Book Lists for Advanced 4th grade reader -- newer books?

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by barbk, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

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    I'm looking for books for my niece, who is a very, very strong reader, and in 4th grade. But while she's very strong on the reading, she's still only 9, and most of the "teen" books are really beyond where she's at from a maturity perspective. I know she's already read most of the books for advanced readers I knew about -- which are largely those first published before 2005 -- and I'm having trouble finding good lists of more recent fiction for advanced readers in this age range. Any suggestions? (Books or lists) She reads 3-7 decently sized books a week. In addition to giving her some books for Christmas, I'd love to give her a list of other books she might want to (literally) check out.
  2. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    Harry Potter (One a year until she's 16)
    Artemis Fowl (and you should read them too!)
    Among the Hidden-Margaret Peterson Haddix (my daughter says anything by her is good)
    The Olympians -Rick Riordan
    The Borrowers by Mary Norton (my personal favourite)
    Simon Bloom, The Gravity Keeper By Michael Reisman( very funny)
    ...anything by Roald Dahl
  3. michiruwater

    michiruwater Well-Known Member

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    At that age I was heavily invested in The Prydain Chronicle by Lloyd Alexander.

    I agree with the suggestions above. I will say that I was reading way, way beyond my maturity level by age 10, reading Terry Goodkind, Terry Prachett, etc., and the things that were outside of my maturity level I generally simply didn't pick up on. I didn't understand sex, and I didn't understand anything that happened in those scenes until much later on. I just skimmed over them without intending to. I was surprised when I re-read them later on in my teens at how much I simply hadn't picked up on, but I'd still enjoyed them immensely.

    I read The Golden Compass at 9. I know a lot of people have issues with this book, as it is definitely not pro-religion, but I still think it's marvelous.

    If she reads Harry Potter, she will definitely not read just one a year until she's 16! She will probably read the entire series in one get-go. I would have! I imagine you've already thought of that, though.

    There's nothing very sexual at all in The Hunger Games series, however her parents may object to the subject matter. They aren't light books by any means, but I know I could have handled them at that age. Death occurs in most fantasy books, it just isn't as overtly displayed. The last book in the series also surprised me, positively, in its portrayal of the heroine as suffering from PTSD. I didn't anticipate such realism.
    PeterG and (deleted member) like this.
  4. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    I think rjblue mentioned this series: My niece was in fourth grade last year and she devoured the Percy Jackson/Olympian series. I do know not if that is considered advanced but she loved them.
  5. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    Has she read the Anne of Green Gables series yet? I was about 11 when I started them, but I think a strong reader could probably handle them at nine.

    Or she might not have read An Old-Fashioned Girl by Louisa May Alcott yet. It gets missed sometimes because Little Women is so much better known, but personally I think the former book is much better.

    How about The Phantom Tollbooth? From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankwiler? The Westing Game?

    I haven't read them myself, but I hear Brian Jacques's Redwall series is excellent.

    And Robin McKinley's Beauty, a retelling of "Beauty and the Beast," is fantastic.

    Oh, and I used to be big into the Grandma's Attic series by Arleta Richardson as a kid. They're Christian books, but not sanctimonious or stuffy like too many Christian kids' books are. (Like the Elsie Dinsmore books, for instance, which make me want to vomit.) Actually, the author has a fantastic sense of humor, especially in the later books. A more recent Christian book series for that age group, which also avoids stuffy sanctimoniousness, is the April Grace series by KD McCrite.

    Gordon Korman is a really good kids' author. Lately he's been writing more adventure stories, but he used to write a lot of humor. His Bruno and Boots series (the mishaps of two boys at boarding school) is a good place to start -- really funny stuff, and aimed at that age group. This Can't Be Happening at Macdonald Hall! is the first one. He also has some funny books that are aimed at teens, but I don't think there's anything inappropriate in them. Son of Interflux is my favorite.

    And John D. Fitzgerald's Great Brain series is also a lot of fun.
  6. Cachoo

    Cachoo Well-Known Member

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    Wonderful suggestions: Robin McKinley is a master of high fantasy. Her use of language just draws you in to whatever world she is taking you.
  7. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    Eight Cousins and Rose in Bloom are my favourites by far. I wore them out re-reading them. Louisa was kind of a feminist for her time, I'd say.
  8. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    I never actually got around to those. One of these days I should do that. :) But I ADORED An Old-Fashioned Girl -- checked it out of the library over and over and over again until I finally found it in a bookstore!
  9. Anemone

    Anemone Active Member

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    I'd second most of Wyliefan's suggestions.
    Anne of Green Gables is well known. But people often overlook the 7 sequels in that series and the more than 20 other books LM Montgomery wrote.

    I would also suggest the Dear America, Dear Canada and Royal Diaries series published by Scholastic.

    They are harder to come by in NA than the UK and Australia/New Zealand, but anything by Enid Blyton is good as well.
    Like EB above, harder to find here, but books by Noel Streatfield.

    The Trolley Car Family by Eleanor Clymer.

    Carol Matas is another good author - some of her books would be appropriate for her age, some not.

    The Great Brain series by John D. Fitzgerald.

    Encyclopedia Brown by Donald Sobol

    Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink

    Little House series by Laura Ingals Wilder

    Books by Jean Little


    My last suggestion is to visit goodreads. You can search by many criteria and there are tons of recommendations/reviews by readers. You can search for new releases, what is popular, by author. You can even put in what has been read & get recommendations for similar books.
  10. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the suggestions -- she's already devoured all the Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, Anne of Green Gables, and The Borrowers -- and loved them all. But quite a few of the others are new to me. You may even have gotten me convinced to go to the library and search out a copy of An Old-Fashioned Girl. Maybe it will be like my Hemingway experience: I despised The Old Man and the Sea, and so didn't read any other Hemingway until years later, when I was stuck somewhere with For Whom the Bell Tolls as about the only thing to read, and thought, "Wow. This is a fabulous book. He really CAN write."

    I appreciate all the help!
  11. timing

    timing fragrance free

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    How about the Warriors series by Erin Hunter? These are about four clans of feral cats.
  12. triple_toe

    triple_toe Well-Known Member

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    ^ Those were so good! I read them when I was about her age and loved them. But then again, I'm a big cat person. What about the Hitchhiker's Guide to the galaxy series? I read those when I was about 10 and they remain some of my favourite books ever.
  13. PDilemma

    PDilemma Well-Known Member

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    There are many more L.M. Montgomery books than Anne. I loved the Emily series as a pre-teen. And someone mentioned the Redwall series. I was a nanny a couple of summers and Redwall was the huge thing for the very gifted 9 then 10 year old I cared for.
  14. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    Still brainstorming -- has she read any Madeleine L'Engle? Or E. Nesbit?

    Good point that L. M. Montgomery wrote more novels, but most people usually start with Anne -- that's why I mentioned her. But as PDilemma said, you might check and see if she's read the Emily of New Moon trilogy yet.
  15. Lacey

    Lacey Well-Known Member

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    Same problem for one of my grandsons: he's in 2nd grade, at the top of his class in a reading group of him and two girls, just the three of them. His father is a great reader, his mother not, so no one but me is buying him books, and getting to the library with 3 brothers doing 8 different sports teams is difficult. He reads way way way ahead of his 4th grade brother and handles it well, does not brag, does not know this is a gift. And he remembers everything, at 8 years old he just reeled off the last 5 winners of the Super Bowl. He sneaks downstairs every morning while his dad at 6-7am reads multiple papers and has different books going on two kindles and pops out the the IPad too. They eat together silently, with this grandson bustling through whatever book is of the moment. I did have a private bookstore tell me to not do Harry Potter for him last year when he was in first, but somehow he did breeze through one.

    I am bringing him up to see if anyone has any male book choices.
  16. rjblue

    rjblue Re-registered User

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    Most of the books mentioned, with the exception of the Anne books, and a few others, are enjoyed by both genders. Artemis Fowl, Simon Bloom, and The Olympians are ones my son loved. He also loved the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, and Hamish X and the Cheese Pirates by Sean Cullen.
  17. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    Lacey, the Great Brain series that some of us mentioned is all about boys. I wouldn't ordinarily suggest those for a second grader, but if he's that gifted, he just might be able to tackle them. Also the Bruno & Boots series by Gordon Korman. I checked Amazon and it seems they're out of print, but used copies are available.
  18. sleepypanda

    sleepypanda New Member

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    Violet Haberdasher's Knightley Academy series -- very Harry Potter-esque
    http://www.amazon.com/Knightley-Academy-Violet-Haberdasher/dp/1416991441/

    Scott Westerfield's Leviathan series -- maybe?
    http://www.amazon.com/Leviathan-Scott-Westerfeld/dp/1416971742/

    Judy Blume's Fudge books
    http://www.amazon.com/Tales-Fourth-Grade-Nothing-Blume/dp/0142408816/

    Lisa Yee's Stanford Wong Flunks Big-time
    http://www.amazon.com/Stanford-Wong-Flunks-Big-time-Lisa/dp/0439622476

    Tom Angleberger's The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
    http://www.amazon.com/Strange-Case-Origami-Yoda/dp/0810984253

    Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me -- 2010 Newbery Medal Winner
    http://www.amazon.com/When-You-Reach-Yearling-Newbery/dp/0375850864/

    Clare Vanderpool's Moon Over Manifest -- 2011 Newbery Medal Winner
    http://www.amazon.com/Moon-Over-Manifest-Clare-Vanderpool/dp/0385738838/

    Margi Preus's Heart of Samurai -- 2011 Newbery Honor
    http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Samurai-Margi-Preus/dp/0810989816

    Wendelin Van Draanen's Flipped -- so cute!
    http://www.amazon.com/Wendelin-Van-Draanen-Flipped/dp/B004S7Y09S/

    Rose Kent's Kimchi & Calamari
    http://www.amazon.com/Kimchi-Calamari-Rose-Kent/dp/0060837713

    Lois Lowry's Number the Stars
    http://www.amazon.com/Number-Stars-Lois-Lowry/dp/0440227534

    I'm guessing she's probably already tackled Louis Sachar's Holes and the delightful Wayside School books.
  19. Erica Lee

    Erica Lee New Member

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    I loved the Nancy Drew series at that age - but only the originals, not the newer series ("Nancy Drew Files"). They were an easy read and I devoured them quickly - but at least there were lots of them. I was never a fan of mysteries before I read them, and haven't really read mysteries since.

    I was also a fan of Lois Lowry's books.

    And I loved this trilogy: http://www.kitpearson.com/guestsofwar.html
  20. kalamalka

    kalamalka Member

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    I think this would be a good question to take to a children's librarian - who would likely have lots of suggestions, and probably some prepared lists, especially since you know quite a bit about what your niece has enjoyed already.
    Another thought - 9 may be a little young still, but I read my first grown-up books before then, and when I was 10-11 years old, I really enjoyed reading "adult" books, especially classics, that had a child as a main character - for example, I liked Jane Eyre, Oliver Twist, David Copperfield, and Les Miserables at that age. I was also given a book when I was 8, The Annotated Alice, that was great for me for years - it has Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass with illustrations, but also loads of side notes in smaller print that are fascinating to browse through and explain a lot about the books, Lewis Carroll, and the time.
  21. Prancer

    Prancer Ray Chill Staff Member

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    I would suggest ignoring about 90% of the suggestions made so far if you really mean that. :lol:

    If she hasn't tried them already, I recommend books by Jerry Spinelli, Avi and Daniel Pinkwater, all very popular with the advanced readers I've tutored, although they all have books for a range of ages. My son loved the Redwall series that WylieFan mentioned and still reads some of them over again now, and also the books of David Clement-Davies, which have similar themes.
  22. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    So happy to find others recommending The Great Brain - I read them over and over as a kid, and wondered if they'd just faded away. There are perhaps 8 or so books, so if she likes one, there's more.

    The other author I recommend very very highly is Zilpha Keatley Snyder. Completely suitable for a 4th grader, and books she may want to read again in the coming years. I loved her books so much back then, and they really stayed with me. A couple of years ago I bought a few of my favourites to read again, and enjoyed them almost as much as an adult. Start with The Velvet Room.

    I was also about 10 when I started reading Enid Blyton's boarding school series - St Clare's and Mallory Towers - and read them again and again for years.

    Also agree with those recommending Anne of Green Gables. One of the great things about that series is that it follows Anne as she grows up, and then follows her children. Thus, the themes become more grown up as she becomes a teen and young adult.
  23. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Now, now, give us a break. For those of us without children, obviously we're going to recommend the books we enjoyed when we were young. Plus, they have the added bonus of usually not being too "mature" for a nine year old.
  24. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    :lol: But barbk specifically asked for more recent fiction. Let's all just ignore that and tell her what we enjoyed, shall we?
  25. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    When I asked FSUers about buying a dorm fridge for my college-bound niece, I got a lot of answers that were nothing to do with fridges, but opened up all kinds of great ideas that I hadn't thought of.

    Besides, maybe some of us thought barbk needed to revisit the classics :p

    Cheers to FSU thread drift! :lol:
  26. milanessa

    milanessa engaged to dupa

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    :lol: Ditto.
  27. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    :) I think most of us tried to include both classics and modern books. But there are SO many classics out there, you never know -- she might have missed a few!
  28. Prancer

    Prancer Ray Chill Staff Member

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    Absolutely and always :lol:.

    But I think it's funny to see someone ask for books published after 2005 and get recommendations for books that I read when I was a kid....because my mom had read them when she was a kid and thought I would like them.:shuffle: I usually didn't because I thought they were too old-fashioned, but that was clearly just me.
  29. Ziggy

    Ziggy Well-Known Member

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    Buy every single Tove Jansson's "Moomin" book you can find.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moomin

    They are beautifully written, very deep (I continue to reread them as an adult) and will help a lot with your nieces emotional and social development (they portray very healthy relationships and the characters are really warm and kind).

    The world would be a much better place if everybody read those as a child.

    "Chronicles of Narnia" - Even though I hate to say that as an atheist. :p
    But those are very good books.
  30. jl22aries

    jl22aries Active Member

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    The Giver is a phenomenal book, it really pushed my world view at age 11.
  31. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    English is not my mother's first language, so no recommendations from her, although my parents did buy us a ton of books.

    For me it was the school library and the Scholastic Books program (remember the flyers they'd distribute and you could order books for about 60 cents apiece), which in the 70s, seemed to feature mostly titles from the 1950s. I was a bit surprised to find when I got to high school that there were no sororities and dinner dances where I would wear a new dress, gloves and a corsage from my escort :lol:

    An extended trip to Europe also had a big influence as I scoured the small English language sections of bookstores - thus ending up with the British boarding school stories, and reading Animal Farm at age 10. :eek:

    Later it was my grandmother's love of books - never got into her immense collection of medical stories or the sci fi, but did read all her historical romance (Marianne anyone?) as a tween and then all her Agatha Christie, which I still read today. She got me into pencil puzzles too - still buy the Dell collections, and look forward to the New York Times magazine every Sunday.

    Which, incidentally, has a great Book Review section. They do a lot of children's books at all levels - including *NEW* fiction, so maybe barbk can check those online, or pick up a copy on the weekend?

    Thread drift full circle ;)
  32. skateycat

    skateycat Minecraft Widow

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    I think that's a great idea, too. Librarians can be a great source of help.

    One of my library and information sciences schoolmates keeps a blog called American Indians in Children's Literature. On her blog she has some lists for top books for various age ranges. Here's the link for the elementary school books:
    http://americanindiansinchildrensliterature.blogspot.com/2010/07/top-ten-books-recommended-for.html
  33. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

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    barbk loves most of the classics that have been mentioned. ;) Although the jury is still out on Louisa May Alcott. :shuffle: Gonna try it, though.

    I do appreciate all of the newer suggestions, few of which I've ever heard of...our chief children's librarian is on vacation, though that was a fine suggestion.

    As a major contributor to thread drift, no complaints from me. :)

    Unfortunately, my niece lives about twelve miles from the public library, and she seems to have pretty much devoured what's in her school library...so I hit the excellent used bookstore for her pretty heavily. (She's a kid who'd much rather get five used books than one new one, and given the speed with which she reads them, it is a wise choice.)

    I was so lucky to grow up living just a few blocks from our town's library, because there is no way my family could (or would) have purchased books. It was a rare treat to get one of the $.75 ones from Scholastic. (I still remember one set in Norway(?) about kids who used their sleds to move gold and hide it from the Nazis.) At .35/hour for being a mother's helper, that was still an investment.
  34. Jenny

    Jenny From the Bloc

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    Doesn't ring a bell, sorry. The one I've been on the hunt for was about a girl who gets a job in a fish cannery and falls for the owner's son. Can't remember the title of course, or the author, and searches usually turn up a lot of Steinbeck and nothing else :lol:
  35. Twizzler

    Twizzler Well-Known Member

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    My oldest loved the "Fablehaven" series. She read them when she was 7:

    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fablehaven

    Hugely popular with her classmates (all in gifted classes) are Harry Potter, the Goosebumps series, and the Poison Apple series. Goosebumps and Poison Apple are NOT breaking any literary ground, will never be classified with the likes of Anne of Green Gables, but they are fun and the kids that age love them.

    Happy reading!!!
  36. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

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    That sounds familiar, but I can't quite place it . . .
  37. Lil Sarah

    Lil Sarah Member

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    First, I also recommend the Golden Compass series (while it has other ideas than our religion, I wouldn't think it is offensive), and The Giver, which also has two books after it.

    Other books might be

    Peak by Smith
    Fourteen-year-old Peak Marcello’s goal is to become the youngest person to reach the top of Mt. Everest.

    The Tale of Despereaux by Di Camillo
    Tale of a tiny mouse with huge ears, a princess that he loves, a servant girl who wishes to be a princess and a rat named Roscuro who yearns for soup.

    Music of the Dolphins by Hesse
    The thoughts of a young girl, who was raised by dolphins from 4 years old after a plane crash, are recorded by a scientist as she is reintroduced to a civilized way of life

    There is also a list here about favourite books for fourth graders, it does have some interesting looking books on it.
  38. Prancer

    Prancer Ray Chill Staff Member

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    One of the biggest surprises for me when my kids started going to school is that they still put out those Scholastic flyers. I don't know why, but I expected them to be long gone. But nope, Scholastic still around and they have a Book Wizard that helps adults select books by reading level: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/ You have to click on the link there to go to the wizard.

    IME, the wizard is not to be entirely trusted, but it's not bad if you are looking for titles to check out. Don't take its word for reading level, though; it goes almost entirely by word size/sentence length, which isn't always the best way to determine reading level.

    A very good librarian-type resource is the ALSC. There are a lot of good books listed in their awards categories.

    The School Library Journal is another good source; they also have lists of award winners, including the ones for this year.
  39. sleepypanda

    sleepypanda New Member

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  40. barbk

    barbk Well-Known Member

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