Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer Novels fun for young kids?

I like to read my oldest son novels, and we really enjoy the time together. While he is 7, and can read well himself, we enjoy book time.

I am currently reading Percy Jackson to him, but I am thinking of my next books.

I wondered, why not read him some classics? Tom Sawyer was fun, if I recall. Not as literary as its cousin novel, Huckleberry Finn, but still a worthy offering.

I think he needs to be older before visiting Huck, but what about TS? And more specifically, what about the subsequent TS books like TS: Abroad or TS: Detective?

I’m torn as to whether or not to recommend it for a 7 year old. I first read it at 10, and almost caught on. I read it at about 12 and so did a dear friend of mine, and we were both entranced. I think that if you want it for an amusing read, it would work just fine for a 7 year old. If you want it for a coming of age novel, wait till he is 12, more or less.


I agree with handsomeharry if the kid is reading on his own. But if this is something you’re reading to him (so you can explain difficult phrases, historical situations, etc) then I think a bright 7-year old would enjoy it a lot.

Thanks for the advice. He might be closer to eight by the time we finish a few books in our queue, but I have not read the later TS books and kind of had ulterior motives.

I had it read to me in third grade and got it fine, but when I reread it on my own three or four years later I realized that dear Mrs. Begley had left out a few phrases and words here and there. You might have to do the same.

Sir Rhosis

My daughter picked it up and read herself when she was about 8 and she liked it. She’s re-read it a couple of times since, so I guess it was a success with her.

You might try the Jumping Frog story and see how it goes over first, then you’ll have a better idea of how he’ll take TS.

It doesn’t matter what you read to kids, they just like the whole experience.

When I was psych nursing I worked on the disturbed children ward (kids who were referred from the courts because they thought they were crazy). I was reading Bram Stoker’s Dracula at the time and one of the kids asked me to read it while they were going to sleep. So I did. And it it’s a pretty crappy book by modern standards but the kids loved it. We read it for weeks.

I read this when I was very young–not sure what age, but I was a very early reader and Tom Sawyer must have been the first “real” book I ever read. Loved it. The part with Tom and Becky in the cave was scary as all hell.

Oh, I forgot the later Tom Sawyer books. IIRC, they should be pretty simple reads for 7 or 8 year olds.


And, IIRC, they learned how to make goulash from it!

The beauty part of an author being paid by the word is that Stoker’s publisher wasn’t too concerned what words he used. :smiley:

Tom Sawyer’s all well and good, especially if you give him the background history that goes with it.

What about the original Hardy Boys books?

There’s a lot you’ll have to explain, especially so that he doesn’t go around calling people niggers. At 7 years old it will be quite difficult for him to understand the context of some of the situations, and there’s some seriously adult themes in the book, especially the Injun Joe conflict. I don’t know how mature your 7 year old is, but I couldn’t have appreciated that book when I was 7.

My teacher read it to us when I was nine and I just loved it. I would give him another year since you will be able to answer any questions he has.

Good for you for reading to your son! That made a big difference in my life.

Others have covered “Tom Sawyer” and “Huckleberry Finn,” so I’ll just briefly address “Abroad” and “Detective.” It’s been 30 years or more since I read them, but I remember them as silly yarns – nothing particularly offensive or deep.

I mean, c’mon! Tom Sawyer flying over the Sahara in a balloon is not exactly the great American novel.

They would probably be more appropriate than “Huckleberry Finn” for a child of 7 or 8.