It can be hard sometimes to get your child to enjoy reading. Such an aversion can stem from a variety of factors, and it can be difficult to address them in a healthy, productive way. We here at KPL would love for all of our patrons to be dedicated and passionate readers, children especially, and to that end we’ll be periodically presenting some resources and book recommendations to help you encourage the reluctant reader in your life. Please feel free to ask any of our librarians about further book recommendations and/or additional strategies.


Book Suggestions

Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey

This series presents a perfect blend of text and image, so any reluctant reader can enjoy Pilkey’s wacky illustrations while also engaging with prose. Spread across 10+ plus books, readers can follow fourth-graders George Beard and Harold Hutchins as they create comics, pull pranks, and try to get their inadvertent real-world creation Captain Underpants out of trouble. Kids will love the zany action and laugh at the toilet humor, but at the heart of this series lies an affirmative message about the power of creativity and the bond of friendship. And if they enjoy the series they can try out Pilkey’s wildly-popular Dog Man series as well as the recent film adaptation!

Cleopatra in Space by Mike Maihack

Comics, or graphic novels, are excellent tools to encourage your reluctant reader. In this series, readers ride along with Egyptian queen and fearless heroine Cleopatra through a variety of action-packed sci-fi adventures. Featuring dynamic, stylized illustrations, readers can’t help but get pulled into the story, and as a series it presents an opportunity to foster a sustained reading habit. Highly recommended for anyone that enjoys action, adventure, and science fiction.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, adapted by P. Craig Russell


The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman won both the Newbery and Carnegie Medals in 2009, and it is one of my favorite books, adult or children’s or otherwise. It is a beautiful, haunting tale of a boy raised by ghosts in a graveyard, reminiscent of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book. However, it might prove difficult for a reluctant reader to crack open and finish the novel, so instead try the much-lauded graphic adaptation by P. Craig Russell (pictured left). If your child enjoys the graphic novel, try afterward reading the prose novel together (pictured right), highlighting the similarities and differences between the graphic adaptation and the source text. A perfect book for that reader who loves spooky stories and hair-raising thrills.



Do you have any other strategies or book recommendations for reluctant readers? Sound off in the comments below!

Matt Holder is a seasonal Library Associate in the Youth Services department. When he's not working here he's at work on his PhD in English at Saint Louis University. He enjoys all things science fiction and horror, and he'd be happy to talk with anyone that will listen about comic books and film. His favorite authors include Ray Bradbury, Ursula K. Le Guin, Cormac McCarthy, and Victor LaValle.