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Ask Slashdot: Best Science-Fiction/Fantasy For Kids?

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the getting-them-started-early dept.

Sci-Fi 726

Jason Levine writes "My son is 8 years old. I'd love to get him interested in science-fiction, but most of the books I can think of seem to be targeted to older kids/adults. Thinking that the length of some novels might be off-putting to him, I read him some of the short stories in Isaac Asimov's I, Robot. He liked these, but I could tell he was having a hard time keeping up. I think the wording of the stories was too advanced and there was too much talking and not enough action. Personally, I love Asimov, but I think much of it just went over his head. Which science fiction and/or fantasy books would you recommend for an 8-year-old? (Either stories he could read himself or that we could read together over the course of a few weeks.)"

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Don't try (5, Insightful)

crazyjj (2598719) | about 2 years ago | (#40388517)

My advice might seem a little cynical, but the first thing I always tell someone who asks "How do I get my kid to like X?" is to tell them "Don't." If they're anything like my kids, mom and dad trying to sell them on something is the quickest way to make it the most uncool thing in the universe.

When I was a kid, my dad kept trying to sell me on Westerns. Whether or not that had anything to do with it, or whether it was just my nature, I can tell you that I *hated* Westerns then and still do. Of course, I never had the heart to tell the old man, and humored him to no end. But if there was ever any chance I was going to like those bastards Louis L'Amour or John Ford, my dad trying to make them seem "cool" certainly guaranteed that it was never going to happen.

As an alternative, why not ask your kid what HE likes, and YOU read some of HIS stuff instead? It will probably be a bunch of crap (my evil kids stuck me with reading those damned Harry Potter and pussy vampire books). But at least you won't be turning him off to something.

Re:Don't try (2, Interesting)

Grog6 (85859) | about 2 years ago | (#40388567)

I'd already read most of Asimov at 8, and lost my chemistry set privileges. :)

Not going to be a geek, is he?

I'd start with Niven's Ringworld; I remember reading that before puberty, lol.

Re:Don't try (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388677)

I would have said, "yeah, dad, sure," and then tossed that crap in the trash can when he wasn't looking. Then I would have went outside, UNSUPERVISED, as was acceptable and even encouraged for kids back then. Then I had actual face-to-face contact with my friends and their parents before my friends and I went to jump bikes UNSUPERVISED and WITHOUT HELMETS (WHAT?! But you could've DIED doing that!).

Why the hell would I waste my time reading Asimov while I was reading National Lampoon magazines? Yes, before they sponsored crappy frat-boy movies, National Lampoon was a magazine full of intelligent adult humor with gratuitous nudity. But none of you will remember that, because you're too busy beating it to anime. Fools!
  -- Ethanol-fueled

Re:Don't try (4, Interesting)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about 2 years ago | (#40388835)

I remember those old times, be home before the street lights come on. Did you used to see how far you could go during a day and still be home before dark? Farthest I go was from Houston, TX to Pasadena, TX and back home before dark. Roughly 14 miles one way, not too shabby for an 8 year old.

Re:Don't try (4, Insightful)

g0bshiTe (596213) | about 2 years ago | (#40388777)

We are talking about an 8 year old. They usually tend to still think their parents are cool at that age.

Tolkien, of course (4, Insightful)

plover (150551) | about 2 years ago | (#40388527)

I read the Hobbit to my son around first grade, and we read Lord of the Rings when he was about 7. This was ten years before the movies came out, and he was able to use his own imagination instead of seeing Peter Jackson's imagination at work. Highly recommended - he still has fond memories of our reading those books, and even said so this weekend.

If you read them over the course of a few weeks or so they are like any serial, where you learn to keep track of who is where and doing what, and enjoy the anticipation of finding out what comes next. I wouldn't assume they have to be short stories, they just have to hold his interest.

Re:Tolkien, of course (3, Interesting)

getto man d (619850) | about 2 years ago | (#40388751)

Thanks for sharing. My father read The Hobbit to me when I was about the same age as your son (~5 years old). I absolutely loved it and, when I was older, read LOTR on my own (still remember being mad that Bilbo wasn't the main character anymore), which started a long and interesting journey throughout the fantasy genre.

I'm sure the Harry Potter series would serve as a great starting point as well.

Re:Tolkien, of course (1)

Mashiki (184564) | about 2 years ago | (#40388895)

I read the hobbit when I was in grade 5, my teacher thought it was pretty damn neat. And said "If there are words or sentences you don't understand, come to me and I'll explain." But easy sci-fi and fantasy are the best, WoT is pretty heavy reading, so is most of it. My suggestion though is comic books. That's what started me on sci-fi.

Re:Tolkien, of course (1)

dintech (998802) | about 2 years ago | (#40388977)

When I was his age, I really loved reading the choose-your-own-adventure type books. The wording is easy, they're suitable for boys and the gamification of reading is pretty good at holding a kid's attention.

I really recommend the Fighting Fantasy [wikipedia.org] series by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingston, the co-founders of Games Workshop (Warhammer). Ones I fondly remember were Robot Commando [amazon.co.uk], Temple of Terror [amazon.co.uk] and Midnight Rogue [amazon.co.uk]. I also really enjoyed the larger scale "Sorcery!" series that Steve Jackson did.

These gave me a pretty good appetite for getting into Dungeons and Dragons, Warhammer 40K and other Sci-Fi and Fantasy reading.

Short, Fiction, with simple words (-1, Flamebait)

StillNeedMoreCoffee (123989) | about 2 years ago | (#40388545)

Republican talking points

Stfu, troll (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388649)

Wow! The seething ideological hate in some is astounding. Guy asks what his kid sould read, and this is the unwanted, festering bullshit you spew out? This makes you better than some Republican how, exactly?

Re:Stfu, troll (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388775)

It's not hate, it's humor, just because Republicans are stupid, that doesn't mean that Democrats hate them.

Re:Short, Fiction, with simple words (1)

LifesABeach (234436) | about 2 years ago | (#40388671)

I wonder if the parent considered the 1938 radio broadcast of "War of the Worlds," or FOX News?

Re:Short, Fiction, with simple words (2)

Herkum01 (592704) | about 2 years ago | (#40388963)

You need to consider that one of them is one is fiction, and the other is straight out delusional...

Re:Short, Fiction, with simple words (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388907)

I've got one better its called Global Warming. Insert politics into everything, right out of the dictators play book. Anyone ever trace where some of this crap comes from(not this one)? You'd be amazed most of this crap is right from the government itself, social scientists. Slash dot has become such crap.

Tripods (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388553)

Christopher's Tripods trilogy is aimed at the younger reader. There's even an old British TV adaptation of the first two books.

Re:Tripods (1)

billmil (59216) | about 2 years ago | (#40388879)

Mod this one up.

Pre-teen boys work to understand and undermine alien race controlling the planet

I found it a great read is a kid.

Re:Tripods (1)

btpier (587890) | about 2 years ago | (#40388925)

Christopher's Tripods trilogy is aimed at the younger reader. There's even an old British TV adaptation of the first two books.

I'll second the Tripods trilogy. I got them around 8-10 myself.

Jules Verne! (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388555)

I was totally reading Jules Verne as a young kid. They're easy reads, often interesting for kids, and are very light-hearted/G-rated.

"The Road" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388563)

'nuff said.

Jules Verne (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388569)

I'd say anything by Jules Verne. I read most of his work between 8 and 10 and I couldn't be happier.

Harry Potter in space (5, Informative)

fuo (941897) | about 2 years ago | (#40388575)

Ender's Game.

Re:Harry Potter in space (1)

din0 (2608929) | about 2 years ago | (#40388757)

Yes, I was reading Ender's Game at this age, though that was the 80s ... it might be rated MA by today's standards

Re:Harry Potter in space (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388813)

No, it's rated BS by today's standards.

Re:Ender's Game, in graphic novel format (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388807)

Kids like Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game books. I have given the Marvel-published graphic novel version as gifts to nephews, and they really got into it. If they like the story, you can tell them there's more to read in the full-text version.


Re:Harry Potter in space (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388811)

Ender's Game.

Uhm.. well, if you don't mind the violence, it is pretty brutal at some points.

Personally I would go for something along the lines of Rama. (The first book, not the triology.)

Re:Harry Potter in space (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388843)

Because xenocide is such a great concept for an 8-year-old? Or because Card is practically an apologist for the Master Race?

Re:Harry Potter in space (1)

wynterwynd (265580) | about 2 years ago | (#40388883)

Eh, maybe not. There's some pretty rough stuff in that game and some very adult moments. Kids die, some psychologically disturbing stuff, and gets fairly bleak towards the end. Wait till about 12 :)

Re:Harry Potter in space (2)

wynterwynd (265580) | about 2 years ago | (#40388903)

Eh, maybe not. There's some pretty rough stuff in that book* and some very adult moments. Kids die, some psychologically disturbing stuff, and gets fairly bleak towards the end. Wait till about 12 :)


Heinlein Juvies. (5, Informative)

HornWumpus (783565) | about 2 years ago | (#40388579)

'Space Cadet', 'Rocket Ship Galileo', 'Have Space Suit Will Travel' etc etc.

Re:Heinlein Juvies. (4, Insightful)

Jhon (241832) | about 2 years ago | (#40388931)

Agreed. Those are good starters.

Didn't work for my son,though. He just wasn't interested. But he did go for Harry Potter. I read the first 5 books to him. He re-read those on his own -- then completed the series as it came out.

So, I left him alone to find is own interests. Around age 11 he picked up a copy of Percy Jackson. He ate up the entire series. Turns out he has the same "useless superpower" that I have -- the ability to read freakishly fast. He's now getting ready to turn 13 and has read through most of my older Heinleins (I'm not ready to try to explain to my wife Stranger, Time enough for Love, etc... so those are off limits), Asimovs and all my old "serials" (Simon Hawke, Robert Asprin, etc).

I think the best advice is to READ to your kids. Get them interested. Read what they like. And if you can, Be EMOTIVE when you read.

As a side note, I used to end an evening with a cliff-hanger. Right smack dab in the middle of the chapter there'd be something like "... and then there was a BANG! Ok... We're done for tonight". Drove my son insane. Made him seek out the book and read ahead.

Ender's game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388583)

The hero is kid plus I think it can also be found as a comic book

Tom Swift books (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388587)

The early ones, and the versions written in the 80s.


Re:Tom Swift books (3, Insightful)

farnsaw (252018) | about 2 years ago | (#40388877)

Seconded again, Tom Swift books come in various Generations... get the latest ones for the most relevance to today. But don't ignore the old ones, they are more fun in my opinion.

Neil Ardley : World of Tomorrow (1)

rwa2 (4391) | about 2 years ago | (#40388605)

These were my favourites when I was that age:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=Neil+Ardley+World+of+Tomorrow [amazon.com]

OK, so it's a set of picturebooks without any real story. But I'd like to find something modern and similar for my kids.

Also finding myself showing them old reruns of ST (TOS and TNG), since there are no other Sci Fi worlds I've seen that have a somewhat positive view of the future.

STAR WARS (4, Interesting)

Forrest Kyle (955623) | about 2 years ago | (#40388613)

Have him watch Star Wars in the Machete Order [nomachetejuggling.com] and then get him started on the Timothy Zahn books, Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command. They are awesome! I loved them when I was a kid, and still do.

Two of my first SciFi books... (2)

KendyForTheState (686496) | about 2 years ago | (#40388615)

...when I was a kid were "The Runaway Robot" by Lester del Rey and "Secret Under the Sea" by Robert Silverberg. I think I still have them in a box somewhere.

Re:Two of my first SciFi books... (3, Informative)

KendyForTheState (686496) | about 2 years ago | (#40388669)

Oh, and, while not really Science Fiction, "The Mad Scientists' Club" by Bertrand R. Brinley was pretty cool.

Re:Two of my first SciFi books... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388899)

Yay, you beat me to it. "The Runaway Robot" was my favorite for a long time. It's still a good read.

Fantasy (4, Informative)

COMON$ (806135) | about 2 years ago | (#40388621)

Narnia or Dark is Rising, both are fast paced and worthy of a few chapters at a time. I was read them when I was a kid, by the time we finished Narnia I was reading the books to my parents and was way ahead of my classmates on a reading level.

something lighthearted (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388627)

I'd start with something light hearted and fun.. Grave of the Fireflies comes to mind. (ps i am kidding, don't show your kid Grave of the Fireflies)

Hard for 8 Year Olds But Here's a Core Dump (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 2 years ago | (#40388629)

I don't recall getting into this stuff seriously until I was 11 or 12 but names I would throw out would be Madeline L'Engle (Wrinkle in Time), C.S. Lewis (Perelandra, That Hideous Strength), Ray Bradbury (Martian Chronicles or his short stories), Lowis Lowry (The Giver), Orson Scott Card (Ender's Game although it's a long one for kids), Robert Heinlein (The Star Beast, The Rolling Stones), Arthur C. Clarke (Childhood's End), Terry Pratchett (Johnny Maxwell series) ... now, since I was young there have been a whole raft of others and I think Neil Gaiman is even writing children's books now. I guess some names I've heard that you can look into are Andre Norton, Douglas E. Richards, Terrance Dicks, Donald Moffitt, Larry Niven, Jane Yolen, Gary Paulson, etc.

Just so you know, Asimov did edit collections of sci-fi for children (on his way to having his name on 500 books) and I think I remember Young Mutants and Tomorrow's Children being okay collections.

Re:Hard for 8 Year Olds But Here's a Core Dump (2)

Gutboy (587531) | about 2 years ago | (#40388873)

Asimov also did some books (under the name Paul French) that were intended for juveniles - the Lucky Star [wikipedia.org] series.

Ender's Game (2)

dualboot (125004) | about 2 years ago | (#40388637)

Also any of the Heinlein juvenile books.

Have Spacesuit Will Travel is probably the reason I'm the person I am today.

Farmer in the Sky by Robert Heinlein (2)

genghisjahn (1344927) | about 2 years ago | (#40388651)

It's great for kids. About a young boy and his father who emigrate to a terra-formed Ganymede.

Louis Slobodkin (2)

HockeyPuck (141947) | about 2 years ago | (#40388655)

Check out his series that starts with The Space Ship Under the Apple Tree.

While it was written in 1952, it used to a in every single elementary school library, and is aimed at kids about your child's age.

Start with more simple reads (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388657)

I, robot is pretty advanced for an 8 year old. Start with something easier like Ender's Game, or some good fantasy books by David Eddings or Brandon Sanderson, the latter I know has a great children's fantasy series called Alcatraz vs the Librarians, it's a fun one. Anything like that would be good.

Heinlein, Brackett, Norton, Baum (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388661)

The Oz series has much more science fiction than one normally thinks, and is mostly accessible to young readers.
Much of the work of Robert Heinlein, Leigh Brackett, and Andre Norton is accessible at least to early teens.

Jules Verne (3, Informative)

ddonato (2666703) | about 2 years ago | (#40388663)

I'd say anything by Jules Verne. I read most of his work between 8 and 10 and I couldn't be happier.

Try this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388665)

If you really want him started try Ursula K. LeGuin. Nice a nd easy for young readers. Maybe not as young as 8, though. I'd agree with first responder - don't push him. Get a few books that might interest him but don't push him to read them.

Just my two cents...

my teacher is an alien (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388667)

I remember when i was a young child i was into the My Teacher is an Alien, and My Teacher Fried My Brains series. You could always try to track one of those down for him. If i remember correctly, they aren't long books.

I have a 7 yo and a 9 yo, both boys. (0)

Pirulo (621010) | about 2 years ago | (#40388683)

My biggest mistake is always feeding them with material that is not appropriate for their age yet.
Like RC airplanes that are even difficult for me to flight.

Bat what works best so far is:

1./ No television available at the house
2./ Limited, and directed/restricted access to computer, unless they are programming Lego NXT, RubyKids, or practicing vim skills. (yes, the 9yo edits in vim)
3./ Plenty of reading and art material available.

Most of the time they are either building, reading, or painting something.

Norby! (1)

jockeys (753885) | about 2 years ago | (#40388685)

Written by Asimov and his wife, Norby the Mixed Up Robot (and many sequels) are awesome. Loved them as a kid. Family friendly (no sex, clean language, minimal violence) but entertaining enough for adults.

H. Beam Piper - _Little Fuzzy_ (4, Interesting)

WillAdams (45638) | about 2 years ago | (#40388693)

_not_ Scalzi's reboot.

Charming, stand-alone story which is a part of his ``Terro-Human Future''.

In the public domain, so available from Project Gutenberg:

http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/18137 [gutenberg.org]

If you're travelling at some point in the near future, the version on Librivox:

http://librivox.org/little-fuzzy-by-h-beam-piper/ [librivox.org]

is absolutely professional in its production quality and would make a great story to listen to in the car.


(and I second the suggestions of Verne, Ender's Game and the Heinlein juveniles)

Dune (1)

Zilax (2666555) | about 2 years ago | (#40388695)

Dune remains the all-time great, in my opinion. It pulls together many different themes... It's a coming of age story, it's about becoming a leader, it's about making do with circumstances, and it's about the struggle for resources (spice, water).

Poul Anderson, The High Crusade, maybe Eddings (1)

Modern (252880) | about 2 years ago | (#40388711)

The High Crusade is a pretty simple book that I loved and remembered reading as a kid. It is a good start into SciFi and easy to picture in ones mind while reading. I also suggest David Eddings, the Belgariad series as a good place to start. Good books with lots of imagery and not to difficult.

If you love Asimov ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388723)

I'd suggest Paul French's David "Lucky" Starr series. :)

Kids' Sci-Fi (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388729)

The Norby Chronicles, Asimov

Read (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388739)

Read TO him. Every night. At least one chapter. My kids got started on Bradbury, and Clarke and Heinlein. I read to them pretty much every night until they were well into their teens. They bootstrapped themselves into advanced reading because I read too slow...

A Wrinkle In Time (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388741)

See if you can get your child to relate to Charles Wallace.

Edgar Rice Burroughs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388743)

I got into the John Carter books around that age.

My dad had the editions with the sexy covers (http://blogcritics.org/books/article/book-review-a-princess-of-mars1/) and told me not to read them because I was too young. Instantly hooked!

Danny Dunn... (4, Informative)

LoLobey (1932986) | about 2 years ago | (#40388771)

Books I remember liking from that age that had a science or sci-fi bent were Danny Dunn [wikipedia.org] stories (there were quite a few books, don't know if any are available) and a book called the Dinosaur and the Egg (by Stephanie Lewis?). Lit my imagination and an appetite for all things sci-ency.

Brian Jacques (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388783)

What, no love for the Redwall series around here? I remember reading a ton of them around that age.

Kid's Sci-Fi (4, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about 2 years ago | (#40388799)

There's plenty of kid-focused Sci-Fi
Anything with Janet Assimov's name on it is kid friendly.
I loved the Lucky Starr series by Isaac Asimov (under the name "Paul French")
Heinlen even wrote some kids books.

Most of the 'big' sci-fi authors have written stories for kids.
You just have to go looking for it.

David and the Phoenix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388809)


Bolos Sentient Tanks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388817)

FInd some of the anthologies with authors like William H Kieth Jr., Kieth Laumer, David Weber, John Ringo, David Drake, Mercedes Lackey, Linda Evans and others...
How can you go wrong?

Anthologies carry the shorter, action packed stories. Can grow into the full novels - I constantly go back an re-read many of them just because they are fun quick reads.

He's an Eight Year Old Kid (2)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 2 years ago | (#40388819)

If he's not interested let him play outside with other kids like he's supposed to. Or at worst let him read comic books. If he's interested in books now then fine, but it doesn't sound like it. Give him a couple of years to develop more. In the meantime interacting with other kids is far better in this internet rich interaction depleted world we live in. Encourage reading sure, but don't push it.

Stop trying to dumb it down for your kid. (2)

Banichi (1255242) | about 2 years ago | (#40388855)

Give him a copy of Accelerando or Cyteen and let him sink or swim.

If it ends up dust covered on a shelf, repeat after me: "It's perfectly OK for my kid not to like what I like, He's my son and I love him anyway.".

Young Adult Asimov books (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388859)

Asimov wrote a series of YA books with his wife called the Norby Robot Chronicles. If you want to share Asimov with him, that may be a better way to go.

The Tripods (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388861)

(posting anon as I already modded) I really liked The Tripods [wikipedia.org] trilogy (haven't read the fourth book, and from what I gather it's not that great). I re-read them a few years back, and while the second book was still quite enjoyable, it really didn't work as well anymore; but to a young boy it rocked.

Lester Del Rey (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388865)

When I was young I read "The Runaway Robot" by Lester Del Rey, and after that I was hooked on SF for life.

I just looked it up on Amazon and was pleased to see it's still being published and that readers (mostly aging baby boomers like me) are giving it 5 stars. Amazon says it was published in 1985, but I read it in the late 60s. Highly recommended!

Narnia and Redwall (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388867)

Before I read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, I was introduced to The Chronicles of Narnia. I don't remember what age I was at the time but it was probably in the 8-10 range. I know some people have issues against that series because of some of the religious tones it has but I never realized it had them until I was an adult and well past belief in an invisible man in the sky. My brother, who is autistic, became good at reading thanks to Brian Jacques' Redwall books. I'm not sure if the reading level is appropriate for an 8 year old but it's something to keep in mind in a couple of years at least. And talking animals seem to be good at catching kids imagination from what I've seen. :)

a few (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388897)

Leguin - a wizard of earthsea
L'engle - a wrinkle in time
Pinkwater - snarkout boys, alan mendehlsohn boy from mars ...

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388913)

My suggestion is The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. It's just a fun fantasy story that even has a "hero" the same age as your son. Perfectly age appropriate and, depending on reading level, can be read indecently. Plus, there are 39 other Oz books to read after that (the first 14 by Baum are even public domain). What can I say...I've been an Oz fan for most of my life.

Also, the Peter and the Starcatchers series might work for you too. Prequels to Peter Pan (the Disney version) that a fun and have some great humor.

Tripods (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388915)

The Tripod trilogy. I can't think of the author off the top of my head. Christopher something.

HP? (2)

BattleBlow (633941) | about 2 years ago | (#40388933)

Some others have already mentioned 'The Hobbit', which is great for his age (I read it to my son at the same age yours is).

I can't believe no one has yet mentioned 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' yet though. That was about the age I read that to my son too. The only caveat is be careful how fast you progress. He's likely not old enough for 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows'. We've tackled that by giving one a year for Christmas.

City of Ember (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388935)

My kids really enjoyed the City of Ember series. Don't bother with the movie though.

on reading (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388959)

He's 8 years old. Get him to read the story to YOU, not the other way around. Let him ask you questions about vocabulary and story points if he doesn't understand something. Of course it'll confuse him if you read the story at YOUR pace.

The only way he'll like reading, science fiction or anything else, is if you let him develop his ownership and mastery of it. Doing it for him won't help. And let him branch off to other stories if it turns out he likes something other than science fiction.

"The Day of the Triffids" (2)

stanlyb (1839382) | about 2 years ago | (#40388965)

"The Day of the Triffids" - John Wyndham.
Actually, you could say it not science fiction, as it is the reality now....but anyway.

Science Fiction for an 8-yr old (2)

John_Yossarian (1160273) | about 2 years ago | (#40388973)

8 is a little young for most kids to appreciate hard science fiction, so I would stick to the softer stuff. Here are a few softer stories I enjoyed at that age:

The Pern books by Anne McCaffrey
The Zero Stone by Andre Norton
Startide Rising by David Brin (I think I was 10 when I read this one, but the concept of dolphins piloting starships blew my mind...some sexual content, though)

Ender's Game (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40388975)

It's written for kids (middle/high school, though a bright 8 year-old should have no trouble) with kids as the protagonists. I didn't read this book until I was in my thirties, but it is my favorite sci-fi book and I wish I'd read it as a child.

My favorite sci-fi from childhood was Dune and Asimov's books.

Cory Doctorow's stuff features familiar settings (1)

Krishnoid (984597) | about 2 years ago | (#40388979)

I've also found Cory Doctorow's stuff to be pretty accessible, as they refer to settings that would be familiar to an 8-year old American earthbound human. I'd also recommend you and he take turns reading to each other, or have him read the book himself; I think the comprehension differs between listening and reading. In addition, the Narnia series was quite good, and I also fondly remember James and the Giant Peach.

Additional shameless plug: A friend recently self-published his book, Marlowe and the Spacewoman [amazon.com]. I've read about half of it and got to a point with a tense action scene. There's a decent amount of social commentary, but I found it very enjoyable and a relatively easy read, perhaps comparable to the reading level of Hunger Games.

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