What Books that Bridge the Gap between Picture Books and Middle-Grade Novels Should be More Like

We Need Better Chapter Books!

Chapter Books with Action and Depth-From My Publisher, Splashing Cow Books

There are many chapter books for boys, especially series books. I refer to books for ages 7 and 10 or so. They are early chapter books, the books that bridge the gap between picture books and middle-grade books. Middle-grade books are longer books with few pictures and divided into chapters. The chapters are longer, have more details, deeper themes and ideas as well. Chapter books, especially early chapter books, are usually between 65 and 110 pages and have illustrations on every other page or so. They have straight forward plots and are often action-based, especially early chapter books for boys.

Back to Books that Bridge the Gap Between Picture Books and Middle-Grade Novels-Many Readers Can Handle More

And by more, I mean that many chapter books, for boys especially, have all of the boy stuff: burping, underpants, boy humor, some farting, action, goofiness, and this is all fine and good. But what about chapter books for boys when these books are no longer that interesting or when boys are ready for more sophisticated reading, and trust me many are reluctant because chapter books are entertaining but lack depth and challenge. Readers at this age want more but aren’t willing to put the effort into longer books quite yet because they are still a bit intimidating and associated with ”school books” or books they read that are perceived as chosen by their teachers.

 More Chapter Books Like These Please

We need chapter books that skillfully mix fun boy humor and action, great characters, and plots that are more in depth with real themes, subjects that boys do think about, however, aren’t intimidating to read like most longer, middle- grade books for third through fifth- grade readers or 7 to 11- year -old boys.

Boys are more complicated and deserve more than farts and burping at the ages of 7 – 11 years old. These are some issues that boys are aware of and have questions about even at ages as early as seven years old: they should be included more in early chapter books:

-Awareness of their own mortality and the mortality of the ones closest to them
-inner moral conflicts-treating others with respect no matter how others look and act
-choosing between right and wrong
-helping causes or being a part of something larger than themselves
-protecting others
-racial issues
-issues of sexuality
-understanding disabilities and those that have severe physical differences and learning how to treat them appropriately and with respect
-understanding and respecting the female gender
-complicated friendships
-understanding the behavior of adults: good and bad
-beginning to understand the good and bad and gray areas of society and how boys fit
-dealing with loss and the anger, confusion, and sometimes depression that accompanies it
-learning how to compete and improve physical skills without becoming obsessed with winning and dominance alone
-finding a worthy cause
-learning about their own emotions and feelings
-learning about the emotions of others

Now, the chapter book that weaves these subjects and themes with fun humor, boy topics, action-packed plots, that bridge the gap between simplified, fun chapter books or graphic books that are easier to read, are truly worth looking into. I wrote Jack’s Tales to be one of these chapter books for boys and I hope for girls as well.  If you are a teacher with students in second through fifth grades that are reluctant to read longer middle -grade novels, or a parent with a boy or girl that is reluctant to read longer books, but is done with books like Captain Underpants and Diary of the Wimpy Kid (both great books but serve a certain purpose) go to my  Jack’s Tales page and please give  Jack’s Tales a close look, especially if you have a reluctant, boy reader between the ages of 7 and 10 or so.  

If you are looking for resources on reluctant and struggling readers, I have plenty. Click here

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