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How to find great books for your kids to read
By Sheila Seifert
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FREE Activity Booklet Parent-Child Book Club

Are you looking for fiction books your kids might like to read? This is a difficult task. What interests us as their parents may not interest them.

Bridge this gap by finding a few genres that they like. If they don't know what they like, ask about their favourite books or movies. Figure out if they tend more toward adventure, fantasy, mystery, or another type of book.

Once you have a direction, go to Plugged In. Next to the words “Book Reviews” is a drop-down menu, beneath the word “Filter.” If you click on the arrow, you can find a specific genre that your child likes to read. Click on it and "Submit" to search only those books. By glancing through the reviews, you'll be able to tell fairly quickly whether the book is appropriate for your child's age, stage or interests.

If that doesn't work, try reading the reviews for the following books to find a match for your child.

Books for 4 to 7 year olds to read

Always read a book review to find a story that is appropriate for your kids to read. Select the book title for the PluggedIn book review.

Adventure

The Bears on Hemlock Mountain
Jonathan wonders if there might be bears on Hemlock Mountain as he travels over it to borrow a pot for his Ma.

Animal stories

The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto
Gunnar is one of the 21 brave drivers of dogsled teams who bring diphtheria medicine to Nome, Alaska. Balto is his lead dog.

Henry and Mudge: The First Book
Henry is lonely, with no siblings or other playmates on his street. His new puppy, Mudge, quickly grows to become his 180-pound best friend.

Contemporary

First Day Jitters
Sarah is nervous as she's ready to begin at her new school.

Freckle Juice
Andrew wishes he had freckles like Nicky. When sneaky classmate, Sharon, overhears Andrew’s wish, she offers him a recipe for a freckle-producing drink.

Historical fiction

#1 Voyage With the Vikings
Cousins Patrick and Beth travel back in time to Viking-occupied Greenland, but while searching for an item that Mr. Whittaker asked them to bring back, they encounter a less-than-friendly Viking.

The 18 Penny Goose
In 1778, Letty Wright, 8, and her family — Pa, Ma, John and baby Sarah — have to leave their farm because British soldiers are headed toward them.

Boom Town
Amanda, her parents, three brothers and a baby sister arrive in California during the Gold Rush.

Don't Forget Winona
Winona and her family move west by traveling on Route 66.

Humour

Amelia Bedelia
It is Amelia Bedelia's first day as housekeeper for Mr. and Mrs. Rogers. She takes each of her employers' instructions literally, oblivious to the Rogers' true intentions.

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa
Kate gets a cow horse named Cocoa. The two become fast friends, although Cocoa’s relentless demands for food usually hamper the young cowgirl’s plans.

Mystery

Nate the Great
When Annie’s painting goes missing, she calls detective Nate the Great. He observes her friends, family and dog, and discovers who is to blame.

The Crazy Christmas Angel Mystery
Eric can't believe it when his neighbour's Christmas angel comes to life.

Books for 8 to 11 year olds to read

Always read a book review to find a story that is appropriate for your kids to read. Select the book title for the PluggedIn book review.

Adventure

Bible Kidventures: Stories of Danger and Courage
Kids remain engaged as you read them four Bible stories in this choose-your-own Kidventure. Spiritual topics include trusting God and the power of worship.

By the Great Horn Spoon!
Loaded with adventure, 12 year old Jack and his aunt's butler head to the California gold fields to get enough money to save Aunt Arabella's home. Character quality: resilience and zeal for life.

Stone Fox
The excitement is gripping in this story that places a boy and his dog against an impossible task — getting the money to pay the taxes to save his family's farm. Character quality: perseverance.

Classic stories

Anne of Green Gables
Marilla Cuthbert and her brother, Matthew, want to adopt an orphan boy to help them care for their land. When Anne Shirley shows up by mistake, her imagination and personality change their lives.

Black Beauty
Black Beauty is born into a good situation with a kind master. He is a faithful, hardworking horse. When his master is forced to sell him, Black Beauty meets many unkind masters and hard situations.

Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers
A young boy and his father start life on the Colorado frontier.

Little House in the Big Woods
Take a step back in time to learn about the adventures of the Ingall's family as they work on their 1871 homestead in Wisconsin. Theme: family life of pioneers.

Little House on the Prairie
The Ingall's family moves to the Kansas prairie, and readers can follow their adventures living in a log house in 1868. Character quality: resilience.

Treasure Island
When sea captain Billy Bones dies at the Admiral Benbow Inn, young Jim finds the pirate’s map and embarks on a perilous journey in search of treasure.

Contemporary

Frindle
Nick Allen causes all sorts of problems with one simple word: frindle. How much can one word change an entire town?

Mudsharks
Mudshark is smart, but is he smarter than a parrot?

The World According to Humphrey
Humphrey the Hamster learns all about the students in his class and has adventures as the classroom pet.

Asking for Trouble
Savannah (Savvy) Smith has moved to England with her family and is trying to fit into her new school, Wexburg Academy.

Losers, Inc.
Two friends form a new club for losers... except they're not losers.

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer
Theo has plans of being a lawyer and must defend himself much earlier than expected.

Fantasy

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
When Alice follows the White Rabbit down a rabbit hole, she finds herself in a unbelievable land where she can change her size.

The BFG
Eight-year-old Sophie is snatched by a BFG. She must learn to survive in a kingdom of giants. Then one night, she comes up with a plan to destroy all mean giants.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie gets to tour Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.

The Chocolate Touch
John has a problem: everything he touches turns to chocolate!

Holes
Stanley Yelnat's family curse may finally be over with the right decision.

Inkheart
One simple reading releases an evil ruler from a book's pages.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe
Four siblings are sent to the countryside during World War II. Once there, they find their way into a magical land, but this unknown kingdom is in need of deliverance from evil.

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
When a little girl and her rabbit are separated, the lost rabbit looks for his young owner.

The Mouse With the Question Mark Tail
A tiny mouse travels around Buckingham Palace in search for answers.

Nurk
A small shrew is on a quest to answer a mysterious plea for help.

Redwall
A young mouse apprentice must save the day.

The Whipping Boy
Prince Brat kidnaps Jemmy, but the kingdom looks for Jemmy, who is blamed for the prince's disappearance!

Historical fiction

#2 Attack at the Arena*
Mr. Whittaker’s ancestor Albert is in trouble and needs a monk’s silver chalice. Cousins Patrick and Beth travel back in time to Rome in the Imagination Station to find it.

#3 Peril in the Palace*
Cousins Patrick and Beth travel to ancient China in the Imagination Station and meet Marco Polo. They need to find the golden tablet of Kublai Khan to save Mr. Whittaker’s ancestor, Albert.

#4 Revenge of the Red Knight*
The Imagination Station takes cousins Patrick and Beth to medieval England rather than returning them to Whit's End. They continue their quest to help Mr. Whittaker's ancestor while looking for a way home.

#5 Showdown With the Shepherd*
Cousins Patrick and Beth saved Albert, but an evil man named Hugh escapes in the Imagination Station. They must find him and keep him from helping Goliath and the Philistines defeat the Israelites.

#6 Problems in Plymouth*
Cousins Patrick and Beth travel to Plymouth to keep a time-traveling villain named Hugh from changing history and ruining the first Thanksgiving. They must find a way to return him to his own time.

#7 Secret of the Prince’s Tomb*
Patrick and Beth try to help the Habiru people, who are being enslaved by the Egyptians. If they can't free them, they want to give them hope.

#8 Battle for Cannibal Island*
The Imagination Station takes Patrick and Beth on an adventure on the high seas. They meet a ship’s captain and a missionary named James Calvert before coming face to face with cannibals.

#9 Escape to the Hiding Place*
Patrick and Beth arrive in World War II Holland in the farm country. The children learn to appreciate the bravery and sacrifice of everyday people who helped the Jews.

#10 Challenge on the Hill of Fire*
Beth and Patrick meet St. Patrick teaching the Irish about Christianity. In Ireland, druids control the people through fear until the king and his people accept St. Patrick’s God.

#11 Hunt for the Devil’s Dragon*
If you're brave, follow cousins Beth and Patrick to Libya in the 13th century. The town of Silene is being terrorised by a vicious animal that is eating livestock.

#12 Danger on a Silent Night*
Patrick and Beth ponder the origins of giving gifts at Christmas. Whit uses the Imagination Station to introduce them to the wise men who sought Jesus.

#13 The Redcoats Are Coming*
Cousins Patrick and Beth find themselves in the first battles of the Revolutionary War. They must avoid the loyalists and not be mistaken as spies while trying to deliver a letter to Paul Revere.

#14 Captured on the High Seas*
Beth and Patrick become prisoners of war on a British ship during the American Revolution. They try to help an American officer and an African American sailor escape.

#15 Surprise at Yorktown*
Beth and Patrick help slaves escape at Yorktown. They also track a suspected spy and meet Generals Cornwallis, Lafayette and Washington during negotiations for the surrender of the British army.

#16 Doomsday in Pompeii*
When Patrick takes a trip alone in the Imagination Station, he ends up in Pompeii in 79 A.D. a day before Mount Vesuvius erupts

#17 In Fear of the Spear*
Mr. Silva and Beth escape a jaguar and are captured by tribesmen. They learn about Kimo, the first Auca to know Jesus, and Kimo baptises Dr. Silva.

#18 Trouble on the Orphan Train*
Patrick and Beth arrive on an orphan train, heading west. They befriend an orphan who is falsely accused of being part of a train robbery.

#19 Light in the Lion's Den*
Beth and Patrick learn about Babylon and how Daniel chose to serve God even when it meant disobeying an earthly king.

#20 - Inferno in Tokyo*
Eugene tells Patrick and Beth they need to find Nicholas Tesla. They do not know who he is, but find themselves in Tokyo, Japan, during a 1923 tsunami, earthquake and fire. They help the survivors.

#21 - Madman in Manhattan*
Nikola Tesla has taken Beth, and now he wants to use the Imagination Station to go back in history and register his patents for inventions before Thomas Edison and Henry Ford can register theirs.

#22 - Freedom at the Falls*
Patrick and Beth help Sally, a slave on the Underground Railroad, escape, as they ride the Lincoln Special, a train that is taking Abraham Lincoln, his family and friends to his inauguration.

#23 - Terror in the Tunnel*
Beth and Patrick near Washington, D.C., on a train with Abraham Lincoln, who is heading to his first inauguration. But a band of assassins plan to meet Lincoln in Baltimore and end his presidency before it starts. Can the cousins help get him through the city safely and on to his big history-making day?

The Boxcar Children
Henry, Jessie, Violet and Benny search for a place to call home after their parents die.

A Lion to Guard Us
In 1609, preteen Amanda and her younger siblings do whatever they can to reach their father who is awaiting them in the New World.

Raiders From the Sea
Briana O'Toole (Bree) and her brother are kidnapped by Viking marauders. Will God help them escape and return home?

Strawberry Girl
The Boyer family moves from the mountains of northern Florida to the state's southern lakes area in the early 1900s. They raise cattle, tend an orange grove and plant a variety of crops — including strawberries.

The Wheel on the School
The storks of Shora are gone, and children of the village try to draw them back.

Books for 12 to 14 year olds to read

Always read a book review to find a story that is appropriate for your kids to read. Select the book title for the PluggedIn book review.

Adventure

Bible Kidventures: New Testament

Bible Kidventures: Old Testament
Choose-your-own ending in four different Bible stories: the battle of Jericho, crossing the Red Sea, escaping Saul and using worship against enemy armies.

Jump Into the Sky
Young African-American Levi travels through the Jim Crow South looking for his father.

My Side of the Mountain
Sam Gribley leaves New York City and travels to a mountain.

The Princess and the Goblin
Eight-year-old Princess Irene and her friend Curdie learn more about trust and faith as they escape goblins and thwart an attack on the castle.

Classic stories

Call It Courage
Mafatu's history of being afraid leads him to a determined voyage.

Carry on Mr. Bowditch
Nathaniel Bowditch grows up in the sailing community of Salem.

Hans Brinker, or the Silver Skates
Hans Brinkers' wooden skates challenge other skaters with silver blades.

The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story
Kipling's collection of stories includes Mowgli, the boy raised by wolves.

Oliver Twist
An orphan boy becomes a pickpocket in London.

Peter Pan
Three siblings Wendy, Michael, and John travel to Never Land.

Contemporary

Pitcher's Duel
Chip pitches in the state tourney while fighting for his coach's future.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind
William Kamkwamba is a young man from Malawi, a small nation in southeastern Africa, doesn't let hard times get him down.

Fantasy

The Dark Is Rising
Will Stanton learns about his destiny to stop the forces of evil.

Kingdom's Dawn
An allegory of knights and medieval battles leading to a final battle.

Historical

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
From June 1942 to August 1944, Anne Frank kept a diary of her experiences in the Netherlands, after the Netherlands fell to the Nazis during World War II.

The Door in the Wall
An unlikely hero lives in the 14th century.

Elijah of Buxton
Elijah is the first free-born child of the runaway slave community of Buxton. He must track down a thief and face the horrors of slavery along the way.

Journey to Jo'burg
Naledi and her brother Tiro travel from their village to Johannesburg to tell their mother, Mma, who works there, that their other brother is deathly ill.

Life Behind the Wall*
The Berlin Wall dominates a group of teens' lives.

Little Women
The March sisters struggle to improve themselves daily by following the advice of their parents, though on occasion they find it difficult to be good.

[Miracles on Maple Hill](https://www.pluggedin.com/book-reviews/miracles-on-maple-hill
Marly learns a valuable lesson after moving to Maple Hill

Race for Freedom
Jordan races to freedom as a runaway slave.

Shiloh
Marty befriends Shiloh the beagle who's owned by a drunk.

Snow Treasure
Norwegian children smuggle $9M in gold past the Nazis.

The Marus Manuscripts: Books 1-6*
Four children enter the nation of Marus and interact with Bible stories to defeat enemies, bring judgment and thwart a plot.

Books for older kids

Always read a book review to find a story that is appropriate for your kids to read. Select the book title for the PluggedIn book review.

Classic stories

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
A professor and his companions expect to find a giant sea monster, not a metal ship that travels underwater that holds them prisoner.

The Bronze Bow
Daniels' revenge for his father's death meets an unlikely message.

Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre's growth into adulthood is accentuated by her love for Mr. Rochester.

Ivanhoe
Sir Ivanhoe defends England against the manipulation of Prince John.

Les Miserables
Jean Valjean is a criminal transformed into a guardian, shaped by forces of good and evil masquerading as men.

Pilgrim's Progress*
Christian leaves his comfortable life to go on a dangerous journey, all for the hope of a godly life.

Pygmalion
Professor Henry Higgins falls in love with his pupil, after helping her transform from a flower girl into a lady.

The Scarlet Pimpernel
Who is the Scarlet Pimpernel? Those in danger look to him for help, and those behind the French Revolution will stop at nothing to learn his identity.

A Tale of Two Cities
A family is reunited during the French Revolution.

To Kill a Mockingbird
A young African-American man must defend his name in the South.

Uncle Tom's Cabin
Tom and Eliza fight to keep their family intact.

Creative Nonfiction

Roughing It
Mark Twain accompanies his brother west, but his restless nature and desire for wealth make it hard to settle down.

Fantasy

Among the Hidden
Luke is the third child in his family, the youngest of three brothers, which makes him illegal.

The Fellowship of the Ring
Frodo and his eight fellow travellers risk death in their quest to save Middle Earth.

[The Hobbit*](https://www.pluggedin.com/book-reviews/hobbit
Bilbo Baggins and his crew help Dwarves face their archenemy: a terrible dragon.

The Princess Bride
Determined to share his favourite story as a child with his son, William Goldman seems to abridge an old novel, leaving only the exciting parts.

Historical

Across Five Aprils
Although too young to enlist as his brothers and cousin do, Jethro Creighton endures the hardships brought on by the Civil War as he tends the family farm.

The Hiding Place*
Corrie Ten Boom saves persecuted Jews from concentration camps during WWII.

Golden Boy
An African boy with albino skin must face unknown dangers.

Iqbal: A Novel
Iqbal becomes a slave and inspires hope in others around him.

Life Behind the Wall*
The Berlin Wall dominates a group of teens' lives.

FREE Activity Booklet Parent-Child Book Club

Books with asterisks by them are published by Christian publishers.

© 2016 Focus on the Family. All rights reserved. Used with permission. Published at focusonthefamily.com.

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