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I am a member of the Judy Moody fan club

Today is Judy Moody’s birthday. Celebrate on Saturday, April 4 – Stink and Judy Moody Day from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at The Blue Bunny – 577 High Street, Dedham Square, Dedham, Massachusetts. Learn to draw Stink and Judy Moody with illustrator Peter H. Reynolds along with other fun activities.

Judy Moody Book 1Now that my boys have learned to read chapter books, they grab every opportunity to do so, choosing books on subjects they love. Admittedly, it’s a nice habit, but their preferred reading materials consist predominantly of Star Wars and Clone Wars in every form: novels, DK books, comics, movie covers, and the newspaper. Since they are Star Wars obsessed–and there seems to be an endless supply of Star Wars books, with more being written all the time–I encourage and welcome a little diversity in their reading diet.

There are a number of chapter books available for young readers; however, I’ve found it challenging to find ones that captivate my kids’ interest. My boys have explored a few series but very few stand out (please share your favorites in the comments). I like the Magic Tree House collection more than they did. They enjoyed Captain Underpants, but I could do without the bad grammar and rude humor. And Junie B. Jones, although quite popular, is another series with bad grammar that features a main character who frequently gets into trouble and gets sent to the principal’s office.

Recently my son Ethan discovered Judy Moody, a series of eight books, one activity book, and one journal written by Megan McDonald and illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds. In between his Star Wars books, he read all eight books (at least once) in just a few weeks. I am in the Judy Moody fan club because Judy, the heroine in the story, managed to divert my son’s attention away from his sci-fi thrillers. She is engaging and funny, has her share of real moods, and seems like someone you would want to have for a friend. She is the only member of her class to have a Venus flytrap as a favorite pet, she collects band-aids and pizza tables, she loves her teacher and idolizes the first woman to become a doctor, and she formed the T.P. club with her best friend Rocky.

One of my criteria for judging a good book for kids is whether the story continues to inspire and engage them once they have finished reading it. In our house that can mean dressing up in costumes, drawing, reliving the story with toys, writing their own book, or discussing the characters with us or with their friends. When my son finished reading Judy Moody, he made his own “me-collage,” started his own collections, and loved completing the activity book, Judy Moody’s Double Rare Way Not Boring Book of Fun Stuff to Do.

Ethan is still Star Wars obsessed but his passion for Judy Moody is strong and contagious. Now his brother and their friends are reading their way though the series. I applaud Megan McDonald and Peter H. Reynolds for creating such a lovable and heroic character that is powerful enough to share the bookshelf with the Jedi.

If you love Judy Moody too, you and your kids will have fun visitng the  Judy Moody website, discover all her books, join the fan club, download activities to do “offline” and learn more about her brother, Stink, and his book series.

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  • Yes! Judy Blume–those Fudge books are still funny–and she has a whole new cast of characters (since my prime Judy Blume years anyway)–THE PAIN AND THE GREAT ONE–a brother and sister–and depending on your gender preference, you can choose to think that either is the “main” character.

  • Anisa, what’s your favorite Roald Dahl? THE GIRAFFE AND THE PELLY AND ME is ours lately. It gets quoted from a lot.

  • My son too loves Star Wars. He loves to read but, for the most part, will not pick up a book that is about a girl. He LOVED the Magic Tree House Series…. we now wait for each new one to be published. I also recommend the A to Z mystery series and The Bailey School Kids series. You can always count on the old reliable Judy Blume – Tales of Forth Grade Nothing and all the “Fudge” books. My son even liked Otherwise Know as Sheila the Great – even though she was a girl – he knew her from “Tales of Fourth Grade Nothing”, etc.

  • Roald Dahl is another favorite with my kids, you just need to like his dry humor.

    And classics like Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White are also wonderful.

  • The stories of “Le petit Nicolas” are Absolutely Marvelous from numerous standpoints. A true jewel of children’s literature in France. I had no idea some of the books had been translated, how great. Parents will enjoy too!

  • Thank you for this. I never considered Judy for my boys, and assumed they (being so macho) would only care for her little brother Stink. I will for sure go get some Judy.

  • oh and the STINK audio books are read by the woman who is the voice of bart simpson. delightful for the iTunes.

  • we love STINK–i wish there were as many stink books as judies.

    also! NICHOLAS! rene goscinny (sp?) translated from the french & recently re-released. the whole NICHOLAS series is delightful, 3-page stories with spot illustrations. i think nancy king will be reviewing these. they are beautiful books from phaidon.

    my kids love THE GREAT BRAIN series–a catholic family living in mormon utah–not so much on religion, more like a little house on the prairie kind of situation but featuring BOYS.

    and i second the TINTIN suggestion–stylish enough to make even a priss like me approve of the guns and explosions!

    DIARY OF A WHIMPY KID books are very funny–addictive–and so popular they flow like water–available everywhere…

  • As far as great authors that a 6+ year old can start reading, I think Ogden Nash is fantastic.

    Would love to hear more from other parents!

  • Anisa,

    I agree about the Junie B. Jones books — not the kind of character nor a style of writing that I find favorable for 6-7 year olds.
    I’m immediately going to look for the Judy Moody series, it sounds wonderful!

    To steer away from Star Wars, although this is not “serious” chapter book reading I recommend the series of Tintin by Herge. Tintin’s adventures have been translated in many languages (extremely well translated.) It’s entertaining for kids age 5 to 95!

  • This is a very good observation about selecting books for kids. A book should provides information and imagination for a child.