I know in my last Raising Readers post I talked about the top 5 picture books for children aged 5-9 years so it might seem strange that I have altered the ages here to talk about books for children aged 6-8 years. The simple answer is that there are no hard and fast rules when it comes to the right type of book and the right type of age. Some children pick up reading quickly and devour everything you put in front of them and for some it takes a little longer.
Meg and Eli are both voracious readers but at 6 and 8 they still enjoy the odd picture book alongside more complex reads so I’ve picked 6-8 years as this is typically when a child will be looking at advancing to chapter books with fewer pictures and more words. That said, there is no right or wrong and if your child is younger and chomping at the bit then let them go. Or if they are older and only just now getting into reading then you may find some of these books to be a great starting point. As I said, no hard and fast rules here. I think children should enjoy reading and that should come above all else.
There are absolutely stacks of books aimed at this age group and I understand it can feel a little overwhelming. As I mentioned in my very first book, this is about finding books which your children enjoy so whether that’s books about fairies or non-fiction books about sharks…as long as they are enjoying it then you should too.
It made this list very tricky to make, to narrow it down to just 5 books but I wanted to share the books that we have appreciated as a family, in the hope that it might inspire you to read them too.
1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
These books are absolutely fantastic options for children who want to progress into longer books without necessarily losing all pictures. They are told with a great mixture of words and cartoons and they are pretty amusing to boot. The books focus around a young boy called Greg Heffley who gets into all kinds of scrapes as he tries to prove himself at his new school. The books are told in the form of Greg’s diary and with the movies now out to accompany them, I think these are excellent books to start with.
2. The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton
I think all of Enid Blyton’s books should be a staple in a household of readers but there is something rather special about her Magic Faraway Tree series. They are silly and yet straightforward and open up a whole world of imagiation for children. I will admit that Eli was less keen on these books than Meg but if you are looking for a book full of magical adventure then you can’t go wrong here. These books tell the story of three siblings who move to a new home and find an enchanted wood right on their doorstep. They are whisked off into a magical world where they meet a whole host of new and interesting characters which will keep children turning the pages, just to see what happens next.
3. The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
If you’ve read my other posts you will have seen Jill Murphy’s name crop up already and The Worst Witch is her series for slightly older children. Meg had all of the books and absolutely raced through them; they are the ideal length with enough adventure and mischief to capture most children’s attention. There’s also a CBBC television series to go along with them. These books are about Mildred Hubble, a trainee witch at Miss Cackle’s Academy for Witches but, unfortunately, she just can’t seem to get anything right and as such, complete chaos is usually not very far behind.
4. Mortimer Keene by Tim Healey
These are fairly new discoveries for us; Eli went through a long stage of not wanting to pick anything too heavy going up and then I alighted on a Mortimer Keene book in a charity shop and he absolutely ate it up. He has since read most of the books through four or five times and still finds them as funny as he did the first time round. With titles such as ‘Attack of the Slime’ and ‘Robot Riot’ you can quickly get an idea of what these books are about. They are fast-paced, funny, engaging and have a great mix of rhyming language and creative illustrations.
5. The BFG by Roald Dahl
Finally, I am going to insert and suggest another classic author in the form of Roald Dahl. Roald Dahl has a number of books suitable for all kinds of ages. The likes of Esio Trot and Fantastic Mr Fox are perfect for younger readers and the books progress is difficulty as you go along. I’ve picked out The BFG because along with Matilda it is a personal favourite of mine and I seem to have passed a love of the story onto Meg and Eli as well. Some of the language in Roald Dahl’s books can be a little tricky but this is actually what I love about them as it pushes the boundaries of children’s language and encourages conversation between adults and children about the meaning behind words. If you haven’t picked up a Roald Dahl book yet then I highly recommend you do!