Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 06-07-2011, 05:27 PM
trupa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Calgary Alberta (Canada)
Posts: 992

Looking for young teen / tween books where young MALE hero learns courage / fighting


My wife and I are pretty voracious SF / Fantasy readers. We're also trying to find stories to read to our 8yr old son about young people developing courage and fighting skills. We keep finding plenty of stories of girls learning to fight / going to knight academies etc. (Like Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small series, or any number of Valdemar series books) but haven't found any where the protagonist is a boy.

Now, I'm all in favour of strong, capable, even fierce women and all, but truesquirt is having a hard time connecting with the girl protagonists.

Any suggestions please? Doesn't have to be Sword & Sorcery or Spaceships & Laserbeams, either.
  #2  
Old 06-07-2011, 05:35 PM
WhyNot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sweet Home Chicago
Posts: 33,500
What's his reading level? These may be right, or may be right in the next year or three:

Hatchet - courage, survival skills, independence; not fantasy
The Golden Goblet - courage, resourcefulness, friendship, Egyptian history; historical fiction with an unusual enough setting it may as well be fantasy
Percy Jackson - The Lightening Thief, e al - courage, weaponry, scholarship; essentially Greek mythos in a New York setting
Artemis Fowl - I couldn't get into these myself, but my son loved them.

ETA: Oh, and the first couple of Harry Potter's would be good at his age. The later ones contain some content best suited for older readers, though.

Last edited by WhyNot; 06-07-2011 at 05:36 PM.
  #3  
Old 06-07-2011, 05:36 PM
Chronos's Avatar
Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 84,759
Does it have to be SF at all? The only reason female protagonists like that are so common in SF is as a reaction to the overwhelming preponderance of male characters like that in the rest of literature.
  #4  
Old 06-07-2011, 05:41 PM
Rhiannon8404's Avatar
Rhiannon8404 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 8,102
The Warriors Series really got my son reading around that age. The main character is a young male cat who runs away from being a pet kitty to a fierce Warrior cat, protecting his clan. Though not about humans, there is much for a young boy to identify with Rusty(pet name)/Fireheart (Warrior name).

Another series my son (now 12) started a couple of year ago and his still enjoying is the Ranger's Apprentice series. The young man grows from an apprentice to the Rangers (special forces of the Kingdom) to becoming a Ranger himself. The books span 5 years of his training and adventures. There are 10 in the series. Book 10 has just come out.

Last edited by Rhiannon8404; 06-07-2011 at 05:44 PM.
  #5  
Old 06-07-2011, 05:43 PM
gurujulp is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Oakland, CA
Posts: 1,133
What's wrong with Dragondrums?

I mean, it is the third in the series, but it can stand alone...
  #6  
Old 06-07-2011, 06:09 PM
Raguleader is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Kansas
Posts: 8,159
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
What's his reading level? These may be right, or may be right in the next year or three:

Hatchet - courage, survival skills, independence; not fantasy
Was about to suggest that, actually. There's a whole series (three or four books), though, interestingly, all the sequels are mostly alternate universe stories, based on whether or not the first book ended the way it did.

Hatchet, The River (direct sequel to Hatchet, with Brian going back into the wilderness with a researcher), Brian's Winter (about what would have happened if Brian hadn't been rescued at the end of Hatchet), and I want to say there was one more, but those are the three that I read.
  #7  
Old 06-07-2011, 06:19 PM
Justin_Bailey is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 15,790
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raguleader View Post
Was about to suggest that, actually. There's a whole series (three or four books), though, interestingly, all the sequels are mostly alternate universe stories, based on whether or not the first book ended the way it did.
Apparently it Paulsen pulled a Lucas and wrote The River out of canon. Brian's Winter is said to be how the book really ended (I wonder if he changed the original book's ending too?) with it being followed by Brian's Return ("I want to live in the woods forever!" and Brian's Hunt ("I do live in the woods forever!").

Also, the OP's kid is too young now, but in a few years give him the Gone novels by Michael Grant. Basically, it's Stephen King for pre-teens and ridiculously awesome.

Last edited by Justin_Bailey; 06-07-2011 at 06:19 PM.
  #8  
Old 06-07-2011, 06:22 PM
Oakminster is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Surefall Glade, Antonica
Posts: 19,118
For some values of "young", perhaps Star Wars could work?

Maybe something about Geronimo....seems like I read a biography of him written for that age range.

Tom Sawyer just for fun.

Seems like I remember reading a short story called "The Rudiments" about a kid learning to box and then dealing with a bully. It was in a collection of children's stories, but I don't remember which one.

My Side of the Mountain--kid/tween short novel about a kid that runs away to live in the wilderness. Not much in the way of fighting, but courage/survival skills may be worth it.

And some of Heinlein's juveniles....maybe Red Planet about kids growing up on Mars. I sorta recall something about them earning gun licenses by some qualification mechanism.

Last edited by Oakminster; 06-07-2011 at 06:25 PM.
  #9  
Old 06-07-2011, 06:29 PM
Lasciel is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 3,705
Seconding Ranger's Apprentice series - originally printed in Australia, really good series.

The Redwall books by Brian Jacques might be interesting to him: they feature young squirrels or mice or badgers from an Abbey who venture out into the forest to fight evil beasties. There are approximately a million of these, but about a quarter of them have girls as the main characters. They don't have to be read in sequence, which is always nice.

For nonfiction that he might like, check out The Dangerous Book for Boys, which is lots of fun.
  #10  
Old 06-07-2011, 06:40 PM
Sailboat's Avatar
Sailboat is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 11,965
The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander.
  #11  
Old 06-07-2011, 06:46 PM
booklover is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Posts: 1,144
I love Michael Morpurgo--can't vouch for the reading level of his retelling of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, but it looks like it would fit the bill in terms of the action/fighting element. Looks like he also has an anthology called The Kingfisher Book of Great Boy Stories.

My stepdaughter, who likes the same type of adventure/action stories, loves Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander--great story about a boy and his time-traveling cat.
  #12  
Old 06-07-2011, 06:54 PM
Lynn Bodoni is offline
Creature of the Night
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 20,803
Quote:
Now, I'm all in favour of strong, capable, even fierce women and all, but truesquirt is having a hard time connecting with the girl protagonists.

Any suggestions please? Doesn't have to be Sword & Sorcery or Spaceships & Laserbeams, either.
Go to older books, like those written before the 1970s or 80s. Back then, it was thought that girls were either not interested in those types of books, or would be able to connect with the male protagonists.

Look for Robert Heinlein, Andre Norton, and similar writers. Norton wrote mostly boys' adventure stories, set in a fantasy or SF background. You can also read a few of Lawrence Watt-Evans' works. I'm currently rereading With a Single Spell, and though it's obvious to an adult that some of the characters have sex, it would probably pass right over the head of a kid. Give it a read yourself. There's also The Misenchanted Sword by the same author. This series is pretty good for kids, generally. The main characters have to grow as the books progress, and the books can be read in any order.
  #13  
Old 06-07-2011, 06:55 PM
wonky's Avatar
wonky is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: DC area
Posts: 30,703
Not so much about fighting skills, but some of the Jim Kjelgaard books are explorations of boys learning how to grow and cope with difficult things. I remember Big Red and Stormy specifically. Especially good if your son likes dogs.

Along the Harry Potter/Percy Jackson line is also the Charlie Bone and the Gregor the Overlander books.

Brandon Sanderson's Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians is a fun read.

Last edited by wonky; 06-07-2011 at 06:55 PM.
  #14  
Old 06-07-2011, 06:57 PM
Oakminster is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Surefall Glade, Antonica
Posts: 19,118
Red Hugh: Fighting Prince of Donegal
  #15  
Old 06-07-2011, 07:01 PM
SciFiSam is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Beffnal Green innit
Posts: 8,468
Any one of dozens of books about the young King Arthur. The Sword in the Stone might be one to start with.

I've actually always felt that YA and kids' books tend to have more male than female protagonists, particularly if the writer was a woman, but I am absolutely terrible at remembering titles.
  #16  
Old 06-07-2011, 07:05 PM
WhyNot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sweet Home Chicago
Posts: 33,500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander.
Of course!
  #17  
Old 06-07-2011, 07:08 PM
dangermom is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Northern CA
Posts: 9,155
A lot of Diana Wynne Jones' books have boy protagonists. The Chrestomanci books are a good place to start, or Enchanted Glass. Once he's hooked you can move him up to Archer's Goon and Dark Lord of Derkholm.

And of course Susan Cooper's "Dark is Rising" series stars mostly boys.

Last edited by dangermom; 06-07-2011 at 07:09 PM.
  #18  
Old 06-07-2011, 07:08 PM
Morgyn is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: In the time stream
Posts: 5,769
Quite a few of the Valdemar books have male protagonists or co-protagonists. The Herald Mage series, the Owl-Knight series, a couple focusing on Albrecht (sp? name?), Take a Thief (Skif), Brightly Burning, the current series on the foundation of the Collegium, the Mage Storm series ...

The Chronicles of Prydain, mentioned above, are good. Lloyd wrote a number of other books, including The Gawgon and the Boy (just read that a bit ago, it's fun), which he might enjoy. There's also Alan Garner, his books often have male & female co-protagonists (The Weirdstone of Brisingamen is aces, lemme tell ya). There's also John Bellairs, who wrote what I call juvenile gothic. Most of his protagonists are young boys. There's detective series like Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators, too.

OOO! And the classics, of course. Kim and The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling. Can't go wrong with those. Also Puck of Pooks Hill and Rewards and Fairies.

Last edited by Morgyn; 06-07-2011 at 07:10 PM. Reason: Forgot how to Kiple ...
  #19  
Old 06-07-2011, 07:11 PM
dangermom is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Northern CA
Posts: 9,155
Oh, John Bellairs is a great recommendation. I'm getting my daughter started on them even now. His boys are always nerdy and cowardly and unpopular, but they face up to horrors and discover they can cope after all. Also Bellairs was funny, odd, and erudite all at the same time. It's my theory that a child that grows up reading his books will be inoculated against paranormal junk literature.
  #20  
Old 06-07-2011, 07:11 PM
WhyNot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sweet Home Chicago
Posts: 33,500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgyn View Post
Quite a few of the Valdemar books have male protagonists or co-protagonists. The Herald Mage series, the Owl-Knight series, a couple focusing on Albrecht (sp? name?), Take a Thief (Skif), Brightly Burning, the current series on the foundation of the Collegium, the Mage Storm series ...
I love these books, but even I'm somewhat shocked and horrified by some of the content to the point of having some unsettling dreams when I read them (not teh gay, but the torture/rape stuff). I think 8 is really too young for those. But they should definitely be on the high school list!
  #21  
Old 06-07-2011, 07:19 PM
Morgyn is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: In the time stream
Posts: 5,769
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
I love these books, but even I'm somewhat shocked and horrified by some of the content to the point of having some unsettling dreams when I read them (not teh gay, but the torture/rape stuff). I think 8 is really too young for those. But they should definitely be on the high school list!
Yeah, but that's mostly in the last book of Vanyel's series, and a bit in Arrows of the Queen which is a Talia book, so not a male protagonist. Although you're probably right that any of the Valdemar books may be a bit much for an 8-year-old, even in today's world.
  #22  
Old 06-07-2011, 07:22 PM
Rhiannon8404's Avatar
Rhiannon8404 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Sacramento, CA
Posts: 8,102
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sailboat View Post
The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander.
I just happened to stumble upon these books at the library while browsing for books for my son today. He seems excited to read the first one I brought home.
  #23  
Old 06-07-2011, 07:28 PM
1GothMama is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Baghdad by the Bay
Posts: 74
What about some of the Roald Dahl books? Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is the obvious one, but I was always a bigger fan of Danny Champion of the World.
  #24  
Old 06-07-2011, 07:29 PM
BrainGlutton is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 78,508
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Does it have to be SF at all?
If you want something realistic, it should be about a child-soldier serving in a civil war in a Third-World country.
  #25  
Old 06-07-2011, 08:05 PM
Chronos's Avatar
Chronos is offline
Charter Member
Moderator
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 84,759
Quoth Oakminster:
Quote:
And some of Heinlein's juveniles....maybe Red Planet about kids growing up on Mars. I sorta recall something about them earning gun licenses by some qualification mechanism.
I'm smacking myself for not thinking of Heinlein. But better choices than Red Planet would be Space Cadet, Tunnel in the Sky, or Starship Troopers (which isn't actually a juvenile, but should still be accessible). Citizen of the Galaxy might also be a good one.
  #26  
Old 06-07-2011, 08:08 PM
Argent Towers is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 14,292
Vision Quest by Terry Davis. There is some fairly mild sexual content (including a crude homosexual proposition) but if you are reading the story to the kid, then you can just not read that part.
  #27  
Old 06-07-2011, 08:21 PM
Balance is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Dallas, TX
Posts: 8,397
Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot View Post
I love these books, but even I'm somewhat shocked and horrified by some of the content to the point of having some unsettling dreams when I read them (not teh gay, but the torture/rape stuff). I think 8 is really too young for those. But they should definitely be on the high school list!
You've got a point. A friend of mine has been reading through the Valdemar (or Velgarth) books while recovering from surgery, and when he finished Take a Thief, he called me and said, "What, the protagonist didn't get raped? Is she slipping?"

And even with another non-raped protagonist, I can't really recommend Brightly Burning to anyone. (Well, maybe someone so pathologically cheerful that their heart will explode if they don't get depressed ASAP.)

Mind you, this is coming from someone who likes Lackey. Owlflight is the only Valdemar book I can think of that really seems to fit what the trupa is looking for, and I'm not sure how well it stands alone without knowing the backstory. (Then again, its not like the rest of us got the story in anything like chronological order.)

On the other hand, her Dragon Jousters series could possibly work, at least the first two or three. Vetch starts off as a small boy, and gets ahead mostly by hard work and guts.
  #28  
Old 06-07-2011, 08:27 PM
Dangerosa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Twin Cities, Minnesota
Posts: 22,539
If its "read it himself" the Magic Treehouse books are good at about a second or third grade reading level.

No one has mentioned The Graveyard Book yet. Just finished it and its creepy, but good. And not terribly creepy.
__________________
One day, in Teletubbie land, it was Tinkie Winkie's turn to wear the skirt.
  #29  
Old 06-07-2011, 08:28 PM
The Other Waldo Pepper is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Posts: 16,668
Piers Anthony's XANTH series goes off the rails before too long, but CASTLE ROOGNA is pretty much a straight-up "bullied kid gets sword-and-sorcery experience while learning a thing or two about courage and honor" story.

(He's ten years old, small and slight, and knows just one spell -- which lets him carry on conversations with inanimate objects. So really think about that for a moment: he can already handle informational problems with an ease that eludes most grown-ups, but has nothing physical up his sleeve until he learns how to fight his own battles and negotiate the occasional truce from a position of strength.)
  #30  
Old 06-07-2011, 08:28 PM
Baker is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Dec 1999
Location: Tottering-on-the-Brink
Posts: 20,378
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Johnny_Tremain

Johnny Tremain, by Esther Forbes. It's about a young man during the American Revolution era. A good story, and you learn some history too. It won the Newberry Medal

King of the Wind, by Marguerite Henry. Another Newberry Medal winner.
  #31  
Old 06-07-2011, 08:31 PM
Lissla Lissar is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Toronto
Posts: 9,231
John Bellairs fans may also end up hiding under their beds when something innocuous like The X-Files comes on, twenty years later. Just saying (I reread some of them last year and [i]didn't end up clutching my husband and screaming. I was proud of myself).

The Sign of the Beaver, by Elizabeth George Speare, isn't fantasy but it is good. I also recommend anything by Rosemary Sutcliff. I love her stuff, especially Warrior Scarlet and The Lantern Bearers. They're historical British fiction, and they all (I think?) star boys, and they're amazingly immersive. Warrior Scarlet's about a boy in a Pictish village who has a crippled arm, and is trying to learn to be a hunter and a warrior. Great stuff.


I read Hatchet only a few years ago, and didn't know there were sequels. I'll look for them. Thanks.

Last edited by Lissla Lissar; 06-07-2011 at 08:31 PM.
  #32  
Old 06-07-2011, 08:39 PM
Fionn is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Surrounded by books
Posts: 2,530
Call it Courage was entertaining when I read it in elementary school, and I remember an astonishing amount of it considering that was twenty years ago. It's about 12-year-old Polynesian boy who sets off to live on his own to conquer his fear by surviving on an island alone
  #33  
Old 06-07-2011, 08:48 PM
Cat Whisperer's Avatar
Cat Whisperer is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Lethbridge, AB.
Posts: 49,119
No Ender's Game? I loved that book, but I don't know if I'd recommend it for any young person - it's pretty intense. I can hardly argue with Orson Scott Card's conclusions, but man - what a harsh story.
  #34  
Old 06-07-2011, 10:11 PM
Imago is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada
Posts: 527
I remember one short, easy read from my own childhood with a name to the effect of "Knight in the Attic" or "A Castle in the Attic" or something that fits your specifics almost exactly, and that at the age of 8 he could probably read himself or have read to him with equal enjoyment.
  #35  
Old 06-07-2011, 10:15 PM
WhyNot is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Sweet Home Chicago
Posts: 33,500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Imago View Post
I remember one short, easy read from my own childhood with a name to the effect of "Knight in the Attic" or "A Castle in the Attic" or something that fits your specifics almost exactly, and that at the age of 8 he could probably read himself or have read to him with equal enjoyment.
The Castle in the Attic, yes!

Which, not because of the plot but because of the name, made me remember The Door in the Wall, another good one!
  #36  
Old 06-07-2011, 10:23 PM
AuntiePam is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 18,119
Dust by Arthur Slade might be a bit intense for an eight-year-old, so you might want to read it first. It's fantasy, reminded me a bit of Ray Bradbury.

Also good are John Connolly's YA books. I've read The Book of Lost Things and The Gates and enjoyed them both. But again, maybe check them out yourself first. Both involve kids learning courage. Fighting, not so much.
  #37  
Old 06-07-2011, 10:28 PM
boytyperanma is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Leominster MA
Posts: 5,401
Wanted to throw in another for The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. It's exactly the series that popped into my head when I read the OP.
  #38  
Old 06-07-2011, 10:33 PM
Enderw24 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: KC. MO -094 35.3 39 4.9
Posts: 10,602
Fight Club? No, wait...

I'd second Ender's Game (naturally) though I think it may be just a *tad* too old for him. Maybe when he's 11.
  #39  
Old 06-07-2011, 10:43 PM
trupa is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Calgary Alberta (Canada)
Posts: 992
Holy cow, I can't believe how may suggestions you guys all came up with!

A few of you have asked what reading level my son is at. You should know that, although he's very high functionning, truesquirt is on the autism spectrum, so the answer is "it depends..." For non fiction in areas of special interest like Aviation, Astronomy or Baseball, he's somewhere in the high-school range. He's a voracious fact-book reader.

But fiction, fiction is another matter...

First off, he has a lot of anxiety, so even a little bit of suspense or mildly scary situations are significantly magnified for him. Even at 8, we don't think he's ready to see Star Wars just yet, although movies or videos are worse in this regard, with him being such an intensly visual person. He can also be fairly easily intimidated in the school yard, although any incidents so far have fortunately been both rare and mild.

He's enjoyed the Tintin comic books I grew up with, especially with the slapstick humour of Capt. Haddock. We've had some success with baseball-based novels as well, but there aren't a whole lot of those.

When the school recommended a greater portion of fiction in his reading diet, to help with reading comprehension, we started reading aloud to him stories that were slightly above his independant reading level (for fiction). This also lets us check his understanding of the psychology and character motivation as we go, which can otherwise woosh right over his head. Since it's often done while cuddling, the physical contact is very reassuring for him and helps with the whole anxiety thing. My wife found a book of "Young Warrior" stories, which he enjoyed, after being reassured that things would be ok in the end. For some reason, most of the main protagonists were girls, though. We really appreciated how these stories showed examples of kids overcoming scary situations and villains with training and courage. There is a good potential for helping him in real life here, in addition to the classroom.

We want to expand this practice in the summer, and that's where you guys have really come through. Hopefully this lets you understand a bit better where we're coming from. Just skimming over the suggestions so far, the Ranger Apprentice and Lightening Thief series seem very promising, but rest assured that we'll be combing through every post for ideas, so please keep'em coming.
  #40  
Old 06-07-2011, 11:20 PM
wonky's Avatar
wonky is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2003
Location: DC area
Posts: 30,703
With the further information, the Prydain books (which are spectacular, in my opinion) might be a little scary if he's really able to visualize things like the cauldron borne (dead warriors who get tossed in a magic cauldron and then are reborn as zombie soldiers, basically. It's a very creepy idea).

I don't remember the book completely, so it may have stuff in it that wouldn't be good, but the book "Rocket Boys" might be a good one. It's a memoir about a boy from a coal-mining town who became involved in rocketry and the space program. It was the basis of the movie "October Sky," which he also might like (I can't remember objectionable content, but it might be there). Maybe too dry, but he might find the topic engrossing, and it would function much like fiction.

Peter and the Starcatchers by Dave Barry might be a possibility.

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau has a strong girl AND a strong boy lead.

Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder is about the childhood of Almanzo Wilder (Laura's husband) on a farm in the 1800s.

My Friend Flicka by Mary O'Hara has a young boy protagonist. He's awkward and always feels out of place and really matures as he trains a horse. (Please don't watch the recent film.)

The Septimus Heap books by Angie Sage might be a good bet, too. More Harry Potter-ish, though at a younger level that your son might find more comfortable, plus lots of characters to challenge him.

The 13 Clocks by James Thurber is about an evil Duke and a daring Prince. Brilliant.
  #41  
Old 06-08-2011, 12:04 AM
appleciders is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Southern Oregon
Posts: 6,436
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morgyn View Post

OOO! And the classics, of course. Kim and The Jungle Book, by Rudyard Kipling. Can't go wrong with those. Also Puck of Pooks Hill and Rewards and Fairies.
I'm reading Kim now and it's lovely, but I don't know how accessible it would be to a kid. Some of the rest of Kipling's stuff might be better, and it may or may not open him up to some historical fiction, which might also suit him.

Watership Down might be a good choice. There are most certainly scary parts, but you can rest assured that the good rabbits never lose in the end. The only dark part is the "Black Rabbit of Inle" story, and you can edit that out if you like. Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles are a good bet too; I hope you started him on The Book of Three, as it's the first and it's helpful (though not necessary) to read them in order. Heinlein's juveniles are a good bet; Space Cadet and The Rolling Stones are probably among the best to start with. Actually, Space Cadet is male-centric to a fault, so you're definitely OK there. Asimov's Robot stuff might work; those stories might be just the right length to read one each night to him. Bruce Coville wrote a number of nice childrens' SF books in the nineties; My Teacher Is An Alien is the first and it's about right for an eight-year-old.

Matt Christopher wrote* dozens of childrens' books about sports that are just about right for an eight-year-old. Many of them are about baseball. They're really formulaic, but that may be OK.

Of course, the greatest fantasy story of all time, with "Fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles... ". The only hard part is the fact that Westley spends half the book dead for one reason or another, which might be difficult for an eight-year-old. If you didn't realize that I'm referring to The Princess Bride, you should read it yourself.

*There are so many of his books that I suspect many are ghostwritten, but it doesn't matter much.
  #42  
Old 06-08-2011, 12:40 AM
Oakminster is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Surefall Glade, Antonica
Posts: 19,118
Quote:
Originally Posted by trupa View Post
We've had some success with baseball-based novels as well, but there aren't a whole lot of those.
A few possibilities are listed here.
  #43  
Old 06-08-2011, 01:40 AM
BrainGlutton is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Tampa, Florida
Posts: 78,508
Quote:
Originally Posted by BrainGlutton View Post
If you want something realistic, it should be about a child-soldier serving in a civil war in a Third-World country.
Actually, that's pretty much the Harry Potter series. It's all about the kids being put in situations where they have to fight in their elders' wars, not as Scouts rolling bandages but fight for real, with real risk of death -- and real risk of killing. Just as kids sometimes have to do in real life. (The conservative Christians who denounce the series for an immoral world-view never objected to that, that I recall.)

Last edited by BrainGlutton; 06-08-2011 at 01:44 AM.
  #44  
Old 06-08-2011, 02:11 AM
Omniscient is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Posts: 17,548
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cat Whisperer View Post
No Ender's Game? I loved that book, but I don't know if I'd recommend it for any young person - it's pretty intense. I can hardly argue with Orson Scott Card's conclusions, but man - what a harsh story.
I came into post Ender's Game. I was shocked as I skimmed the thread to see that it took 33 posts for it to come up. I suppose it's themes could be a little over the head of a 8 year old but it's not too dense. I think you're giving the OP a false impression of the story. I don't want to spoil it, but it's not harsh in the sense that the action is especially crude, violent or adult. It's harsh in that it doesn't have an entirely warm and fuzzy ending.
  #45  
Old 06-08-2011, 09:00 AM
Zsofia is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: South Carolina
Posts: 24,534
The Last Apprentice books are AWESOME (what is it with "apprentices" these days?) but a little old for him. In a few years he'll love them, though.

I haven't read all of the Edge Chronicles yet, but the ones I've read so far have had male protagonists and are very good. With amazing illustrations, too.
  #46  
Old 06-08-2011, 09:02 AM
Sailboat's Avatar
Sailboat is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 11,965
Quote:
Originally Posted by Omniscient View Post
I came into post Ender's Game. I was shocked as I skimmed the thread to see that it took 33 posts for it to come up.
Not sure if it's what the OP wants, though. Ender is specially gifted and succeeds like nobody else; I didn't get a feeling that he was "learning and maturing" so much as "he was a sort of savant or super-hero."
  #47  
Old 06-08-2011, 10:35 AM
Dung Beetle's Avatar
Dung Beetle is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Florida
Posts: 16,614
Quote:
Originally Posted by appleciders View Post

Watership Down might be a good choice. There are most certainly scary parts, but you can rest assured that the good rabbits never lose in the end. The only dark part is the "Black Rabbit of Inle" story, and you can edit that out if you like.
I don’t know…Efrafa scared the pellets out of me.
  #48  
Old 06-08-2011, 12:49 PM
Imago is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Halifax, NS, Canada
Posts: 527
With the new information, I think A Castle in the Attic will be great, as the conflict and any resulting danger is very child-friendly and not frightening at all. There is, however, a sequel which gets a tad bit scarier (a prophecy and a plague of rats, though everything still turns out well in the end) which I'd recommend leaving for now, though its ability to stand alone would make it good for down the road.

I was originally coming back to add David Clement-Davies' Firebringer, which is a Watership Down-esque preteen novel about deer, but now that I remember the murder, tyranny, implied rape and such which are integral to the plot I don't think that's such a good idea. Perhaps when he's a teenager or young adult it will be more suitable.
  #49  
Old 06-08-2011, 12:54 PM
Morgyn is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2000
Location: In the time stream
Posts: 5,769
You might also like to check out Jane Langton, who wrote the Hall Family Chronicles. (The Astonishing Stereoscope is the book I first read.) Male and female protagonists, kids, not really scary.
  #50  
Old 06-08-2011, 01:01 PM
tr0psn4j is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: N. Hollywood, California
Posts: 3,996
Quote:
Originally Posted by trupa View Post
My wife and I are pretty voracious SF / Fantasy readers. We're also trying to find stories to read to our 8yr old son about young people developing courage and fighting skills. We keep finding plenty of stories of girls learning to fight / going to knight academies etc. (Like Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small series, or any number of Valdemar series books) but haven't found any where the protagonist is a boy.

Now, I'm all in favour of strong, capable, even fierce women and all, but truesquirt is having a hard time connecting with the girl protagonists.

Any suggestions please? Doesn't have to be Sword & Sorcery or Spaceships & Laserbeams, either.
Dude, The Hobbit then maybe Lord of The Rings.

I think a 8 year old should be old enough to have The Hobbit read to him.

Bilbo is, in a lot of ways, boyish during The Hobbit.

Farmer Giles of Ham might be worth a shot. The first paragraph in the Wiki sums it up pretty good.

Farmer Giles isn't really a boy, but a man, so this probably doesn't really fit your parameters. Everything else about it seems perfect though.

Last edited by tr0psn4j; 06-08-2011 at 01:04 PM.
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 06:10 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright © 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

 
Copyright © 2017