We're having a book buying night and our lovely librarian (http://twitter.com/l_mabey) has posted a list of book recommendations thought some of you might like. Next up, I need the Spanish language ones. My kids come from a line of avid readers, but have not really picked up that bug themselves, so I am always looking for recommendations.
2nd – 4th
grade kids who like to laugh:
My Weird School
series by Dan Gutman – kids and teachers misbehave just enough to make the
books feel slightly naughty, but with lessons learned. Can’t keep these on the shelf at school.
Time Warp Trio
series by Jon Sciescza – similar concept to Magic Treehouse, only with dry humor
and mild sarcasm that budding ironists
Justin Case series
(2 books so far) by Rachel Vail – Justin is a school-nervous worrywart who
manages to be engaging and hilarious as he survives recognizable situations at
school and with his quirky, loving family.
A great read-aloud for families.
The Riot Brothers
series by Mary Amato—two brothers live out their motto of “make something
exciting happen every day,” with mischief, a modicum of booger humor, and truly
Moving on to middle
school soon? As the mom of boys ages 10
and 12, she has serious concerns about books that emphasize the crass and cruel
side of the tween years, and don’t honor the tender hearts we’ve cultivated in
our own kids. Here are some titles that
introduce the middle-school years with respect, humor, and a reasonable dose of
reality, best for grades 4 & up:
Origami series by
Todd Angleberger – kids trying to navigate confusing friendships and crushes in
age-appropriate ways. I love how these
books model self-reflection and show respect for kids’ feelings without
appearing to teach a lesson.
series by Karla Oceanak—Aldo is a talented artist, but can’t decide whether
he’s willing to let his non-standard talent shine. His diverse group of family and friends are
featured in his journal-style books that feature text and graphic sections.
The Wednesday Wars
and Okay for Now by Gary D.
Schmidt. Set during and just after the
Vietnam wars at two different middle & high schools, this pair of titles
would be appropriate for 5th grade and up readers ready for the next
level of poignancy and cultural literacy in humorous episodic novels.
Every Soul a Star
by Wendy Mass. (California Young Reader
Medal, 2011). Narrated in turns by an
appearance-obsessed aspiring model and an isolated, home-schooled astronomy
enthusiast, this story of weathering life’s changes is thoughtful and
same kids: historical fiction for accomplished
The Great Brain
series by John Fitzgerald. First
published beginning in 1967, these books have stood the test of time. Harkening back to days when expectations for
boys were both rougher (pocketknives, fistfights, never tattling) and stricter
(rigorous chores, respect for adults, scrupulous honesty) these tales of two
brothers growing up in a small town Utah feature Tom Fitzgerald, a trickster
for the ages. Grades 3 – 5.
The Grandma Dowdell
series by Richard Peck—A Long Way from
Chicago (1999 Newberry Honor), A Year
Down Yonder (2001 Newberry Medal), and A
Season of Gifts compose a trilogy set in a veeeery small town in downstate
Illinois, where the indefatigable and always unexpected Grandma Dowdel marches
to her own drummer, with adventures narrated by the series of young relatives
and neighbors who come under her influence.
Best for grades 5 – 8.
The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly. Eleven-year-old Calpurnia balances the
competing influences of a tradition-bound, ladylike mother who worries about
her future, and a gender-blind, intellectual grandfather who recognizes her
intelligence. It’ll be hard for our
girls to believe there was a time when aspiring to a college education was
considered a crazy idea for a girl…this book will highlight how far things have
Chains and Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson—these two
titles, with the upcoming Ashes, make
up the Seeds of America trilogy. These
are usually recommended for grades 6 or 7 and up, but mature 5th-graders
who can handle the dark side of American history will also benefit. Unsparing detail and meticulous research
support Anderson’s tales of African teens, both enslaved and free, finding
their way through the tumultuous times of the American Revolution. May be too intense for sensitive readers,
but are well worth the time for kids who want to know more about less-famous
aspects of our history.