Good books for 7yo who reads at about a sixth grade level?
May 29, 2019 9:37 AM   Subscribe

Good books for 7yo who reads at about a sixth grade level? The big thing is that there can't be anything "scary." Narnia and Roald Dahl are both out for this reason, unfortunately. Help?
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 to Education (34 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Origami Yoda.
posted by bq at 9:42 AM on May 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Pushcart War, by Jean Merrill - I enjoyed it when I was about that age and reading at about that level, and I also didn't like scary books.
posted by Little Dawn at 9:44 AM on May 29, 2019 [5 favorites]

As a precocious reader I was really into the Alice in Wonderland books, and Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues, and Black Beauty. I'm pretty sure I was into all of them because they all came in one series with red clothbound covers that my parents bought as a set, but anyway they were a good fit! Not sure if they would seem scary or not.
posted by moonmilk at 9:44 AM on May 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

Little House series
Little Women
The American Girl books

In general, I suspect that more books that fit the brief will have female protagonists.
posted by ocherdraco at 9:46 AM on May 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Anne of Green Gables?
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:47 AM on May 29, 2019 [8 favorites]

The Plant that Ate Dirty Socks by Nancy McArthur is hilarious. Enid Blyton, Winnie the Pooh, Louis Sachar, Beezus and Ramona, anything by Jean Little. Ask a librarian for recs.
posted by Enid Lareg at 9:54 AM on May 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

The Enchanted Forest books by Patrica C. Wrede
posted by zeptoweasel at 9:54 AM on May 29, 2019 [4 favorites]

Is non-fiction O.K.? I remember reading a lot of "All About Sharks" and "Snakes of the World" and "Your Pet Dog" type books when I was around that age.
posted by coppertop at 10:04 AM on May 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

Enid Blyton can be pretty scary. We just read the Island of Adventure and I was surprised to find the children being threatened and being taken hostage by criminal adults, etc.

How about Five Children & It by E. Nesbit?
posted by fingersandtoes at 10:05 AM on May 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Emily of New Moon by L.M. Montgomery - at points sad, but no violence.
posted by valoius at 10:08 AM on May 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

I read and re-read The Annotated Alice my entire childhood. I didn't understand the annotations, but I read them until I got old enough to understand them. The Wouldbegoods, too, was engrossing and rewarding and remains so to this day. It has a confusing narrative strategy that it took me several reads and several years to figure out. I enjoyed reading things that were too sophisticated for me but nevertheless engrossing and then marking my growing-up progress with my re-reads that yielded new understandings. Yes, Beverly Cleary. She's hilarious.
posted by Don Pepino at 10:10 AM on May 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Is non-fiction O.K.?

Yup, especially if anyone can recommend any chapter books or nonfiction books that don't have a scary / war / violence element to them.

Thanks, great recommendations so far!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:34 AM on May 29, 2019

I was that kid, and read many of the things being suggested in my first couple of years of reading/elementary school. I leapfrogged from not speaking English in 1st grade straight to Little Women almost immediately, with only a couple of grade-appropriate children's books in between. It was a little weird making sense of the world through the sensibilities of the 19th century (Little Women, Little House On The Prairie, Secret Garden). I was also making sense of America and I remember later in (elementary-school) childhood feeling a little weird about getting my information about the world from such an outdated world view. Not sure what the experience is like for native English speakers, but I ended up finding it a little confusing when I analyzed it later. On the other hand Little House On the Prarie etc got me interested in crafts and skills and curious about the rest of the country.

There are tons of horse stories, dog stories, etc for 6th graders- those have a variety of settings and generally a positive feel-good theme and the artistic conflicts are generally not too scary. Those seem like a good thing for younger readers and might have more modern kids from different lifestyles.
posted by twoplussix at 10:36 AM on May 29, 2019

Bruce Coville is a good choice if not too easy. He does have some scary stories series but those are labeled. I loved the Unicorn series when I was about that age (and a precocious reader). You might look at the Alien series too but they might be too creepy. His short story anthologies are a delight (the Oddly ones).
posted by possibilityleft at 11:15 AM on May 29, 2019

I remember Gordon Korman's books being a lot of fun when I was about that age, particularly the McDonald Hall series and No Coins, Please. They're generally light-hearted and madcap, though note that I can't really speak to anything he wrote after 1993 since that's about when I aged out of his books.
posted by Johnny Assay at 11:59 AM on May 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

I went through the Newberry list at that age.
posted by 8603 at 12:24 PM on May 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

Harriet the spy?
posted by evilmonk at 12:36 PM on May 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

Our Universe, and although out-of-date, it is beautiful. #PlutoIsAPlanet
posted by Little Dawn at 12:43 PM on May 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

The Story of the Blue Planet, by Andri Snaer Magnusson
posted by wowenthusiast at 12:58 PM on May 29, 2019

Check out the recommendations in these previous threads:

first chapter books for 5 year old?

Chapter books for a first grader who loves animals but not scary things

Some of these will be at an easier reading level than 6th grade, but most of them should be interesting, age-appropriate and not too scary for a 7 year old.
posted by Redstart at 1:05 PM on May 29, 2019

Regarding the Fountain
posted by soelo at 1:23 PM on May 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

The first four Betsy-Tacy books. (Nothing scary about the later “high school” books either, but they may be of less interest to a 7-year-old.)
posted by elphaba at 1:43 PM on May 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

Marguerite henry, eleanor Estes, Carolyn haywood
posted by brujita at 1:53 PM on May 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Raina Telgemeier's books! "Smile", "Sisters", "Guts", etc, are all so good and vibrant!

The Nameless City trilogy by Faith Erin Hicks!

The CatStronauts series by Drew Brockington is super fun and punny with cat astronauts that go on pseudo-sciency type adventures with robots. A big favorite with my 5yo.

Isle of Elsi by Alec Longstreth got its Kickstarter fully funded for the first print book of the series to be released later this year, I think. This is specifically a kid's comic and has the whole thing on the website so far.

When you say scary, does that include exciting adventures? The below have exciting adventures where the protagonists may be in danger but come out ok in the end.

"Compass South" and "Knife's Edge" by Hope Larson are adventurous.

The Unsinkable Walker Bean series by Aaron Renier is a HUGE favorite at my house with my 5yo. It does have sea monster type stuff and pirates.

The Creepy Case Files of Margo Maloo series by Drew Weing is about monsters and trolls and ogres, but they are the ones who own the bodega down the street, or that collect beanie baby toys, and the series makes you rethink monsters as real people. You can pre-read a recent chapter here to see how it fits for your kiddo.
posted by jillithd at 2:13 PM on May 29, 2019 [1 favorite]

Be Prepared by Vera Brosgol is not scary and is a great story, too.
posted by jillithd at 2:14 PM on May 29, 2019

I will note that although I LOVE Little Women deeply -- it might be my favorite book in the world -- uh, there is a sort of traumatic death in there?
posted by Countess Sandwich at 3:40 PM on May 29, 2019

I remember loving A Hundred Million Francs by Paul Berna.

Also try Rumer Godden, The Greengage Summer
posted by Lawn Beaver at 6:10 PM on May 29, 2019

The Way Things Work Now. I was endlessly fascinated by (an earlier edition of) this book and Our Universe (mentioned above) around that age.
posted by Aleyn at 6:23 PM on May 29, 2019

Nobody reads the L. Frank Baum Oz books anymore, but there are lots of them, they are progressive, they are exciting, and nobody ever dies in Oz. I bet your little will love them
posted by shadygrove at 8:04 PM on May 29, 2019 [2 favorites]

Julie Andrews, Mandy. Maybe also The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles, but that might have a couple scenes that are too scary.
Ella Enchanted
Misty of Chincoteague
Noel Streatfield, Ballet Shoes, Circus Shoes
RJ Palacio, Wonder
Rumer Godden, The Dolls House
Hitty, Her First Hundred Years
Dodie Smith, The Hundred and One Dalmatians
Maybe some James Herriot?
posted by tan_coul at 8:49 PM on May 29, 2019

The Chrestomanci Quartet (everyone should read it)
There's a newer series out called The Terrible Two which my seven-year-old liked. Very silly and not at all scary.
posted by daisystomper at 10:33 PM on May 29, 2019

I love Chrestomanci! But I think they are about as ‘scary’ as Narnia.
posted by bq at 10:57 PM on May 29, 2019

Seconding Gordon Korman--my 8 year old who reads at a similar level love, love, loves his books (particularly the Ungifted series), and there are a ton of them! (She has, conversely, been impossible to sell on books like Little House on the Prairie/Anne of Green Gables.)

Other somewhat recent books she's really enjoyed:
The Candymakers
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
posted by pinwheel spark at 11:06 AM on May 30, 2019

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