"My 7 year old daughter doesn't like the usual 'girly' books and wants something with a bit of an adventure in it. What should I give her? "
Kate Heffernan, Dublin
This is something I get more and more. Boys who find adventure books too much and girls who want books with a bit more bite. In this case, all I have to go by is that we want adventure, which while there are typical girly books that fit this bill, I'm going to go a bit out of the box! But here's the kicker, just because we don't want girly, doesn't mean we don't want female characters! Now more than ever we are getting some absolutely fantastic diversity in children's literature and we don't have our characters following silly gender roles. Kid's imaginations are endless, why limit them based on their sex!?
The first hurdle here is the age. 7 years olds are usually just at that point where they can read comfortably by themselves (of course some more so than others) but you don't want to give them too much too soon, it is here that kids figure out if reading is a chore or a pleasure and you need to be careful.
There is an awful lot to choose from and a lot of the time, this age group gets the short end of the proverbial stick because they're not ready for the big name books and so knowing what's good is hard. I decided here that I'm going to go with an old classic and a modern series, not a comparison, but an overview so you know what direction to go from there. Hope these help!
Enid Blyton's Secret Seven
Now I know what I just said about having great modern female characters but This series is a classic for a reason. I get three generations of people still buying these books, insisting that you have not had a proper childhood without them. A mix of male and female characters if they're required and a bucket-load of action!
BEWARE! There are American abridged versions floating around Irish shops with some changes to names and terms. E.g Fanny becomes Francis and queer taken out completely!
Chris Riddell's Ottoline Series
Now this is the heavy stuff. We have a fab female character mixed with mystery and action all wrapped together by children's laureate Chris Riddell who also supplies his amazing illustrations. I love Riddell's style because it's a little bit weird in the most amazing way possible. This series is especially great because it's aimed at a slightly younger age than his other books and really offers a level of characterisation and standard that is hard to find in to age group!
Are you finding it difficult to pick books for you kids? Comment your quiry below or on the Facebook page http://Facebook.com/thatgirlwonder or tweet me @lorrainebowlv