I have a question! 4th and 5th grade boys, advanced readers (younger one just finished the hunger games series), prefer nonfiction, especially military/technology. Hoping to get them some fiction. Plus a 2nd grade girl, reads at GL, not a big reader
Oof - if a 4th/5th grader just finished the Hunger Games then I’m guessing we’re no holds barred here? Have they tried Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan. The first one is called The Ruins of Gorlan. It’s about these dark, shadowy, magical “protectors of the kingdom” and it’s all about battle and survival and protecting the people of the kingdom.
If they like more realistic, try Sunrise over Fallujah by Walter Dean Myers. “Robin Perry, from Harlem, is sent to Iraq in 2003 as a member of the Civilian Affairs Battalion, and his time there profoundly changes him.” It’s Walter Dean Myers so you know it’s good. It doesn’t pull any punches, though - it’s war and it’s brutal but I wouldn’t say it’s any more brutal than Mockingjay.
Boys of that age will like anything by Gary Paulsen but specifically I’m thinking they might like Soldier’s Heart: being the story of the enlistment and due service of the boy Charley Goddard in the First Minnesota Volunteers: a novel of the Civil War. Don’t you just love a title that tells you everything you need to know? It’s fiction but it’s well researched and historically pretty accurate.
If you want to possibly scar them for life, . “Following orders from the United States Army, several young Japanese-American men train K-9 units to hunt Asians during World War II.” In my experience, boys of that age who like miliatary stuff really go for the disturbing, brutal stuff? And this is pretty brutal. Let me share some of the Booklist review here:
Eddie’s frank, first-person narrative weaves in the facts of how the “Japs” were segregated from the regular soldiers, assigned unskilled hard labor and marches to nowhere, and then, in a shocking (failed) experiment that was ordered by President Roosevelt, were directed to act as enemies and train attack dogs to pick up the so-called Japanese body odor. The cruel training, the vicious prejudice from many officers, the camaraderie among the soldiers, and the mixed-up news from family bring a view of American history seldom told and open up the meanings of homeland and patriotism.
And happier things for the second grader! Not into reading? If she is the sister of the boys, she might really like Ruby and the Booker Boys. This is one of my favorite series. Ruby has 3 older brothers and going through school she’s always always always “The Booker Boys’ kid sister.” She’s always spying on what her popular brothers are doing or making plans to be a veterinarian. She’s awesome.
If she likes less realistic fiction, Tony Abbot is not just the Australian jackass, he’s also a kick-ass children’s book writer for just that age! His Secrets of Droom begins with The Hidden Stairs and The Magic Carpet and is about kids who find a secret stairway in the basement that takes them to a faraway land. He’s also got a new series called Underworlds that begins with The Battle Begins that’s kinda like The Lightning Thief for younger kids. I haven’t read it yet but it’s supposed to be great - mythology and modern kids getting involved with mythology whatnot.
Also - why not go for a Ruby thing because I adore Ruby Lu, Brave and True. She’s very Ramona-esque in that she’s this precocious 8 year old who is taking the world by storm whether the world is ready for her or not (so get ready!).
If that isn’t enough ideas, let me know and I’ll give more!