General knowledge books to recommend for P3 avid reader

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General knowledge books to recommend for P3 avid reader

Postby iRabbit » Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:35 am

Not sure where to put this as I'm not looking for exam-related book recommendations. If I post this under Enrichment/Academic, I think the risk of being misunderstood will be high.

Ds' first love is computer games, second love sci/general knowlege books, but not those exam related ones. I've been feeding him loads of junior reference books from Popular; he has been reading them earnestly.

Is there any other book recommendation to pique the interest of an avid reader who enjoys reading for leisure? It doesn't have to do with Sci, it can even be commerce, history and other stuff. An example of a book I've in mind will be Animal Farm. I'll tell him the gist of the story and he could read it himself. Another book could be 'The History of Money'. I guess I'm looking more for non-fiction books, to build on his awareness of the world around him.

I think ds can handle slightly 'cheemer' books (than his level) and anyway, he doesn't need to understand everything to enjoy a good book. I'm also happy to guide him in those 'cheemer' topics. For some reason, I'm not keen on the Horrible Series. Any recommendation to share? Thanks.

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Re: General knowledge books to recommend for P3 avid reader

Postby Busymom » Wed Mar 20, 2013 1:57 am

You could try The Young Children's Encyclopedia by Britannica (vol 1-16). They are out of print, but you can find them on E-bay. DD enjoyed reading them.

P/s: what's wrong with the Horrible Science series? DD loves it!

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Re: General knowledge books to recommend for P3 avid reader

Postby Attolia » Wed Mar 20, 2013 4:27 am

Percy Jackson? I really enjoyed the series, and although I haven't done mythology and classical studies since high school, the mythology seems pretty solid. It's also full of action and is an exciting read. There are also loads of historical fiction books for young adults/children, including Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (about Nazi Germany), Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip M. Hoose (historical non-fiction about segregation in Alabama), The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (Nazi Germany, based on the real story of Helmuth Hubner), Hitler Youth by Susan Campbell Barlotti (YA non-fiction, could be disturbing for younger readers), The Last Mission by Harry Mazer (historical fiction, WWII), and for general fiction books -- Hatchet by Gary Paulson, Watership Down by Richard Adams, Narnia books by CS Lewis, The Giver by Lois Lowry (YA dystopian), Holes by Louis Sachar, The Outsiders by SE Hinton, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

This isn't by any means an exhaustive list, but it's all the 'boy' books I can think of at the moment :)

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Re: General knowledge books to recommend for P3 avid reader

Postby iRabbit » Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:57 am

Busymom wrote:You could try The Young Children's Encyclopedia by Britannica (vol 1-16). They are out of print, but you can find them on E-bay. DD enjoyed reading them.

P/s: what's wrong with the Horrible Science series? DD loves it!


There's only so much about dinosaurs, black holes, nebula that a young child can read. Sooner of later, he'll have to read other things for different sort of exposure (I really got him a lot of children reference books oredi, no point to give more of the same thing).

As for horrible series, He was given a set by relative that is still relatively untouched. Ds read a couple but not so keen. Thanks for the recommendation. If I didn't get those reference books, will surely source out that Children's Encylopedia you posted.

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Re: General knowledge books to recommend for P3 avid reader

Postby iRabbit » Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:14 am

Attolia wrote:Percy Jackson? I really enjoyed the series, and although I haven't done mythology and classical studies since high school, the mythology seems pretty solid. It's also full of action and is an exciting read. There are also loads of historical fiction books for young adults/children, including Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (about Nazi Germany), Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip M. Hoose (historical non-fiction about segregation in Alabama), The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (Nazi Germany, based on the real story of Helmuth Hubner), Hitler Youth by Susan Campbell Barlotti (YA non-fiction, could be disturbing for younger readers), The Last Mission by Harry Mazer (historical fiction, WWII), and for general fiction books -- Hatchet by Gary Paulson, Watership Down by Richard Adams, Narnia books by CS Lewis, The Giver by Lois Lowry (YA dystopian), Holes by Louis Sachar, The Outsiders by SE Hinton, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

This isn't by any means an exhaustive list, but it's all the 'boy' books I can think of at the moment :)


That's a good list, Attolia. Thanks.

Percy Jackson was one of ds's favourites, together with Charlie Bone, LOTR. He's into mythology and especially liked the Eragon series.

I think it's about time I slowly expose him to more 'mature' stuff like war cruelty, apartheid, poverty and stuff. Your list looks good, will check it out. Thanks again for the generous sharing.

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Re: General knowledge books to recommend for P3 avid reader

Postby ammonite » Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:24 am

The list can be challenging, content wise, depending on your child. Do pre-read them first. I generally try to avoid dystopian fiction for my kids and only give those with positive endings. Eg I Am David (sometimes sold as North to Freedom) about a boy who grew up into a concentration camp, escaped and trekked across some countries to reach a "free" land. This can be a starting point for discussions on different political systems, intellectual freedom and your child can also learn a bit on geography if you are inclined. It is not so "far out" because similar things are still going on with Afghan boys whose families sold off valuables or bartered off daughters to raise money to smuggle them out and WALK all the way to reach Paris where they can receive asylum if they can prove their age.

We have some children reference books for WWI and WWII because ds was interested to know more some years back.

(oh yes, what about DK Eye Witness series? Documentary series Days that Shook the World is also good, but again, be selective).

There are a number of good picture books in the library that are historical fiction and with positive endings on slavery, racism, wars, and immigration. My 9 yr old has finished the entire Harry Potter series (from which you can actually draw many parallels to real life issues), but I still prefer to give him these non-threatening books for heavier topics. I do not dare to give him any books on the plague because I know he will start to worry obssessively.

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Re: General knowledge books to recommend for P3 avid reader

Postby Attolia » Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:29 am

FQW wrote:
Attolia wrote:Percy Jackson? I really enjoyed the series, and although I haven't done mythology and classical studies since high school, the mythology seems pretty solid. It's also full of action and is an exciting read. There are also loads of historical fiction books for young adults/children, including Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (about Nazi Germany), Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip M. Hoose (historical non-fiction about segregation in Alabama), The Boy Who Dared by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (Nazi Germany, based on the real story of Helmuth Hubner), Hitler Youth by Susan Campbell Barlotti (YA non-fiction, could be disturbing for younger readers), The Last Mission by Harry Mazer (historical fiction, WWII), and for general fiction books -- Hatchet by Gary Paulson, Watership Down by Richard Adams, Narnia books by CS Lewis, The Giver by Lois Lowry (YA dystopian), Holes by Louis Sachar, The Outsiders by SE Hinton, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.

This isn't by any means an exhaustive list, but it's all the 'boy' books I can think of at the moment :)


That's a good list, Attolia. Thanks.

Percy Jackson was one of ds's favourites, together with Charlie Bone, LOTR. He's into mythology and especially liked the Eragon series.

I think it's about time I slowly expose him to more 'mature' stuff like war cruelty, apartheid, poverty and stuff. Your list looks good, will check it out. Thanks again for the generous sharing.


No worries. Happy to share. These are all books that I enjoyed when I was younger (and still enjoy, actually). I loved the Eragon series too. :)

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Re: General knowledge books to recommend for P3 avid reader

Postby Attolia » Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:43 am

ammonite wrote:The list can be challenging, content wise, depending on your child. Do pre-read them first. I generally try to avoid dystopian fiction for my kids and only give those with positive endings. Eg I Am David (sometimes sold as North to Freedom) about a boy who grew up into a concentration camp, escaped and trekked across some countries to reach a "free" land. This can be a starting point for discussions on different political systems, intellectual freedom and your child can also learn a bit on geography if you are inclined. It is not so "far out" because similar things are still going on with Afghan boys whose families sold off valuables or bartered off daughters to raise money to smuggle them out and WALK all the way to reach Paris where they can receive asylum if they can prove their age.

We have some children reference books for WWI and WWII because ds was interested to know more some years back.

(oh yes, what about DK Eye Witness series? Documentary series Days that Shook the World is also good, but again, be selective).

There are a number of good picture books in the library that are historical fiction and with positive endings on slavery, racism, wars, and immigration. My 9 yr old has finished the entire Harry Potter series (from which you can actually draw many parallels to real life issues), but I still prefer to give him these non-threatening books for heavier topics. I do not dare to give him any books on the plague because I know he will start to worry obssessively.


I agree. Depending on how sensitive your child is, you might want to vet some of those books first, especially the war ones. What's suitable for some children may not be appropriate for others. It's hard to know, cos I read everything as a child. I was just let loose in the library, and nobody cared what I read. lol.

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Re: General knowledge books to recommend for P3 avid reader

Postby schweppes » Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:11 am

There was a period last year where I kept bringing my girls to Littered with Books during the June and Nov/Dec hols at 20 Duxton Road

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Littered- ... 5064725041

The place sells both children and adults books. The staff at that time were young adults - think they were undergrads working part-time there - but definitely with a passion and knowledge of books.

I would tell them my girls' and my book interests, and they would suggest titles that would be of interest to us. No hard selling. U can see the joy when they talk about books.

After our sojourn there, we would explore Tanjong Pagard - so many nice makan and dessert stalls to visit.... and happily read what we bought at the same time. Nice memories to form with our kids.

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Re: General knowledge books to recommend for P3 avid reader

Postby Busymom » Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:44 pm

FQW wrote:
Busymom wrote:You could try The Young Children's Encyclopedia by Britannica (vol 1-16). They are out of print, but you can find them on E-bay. DD enjoyed reading them.

P/s: what's wrong with the Horrible Science series? DD loves it!


There's only so much about dinosaurs, black holes, nebula that a young child can read. Sooner of later, he'll have to read other things for different sort of exposure (I really got him a lot of children reference books oredi, no point to give more of the same thing).

As for horrible series, He was given a set by relative that is still relatively untouched. Ds read a couple but not so keen. Thanks for the recommendation. If I didn't get those reference books, will surely source out that Children's Encylopedia you posted.


No worries, you sounded almost apologetic... :smile:

I have not read the Britannica series, but I think it is written as a story, not like the typical encyclopedia.

Yes, DK Eye Witness is good too (they have the WW1 and WW2 reference books).

By the way, there are a few fiction books (all by Michael Morpurgo) that I bought recently where the review seems interesting:

War Horse
An Elephant in the Garden
Running Wild

http://www.amazon.com/War-Horse-Movie-M ... y_b_text_y

http://www.amazon.com/Elephant-Garden-M ... the+garden

http://www.amazon.com/Running-Wild-Coll ... l+morpurgo

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