Saturday, November 14, 2015

Some of My Recent Favorites

My last few posts are all about what the students are liking.  Here is a list of books that I have recently enjoyed.


I Yam a Donkey! by Cece Bell uses humor aplenty to show how confusing good grammar can be and how unimportant it is if you are about to be eaten.  As soon as someone is ready for the humor (maybe the middle of first grade) this book will be a winner.  Adults will get things that the younger set does not, but that is what makes it possible for adults to read the same book over and over.

Steve, Raised by Wolves by Jared Chapman reassures that no matter how hard a student's first day of school may seem it probably won't be worse than the first day of school for a boy raised by wolves.  It has the good moral of remembering to "Just be yourself" and lots of humor.  Grades 1-4 will get a chuckle out of this one.

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman is a joy to read to groups of children, most of whom go back to read it again and again by themselves.  It addresses the pressing question of what might happen if a family of bunnies were to adopt a baby wolf.  I have read to first grade up to fifth grade and it has gotten the same positive reactions from all of them.

Take Away the A - An Alphabeast of a Book by Michael Escoffier is a great start to word play.  It illustrates that a word can change by removing just one letter.  I predict many writing projects will be inspired by this book for grades 2 and up.

Toys Meet Snow by Emily Jenkins is lovely, sweet story on its own and good introduction to the chapter books about the toys (Toys Go Out and others).  The picture book is aimed at grades preK to 2 and the chapter books are for grades 2-5.

Alphabet School by Stephen Johnson finds the letters of the alphabet in things found in a school.  There is something about this concept that fascinates me.  I see anyone from kindergarten to retirement enjoying this beautifully illustrated book.

Lucy and Lenny by Phillip Stead, Illustrated by Erin Stead charmed me with the perfect fit of the illustrations to the story of a boy getting settled in a new home.  What is not to love about guardians made from pillows and blankets?  Don't forget that the Steads live right here in Ann Arbor which makes them almost like family.  This perfect for grades K-3.


Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate is a gentle story about the tough subject of homelessness that includes a caring family and an imaginary friend in the form of a giant cat.  It is great for grades 4-6.

Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley is a perfectly strange story of a magic (or is it imaginary) circus that can change lives if only one believes.  Readers in grades 4-7 should get drawn into this unusual tale.

The Scandalous Sisterhood of Prickwillow Place by Julie Berry is a little bit  of many familiar old-fashioned stories and whole lot of originality.  It tells of girls in a small boarding school with a very Victorian feel who are suddenly faced with what to do when their head mistress dies suddenly at dinner.  They decide to pretend that all is normal as the humor and the adventures spiral out of their control.  Middle school is the perfect audience for this book.

George by Alex Gino has gotten a lot of talk this year as the first book for grades 4-7 to openly deal with transgender issues.  It is well written and written in a way that will not make students uncomfortable and will add understanding.

Anyone But Ivy Pocket by Caleb Krisp  is a mystery with a great sense of humor.  Grades 4-7 will laugh along with the confusion a well-meaning young girl creates around her.

Kung Pow Chicken--Bok! Bok! Boom by Cyndi Marko is part of a series about a young chicken who is a superhero that has students in grades 1-3 laughing and asking for more.

Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar uses what first appears to be a normal school conflict story to talk about environmental threats.  I would suggest it for grades 4-7.

The Odin Inheritance by Victoria L. Scott.  Yes, Emerson's own Victoria Scott has written a powerful, well-researched Steampunk adventure that does not stay on our library shelves.  It features strong, interesting characters, plot twists, and some good humor.  None of this surprises anyone who knows Victoria.  Her book is aimed at middle school and high school students and will be enjoyed by adults as well.


A Nest is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston, illustrated by Sylvia Long  is the newest by this author/illustrator duo that makes nature into a work of visual and poetic art.  There is plenty of information about nests and all the creatures that build nests here, but what readers grades 2 and up will remember is the beauty that is depicted here.

I Am Lucille Ball (And others in this I Am...Series) by Brad Meltzer is a picture book biography that will appeal to young readers (Grades K-3) who like plenty of illustrations and careful touches of humor while learning about the childhoods of famous people.


Written and Drawn by Henrietta by Lineirs comes to us from a cartoonist who is well-known in Brazil.  The story is simply a girl drawing pictures and forming a story and monsters.  The pictures change from appearing to be the art of the little girl to the most sophisticated art of an artist.  I think it is for everyone, but I suppose it is aimed at grades K-3.

Lumberjanes, Volume 1--Beware the Kitten Holy by Noelle Stevens and Grace Ellis, illustrated by Brooke Allen is a graphic story of girls at camp and facing strange occurrences that has a clear, strong, and often funny feminists bent.  Grades 5 and up will enjoy this one.


The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elizabeth Tova Bailey is part memoir and part a natural science of snail life.  When Bailey was forced by illness to spend an extended period of time in bed with little or no movement, a friend brings her a snail that she watches for hours on end.  The snail, like this book, is calming and reassuring.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates is a must read for anyone who cares about racial issues in this country.  It is beautifully written as a letter from a father to his son on surviving as an African American in the world today.  The message to all people is angry yet calming, sad yet hopeful, cautious yet urgent.  Everyone will find something worthy of  pondering and discussing.

Bitter Greens by Kate Forsyth is a change from what I usually read and I enjoyed the break.  This lengthy novel offers a peak into court life at Versailles with the Sun King along with a re-imagining of the tale of Rapunzel.

Being Mortal : Medicine and What Matters in The End by Atul Gawande made me think about what is truly important in life and how to help myself and others find the time to let it end.  That might sound depressing but this book is actually very uplifting.  I recommend it if you have aging parents or are thinking about your own aging.  It will make you feel better about your ability to deal what may seem like insurmountable issues.  If you want a graphic memoir to complement this, especially when dealing with parents, consider reading Roz Chast's Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? : A Memoir.

The Summer Book by Tove Jansson  is by a beloved children's book author but here looks at the relationship of a grandmother and grandchild as they spend a summer together on an island that they have visited for years.  The beautiful writing evokes a sense of place and an appreciation of nature.  It is worth owning so you can reread it to savor every word.

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan takes place in the middle of the Atlantic ocean in a lifeboat in 1914.  The boat is overcrowded and everyone is worried about surviving as the chances of being rescued become more and more remote.  The end finds one of the women who did survived on trial for murdering others so that she might survive.

Happy reading!

Third Grade Chimes in with Their Choics

Third grade always seems to me to be a huge jump for students.  Over the summer, while out of my sight, they grow in many different ways.  They are taller and their faces change.  Most importantly, so many of them come into a strong sense of where they are going and what they are thinking.  This makes their reading habits change.  Some need the security of well loved series from years past and others start test the waters with new genres.  Even the way I collected this list reflects how differently they attack problems.  Some of them wanted to meet as a group to select titles together while others wanted to head off to write their own lists.  The list below is a mix of all of those lists and reflects the individuality of students at this period in their lives.

Picture Books
Yes, third graders appreciate good picture books and are eager to suggest them for their peers and for younger readers as well.  This list is short only because they got so excited by listings of chapter books.
  • Berenstain Bears (Series) by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  • I'm Not Bobby! by Jules Feiffer
  • Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen

Chapter Books
You will notice a wide range of interests and reading challenges here.

  • Sherlock, Lupin and Me (Series) by Irene Alder
  • The Dragon Princess (Series)  by E. D. Baker  This has a fifth grade reading level but readers who do not struggle with the reading will do fine with the stories.  Many students listed this series or individual titles from it.
  • Ivy and Bean (Series) by Annie Barrows  These are very popular with this age and perfect for exploring friendships.
  • Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing (and the rest of the Fudge series) by Judy Blume
  • The Pain and the Great One (Series) by Judy Blume
  • The Enchanted Wood, The Magic Faraway Tree, The Folk of the Faraway Tree or others by Enid Blyton
  • Bad Kitty (Series) by Nick Bruel
  • The Sisters Grimm (Series) by Michael Buckley
  • The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling
  • Summerland by Michael Chabon  
  • Any books by Matt Christopher  These books are about almost every major sport.
  • Ramona and Beezus (and others in the Ramona Series) by Beverly Clearly
  • Land of Stories (Series) by Chris Colfer
  • The Hunger Games  by Suzanne Collins  It will not surprise you that I, and most of the adults I talk to, think that this is better suited for readers in late middle school or older.  There is a great deal of violence and fearful settings.  Many third graders can read all the words and understand most of what is happening but the deeper philosophy of the book will be missed by younger readers so they will get only the adventure and violence.  I would so much rather they wait until the discussion of good and evil will be more meaningful.
  • Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, and  The BFG  by Roald Dahl
  • My Father's Dragon (Series) by Ruth Stiles Gannett
  • Baseball Card Adventures (Series) by Dan Gutman
  • My Weird School (Series) by Dan Gutman
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  • Katie Kazoo (Series) by Nancy E. Krulik
  • Tales of Narnia (The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe) by C. S. Lewis  This got more than one listing.  It is a favorite of many and a little too much for some, but only because of its length and thoughtfulness.
  • Rush Revere (Series) by Rush Limbaugh
  • The Babysitter's Club (Series) by Ann M. Martin
  • The Candy Makers by Wendy Mass
  • Akimbo (Series) by Alexander McCall Smith
  • Judy Moody (Series) by Megan McDonald
  • Stink (Series) by Megan McDonald  These are a little easier to read than the Judy Moody books and tell of the antics of her little brother.
  • Olive Moon (Series) by Sue Mongredien
  • The Magic Tree House (Series) by Mary Pope Osborne
  • Wonder by R. J. Palicio
  • Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish These are often found in the beginning reader section.
  • Timmy Failure by Stephan Pastis
  • Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce  Big Nate appears in both chapter book and graphic formats.  The kids love both formats so this is a good way to transition from reading just graphic novels to reading chapter books with familiar characters.
  • Clementine (Series) by Sara Pennypacker
  • American Chillers and Michigan Chillers (Series) by Johnathan Rand
  • Percy Jackson (Series) by Rick Riordan  These will gain meaning as the reader gets older and learns more about mythologies of the world.  However, they also work the other way around by getting readers to find out more about mythology.
  • All of the  Harry Potter stories by J. K. Rowling  I personally would suggest students wait to read all of the series until they are a bit older as Harry matures through the series and so do his interests and concerns.  Kids can read them but the later books get rather dark for many third and fourth graders.
  • A - Z Mysteries by Rob Roy
  • Encyclopedia Brown (Series) by Donald Sobol
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket
  • Beware : R. L. Stine Picks His Favorite Scary Stories by R. L. Stine
  • Goosebumps (Series) by R. L. Stine
  • Wings of Fire (Series) by Tui Sutherland
  • I Survived (Series) by Lauren Tarshis
  • Dragonbreath by Ursula Vernon  These clever books are part graphic format and part prose.  They lure kids in and are read and reread many times over.
  • Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
  • The Book Thief  by Markus Zusak  Because this is a story of the horrors of  the Holocaust it is generally considered, and I think rightfully so, for high school students and older.  It is a very moving story but I am surprised to find it on a third grade list, especially one that includes Judy Moody and the Magic Tree House.

  • Childhood of Famous Americans by Various Authors  This is a large series of biographies.  They are usually paperback and have a mostly blue cover with red and white lettering.
  • Magnificent Sam : The Amazing Adventures of Sam Houston by Laurie Cockerell  Biographies are very popular with third grade readers.
  • Weird But True (Series) published by National Geographic
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Comic Books and Graphic Novels
  • Fox Trot by Bill Amend
  • Garfield (Series) by Jim Davis
  • Tin Tin by Herge
  • Amulet  (Series) by Kazu Kibuishi
  • The Croc Ate My Homework by Stephan Pastis
  • Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce
  • Sidekicks by Dan Santat
  • Smile by Raina Telgemeier  The only problem with reading Smile at this age is that the other Telegemeier books are really written for somewhat older readers.
  • Cardboardby Doug TenNapel  I found this a big scary but I don't see our readers being upset by it.
  • Calvin and Hobbes  by Bill Watterson

Subject Areas
  • Any book illustrated by Garth Williams (Some of these inlcude The Cricket in Times Square, The Little House books, Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, Bedtime for Frances, and many more.)
  • Basketball
  • Dogs and Puppies
  • Dragon Ball 
  • Dragon Drawing 
  • Fantasy
  • How To 
  • How To Annoy Little Brothers and Sisters
  • Lego
  • Mine Craft
  • Mystery
  • Origami
  • Short Stories

Monday, November 9, 2015

Kindergarten, First, and Second Grades Suggest

There is nothing like asking our youngest students to list their favorite books to make me glad to be a librarian.  Even a five year old has strong opinions and finds lots to love about books.  They got very excited as they discussed their favorites and thought of new ones.  Here, by grade, are their lists.  I will keep adding to them for the rest of the week as I meet with the remaining classes.  You can be sure that I will be enjoy the collection process as much as they are enjoying sharing with me.


Picture Books
One Day, Two Dragons--Lynne Bertrand
The Man Who Painted the Blue Horse--Eric Carle
Ella--Mallory Kasdan
Elephant and Piggie Books (any of them)--Mo Willems

Subject areas of interest
Frozen--Elsa and Anna
Sleeping Beauty
Mythical Creatures
Star Wars and Darth Vader
Deep Sea Life

Geronimo Stilton

Picture Books
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel--Virginia Lee Burton
There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed... (various ends to the title)--Lucille Colandro (and other authors)
The Day the Crayons Quit--Drew Daywalt
Wolfie the Bunny--Amy Dyckman
Chicken Big--Keith Graves
Waiting--Kevin Henkes
No!  That’s Wrong--Zhaohua Ji
Pinkalicious--Victoria Kann
Ferdinand the Bull--Munro Leaf
Please, Baby, Please--Spike Lee
Aliens  Are Coming--Megan McCarthy
The Book With No Pictures--B. J. Novak
Curious George--H. A. Rey and Margret Rey
I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean--Kevin Sherry
Chester--Melanie Watt
City Dog, Country Frog--Mo Willems
Elephant and Piggie (any of them)--Mo Willems
Leonardo the Terrible Monster--Mo Willems
Pigeon books (any of them)--Mo Willems

Easy Readers
Fancy Nancy and the Delectable Cupcakes--Jane O’Connor

Chapter Books
Captain Underpants--Dav Pilkey

Subject areas of interest
Fairy Tales
Frozen--Elsa and Anna
The Mayflower


Picture Books
Zombie in Love--Kelly DiPucchio
Otis (and others in this series)--Loren Long
Berenstain Bears--Stan and Jan Berenstain

Chapter Books
The One and Only Ivan--Katherine Applegate
Matilda--Roald Dahl
The Diary of a Wimpy Kid (series)--Jeff Kinney
The Demigod Files--Rick Riordan
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone--J. K. Rowling
Septimus Heap--Angie Sage

A-Z Mysteries--Rob Roy
Geronimo Stilton and Thea Stilton
Guardians of Ga’Hoole--Kathryn Lasky
Never Girls--Various authors
Puppy Place--Ellen Miles
Rainbow Magic (Rainbow Fairies)--Daisy Meadows

Comic Books/ Graphic Novels

Calvin and Hobbes--Bill Watterson

What My Students Suggest

As we prepare for our annual Book Fair it seemed like a good idea to get the students talking about the books that they enjoy reading.  The list generated by fourth and fifth grade students is well worth sharing with the world because they have thought of many titles that would not have been on my radar.  They had some fascinating discussions as they formed their lists as well as finding new ways to use the on-line catalog to get suggestions for what else they might want to suggest.

The list is long.  Some of the entries have brief summaries because the group had time to write them while other groups did not have time for more than title and author.  All of the summaries and the grade/age level suggestions are from the students.  I might have said slightly different things or given somewhat different age level parameters, but I won't argue with any of them.   Asterisks at the end of an entry denotes that more than one person suggested the same title.  Quotation marks set off the summaries and comments of the students.  Sometimes more than one student made a comment.

Enjoy what my students are reading.  You may get some good ideas for your book shopping and personal reading.


  • Prairie Evers by Ellen Airgood  A girl who lives on a farm  ages 9-11
  • Whittington by Alan Armstrong  gr. 4-7
  • The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier  "The Night Gardener is a book that follows two Irish siblings to a haunted mansion in England.
  • Ivy & Bean(series) by Annie Barrows  "They go on different adventures."
  • Ellie McDoodle (series) by Ruth McNally Barshaw “I read Ellie McDoodle when I was in fourth grade and I really like it so I recommend this book for third grade through fourth and maybe even second grade.”  “Follow Ellie through her wacky adventures”  Gr 3-5  * *
  • Almost Home  by Joan Bauer
  • Tumtum and Nutmeg by Emily Bearn
  • Little Witch by Anna E. Bennet  A girl who wants to go to school.
  • Blubber by Judy Blume  grades 5 and up
  • It’s Not the End of the World by Judy Blume  grades 4-6
  • Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself by Judy Blume  A girl moves to a new school and her brother gets really sick.
  • The Name of This Book Is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch * *
  • Bad Kitty  by Nick Bruel *
  • School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani   Two girls are chosen to learn how to be fairy tale characters  gr. 4-6
  • The Secret Zoo by Bryan Chick  grades 3-6
  • Ramona Forever by Beverly Cleary
  • The School Story  by Andrew Clement
  • Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr
  • The Land of Stories by Chris Colfer  “The Land of Stories is about two kids, Alex and Conner Bailey, who find out that their father was actually part magical.   When twins open a portal to a new world, they have to get home and fast.”  “Alex and Conner are lost in the fairy tale land.”  ages 8-11. * * *
  • George’s Marvelous Medicine by Roald Dahl  "George’s Marvelous Medicine is about a boy who is left home with his cranky grandma."  ages 7-10.
  • Fort by Cynthia deFelice   "Two kids build a fort in the woods.:  Grades 3-6
  • Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo
  • The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo  Grades 2 and up
  • Kenny and the Dragon  by Tony DiTerlizzi
  • Wondla (series) by Tony DiTerlizzi *
  • Hardy Boys (series) by F. W. Dixon  mystery, grades 3-7
  • Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper  "When a young girl goes to school with a disability that keeps her from walking and talking, how can she show that she is smart?"
  • The Twenty-One Balloons by William Pene duBois  "A man who has crashed in a hot air balloon tells his interesting story to San Francisco."  "About a man from San Francisco who flies in a hot air balloon over the Pacific but it takes a deadly turn."  *
  • The Familiars by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson, gr. 3-6, Fantasy *
  • Ranger’s Apprentice  (and the rest of the series) by John Flanagan  “A person who got recruited to be a ranger and gets put on missions.”  “Will the ranger goes on an adventure in a thinly disguised England.”  ages 10-15 *
  • McBroom’s Wonderful One-Acre Farm by Sid Fleischman
  • Remarkable  by Lizzie K. Foley
  • The Girl Who Could Fly  by Victoria Forester
  • Dragonborn by Toby Forward
  • Gold Medal Summer by Donna Freitas
  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  • Coraline by Neil Gaiman  "How many mothers can a girl have?"
  • My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George
  • Belly Up  by Stuart Gibbs  *
  • Spy School by Stuart Gibbs  grades 2-5
  • The Angel Tree by Daphne Benedis-Grab   Grades 4 and up  “Because my grandfather just read it and said it was good and I am starting it and like it a lot so far.”
  • Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein *
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • Honus and Me : A Baseball Card Adventure by Dan Gutman
  • My Weird School (series) by Dan Gutman  "It is about a fourth grader who hates school."
  • Gabriel Finley and the Raven’s Riddle by George Hagen   "A boy who likes riddles goes on an adventure with ravens."    "A boy finds a raven and tries to find his dad."  Ages 8-12  Grades three to adult. Another group suggest grades 4-6  **
  • Hoot; Chomp; Scat;  and Flush by Carl Hiassen *  Mystery
  • Alex Rider (and the rest of the series) by Anthony Horowitz
  • Fish in a Tree by Lynda Hunt  "A girl who has dyslexia has trouble in school." Grades 5-8  *
  • The Warriors Series by Erin Hunter  ”About a house cat who joins the clans and moves up in rank to become leader.  But leadership isn’t all it seems to be.”  “There are four cat clans and they fight each other and ravage enemies.”  Ages 8-15, Grades 3-7 *
  • The Popularity Papers by Amy Ignatow
  • Constable & Toop by Gareth P. Jones   *
  • The Guardian Series by William Joyce and Laura Geriner
  • Cracker! by Cynthia Kadohata  "Cracker! is about a dog who goes to Vietnam.  In the process, Cracker is pulled away from her beloved Willie."
  • Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata   "Moving to a new town is hard enough but when Katie’s sister gets sick...can Katie still show people what Kira-Kira really means?"
  • Nancy Drew (series) by Carolyn Keene
  • The Winter Horses by Philip Kerr  gr. 5-12
  • Emily Windsnap (series) by Liz Kessler  "A girl realizes that she is a mermaid."  Ages 9-11
  • A Year Without Autumn by Liz Kessler "A Girl named Jenni and her BFF Autumn are on vacation.  When Jenni finds a way to see into the future, everything changes."
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid (series) by Jeff Kinney  "A boy who writes about himself.  Very funny."  grades 2-8
  • Schooled  by Gordon Korman *
  • Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai  Grades 5-12
  • Savvy by Ingrid Law  "A large family has a power called savvy.  This is a book of their journey to get their savvy."  Grades 4-6 *
  • The Winter Pony by Iain Lawrence  Grades 5-12
  • Dog Lost by Ingrid Lee
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine  "In this book you get taken on an adventure to be freed from a curse of obedience."  Grades 3-6 *
  • Ever by Gail Carson Levine
  • Two Princesses of Barmarre by Gail Carson Levine, grades 4-7
  • Wild Wings by Gill Lewis
  • Bliss by Katheryn Littlewood
  • The Giver (quartet) by Lois Lowry
  • The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones  by Will Mabbit   "Mable Jones performs THE DEED and doing so opens a portal to a world run by pirates."
  • Kung Pow Chicken (series)  by Cyndi Marko  ages 5-8 *
  • The Candymakers by Wendy Mass  "A Candy contest where kids make their own candy."  Ages 9-11.
  • Gabriella the Snow Fairy  Rainbow Fairies series by Daisy Meadows Grades 2-3
  • Unwanteds  by Lisa McMann
  • School by Kate McMullen  "It is about a school that has weird people."
  • Fablehaven (series) by Brandon Mull   fantasy  grades 4+ ***
  • Spirit Animals by Brandon Mull
  • Shiloh  Season by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor  grades 3-5
  • Charlie Bone (series) by Jenny Nimmo
  • The Flame of Olympus  (Pegasus series, book 1) by Kate O’Hearn  Gr. 3-5
  • Magic Treehouse : The Blizzard of the Blue Moon  (and the rest of the series) by Mary Pope Osborne Grades 1-4  **
  • Wonder by R. J. Palacio  "A heart warming story with a disabled kid and his friends.  Wonder  is about a boy with a deformed face going into his first year of school." *  ages 9-12.
  • The Interitance (series that begins with Eragon)  by Christopher Paolini  "A classic tale of dragons and adventure."  Ages 10-30
  • Timmy Failure by Stephan Pastis
  • I Funny by James Patterson  "A handicapped kid who’s going for gold."
  • Middle School : The Worst Year of My Life by James Patterson
  • The Mouse With the Question Mark Tail by Richard Peck
  • The Mostly Ture Adventures of Homer P. Figg by Rodman Philbrick  "About a boy in the Civil War whose brother is illegally drafted into the war and how Homer follows them."
  • The Adventures of Captain Underpants : The First Epic Novel by Dav Pilkey
  • Ms. Rapscott’s Girls by Elise Primavera
  • American Chillers and Michigan Chillers by Johnathan Rand  Grades 2-4, with some good discussion of how scary they may be to younger readers--not as scary as Goosebumps was the final decision.
  • The True Meaning of Smekday, Smek For President by Adam Rex *
  • The Kane Chronicles  (series) by Rick Riordan  "This series is about two twins who learn Egyptian magic in hopes of saving their dad."  Ages 7+ (I asked the kids not to mention the Riordan books or the fabulous ones by J. K. Rowling, but some just could not restrain themselves. If I had encouraged them to include these titles they would have had multiple mentions.
  • Harry Potter (all of them) by J. K. Rowling  Grades 4-8 with a caveat that these get darker as they go along so it may be better to start later rather than too soon.
  • Holes  by Louis Sachar  “ I read Holes in fourth grade and I really like it because there was a lot of reversal in it.  I recommend this book for fourth grade to sixth grade.”  
  • Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians (and others in the series)--Brandon Sanderson
  • Geronimo Stilton (series)  by Scholastic Books or by Geronimo Stilton
  • Endangered by Elliot Schrefer  grades 4-6
  • Counting By 7’s  by Holly Goldberg Sloan
  • Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket   "The Baudelair’s life was perfect until a mysterious fire burns down their house."  Grades 3-6  *
  • When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead  Grades 3-5
  • Goosebumps Series, including NIght of the Living Dummy and The Blob that Ate Everything--by R. L. Stine  Grades 3-5  (with much debate over how scared younger readers might be
  • Wings of Fire (series) by Tui T. Sutherland  * * *
  • Moon Rising by Tui T. Sutherland  “Moon is the first dragon in hundreds of years to read minds.  Can she keep her secret or will her schoolmates find out?” Action, adventure, fantasy, Grades 3-6
  • I Survived...Series by Lauren Tarshis  Grades 3-7  Some thought these reality based stories might be frightening to some younger students.
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkein
  • Doyle and Fossey, Science Detectives series by Michele Torrey  Grades 2-5
  • Draongbreath (series) by Usula Vernon grades 2-4, fantasy, mystery
  • The Boxcar Children (series) by Gertrude Chandler Warner *
  • Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin  "It is about a boy from Russia whose life is ruined when his father is arrested by the Communist Party."

  • Who Was Elvis Presley? (and the many other Who Was books)  by various authors *
  • Weird But True by National Geographic  A ton of cool facts.
  • The Adventures of Marco Polo by Russell Freedman
  • Avengers: The Ultimate Guide to the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes by Betty Scott
  • The Dictionary--”for people who love to keep learning”  Grades 2 and up

  • I Had a Favorite Dress by Boni Ashburn  "A girl has a favorite dress and it is too short so she sews it."  grades K-1
  • Splat the Cat  by Rob Scotton
  • Joseph Had a LIttle Overcoat by Simms Taback  
  • Chester  by Melanie Watt   "It is about a cat who is making a problem." Grades Kindergarten-4
  • Elephant and Piggie : Today I Will Fly by Mo Willems  Really, all the Elephant and Piggie books which at least one group says are good for Pre-school to age 100.
  • The Pigeon Books (i. e. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Pigeon Needs a Bath) by Mo Willems  These, too, were declared to be enjoyed by all ages.

  • Tintin : The Blue Lotus by Herge
  • Babymouse by Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm    “I recommend the Babymouse series.  It lets you into a young, sassy, funny mouse’s life.  You follow Babymouse as she goes on funny, exciting journeys.  This books is best for ages 8-11, a very wide age range.  Please try this series out.”  *
  • Amulet (Series) by Kazu Kibushi  ages 8-12  Graphic *
  • The Croc Ate My Homework by Stephan Pastis  gr. 3-6
  • Pearls Before Swine by Stephan T. Pastis
  • Big Nate (series) by Lincoln Pierce  grades 3+
  • Peanuts:  The Art of Charles Schulz by Charles Schulz
  • Jellaby by Kean Soo  Ages 7-14  Graphic
  • Smile by Raina Telgemeier

I will add to this list throughout the rest of this week as I meet one more time with these classes.  Come back and check again to see more great suggestions