Friday Fiction: Getting Hooked

If not for Laura Ingalls Wilder and Carolyn Keene, would I have become such an avid reader?  I don’t know.  But my memories of books as a young girl include hours delving into the lives of Laura in the Little House series and Girl Detective in the Nancy Drew series.  It was finding topics I liked and characters I could identify with that opened me up to the worlds that an author’s words create.

Whenever I hear a kid say that he doesn’t like reading, I think, “You just haven’t figured out what you like to read yet!”  Everyone agrees that the key to making a reader out of anybody is finding an author, a topic, or a genre that they enjoy.  If the successes of J.K. Rowling and Stephanie Meyer have proved anything, it’s that kids and teens still enjoy reading if you give them something they like! 

Frankly, this is true with adults as well.  Sometimes, we think a reader is a person who picks up classic literature, current bestsellers, or book club selections. But people who visit bookstores (or download titles onto their ebook reader) might enjoy graphic novels, cookbooks, magazines, online newspapers, self-help books, thrillers, or romances.  The important thing is to get people reading!

We all started somewhere – often with a Dr. Seuss book or an Archie comic in hand.

A few of my own suggestions for getting kids to read these days:

Junie B. Jones by Barbara Park (ages 4-8) – I admit to never having read a single Junie B. Jones book.  But I enjoy this author, and this series comes highly recommended by many of my friends with daughters.

The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne (ages 9-12) – I volunteered in my kids’ school library for two years, and these books were checked out all the time.  They are quick reads, but the author takes children through history in a fun way.

Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker (ages 9-12) – I fell in love with Clementine on page 1.  She’s a spunky elementary girl with excess energy, creative thinking, and a few stories to tell.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney (ages 9-12) – A combination of text and pictures, these books chronicle the life of a wimpy kid whose experiences are easily understood by most children.

The Time Warp Trio series by Jon Scieszka (ages 9-12) – Boys in particular will love the adventures of three time-traveling friends and their humor.  Let’s just say that the first book includes a giant with giant-sized snot.

Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen (ages 9-12) – This is the hilarious tale of a young boy just trying to make a little extra money and finding himself an illustrious entrepreneur.

Piper Reed series by Kimberly Willis Holt (ages 9-12) – Both girls and boys will love this daughter of a Navy officer with two sisters, a dog, and a fresh perspective on childhood.

Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan (ages 9-12) – Greek mythology can seem dull to most kids, until you read Riordan’s retelling of the Greek myths with teens as demigods. Then hold on for the fantastic ride!

Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (ages 9 & up) – Yes, I would still recommend this series to any child who hasn’t read it.  I love how the author weaves the average challenges that all kids face in school with a wizarding world and the fight of good vs. evil.

Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins (ages 12 & up) – Tweens, teens, and adults will find these dystopian books to be page-turners. Collins creates an intriguing world and has us rooting for the main characters from the beginning and throughout.



What books got you reading as a child or an adult?  What books or series would you suggest to non-readers to get them hooked on reading?

7 thoughts on “Friday Fiction: Getting Hooked

  1. My parents read to me a lot. We lived out in the country, and only got one channel on TV. I liked Dr. Seuss when Mom and Dad read it to me. However, I became interested in reading for myself when I discovered Beverly Cleary's Ramona Quimby series. I read all of them multiple times. Thanks for the fun question!

  2. Oh, gosh. I read the Little House books, too! And I adored the Trixie Belden books, even though they were a little dated already (because I'm not old, dang it!) I have such great memories of curling up and falling in love with these characters. Thanks for the trip down memory lane! 🙂

  3. I began reading the Nancy Drew series as an adult about 20 years ago. I love kids' books and really appreciate your post today, Julie. I'm going to get some of these books for me and for my 12-year-old daughter as well!Patti

  4. Argh. Google ate my comment. LOL. Sorry if this posts twice. I got hooked on books when my Dad read us the Dr. Seuss books and Shel Siverstein poems. Later I loved the Ramona books. Then Sweet Valley Twins (and Sweet Valley High later) and The Babysitters Club. My neices (who are 10 and 13 now) loved Junie B Jones. And as an adult I've loved Harry Potter, Percy Jackson and The Hunger Games. All great reads!

  5. One of the earliest books that I fell in love with as a child was "Leo the Lop" and "Muffin Dragon" by Stephen Cosgrove. As I aged, I loved "Little Women" and "Charlotte's Web", but then again, what little girl doesn't? In my tweens I also loved Beverly Cleary, Nancy Drew, the Bobsey Twins, Sweet Valley High, the Babysitters Club, and the Hardy Boys….all of which were series and I could always find one when I needed one. Great post! Now I need to call my mom and ask where all my books are!

  6. Books that hooked me?Le Petite PrinceA lot of the Scholastic Books on history and mythology with cassettes tapes so you could read along.And then Poe.

  7. I also read the Beverly Cleary novels. And Judy Blume, of course. I have no idea who Trixie Belden is. I should find out!I'm not familiar with Leo the Lop or Muffin Dragon either, and I think the Babysitters Club and Sweet Valley series were after my time. :(Great comments, y'all! I love when we can recommend reads to each other – and for our kids too!

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