To call my 10 year old son a non-reader is a bit of an exaggeration, but not much. Like many parents, especially those who love to read, I’ve read to both of my boys since birth. Board books, picture books, early readers, we’ve read them all. Bedtime has always been our time to read, and that has continued for Alex, who has been reading independently for a few years now and moved from our family reading time in the loft to his bean bag in his room. During the school year he has required reading that’s part of his homework, sometimes it’s a book they’re reading in class, but often he just has to read. If he had his way, he would read graphic novels, sports facts, or even his little brother’s picture books. But in fifth grade, reading Captain Underpants for the fiftieth time just doesn’t cut it in my book (ha – no pun intended).
Here are five books or series that he has not only agreed to read, but often flew through in only a handful of sittings.
1. Guys Read – The Sports Pages, edited by Jon Scieszka. My son loves sports. He loves playing, watching, and talking about sports. Why it didn’t occur to me earlier that he might like to read about sports, I have no idea. Actually that’s not true, as you’ll see in my next item, I knew he liked to read sports facts. But the Guys Read books are collections of short stories, all written by children’s and middle grade authors. He loved the bits of sports trivia (“Mom, is it true that Bill Buckner let a ball go through his legs, causing the Red Sox to lose the ’86 World Series to the Mets?”), the different authors, and well, the sports.
2. Any book of records or facts. During my time as a reviewer here on 5M4B, I’ve had the opportunity to review a few different records books, including Guinness World Records and Sports Illustrated Kids Big Book of Why. One of the best purchases I’ve ever made for him is another one from SI Kids — Top 10 Lists of Everything in Football. And the Weird But True series by National Geographic Kids is frequently borrowed from the school library. Basically if it has facts, awesome, if it has sports facts, even better.
3. The Origami Yoda series by Tom Angleberger. Star Wars, Origami, realistic characters, what’s not to love? The latest in the series, Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue, continues the McQuarrie Middle School kids’ fight against the ridiculously inane standardized test videos they have to sit through instead of going to their beloved specials, this time with an unlikely ally.
4. Two-Minute Drill by Mike Lupica. This is the first in a series of sports-related books by the well-known sports writer. Each book in the Comeback Kids series features a different athlete struggling with issues that kids can relate to – making their parents proud, sportsmanship, conflicts with other kids. Alex at first balked at this book when I handed it to him, and ended up having to repeatedly tell him to turn off the light and go to bed.
5. The Big Nate novels (not graphic novels) by Lincoln Peirce. While he does enjoy the graphic novels too, he also really likes the novels. Fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid looking for something similar will enjoy Big Nate.
There’s a whole world of sports-related middle grade novels that he hasn’t even tackled yet (ha – I’m full of puns in this post) and those should keep him busy for some time.