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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

    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 Having a great day!

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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 Having a great day!

    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

    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 Well-Known Member

    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

    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

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

    triple_toe Well-Known Member

    ^ 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

    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

    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

    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 Having a great day!

    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

    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 Member

    Violet Haberdasher's Knightley Academy series -- very Harry Potter-esque

    Scott Westerfield's Leviathan series -- maybe?

    Judy Blume's Fudge books

    Lisa Yee's Stanford Wong Flunks Big-time

    Tom Angleberger's The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

    Rebecca Stead's When You Reach Me -- 2010 Newbery Medal Winner

    Clare Vanderpool's Moon Over Manifest -- 2011 Newbery Medal Winner

    Margi Preus's Heart of Samurai -- 2011 Newbery Honor

    Wendelin Van Draanen's Flipped -- so cute!

    Rose Kent's Kimchi & Calamari

    Lois Lowry's Number the Stars

    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

    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 Well-Known Member

    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 Strong and stable Staff Member

    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

    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

    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

    :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

    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

    :lol: Ditto.
  27. Wyliefan

    Wyliefan Well-Known Member

    :) 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 Strong and stable Staff Member

    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

    Buy every single Tove Jansson's "Moomin" book you can find.

    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

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