The 8+ age group marks a growth spurt in our children—physically, emotionally, and mentally. They become more curious to find out the ‘whys’ behind everything, and then draw conclusions of their own. This is the stage where they are slowly budding into more mature children, making it an interesting year for both them and their parents.
Children in the 8+ age group show rapid development in their vocabularies, especially if they’re encouraged to read outside their school curriculum. They develop an ability to play on words, understand irony and exhibit verbal humor. At this stage of their lives, we should encourage our children to learn, grow, explore, and try new things.
Here are a few books that I recommend for children of 8+ age group (remember each child has their own reading level and even older children who haven’t read these books should be encouraged to read them at least once):
Arabian Nights is a collection of Middle Eastern folk tales based on the theme of fate and destiny.
Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Jungle Book’ is a fictional novel that focuses on the importance of preservation and acceptance of other species.
Anna Sewell’s ‘Black Beauty’ is a fictional novel that teaches children to be kind to animals.
‘Heidi’ by Johanna Spyri is a fictional novel that informs us of the restorative and healing power of nature through a captivating tale of a Heidi and her grandfather.
‘Stuart Little’ by E.B. White is a fantasy novel focussing on conflict, coping, persistence, and hope.
‘Alice’s Adventure in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll is a fantasy novel based on a child’s struggle to survive in the confusing world of adults.
‘Peter and Wendy’ by J. M. Barrie is a fantasy novel that reminds children not to lose the magic of childhood while growing up.
‘Dear Mr. Henshaw’ by Beverly Cleary is a fictional novel dealing with emotions of growing up, of disappointment and anger.
‘Gulliver’s Travels’ by Washington Irving is a fantasy novel that teaches the value of freedom, progress, and change.
‘A Journey to the Center of the Earth’ by Jules Verne is an adventure + science fiction that focuses on the importance of perseverance and teaches children to continue on their journey despite hardships and doubts. Another fictional novel on perseverance in messy situations is Beverly Cleary’s ‘Ramona’.
‘Malgudi Days’ by R. K. Narayan is a short story collection that encourages children to overcome struggles of living in a small town, while Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni encourages children never to give up through the fantasy novel, ‘The Conch Bearer’.
‘Grimm’s Fairy Tales’ by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm are based on the theme of Good v/s Evil and assures the young readers that justice prevails in the end. ‘The Chronicles of Narnia’ by C. S. Lewis also focuses on the theme of Good vs. Evil, betrayal, forgiveness, courage, and transformation.
‘Goosebumps’ by R. L. Stine is a Horror fiction series that blends humour with the theme of horror and the supernatural.
To satisfy children’s curiosity, they can read ‘Sister Sister series’ by Roopa Pai, an author who won the Children’s Book Trust award for science writing.
There are several comic book series that are entertaining as well as enlightening for young readers. ‘Tintin’ by Herge (Georges Remi) is about the spirit of adventure. ‘Tinkle’ by Anant Pai sets the child’s brain in motion.
‘The Champak Comic Book Series’ imparts life lessons through animals. Pran Kumar Sharma’s ‘Chacha Chaudhary’ contains a lesson of intelligence and demonstrates how a strong mind is more powerful than a strong body through various short stories. ‘Amar Chitra Katha’ by Anant Pai teaches the children about our rich cultural heritage, mythology, ancient history, and Indian traditions.
Panchatantra Stories by Vishnu Sharma are fables of virtues and vices. The short stories of ‘Akbar Birbal’ encourages children to find simple witty solutions to all problems and ‘Tenali Raman’ by C. L. L. Yaprada is focused on wisdom and a good sense of humour. Mahakavi Somdev Bhatt imparts life lessons through his collection of fantasy short stories, ‘Vikram Betaal’ while Ruskin Bond’s collection of short stories beautifully depicts nature, innocence, love, and internal longing.
Have fun reading these fantastic books and let me know of your favourite titles that I missed mentioning here.