The Sword and Laser discussion

Kids books: your first and fave

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message 1: by Ariel (new)

Ariel Stirling | 80 comments My son is just beginning to read on his own and my search for books to get him excited has begun! On that note, I would love if the S&L members would chime in with the first book they read on their own that made an impact, and their current favorite children's book.

I'm willing to start:

First: The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
Fave: Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

message 2: by Gaines (new)

Gaines Post (gainespost) | 203 comments Frog and Toad Are Friends

I was young, not sure how old, but I remember loving Frog and Toad.

message 3: by John (Taloni) (new)

John (Taloni) Taloni (johntaloni) | 4078 comments first novel was Alexei Panshin's "Rite of Passage." I still love it, but it might be a bit risque in subject matter toward the end for a kid.

Fave children's book is hard. The first three books in the Wrinkle in Time series are great. Chronicles of Narnia can't be beat, all seven. I found the Warriors series good. That's tribal cats living in a forest, competing and cooperating for survival.

message 4: by Bill (new)

Bill | 105 comments Fantastic Mr. Fox think I read it about 50 times.

message 5: by Trike (new)

Trike | 8768 comments Aside from non-SFF favorites like Little House in the Big Woods and The Call of the Wild/White Fang, I read a number of talking animals books, which are a natural extension of Bugs Bunny cartoons, Winnie the Pooh and Dr. Seuss picture books. My mom read me her Uncle Wiggly books alongside Seuss, which primed the pump, no doubt.

The Wind in the Willows was one, but especially Rabbit Hill. I loved that book. "New folks coming, oh my!" I didn't realize it at the time, but Georgie's investment in creating his song -- the actual work that goes into it as well as his persistence in sharing it despite early rejection -- was an excellent message about keeping at something until you get it right, then believing in your creation even if others are initially disinterested.

I really can't recommend Rabbit Hill highly enough. Besides the aforementioned message, it's got action and is a little bit scary (but just a little, and it's over quickly), but overall it has a positive message. The New Folks do put up a statue of St. Francis of Assisi, since he's the patron saint of all animals, so there is a slight Christian aspect late in the book, but it's not preachy or pushy. Even though I'm decidedly non-religious, I still recommend that book.

Another book I really loved was The Enormous Egg. Most kids love dinosaurs, and this story about the titular giant egg (laid by a chicken) which then hatches into a triceratops is great fun. This was my first introduction to the idea that birds are related to dinosaurs, but I don't think that was even speculated about when the book was written. It's also a silly idea, but what little boy wouldn't love a pet dino?

On the SF side I really liked The Gismo from Outer Space, but that might be too dated at this point. I burned through all of the Tom Swift Jr. adventures I could get my hands on. My older cousins had some with a few illustrations, which were great. I think these were all from the second series, which were more science fictional than the originals. Whatever other thing a kid is into, there's probably a Tom Swift book on that subject. Airplanes, spaceships, robots, submarines... Tom does it all.

(Trivia side note: a taser is named that because the inventor was inspired by a Tom Swift story. "Taser" stands for "Thomas A. Swift's Electric Rifle.")

I also read a fair number of the Henlein juveniles, such as The Star Beast (similar to The Enormous Egg except with an alien) and Tunnel in the Sky. All of the books published by Scribner's pretty much hang together to form a coherent future history. They'd be called YA Sci-fi Adventure today.

I'd also give him Treasure Island, especially the version illustrated by N.C. Wyeth, and Robinson Crusoe when he gets a little older. Those feel like SF and Fantasy at times, but they're also just cracking good yarns.

message 6: by Joel (last edited Dec 05, 2015 05:36AM) (new)

Joel | 236 comments Can't remember the very first book I read, but here are several that I have fond memories of and can remember enjoying reading back in the day.

The Hobbit

Chronicles of Prydain

Goosebumps Series

The Boxcar Kids

The Bunnicula Series

Some of Roald Dahl's books

message 7: by Brian (new)

Brian Kehler | 1 comments The first book that got me into fantasy was Elizabeth Winthrop's "The Castle in the Attic" in 3rd grade. It was sort of a "sequel" to her famous "Indian in the Cupboard" at which point I hadn't heard of yet.

Another one, which really disturbed me as a kid, but which I still loved was John Christopher's bleak and powerful novel of the beginning of the Dark Ages: "The Sword of the Spirits." It's the last book in the "Prince in Waiting" trilogy. Christopher is a British author not-so jokingly blamed for introducing nihilism to young readers. But his novels are very thought provoking, and asks young readers to question the status quo.

Then I got into the Redwall books and got stuck there until my teens!

message 8: by Sky (new)

Sky | 665 comments Joel wrote: "Can't remember the very first book I read, but here are several that I have fond memories of and can remember enjoying reading back in the day.

Bunnicula and The Boxcar Children were great.

Also Encyclopedia Brown.

I think my favorite series was The Children of Green Knowe

message 9: by Misti (new)

Misti (spookster5) | 488 comments My absolutely favorite book from when I was a kid was Can I Keep Him?. I checked out from the library too many times to count. My favorite children's book now is probably the first Harry Potter book.

message 10: by Keidy (new)

Keidy | 525 comments My most favorite series in the "independent readers" section and my first leap into SciFi is the Animorphs series by Katherine Applegate. I have SUCH fond memories of it. There are about 54 books in the series along with some bigger bonus "special" books but I remembered that was the book that wanted me to become a vet. I learned so much about animals and their behaviors. I think that the author really researched her topics very well. ^_^

message 11: by Kristina (new)

Kristina | 588 comments The first book I picked out by myself at the library was called Time Cat. I remember I loved it... and recommended it to my son when he was old enough to start chapter books.

My favorite book as a kid though was A Swiftly Tilting Planet. I have my old dog eared falling apart copy still... I read that book over and over.

message 12: by Alan (new)

Alan | 534 comments I second the recommendation of Heinlein's juveniles but my introduction to them (and favorite) is Space Cadet. I loved it to death in first grade. My son read it in fourth grade and loved it too. It's particularly good for the 6-11 age range because it's largely set in a school.

For your son at his current age, there are tons of series being written these days where you can skim the first book and decide if it will work for him - Dragon Slayer's Academy Boxed Set # 1- 5 (actually pretty funny), or Secrets of Droon, or the Magic Treehouse, or Warriors, or the Rangers series ... all of these were popular at one time or another in our house (Magic Treehouse a little less so) even if not all of them have any crossover appeal to adults

message 13: by Ariel (new)

Ariel Stirling | 80 comments Everyone's ideas have been great! Thanks so much. I was especially excited to be reminded of Bunnicula and How to Eat Fried Worms, I'd forgotten about them. These are all good reminders of the types of books that can really get kids excited about reading early on. Maybe I can use some to get him to break away from some of the early reader mass prints that are boring both of us.

message 14: by Keith (last edited Dec 10, 2015 09:19AM) (new)

Keith (keithatc) Hard to remember the exact order. I do know that when I was in elementary school, my mom was going through a serious "the pioneers got it right" phase, so I read a bunch of lit books that would have been common in schoolrooms during the 1700s and 1800s. Actually, quite a lot of great stuff, even though I understood little of it. And what kid doesn't love Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God?

The first books I remember picking up on my own were those Illustrated Classics, abridged versions of stuff like The Count of Monte Cristo, Moby Dick, Robinson Crusoe.

My first scifi was, I think, Tom Swift. From there, it was on to Christopher Lloyd's Tripods (I got into it when it was serialized as a comic in Boys Life), The Black Cauldron, and A Wrinkle in Time. Encyclopedia Brown. Then I started HG Wells because my parents got me that Jeff Wayne Musical Version of War of the Worlds double LP. But Wells had a lot less Phil Lynott singing than Jeff Wayne.

There are a lot of 99 cent ebooks that collect a ton of great old YA and kids' material -- the original Tom Swift (I mostly read the second wave, from the 1960s), lots of "boys/girls own adventure" type mysteries and thrillers, Space Cadet.

Of all those, I'd lead with The White Mountains. I reread the entire trilogy just this year, and it's still fantastic.

A Wrinkle in Time (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet, #1) by Madeleine L'Engle The Black Cauldron (The Chronicles of Prydain #2) by Lloyd Alexander The White Mountains (The Tripods, #1) by John Christopher Tom Swift and His Rocket Ship (Tom Swift Jr, #3) by Victor Appleton II

message 15: by Joanna Chaplin (new)

Joanna Chaplin | 1175 comments I don't know which was my first, but I remember loving Charlotte's Web. And the Winnie the Pooh books.

I hit the Narnia series shockingly early, but it was years before I could get all the way through anything past Voyage of the Dawn Treader, chronologically within the world.

message 16: by Matthew (new)

Matthew (masupert) | 215 comments Tough to really remember back that far.

The Hobbit certainly made a big impression on me and I think that was around 5th grade or so. I remember distinctly getting that from a Scholastic Book Fair.

I honestly can't really remember back to my earlier grade school books, but I know I was reading. We had to read 30 minutes every night and there was actually a logbook for school we had to turn in every week.

Roald Dahl like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The Redwall Series from Brian Jacques. I started with Salamandastron.

Those all are distinct memories for me. Probably up through grade school and early Jr. high school.

message 17: by David (new)

David | 47 comments "The space ship under the apple tree" I read it was I was really young perhaps 3ed grade there were a bunch of sequels it is probably why I read Sci FiThe Space Ship Under the Apple Tree

message 18: by Matthew (new)

Matthew (masupert) | 215 comments So, it just so happens that my local library linked to this post on their Facebook page from Reading Rainbow. I think it is rather appropriate for the topic here.

message 20: by Silvana (new)

Silvana (silvaubrey) | 1646 comments I don't remember my first, but my favorite is The Voyage of Doctor Doolittle. And yes, I tried talking to my dogs afterwards.

message 22: by Tokio (new)

Tokio Myers (tokibear) | 30 comments The Merlin series by T.A Barron

message 23: by Tassie Dave, S&L Historian (new)

Tassie Dave | 3608 comments Mod
Silvana wrote: "I don't remember my first, but my favorite is The Voyage of Doctor Doolittle. And yes, I tried talking to my dogs afterwards."

I loved the Doctor Dolittle books. I read most of them. I started reading them not long after the movie came out. The original (Rex Harrison) not the crap Eddie Murphy one. I must have been about 6 or 7.

message 24: by Thane (new)

Thane | 476 comments I remember as a small child I loved the Sweet Pickles books and those town maps in the back of them all. The best? Hm, Might have to go with that crazy Zebra.

message 25: by Tokio (new)

Tokio Myers (tokibear) | 30 comments The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine

message 26: by Joseph (new)

Joseph | 2296 comments When I started reading chapter books, I remember spending a lot, lot, lot of time with Lloyd Alexander's Prydain series and John Christopher's Tripods trilogy.

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