Fables by Aesop

The Brownie and the Princess by Louisa May Alcott

Andersen’s Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen

The Arabian Nights by Anonymous

The Complete Book of the Flower Fairies by Cicely Mary Barker

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (not nearly as scary as the movie)

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall (I deliberately skipped the sequel)

All Alone by Claire Bishop

First Travel Guide to the Moon by Rhoda Blumberg

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Brink

His Majesty, Queen Hatshepsut by Dorothy Carter

Sadako and the 1000 Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr

Miracle on 34th Street by Valentine Davies

Bright April by Marguerite de Angeli

Summer Pony by Jean Doty

Winter Pony by Jean Doty (there are a ton of great horse books out there, but she isn't interested)

Davey’s Blue-Eyed Frog by Patricia Easton

Mandy by Julie Edwards

The Melendy Quartet by Elizabeth Enright
The Saturdays
The Four-Story Mistake
Then There Were Five
Spiderweb for Two

Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright

The Moffat series by Eleanor Estes
The Moffats
The Middle Moffat
Rufus M
The Moffat Museum

Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes

Miranda the Great by Eleanor Estes

Pinky Pye by Eleanor Estes

The Glass Slipper by Eleanor Farjeon

Hitty by Rachel Field

Understood Betsy by Dorothy Fisher

The Doll’s House by Rumer Godden

Miss Happiness and Miss Flower by Rumer Godden

The Rocking Horse Secret by Rumer Godden

Rebecca American Girl Series by Jacqueline Greene
Meet Rebecca
Ana and Rebecca
Candlelight for Rebecca
Rebecca and the Movies
Rebecca to the Rescue
Changes for Rebecca

Grimm’s Tales for Young and Old by Jacob Grimm

Raggedy Ann Stories by Johnny Gruelle

The Book of Fairy Poetry by Michael Hague

Love You, Soldier by Amy Hest

Anne Frank by Johanna Hurwitz

English Fairy Tales by Joseph Jacobs

The Canada Geese Quilt by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock

The Night the Bells Rang
by Natalie Kinsey-Warnock

Pearl Harbor is Burning by Kathleen Kudlinski

The Blue Fairy Book by Andrew Lang

The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang (I am guessing we'll soon pick up more of these)

Journey to America by Sonia Levitin

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Lord

Little House: The Rose Years series by Roger MacBride
Little House on Rocky Ridge
Little Farm in the Ozarks
In the Land of the Big Red Apple
On the Other Side of the Hill
Little Town in the Ozarks
New Dawn on Rocky Ridge
On the Banks of the Bayou
(not at library)
Bachelor Girl (not at library)
***I looked for the Little House: Martha Years, Charlotte Years, and Caroline Years series but could not find them at the library and could not afford to purchase them.

Sarah Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

Dare to Dream by Angela Medearis

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (currently reading; sequels soon)

The Borrowers series by Mary Norton
The Borrowers
The Borrowers Afield
The Borrowers Afloat
The Borrowers Aloft
Poor Stainless
The Borrowers Avenged

Bedknob and Broomsticks by Mary Norton

Magic Tree House series by Mary Osborne (only if topic applied to our studies)
Dingoes at Dinnertime
Dinosaurs Before Dark
Hour of the Olympics
Midnight at the Moon
Mummies in the Morning

Papa’s Angels by Collin Paxton

The Littles by John Peterson

Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter (again, I avoided the sequel on purpose)

The T.F. Letters by Karen Ray

Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss

Tut Tut by Jon Scieszka

Down in the Piney Woods by Ethel Smothers

The Gold Cadillac by Mildred Taylor

Praying in the Presence of Our Lord for Children by F.J. Thomas

Hide and Seek by Ida Vos

Anna Is Still Here by Ida Vos

Stuart Little by E.B. White

Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm by Kate Wiggin

Miraculous Medal by Mary Windeatt

Abu Ali by Dorothy Woerkom

The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann Wyss

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