It’s an issue I’ve struggled with myself and one that seems to arise in most conversations I have with parents of young children who love to read. How do you find challenging books that interest younger readers without exposing them to themes and content that is inappropriate?
While advanced younger readers might have the attention and vocabulary skills to read books well beyond the abilities of their peers, that doesn’t mean that they are equipped to process emotions, content and themes suited to older children and adults. Just because your child has the language skills to read Stephen King’s IT, doesn’t mean you should hand it over to them when they want something to read at bedtime. I read that book as an adult and I’m still a little bit freaked out by stormwater drains and clowns. I guess I can’t place the blame for clowns creeping me out entirely at Stephen King’s feet, but he certainly didn’t help.
I thought I would put together a list of books that my own children, three avid readers with very eclectic tastes, have enjoyed. I’d love for you to add any recommendations of your own in the comments and I will try to periodically update this list with your contributions and with any additional titles that come to my attention.