Great holiday books for kids

Published by Lori Pickert on November 26, 2007 at 11:07 PM


Well, it's five o'clock and all is dark in the midwest.

I didn't manage to photograph the thing I was going to post about today before the sun fell behind the trees, so instead, please enjoy these book recommendations from my resident experts.

The boys have just turned 8 and 11 in the past few weeks. If you have any middle-size kids to buy for this holiday season, even (or especially) those who hate to read, maybe these books will be just the ticket.

Of course the boys enjoy the Harry Potter series and D loved Lemony Snicket, although J found it too depressing. I have exposed D (now 11) to some classic fantasy fare like the Dark Is Rising series, which he enjoyed.

D loved Black Horses for the King, written by Anne McCaffrey.

Another classic series the boys both enjoyed was A Wrinkle in Time and the rest of the Time Quartet (which is strangely now the Time Quintet; they added An Acceptable Time — unfortunately quite a step down from the original three books, I think). The sets certainly are a good deal considering the cost of the individual books. However, the top two are definitely A Wrinkle in Time and A Wind in the Door.

They loved the Narnia series as well. I still have my original paperback set, and we must have about 12 copies of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. (Did you like the movie? I was disappointed.)

J (now 8) has just finished reading The Lightning Thief, book one in the Percy Jackson series which both boys have enjoyed.

Speaking of which, D really liked Eragon (which, God help me, I read aloud) and its sequel Eldest (which I made him read to himself). Christopher Paolini, the smart and talented homeschooler who wrote these books as a teen, can get a little long-winded. If you are going to try reading these books aloud, I suggest throat lozenges.

Another favorite fantasy series was The Great Tree of Avalon and itssequels.

Your middle-size kid not a fantasy lover? You can't go wrong with the Wayside School boxed set. Or practically anything by Roald Dahl. Kid humor.

(Their favorite Roald Dahl book? The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More.)

Our favorite poetry book (though it's hard to choose) is The 20th Century Children's Poetry Treasury. We've been reading aloud from this book since Dominic was two. We usually end our before bed read-aloud time with two or three poems; we pull favorites from this book most nights. (It has great illustrations, too.)

Classics? They both love The Phantom Tollbooth. (Who doesn't?) D urged J to read The Indian in the Cupboard and its sequels. Actually, D collected about a dozen books that he thought J should read this year and made a special shelf for them in their room; his picks included Tom Sawyer, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Story of King Arthur, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, Treasure Island, Kidnapped and King Solomon's Mines.

Finally, D’s favorite read this past year, real-life adventure Kon-Tiki. J’s favorite: Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.


Comment by Molly on November 27, 2007 at 02:45 AM


Good stuff, once again. I hope you have an Amazon link/widget for the referal % here. You might check that out.

These are excellent suggestions for my nephews in Vermont. I'm doing a very brief Christmas themed book post (probably tomorrow, now) for the younger set and wondered if I might borrow your Visit from father christmas photo, as my camera is temporarily OOO. (With credit/reference to you, of course).

Molly (I)

I learned over the weekend that's a popular name around here :)

Comment by Courtney on November 27, 2007 at 02:55 AM

Have they read the Prydain Chronicles?

Comment by Lori Pickert on November 27, 2007 at 02:57 AM

of course, molly, use the photo! sorry it's not better. ;^)

yes, i do have an amazon associates number, and after blogging (for school) for many years, i think i've earned a total of $1.85. oh well! :^)

i tell people most of my blog readers are named molly... lol

Comment by Lori Pickert on November 27, 2007 at 03:02 AM

hi courtney .. no! i'm totally unfamiliar with those. what is the first in the series? i'd love to get dominic something new for christmas. :^)

Comment by Lori Pickert on November 27, 2007 at 03:08 AM

looked it up on wikipedia .. and ordered the first two books from amazon.

i think i've ordered 95% of my christmas gifts from amazon this year.

Comment by Linda Kasper on November 27, 2007 at 06:38 AM

My children loved Peter and the Star Catchers by Dave Berry. He has three books in this series. It tells how Peter Pan became Peter Pan. My middle schoolers (age 13 and 14) read it and could not put it down.

Comment by Lori Pickert on November 27, 2007 at 03:49 PM

hi linda, thank you for the recommendations!

Comment by kelly on November 27, 2007 at 08:14 PM

OUr son is 8- great list of books. We arent so much into Harry Potter, but love the Magic Treehouse series and Redwell books!

Comment by Lori Pickert on November 27, 2007 at 10:59 PM

thank you, kelly .. we have several of the magic treehouse books, too. we tried reading redwall aloud but the boys couldn't get into it. (i liked it!) another series both boys were very into was encyclopedia brown .. something i remembered reading when i was a kid!

Comment by molly on November 27, 2007 at 10:34 PM

i'm reading Kon-Tiki right now....just started two nights ago!
(you know, I changed my name to molly just so I could start commenting on your blog...what? that's not a prereq?!)

Comment by Lori Pickert on November 28, 2007 at 04:30 AM

rofl molly -- when i refer to my blog readers, i call them mollies, dintcha know?

i was looking at heyerdahl's book about "the steps of adam" or something similar .. looked pretty good, and we're going to check it out through interlibrary loan!

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