It’s been said that laughter is the best medicine, and when it comes to kids and reading, laughter could be a factor in building a life-long reader. According to The Kids and Family Reading Report conducted by YouGov and Scholastic, 70 percent of children ages 6 to 17 say when reading for fun, they want “books that make them laugh.”
Kids love to laugh, and funny books can carry just as much weight as serious ones when it comes to helping kids develop good reading skills. Here’s a selection of titles that may cause younger readers to snort, chuckle and laugh out loud. Caution: these titles have been known to cause liquids to be sprayed out of noses, stomach muscles to cramp and bodies to fall on the floor and roll around. But we think it’s all worth it if it gets kids to keep reading.
For Ages 9 to 13
Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce. When a boy who looks old for his age poses as his dad to go into outer space with a classmate pretending to be his daughter, everybody is in for a surprise.
The Quest of the Warrior Sheep by Christine and Christopher Russell. Five rare-breed sheep set off to save the world, followed closely by bandits, the media and a boy who simply wants them to come home.
Boy: Tales of Childhood by Roald Dahl. Stories of dead rats in candy jars, pipe tobacco made from goat droppings and characters that inspired Dahl’s later fiction are sprinkled throughout this memoir.
A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck. When Mary Alice leaves Chicago to spend a year with her grandma in the countryside, she doesn’t expect Grandma Dowdel to be even better than the local boys at pulling pranks.
The Detective’s Assistant by Kate Hannigan. Eleven-year-old Nell goes on a series of madcap adventures with her Aunt Kitty, a character based on America’s first female detective.
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt. Two raccoon brothers living in an old car abandoned in a Texas swamp are at the center of this tale that includes feral hogs, alligators, rattlesnakes and a boy who wants to protect his environment.
For Ages 14 and Up
A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker. As part of a mandatory “Marriage Education” program, Fiona has to “marry” a jerk named Todd. Each tries to sabotage the other in escalating pranks.
The Cardturner by Louis Sachar. Alton spends a summer as chauffeur and card turner for his blind great-uncle Lester’s bridge games. Along the way he learns about life, love and how playing bridge can teach you about both.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. A lot of bad stuff happens to Arnold Spirit, a Spokane Indian, after he leaves the reservation to attend a white high school. But Arnold’s humor and his ability to love people for who they are carries him through.
How I Stole Johnny Depp’s Alien Girlfriend by Gary Ghislain. This quirky, funny sci-fi story teams David up with Zelda, a girl who claims to be from another planet looking for her perfect mate, Johnny Depp.
Skink—No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen. Richard’s cousin disappears, and he turns to an unlikely ally to help him find her: a ragged, one-eyed, ex-governor of Florida. In their search, they brave lightning storms, snake-infested swamps and other natural and unnatural hazards.
Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging (Confessions of Georgia Nicolson Series #1) by Louise Rennison. Fourteen-year-old Georgia worries about her embarrassing parents, her developing body and learning to kiss.
Cindy Hudson writes about books and reading at motherdaughterbookclub.com