- BC Games
Connect with Us
GOOD READ: Kids' novels that adults will like, too
I feel like I’m part of a secret club whose membership is made up of anyone who reads children’s literature. We are all bonded together because of our special knowledge and I’m going to let you in on the secret: There are a lot of good books written for children that would also satisfy even the most discerning adult reader.
Perhaps you’re looking for something a bit different from the usual or, perhaps, you want a book you can share with, or read to, your children without rolling your eyes at every sappy passage. Here are a few outstanding titles that you’ll want to keep reading long after the kids have gone to sleep.
Half-Moon Investigations is a hard-boiled detective novel by bestselling author Eoin Colfer. The novel is narrated by wisecracking 12-year-old Fletcher Moon, Private Detective. So far, Moon’s investigations have been limited to missing pets and lost items but now that he has his shiny investigator’s badge, he’s ready to move up to the big time — no more getting paid in chocolate. What takes this novel above and beyond your average mystery is Moon’s pitch-perfect narrative tone. Colfer has blended a hard-boiled detective and a 12-year-old, then added his characteristic Irish wit for a believable and magical result.
I love the puzzles in Trenton Lee Stewart’s The Mysterious Benedict Society. In this adventurous mystery novel, four unique children are recruited to perform a secret undercover mission at the Learning Institute for the Very Enlightened in order to thwart a world domination plot. It’s an exciting brain-teaser novel with a satisfying conclusion.
There is a sense of nostalgia for grown-up readers of Summer of Permanent Wants by Jamieson Findlay. It is a modern children’s novel written in the style of a classic adventure story but with none of the hang-ups that come with being printed in the 1960s. Eleven year old Emmaline can no longer speak due to a brain fever contracted in Africa while on a trip with her parents. After a year of frustrating rehabilitation, she takes a summer holiday with her grandmother on Permanent Wants, a canal boat and floating used bookstore. Emmaline slowly travels the Rideau River having a series of wild and strange adventures with the people she meets along the way.
Polly Horvath is an amazing Canadian author whose writing is blessed with a sense of humour. In Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, Detectives Extraordinaire, Horvath presents a hilarious parody of the talking animal genre. Madeline’s unreliable hippy parents have been kidnapped by a gang of foxes and it is up to her to rescue them. Luckily, she stumbles across Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, dressed in their new fedoras and eager for their first case. Sophie Blackall’s illustrations accent the book’s satire. The picture of Mr. Bunny in his purple platform go-go boots had me laughing out loud.
Another great Canadian children’s book with a more serious tone is The Whole Truth by Kit Pearson. After their father’s death, 10-year-old Polly and her older sister Maud are sent to live with their estranged grandmother on a small island just off the coast of Vancouver Island. Polly is struggling to adjust to her new life when her sister must go away to boarding school in Victoria and Polly is left on her own to keep the biggest secret of her life.
There are so many gems in the children’s section — this is only a small selection. Come browse at your local library or ask a librarian for more suggestions. It’s an area ripe for discovery.
A Good Read is a column by Tri-City librarians. Reta Pyke works at Port Moody Public Library.