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Great novels for young readers

News day / Studies prove that students who read during the “summer” holidays arrive back at school about four months ahead of their peers.

Students who don’t read actually regress in terms of the skills they built the previous school year so reading is important. Reading sharpens the mind, but it also provides a way for children to relax in our fast-paced, computerised world.

The Winter Horses by Philip Kerr – Another World War II story, The Winter Horses, presents the story of a Jewish girl who tries to escape from the Nazis after she loses her family. Set in the Ukraine, this story of a brave little girl Kalinka and her quest to save the wild Przewalski’s horses from the Nazis is another exciting read that is historical fiction. It too provides many opportunities for research. Young readers will want to find out where the Ukraine is and they will be curious about these horses that the Nazis wanted to exterminate. Any reader from 12 to adulthood will enjoy this novel.

All the Answers by Kate Messner – Chances are young readers will want to read every book by Kate Messner they can get their hands on once they read this novel about a girl who finds a pencil that will give her answers. This is an important book about formulating questions and thinking about how much information you would really want to know in difficult situations.

Ava finds that the pencil will only answer certain types of questions so children learn about different types of questions. This book is a mystery as well and that makes it an exciting read for children eight to 14.

Trouble Maker by Andrew Clements – Once again, young readers will want to read all of Clements’ books once they have read this novel. Clements really understands what young readers want: action-packed, thought provoking novels. In this novel, Clayton thinks it is cool to misbehave and even disrespect teachers. But when his big brother comes him from jail and tells him he has to stop, Clayton finds it is not so easy to redeem the reputation that you earn. Once again, mystery and action combine to make this an exciting read. Consider this a book that will help your child to determine the importance of being respectful, parents, and you won’t have to lecture them in the process. Young readers from seven to 14 will enjoy this novel.

Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart – Gemeinhart is my favourite elementary/YA writer at the moment. His work is very edgy. He plays with form and structure and his novels read like nothing else on the market right now. Some Kind of Courage isn’t really a cowboy novel, although it conjures up images of that genre. This is the story of a boy living in eastern Washington who pursues the men who stole his horse. The Honest Truth might not suit elementary students, because it deals with a boy decides he cannot fight his cancer any more.

This might be too much for young readers to take, but his latest book Scar Island – a reform school, is a riveting read.

The four books mentioned above can be enjoyed by children from ten to 14. They are high interest/ low reading level, Hi/Lo readers that even adults will enjoy reading.

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