My secondborn, E, will be 7 in May. She's in her second year of school (Grade 1, where we live, in Victoria).
E is a bright spark in most areas, but one area she's particularly proficient at is reading. She is well out of the reading "levels" used in schools, and has been reading self-selected books since term 3 last year.
She likes and has read a wide range of books in the past year, including (but not at all limited to):
- Everything ever written by Roald Dahl. (Both my kid kids are Dahl devotees).
- Classic like The Secret Garden, Charlotte's Web, and Treasure Island.
- Most Enid Blyton titles (including the Famous Five) and many Trixie Belden books
- Several assorted series on ponies & horse-riding (I can't, I'll admit, recall all the titles / authors - horsey books all tend to bleed into one for me)
- The Go Girls, Magic Ballerina, and Little Princesses series.
- The Narnia books (I read them aloud once and then both big kids re-read them to themselves)
- A series of books on Australian girls at different periods in history, Our Australian Girl (these are actually really good, both 8yo A and 6yo E have really enjoyed them and I find them well-written and engaging)
- The Olivia Stage School books by Lynn Gardner
There are many others, but they are all somewhat blurred together for me now.
The problem I'm having now is that E can read just about anything in terms of language complexity (she might struggle with, say, Derrida or Joyce, but then who doesn't). She gets impatient with what she calls "baby" language or "too easy talking." She's not happy with storylines that are too linear or simplistic, or ones that feature a lot of repetition. (Hence her total disinterest in revisiting the Rainbow Magic books of her early-reading days).
Nonetheless, she's still a little girl, and she's not ready for - or interested in - books with adult or teenage themes, plots or issues. She wants a story for a little girl, that's exciting and fun and satisfying, written in "proper" (ie complex) language, with good characters.
So far, I've suggested mostly older / more classic titles to her; she's just finishing Arabian Nights, for instance, and we have a version of the the tales of King Arthur that she wants to read next. I've dug out my old copies of Heidi, The Little White Horse, the Silver Brumby books and The Chalet School books for her to try in coming months.
What I'm wondering, though, is if anyone has any great suggestions for books that are thematically appropriate, well written and fun for a girl who's 6 going on 7, but reads like a 10-11 year old good reader (according to her testing)? (I'm also catering to an 8 year old who reads like an 11 year old, but she tends to hunt for her own stuff a bit more, I've found). Ideas I've had given to me already, that I'm following up, include:
- the Babysitter Club books
- the Ramona books
- some of Judy Blume's titles
- Pippi Longstocking
- the Betsy Tacy books
- Anne of Green Gables (although, rather to my disappointment, my eldest A didn't really take much to Anne when she sampled it recently)
I'd be very interested in any ideas!