Simon is a fun-loving 12-year old boy who loves Mario, joking around with his friends and bacon. He also loves graphic novels and comics which he would like to read more of, but of which his mom would like him to read less.
When he is not reading comics, books filled with mystery, adventure, and fantasy are his favorite. He doesn’t like fancy words in the books he reads and would prefer word choices that are plain and simple, but funny... kind of like Garfield (his example).
Simon doesn’t like reading unless it is a really good book that he is interested in. He is a slow reader and if he doesn’t like the book, he is a really slow reader. Oftentimes, he will read the first few pages of a book he finds around the house to see if he likes it, if he does, he will try to remember to read it later when he is looking for a new book to read.
Simon asked me for a few personalized picks. To help me help him, I asked him to share three of his favorite books and one he was not so crazy about. Here are his favorites:
1. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
Some of the things Simon liked about this story was how Claudia only picked her brother to come with her because of his money. He liked their relationship, how they argue but still work together. He liked how independent they were. For example, they found money to live off of in the museum by pulling coins from the fountain. He also thought the description of the mansion in the book made it sound really fun.
2. Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
Simon liked the mystery aspect of this story. He liked how it ended (including a joke about a lawyer) and that the characters worked in a bakery.
3. Jim Elliot: One Great Purpose by Janet Benge
Simon liked learning about the missionary Jim Elliot and his work with the tribes in Ecuador. He liked the jungle setting of the book and the tree house they were building. He did not like how it ended because Jim Elliot died in the end, and it made him sad. Nevertheless, he still really liked the book and the story. In fact, when he finished Jim Elliot he read a book on Nate Saint (a missionary who worked with Jim) and enjoyed that one too.
One book Simon did not like (and one he read a long time ago) was Voyage with the Vikings by Paul Mccosker (part of the AIO Imagination Station books). He said it just wasn’t interesting to him.
When coming up with books for Simon, based on the books he liked I decided to look for stories with independent kids solving mysteries or going on great adventures. I also wanted to find books that had bits of humor woven into them. And, if the stories could be told in an interesting setting that would be a plus. I asked if he wanted a biography recommendation, but he said I should stick with fiction. With that in mind, I decided on the following three recommendations for Simon:
1. Swindle by Gordon Korman
Swindle tells the story of Griffin, the Man with the Plan. In the midst of his day-to-day adventures Griffin and his best friend Ben come across a rare and valuable Babe Ruth baseball card. The problem is they don’t realize it in time and are swindled out of their card by a local collector. The boys take matters into their own hands, enlist the help of some friends and come up with a plan to pull off the biggest heist in their town’s history. I picked this one for Simon because it is a fun adventure, infused with humor and lots of action.
2. The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
For kids who like mystery and figuring things out, The Westing Game is a great choice. The mystery begins when 16 strangers are brought together for the reading of millionaire Samuel W. Westing’s will. The will lays out a game that all the strangers must participate in for the chance to inherit the fortune. I picked this one for Simon because he enjoys mystery and as mysteries go, this is a really fun one to try to figure out while you are reading along.
Peter has been an orphan all his life, trained in thievery. His life is changed forever when he steals a box of magical eyes that ultimately sends him on a quest to help others. A fun, fantastical tale that is quirky, has a sense of humor and lots and lots of adventure. (There is a bit of bloody violence in this book, but nothing is too over the top or graphic.) I think Simon will enjoy the story and hope the adventures of Peter Nimble will keep him turning the pages until the very last one.
If you have any personalized picks or recommendations for Simon, I'd love for you to share them in the comments. Thanks for reading along!
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