The Warrior Series by Erin Hunter
The Warriors Series were the turning point books for my daughter, Violet. Initially she looked on with contempt when I brought home Into the Wild, by Erin Hunter. First of all, it was huge. Up until this point she had struggled along with Geronimo Stilton and certainly was not interested in any book over 100 pages. Second, it was a book that I picked, so it had to be bad.
I started reading the book at bedtime, and by the third chapter both daughters loved it. After the fifth chapter ended and it was bedtime, Violet could not stand the suspense any longer and picked up the book herself and started reading. She became the girl who fell asleep every night reading, woke up early to read, and scrambled through her work at school at the opportunity to eek out an extra 10 minutes of free reading time. Sixteen books later, she plans her calendar based on when the next book will be released (Thanksgiving).
Needless to say, I highly recommend this series for emerging readers. It is generally considered a fifth grade reading level, but the story line captures the attention of children age 5 all the way up to 11. It is a story of a kitten that leaves his comfortable home to join a clan of wild cats. There is plenty of drama as the cats form alliances, develop enemies, fall in love and fulfill their destinies. At its core it is about good, evil, ambition, loyalty and friendship. Kids, especially animal lovers, absolutely love all 16 books. Gaby also finds that it is equally popular with girls and boys. It is particularly good for older children that are reading below grade level. Although there is conflict and death in the books as well as romance, the content is still appropriate for children as young as five.
– Jessica Wheeler