Ukranian teenager reads English at eighth-grade level...
August 10, 2014 8:35 AM   Subscribe

A friend of mine is looking for suggestions for novels to give to a Ukrainian fellow who is sixteen and who reads English at a seventh- or eighth-grade level. In his native languages he reads well and enjoys adventure and the like. Suggestions of what might float his boat will be much appreciated.
posted by mr. digits to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The Hunger Games books -- good adventure story, language not too difficult.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:57 AM on August 10, 2014

They are 'old', but he might like the Jack London novels (Call of the Wild; White Fang, etc). Also, I recently read 'Black Beauty' for the first time (I'm 51), and it might be interesting for him as it's told from the horses' perspective, and the horse goes through many a change in circumstance.
posted by PlantGoddess at 8:57 AM on August 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Another old series: the Hornblower books. Ripping good yarns, great writing, but not too complicated. Start with Midshipman Hornblower.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:21 AM on August 10, 2014

My go-to, especially since he's got everything from YA through adult and cross-generational appeal: Terry Pratchett.
posted by straw at 9:57 AM on August 10, 2014

Gary Paulsen, especially Hatchet.
posted by themanwho at 10:11 AM on August 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Does he like Harry Potter? If so, Harry Potter. During my exchange year in Germany (when I was around his age), I read the series in German and it really helped me to read something I was familiar with and enjoyed, but in a different language.

He might also like the Diane Duane So You Want to Be A Wizard series.
posted by naturalog at 10:12 AM on August 10, 2014 [2 favorites]

I tutored a teen in France who had similar reading levels in English and we had a blast reading Sherlock Holmes together. I had to explain a few of the more archaic terms, but the length of the stories and the appeal of the mystery were perfect.
posted by chatongriffes at 10:16 AM on August 10, 2014

The classics aren't a bad idea either. Barnes and Noble carries editions that are edited with the younger/modern reader in mind. Pick up The Three Musketeers or Robin Hood. Ask a bookseller there for help finding them.

(Full disclosure: former B&N bookseller.)
posted by themanwho at 10:22 AM on August 10, 2014

I think the Dark Is Rising series would make a good set of books to read.

Another series I enjoyed that I think would work for a 7th to 8th grade reading level is The Chronicles of Prydain.

I love Pratchett, but I'm afraid that the regular Discworld series would have too many cultural reference-based jokes to be appropriate for a learning reader. The Tiffany Aching series might work out though.
posted by that girl at 10:38 AM on August 10, 2014

Diana Wynne Jones! The language is young adult; the material is fun for anyone. I particularly love the Crestomanci books.
posted by hought20 at 12:26 PM on August 10, 2014

Maybe the Book of Ember series?
Also The Giver and The Outsiders
posted by rideunicorns at 1:57 PM on August 10, 2014

Anything by John Green, but particularly Looking for Alaska.
posted by guster4lovers at 11:38 PM on August 10, 2014 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks for the help, everyone!
posted by mr. digits at 11:47 AM on August 12, 2014

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