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8 Books for Reluctant Readers to Try This School Year

Turn your kids into bookworms with these fun and relatable reads

Caitlin Flynn

Published on: June 11, 2016

While some children are natural bookworms, others don’t get quite as excited about reading. Thankfully, there are plenty of books out there for them to enjoy. The key? Picking books with accessible topics, relatable characters and plenty of humor. The following titles are the perfect way to show your children that reading can be fun all year long.

1. Sideways Stories From Wayside School

By Louis Sachar (ages: 6 and older) 

The builder of Wayside School made a slight mistake: rather than building a one-story school with 30 classrooms side by side, he built each classroom on top of the other to create a 30-story sideways structure. Perhaps that’s why strange occurrences are the norm at Wayside. 

Wayside is a school where rats in raincoats roam the hallways and children are turned into apples on a daily basis. Sometimes they’re even encouraged to sleep through class! Full of quirky characters and storylines, kids will love the clever humor. 

2. Weird But True!: 300 Outrageous Facts

By National Geographic Kids (ages: 6 and older)

A collection of facts that prove truth can be stranger than fiction, Weird But True! provides kids with 300 wacky facts that they’ll be eager to share with friends. To name a couple: An elephant’s tooth can weigh as much as a bowling ball and peanut butter can be turned into a diamond.

The art and layout of this book make it easy on the eyes for even the most reluctant readers, while the wide variety of astonishing facts will have them rethinking the notion that learning is boring. 

3. Geronimo Stilton #1: Lost Treasure of the Emerald Eye

By Geronimo Stilton (ages: 7–10)

Geronimo is a mouse who also happens to be an investigative journalist. He frequently travels the globe in search of his next great story.

In his first adventure, Geronimo’s sister discovers a mysterious map. She persuades Geronimo and their cousin to travel to a faraway island in search of the hidden treasures surely behind the map (see it for yourself thanks to beautiful accompanying illustrations).

4. The BFG

By Roald Dahl (ages: 8 and older)

When 8-year-old Sophie is taken from her orphanage by the Big Friendly Giant (BFG), it’s the best thing that could have happened to her. They join forces to prevent a group of evil giants who are determined to make children their next meal.

Steven Spielberg’s adaptation of The BFG arrives in movies theatres this July, so it’s the perfect summer to share the classic book with your child. 

5. The Fourteenth Goldfish

By Jennifer Holm (ages: 8–12)

Ellie is not having a great year. She misses her old best friend and her recently deceased pet goldfish. Then her world is turned upside down when a grouchy kid named Melvin shows up and claims to be her grandfather. 

Turns out he’s telling the truth. Ellie’s grandfather was an eccentric scientist whose mission was to reverse the aging process — and it worked! The trouble is, he now looks like a 13-year-old boy and he can’t get access to his lab.

Ellie’s middle school struggles are relatable and kids will love the hilarity that ensues when a 70-year-old curmudgeon looks like a kid and is treated accordingly. 

6. The Invention of Hugo Cabret

By Brian Selznick (ages: 8–12)

Hugo is an orphan who resides in the walls of a Paris train station and struggles to decode a mysterious message left by his father. His lonely existence changes after a chance meeting with a bookish young girl, Isabelle, and the owner of a toy booth in the train station. The three form an unlikely bond and set out to solve the mysteries of Hugo’s father.

7. Sisters

By Raina Telgemeier (ages: 8–12)

Raina is initially thrilled to learn that she’s about to become a big sister, but the arrival of her baby sister is a huge disappointment. Amara is cute, but she’s cranky and doesn’t want anything to do with Raina.

For a long time, the sisters don’t get along at all. But when their brother is born and their parents fall on hard times, Raina and Amara slowly but surely develop a strong bond. Without becoming overly sentimental, Sisters provides a reminder that despite our differences, no one understands us like our siblings.

8. Hoot

By Carl Hiaasen (ages: 10 and older)

When Roy moves to Florida, he quickly makes one enemy and two quirky friends. He finds a sense of purpose by joining an effort to preserve the environment; the construction of a pancake corporation will jeopardize the safety of endangered owls who inhabit the land. Roy and his friends are determined to prevent this from happening.

Full of Hiaasen’s signature humor and oddball characters, Hoot also has a great message about the importance of protecting our environment and its creatures.

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