A Parent of an 8-Year-Old Shares Books Their Child Loves Right Now

Jen, a mother of two boys under age 10, shares what her older son Ryan is reading — and how his tastes changed radically between 2nd and 3rd grade.

May 26, 2022



A Parent of an 8-Year-Old Shares Books Their Child Loves Right Now

May 26, 2022

New York-based Jen Brubaker has been reading to her children at bedtime since they were born. Brubaker, who holds two degrees in early childhood education and works as a Scholastic Book Fair consultant, credits the family’s nightly routine with instilling a love of reading in her oldest son, Ryan, who is 8 years old.

“He is not one I have to push to read,” she says. “Any time we are going somewhere, he always says, ‘Let me grab a book first.’”

While Brubaker still reads aloud to her son — an activity which experts recommend you continue to do, even as your kids enter upper elementary school — Ryan, now an independent reader, has taken the show on the road. His favorite place to read these days is in the car.

“That is where he’s getting that 20 minutes a day of reading when he’s not in school,” Brubaker says. “When we’re headed to soccer practice, he’s reading in the car.”

If a child volunteering to squeeze in a few pages of a book for enjoyment between extracurriculars sounds too good to be true, consider this: The habit is rubbing off on his younger brother, Kyle, who is 4 years old.

“His little brother sees it and says, ‘I need some books for the car, too,’” Brubaker says. “He’s starting that routine as well.”

Here’s what you’ll find in Ryan’s traveling library.

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Nonfiction and Historical Fiction Books for 8-year-olds

Brubaker says her son has been fascinated by nonfiction for years.

“He’s always been into nonfiction and animals,” Brubaker says. “He loved the Who Would Win series, which we started reading together in kindergarten.”

Children who are interested in animals will root for their favorite in the Who Would Win series, which pits top predators on land and sea against each other in hypothetical battle.

Scholastic’s I Survived series is another favorite of Ryan’s. These books place the reader at the center of historical disasters like fires, hurricanes, and earthquakes — and tell what it’s like to survive them.

Funny Books for 8-Year-Olds

That said, when Ryan entered 3rd grade this year, Brubaker noticed him seeking out more funny books.

“The humor is a big change from his love of nonfiction,” Brubaker says. “Now he wants to read books that are funny and make him laugh.” According to the Scholastic Kids & Family Reading Report, humor is the top characteristic children look for when choosing their books.

Ryan’s top picks for funny books include the best-selling Dog Man and Big Nate graphic novel series as well as the uber-popular Diary of a Wimpy Kid and My Weird School series.

Despite reading above grade level and having recently graduated to chapter books, Ryan has trouble finding new funny chapter books he likes. He enjoys rereading his favorite graphic novels when he can’t find a new book that resonates — and Brubaker is OK with that.

“He goes back and forth,” Brubaker says. “He is reading above grade level but he will go back to the graphic novels if we don’t have a new book. That’s fine. I say if it keeps them engaged, let ’em do it.”

Screen-adapted Series for 8-year-olds

An interest in events of the past led Ryan to the Who Was?/Who Is? illustrated biography series, which profiles significant innovators, pioneers, and world leaders. There are more than 200 books in the series and it was recently adapted into a one-season sketch comedy show for Netflix. 

“He loved that series because it’s about history,” Brubaker says. 

In fact, many popular children’s book series are getting the adaptation treatment for streaming television. The Last Kids on Earth is a graphic novel series popular in the Brubaker household that has been made into an animated series on the small screen (also for Netflix). 

Choosing books with multimedia tie-ins like TV shows or video games is a way to draw reluctant readers into books. If they are captivated by the characters and setting on screen, they may be interested in visiting the same universe on the page.

While Brubaker says her son is not influenced much by movies or shows (“He just wants to find a book he’s interested in!”), she does say that parents looking for book recommendations for their children should check in with what their kids are watching, since it may include movies and shows based on books.

“If parents are struggling to find something to read, I definitely think they should look at what kids are watching on their iPad,” she says.

Sports Books for 8-year-olds

He may be in a funny-book phase, but Ryan hasn’t lost his knack for facts. As a soccer player and big football fan, he also enjoys reading about sports.

“He will also read articles and stats about football players and soccer,” Brubaker says. “He’ll spit out facts.”

Those interested in sports trivia and behind-the-scenes player coverage will love the encyclopedic formats of Scholastic Year in Sports 2022 and Sports Illustrated Kids: Big Book of WHO All-Stars, which features sports greats of yesterday and today. 

Fiction readers looking for young adult stories set in a sports universe will find excitement in the four books of the Raise a Reader: Sports Stories set.

Encourage a love of reading with help from our guide, which includes book recommendations by interest, tips for getting your child to read for fun, and much more. Plus, look ahead with recommended books for 9-year-olds

To discover more great reads, shop best-selling books for 8-year-olds below now! You can find all books and activities at The Scholastic Store

Raise a Reader Blog
Age 8