Another year has passed and our boy has another year’s worth of knowledge packed into his little brain. He’s a sponge when it comes to facts, and despite spending 99% of his life in our home town, his knowledge of geography has now officially bypassed mine. He reads widely and quickly (and makes his parents very proud in the process).
Here are his Top 10 favourite books for when he was 7.
1. Thing Explainer by Randall Munroe
Now this is a great book for an inquisitive 7-year-old that loves learning about how things work! It goes into intricate detail of machines, animals, processes… but using only 1,000 of the most commonly used words in the English language. My 7-year-old had learned so much about the world from this book, and I’ve had fun trying to work out what exactly is being described (the “strange animal” entry on the Tree of Life page had us stumped for a while).
The diagrams are beautiful – easy to read and extremely detailed. It’s a great book for children and adults alike.
2. The Pooh Gift Box by A A Milne
This four-book set – Winnie-the-Pooh, The House at Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young, and Now We Are Six – was mine from when I was little. I absolutely adored these books and decided it was time to share them with the kids.
Each night before bed for about a month, the two kids would climb into my bed and I’d read another chapter or two of one of the books. The 7-year-old loved the stories, but the poems in When We Were Very Young and Now We Are Six had difficulty keeping his attention. Now I come to think of it, I don’t remember ever reading the two poem books as a kid either, and stuck to just reading Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner over and over and over again.
3. What if? by Randall Munroe
This book was the first non-children’s book attempted by our boy. Written by the same author as Thing Explainer, the content interested him so much, but the words slowed him down a bit and put him off continuing. If only Munroe had used the 1,000 most commonly used words for this one too!
It’s still sitting on his bedside table with a bookmark in it, so I’m sure he’ll get to it again in a year or so when his vocabulary has expanded just that little bit more.
4. The World’s Worst Children by David Williams
These books are so wacky and extreme! They’re like a modern-day Roald Dahl, with outrageous storylines and the quirkiest of characters. Even the illustrations are similar to Dahl’s illustrations by Quentin Blake in The Twits or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
For a boy who loves facts over fiction, sometimes it takes an absolute out-of-the-box story to keep his attention, and these ‘World’s Worst’ books have been just the thing. Speaking of Roald Dahl…
5. Esio Trot by Roald Dahl
My 7-year-old will proudly tell you that he’s read every Roald Dahl book at his school library, except for Going Solo, which he plans to read soon. Esio Trot is just one of these books he read this year, a story of a lonely man who creates a cunning plan involving tortoises to get what he wants.
What is it about Roald Dahl’s stories that make them so incredibly far-fetched, but also entirely relatable at the same time? Whatever it is, it works – especially for our incredibly far-fetched, yet entirely relatable, 7-year-old.
6. Children of the World by Kate DePalma and Tessa Strickland
This is the only picture book that made it to the Top 10 this year, and might be the last one ever for our boy! Children of the World is a beautiful book, celebrating the differences and similarities of kids from all different countries. It shows what they do, how they live, and what interests them the most.
It was a delightful book to read with the 7-year-old and the 4-year-old together, as they pointed out things that were just like them, and other things that they’d never seen before. The 7-year-old has a fascination with the world that I hope he keeps forever.
7. iHero: Alien Raid by Steve Barlow
Robots and aliens have never been his thing, but what he loved about these books was the ‘decide your own destiny’ part, where each chapter ends with a decision that he gets to make. I used to love choose-your-own-adventure books as a kid, and even tried to write a few myself.
The boy quickly learned that if you start at the end, where the robots are victorious, and work your way backwards, you can find the easiest path through the book without having to actually waste your time on reading any of the words.
8. Wolf Girl 3 by Anh Do
Is there any demographic in this world that Anh Do can’t entertain? I think not. He has to be one of the most talented people on the planet. From the Weir-Do series, to painting incredible portraits, to being a stand up comedian… and now the Wolf Girl series! Our 7-year-old sped through the three Wolf Girl books in just a few days.
He read them so quickly I didn’t actually get to talk to him about what they were about… but I’m guessing from the cover it’s about a girl who is at one with the wolves. It’s an interesting shift in our reading this year that is also a little sad – I am no longer alongside him with everything he experiences and so much of his life is now completely unknown to me.
9. How Airports Work by Clive Gifford
This is an excellent book! So many cool details jammed into one beautifully-illustrated book. It’s lift-the-flap, which means every page is pretty much two pages worth of facts.
It has all the common need-to-know facts about airports and planes, but also some weird and wonderful details thrown in too… like the kangaroo that turned up in Melbourne airport lost. The boy has read this cover to cover so many times, and he still pulls it out as a clear favourite to read before bed.
10. Incredible Cross-Sections by Stephen Biesty
My mother grabbed this book randomly at a second-hand library sale and it wasn’t till she got it home that she realised just how interesting – and perfectly suited to the 7-year-old – it really was. It quickly came home with the boy and was no longer a ‘keep at Grandma’s’ option.
The book has all different vehicles and machines, cut in half to show what goes on in the inner workings. It answers so many questions for the 7-year-old and has kept him deeply engrossed for hours.
What will interest the boy next year? Machines and technology have been a strong theme throughout the years, all the way back to when he was just one year old. I certainly don’t see that changing any time soon!