We miss the library. A lot.
While some folks were panic buying toilet paper, I only just bought a small package last week. What I’ve been panic buying is BOOKS. If my son yells to me from the toilet that we’re out of TP, we’ve got loads of soft flannel wipes for that. But if my son yells to me from his bedroom that he’s out of books? Well, then I’m in trouble.
Yes, there are e-books that we could buy. But at close to $20 a pop and my son reading most titles in a few hours … it’s just not going to happen. There are also e-books we can get at the library, and slowly but surely we are moving up the very long holds list.
We’ve been getting our books mainly from Facebook swap & shop groups (no contact porch pick up!) and most recently discovered a local second-hand book store that was taking phone orders. (Shout out to Fairs Fair books in Inglewood who found me some Big Nate and How to Train Your Dragon titles for my son and dropped them in the passenger seat of my van for me. We’ve now had a chance to visit in person, and it’s a book-lover’s paradise!)
Since our last post about my son’s favourite series, he’s had plenty of time to discover a few more. I hope the public library can find a safe way to open, because even buying second-hand, my son’s book habit is getting expensive!
If you are shopping for new books online, if you order from Indigo or Amazon, I receive a small commission. (But I am a big proponent of second-hand book shopping when possible!)
Big Nate has a series of comic-strip books and a novel series. The comic strip collections are akin to reading a Garfield tome, and Big Nate comic strips have appeared in newspapers since 1991. (My son has likely never even seen a newspaper comic strip in his life …) The Big Nate novel series, which also features illustrations and short comic strips within its pages, is inspired by the comic strip characters. There are eight novels in the series, and you do not have to read them in order. (Reading books in order is very important to Cub and to me, but since we like to buy books second-hand, it’s been helpful that each book in this series stands alone.)
My son likes the Big Nate series because it’s funny. (I can attest that he is often laughing hysterically while reading both the novels and the comic strips.) According to Cub, Nate is funny and “he’s not that good at school. He gets detention all the time. He has friends that are a lot better than him, but they’re not better than Gina who kind of bullies Nate around.” An example of something he found hilarious in a Big Nate book was “the time when he opened a lemonade stand and his friend Francis comes to take a drink of lemonade then he says it tastes like water then Nate says to look at the bottom of the sign then the sign says no lemons were harmed in the making of the product. Then Nate says it’s guilt-free.”
In French, the series is just called “Nate.”
Diary of an Awesome Friendly Kid
This is the first book in a new series by Diary of a Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney. There is a second one in the works, set to be released in August. (You can pre-order it already!)
According to Cub, “It’s like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and the main character is Greg’s friend Rowley. It’s also funny!”
The French translation of this title (which is the one we own) is Journal d’un copain formidable.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Cub also likes this series because it’s funny. (Again, this series makes him laugh out loud, and he will recount scenarios from it in fits of uncontrollable giggles.) I know this series is very popular, and has been for quite a while, but he hadn’t initially been interested when I suggested it. (Let’s face it, it’s probably because I suggested it.)
Says Cub: “The main character is Greg Heffley and one of my favourite parts of one of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books is in the one that’s called The Meltdown where they have a giant snowball fight. Greg’s team is on the uphill side of kids and the enemy’s team is on the downside.” Cub will often reference plot points from this series, like how the younger brother has an imaginary friend and he uses him as an excuse to get more cookies. I’ve also noticed that he’ll re-read books from this series, which I appreciate given how quickly he motors through them.
In French, the series is called Journal d’un dégonflé. He’s read one installment of the series in French, and now it’s annoying me that we have the entire series in English except for that title which is in French and on my e-reader. (First world problems at their finest.)
Video Game Adventure
Near the beginning of lockdown, I bought a massive box of books for $20 from someone clearly doing a quarantine-inspired Marie Kondo number on their children’s bookshelves. Book two from this series was in the box, and anything that’s described as an “unofficial Minecraft story” is a must-read for Cub, so we tracked down books one and three. He has so far read the first one, but it’s a much denser read than what he’s used to, so it took him a long time.
“It’s more advanced, it took me like 5 weeks or maybe even 10 to finish. It’s another good book for people who like Minecraft. The main character which is Dan, his worst class in school is geography, but I can’t really tell if he’s IN the game or if he’s playing it because sometimes he can feel what he’s feeling in the game, so I don’t really know.”
In French, this series is called Les Chroniques d’Elementia.
Frigiel et Fluffy
Video Game Adventure
This series seems to only be available in French right now, so hopefully it will eventually be translated. I’m sure that the plethora of Minecraft-inspired books already available in English don’t help the case for hiring a translator, mind you. The author of this series, Nicolas Digard, is also a YouTuber with nearly two million followers (because of course he is), and Cub has really gotten into watching his videos. And guess what … as far as I’m concerned, it’s downright educational to get some more French into his ears since he’s not at school all day in French anymore.
Says Cub: “It’s a good book for people who like French and for people who like Minecraft. Fluffy is Frigiel’s pet dog and Frigiel is like the hero of the story. The characters literally live in Minecraft, it’s not like they’re playing it.”
How to Train Your Dragon
My husband and son really enjoyed watching the movies and Netflix series together, so I figured the books that started it all would be a good choice for Cub. While he is not as passionate about this series as Big Nate and Wimpy Kid, he does definitely enjoy them.
Says Cub: “You don’t need to read these ones in order. It’s not completely like the movies. It’s about Hiccup who in the first book gets his dragon then kills the giant sea dragon. It’s adventure and it’s funny.”
The series is called Harold et les dragons in French.
Mac B. Kid Spy
I found this series for Cub in the French translation first. They caught my eye because Mac Barnett is behind some of our favourite picture books. (Circle, Square and Triangle, plus Sam and Dave Dig a Hole … all of which we read in their French translations.)
“Mac B. is a detective who solves cases for Queen Elizabeth, like the robbery of the Crown Jewels.” Somehow his reading this series led to a discussion of how Queen Elizabeth really exists and really does love corgis.
Cub has only read this series in French. It’s called Mac B. Espion.
The Terrible Two
Before Cub was really reading novels independently, we downloaded the audio version of the first book in this series for him to listen to on his old-school iPod touch using the Libby app. (It’s a great app if your local library is on it!) We happened to stumble upon a paper copy of the book on our next trip to the library, so suddenly we had a book-on-tape kind of situation where he could read along with the audio. (Although, minus that delightful chime to turn the page that I remember from reading books-on-tape as a kid!) I only noticed that the author of this series is the same as Mac B. Kid Spy when we found the second title in the series at our local second-hand bookstore.
Says Cub: “It’s about two kids and in the first book one of the kids is a really nice one and the other one is a prankster. Somebody did a prank and drove the principal’s car in front of the school door, and the principal thought it was the prankster who did it, but further in the story you see that it was actually the nice kid that did it. The nice kid was actually a secret prankster. Then they team up to do pranks.”
In French the series is called Les Deux Terribles
We picked up Timmy Failure because it had the endorsement of Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney on the cover. The first two books in the series were devoured in a day and a half.
“It’s about a detective whose name is Timmy and his polar bear, Total. The polar bear came from the Arctic and walked all the way to Timmy’s house and ate the food in the cat dish. Timmy says that he no longer has a cat and he’s in kitty heaven but no he should actually be in kitty badlands because he never was a good cat. Most of the mysteries he solves are things that are lost or stolen. Kids who like funny books would like this book.”
In French the series is called Timmy Lalouse
Got any suggestions for my voracious reader? We welcome them!
Love our recommendations? Follow us on Instagram!