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Chapter 37 - The Reluctant Dragon

Over the summer a number of parents have come in looking for books for their reluctant readers. I have a personal mantra that everyone is a reader, many have just not discovered the right book yet. When I get requests like this I try to figure out what the young reader is interested in. What I have found is if you find a book about a child's interest, generally they like the book.

This doesn't work all the time as there are just some children who are obdurate in not reading. The harder mom and dad push, the more the child digs in and then, what should be a pleasure becomes a fight. This is no fun for anyone.

Here is a list of books which may kick off a reading habit in a reluctant reader you know. As always, I would be happy to hear any books you have found particularly helpful in getting young non-readers to read.

Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold - I was introduced to this book by my 6 year old grandson. The Fly Guy series is terrific for children just starting to read.

The Magic Treehouse Series by Mary Pope Osborne - This is a brilliant series by Osborne who has written 31 books in this series alone. Not only are they good stories for children just starting to read chapter books but they also give factual information. Many of the books have a parent/teacher guide that gives even more information about the topic discussed. The books have a brother/sister team Jack and Annie who discover a treehouse which takes them places.

Hank Zipzer by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver - I love these books by Henry Winkler who has his own reading story to tell as he struggled with dyslexia most of his life. Hank Zipzer, a boy who is considered "the world's greatest underachiever, also has dyslexia but that doesn't stop him from finding ways to show his creativity. This is a terrific read for the 8 to 10 crowd.

Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce - I first read this book at 9 or 10 and have been enchanted with it since then. Tom is sent to live with his elderly aunt and uncle one summer when his brother gets sick. Expecting a boring time, he hears the old grandfather clock in the hall chime thirteen times, and he’s transported back to an old garden where he meets a young, lonely girl named Hatty. The 60th anniversary edition of this book was released in April of this year.

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney - Part novel, part graphic novel and all fun, this series is great for reluctant 8 to 10 year olds and all about growing up. While it is written about a boy, it is enjoyable by all. Dork Diaries written by Rachel Renee Russell is a similar approach but more for girls. Both have multiple books in the series.

The Reluctant Dragon by Kenneth Grahame - The author who brought us The Wind In The Willows also gave us this little treasure. In the story, a young boy finds a mushroom-loving dragon living near his home. The two become friends, but soon afterwards the dragon is discovered by the townsfolk, who send for St George to rid them of it. The illustrations on the 70th Anniversary edition are by E.H. Shephard who also did the illustrations for Winnie The Pooh. The 75th Anniversary edition is now available.

You may order these or other books at

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