No reading list for elementary school kids is complete without Terry Deary's Horrible Histories, Horrible Science, Dead Famous (biographies), Murderous Maths, Wild Lives, The Knowledge, Twisted Tales and Horrible Geography series. Around 100 in all, each approximately 200 pg paperback explores a single subject in all its grisy, squishy, exciting glory, with funny illustrations and light, irreverent prose. They're pitched at age 8 and up but entertaining enough for older kids and accessible for anyone reading chapter books. I should mention the books are well-researched, in the "You can't make this stuff up" vein. The Cut-Throat Celts, for example, includes quotes from Roman historians and so could qualify as educational reading. ;-)
I'd brought home the Cut-Throat Celts and the Blitzed Brits from my last trip to London, and handed one to Xavier yesterday to see if he'd like to get some more. (Always looking for something Xavier will read.) He got to the second page before chortling, "Oh, yeah!" Celtic history's not his thing, even with the human sacrifice left in, but he picked out several Horrible Science and The Knowledge books.
For a complete list of titles, consult Hoagies. These books are published in England, but some can be found on Amazon and quite a number on ebay. Watch out for shipping charges from the UK--they'll significantly increase the price of the book, particularly since the dollar is so weak against the pound right now. One ebay seller offered a book for a penny but shipping was $14. Amazon.UK wanted $12.85 to ship one book, plus an additional $5.50 shipping per additional book in the order. Since the books themselves only cost $9, not to mention being quite thin and paperback, I didn't think this was much of a deal.
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