A RL friend asked me whether Gone With the Wind would be suitable for her advanced-reading 10 year old. I pointed her to some reviews, but basically said that it was a teen book due to content, and it might be best to wait until she was a teen, or read it with her to help her process the sexual themes and violence.
This got me thinking about other classics that might be great substitutes for that eager reader looking for a “big book.” I love the kids who love reading so much that they want to dive in and not come up for a long time, craving the door-stopper variety that would injure your pinky toe.
And I wonder if that would change with the e-book revolution? Hmm…
Some advanced readers are quite capable of decoding the language in classic books, but don’t have the patience for out-of-date words and phrases, or cultural references that go over their heads. However, if your children are up for that kind of challenge, or just like to explore new things, the classics are a fantastic way to give them challenging reading material.
Here’s a few classics that would make good reads for those advanced-reading middle graders (they also often have excellent movie adaptations that can bridge the cultural gap):
Little Women (RL 7.9) (movie is 11+)
Pride and Prejudice (RL 12.0)-a lot of romance, but tame enough
for tweens (even the movie is 11+)
Gulliver’s Travels (RL 13.5) (movie is 6+)
20,000 Leagues under the Sea (RL 10.0) (movie is 9+)
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (RL 7.0) (movie is 11+ Young Sherlock Holmes, not the recent one with the adorable Jude Law)
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (RL 8.1)
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (RL 7.4) (the new movie is 10+, I love Johnny Depp, but he scares me in this one!)
Around the World in 80 days (RL 9.6) (the goofy movie with Jackie Chan is 8+)
Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz (RL7.4) (The Movie!!! Flying monkeys!!!)
The Jungle Book (RL 7.4) (Just look for the bear necessities, the simple bear necessities …)
Peter Pan (RL 7.2) (How many movies?)
The Swiss Family Robinson (RL 9.7) (movie is 8+)
Treasure Island (RL 8.3) (The Muppet Movie! Classic)
Note: Reading levels all refer to the original, unabridged versions. Make sure you get the right one, as there are many abridged versions.
Many of these are also thinking books, so expect the midgets to come up with lots of questions.
What classics do you think are suitable for tweens?