Need help with selecting books

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by mmswm, Dec 12, 2013.

  1. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Dec 12, 2013

    My mother wants to buy my sister a number of books for Christmas. The child is 12 with low-average reading skills. My mother is picky though. There can't be any magic, monsters, teenage romance or anything else that could be construed as "unchristian". (Please let's not debate that last point. It doesn't matter if I agree or not, my mother's viewpoint is very much fundamentalist and that's not going to change.)

    I'm not all that familiar with books that might fit that description, as everything I'd suggest falls into a taboo area for my mother. I was hoping you guys might have some titles in mind that would have "good Christian values" that my mother might approve of but that the child would also enjoy reading. To make this even more fun, the child doesn't have that many real interests. Due to other issues, her "likes" are only what her friends like, and only while she's with that particular friend. It's a little frustrating, but I figure if I get enough titles, I might be able to find half a dozen or so that might work.

    Thanks.
     
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  3. bison

    bison Habitué

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    I keep coming up with ideas and they fall into the "forbidden" category. Here's Scholastic's book list page for the age group, broken up into categories: http://www.scholastic.com/parents/books-and-reading/book-lists-and-recommendations/ages-11-13

    Maybe Diary of a Wimpy Kid books? I've only read bits and pieces so I don't know every single thing they contain, but I've found them hilarious as far as children's books go and my students LOVE them. Historical fiction might also be a good bet, like the Dear America series.
     
  4. Major

    Major Connoisseur

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  5. Tasha

    Tasha Phenom

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    I guess Are You There God, It's me Margret is out? ;)

    Sarah, Plain and Tall
    Harriet the Spy
    Hatchet
    Island of the Blue Dolphins
    The Great Gilly Hopkins
     
  6. stargirl

    stargirl Companion

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    What about some older/classic type of books?
    -Little House on the Prairie series
    -Ginnie and Geneva series by Catherine Woolley ( these have been reprinted in the past couple of years by Image Cascade publishing company, you can find their website online--many of the books they've published are 1950's innocent type romances, but these are meant for 10-12 year old girls, so not even a hint of romance)
    -Mandy by Julie Edwards (Julie Andrews, under her "real" name)
    -Peppermints in the Parlor by Barbara Brooks Wallace
    -Baby Island by Carol Ryrie Brink


    Just off the top of my head, these are some of the books I really loved between the ages of 10-12. I'm pretty sure they are all in print; even if they are not stocked in your nearest bookstore you can definitely find them online. They would definitely fit your guidelines, no question.

    ETA: just thought of a few more authors: Beverly Cleary, Sydney Taylor, and Maud Hart Lovelace (just the early Betsy-Tacy books, though per your no romance guidelines)
     
  7. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH

    The One and Only Ivan

    Catherine, Called Birdie
     
  8. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Thanks! I've looked up most of these (and am working my way through the rest), and there are quite a few of them I think would work.

    Keep the ideas coming. :)
     
  9. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    My favorite book from childhood was The Phantom Tollbooth. It is fantasy without being magic. Think of it as Alice in Wonderland, but in a way that makes the reader want to learn grammar and math.
     
  10. Maryhf

    Maryhf Connoisseur

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    My 6th grade girls LOVE the How I survived Middle School series. I confess that I haven't read them though . On a totally different subject- Amish fiction. It's actually a thing! I would recommend author Beverly Lewis. She has 2 series aimed at teens: summer hill secrets (I've read) and Holly's Heart, which I know nothing about. They are very faith-oriented and often focus on a girl who feels like an outsider in her own community, or there are innocent romances/courting. I realize this couldn't be farther from your reality, but I sometimes think that works for teens.
     
  11. RainStorm

    RainStorm Phenom

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    An abridged version of Anne of Green Gables.
     
  12. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    I don't know the series, but my little sister reads lots of Amish-centered books and I know she has for a few years (when she would have been in middle school). My mom does as well. I'll have to ask my sister for details.
     
  13. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    I loved Mandy by Julie Edwards when I was young. Also, the Betcy-Tacy-Tib were wonderful!
     
  14. runsw/scissors

    runsw/scissors Phenom

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    What about the Little House series? Or the Ramona books? The material in them can be a bit dated, but it could also prompt some discussions about recent history.
     
  15. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    My Side of the Mountain, Jean Criaghead George
    Because of Winn Dixie, Kate DiCamillo
    The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, C.S. Lewis
     
  16. Ms_C

    Ms_C Comrade

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    The Chronicles of Narnia series.
     
  17. bison

    bison Habitué

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    I know C.S. Lewis was a Christian but since more than one person has suggested Narnia books, I thought I should mention in case you haven't read them that they are pretty full of magic and mythical creatures.
     
  18. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    The Betsy-Tacy series by Maud Hart Lovelace. They start when the girls are 5, and go all the way through marriage.

    Andrew Clements is a fantastic author of realistic fiction.
    From the Mixed Up Files of Basil E. Frankweiler
    Little House on the Prairie series
     
  19. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Thanks guys. You're awesome. I've read the Narnia books and I know what they're about. My mother approves of "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe", but none of the others. Please don't ask me to explain her reasoning, as I'm as befuddled as you probably are.

    That said, I wound up getting quite a few of the titles you suggested, including several of the Amish fiction titles. Thanks again!
     
  20. bison

    bison Habitué

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    I forgot ALL about Betsy-Tacy books. I loved them when I was little and now I want to buy them all to reread..
     
  21. knitter63

    knitter63 Groupie

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    I'm in the "fan" club...on my bucket list I want to visit Mankato (Deep Valley) and see their houses. :blush:
    I have them all;reread them frequently, and try to encourage my students to read them.
     
  22. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    One of my favorite memories growing up is reading the books with my mom. I loved all of them but especially the first ones. I think I am going to order them for my girls-to-be:)
     
  23. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    Oh! I also really liked the Moffats. That might be good for her
     
  24. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Dec 18, 2013

    My 10 year old really struggles with reading.

    What she's getting is more books from the series she read all last summer: the Who Was.. series of biographies.
    http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/who-was-walt-disney-whitney-stewart/1100310165?ean=9780448450520

    I was pretty choosy-- last summer I started with Walt Disney. When she got through that without a problem, I branched out to other people she's heard of-- the Beatles, Neil Armstrong, and so on. Now we're moving on to other people and events I think she'll find interesting.The reading level is perfect for her, and she's actually enjoying reading.
    For Christmas she's getting:

    Who Was Amelia Earhart?
    I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912
    I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005
    What Was the Gold Rush?
    Who Was Helen Keller?
    Who Was Annie Oakley?
    Who Was Sally Ride?
     
  25. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

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    I have some students who absolutely love both those series, Alice!
     
  26. Missy

    Missy Aficionado

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    Twin girls, sue?
     
  27. sue35

    sue35 Habitué

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    Yep! We are having them through a surrogate due May 1 :)
     
  28. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

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    With the restrictions, it is a little hard....but here are a few that my 11 year old liked. She reads above grade level and right now is into The Hunger Game type books...UGH!!! But that is another thread.

    I Am the Ice Worm
    by MaryAnn Easley (Boys Mill Press, 1998).
    This book is sort of a girls' version of Gary Paulsen's classic Hatchet. In both stories, a teenage character is stranded in the wilderness following a plane crash. In I Am the Ice Worm, 14-year-old Allison is rescued from the Alaskan wild by an Inupiat trapper, who takes her to his village to stay until she can be reunited with her mother. Allison's upbringing in an upper-class family in southern California certainly didn't prepare her for this icy adventure, but she turns out to have courage and adaptability that she didn't expect. Though Allison may initially seem too "girly" for boy readers, this novel has a great blend of adventure, wilderness and family matters that will captivate boys and girls alike.127 pages

    The Canning Season
    by Polly Horvath (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003).
    Ratchet loves her selfish mother but receives little in return. Without warning or luggage of any sort, Ratchet's mother ships her to Maine to spend the summer with two elderly relatives. Tilly and Penpen are un-identical twins who are tremendously eccentric; they are also kind and generous. A laugh-aloud, farcical story evolves from this unlikely premise. Winner of the 2003 National Book Award for Children's Literature



    No Talking
    by Andrew Clements, illustrated by Mark Elliott (Simon & Schuster, 2007).
    This is an ear-to-ear-grinningly delightful school story. Parents need to know that there is nothing to be concerned about here and lots to cheer. It's a story that even reluctant readers can love, about good-hearted children and adults who grow in compassion and understanding. Families can talk about silence and civil disobedience. Why does the silence seem so powerful? How does it change everyone's perceptions? What do you think of the standoff between Dave and the principal?


    The Not-Just-Anybody Family
    by Betsy Byars (Yearling, 1987).
    The Blossoms are not an ordinary family. With a mother who is a rodeo trick rider, a grandfather who innocently manages to scare the local citizenry and get himself arrested, and a dog who wears a red bandana - not to mention a boy who thinks he can fly - it is not surprising that the Blossoms attract misadventures.
     

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