Books for Reluctant Readers by Mary Sutton (author of Power Play – Hero’s Sword, Volume 1)
One of the worst things a book-loving parent can hear from her child is, “I hate reading.” If this has happened to you, these books may help convince your reluctant reader that spending time with a book is anything but boring.
The Lightning Thief – Rick Riordan
Percy Jackson isn’t your average kid. Dyslexic, ADHD, and kicked out of every school he’s ever attended, he wonders if things can get much worse. But when monsters out of Greek mythology start chasing him, Percy learns a startling fact: he is the half-blood son of a Greek god, a real-life demi-god. He takes refuge at Camp Halfblood, a safe place for demi-gods. There, Percy learns his father is none other than Poseidon, god of the seas, in violation of an old promise by the Big Three gods – Zeus, Poseidon, and Hades. When Percy learns that someone has stolen Zeus’s master bolt, he sets off on a quest with his friends Annabeth, daughter of Athena, and Grover, a satyr. Will Percy be able to stop war between Zeus and Poseidon and save his mother? And what is this Great Prophecy that has everyone so scared?
The Lightning Thief is the first in the five-book Percy Jackson and the Olympians series and is an entertaining story of adventure that incorporates more than a little real Greek mythology. If your reader finds this book interesting, he’ll most likely enjoy the others in this series, as well as the on-going Heroes of Olympus series, which introduces some of the Roman aspects of classical mythology, and The Kane Chronicles, which centers around Egyptian myths.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone – JK Rowling
Even people who haven’t read the books are familiar with the story of the boy wizard and no list of modern “must read” books for young people would be complete without it. When the most feared dark wizard of all time is defeated by a mere baby, every body wonders what has made Harry Potter so special – including Harry himself, especially as his Muggle relatives have done their best to make his short life miserable. When Harry is accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, he learns that Voldemort is far from gone – and is more entwined his life than he could have imagine.
Another first in a series, the Potter books get longer and more serious with each successive volume. What doesn’t fade, however, is the magic that has made so many fans across the globe, and made this one of the most beloved children’s series of all times.
Heat – Mike Lupica
Twelve-year old Michael Arroyo has a mean throwing arm and a secret. Orphaned after his family’s escape from Cuba, his only family is his older brother Carlos. They dodge Social Service, bill collectors, and anyone who asks too many questions. But Michael’s pitching prowess can’t go unnoticed, and when he can’t produce a birth certificate, any other proof of his age, or even parents, their secret is blown wide open. And Michael learns that family can come from anywhere, even the most unexpected places.
Lupica’s prolific and esteemed career in sports journalism makes him a master at telling stories that have a sports core, but that deal with issues that reach far beyond the ball field or the gridiron. Traditionally targeted more toward boys, Lupica’s books should appeal to any sports-minded child.
The Princess Academy – Shannon Hale
For generations, Miri’s family has worked in a stone quarry and lived a simple life. But everything changes when the king’s priests predict that Miri’s simple village is the home of the future princess. Miri is forced to attend “the academy,” which every teenage girl in the village must attend to learn how to behave like a princess. The mistress is harsh and the other girls are mean, leaving Miri to fight them and her own conflicted heart: does she want to become a princess or win over her childhood best friend? But when bandits attack to kidnap the future princess, it is Miri who must rally her classmates to save herself and them.
Most girls dream of being a princess, but The Princess Academy offers more than just a fairy tale. It is a story of empowerment and how a girl’s choice can affect more than just her own life.
Walk Two Moons – Sharon Creech
When Sal sets off with her grandparents to trace the path of her missing mother, she begins to tell about her friend, Phoebe. Phoebe’s story is far more exciting than Sal’s. But as Sal tells more of Phoebe’s story, her own begins to come out. And as Sal learns more about her own story, the question becomes who will she be at the end of it?
Rooted in Native American culture, Walk Two Moons is about a young girl’s journey, real and spiritual, not just to find her missing mother, but find out about herself as well. Young girls searching for their own identity will find Sal’s journey parallels their own – and that they aren’t alone in their confused teenage feelings.