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

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  • Re:Don't try (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Grog6 ( 85859 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:49PM (#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.

  • STAR WARS (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Forrest Kyle ( 955623 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:51PM (#40388613) Homepage
    Have him watch Star Wars in the Machete Order [] 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.
  • A Wrinkle in Time (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:53PM (#40388673) Journal

    Need I say more?

  • by WillAdams ( 45638 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:54PM (#40388693) Homepage

    _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: []

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

    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)

  • by getto man d ( 619850 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:55PM (#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.

  • Wow. Really? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Quiet_Desperation ( 858215 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @02:56PM (#40388779)

    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

    Huh. Shame there's not some vast repository of information where you could search for this. []

  • Re:Don't try (Score:5, Interesting)

    by g0bshiTe ( 596213 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @03:00PM (#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 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pieroxy ( 222434 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @03:06PM (#40389007) Homepage

    Not trying to force feed them the book is one thing. One can always let the book around, when the kid asks vaguely answer "bah, it's just one of my books". You'll see.

    By the way, the OP is asking which books are suitable, not how to make his son like it. The thing is, if he starts with sloppy SciFi books, he will be put off.

  • Re:Stfu, troll (Score:4, Interesting)

    by StillNeedMoreCoffee ( 123989 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @03:24PM (#40389349)

    Not hate, not even ideology, stupidity is politically neutral but it seems that there is a preponderance of good fiction, and re-writing of history that begs laughter in this political compaign. It also seems like much is coming via Fox "News" (since when). What you see is laughter.

    I detect though that you have some scorn, and hate. You wouldn't be invested in that message would you? and you with your "festering bullshit" comment seems like you missed the point and as other have stated, possibly, lack a sense of humor.

    Well better than Republicans, lets see. by keeping an open mind, caring for more than just myself and my pocketbook, feeling that every citizen should vote and we should not provide road blocks to suppress voters from voting, I think congress should govern (parties working together and compromising) rather than lying down on the floor and pounding their fists and saying no, no, it that to be my way. Realizing that we are better off now than when Bush was in office, because the economy was in free fall, it is not now. Thinking that unregulated commerce has almost killed the economy what 5 or 6 times, so anyone saying that more de-regulation is the path out of economic crisis, is not playing with a full deck (or most likely, they feel they can take advantage and take your money and run behind the gated community gate before you realize what has happened). I don't know what makes anyone better than an ideologue, on either side.

    But as you said, this was about what children should read. But you asked the question.

  • by unfortunateson ( 527551 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @04:11PM (#40390095) Journal

    Some of the classics of SF are awfully dated: theirs are futures which didn't happen. Because of that, Asimov, Heinlein, Andre Norton, Williams and Abrashkin's "Danny Dunn" and other juveniles of that time may be hard to swallow. I'd say that CS Lewis falls in the same category.

    Daniel Pinkwater is a genius, with books for all ages:Tooth-Gnasher Superflash is a picture book about test-driving a car, and hopefully it flies and eats other cars; Alan Mendelsohn, The Boy from Mars is about the strangeness of growing up. You can't go wrong with one of his books.
    Roald Dahl, while written half a century ago, hold up pretty well: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a good gateway drug, and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator is a little more SFnal
    Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game" is a tough read for a youngster -- be available for the reader, answer questions, help them along. Some object to Card's politics, and his psychology of cruelty, but it's still a darn good read.
    Lois McMaster Bujold's "The Warrior's Apprentice" may be a little old for an 8-year-old, but not by much. It's a modern space opera, about someone older but not bigger than an 8-year-old.
    Scott Westerfeld's "Leviathan", "Peeps" and "Uglies" series are perhaps aimed more at teens, but don't get too adult. His wife, Justine Larbalester, writes great fantasy (How to Ditch your Fairy, Liar).
    Clive Barker's "Abarat" is sort of an Oz/Wonderland inside-out. Yes, the creator of Pinhead can write kid-safe stuff too. But oops, that's fantasy too.
    China Mieville's "Railsea" is getting great press, but I haven't had a chance to read.
    Paulo Bacigalupi's "Shipbreaker" is another I haven't read yet
    Adam Rex's "The True Meaning of Smekday" is one my wife enjoyed a lot
    Cory Doctorow's "Little Brother" might work well, if you don't mind your 8-year-old becoming an activist ;^)

  • Re:Don't try (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lister king of smeg ( 2481612 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @06:17PM (#40391687)

    If you like Asimov you could go with "Norby Chronicles" by Issac Asimov and his wife Janet Asimov. it is a series of scifi stories for kids it even has the three law show up occasionally.

  • Re:Don't try (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pseudonym ( 62607 ) on Wednesday June 20, 2012 @08:37PM (#40392737)

    The Tiffany Aching books (A Hat Full of Sky, The Wee Free Men and I Shall Wear Midnight) to which you prefer are just a little too advanced for an eight year old. Even a reasonably bright eight year old. About 10-12 is probably more realistic. Oh, and the same goes for Nation.

    I totally agree with you about the Bromeliad trilogy (Truckers, Diggers and Wings), though. A bright eight-year-old would eat that up, though admittedly not get some of the jokes.

"my terminal is a lethal teaspoon." -- Patricia O Tuama