Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Would Hand to a Kid Who Claims to Not Like Reading

Welcome to Top 10 Tuesday! This is a weekly challenge hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl, and this week’s challenge is about books I would hand to a kid who claims to not like reading!

Originally, this topic was about memorable things characters have said. However, I really couldn’t think of anything for that one! Therefore, I decided to continue my post from last week, but this time with a focus on recommendations for reluctant young readers. Without further ado, here are the 10+ books I would hand to a kid who claims to not like reading! And just like last week, I wouldn’t recommend all of these to every reluctant young reader, but, in theory, there should be at least one thing for everyone on this list!

To learn more about a book, click on the photo to find the Goodreads synopsis.

1. Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga Other Words for Home: 9780062747808: Warga, Jasmine: Books

For more mature young readers looking for something that feels entertaining but worthwhile. Other Words for Home looks like a long book, but since it’s written in verse it’s actually a quick read. It covers really important themes and topics, and young readers will definitely feel accomplished and inspired after reading it.

2. Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Ella Enchanted (Trophy Newbery): Levine, Gail Carson: 9780064407052: Books

For fans of fantasy and strong women! Ella Enchanted is such a fun and exciting story.

3. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

Howl's Moving Castle (Howl's Castle Series #1) by Diana Wynne Jones,  Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

Another great recommendation for fans of fantasy! This one is quirky and exciting with memorable characters.

4. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake, Paperback |  Barnes & Noble®

Roald Dahl books are a great place to start for kids who feel like they don’t like to read. They’re funny and weird and actually kind of dark at times.

5. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

For me, this book is exactly what a young adult book should be. It covers real-life, important themes without feeling too didactic, but it also has great characters and an engaging plot. This book would be great for advanced young readers looking for something more challenging that is still developmentally appropriate, and it would also be great for teenagers (and adults!).

6. Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Esperanza Rising (Scholastic Gold): Ryan, Pam Muñoz: 9780439120425: Books

This book is a classic for a reason. It has a great story and Esperanza is an inspiring and relatable character.

7. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull Fablehaven eBook : Mull, Brandon: Kindle Store

I read this one when I was in middle school! It’s another fantasy book, but this one also has a lot of suspense and adventure.

8. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Number the Stars: Lowry, Lois: 0978054757709: Books

For young readers who love to learn.

9. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins The Hunger Games: 9780439023481: Collins, Suzanne: Books

One of my all-time favorites! This one would be great for more mature readers looking for something exciting and a little dark.

10. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate The One and Only Ivan Full-Color Collector's Edition:  Applegate, Katherine, Castelao, Patricia: Books

For young readers who love animals!

11. The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo The Poet X: 9780062662804: Acevedo, Elizabeth: Books

For those looking for something relatable and empowering that is beautifully written. This recommendation is definitely geared toward more mature young readers (teenagers).

12. The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

The Girl Who Drank the Moon (Winner of the 2017 Newbery Medal): Barnhill,  Kelly: 9781616205676: Books

Another fantasy recommendation! This one is so quirky with fantastic characters; it’s hard to put down!

13. In General: Graphic novels, series, fantasy, novels-in-verse, audiobooks

From what I’ve discovered, young readers often feel like they don’t like reading because it makes them feel unsuccessful (and therefore “bored”). And this can be occurring for a variety of reasons. Therefore, it’s important to identify what the struggle is, and determine an appropriate recommendation based on that.

Graphic novels are great because they have all of the great story elements that standard novels have: interesting characters, exciting plot, etc. But they also have pictures! This is probably my most popular recommendation for young readers because it allows them to experience the joy of reading without the frustration and confusion that might arise with more standard novels. And once they’ve built some confidence, then they can progress to other types of books.

Novels-in-verse are beneficial for a similar reason. Although they typically don’t have illustrations, they’re still less dense in terms of text due to their poetic nature. This means they’re pretty quick reads, which will help students feel successful if they can finish a book that feels longer and more challenging.

Something else that helps young readers feel successful is a great series. If you can get a young reader hooked on a series, they’ll read several books in quick succession, which will definitely make them feel successful and motivated to keep reading! Some great options for series like this include (but are not limited to) the I Survived series, The Magic Tree House, Dear America, and so many more (the ones I listed are only historical fiction series! There are so many other great ones out there).

In general, fantasy is a great genre for reluctant readers because it’s usually really fun, exciting, and just a great escape from reality. They’re definitely not boring!

Finally, audiobooks! I often have students who claim to not like reading, but they love when we do a read-aloud as a class. For some young readers, staring at pages can just feel really overwhelming or daunting. Audiobooks are great because they allow kids to be able to read and enjoy books without having to sit still for long periods of time. You can multi-task and do things with your hands (like coloring, for example), and this ability to fidget is really helpful for many young readers. Audiobooks also really bring a story to life, which can help capture the attention of young readers.

Have you read any of these books? What would your top ten be?

Let me know in the comments!

6 thoughts on “Top 10 Tuesday: Books I Would Hand to a Kid Who Claims to Not Like Reading

  1. I think this is a great list. Howl, Dahl and Ella Enchanted would be my first hand-outs too. And I’ve recently heard very good things about Fablehaven and Barnhill’s writing, would like to try out both myself.


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