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RAs for sensitive boy

Shannon C

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My son is 5 1/2 and very sensitive. He's not a rough and tumble boy and he's very soft spoken. He gets scared easily too. He doesn't have a lot of interests aside from cooking, math and animals. My dd is similar in personality, but it's easer to find gentle girly books for her. I am not sure where to look for high interest books to read aloud to him that aren't as girly and that aren't cartoony, too violent, above his head, etc. Any ideas? He can sit well through chapter books(shorter chapters are better, though) and does short narrations. We've been going through the Burgess books with him, but sometimes I think he doesn't quite get the older generation language and jokes so he tunes it out and can't answer questions about what I read. Anyway, I just want him to feel that he has some books of his own instead of just listening in to his sister's read alouds all the time. We do read tons of picture books, what I'm looking for is something longer that requires him to really listen.

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The Family Under the Bridge might appeal to him. Focuses on a homeless French family, but in a loving, positive, and gentle manner through an interesting storyline with a "happy ending". Short book. One of my very favorites for young children.




Seconding the vote for My Father's Dragon !

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Raggedy Andy Stories and Raggedy Ann Stories by Gruelle are good. I've glanced briefly at some of the others in the series and wasn't as happy for some reason but I don't remember why.


My son loved for me to read some books that are considered "early reader" type chapter books. Series that were big hits here were Henry and Mudge, Poppleton, and Mr. Putter and Tabby. All by Cynthia Rylant.


Mary Poppins on an audio CD was also a huge hit.


Uncle Wiggily's Story Book was good too. I could only read one chapter at a time, though, as I would doze off. Very gentle.


All of a Kind Family and series was sweet. James Herriot's Treasury for Children is five or six longer stories that are real and funny.


A number of the d'Aulaire history books are fairly long and involved without being scary. Each page of text is fairly dense. George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Pocahontas, etc.

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"The Hobbit"

"The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe"


The Amelia Bedelia books are very funny and involve thinking about homonyms.


Magic Treehouse books might be good, although they are pretty formulaic.


I think that the longer Dr. Suess books are great for this age. Examples include:

"The Sneetches"

"Horton Hears a Who"

"The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins"


Maybe this would be a good time to start introducing the Magic School Bus science books--if you read just the main story line, he'll learn a lot and still be able to keep it all straight. Later you can add all the sidebars.

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My boys were so very sensitive at that age, too. Some of their favorite read alouds were the Old Mother West Wind and "Adventures of ...." (Reddy Fox, Johnny Chuck, Buster Bear...) books by Thornton Burgess. Dover carries these, but I love children's lit. & much preferred reading from old hardbacks I bought off ebay & at library sales. If your son loves animals, he will love these books. My boys are 8 now & have reread all the books on their own at least twice.


They also really enjoyed the Uncle Wiggily stories. Jim Weiss has a cd of these that is excellent.


Also, the Little House series, esp. Farmer Boy.


Swiss Family Robinson

Dr. Dolittle

Mr. Popper's Penguins

Princess and the Goblin (6 yo)

Freddy the Pig (6 yo) audio books (I didn't want to read these aloud.)

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I would second the suggestions of Henry and Mudge as well as Mr. Putter and Tabby. I even saved them for grandchildren because they were so well-loved.


I wanted to add that I saved the first book that made my son cry. I knew he would want to keep it, and to tell the story to his children. It is out of print (grrr), but is called Toohy and Wood by Mary Elise Monsell. He was six years old. If you are a Buddhist, it is especially hilarious. But no matter one's persuasion, it is a very sweet book about finding one's home.



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