…but before we get to the winner…
…I want to say thank you to all who entered the drawing by giving me such great suggestions for the Monday List of Five . Truly, there were some challenging topics out there! I am expecting to have fun being a book sleuth in some new directions 🙂
One need that was mentioned a number of times was suggestions for the advanced, voracious readers out there, who at age 10 and 11 roar through books like a house-afire, but who are still at an age where the themes in many upper-level books are too mature for them. I definitely resonate with this need, having faced that myself.
Another need that popped up was books especially appealing to boys. Again, I hear you! I do think it is trickier to find titles for boys, in part due to the curious phenomenon that, at least in my experience, girls are more likely to be interested in books featuring male protagonists and stereotypical male themes — pirates, dogs, sports, etc. — while boys are more likely to be totally uninterested in books centered around female protagonists or stereotypical female themes — princesses, weddings, horses. Thus, girls have about double the options which are palatable. I’m not going to even try to tease out the whys and wherefores of this…but so it seems to me. Most 10 year old boys would not care to try A Little Princess. But many 10 year old girls would be perfectly game to read My Side of the Mountain.
It will take longer for me to read and review the longer-length books that meet these needs, but I’ll keep working at getting more of these titles in. I’ve just begun meeting with a fantastic group of 12-15-year-old guys at their weekly book club and I’ve asked them for suggestions to start with. It was an invigorating discussion!
Meanwhile, one way to discover books that are challenging and well-written, which your child has very likely not yet read, is to look way back in the records of Newbery Honor books and just give them a try.
These are the books which were runners-up in any given year. The Newbery Medal book is almost always available at libraries and booksellers. The Honor books are, sadly, often out of print. If you live in a place with an archival library system, though, you are often able to find some of these. If you are concerned primarily with themes of either emotional or sexual maturity, obviously the older titles (the list dates back to the 1920s) are more likely to suit you. The elements of danger are undimmed by the years, so do not expect an absence of blood in the older titles! We have found quite a lot of older, out-of-print titles that are fantastic reads in our beloved Minneapolis Central Library stacks.
Here’s a link to the complete list of all Newbery Medal Winners and Honor Books.
Just running through the older authors especially worth pursuing with whom you may be unfamiliar…Padraic Colum and Armstrong Sperry have numerous titles boys might especially enjoy; Hilda Von Stockum was a prolific writer who has titles appealing to both girls and boys; and Carol Ryrie Brink — Caddie Woodlawn author — has a number of titles less famous but enjoyable to the 10-year-old crowd.