“Reading with an eye toward metaphor allows us to become the person we’re reading about while reading about them. That’s why there are symbols in books and why your English teacher deserves your attention. Ultimately it doesn’t matter if the author intended a symbol to be there because the job of reading is not to understand the author’s intent. The job of reading is to use stories as a way into seeing other people as we see ourselves.” - John Green
I used to read these books starting in 4th or 5th grade by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor called the Alice series. About (gasp!) a girl named Alice. She's in 4th grade in the first book, I think, and there's about 25 of them total. I haven't read all of them, but I adored them then.
I still do, actually. It occurred to me today just how much I still think aboutthings that happened in them (weekly), and I haven't read them in 3-4 years. Today I checked out 6 of them from the library that I don't think I've read before. The really cool thing is that since there's so many of them, and they cover about 8 years of Alice's life, if you start at the right time in both your life and the life of the series, you can pretty much grow up along with Alice. Case point: the majority of my early sex-ed came from those books. Instead of reading about someone doing things, I was reading about someone learning about them in normal ways. It was very...comforting? I'm not sure if that's the right word. The 6 I have out right now are all spring of freshman year and beyond. I'm hoping to get my youngest sister started on the earlier ones (she's in 6th grade, but she'll get through the ones below her age fast). I highly recommend them to any girls (or boys, I suppose, but I doubt there are many boys who would like them) in or around 5th grade, but they should read them slowly, because the content gets progressively more mature as Alice gets older. Keep Alice a year or two or three older than you, and you should be all right. It depends on the kid, though.