Would your child rather play video games than read a book? Wondering what the best books are for kids who love video games? You might be surprised at all the reading material out there that will attract even the most devoted gamer.
One easy way to start is to plug the name of your child's favorite video game into the library catalog and check out books about that game, or inspired by that game. Which reminds me....
...repeat after me:
It's okay for kids to read books about video games.
If a child wants to read books based on their favorite video games, like Minecraft, Fortnite, Pokemon, let them. Even more, you can actively encourage them to read these books. It's totally okay. Keep your (totally understandable, and shared by me) snobbery inside your head and vent to your fellow book snobs, but never criticize your child's reading material.
Should you wish to tempt your young gamer with some alternative reading material, the books on this list might just do the trick!
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Finally, on to the book list!
Best Books for Kids Who Like Video Games
by Gordon Korman
Cameron loves video games so much he calls his constant gaming his "lifestyle." However, his inattention to other matters causes a small accident and his parents insist he do something in addition to gaming. Cameron and his friends come up with a plan which backfires on them, but in the end gives them a positive experience. What I liked about this book was not only the engaging writing style, but that video games were not demonized. In the end, Cameron realizes he doesn't need to stop gaming in order to add other experiences to his life. Kids will also love the follow up book, Level 13: A Slacker Novel. Ages 9 and up.
by Gene Luen Yang, illustrated by Mike Holmes
How many graphic novels have your kids read that were written by a MacArthur Fellow (aka "the genius grant")? Hopper is the new kid at school and she starts things off on the wrong foot. She gets her hackles up when she gets into a tussle on her first day at the strange and creepy Stately Academy but soon Hopper and another student, Eni, team up to solve the mystery of the school. There are binary numbers to figure out, coding puzzles to solve and computer programs to unravel. If your kids can spend hours on coding websites, convince them to enjoy some off-screen time while working on the same type of problems—but with a book. Ages 8 and up.
Only You Can Save Mankind
by Terry Pratchett
Fantasy novelist extraordinaire, Terry Pratchett, has written a poignant series of books, the Johnny Maxwell trilogy, about a boy whose life merges with his video game through his dreams. A fighter in the ScreeWee game asks him for help so that she can survive the battle. The action of the book takes place against the backdrop of the Iraq war, but the themes are still relevant today. Ages 10 and up.
by Sarah Graley
Gamer Izzy is sucked into the world of her new video game. Izzy had promised her friend, Eric, she wouldn't play the game without him but when she does, she keeps the truth from him. The quirky, colorful world of the game will appeal to readers and the messages about the importance of friends and honesty will ring true. Ages 8 and up.
The 13-Story Treehouse
by Andy Griffiths, illustrated by Terry Denton
A super silly and fun book, and the maze-like, surprise-around-ever-corner tree house will appeal to gamers. It is the most amazing tree house ever. I mean, it includes a machine that shoots marshmallows into your mouth! The boys who live in the tree house have some seriously wacky adventures and loads of illustrations bring everything to life. Each book in the series adds several stories to the house. Ages 8 and up.
Squish: Game On!
by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm
Squish, an anthropomorphic amoeba, spends his birthday money to buy the hottest new game, "Mitosis." (I know, right?) The game takes over Squish's life as he fixates on completing level after level. The grown-ups in his life help him make up for lost time once the game is over, and kids will love the clever and silly humor. Game Over is book four in a wonderful beginning graphic novel series. Ages 7 and up.
by Thomas Flintham
Press Start is another fun easy graphic novel series from the Scholastic Branches imprint and kids will be attracted to to the pixellated artwork. In the first installment, a human plays a video game set in Animal Town in which the evil King Viking kidnaps a singing dog. In each level, a supercharged rabbit must overcome obstacles to rescue the dog and bring peace back to Animal Town. At this writing there are 11 books to keep your kids reading. Ages 7 and up.
by Sylv Chiang, illustrated by Connie Choi
In this trilogy, Jaden and his friends can't stop playing the video game, Cross Ups IV. Jaden even hides his gaming from his parents and so can't get their permission to play in the video game tournament. Jaden is bi-racial and Jaden's story addresses his relationship with his strict, Chinese mother and stereotypes. Jaden and his friends deal with school bullies, but I wish the bullies were more nuanced characters. In addition Jaden and his friends use a lot of slang, which went over this old lady's head. Overall, a book that will appeal to gamers. Ages 9 and up.
Mac Cracks the Code
by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Mike Lowery
The Mac B., Kid Spy is a popular series, and a great choice for kids who enjoy the format of books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid. Mac B. answers the call of the Queen of England, and his investigations take him to the Nintendo headquarters. He must use his formidable video game skills to best his enemy. Fun illustrations animate the fast-paced narrative. Ages 8 and up.
FACTopia!: Follow the Trail of 400 Facts
by Kate Hale, illustrated by Andy Smith
Kids who don't want to read long narratives are often attracted to books about facts. The short and fascinating details of outrageous facts peak their curiosity. What I love about FACTopia! is that it takes readers on a journey rather like a game, in which the readers is led down a trail of information which is all somehow connected, but still distinct. Think of it as "400 degrees of Kevin Bacon." Ages 8 and up.