Book Recommendations for Gifted 7 Year Old

Updated on September 20, 2011
M.L. asks from Claremont, CA
18 answers

My 7 year old can decode at an 8th grade level, with comprehension at a 6th grade level. Any book recommendations - something that will keep his interest, but with innocent content? We tried 'The Magician's Nephew" but it was scary stuff for my boy.
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answers from Provo on

My 7 year old is also a pretty advanced reader...she loved all the wizard of oz books, most people just think of the first one...but there's actually 13 or so more by Frank Baum (and none of them are freaky like that random sequel movie....*shudder*)...Mysterious Benedict Society is really good...I'm trying to think of how intense it is. Anne of Green Gables has been has little house on the prairie...the 'Happy Hollister' series is fun...but can only get them online or at an older library...Phantom Tollbooth is fun...Mr. Poppers Penguins...Hatchet...Charlotte's Web....There are probably some good websites out there that have good lists as well!

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answers from Honolulu on

Watership Down. By Richard Adams.
I LOVED this book, as a kid.
It is a classic.

Also good are the "Redwall" series of books. By Brian Jacques

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answers from Washington DC on

You have so much fun ahead of you. You're also smart to think about content as much as reading level. It's tough when they're young and can read well but are not ready for the content of the "reading level appropriate" books.

First, do go to your local library and ask to see the children's librarian. If there's a children's section there should be a children's librarian. Talk to that person for recommendations -- it will totally make his or her day because this is what they live for! Also be sure to talk to or e-mail your son's school librarian; again, this is what they do best. And librarians are aware of the content-versus-reading level issue you face.

Think about his interests. Is he into fiction and make-believe or might he prefer nonfiction, factual books, and "list" books? Very generally speaking, a lot of boys through grade school often prefer nonfiction books about subjects they like, whether it's ancient Rome or cooking or a sport. (I check out books at the school library for 4th and 5th grade and see all those topics are very popular with boys, while girls check out more fiction, though certain fiction series are huge with boys.) Take him for a long stay at the library and let him really ramble and be sure he hits nonfiction as well as fiction sections.

Don't forget magazines too! He might like National Geographic Kids, Highlights (has both fiction and nonfiction), Cobblestone (kids' history magazine) and much more -- you can get them for free in libraries!

He might like books by Andrew Clements, who writes "school stories" that are terrific; read them first to see what you think. Also try Louis Sachar's very funny "Sideways School" story collections. Encyclopedia Brown is not the most advanced reading level but is great for making kids think through the mysteries that Encyclopedia solves. In fact any kids' mystery series might appeal to him because they will make him work while he reads; A to Z mysteries by Ron Roy and "history mysteries" by Carole Marsh are other possibilities that are popular. (We have adored Caroline Lawrence's Roman Mysteries series but it may be far too scary for your son, since realistic Roman-era violence is throughout the series, plus, you would need to explain a lot of the historic background. But read those when he's older, if he likes mysteries and history!)

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answers from Los Angeles on

Good books without adult language or intimacies:
Swiss Family Robinson
Mysterious Island (Jules Verne)
20,000 Leagues under the Sea (Jules Verne)
White Fang (Jack London)
Call of the wild (Jack London)
Books by Jim Kjelgaard (I'd give you individual titles, but he wrote 20+ books.)
Robinson Crueso
Old Yeller
The Hardy Boys series. I read them in the early 60's and they were very clean and moral and FUN reading.
I also enjoyed reading the encyclopedia. I read A to T several times, but only made it to Z once.

Good luck to you and yours.

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answers from New York on

This is really tough because his reading is more typical of a middle school child, but his maturity really can't handle that level of text (themes, language, imagery, etc.)

My best suggestion is to stop by your public library and ask to speak with the children's librarian. She/he would be able to help you using known lexile levels (readability/decodability) and topics. Go prepared with specific genres that your child is interested in exploring.

You could also reach out to your school district and find out whether or not there is a "Gifted and Talented" Director/Coordinator. That person may be able to help you as well!

**Decoding is the "mechanical" ability to sound-out the written words Jo W!**

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answers from San Francisco on

I know this may sound a little odd, but my son LOVED Anne of Green Gables.

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answers from Los Angeles on

I feel your "pain." My 7 y.o. daughter is in insatiable when it comes to books. Right now she's reading the Warriors series by Erin Hunter ( She also loved Percy Jackson by Riordan (the bonus was that she got to watch the movie Lightning Thief after she read the books). I know someone else mentioned the Wonderful Wizard of Oz, but Baum also wrote a whole series of books about Oz - which she is reading now as well. And she likes the Betsy Byars books. Hardy Boys (the older ones) are also good; the newer ones do get more scary. Holes by Sachar. Swiss Family Robinson. So You Want to Be a Wizard by Diane Duane (it's the first in a series). From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by Konigsburg (Newbery Medal winner). And you can also look at the Newbery list to get ideas:

Good luck.

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answers from Minneapolis on

How about the Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordan. I am currently reading that to my 7 year old.

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answers from Denver on

don't worry about grade level....just keep him reading.

I didn't see anyone mention Little House on the Prairie. they get more difficult as you go through the series (laura was very talented). the first one is in language a 5 year old would use while the last one is very definitely written as a teen would talk (but content is fine). My son and my daughter loved these.

Matt Christopher is at about a 5th grade level for his longer stuff. he also writes some around the 2nd to 3rd grade level. he writes sports themed books.

definitely talk to the librarian at school and the public library.

Avi had appropriate content but my kids didn't like his work (many kids do like his work though).

boxcar children series by Gertrude Chandler Warner is 3rd to 4th grade level but my 10-year old still devours them (although he's been able to read them since he was 5).

encyclopedia brown - not that difficult to read but he has to slow down and pay attention to be able to solve the mystery.

go with classic children's authors (a la 40's to 60's like beverly cleary or the hardy boys). some of the true classics most kids aren't ready for until they are about 6th grade (mark twain, robert louis stevinson, etc).
E.B. White (Charlotte's Web, etc.)

just let him have fun with it and keep his love of reading and learning.

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answers from Los Angeles on

We have the same issue, however, my son doesn't get scared by much. He's 10 and comprehends at the 9th grade level. Right now he's been enjoying 39 Clues books. They're an easy read for him though, but fun stories with online options to enhance the story. He just started Eragon which he's addicted to and is challenging his vocabulary. He says Ric Riordin is his favorite author, especially the Percy Jackson series. He has loved reading Roald Dahl and Beverly Cleary when he was younger. The Harry Potter series is fabulous, but later books get a little dark. The Chronicles of Narnia have been highly recommended, but my son had trouble getting into them. I hope this helps and good luck finding books to put into your DS's hands!

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answers from Seattle on

Here's a list of a few books that my 7 year old daughter has been reading:

The Call of the Wild
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Oliver Twist
Black Beauty
The Jungle Book

These are all the actual versions by original authors no abridged or children's versions, though I do realize a few are "kids" books.

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answers from Eugene on

Battle of the Books have great book lists for different grade levels. My dd doesn't do the battle, but selects books from the list every year. Many states have their own list. OBOB-Oregon Battle of the Books-is different than ABOB list. Great place to look.

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answers from Detroit on

Haven't read the other responses but I was thinking about the Time Quintet by Madeleine L'Engle - I loved that series when I was a kid.

Loved "Watership Down" by Richard Adams too.

Would Harry Potter scare him too much?

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answers from Cleveland on

For me, growing up I loved reading. No matter what it was. I guess I would have been called a gifted reader.
I started reading the Chronicles of Narnia around that time and Loved all of them. Not sure if he would be scared by those.

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answers from Chicago on

Choose Your Own Adventure books by R.A. Montgomery

Chasing Vermeer and other books in the series by Blue Balliet (not as difficult of a reading level, but more thought-provoking)

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answers from San Diego on

I love all the variety in the answers so far! I would add The Mysterious Benedict Society trilogy to the list.



answers from Los Angeles on

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