I think that when a book series is different and successful such that it creates its own mini genre that this is only a good thing. Just like Harry Potter which broke publishing notions that kids won’t read very, very thick books, Diary of a Wimpy Kid series also got kids wildly excited to read. And though the lead character is a boy, girls were also reading this series in droves. I also think that the graphics helped to legitimize graphic novels from comic book status to it-counts-for-your-reading-log status. In any case, if your child needs more Diary of a Wimpy Kid but has read all the books, here are more options including some that skew younger and older.
For children’s literature, I picked two books, one picture and one chapter book, that really seem evoke the culture and spirit of Vietnam. Both have a Zen quality to their story: spare, eloquent, and powerful. And both stories recall the terrible war but also the ability of the Vietnamese to transcend and make peace with it.
What is the most surprising is how these books make us both laugh and laugh. They are really funny! Ok, maybe not the Ninjago series … that’s more action/adventure, but Dragonbreath, Alvin Ho, Frankie Pickle and Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever are snuggle up and crack up together.
My oldest daughter finally gives me her favorite books of 2011. She’s a 6th grader and 12-years-old but I think her book suggestions skew plus or minus by two years.
I remember reading A Wrinkle in Time about — dating myself — 35 years ago and how much I loved this book and this author. It was as if entire worlds opened up for me; suddenly science was something mysterious and exciting, as it should be, not something to toil over and memorize. Is it because it’s a tale of a classic theme of good versus evil; light against dark? No, there is so much more to this book. Madeleine l’Engle is not just a great storyteller, but a scientist, dreamer and philosopher.