Gaps in the reading market #1: Bright 6 year old girls

bookshelf in bookshop
Watch out for Rainbow Magic!

I post this, half hoping to be corrected or at least pointed in the right direction.

I believe there are gaps in the market for reading books in the primary age range.
This first one is for able girls who are about 6 and 7 years old.

These girls begin to master the books within their school reading system towards the end of their reception year and begin getting some degree of fluency by the start of Year 1. This means that by their 6th birthday they’re really getting quite good at reading. So they look around at what to read, and of course the main thing girls of that age want to read about is fairies. And unicorns. But mainly fairies. So inevitably they all find the the ubiquitous Daisy Meadows and Rainbow Magic – a seemingly endless sequence of books all about how some girls from the real world meet and actually become fairies. It is, quite literally, every 6-year old girl’s dream.

Now I didn’t mind it when my own six-year old started reading these books. The first couple are pretty good and I could see her gaining confidence in her own reading. But by the end of the first series of seven books I began to get a little tired of the plots and the standard of English. Seriously, I’ve seen books for younger children with more complex grammar and a wider range of vocabulary. Julia Donaldson in her book “Charlie Cook’s Favourite Book”, which I would suppose is read to three or four year-olds, uses the word ‘indignant’. Such a word would never appear in Rainbow Magic.

And then I discovered that there are many more series of seven books. In fact at least ten more. I suddenly had a vision of my daughter reading these books when she’s nineteen.

What I really wanted was some sort of language development in Rainbow Magic: a progressively more demanding vocabulary; greater challenge from more complex sentence structures; that sort of thing. But no. It was all pretty much the same.

So there’s a challenge all you authors – can you write something to engage and challenge bright 6 year old girls. My second daughter is four at the moment – if you could sort something out for 18 months time, I would really appreciate it.

4 thoughts on “Gaps in the reading market #1: Bright 6 year old girls”

  1. My daughter had exactly the same problem as yours. Rainbow Fairy books are pure reading ‘chewing gum’ and hardly exciting.

    At six my daughter longed for books that would make her ‘eyes light up’ as she read. We frantically searched and found that many of the books that were popular with her peer group were hardly inspiring and would often lead her to finish a book and turn to us and say “Is that it?”

    We did find some books that provided her with the engagement she needed but we are now struggling again as she is now nine and has read pretty much everything aimed at her age group. She wants to read books that are aimed at a much older audience but doesn’t have the experience of life to be able to deal with some of the issues they raise!

    So yes there is a massive gap in the market for able six year old readers but the problem also exists for nine year olds who don’t want to read about boyfriends and sleepovers!

    The authors I would recommend for your daughter are Alex T Smith (for his humour and subtlety) Mini Grey (these are complicated picture books that delight and make you think) and Melanie Watt’s Scardey Squirrel range (again picture books with a lot to take in). All three come with my daughter’s recommendation. I hope she enjoys them as much as we do!

    1. Thanks for the recommendations. I will investigate them later today! I also have a nine year old (boy) and, like you, the problem is finding challenging texts that aren’t really dark. I’ve scheduled a post about that for Tuesday!

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