Books to Read to a Nine-Year Old Boy

My son and I like to read together every night. Right now we’re half-way through the Dark is Rising series by Susan Cooper.

I’d like to start reading books to him that are a little more thought-provoking. I think we’re going to read Animal Farm by George Orwell next, and then maybe To Kill a Mockingbird.

Can anyone else recommend any good literature to read with a child? Nothing too frightening, but something that provokes discussion about weightier matters as we read it.

I think discussing books with your son is wonderful, but are you just reading to him? Or is he reading books as well?

At age nine I was doing all of my own reading, though I wasn’t discussing books with my parents much. That came much, much later, when I was reading more adult fare.

I think a shift to a more “book club” approach might be fun. You can read the books at the same time, yet separately. Then you can get together and talk about them.

Thanks for the idea. I’ll have to try it with my kids.

He’s an avid reader on his own as well. Its amazing how interested kids are in reading when they’re not allowed to watch TV:)

We read together for about a half-hour everynight. Sometimes he reads to me, and other times I read to him. Its been a nice bonding time for both of us since he was very small.

Terry Pratchett’s children’s books are quite good. The Wee Free Men, it’s sequel A Hat Full of Sky and The Amazing Maurice And His Educated Rodents. I’ve only read the first two but enjoyed them quite a bit (I’m 20). The first two deal with a young girl as she learns to be a Witch. Along the way she gets help and protection from a band of drunken little blue men, the Nac Mac Feegle. Pratchett presents and deals with meaningful ideas and situations in rather goofy ways. Plus they’re a good intro into the Discworld series of books!

So many books to read:

Final Exit - Derek Humphries
The Amityville Horror - Jay Anson
The Anarchist’s Cookbook - Anonymous
In Cold Blood - Truman Capote
Sybil - Flora Rheta Schrieber
It - Stephen King
Flowers In The Attic - V.C. Andrews
The true crime books of Ann Rule
The Joy of Painful Sex
How to Roll a John for Fun & Profit

If you haven’t done them already The Hobbit and maybe even The Lord of the Rings are fun. He could probably also handle some Twain or Dickens.

My fifth grade teacher read “The Incredible Journey” to us, and I still remember how much I looked foward to reading time.

In my sister’s class, the teacher read “Homecoming” by Cynthia Voight. It’s a sad story (mother goes bonkers and abandons her kids) but it’s a good one too.

My mother always told us stories that she had made up. No offense to the children’s authors out there, but my mother’s stories were the best because they were so crazy. Since my sister and I were doing our own reading, it wasn’t a big deal to get “read to” (especially at nine and ten-years-old). My mother’s stories were as entertaining and educational as any “real” story, but better because there was a limitless supply of them. I don’t think she ever read us a single book.

I recommend “Summer of the Monkeys”, I think by Wilson Rawls. It’s about a young boy in the 1800’s who spends his summer capturing escaped circus monkeys in his Ozark family farm’s woods. There are a lot of nice themes throughout the book and although I have never read it (it was an out loud book by a teacher) I remember it well and fondly.

I would highly recommend the works of Katherine Paterson. One of the best known is The Bridge to Terabithia, a moving story of being different, a friendship, and death. However all of her books (at least all that I have read) are marvelous, and often incorporate themes that could lead to a good discussion.

Although often somewhat sanitized when written for a younger reader, biographies are also a great way to lead into discussions–Jackie Robinson, Rosa Parks, Jesse Owens, Eleanor of Aquitaine, Susan B. Anthony, Sojouner Truth, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Clarence Darrow, Cesar Chavez, Joe Hill–the list is endless.

Another source for discussion starters would be looking at the mythology and folk tales of various cultures. I don’t have a name off the top of my head, but I remember one book (may be a lower reading level) that had several creation myths in it. There are any number of fine books re-telling the major myths of different cultures, though, so if it interested the two of you, you shouldn’t have problems finding them.

And just for fun, if he likes fantasy, the David Eddings books (esp. The Belgarion) are suitable for his age level. The basic “journey to discover who you are” story, it has some fighting, but nothing too gory, a little romance, and enough action to move the story along without sacrificing character development. Not as good a Lloyd Alexander (but similar to the Book of Three series), or Susan Cooper, but much better written than anything by Terry Brooks.

CS Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia if he likes fantasy
Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game for a sci-fi setting but real-life issues; is also is about super-smart kids who are expected to save the world, taken advantage of by all the adults around them. Very interesting
TH White’s The Once and Future King if he likes Arthurian stuff after finishing the Susan Cooper series
Chris Crutcher’s Staying Fat for Sarah Burns, another issue book. Very, very well-written
Wilson Rawls’ Summer of the Monkeys. A teacher in 7th grade read this out loud to us, but I think it could be appropriate for a 9-year-old.
What about Tom Sawyer or Huckleberry Finn? I suppose it really depends on how mature your son is and what kinds of issues you’re willing to tackle while you read together.

I’m glad you read to him. I fully intend on doing the same thing when I have kids.

Lady Chatterley’s Lover - D.H. Lawrence
Mayflower Madam - Sydney Biddle Barrows
Death and Dying - Elizabeth Kubler Ross
The Kinsey Report - Alfred Kinsey
Magick Without Tears - Alister Crowley
American Psycho - Bret Easton Ellis
The Grifters - Jim Thompson
The Satanic Bible - Anton LaVey
Good Omens - Neil Gaiman and Terry Prachett
Postcards from the Edge - Carrie Fisher

Nothing like running a bad joke right down into the ground is there, eh, Mockingbird?

They’re a little dated, but my kids both loved Edgar Eager’s books at that age
Half Magic, The Time Garden, Knight’s Castle & Magic by the Lake
Danny, Champion of the World
The Great Brain (all of them)
Wrinkle in Time .
If he’s more advanced, you might try the Artemis Fowl series; jr. spy stuff, my boy ate it up. Also The Thief of Always by Clive Barker which was surprisingly age appropriate (I’ve read his adult stuff shudder). Same with Stephen King’s Eyes of the Dragon.

Bad joke?


I guess some of us care more about having a well rounded child than others.


Cool, thanks. Our twins get no TV as well. This is, however, easier to enforce at age 20 months. :smiley:

I’ll just sit back and watch the recommendations roll in, in that case.

One thing I found at that age was that books and magazines about activities I liked doing were very interesting. Around age ten I got a very good book about fresh and saltwater fishing for my birthday, right at a time when I was doing lots of fishing with my grandfather. I read that particular book quickly, and then reread it several times.

Right in the OP she says she’s going to read the kid How to Kill a Mockingbird. I’m not surprised **Mockingbird ** has other suggestions!

I never miss a chance to recommend the Lemony Snicket books. My seven and twelve year old are devoted to them.

I’d recommend anything by Garth Nix, though Amazon lists some of them as 12 and up, so you might want to take a peek at the library before giving it to a nine year old. (Personally, I was reading far more adult fare much younger, but everyone has different standards. Nix is nothing bad or very gruesome, just kind of scary.)

Also, anything (aside from her one adult book) by Diana Wynne Jones, especially if he enjoys Harry Potter.

Both authors are excellent writers, and create unique, fascinating, and detailed fantasy worlds. I still count the two books listed above as some of my favorite novels.

good choice.

I’ve been looking up a kids version of the story of Shacketon’s Voyage, but without any luck. It would be perfect. It’s got adventure, danger, survival, human ingenuity and best of all no one dies. Being set in Antartica it’s far enough away not to be too scary, but still be exciting.

Endurance by Alfred Lansing is excellent, but the vocabulary might be a bit advanced for a nine year old. It’s a page-turner from beginning to end.

Maybe in a couple of years?

Nine isn’t too old to read to kids, of course, but he’s approaching the age where he ought to be reading on his own. Do you ever read half a chapter to him, then let him finish on his own if he want to?

I advise pushing the envelope, as well. If Narnia doesn’t interest him, how about the first book of the Space Trilogy? My dad read that one to me when I was way too young for it, and it instilled a lifetime desire to expand my horizons and reading abilities.

The best method to encourage child reading, in my experience, is to set an ABSOLUTE lights-out policy, then ignore the light you see under the door. :slight_smile: