I have an 8 year old grandson (2nd grade) in a Catholic school. Sorry to say, he spends all to much time watching TV. (I know, parents are asleep at the switch). For Christmas this year I would like to give him a set of story books focused on themes of virtue or moral goodness. Not necessarily specifically “Catholic” though that would be all the better. Though I have never read them, my dad used to talk about the Hardy Boy books that he read a a kid. This is kind of what I have in mind. Any suggestions will be most appreciated.
I’d say the Narnia books but they are very much tied to an English outlook. But they are well written and insightful books. If he was somewhat older I’d recommend Tolkien, I read him at that age but I was a voracious reader from age 4 or so and if you are trying to correct the over-exposure to mr.gogglebox that might be a bit heavy at first. There’s quite a lot of classic American children’s literature out there as well of course. Kipling is also a good read for kids, his Just so stories and Jungle Books are fairly involving.
I don’t recommend Rowling, but that’s got nothin to do with her use of magic. I’m just a literary snob and think her works are not all that great or well written. I’d recommend certain comic book authors over her by far in fact.
Harry Potter is not for a 2nd grader IMO anyway… And I guess I’m NOT a literary snob, I’m a food snob…So whereas people will eat things I can’t even imagine, I LOVE Harry Potter… But the violence is a lot… and the final books extremely emotional. Too much for a little guy. Because you do mourne the loss of certain characters.
I know my DH started reading the Lord of the Rings in the 3rd Grade… and read them and re-read them. He’s was also big into Greek Mythology. Which really prepared him for some lit classes in highschool.
Also, what about book clubs that send him a new book every month. I LOVED getting subscriptions as a kid. A subscription to national geographic … they have one for ages 6-14.
Okay - so you have 2 goals in mind… first to encourage a love for reading, and second to add some positive influence in his life (themes of virtue and moral goodness)…
You may be better off trying to address those two ideas separately… I also have a 2nd grader and I just can’t think of anything off the top of my head that would accomplish everying you have in mind in one “box sex”…
But, I do have a few ideas…
Here are some good books “series” that are appropriate for a 2nd grader (at least according to our Accelerated Reader List that we are working on with my son):
The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne
Nate the Great series by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
Amelia Bedelia series by Peggy Parish
Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park
Scholastic usually has really good deals on “box sets”, so look into that!
As for addressing good virtue/moral stories… consider looking at a Catholic bookstore and finding some appropriate books on saints. Maybe send corresponding prayer cards and medals and such that could inspire more of a prayer life… and encourage Mass attendance especially and he (presumably) prepares for his Sacraments (my son is receiving First Reconciliation this fall and First Holy Eucharist this coming spring)… or a rosary and a how-to prayer booklet… just some ideas…
HTH a little!
You could get him story books of the Saints the St. Joseph picture books are really nice.
The Little Apostle on Crutches by Henriette Delmare
The Father Brown Reader by G.K Chesterton ( my daughters really enjoyed these as they are mysteries)
Detectives in Togas and Roman Randsom by Henry Winterfield ( these are more of a good story for you to read to him as the reading level is much to high for him to read alone). But these two books are the BEST we have read in a long time. Even I couldn’t wait to see what happened next
my boys loved hardy boys
they all loved the little house books.
and the Redwall series was a sooooper fav in ur house. our good-readers could do the at 8. the rest of our kids could manage them at about age 11. but everybody loved them lots!!!
Agree, agree, agree! Well, except for the part about the Narnia series being very much tied to an English outlook I think that part of the appeal of these books lies in their universality.
Like JC, I read Tolkien early, and I’ve also been a voracious reader since age 4, so take that into account. (JC, are you my long-lost twin, perhaps? ;)) If your grandson was an early reader like us, or is reasonably advanced now, then I think he’d do fine with Tolkien. If he’s used to lighter fare, then it might be wise to hold back on Tolkien for a couple more years.
If you’re going to get a set of Tolkien, try to find one which includes both Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. I think The Silmarillion is a bit too advanced for that age.
One piece of advice, if I may? When choosing, please try to keep his own personal tastes in mind, especially if you’re buying an entire set or series. Someone gave me several Nancy Drew books (female equivalent of The Hardy Boys) around that age, and they bored me to tears. I’ve just never cared for the mystery genre. If you want to broaden his horizons by introducing him to new things (i.e., subjects/genre in which he doesn’t currently demonstrate interest), then I’d recommend trying it one book at a time, not an entire set.
Ok, stepping down from soapbox Best of luck in your search, and THANK YOU for helping to develop your grandson’s interest in reading, as opposed to television!
W.B. White’s books (Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, Trumpeter Swan come in a box set).
Hardy Boys, Encyclopedia Brown, and The Box Car Children are all good books for that age group.
Little House on the Prairie was a favorite of mine, (though I am not sure how much boys get in to it).
Anne of Green Gables was also really good, though again usually more interesting to girls and might be a little advanced for an 8 year old.
Oh yeah, I used to love those. Are there any newer versions of the Hardy Boys? I know I used to read the Nancy Drew books and the newer books (not sure how much newer they were, but there were not part of the original sets we had) were not as good as the older ones, they introduced more romantic stuff than needed (from what I remember, I think it may have been some of the Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys combo newer books).
I second the Box Car Children and Magic Tree House suggestions! The Box Car Children would be especially good for a 2nd grader because I think the reading level is a a little lower than with the Magic Tree House. You might also try walking into the children’s section of a book store and just seeing what kind of series are available.
I think Little House in the Big Woods would be more interesting to boys than to most girls. There are lots of descriptions of how to make lead bullets and other practical things, like making maple syrup, that were done back then. Our boys thought these were very interesting.
A couple of others from my youth I greatly enjoyed.
The Wizard of Earthsea series by Ursual Le Guin.
Huckleberry Finn. Especially as it teaches the lesson that there are laws beyond the laws of the state which are at times more true.
Five Children and It by Edith Nisbet and indeed most of her books.
20,000 Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne. Also the follow up which reveals who Nemo is although I read that in my late teens.
The Ship that Sang by Anne McCafferey.
The High Deeds of Finn MacCool by Rosemary Sutcfliffe - but that’s a book only a child from an Irish family might enjoy I think really.Although then again myth has an universal power to it.
The Dark is Rising Sequence by Susan Cooper. Scary, epic, thought-provoking.
Oscar Wilde’s fairytales - which of course can be read at all sorts of levels.
Down The Long Wind by Gillian Bradshaw. This is out of print now and I have to say really it’s for much older teens. But it’s a take on the Arthurian legends. Apart from TH White’s The Once and Future King I’d say it’s about the best (if by neccesity) tragic versions of the
story by a modern author.
I also enjoyed a huge amount of American comic books as a child but I am aware they may not be seen as literature. Also today’s comic books are rather different in tone and sadly don’t seem to be catering to kids but 30 plus fanboy types.
I’m probably a bad person though to copy from as since I read so much I normally was allowed to read pretty much what I wanted. Especially as I never had much of a taste for dirty mags or anything and since I grew up in a fairly rough area my parents were happy to see me reading rather than hanging on about street corners. Also (and this is going to sound insulting but isn’t meant to!) my parents lacked a lot of formal education. My mother had some due to training to be a nurse but both of them left school at very early ages and only one of my grandparents who was alive could read. Quick point for kids in situations like this who are cocky enough like me when young to think they are smarter than their parents, bear in mind character is more important ultimately than intelligence.
I apologize for taking so long to acknowledge all the very informative and helpful responses that were offered. I was looking for a email to let me know that responses had been posted which [the email] I never received. I just discovered the treasure trove of great ideas when I entered the Forum directly.
Thank you one and all for your suggestions, all very thoughtful with valuable and useful information. God bless all.
I second the Earthsea series and the Dark is Rising Sequence - although if he isn’t a reader the former might be a bit difficult.
Also, the Wrinkle in Time books might appeal.
A slightly less challenging set would be the Jacob Two-Two books, the first is Jacob Two Two Meets the Hooded Fang.
Also he might enjoy The Twits. They are not good role models of course, they are more anti-models, but little boys are likely to be delighted by how horrible they are and how fitting their end is.
I’m personally not a huge fan of the Hardy Boys.