My 7-year-old loves to read so much that he sings songs about how much he loves reading.
When I send him upstairs to get dressed for school, I’ll often find him in his room, with one leg in a pair of pants and his nose in a book. I have to harp on him to close his book and go to sleep at night, which I will admit is an OK problem to have.
Some books are even good enough that he forgets how much he wants to play Roblox, or Minecraft or Totally Accurate Battle Simulator … or watch someone else play the aforementioned games on YouTube.
I know that parents often wonder how to get their youngsters off of screens and into books, and I wish I could offer some concrete suggestions. I think some kids just have an innate love of reading, and maybe he inherited it from me! I loved to read at his age, and I still enjoy reading (but I am ashamed to admit how often I get sidetracked from a good book by scrolling my Facebook feed). We’ve always read together at bedtime in English and French, and how he learned to read on his own is honestly a blur. I was so distracted by his newborn twin brothers while he was in kindergarten and Grade 1 that I blinked and suddenly he could read in French … and then it just kind of clicked in English.
Reading independently started for my son in Grade 2, and it started with the series Maitres des dragons (Dragon Masters), which he really devoured. Since then it has been a constant race to keep up with his appetite for books, as he will read for at least an hour every night before bed, and he reads quickly. Based on what he can tell me about what he reads, his comprehension is good. He will stop and ask me for definitions of words every so often.
He enjoys books in English and French, and sometimes depending on what we can get our hands on, he’ll read books from the same series in whichever language is available first at the library. I tend to be the one picking his books because when I bring him to the library, he will make a beeline for one book and plop down to read it instead of searching for a stash of books to sustain him for the week. I pick a lot of his books from the cover alone, or from great suggestions from Facebook fans based on books I’ve said he’s enjoyed. He’s a tough critic though: I’ve definitely brought home ones that have been met with a thumbs down.
He loves mysteries, especially books that, give the reader an active part in solving the mystery. (We enjoyed reading my old Encyclopedia Brown novels!) He loves graphic novels (which I cannot stand … I never know where to focus my attention or what bubble to read first), and books that are a blend of text and graphic novel. He doesn’t like books that are just text at this point, but books that mix up whimsical font and silly drawings, “choose your own adventure”-style premises and page flipping to create little animations are a big hit. Most especially, if a book makes him laugh, it’s a definite winner, and we’ve found a few for him that leave him in fits of hysterical giggles that I have mistaken for crying. Sometimes he’ll try to explain what’s so funny, but usually I do not get it!
He really loves video games (obviously) and mythology, but he’s not really into team sports, so stories about sports teams don’t pique his interest. Science fiction and fantasy seem to be his jam, as well as stories about epic battles with semi-historical, semi-magical settings. He loves animal stories too. He also loves things that are downright silly, with poop and fart jokes figuring high on his list of favourite jokes.
So, all that being said, if you’ve got an avid reader with similar interests, hopefully you’ll find something on this list for them to devour!
If the titles are available in both languages, I’ve listed both. The summaries have been provided more or less verbatim by my 7-year-old. You will find much more detailed summaries if you check out each title on Goodreads!
“Jean basically becomes an agent and he goes on missions and it’s pretty funny.”
There are a bazillion books in this series, and I gave my son Season 1, books 1-5 for Christmas. He reads these in French (which, unlike most other titles on this list, is the original language) and he blasts through them. They seem to crack him up!
“It’s about a baby who for some reason a crazy nurse accidentally threw the baby out of the window and he landed in some super power juice and then he drank it and he came out with super powers.”
This series is unsurprisingly by the same guy behind Captain Underpants and Dog Man toilet humour.
“It’s about a girl whose dad died so she and her mom and her brother go live in their great-grandfather’s mansion and she finds an amulet. There’s a creature in the house and it takes the mom, so the kids have to go find her.”
We stumbled randomly upon this series when my son grabbed it off the shelf at the library and brought it home. My husband thought it looked great, so they started reading it together. (They read the series in its French translation.) They were so into it that they were heading up for bedtime early to keep reading, and they’re eagerly awaiting the ninth instalment.
“A couple of bad animals started doing good things but they usually would turn out to be bad things. I know it’s funny but I don’t remember why.”
My son read this one in French and he zoomed through the entire series really quickly. I’ve had adults tell me it’s hilarious and that they’ve enjoyed reading it with their kids!
“It’s a racoon who tries to follow the tracks of his grandpa (who is still alive) who made a time machine. His grandpa leaves him clues.”
All I know about this one is that its main character is a racoon.
”It’s about a bone creature that gets thrown out of town because his cousin tried to become mayor and he put balloons on the statue of the founder of Boneville and the statue flew away and so they got chased out of Boneville and now they’re lost.”
This series is highly acclaimed and apparently a big deal in the world of graphic novels. I have no idea, but he loved it.
“It’s about robots who do funny things and sometimes they’re dumb and sometimes they’re not.”
Another one I picked based on the cover, and it was a keeper for him.
“Two kids named George and Harold hypnotize their principal and then he turns into Captain Underpants.”
This series is pretty well known and has a Netflix TV show now. I find it annoying, but I am not the target audience.
The Creature in my Closet
“The books are about a kid called Robert and weird creatures come out of his closet, like from different books. When he first got the closet he used it for experiments, and he thinks the things from his experiments jump into books and then combine. Like Dracula and Pinocchio made Pinocula (who lies a lot).”
This series was one I pulled off the shelf and with a quick glance at the cover figured it’d be up his alley. I was right … he loved this series so much! So much giggling as he reads and re-reads these titles.
“A dog and a policeman try to defuse a bomb then they go to the hospital and to save them they cut off the dog’s head and the policeman’s body and then just glue them together and then he became Dog Man.”
This series creeps me out, but I think it’s supposed to.
“It’s about a little boy who works on a farm and gets taken by a knight to become a Dragon Master and he goes on adventures with his dragon and other Dragon Masters and their dragons.”
My son devoured this series and it was the first non-graphic-novel style chapter book that he read independently.
Heroes of Olympus: The Graphic Novels
“It’s more for older kids than me but it’s about different kids who eventually find out that they are the sons of gods.”
I think it’s interesting that he knows this series is a bit above his reading and maturity level, but I think it appeals to him because he loves Greek and Roman mythology.
Junior Braves of the Apocalypse
“It’s made for older kids than me. It’s about a survival group that tries to survive the apocalypse. Spoiler alert: In the first book one kid dies.”
With a dad who loves watching Doomsday Preppers, I figured he’d enjoy this one.
“There are little puzzles to solve and you get to make choices and collect points.”
This book has little score sheets that kids can use as they work through the “game” within the book. I made photocopies of the score sheets since ours were library copies, and he seemed to enjoy the “choose your own adventure” aspect of these stories.
“It’s about a group of heroes that faced an evil sorcerer then he cast a spell on accidentally everyone on the whole entire earth and now the group of heroes are trying to break the curse.”
The English version of this graphic novel series don’t seem readily available, so I think it’s most well known among francophone readers.
“It’s really really funny, about a bad kitty.”
These books seem super simple, probably a bit too easy for him, but he cracks up when he reads them.
“It’s the best book series in the world! It’s about some kids who get to test out inventions of the school scientist and one of the science projects is some sort of VR set for Minecraft.”
He was so into the first book in this series that he told me he absolutely could not put it down. Obviously he is a huge fan of Minecraft, so being able to read about it must be pretty fun!
“It’s about a kid’s big brother who’s a scientist, who got a fish and was going to do experiments with it, but then he killed it, but then the little kid shocked it back to life.”
This one has a cute little flippable animation on the page corners that my son was really impressed with. Of all the books on the list, this one is most “novel” like, with fewer drawings, and longer overall.
“It’s about a creature whose parents get killed and his sister gets kidnapped and he’s kind of trying to rescue his sister. It’s a little bit hard to describe.”
No clue about this one, but he says he liked it!
“It’s about a kid who’s the son of Zeus and he’s really odd because he has no powers.”
Because my son loves Greek mythology and he loves humour, this series seemed perfect for him.
“It’s about a group of people who do codes and stuff.”
My son has taken two sessions of free coding classes at our local library, and I haven’t the faintest clue what he did in those classes but he was always eager to attend. I think the logic puzzles and mystery solving in this series appealed to him.
Interactive Comedy Mystery
“There’s mysteries and codes in every book. And near the end you can guess the suspects.”
Titles in this series had my son laughing so hard I thought he was in medical distress. So I feel like that’s a good sign.
Wings of Fire (Graphic Novel)
“It’s about a dragon and his friends on a quest to fulfil a prophecy I guess. It’s hard to explain without giving spoilers.”
These graphic novels are an adaptation of the eponymous novel series, which I think would be too advanced for him to read. He is on the wait list for the most recent one at the library!
If your kids have enjoyed any of the titles on this list, let me know what other books they’ve loved so I can put them on hold at the library!
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