I encourage my kids to be readers! It inspires their imaginations, teaches them about new places and perspectives, builds empathy, and stretches their vocabularies. Plus, it’s one of my personal favorite sources of entertainment.
We have a precocious reader in our midst, so I’m always on the lookout for age-appropriate topics in books with great characters and storylines. Here are my favorites for 1st and 2nd graders!
Book Gifts for 6-8 Year-Olds
1. Growing up, the quirky, lovable Ramona Quimby was a character I connected with. We gifted the whole Ramona series to my now-second-grader last year, and she has read and reread every book in the series. (You can dip a toe in by buying them in 4-book sets: The Ramona Collection, Volume 1 & Volume 2)
2. Wild-haired and thoughtful, Clementine is the Ramona of my daughter’s generation. Good-hearted and curious, she is always getting into scrapes and working out ways to get out of them. These books are full of interesting characters and I personally think it’s totally worth it to buy a few at a time, like this Box of Clementines (which my daughter also re-reads often!).
3. The Magic Treehouse books are great introductory chapter books for boys or girls, and they’re also nice reluctant readers. Magic, history, time travel, and lots of adventures make this series engaging for young readers. The first 4 books come in a boxed set, too!
4. I love Beverly Cleary, and The Mouse and the Motorcyle is a lot of fun. Ralph S. Mouse, finds a toy motorcycle and guess what? It works!
5. More advanced readers will love the magic and heroic kid-characters in The Roald Dahl Collection, which features classics like James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and my personal favorite, Matilda. Some of these books can have slightly darker themes than the first three (but nothing I’m concerned about, and I’m picky about what I choose for my kids) so they’re great to read together or discuss as your child reads.
6. A few beat-up paperbacks from my childhood have stood the test of time. Written by Julie Andrews (yes! Julie Andrews!) Mandy is one of the few books I’ve kept since I got it as an elementary schooler. My 90’s copy is still on our bookshelf! A story of a young orphan who discovers and restores a tiny cottage in the woods, it appealed to my craving for adventure and independence. I’m gifting it to my 7-year-old for Christmas this year.
7. Another great series for avid and reluctant readers alike, The Boxcar Children series follows the adventures of four siblings as they hunt down clues to solve mysteries.
8. The Lego Ideas Book looks like a great source of inspiration for little engineers. It’s on our wishlist for this year. 🙂
9. Where the Sidewalk Ends and it’s other counterparts by Shel Silverstein are probably the only poetry books I really connected with as a child. Full of poems that range from silly to poignant, it’s a nice introduction to a new kind of literature–and a wonderful reading option for kids with short attention spans. 🙂
10. We also love our Christmas I Spy book this time of year. The kids and I spend time together poring over its pages as we search for a the hidden items (and some of them are surprisingly hard!). There are tons of other I Spy books, too, and they’re great for passing time on long trips, in doctor’s offices, or hanging out by the fire. 🙂
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