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