Need books for my goddaughter to read

bigfatcarp93

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Queen Michael said:
A Series of Unfortunate Events isn't sf or fantasy, but it's darn good.
Well... it's a touch fantasy-esque.

OT: Trying to answer this made me realize that I don't really read anything age-appropriate for little kids, lol. Again, I guess I'll just echo Unfortunate Events.
 

09philj

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It's difficult for me to remember back so far, but here's a few I really like I probably first read when I was about eleven or twelve:

Mortal Engines by Phillip Reeve - Dieselpunk post-nuclear future sci-fi about gigantic moving cities which eat each other.

Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy - Smart and funny urban fantasy series about an undead detective mage and his teenage sidekick.

Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror by Chris Priestly - Ghost stories. Really bloody good ones.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer - Very witty science fantasy about interactions between a teenage criminal mastermind and fairies.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams - You should know what this is.

Dracula by Bram Stoker - Ditto

Gone by Michael Grant - Imagine if Lord of the Flies was re-imagined by Stephen King, only better. Although I was probably capable of reading this at twelve, it scared me so shitless I stopped early on and didn't pick it up again for about a year or possibly more.
 

Lord Garnaat

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I will second The Chronicles of Narnia: in terms of children's novels that are both light-hearted and complex, you can't get much better.

I'm surprised that I haven't seen more people recommending The Hobbit, though - it's one of the best children's books of all time! Not least because it remains entertaining no matter what reading level or age you are. So I highly recommend that one.

Now for two unorthodox options. First, I recently started reading a classic in the adventure genre, one of the first real swashbuckling tales of exotic lands and simple fun, and that is King Solomon's Mines. Despite being a very old book, it is written in a very simple and straightforward way that wouldn't pose a challenge to a smart kid like your goddaughter, and was actually a childhood inspiration to a whole generation of adventurous writers and leaders: C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Theodore Roosevelt were all huge fans of it growing up, and some of it inspired their own works.

I will say, however, that it is a product of its time: being set in colonial Africa lends it to some (relatively mild) racist content - there are no n-words (aside from a little one in the introduction) but there is a subtext behind it that you may want to be careful of. I would still say to try it, though: perhaps read it yourself to judge whether its appropriate or not, but most kids would latch onto the adventure aspects and pass right over the questionable stuff, and again its very mild anyways.

And for my second recommendation, I would consider trying an early sci-fi novel: A Canticle for Leibowitz. The basic premise is monks trying to preserve knowledge and learning after a nuclear war wipes out civilization and fosters violent anti-intellectualism in the remaining humanity. It isn't very long, but it is dense and tightly packed with symbolism and complex ideas. the actual content of it would be completely age appropriate - there isn't really any swearing or gore of any kind - but its weighty enough that I would only recommend it if you feel she would be able to grasp it all. I'm sure you're a good judge of that, though, so take that however you will.
 

Shaun Crouch

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Glad to see somebody else has already suggested Pratchett. The beauty of those books is that if she likes them, she'll probably start reading some of the harder ones as well - so she'll actually be reading to an even higher standard relatively early.

Plus, when she's older, she'll be able to read them *again* and pick up on all the jokes she was too young to get the first time.
 

w00tage

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Allow me to suggest that you steer away from scary / horror / adult content things for the moment? Just because she can read at a higher level doesn't mean she's ready for the more emotionally impactful content she might find therein.

The important thing is to let her experience for herself how fun reading can be (and writing creatively too, if she has the ability.). I'd suggest sticking with fun / interesting / light stuff, especially that which is based on reality. Fantasy and sci-fi are great but she's learning about the real world for the first time, so at the moment it's also pretty important to encourage her interest in that.

I'll go ahead and recommend Librarything.com's Young Adults group for suggestions on books which hit both the reading level and age group marks. Librarything has great people who won't steer you wrong.
 

FPLOON

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The Guardians of Ga'Hoole series, in my opinion, is worth the read... and the author is female, so is that bonus points or something? :p Also, there's the Molly Moon series, but I've only read the first two books...

Other than that, there's the Haruhi Suzumiya novels as well as most of the books/series mentioned in this thread that may or may not have a movie-based adaptation to them... like A Wrinkle In Time...
 

necromanzer52

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Has she read the hobbit? Cause I can't recommend that book enough. Not really any female characters to speak of but there are plenty of good recommendations in that area in this thread already and it really is a marvellous book. Wait til she's a bit older before dropping lord of the rings on her however.
 

KyuubiNoKitsune-Hime

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I have a fairly simple suggestion she might like if she can manage to follow Nancy Drew and Harry Potter:

The Maximum Ride series by James Patterson is a pretty good little read.

If she can handle some more graphic stuff, or something to keep in mind for later, as I always suggest, is the Honor Harrington series by David Weber. It's not sexual, or anything, but quite a few people do get horrifically wounded and killed in the books.

Some what easier to tackle would be The Company series by Kage Baker, I especially like the first to books The Garden of Iden and Sky Coyote.

Also if you can find them, I highly suggest The Saint series by Leslie Charteris, although Meet the Tiger might be a slog for your goddaughter this early on, it's still definitely worth it.
 

Callate

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My daughter (12) very much enjoyed the School For Good and Evil books. I also much recommend Jonathon Stroud, both the Bartimaeus books and the new Lockwood and Co. ones. The latter has a female protagonist, Bartimaeus an important female character (though she doesn't really come into focus until book 2.)

As far as His Dark Materials goes, well... Does "goddaughter" imply a religious upbringing? Golden Compass is a very good book, but the latter ones (especially the last) get rather baldly anti-theist. Sort of Narnia in reverse. Just a heads-up; if it's not an issue, go for it, but it would be unfortunate to get her something her parents would find offensive.
 

Neurotic Void Melody

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Has no one memtioned His dark Materials yet? Well better mention it again then. His Dark Materials. It's fantasy setting, protagonist girl and magic talking shapeshifting animal companions seems perfect for a learned mind.
I made the mistake of seeing the golden compass before reading, so Daniel Craig's face is forever stuck to Lord Asriel's through the entire read. Ehh, conflicting emotions!

Not sure if hunger games would be too dark a subject, I would imagine so but shouldn't assume knowledge. The third book is a bit rough on its' characters too.

Some Douglas Adams, cos why not? It hasn't hurt anybody so far. *checks google* Nope, still good!
 

Oinodaemon

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secretkeeper12 said:
Something Amyss said:
I second Fox's mention of A Wrinkle In Time.
Make that a third. Unlike most books, you can actually learn from this one!

Personally, I'd recommend Catch-22 [http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes/814330-catch-22] (link provides quotes), on account of how gut-bustingly hilarious it is. If your goddaughter has been reading advanced novels, she should have no problem understanding the (il)logic of military structure satired in this novel. It's a real gem, one of my favorite American novels. Even if you don't care about World War Two, READ IT!
Agree 100% about A Wrinkle in Time, but Catch 22? She's way too young imo for a book like Catch 22, which if I remember correctly has some pretty adult themes, like prostitution, rape, and death.
 

Aris Khandr

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I'll continue to echo the suggestions for A Wrinkle in Time as well. In addition to that, I'll make a suggestion of a book that I absolutely loved when I was her age, Half Magic [http://smile.amazon.com/Half-Magic-Edward-Eager/dp/0152020683/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8]. It is about a girl who finds a coin that makes wishes come true, but only grants half of what she asked for. So not just an enjoyable read, but also has a lesson about thinking things through.
 

sonicneedslovetoo

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I think the Hobbit would be a good book to try, as well as the previously mentioned Tiffany Aching books starting with the Wee Free Men. Beyond that I'm honestly not sure around elementary and middle school I remember reading things like the Belgariad and Dune and eventually the Drizzt books(definitely not appropriate for a first grader). Granted though my family might be a little weird as we have literally destroyed multiple copies of the first Dune book simply through reading through them so much.
 

Glongpre

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-Definitely the Hobbit, if she hasn't read it before. Easy to read, not too long, and a fun adventure.

A good sci-fi book is The Forever War, but I am not sure if she could grasp the time travel ideas. Hmmm, maybe when she is in high school that would be better.

A funny book I remember reading was Captain Underpants. They were pretty enjoyable for little me.

Also, yeah, Deltora Quest was a pretty decent string of books. I still have the two big tomes that have all 8 novels together! I loved that one cover art for the first book (I think) with the bronze knight dude. It has 3 main characters, two guys and a girl. Can barely remember it honestly. Was good though.
 

Nubrain

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I'm shocked that no one has mentioned the Redwall books by Brian Jacques. The first book was written to read to deaf children so the series as a whole is very descriptive with interesting characters and there is a ton of them he basically wrote one book a year from the first one coming out until he died. The books have a fantasy feel of them with the characters being animals. Just make sure you let her read them in published order not chronological order to avoid spoilers. For example in the first book Redwall Abbey is under siege by the villain Cluny the Scourge and the good guys are following this old riddle to try to find the sword of Martian the Warrior a great hero who helped found the abbey. Then the second book Mossflower is with Martian years earlier and at the end of the book it shows him deciding where to hide his sword.