Five Great Children’s Books for Gifted Kids

By Jennifer de la Haye

April 2 is International Children’s Book Day, so we thought it would be fun to highlight some great children’s books for gifted kids. Here are five of our picks:

Great children's books for gifted kidsHarry Potter series by J.K. Rowling
Hermione is clearly gifted, as evidenced by her perpetual thirst for knowledge, heightened sense of justice, advanced academic acceleration, adult-like wisdom, and sharp intuition. The series also appeals strongly to kids who feel “different” and those with imaginational overexcitabilities.

Books for Gifted ChildrenEncyclopedia Brown series by Donald Sobol
Both Encyclopedia Brown – named thus for his wealth of knowledge and understanding – and his bodyguard, Sally Kimball, exhibit qualities of gifted children. Encyclopedia’s intuition allows him to solve his police officer father’s cases by listening to the evidence, closing his eyes, thinking, and asking a single question that leads Encyclopedia to the solution. Sally and Encyclopedia work together to solve neighborhood cases using their abilities to observe and intuit at a level that most young children are unable to understand.

Good books for gifted kidsHarriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Harriet thrives on routine, she is obsessive and, similar to the other characters on my list, she has the ability to observe and process information at an accelerated rate. She struggles to thrive in relationships with the other children in her class, yet she shares a deep connection with her nanny, Ole Golly.

Best children's books for gifted kidsBartholomew and the Oobleck by Dr. Seuss
As with most of Dr. Seuss’ stories, Bartholomew and the Oobleck relays a moral lesson through a story that uses quirky and creative language, made-up, whimsical words, and silly but complicated names. Bartholomew Cubbins, King Derwin of Didd’s page boy, would not necessarily be considered gifted, but the story itself might appeal to gifted children. It is longer and more advanced than many Dr. Seuss stories and emphasizes the importance of gratitude for our world, no matter how boring it may seem at times; the value of humility; and the importance of sincere reconciliation. Oobleck is a sticky, thick substance that blankets the town and completely hinders everyday life, and though it may appear to be one of Seuss’ famed word concoctions, oobleck is, in reality, a viscous substance made from corn starch.

Children's books for gifted kidsThe Boxcar Children series created by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Each of the siblings in this series exhibits at least one gifted quality: Henry’s innate intelligence and abundance of knowledge; Jessica’s ease in an adult role, meticulous particularity, and fearlessness; Violet’s sensitivities and love for animals; and Benjamin’s acute curiosity comprise many of the traits with which a gifted reader might identify.

As a bonus, here are some additional recommendations from our Facebook fans and blog readers:

  • Matilda by Roald Dahl
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  • Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne
  • Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
  • A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

We also recommend anything by IEA Senior Fellow Stephanie Tolan, whose books our gifted kids cannot get enough of!

Want to receive more recommendations plus gifted resources and tips straight to your inbox? Sign up for the IEA e-newsletter!

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2 responses to “Five Great Children’s Books for Gifted Kids

  1. Wendy Brown

    All wonderful books! I’d like to make an addition: Konigsberg’s The View from Saturday. Also, for students who have trouble finding a book at both the right reading/comprehension level and emotional level, I’d suggest looking to the classics; they often provide a more complex story without the more precocious subject matter.

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