While I did keep recommending books in my classroom, it got challenging to post them here as well. Rest assured, I still plan to update the site when school starts back up. I'll try to do a better job keeping up with my weekly book recommendations for my class.
Do you love a challenge?
Are you great at solving puzzles?
Maybe your special talent is in creatively solving the problems you encounter?
Meet the children of the Mysterious Benedict Society. Each one of them has been handpicked through a series of tests and challenges to join a team. Their mission? Save the world, of course.
Follow along as Sticky, Constance, Reynie and Kate take on that secret mission. Can you figure out the puzzles before they do?
This book is a wonderful combination of mystery, adventure, and teamwork. Go along for the ride!
http://www.mysteriousbenedictsociety.com/ Join the adventure, try out puzzles and games, and read excerpts from upcoming books here!
Wonder is the story of a fifth grade boy named Auggie (August) with a genetic disorder. He can’t hide his differences from the world because they are stamped on his face for all to see. He spends his elementary years being homeschooled, due to the intense schedule of surgeries required to help him even be able to eat and breathe properly. In fifth grade, his parents decide it is time for him to start to interact more with kids his own age, though they know it will be incredibly stressful. Kids can be mean, though, right? What follows is Auggie’s story of that year, but it is also a tale of other children struggling to fit in.
Wonder is the perfect addition to your reading diet. It would work well as a read-aloud, a small group reading circle, or to recommend to individual students. With poignant scenes about family and friends, interspersed with humor and pop culture references that kids will adore, Wonder will be sure to capture the hearts and minds of children and adults alike.
I discovered the trailer below on the fabulous website Watch.Connect.Read. by the amazing Mr. Schu
Deza Malone is the kind of character who jumps right into your heart and makes camp there.
Yes, this is a wonderful historical fiction book about the devastating effects of the Depression on families in the American Midwest - especially African American families. More than that, though, this is a book about a whip smart little girl who treasures books, her family, and has boundless hope for the future.
Read it for the eloquent writing and the childlike wonder. Read it for the glimpse into the past. Most of all, though, read it to fall in love with Deza Malone.
** This was my book recommendation in my classroom last week, it just didn't make it online!
Listen to the author speak!
Imagine you live in New York City. Not the city of our time, though, the city as it was just before the dawn of the 20th century.
You’re thirteen years old. You’ve quit school because the crowded classroom with 100 kids was too much to bear. You also quit because you need to work to help your family survive.
Eight cents a day. That is what you bring in by selling newspapers on the street as a “newsie”. At least, that’s what you make on a good day when you can actually sell them all.
What will you do when the bullies attack and try to take it all away from you? What will you do when your sister, who earns a large chunk of the family’s wages, is accused of stealing at the hotel where she is employed?
Maks decides to learn how to be a detective to help clear her name. Can he find out the truth?
Part historical fiction – part mystery – City of Orphans is a wonderful story about a world quite different from our own.
Check out the short book trailer below
Do you love to read the Guinness Book of World Records or Ripley's Believe it or Not and enjoy adventure stories with secret codes? Seriously? Of course you do! Then add in a helping of Dan Gutman's wacky humor, and you have the recipe for a book that you will simply devour.
Coke and Pepsi McDonald are almost 13, and their parents are a little bit.... strange. They are being forced to take an RV trip from California to Virginia at the start of summer vacation. Just before they leave, they discover that they have been recruited to join the Genius Files - a secret group of highly intelligent children who need to save the world. That's when the attempts to kill them begin.
The trip is a crazy mixture of adventures, code breaking, and visits to quirky locations across the United States. What other book would include vats of liquefied Spam, jumping off of cliffs, and a visit to the TWO largest balls of twine?
Fans of Dan Gutman's Weird School Days books will enjoy this series, and parents and teachers will like the fact that this book is a step up in length and text challenge. The second book was just released, which means you can jump right into the sequel!
Check out the Book Trailer!
Miranda’s life is one that passes for normal for a New York City sixth grader. She goes to school, hangs out with her friends, and avoids the crazy guy on the corner who spouts nonsense about pocket shoes and kicks at the air.
Things begin to go wrong for her the day her best friend Sal is punched by a stranger on the street and refuses to hang out with her anymore. Then the mysterious notes begin to arrive.
“I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own.
I ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter.”
What follows is an amazing tale that is part mystery, part growing up tale, with a little splash of science fiction. It’s a perfect blend for kids (and adults) who like figuring out a puzzle along with the characters in a story. You need to read this book!
Perfect for upper elementary and middle school kids. It is especially recommended for fans of Madeleine L’Engle’s 1963 classic – A Wrinkle in Time.
Check out Rebecca Stead's own website for more information about this book and her other books! Also, watch the interview with the author below.
Don’t let the title fool you – girls will also love this book!
This is an exciting collection of short stories that will make you bite your nails until the very end. Creepy but funny. Scary but not too scary. There are tales about ghosts, pirates, wishes, a terrible private investigator, and more.
My favorite story was "Ghost Vision Goggles"; a story about boy who sends away for weird items from the back of old comics. When he receives goggles that let him see ghosts, he gets more than he expected.
The best part of this book? When I held it up in my classroom the first student to jump up and grab it was a girl. Oh yeah, I love that. I don't expect this book to stay on my shelf for long stretches at a time.
The stories are by authors my students already love: Anthony Horowitz, Margaret Peterson Haddix, James Patterson and more!
(Middle grades: 3-6)
Check out the Guys Read website for more information about this book and other reading ideas with boys in mind. (but girls will like them too!)
I read a book every day over my holiday break. I'm here to tell you that this one was one of my favorites!
My students showered me with love before holiday break - love in the form of books to read. This topped my list as one of my favorite reads, and so earned the spot as my "Dragon's Book of the Week" when we returned to school.
It's 1899 in Texas and Calpurnia has no desire to act like a regular little girl. Her mind dances with curiosity about the world. Luckily for her, Calpurnia's grandfather notices her quick mind and inquisitive nature and makes it his job to help her as she explores the world around her, in spite of her mother's every attempt to train her up to be a proper young lady.
Yes, this is the kind of story that is told a lot recently. But Calpurnia is one of those lovely characters that springs to life on the page. I highly recommend the story to students who love the natural world (boys and girls alike), as there is plenty of science built into the tale. It is also a beautifully told tale, and one that gives students a glimpse into the way the world worked as automobiles and telephones began I'm hoping my students love this book as much as I did!
Author: M.P. Kozlowsky
What would you sacrifice to make your fondest wishes come true?
Juniper's family used to be close and loving. Juniper would write elaborate plays and her actor parents would make them come to life. Her parents longed for fame and fortune, though. When they finally "made it" in the movies, their lives changed drastically. Suddenly, Juniper's parents have no time for her, and don't even seem to really care about her anymore. When she meets a new neighbor named Giles with similar parental problems, they decide to investigate.
This isn't just a tale of family changes, though. Juniper suspects something sinister has happened to her formerly loving parents. When she follows them out into the woods one dark and dreary night, her suspicions are confirmed. Can she withstand the temptations of her own deepest desires long enough to rescue her parents?
Juniper Berry is a wonderfully creepy tale, but not terrifying. It's a great choice for kids who want to dive into a book that will make them shiver. Students who are overly sensitive (as some of my students tend to be) may want to wait until they are slightly older. It's a great example of a strong female lead who will also appeal to the boys in the room!
Note: I won a copy of this book from Walden Pond Press. Check them out on Twitter! (@WaldenPondPress)
Check out the trailer here!